Sunday, June 28, 2015

Friday, June 12, 2015



Live on, LaVonne . . .
You are really not gone --
Now you are free to become One –
Amid ethereal essences of life – from now on!

Although you did have sanguine sisters,
You chose to become one of mine
Although you had other family members,
You chose to adopt mine over a period of time.

At family gatherings -- at graduations,
Christmas, or Thanksgiving,
For any celebrations
For meritorious living
You joined us with glee
For the merriment that would always be --
Helping to cherish each wonderful memory.

So - We’ll miss the small frame
The very musical sound of your name,
Your droll expressions we’ll recall
And remember wry humor with all.
Through your life’s ups and downs
You rose above ordinary frowns --
You had the courage to always find a way
to succeed in life each and every day.
For -- Under that tough exterior
lay a heart of pure gold
Your kindness to others
Was a great thing to behold.

And now -- Live on, LaVonne . . .
You are really not gone --
Now you are free to become One –
Amid ethereal essences of life – from now on!

Your love not only went beyond humans
but to many pets did extend.
You carried them with you
nearly wherever you went.
The so-called “nephew” pups – as you referred of them to me
that you’d carry about quite lovingly --
dressed up in the very best,
or tucked sweetly in carry bags
slung neatly across your chest.
They were the perennial companions
Life-giving, loving and “Hands-on!”
It was like you were their loving mother --
and when you lost one, you’d get another.

This love was not only for your pets
but the Love of the Lord transcended the rest
that taught the life lessons which you did learn
and guided you to often share your concern
with elder ladies of your long-time congregation
also  older relatives, wherever you discerned in their situation
there was a need for companionship or assistance
And you’d find wonderful ways to provide this.
At Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church
You loved becoming a Deacon
Faithfully fulfilling expected duties
from annual season to season.
Right training elicited appropriate dignity
Yet avoiding excess piety -- out of your humanity.

You often managed to find the humor in life
Which strengthened you amid day-to-day pains and strife.
Moreover, you always kept the family tradition
of living life as a dutiful Christian.

Then -- Live on, LaVonne . . .
You are really not gone --
Now you are free to become One –
Amid ethereal essences of life – from now on!

Although you were not raised
With your other dear siblings,
Your love and caring for them was not missing,
You tried to become a rock of solutions
whenever you felt family problems needed resolution.
You’d stop by to see me and rest 
When you’d travel to North Carolina to give of your best.
Once Ron and I went to Greensboro for family support
to observe your uncle’s magnificent art work
For his achievements, we joined you in pride
And realized the family marks you carried inside.
From a long line of professionals, educators, and ministers
Your upbringing made you a lady and produced one of life’s winners.

For you had conviction of character and strength
to undergo days of health pains -- years of suffering at length
You hid tribulations hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute
Few would be able to conceive how you really did it.
It was only by God’s Grace
You kept a smile on your face.

Live on, LaVonne . . .
You are really not gone --
Now you are free to become One –
Amid ethereal essences of life – from now on!

Submitted lovingly by the family of
Rev, Charles H.  Clay White, I of New Bern, N.C. and
Mrs, Elizabeth S. Blacknall White, whom LaVonne referred to as “Aunt Elizabeh”, as well as my siblings, Charlene; myself, Mary; Charles H. Clay White, II; my younger sister Julia; and youngest brother, Ronald Govan, her faithful friend, and Pamela Preston White,  as well as the next generation: Camara White, Asmaa El Maliki, (both of whom, along with Ron, cared for her pets during her illnesses); Nefertari, Charles H. C. White, III; and Shane Clay Ezra:  Each of whom would think of LaVonne and smile.

So . . .
Be Resplendent in Peace, LaVonne,

Sunday, May 24, 2015


                             For LaVonne Playlist

           Delores LaVonne Brewington McMillan Yahn Trimiar.

          Passed away on May 14, 2015 at  Walter Reed National Medical Center. She is survived by husband Otha, two brothers Harvey Brewington (Elsie) and Carroll (Myra) Brewington,  two sisters,  Mary Gean Edwards, Chesapeake Beach, Maryland and Joanne Blaine, Washington, DC, one uncle, James C. McMillan of Greensboro N.C. nieces, nephews and a host of relatives and friends. . She was predeceased by her parents, Harvey and Delores McMillan Brewington and Dr. Clarence and Beatrice Stanton McMillan.  A memorial service will be held June 6,2015, 11:00 am, at 15th St.  Presbyterian Church, 1701 15th ST, NW, Washington, DC. 20009.
          There will also be a Memorial Held June 27, 2015,11 AM At Blandonia Presbyterian Church 605 Wall St,   Sanford N.C. Friends and family gathering after Memorial, come out and tell your  LaVonne story.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

Solomon Burke - None Of Us Are Free (HD)

What Can You Do to help the Struggle

Friday, May 1, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N.J. teacher Marylin Zuniga and supporters address Orange school board

               No child should be prevented from speaking his or her mind in a compassionate manner, and it should not cause him or her to loose a teacher. This is America where Freedom of Speech is revered. That's what we must continue to teach our children. This Fascist FOP must be brought down by the People. Only WE THE PEOPLE can demand the type of deep, widespread REVISION of LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING AND REQUIREMENTS that are so urgently needed in this nation.

