Posts Tagged ‘honor’
PR News Wire For the second consecutive year 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc., the Atlanta-based chapter of 100 Black Men of America, Inc., has been named Chapter of the Year for 2008. This announcement came during the 100 Black Men of America's 22nd Annual Conference at the Disney Yacht and Beach Club Resorts in Orlando. The award recognizes the chapter's outstanding achievement and significant impact in the Atlanta community as compared to other chapters in their respective communities. Each year 100 Black men of America recognizes several of its 106 chapters from around the world for service excellence to their constituent communities. This year, 100 Black Men of Atlanta was chosen for the second consecutive year in the top slot, Large Chapter of the Year. This selection was based upon several criteria points, including, number of people served,quality of programs, level of community service and outreach, administration and finance, as well as the quality of marketing and public relations programs. Read the rest of this entry »
by Iam Demsky
Sunday was a night of honored firsts.
Anna Carr, first black woman to drive a Pierce Transit bus. Frank Cuthbertson, first black man to serve as a county Superior Court judge. Harold Moss, first black man to sit on the Tacoma City Council.
More than 50 people were recognized for their achievements at “First Blacks: A Celebration of Trailblazers in the Black Community,” which was held at Ray Gibson’s Caballeros Club on the Hilltop.
Earl Smith, the club’s president, said they had first wanted to put on an event for Black History Month.
“We decided we were going to do something different,” he said. “We wanted to recognized the trailblazers of Pierce County and the surrounding areas.
“February is Black History month, but there’s enough black history for every month.”
Among those honored was Ella Capers, 90, who broke through racial barriers to become the first black woman to be hired at Sears in downtown Tacoma in the early 1960s.
After graduating from a local business college, she applied for a stenography job, she said.
Sears gave her timed tests from 8 a.m. to noon. And then more from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Then they asked her to take a letter. Then she moved up the managerial chain and had to take another letter.
Finally, at the end of the day, she was offered a job.
“Not one person in that office ever had to take a test,” Capers said.
Her hiring was such a phenomenon that people came to watch her work through the window.
“The community was so excited,” she said. “You never saw a brown person downtown at that time. They used to say, ‘Ella, you’re on Candid Camera.’ ”
At first the other women in the office turned their backs to her while they worked, but eventually she earned their respect, she said – “Because they didn’t have a choice.” Capers retired after working there 24 years.
Also honored was Carol Mitchell, the first black woman to be crowned Daffodil Queen.
That honor in 1977 opened doors and changed the course of her life, she said.
“The whole purpose was to get money for college,” Mitchell said. “It had nothing to do with looks or glamour.”
She did go to college and then law school. She now works for the Port of Tacoma.
Master of ceremonies Frank Boykin summed up the achievements this way:
“We are blessed with the privilege of celebrating their journeys and not just their accomplishments.
They pressed on when others said it couldn’t be done.”
by Kevin Cullen
Bart Graham was in his dress greens the other day, lying in a casket at the foot of the altar in Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury. Lieutenant Colonel Barton H. Graham Jr., US Army, retired, was a soldier, and he was surrounded by soldiers for this, what in the great African-American churches they call a homegoing.
It is doubtful Bart Graham would have become a soldier, much less a highly decorated officer, if not for the old black men who sat in the second row on the left side of the church. They are Tuskegee Airmen, that generation of African-American patriots who loved their country more than their country loved them back.
“We talk to the kids and they say, ‘Oh, you guys are from Alabama,’ ” Willie Shellman was saying. “And we say, ‘No, we’re from everywhere. We’re from the streets where you walk.’ “
Shellman pointed to some old men, waiting for Bart Graham’s funeral to start.
“All those men grew up here, in Roxbury,” he said.
On this Memorial Day, as we pause to remember the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who died in service to this country, a black man may become the next president. But there are men in this town who served in a military that at one time was, like the rest of the country, separate and not equal.
“I went into the Air Force in 1944 and we were in Wichita Falls, Texas, and there was a dance one night, and there was a black band, Jimmie Lunceford’s band, and I remember the black soldiers were on one side and the white soldiers were on the other and I thought, ‘This can’t be good,’ ” Willis Saunders was saying.
“A black soldier went over and asked a white lady to dance, and she accepted, and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, no.’ We got to fighting and running. The white guys were chasing us and there were these metal bedposts in the bunk rooms so we armed ourselves with bedposts. They chased us all night. There was this one African-American soldier and he got cornered and the MPs told him to drop the bedpost but he wouldn’t, because he was so scared.”
So they shot him.
Saunders got lucky. There was a white officer, a guy from Arlington, who sidled up to him one day as Saunders washed a B-25 bomber at an air base in Pensacola.
“He liked my work ethic and put me on the crew changing tires and making sure the planes were all right. I learned to fly,” he said.
Harvey Sanford, who went to high school with Saunders at the old Boston Trade, was on a train from Atlanta to Tuskegee when some soldiers, Southerners, cornered one of their white flying instructors.
“You try’na make them smart?” one of the Southerners asked menacingly.
“Then they beat the hell out of him,” said Harvey Sanford, who is 83 years old. “Nearly killed him.”
Like other Tuskegee Airmen, Saunders came back from World War II and made something of himself, joining the Boston Police Department, rising to the rank of deputy superintendent.
In the middle of the eulogies, Saunders walked to the pulpit. He’ll turn 81 next month, and he’s not as spry as when he was chasing bad guys for the 36 years he was a cop, but he still has his fastball.
“Bart Graham was a war hero,” Willis Saunders said. “He was our brother, our comrade, and a member of our chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.”