             The USA police kill and or frame more people than anyone in the world. European officers are never this vicious and violent. Something is wrong with the USA picture, and it must be CHANGED. Just look at the fact that the INNOCENCE Project has exonerated over 325 innocent human beings from prison -- many of whom have served over 30 or 40 years. The evil that is in Law Enforcement Mentality must be Broken. It is EQUIVALENT to any of the evil and injust that is in the minds of the True Perpetrators. Our system must become revolutionized as RESTORATIVE -- NOT PENAL. Check out how the Scandinavian countries do it. We must not only pray for TRUE justice to prevail in this country, but WORK toward that end incessantly..

Activists, teachers and members of the community were on-hand to support elementary school teacher Marylin Zuniga, as she addressed the Orange school board about her suspension.The board decided to ’table the matter.’ (Video by Saed Hindash | NJ

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Rev. CT Vivian

                      Rev. CT Vivian

A 36-year-old Baptist minister from Howard, MO, the Reverend Cordy "C.T." Vivian was the oldest of the Nashville Riders. A close friend of James Lawson, he had gained the trust of the students involved in the Nashville Movement by participating in the 1960 Nashville sit-in campaign to end lunch counter desegregation. On May 24, 1961, he was arrested in Jackson, MS on the formal charge of breach of peace and imprisoned at Parchman State Prison Farm.

One of the Civil Rights Movement's most respected and revered figures, he was named director of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) affiliates in 1963, and later founded and led several civil rights organizations, including Vision, the National Anti-Klan Network, the Center of Democratic Renewal, and Black Action Strategies and Information Center (BASIC).

From Wikipedia
Cordy Tindell Vivian, usually known as C. T. Vivian (born July 30, 1924), is a minister, author, and was a close friend and lieutenant of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. during the American Civil Rights Movement. Vivian continues to reside in Atlanta, Georgia and most recently founded the C. T. Vivian Leadership Institute, Inc. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Senator Barack Obama, speaking at the occasion of the anniversary of Selma to Montgomery marches in March of 2007 at Selma's Brown Chapel A.M.E., recognized Vivian in his opening remarks in the words of Martin L. King Jr. as "the greatest preacher to ever live.”
On August 8, 2013, President Barack Obama named Vivian as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The citation in the press release reads as follows:

             C.T. Vivian is a distinguished minister, author, and organizer. A leader in the Civil Rights Movement and friend to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he participated in Freedom Rides and sit-ins across our country. Dr. Vivian also helped found numerous civil rights organizations, including Vision, the National Anti-Klan Network, and the Center for Democratic Renewal. In 2012, he returned to serve as interim President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Vivian was born in Howard, Missouri.  As a small boy he migrated with his mother to Macomb, Illinois, where he attended Lincoln Grade School and Edison Junior High School. Vivian graduated from Macomb High School in 1942 and went on to attend Western Illinois University in Macomb, where he worked as the sports editor for the school newspaper. His first professional job was recreation director for the Carver Community Center in Peoria, Illinois. There, Vivian participated in his first sit-in demonstrations, which successfully integrated Barton's Cafeteria in 1947.
Studying for the ministry at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1959, Vivian met James Lawson, who was teaching Mohandas Gandhi's nonviolent direct action strategy to the Nashville Student Movement. Soon Lawson's students, including Diane Nash, Bernard Lafayette, James Bevel, John Lewis and others from American Baptist, Fisk University and Tennessee State University, organized a systematic nonviolent sit-in campaign. On April 19, 1960, 4,000 demonstrators marched on City Hall where Vivian and Diane Nash challenged Nashville Mayor Ben West. As a result, Mayor West publicly agreed that racial discrimination was morally wrong. Many of the students who participated in the Nashville Student Movement soon took on major leadership roles in both the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference SCLC.

Vivian wrote Black Power and the American Myth in 1970, a book about the failings of the Civil Rights Movement. The book was published by Fortress Press of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The telling prophetic citing of an ongoing challenge between Christians and Muslims judges the previous generation's negligence on working toward peace. "Christians and Muslims can find common ground in the necessity to create new alternatives. Anyone who starts to struggle at any place can go all the way to achieve the changes all desire." (p. 125.)

In 1961, Vivian, now a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) participated in Freedom Rides replacing injured members of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
He helped found the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, and helped organize the first sit-ins in Nashville in 1960 and the first civil rights march in 1961. Vivian rode the first "Freedom Bus" into Jackson, Mississippi, and went on to work alongside Martin Luther King Jr., James Bevel, Diane Nash, and others on SCLC's Executive Staff in Birmingham, Selma, Chicago, Nashville, the March on Washington; Danville, Virginia, and St. Augustine, Florida. Some claim that the St. Augustine campaign helped lead to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Vivian's role in it was honored when he returned to the city in 2008 to dedicate a Freedom Trail of historic sites of the Civil Rights Movement.

During the summer following the Selma Movement, Vivian conceived and directed an educational program, Vision, and put 702 Alabama students in college with scholarships (this program later became Upward Bound). His 1970 Black Power and the American Myth was the first book on the Civil Rights Movement by a member of Martin Luther King's staff.

In the 1970s Vivian moved to Atlanta, and in 1977 founded the Black Action Strategies and Information Center (BASICS), a consultancy on multiculturalism and race relations in the workplace and other contexts. In 1979 he co-founded, with Anne Braden, the Center for Democratic Renewal (initially as the National Anti-Klan Network), an organization where blacks and whites worked together in response to white supremacist activity. In 1984 he served in Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign, as the national deputy director for clergy. In 1994 he helped to establish, and served on the board of Capitol City Bank and Trust Co., a black-owned Atlanta bank. He serves currently on the board of Every Church a Peace Church.
Vivian continues to speak publicly and offer workshops, and has done so at many conferences around the country and the world, including with the United Nations.  He was featured as an activist and an analyst in the civil rights documentary, Eyes on the Prize, and has been featured in a PBS special, The Healing Ministry of Dr. C. T. Vivian. He has made numerous appearances on Oprah as well as the Montel Williams Show and Donahue. He is the focus of the biography, Challenge and Change by Lydia Walker.

In 2008, Vivian founded and incorporated the C. T. Vivian Leadership Institute, Inc. (CTVLI) to "Create a Model Leadership Culture in Atlanta" Georgia. The C. T. Vivian Leadership Institute conceived, developed and implemented the "Yes, We Care" campaign on December 18, 2008 (four days after the City of Atlanta turned the water off at Morris Brown College [MBC]) and, over a period of two and a half months, mobilized the Atlanta community to donate in excess of $500,000 directly to Morris Brown as "bridge funding." This effort literally saved this Historically Black College University (HBCU) which was founded in 1881 and allowed the college to negotiate with the City which ultimately restored the water services to the college. Additionally, this strategic campaign gave impetus to MBC to expand and renew its donor base.
Subsequent to the Morris Brown campaign, Vivian began discussions with Mosaica Educational Systems which ultimately lead to a partnership with the Atlanta Preparatory Academy (APA) an innovative charter school based in Atlanta at the historic Jordan Hall facility.

              Dr C T Vivian

       C. T. Vivian on Nonviolence & Hypocrisy of U.S. Promoting Democracy Abroad

            Rev. C.T. Vivian Interview (2007)


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A. Philip Randolph

        Freedom is never granted and is never given; it is won and exacted.
 A Philip Randolph

         A Philip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom

A. Philip Randolph was the most important civil rights leader to emerge from the labor movement. Throughout his long career, he consistently kept the interests of black workers at the forefront of the racial agenda. Whereas W. E. B. Du Bois argued that the problem of the twentieth century was “the color line,” Randolph concluded that it was the question of the “common man.”

Asa Philip Randolph (1889-1979) was born in Crescent City, Florida, and grew up in Jacksonville.The son of a Methodist minister he was brought up to value education, he attended high school at the Cookman Institute where he studied Greek and Latin and excelled in drama and public speaking.

Randolph was also brought up to take pride in his heritage and his abilities. He and his brother "never felt we were inferior to any white boy, never had that concept at all," he remembered, "and we were told, constantly and continuously that 'You . . . are not supposed to bow and take a back seat for anybody.'"

Graduating at the top of his class in 1907, Randolph began working for the Union Life Insurance Co. Although it was a well-respected job in the black community at the time, it did not hold Randolph's interest -- and neither did a series of odd jobs he tried after that. Inspired by W.E.B Du Bois 's book, The Souls of Black Folk and its critique of racism, Randolph was determined to get out of the South. In 1911 he found work on a steamboat headed for New York City.

Settling in Harlem, Randolph found work as switchboard operator in an apartment building, enrolled in the College of the City of New York  and helped organize the Independent Political Council, a debate group.In 1913 Randolph courted and married Mrs. Lucille Campbell Green, a widow, Howard University graduate and entrepreneur who shared his socialist politics. She earned enough money to support them both. The couple had no children. A member of the Socialist party by 1916, and a popular street-corner orator, Randolph got a job doing political work for the Brotherhood of Labor, an employment office for African American migrants from the South and West Indian immigrants.

Randolph’s politics were rooted in the World War I era. A child of hard-working parents who respected learning . Working during the day and studying at the City College at night, Randolph broadened his intellectual horizons as he read modern economic and political writers, including Marx. This theoretical grounding predisposed him to view the black working class, not the black elite, as the major hope for black progress. His associations with socialists and the continuing urbanization of the black population strengthened his working-class orientation.

In New York, Randolph became familiar with socialism and the ideologies espoused by the Industrial Workers of the World. He met Columbia University Law student Chandler Owen, and the two developed a synthesis of Marxist economics and the sociological ideas of Lester Frank Ward, arguing that people could only be free if not subject to economic deprivation.  At this point, Randolph developed what would become his distinctive form of civil rights activism, which emphasized the importance of collective action as a way for black people to gain legal and economic equality. To this end, he and Owen opened an employment office in Harlem to provide job training for southern migrants and encourage them to join trade unions.