Graham’s heroism went beyond the jungles of Vietnam, where he took lives and saved lives and managed to win just about every commendation, from the Bronze Star to the Purple Heart. It was the way he comported himself before and after he went to war. He was, like the old soldiers who inspired him, a role model. He looked after young people in Roxbury, tried to steer them away from bad choices. He was, Saunders explained, a terrific father figure in a community that needs more of them.
“From the South End, all through Roxbury, what we call The Corridor, we had family values, and Barton Graham was a product of family values,” Saunders said. “Barton’s parents were the king and the queen, and their family was the country. Barton Graham carried himself with class and with dignity. He was a pillar of the Roxbury community. He was an officer and a gentleman.”
Willis Saunders stopped looking at his notes and looked at Beverley Graham, Bart’s wife of 42 years, and their children, Judith and Stephen, and then, sounding more like a grandfather than a cop or a solider, he said, “You are part of our family. No matter where you go in this country. The Tuskegee Airmen are your family.”
The original Tuskegee Airmen were the pilots and crews who flew and maintained warplanes during and after World War II, but today’s members include the successor generations, military men like Bart Graham. When a Tuskegee Airman dies, he becomes a Lonely Eagle. Bart Graham was 68 when he became a Lonely Eagle last week.
The Rev. Arthur Gerald Jr. stood up and told a story. He said Bart Graham was a great church man, and spoke in Twelfth Baptist on more than one occasion, but the preacher remembered one time in particular.
“Bart said Vietnam veterans weren’t treated right. He said they weren’t looked at or saluted or paid tribute,” he said. “Bart was up in this pulpit, and he cried. He was a strong man, but he cried, because no one recognized these people who served this country in an unpopular war.”
Rev. Gerald turned his gaze to the Tuskegee Airmen. They are easy to spot, because on occasions like this they wear grey slacks, blue blazers and ties the same shade of red that was on the tails of their fighter planes.
“We have here some of the most prestigious men who ever served their country,” the preacher said. “The Tuskegee Airmen are here today.”
He asked them to rise, and so they did, those old creaky bones defying gravity. Willis Saunders got up. So did Willie Shellman. Then Harvey Sanford, and James McLaurin, and Donald Callender. It was as if Maya Angelou was beckoning them, because still they rose. These proud old warriors kept standing up, one by one. Joseph Hall stood up. William Bennett rose. DelBrook Binns got up.
Eight Tuskegee Airmen stood there and applause washed over them. Rev. Gerald asked the other veterans in the congregation to rise, and two dozen more – some of them much younger, some of them women, some of them white – stood up and everyone clapped and thought how much Bart Graham would have loved all this.
The Weeks brothers, John and William, were sitting on opposite sides of the altar, John at the organ, William at the piano, and when they launched into the Negro spiritual “I’ll Fly Away,” the church was rocking. You could feel the energy, a power that seemed like it would lift Bart Graham straight up to heaven. But you couldn’t help thinking that every year there are fewer Tuskegee Airmen and more Lonely Eagles.
They wheeled Bart Graham’s casket to the back of the church and opened the lid one last time so people could say goodbye before they drove him down to Bourne, to the National Cemetery, where old soldiers go to rest forever.
One by one, the Tuskegee Airmen marched to the back, some slower than others, and one by one they paused in front of the open casket and they stood straight, like arrows, these old warriors, these great Americans, and they snapped off a final salute to Lieutenant Colonel Barton H. Graham Jr.
Ink Well Beach, the 200-square-foot portion of Santa Monica State Beach that was once roped off and reserved only for African-Americans, will soon be awarded its own commemorative plaque by the City.
The City Council directed staff last year to research options for creating a plaque in honor of Ink Well Beach and surfer Nicolas “Nick” Rolando Gabaldon, who is historically considered to be the first African-American surfer.
Rhonda Harper, an African-American female surfer, asked the City to install the plaque because many African-Americans and other minorities still frequent the former Ink Well Beach site between Bay and Bicknell streets south of Santa Monica Pier.
She said many beachgoers have no idea about the history behind Ink Well Beach or of the Gabaldon legend.
“There are two heroes here in Santa Monica that have not been recognized — Nick Gabaldon and the Ink Well Beach,” Harper said.
Read the rest of the story at Surf Santa Monica
Nationally acclaimed poet-activist Sonia Sanchez will read some of her work Feb. 25 as part of the many stellar events scheduled for Black History Month in El Paso.”She is a premier poet who wrote about the 1960s and is of the same stature as Angela Davis and Alice Walker,” said Maceo Dailey Jr., director of the African-American Studies program at the University of Texas at El Paso. “She has received and has been nominated for many literary prizes.”
On Feb. 16, Dailey will give a presentation, “El Paso’s Enduring African-American Community and its Place in African-American History,” at the El Paso Museum of History.
He will talk about the role of black people in this region from the Spanish conquest up until the call for desegregation and the trailblazing 1966 NCAA National Championship basketball team from Texas Western College (now UTEP).
Read more about African American contributions in El Paso and the Black History Month events at El Paso Times
Freedom’s Sisters honors 20 African American women who have made significant contributions to our nation.
Smithsonian Project Director Katherine Krile said, “At the build a book table, children will be able to gather pages on each of the 20 women in the exhibit. They’ll go to the booth to have their own photograph taken and they’ll be able to add that photo and a Freedom Sister’s pledge that they can take to be a leader in their own small communities.”
Cincinnati Museum Center, beginning March 15.
Read more at WCPO