Randolph’s first experience with labor organization came in 1917, when he organized a union of elevator operators in New York City.  In 1919 he became president of the National Brotherhood of Workers of America,  a union which organised amongst African-American shipyard and dock workers in the Tidewater region of Virginia.  The union dissolved in 1921, under pressure from the American Federation of Labor.

In 1917 his career as an organizer and activist took off when he and Chandler Owen, a longtime associate, launched The Messenger, a monthly magazine that delved into politics, trade union news, and literary criticism, among other subjects. As editor, Randolph campaigned against lynching, U.S. participation in the First World War, and the segregation he witnessed in the trade union movement. In fact in 1919 he denounced the AFL as "the most wicked machine for the propagation of race prejudice in the country."

Because he believed black Americans would never gain political freedom without economic power, in 1918 Randolph helped organize the National Association for the Promotion of Labor Unionism Among Negroes. He also supported the National Brotherhood of the Workers an independent union organized in 1919 that combined black nationalism with trade unionism.

Impressed by Randolph's abilities, a group of Pullman porters invited him in 1925 to help organize their fledgling union, The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Although it would take ten years for the Brotherhood to gain an AFL charter -- the first awarded to a union of black workers -- in 1937 the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters would become the first black union to win a collective bargaining agreements.

The victory made Randolph the leading black figure in the labor movement. He headed the new National Negro Congress, an umbrella movement of mass organizations, but resigned in 1940, believing the group was controlled by communists. Through his success with the BSCP, Randolph emerged as one of the most visible spokespeople for African-American civil rights. In 1941, he, Bayard Rustin, and A. J. Muste proposed a march on Washington  to protest racial discrimination in war industries, an end to segregation, access to defense employment, the proposal of an anti-lynching law and of the desegregation of the American Armed forces. Randolph's belief in the power of peaceful direct action was inspired partly by Mahatma Gandhi's success in using such tactics against British occupation in India. Randolph threatened to have 50,000 blacks march on the city;  it was cancelled after President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, or the Fair Employment Act.  Some activists, including Rustin,  felt betrayed because Roosevelt's order applied only to banning discrimination within war industries and not the armed forces. Nonetheless, the Fair Employment Act is generally considered an important early civil rights victory.

 The movement continued to gain momentum, In 1942, an estimated 18,000 blacks gathered at Madison Square Garden to hear Randolph kick off a campaign against discrimination in the military, in war industries, in government agencies, and in labor unions.  Following passage of the Act, during the Philadelphia transit strike of 1944, the government backed African-American workers' striking to gain positions formerly limited to white employees. Buoyed by these successes, Randolph and other activists continued to press for the rights of African Americans. In 1947, Randolph, along with colleague Grant Reynolds, renewed efforts to end discrimination in the armed services, forming the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience. When President Truman asked Congress for a peacetime draft law, Randolph urged young black men to refuse to register. Since Truman was vulnerable to defeat in 1948 and needed the support of the growing black population in northern states, he eventually capitulated.  On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman abolished racial segregation in the armed forces through Executive Order 9981.

Randolph and Rustin also formed an important alliance with Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1957, when schools in the south resisted school integration following Brown v. Board of Education, Randolph organized a Prayer Pilgrimage with Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1958 and 1959, Randolph organized Youth Marches for Integrated Schools in Washington, DC.  At the same time, he arranged for Rustin to teach King how to organize peaceful demonstrations in Alabama and to form alliances with progressive whites.  The protests directed by Rustin and King in cities such as Birmingham and Montgomery provoked a violent backlash by police and the local Ku Klux Klan throughout the summer of 1963, which was captured on television and broadcast throughout the nation and the world. Rustin later remarked that Birmingham "was one of television's finest hours. Evening after evening, television brought into the living-rooms of America the violence, brutality, stupidity, and ugliness of {police commissioner} Eugene "Bull" Connor's effort to maintain racial segregation."  Partly as a result of the violent spectacle in Birmingham, which was becoming an international embarrassment, the Kennedy administration drafted civil rights legislation aimed at ending Jim Crow once and for all.

As a result of the groundwork laid 22 years earlier for the 1941 March on Washington, A. Philip Randolph was prepared for the leadership role he held in the 1963 March on Washington. With Bayard Rustin as the main organizer of the march, Randolph was able to unite the many groups and leaders that comprised this national call for masses of people to take action.
Randolph finally realized his vision for a March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, which attracted over 250,000 to the nation's capital. The rally is often remembered as the high-point of the civil rights movement, and it did help keep the issue in the public consciousness. However, when President Kennedy was assassinated three months later, Civil Rights legislation was stalled in the Senate. It was not until the following year, under President Lyndon B. Johnson, that the Civil Rights Act was finally passed. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act was passed. Although King rightly deserves great credit for these legislative victories, it is hard to overestimate the importance of Randolph's contributions to the civil rights movement.

While expanding his targets, Randolph never forgot the interests of black workers and was a constant critic of discrimination in some unions. The originator of the March on Washington in 1963, Randolph aimed to obtain government sponsorship of black jobs. Although his goal was overshadowed by the demands of the southern civil rights movement, Randolph’s understanding of the economic needs of blacks predated the riots that drew the nation’s attention to them. He also became a critic of the black power movement, which he believed was programmatically bankrupt.

Despite his concern for ordinary workers, Randolph’s style was intellectual and aloof. Perhaps because he believed in the controlling force of self-interest, he could not fully comprehend the social and psychological impetus for the black power movement. But his theoretical bent and rationality enabled him to construct political alliances and to choose and win significant labor and civil rights objectives.

              Pullman Porters - Ordinary Men, Extraordinary History

            A. Philip Randolph: Reading Pledge of the March on Washington

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


What Can You Do to help the Strougle

Monday, February 9, 2015

Lucy Craft Laney

                                                     Lucy Craft Laney

When I was a child, my uncle Govan Stevens would tell us stories of his years growing up in Georgia in the early 1900s.He talked about how hard life was growing up on a farm and being a negro in the south made things harder.
God blessed him when he met Ms. Lucy Laney  founder and  principal of the Haines Institute in Augusta, Ga.

He wanted us to know that this was a special women she inspired him and pushed him to learn all he could and do his very best .

Lucy Craft Laney is Georgia's most famous female African American educator. The founder and principal of the Haines Institute  for fifty years (1883-1933),
She was born on April 13, 1854 in Macon, Georgia, one of ten children, to Louisa and David Laney during slavery. Her parents, however, were not slaves.  Her father was a Presbyterian minister and a skilled carpenter who, having once been a slave, had bought his freedom 20 years before Lucy was born. He had also bought his wife’s freedom.

Lucy’s early childhood days were spent in the Macon home where her mother worked as a maid for Miss Campbell, who taught Lucy to read at the age of four
When the Civil War came to an end, it was Lucy’s father who rang the bells of Washington Avenue Presbyterian Church to celebrate emancipation. In the years following emancipation, the Freedman’s Bureau and the American Missionary Association founded a high school for African American children in Macon, where the Medical Center now stands. Young Lucy attended it until, at the age of 15, In 1869  she was chosen to enroll in the newly founded Atlanta University. In 1873 she was a member of its first graduating class. graduating from the Normal Department (teacher's training)  . Women were not allowed to take the classics course at Atlanta University at that time, a reality to which Laney reacted with blistering indignation.

After teaching in Macon, Savannah, Milledgeville, and Augusta for ten years, "Miss Lucy," as she was generally known, began her own school in 1883 in the basement of Christ Presbyterian Church in Augusta.
She combined a boundless faith in the ability to learn with the highest expectations of achievement. In Augusta she found the warmest support for a school, and her friends from the Presbyterian Church and the Freedman’s Bureau persuaded her to start a new school there. She began teaching in the lecture room of Christ Presbyterian Church to only six children, but soon more than 200 children were in attendance.

Lucy Craft Laney's school, founded in 1883, was chartered by the state three years later and named the Haines Normal and Industrial Institute.
  Originally Laney intended to admit only girls, but several boys appeared and she could not turn them away. Laney began her lifelong appeal for funding for her school by traveling to a meeting of the General Assembly of the Northern Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis in 1886. She addressed the assembly but received only her fare home. She did, however, obtain the confidence of a lifetime benefactor, Mrs. Francine E. H. Haines, for whom her school was named. By 1912 the Haines Institute employed thirty-four teachers, enrolled nine hundred students, and offered a fifth year of college preparatory high school in which Laney herself taught Latin. Haines graduates matriculated at Howard, Fisk, Yale, and other prestigious colleges, where they reflected the confidence and pride that Laney and her staff had instilled in their students.
Haines not only offered its students a holistic approach to education but also served as a cultural center for the African American community. The school hosted orchestra concerts, lectures by nationally famous guests, and various social events. Laney also inaugurated the first kindergarten and created the first nursing training programs for African American women in Augusta.

Knowing how difficult it was for black students to get into college, Laney provided rigorous academic training for her students. They studied English, mathematics, history, chemistry, physics, psychology, sociology, French, and German. Laney's mission was to turn out a generation of women teachers and community leaders who would regenerate the African-American community and become the source of its salvation. "The educated Negro woman, the woman of character and culture, is needed in the schoolroom, not only in the kindergarten and primary school, but in the high school and the college. Not alone in the classroom but as a public lecturer she may give advice and knowledge that will change a whole community and start its people on the upward way."

Ms. Lucy had the courage and the moral stature to hold young people accountable to the highest standards and to bring out their best selves.

In Augusta Laney helped to found the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) chapter in 1918, and she was active in the Interracial Commission, the National Association of Colored Women, and the Niagara Movement. She also helped to integrate the community work of the YMCA and YWCA. Her friends and students included Mary McLeod Bethune, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, Nannie Helen Burroughs, W. E. B. Du Bois, Joseph Simeon Flipper, John Hope, Langston Hughes, Mary Jackson McCrorey (the associate principal at Haines from 1896 to 1916), William Scarborough, Martha Schofield, Madame C. J. Walker, Richard R. Wright Sr., and Frank Yerby. Laney died in 1933.
Lucy Laney is buried on the grounds of the school that now bears her name, on a major Augusta boulevard that also bears her name. Her portrait hangs in the Georgia State Capitol.

My uncle always said that Lucy Laney was the person who helped him most in his life. He went on to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania,then became a Presbyterian minister

Mary McLeod Bethune

Educator, politician, and social visionary, Mary McLeod Bethune was one of the most prominent African American women of the first half of the twentieth century--and one of the most powerful. 

When Mary McLeod Bethune switched her party registration from Republican to Democrat, she led thousands of other black Americans to do the same. She is one of the people who helped make the solid black Democratic voting bloc we have today.
This was a woman who never bit her tongue, but who knew the inner workings of Washington politics, and moved with ease between the classroom and four presidential administrations.

by Denise Oliver Velez   On Daily Kos

"We live in a world which respects power above all things. Power, intelligently directed, can lead to more freedom. Unwisely directed, it can be a dreadful, destructive force." My Last Will and Testament

These words were spoken by a woman who advised four presidents, who spearheaded a women’s movement, fought for health care for the poor, and who was totally committed to education, especially the education of young black women.

That woman was Mary McLeod Bethune.

In her last will and testament she wrote, "We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends."

We are all very familiar with larger than life portraits of black leaders—primarily male, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and most of us can at least quote from his "I have a dream" speech. We often cite powerful black male leaders like Frederick Douglass,  Paul Robeson or Malcolm X.

Too often, one of the most powerful women in our nation’s history is overlooked. This is the woman who was the mentor to Dorothy Height.

This was a woman who trail-blazed a path to become the founder of, and only woman in, FDR's "black cabinet"

One of the most well-known members and only woman among the young, ambitious men was Ms. Mary Jane McLeod Bethune. "Ms. Bethune was a Republican who changed her party allegiance because of Franklin Roosevelt.". Ms. Bethune was very closely tied to the community and believed she knew what the African Americans really wanted. She was looked upon very highly by other members of the cabinet, and the younger men called her "Ma Bethune." Ms. Bethune was a personal friend of Mrs. Roosevelt and, uniquely among the cabinet, had access to the White House.

Bethune played a dual role as close and loyal friend of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt respected Bethune to the extent that the segregation rules at the Southern Conference on Human Welfare in 1938, being held in Birmingham, Alabama, were changed on Roosevelt's request so she could sit next to Bethune. Roosevelt frequently referred to Bethune as "her closest friend in her age group." Bethune, in her turn took it upon herself to disperse the message of the Democratic Party to black voters, and make the concerns of black people known to the Roosevelts at the same time. She had unprecedented access to the White House through her relationship with the First Lady. She used it to form a coalition of leaders from black organizations called the Federal Council on Negro Affairs, but which came to be known as the Black Cabinet. The role of the Black Cabinet was to serve as an advisory board to the Roosevelt administration on issues facing black people in America. It gathered talented blacks in positions within federal agencies, creating the first collective of black people enjoying higher positions in government than ever before. It also served to show to voters that the Roosevelt administration cared about black concerns. The group gathered in Bethune's office or apartment and met informally, rarely keeping minutes. Although as advisers they had little role in creating public policy, they were a respected leadership among black voters and were able to influence political appointments and disbursement of funds to organizations that would benefit black people.

Bethune's relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt greatly enhanced Bethune's status and gave her greater access to political leaders than other black advisers in the Roosevelt administration. More important, as a government administrator, Bethune learned about the inner workings of the American political process firsthand and gained knowledge she would use to bring African American men and women into the process and to keep issues of concern to African Americans on the national political agenda.

Bethune expanded her political connections by serving as well on various nonpartisan committees dealing with black children and education between 1928 and 1933. In 1928, President Calvin Coolidge named her as a delegate to a child welfare conference held in Washington, D.C. President Herbert Hoover later named her as a member of his National Committee on Child Welfare, an extension of the American Child Health Association (ACHA). As a member of the ACHA committee, Bethune worked with other members to design national surveys on health conditions, infant mortality, and public health programs. The dismal results of these surveys led to the establishment of Child Health Day, a campaign to improve America's milk supply, institute training programs for midwives, and lobby for legislation to regulate child labor.

Bethune understood the importance of political participation. In the early 1900s, the battle for women's suffrage was underway, but there was little role for African-American women, especially in the South. In 1912 Bethune joined the Equal Suffrage League, an offshoot of the National Association of Colored Women. In an era when even African-American men couldn't vote, a frustrated Mary had to sit back and watch as white-dominated organizations marched and protested nationwide. But in 1920, after passage of the 19th amendment, the time for action had come. Bethune believed that if African-American women were to vote, they could bring about change. Riding a bicycle she had used when she was raising money for her school, she went door to door raising money to pay the poll tax. Her night classes provided a means for African-Americans to learn to read well enough to pass the literacy test. Soon one hundred potential voters had qualified. The night before the election, eighty members of the KKK confronted Bethune, warning her against preparing African-Americans to vote. Bethune did not back down, and the men left without causing any harm. The following day, Bethune led a procession of one hundred African-Americans to the polls, all voting for the first time.

The story of her defiance of the Klan spread, and soon she was in demand as a speaker for the rights of African-Americans. Meeting many prominent people was in some ways an eye-opener for her. She met the African-American leader and scholar W.E.B. Dubois, and after hearing him comment that because of his race he couldn't even check out one of his own books from a southern library, she made her own school library available to the general public. This was the only free source of reading material for African-Americans in Florida at that time.

Mary McLeod Bethune (right) inspired young women such as her protégé Dorothy Irene Height (left) to pursue civil rights activism.

In 1935 Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women in New York City, bringing together representatives of 28 different organizations to work to improve the lives of black women and their communities. Bethune said of the council:

"It is our pledge to make a lasting contribution to all that is finest and best in America, to cherish and enrich her heritage of freedom and progress by working for the integration of all her people regardless of race, creed, or national origin, into her spiritual, social, cultural, civic, and economic life, and thus aid her to achieve the glorious destiny of a true and unfettered democracy."

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune was born on July 10, 1875, 10 years after the end of the civil war, in Mayesville, SC. Born into a large family she was the daughter of Samuel McLeod and Patsy McIntosh, former slaves.
Her parents were owned by different masters. Before their marriage her father Samuel had to work to "buy" his bride. Samuel and his wife Patsy had 17 children in all. Sadly, while they were slaves the children were sold to other masters when they became old enough to work.

Her parents could not read or write, but after emancipation, worked hard to re-assemble their children on a small farm that Samuel was able to purchase.
And Mary got the opportunity to learn to read.

When Mary was about eleven, the Mission Board of the Presbyterian Church opened a school for African-American children. It was about four miles from her home, and the children had to walk back and forth to school, but Mary wanted to go. Her mother commented that some of the children had to be forced to attend, but not Mary, who was well aware of her family's relative poverty. Mary saw education as the key to improving the lives of African-Americans. An incident that occurred when she was quite young may explain this. Mary picked up a book while she was playing with a white child whose parents employed Mary's mother. The white child grabbed the book and told Mary she couldn't have it because African-Americans couldn't read. For Mary, education became the answer to the question, how can African-Americans move up the ladder in American society?
Bethune later received a scholarship to the Scotia Seminary (now Barber-Scotia College), a school for girls in Concord, North Carolina. After graduating from the seminary in 1893, she went to the Dwight Moody's Institute for Home and Foreign Missions (also known as Moody Bible Institute) in Chicago. Bethune complete her studies there two years later. Returning to the South, she began her career as a teacher.

For nearly a decade, Bethune worked as an educator. She married fellow teacher Albertus Bethune in 1898. The couple had one son together—Albert Mcleod Bethune—before ending their marriage in 1907. She believed that education provided the key to racial advancement. To that end, Bethune founded the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls in Daytona, Florida, in 1904. Starting out with only five students, she helped grow the school to more than 250 students over the next years.Eventually the school blossomed to include a farm, high school, and nursing school.

In 1923, the school merged with the all-male Cookman Institute of Jacksonville and eventually became Bethune-Cookman College, a four-year, coeducational institution. Bethune served as the college's president until 1942 and again from 1946-47. At the same time, Bethune also cemented her position as a leader in African American education and the African American women's club movement by serving as president of state, regional, and national organizations, including the National Association of Colored Women.
                    Mary McLeod Bethune History

                      Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr.

         The music of  Dr. King Playlist

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. Although Dr. King's name was mistakenly recorded as "Michael King" on his birth certificate, this was not discovered until 1934, when his father applied for a passport. He had an older sister, Willie Christine (September 11, 1927) and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel (July 30, 1930 – July 1, 1969). King sang with his church choir at the 1939 Atlanta premiere of the movie Gone with the Wind. He entered Morehouse College at age fifteen, skipping his ninth and twelfth high school grades without formally graduating. In 1948, he graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in sociology, and enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.) degree in 1951. In September 1951, King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University and received his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) on June 5, 1955 .

In 1953, at age 24, King became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to comply with the Jim Crow laws that required her to give up her seat to a white man. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, urged and planned by E. D. Nixon (head of the Montgomery NAACP chapter and a member of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters) and led by King, soon followed. In March 1955, a 15 year old school girl, Claudette Colvin, suffered the same fate, but King did not become involved. The boycott lasted for 381 days, the situation becoming so tense that King's house was bombed. King was arrested during this campaign, which ended with a United States Supreme Court decision outlawing racial segregation on all public transport.

King was instrumental in the founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, a group created to harness the moral authority and organizing power of black churches to conduct non-violent protests in the service of civil rights reform. King continued to dominate the organization. King was an adherent of the philosophies of nonviolent civil disobedience used successfully in India by Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi, and he applied this philosophy to the protests organized by the SCLC. In 1959, he wrote The Measure of A Man, from which the piece What is Man?, an attempt to sketch the optimal political, social, and economic structure of society, is derived.

Attributing his inspiration for non-violent activism to the example of Mahatma Gandhi, he visited the Gandhi family in India in 1959, with assistance from the Quaker group, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The trip to India affected King in a profound way, deepening his understanding of nonviolent resistance and his commitment to America’s struggle for civil rights. In a radio address made during his final evening in India, King reflected, “Since being in India, I am more convinced than ever before that the method of nonviolent resistance is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for justice and human dignity. In a real sense, Mahatma Gandhi embodied in his life certain universal principles that are inherent in the moral structure of the universe, and these principles are as inescapable as the law of gravitation.”

The FBI began wiretapping King in 1961, fearing that Communists were trying to infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement, but when no such evidence emerged, the bureau used the incidental details caught on tape over six years in attempts to force King out of the preeminent leadership position.

King correctly recognized that organized, nonviolent protest against the system of southern segregation known as Jim Crow laws would lead to extensive media coverage of the struggle for black equality and voting rights. Journalistic accounts and televised footage of the daily deprivation and indignities suffered by southern blacks, and of segregationist violence and harassment of civil rights workers and marchers, produced a wave of sympathetic public opinion that made the Civil Rights Movement the single most important issue in American politics in the early 1960s.

King organized and led marches for blacks' right to vote, desegregation, labor rights and other basic civil rights. Most of these rights were successfully enacted into United States law with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

King and the SCLC applied the principles of nonviolent protest with great success by strategically choosing the method of protest and the places in which protests were carried out in often dramatic stand-offs with segregationist authorities. Sometimes these confrontations turned violent. King and the SCLC were instrumental in the unsuccessful Albany Movement in Albany, Georgia, in 1961 and 1962, where divisions within the black community and the canny, low-key response by local government defeated efforts; in the Birmingham protests in the summer of 1963; and in the protest in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1964. King and the SCLC joined forces with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Selma, Alabama, in December 1964, where SNCC had been working on voter registration for several months.

On several occasions Martin Luther King Jr. expressed a view that black Americans, as well as other disadvantaged Americans, should be compensated for historical wrongs. Speaking to Alex Haley in 1965, he said that granting black Americans only equality could not realistically close the economic gap between them and whites. King said that he did not seek a full restitution of wages lost to slavery, which he believed impossible, but proposed a government compensatory program of US$50 billion over ten years to all disadvantaged groups. He posited that "the money spent would be more than amply justified by the benefits that would accrue to the nation through a spectacular decline in school dropouts, family breakups, crime rates, illegitimacy, swollen relief rolls, rioting and other social evils." His 1964 book Why We Can't Wait elaborated this idea further, presenting it as an application of the common law regarding settlement of unpaid labor.

Starting in 1965, King began to express doubts about the United States' role in the Vietnam War. In an April 4, 1967, appearance at the New York City Riverside Church — exactly one year before his death — King delivered Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence. In the speech he spoke strongly against the U.S.'s role in the war, insisting that the U.S. was in Vietnam "to occupy it as an American colony" and calling the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." But he also argued that the country needed larger and broader moral changes:“ A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just.

King was long hated by many white southern segregationists, but this speech turned the more mainstream media against him. Time called the speech "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi", and The Washington Post declared that King had "diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people."

With regard to Vietnam, King often claimed that North Vietnam "did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had arrived in the tens of thousands." King also praised North Vietnam's land reform. He accused the United States of having killed a million Vietnamese, "mostly children."

The speech was a reflection of King's evolving political advocacy in his later years, sparked in part by his affiliation with and training at the progressive Highlander Research and Education Center. King began to speak of the need for fundamental changes in the political and economic life of the nation. Toward the end of his life, King more frequently expressed his opposition to the war and his desire to see a redistribution of resources to correct racial and economic injustice. Though his public language was guarded, so as to avoid being linked to communism by his political enemies, in private he sometimes spoke of his support for democratic socialism:“ You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry… Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong… with capitalism… There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.

King had read Marx while at Morehouse, but while he rejected "traditional capitalism," he also rejected Communism because of its "materialistic interpretation of history" that denied religion, its "ethical relativism," and its "political totalitarianism."

King also stated in his "Beyond Vietnam" speech: "True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." From Vietnam to South Africa to Latin America, King said, the U.S. was "on the wrong side of a world revolution." King questioned "our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America," and asked why the U.S. was suppressing revolutions "of the shirtless and barefoot people" in the Third World, instead of supporting them.

In 1968, King and the SCLC organized the "Poor People's Campaign" to address issues of economic justice. However, according to the article "Coalition Building and Mobilization Against Poverty", King and SCLC's Poor People's Campaign was not supported by the other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, including Bayard Rustin. Their opposition incorporated arguments that the goals of Poor People Campaign was too broad, the demands unrealizable, and thought these campaigns would accelerate the backlash and repression on the poor and the black.

The campaign culminated in a march on Washington, D.C. demanding economic aid to the poorest communities of the United States. He crisscrossed the country to assemble "a multiracial army of the poor" that would descend on Washington—engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience at the Capitol, if need be—until Congress enacted a poor people's bill of rights. Reader's Digest warned of an "insurrection."

King's economic bill of rights called for massive government jobs programs to rebuild America's cities. He saw a crying need to confront a Congress that had demonstrated its "hostility to the poor"—appropriating "military funds with alacrity and generosity," but providing "poverty funds with miserliness." His vision was for change that was more revolutionary than mere reform: he cited systematic flaws of racism, poverty, militarism and materialism, and that "reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced."