Martin Luther King Day 2021 in Tyler, Texas, by J.D. Meyer

This year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day was held in the front yard of the new location for the Texas African-American Museum–coincidentally on MLK Blvd. in a former fire house. Martin Luther King BLVD is the major East-West Street in North Tyler, a predominantly Black neighborhood in Tyler, which includes Texas College–an HBCU and the first institute of higher education in this city.  The keynote speaker was Rev. Dr. Orenthia Mason.

The opening prayer was delivered by Bishop Laramie Jackson. It included a bridge to the past and a bridge to bring people together—struggles and achievements. Demerick Tezino sang “Amazing Grace.” LaToyia Jordan offered welcome before Gloria Washington announced the occasion. She reminisced about an early MLK Day observation in Jasper, Texas–25 years ago after an ice storm. “So we may be outdoors, socially distant during this coronavirus pandemic, but it was a rougher to hold a big event back then.” Plenty of chuckles responded.

Today included a celebration for having a new-and-improved location for the African-American Museum; it used to be further north in an abandoned elementary school, but now it’s on a major street. The late councilman, Ed Moore, was instrumental in getting the deal between the city and the museum, and a cornerstone has been planned in his honor. Shirley McKellar has become his successor as councilwoman. Some reconstruction is planned, and they will need donations.

Pastor Nicholas McGrew noted that he memorized the famous, “I Have a Dream” speech –so did his daughter! “We stand in the shadow of the Emancipation Proclamation, but 100 years later we still stand in an island of poverty in an ocean of the rich. To be satisfied, we need to have mobility, vote, and have justice. We still have the dream despite frustrations. Let us be judged by the content of our character; that’s one of MLK’s most famous sayings. Let freedom ring! We need to have integration of races and creeds. Then we’ll be free at last.”

Ms. Verlinda Stanton sang, “”Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the African-American National Anthem. She has worked with such stars as George Clinton and James Earl Jones. She has sung at an event for President Barack Obama too. 

Stanley Cofer introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Orenthia Mason. He observed “the integrated crowd as a dream of Martin Luther King. Esteem others higher than yourself; it’s like giving flowers to those who are still alive. All men are created equal.” Rev. Mason taught in Tyler ISD for 27 years. She was also a principal and on several boards. She retired as minister of St. James Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) church. By the way, Texas College is a CME institution of higher education.

Reverend Orenthia Mason gave a scholarly and “hard-hitting” speech. She noted our continued struggle for freedom and congratulated the museum and city. She asked, “What condition is our condition since MLK’s, ‘I Have a Dream’ speech?  We live through recurring cycle of racism, extremists, and hatred. Malcolm X told us to face reality, not a blurred version of the truth. Justice, whoever says it, benefits humanity.” To me, that sounds like a great critique of the ad hominem argument; ignore the idea because of disliking the speaker. Robert Kennedy asserted, “We should make an effort to understand others,” according to Rev. Mason.

She continued, “What condition is our condition in? When minorities vote more than average, it’s labeled as fraud. We are in perilous times.” Black kids are being threatened again. Reverend Mason recalled walking to school in groups with other Black kids, back in the 60s. That was because they could get attacked anyway—sometimes with baseball bats! She recalled, “You had to be better than best.  How about the average? The struggles and heart aches of the past are still being felt. We have a long way to go to reach the Promised Land. “

Reflecting on the present, Rev. Mason lamented, “Artifacts of the past include menacing white drivers ‘varooming’ their cars behind her on South Broadway! Many Tylerites don’t even know where Texas College is located.” {It’s located at 2404 N. Grand Avenue, north of MLK Blvd]. She felt more respected during segregation. “The ‘haves’ have more. We’re in the ‘midnight of life,’ ‘strangers in a strange land.’ Let’s sit down at the Welcome Table. Listen; look at character, intellect, and ability. All of us should be who we ought to be.”

Rev. Mason is proud to be a resident of north Tyler. She has been a member of Leadership Tyler, an integrated local think-tank. “We’ve never been more divided in the USA, but we’ll overcome some day. United we stand; divided we fall.”  She concluded with a quote by Henry David Thoreau, “It’s never too late to give up prejudice. Speak and listen.”

After another excellent song by Demetrick Tezino, Clarence Shackelford showed a model of the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in Washington, DC. Leroy Francis donated the statue. Then Mr. Shackelford announced the Award Presentations. Mr. Shackelford, a noted photographer and Army veteran, is the founder of the Texas African-American Museum.  Dr. Donna Pitts, a dentist won an award. She’s a graduate of Prairie View A&M and Howard; both are HBCUs. Our new Vice-President, Kamala Harris, is a Howard grad too; it’s located in Washington, DC. Dr. Pitts works for Franklin Dentists in Tyler, and she’s a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (pink and green colors). Vicki Betts, a librarian, won an award for historical research. (By the way, she’s a little White lady). Rodney L. Atkins also won an award for historical research by writing two books: Remembering When We Were Colored in Tyler, Texas and The History of African-American Teachers in Tyler ISD. He’s connected with the Victory Temple Church.Andre Crawford won the Golden Eagle Award for being the current director of the Tyler Barber College—the first Black institution of its kind in the USA! Tyler Barber College spread to other states. Barber shops have a long history of being community gathering places in Black neighborhoods.

Mayor Don Warren was invited to give some comments. Mayor Warren noted that when he saw an episode of Good Morning, America, kids quoted Martin Luther King, and then asked, “What’s wrong with America?” Mayor Warren, previously a long-time councilman, “wants to work with all of Tyler, so it will be unified and peaceful. “

The program concluded with miscellaneous remarks. A new Councilman for Section 1 said he used to be a fire chief in Tyler. Ed Thompson will do the construction work, and LLC will be the architect on the new museum. It is 5000 square feet—far bigger than the previous museum. The goal is $300K in renovations, but some of the money would go to outdoors construction–such as a playground and outdoor dining area. I suggested building an urban garden to Stanley Cofer, and I later sent my article on the topic. Lunch trucks would be invited as two were here for the festivities. Somebody was selling an African-American News Journal, based on newspaper articles for over a century. If the Texas African-American Museum gets 10K likes on Facebook, then they can have some advertisements there. TAAM is up to 5K likes at the time of the MLK Festival. Sadly, a minister noted that his kids were threatened in Whitehouse lately, a town just southeast of Tyler.

The 2021 Martin Luther King Day celebration was really different this year because of acquiring a better museum and having a North Tyler program. Due to the pandemic, there wasn’t the usual march down Broadway Avenue, followed by the program at Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral. Nevertheless, this year’s program was very uplifting and indicated real opportunities for Northside Revitalization that is now being pursued by the City of Tyler.  

Footnote: You can check out the edited version that was published in The Tyler Loop also. Thanks to Jane Neal. It’s posted at the top under the title.

Kwanzaa Reflections in 2020, by J.D. Meyer

We aren’t meeting in the Tyler, Texas Library in 2020 for Kwanzaa because of the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve been delivering official Kwanzaa speeches off-and-on since 2002—all but Faith Night out of seven nights. Of course, I check out Rev. Reginald Garrett for that last night.  I’ve published articles as well over the last couple of decades, and I’ve given some general Kwanzaa talks

But we need to do som’n in cyberspace for Kwanzaa. I want to go in the direction of health, specifically the OTC vitamins/minerals that I take on a daily basis. We need to boost our immune system, in case we catch the pandemic COVID19 virus!  OK, I’ve been on SSDI for a while for COPD, and I was invited to join the local Community Health Workers (CHW) coalition because of my Word Press articles and whatnot.

Here’s a great article about four great vitamins to boost your immune system: Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc and something called Quercetin. https://www.fox29.com/news/studies-suggest-4-vitamins-to-prevent-severe-cases-of-covid-19?utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=trueanthem&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR2mhleKuo_ULIzTTnIKZoO7X3LsDdEK9T7K3F9ZgwNE0LFKRZIhv-5S-Jw It’s a well-known fact that Vitamin D is activated by sunlight darkening your skin. So darker people need more Vitamin D.

Not all multiple vitamins are alike. Spring Valley Super Vitamin B-Complex has 9 vitamins–including C & B12. Nature Made B-Complex has 6 vitamins–including C. Ocuvite for macular degeneration has zinc, among 6 vitamins and minerals plus lutein.

My Juneteenth/Dreamer story.

My Juneteenth/Dreamer story. My grandpa, Joe Leo Meyer (1874-1944), was a refugee from Alsace, France. He fled to Victoria, TX when he was only 16, and moved in with his uncle. Joe learned English when he got here; he spoke Alsatian, a language more like German than French. Eventually, Grandpa started the Dr. Pepper plant of Palestine, TX. Juneteenth was his biggest business day of the year. He helped his star employee (a Black guy) learn German. Grandpa used to tell my Dad, “C’mon Bobo, I gotta take Nolan to Willie-the-Butcher, so he can practice his German.”
I heard Nolan ended up getting a doctorate. Later in life, I did the research. Dr. Nolan Hamilton Anderson, MD got his degrees from Wiley College, University of Michigan, and Meharry University. Dr. Anderson returned home to Wiley, the HBCU of Marshall, TX, and taught there; he practiced medicine too He was honored by the NAACP and delivered future boxer, George Foreman. Nolan was one of the Great Debaters as a Wiley College student too! Wiley College defeated USC (University of Southern California) in 1935. http://artofthepossibleonline.blogspot.com/2008/08/capturing-real-great-debaters.html

MLK Presentation in Tyler 2013: Fred McClure, Keynote Speaker, Reported by J.D. Meyer

MLK Presentation in Tyler 2013: Fred McClure, Keynote Speaker,
Reported by J.D. Meyer

Tyler celebrated the 27th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Community Program at the Immaculate Conception Catholic cathedral. The event is sponsored by the Tyler Together Race Relations Forum (TTRRF). The invocation by Max Lafser of Tyler Unity included a Bible verse that indicated where we’ve been in the past doesn’t necessarily have a bearing on the future. The local unit of the Korean War veterans presented the colors. The whole audience sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and the lyrics were provided in the program. Father Anthony McLaughlin did the welcome. He noted that racism is an inherent evil–meaning it’s everywhere–and the Catholic Church is determined to work against racism. Mayor Barbara Bass was the next speaker, and she shared her reflections on Dr. King. Mayor Bass observed that Dr. King “lived his faith every day.” God called MLK for a special purpose even if it meant risking his life. The movement has grown beyond the borders of the US. The mayor concluded by asking us to grow each day as a community.

Jeff Williams of Exclusivity Marketing delivered the “Occasion for Gathering.” First, Mr. Williams thanked the crowd for coming to the event because MLK Day is a holiday, and we could have gone anywhere or stayed home. He noted that we live in a time of more division than unity. There can be resistance to changing the status quo whether it was the Civil War, women’s vote, or the Civil Rights Movement. You can see further when you’re higher in the elevator. Mr. Williams reflected that Lyndon B. Johnson knew how to get things done. When LBJ met MLK, Blacks were routinely denied the right to vote but paid taxes and died in war. MLK told LBJ, “There’s always the right time to do the right thing.” LBJ asked Dr. King to help him put enough pressure to do the right thing. Mr. Williams reminded us that both Johnson and King were southerners. Johnson was from Texas, and King was from Georgia. As a member of Tyler Together, Mr. Williams wants to know your perspective, what matters to you, and to meet you, so TTRRF can help build a better community. He proclaimed that we can’t afford to lose brain power in the community.

Steve Russell of Empowering Texas Youth introduced the keynote speaker, Fred McClure. They have been friends since high school through belonging to Future Farmers of America (FFA) in neighboring cities. Fred McClure graduated from Nacogdoches High School where he also played football and was a pianist for the band. Mr. McClure earned a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M in 1976 where he became that university’s first African-American student body president. I should add that Texas A&M had fewer than 5% Black enrollment in that era. On the other hand, agricultural economics was Texas A&M’s most popular major back then. After getting a law degree from Baylor, McClure became an advisor to President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush, and Texas Senator John Tower. Mr. McClure became a member of the Texas A&M Board of Regents in 1995 and later joined the board of directors for the 12th Man Foundation. Now Mr. McClure is the director of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation at Texas A&M http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—January 20, 2020—Tyler, TX                    34th Annual Interfaith Community Program

          By J.D. Meyer

The 34th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. continued its traditional program by meeting at the Downtown Square and marching to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 423 South Broadway Avenue for a program. This year’s theme was “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”

Some Signs on the March

Here are five signs that I saw while downtown, and they are quotes from Dr. King:  (1) “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way. (2) “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” 93) “Time is always right to do right.” (4) “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” (5) Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a constant attitude.” The International Education Lab of Tyler Junior College carried a sign proclaiming, “We are the dream.” The John Tyler, Robert E. Lee, and Grace Community high school marching bands participated in the march too.

Introductory Remarks.

The Call to Order/Invocation was given by Bishop Nick McGraw. He read an excerpt from a letter that a Caucasian girl from White Plains High School sent to Dr. King after he’d survived an injury early in his career. Dr. King stated that if he’d sneeze, he would have died. The young lady wrote, “I’m glad you didn’t sneeze.” This became the title of one of his speeches. An early civil rights speech was at Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

Reverend Jonny Williams gave the Invocation. With God, you can do all things, moved by the Spirit—the source of all joy. The Presentation of the Colors & Pledge of Allegiance was performed by Boulter Middle School. The “Star-Spangled Banner” by Mrs. Jessilyn Yarber presented a wide vocal range and dramatic changes in volume, building to a loud climax at the end.  “Father Hank Lankford and County Commissioner Joanne Hampton gave the Greetings. Ms. Hampton noted that Dr. King’s last talk was on April 3, 1968, in Memphis. She noted the theme of this year’s 2020 event and urged us to make MLK’s dream a reality here.

The favorite MLK quote of Tyler Mayor, Martin Heines, is a question, “What are you doing for others?” The Mayor noted that it is life’s most persistent question, and he asked the Tyler councilmen in attendance to stand. Mayor Heines told us about his 14-year old daughter who already wants to do service. She attends a sports school in Florida. A third of the school comes from other countries; their soccer team includes kids from China. The Mayor proclaimed that the world interacting together is wonderful globalism. I was happy to see such a prominent local figure give a cheer for globalism in an age of increasingly negative populism. It’s his last year as mayor and he closed by asserting we’re all dream makers that aren’t satisfied by the status quo.

Kids Aspiring to Dream (KATD) took the stage—a group of three kids. They thanked Dr. King and declared we’re not afraid to let our light shine.  At least be the best shrub on the side of a hill. Others sacrificed so we could dream. Rise together so we can be a better people and nation.

“Lift Every Voice & Sing” was performed by the Jarvis Christian College choir—a large group with roughly 30 members! Jarvis Christian is an HBCU in nearby Hawkins, Texas. That song is considered the National Black Anthem.

Now it was time for the introduction of the speaker by Kenneth Cobb. He hopes that the program inspires, even if it’s just one. We hope you make it and tell us how you did it.

Keynote Speaker: Mrs. Sha’Rell Webb–Education Specialist, Lunar & Planetary Institute.

          Sha’Rell Webb overcame a tragic childhood to become a leading science educator. She was adopted at the age of two by her aunt and uncle because her Mom was and is hooked on crack cocaine. She completed high school in Houston, becoming a dental assistant while there and wanted to become a nurse. Mrs. Webb won an academic field trip to California and $75, 000 in grants. She graduated from Jarvis Christian College and became a science teacher. While at Jarvis, she attempted suicide twice but got well.

At times, Mrs. Webb cried a little during her speech and got the crowd to shout with her, “Only in the darkness can you see the stars,” the theme of the 2020 MLK Program. She taught at Stewart Elementary in Tyler ISD. Her goal was to make science “fun but relatable…culturally relevant.” She believes Black kids are “underestimated and under-represented.” She founded Coding with a Twist—a computer science, coding, and robotics program. Now she works for NASA in Houston at the Lunar and Planetary Institute. Kids that don’t speak might make something. What you do now makes a difference for later. Webb stressed the importance of having dignity, being the best you can be, and commitment to beauty, love, and justice.

Closing

Reverend Jerome Milton started the MLK program in Tyler 34 years ago. He’s another Jarvis Christian College graduate. Now the program is sponsored by the Tyler Together Race Relations Program (TTRRF). Jeff Williams, the TTRF President, spoke as well. We need to build bridges to get out of our comfort zones. We may have come here on different ships but we’re in the same boat now. Father Matt Boulter of Christ Church did the Benediction.

 

 

33rd Martin Luther King Jr. Day; Tyler, TX 2019: “Living Together as Brothers.” By J.D. Meyer

The 33rd MLK Day celebration in Tyler once again began with meeting at the Downtown Square and marching to the Immaculate Conception Catholic Cathedral at Broadway AV & Front ST for a program with many speakers. At the Square, someone quoted MLK with, “No individual or nation can live alone. We can live together as brothers or die together as fools. Someone carried a cool sign with the following MLK quote, “We may have come in on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” The sound system wasn’t working downtown, so that part of the program was cut short, and the crowd marched down Broadway Avenue—Tyler’s major street—to the cathedral. There were at least a couple of drum corps marching with us: Texas College and Grace Community HS.
In the introduction, the speaker noted that scientific progress has made the world a neighborhood. Once again, someone asserted that a person or nation can’t live alone. That reminded of the current American president’s desire to withdraw from NATO—a military alliance between the USA & Western Europe since 1945 for protection versus Russia, formerly the Soviet Union.
Somebody wore a cool T-shirt declaring, “Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama ran, so our children could fly.” #LegacyMatters.
Joanne Hampton began by noting that we need to be mindful of our giving. Lift each other up by being aware. Local business success promotes sustainability. Yet we can stimulate global culture.
Mayor Martin Heines asked, “What are we doing for others?” Service to one another strengthens the community. To build a more perfect union, we all have a role through building with our service. This leads to more abundant opportunities for our children.
Next were four charming little kids with “Kids Aspiring to Dream (KATD) with their theatrical performance, culminating with Jonathan Martin’s dramatic soliloquy. The theme was “The Dream Lives on “It is Me.”
George Faber played, “Take the A Train (1941)” before a statement highlighting the term, “propel.” Through our roles in life, we encourage and propel equality by coming together often. Sometimes we don’t have the answers. We encourage our kids; something will propel them too.
The Keynote Speaker was Peggy Llewellyn, a History-Making NHRA Pro Stock Motorcyclist. She was the first minority woman to win an NHRA event. The speaker’s mom rode motorcycles too, and her dad was a motorcycle and car mechanic. Ms. Llewellyn likes to research new cities that she visits—noting that Tyler is the Rose City and home of actress Sandy Duncan, Keke Shepherd, and the HGTV Dream House.
Ms. Llewellyn’s Dad is Jamaican and he moved here in 1967—just three years after the Civil Rights Act. Racial tension was still strong. She noted that her family could have played it safe for Jamaica is a beautiful island with great cuisine. Nevertheless, the USA is a land of opportunity—in spite of struggles with racism. They settled in San Antonio, Texas. By 1977, her dad owned his own business. Nevertheless, some customers wouldn’t deal with him when they found him to be Black. Other customers wanted him to succeed, for they lived together as brothers.
Young Peggy didn’t grow up with dolls; she raced her brother on motorcycles. She liked the smell of burning rubber and reached speeds of 190 mph. They raced at Alamo Dragway. Color was not a measuring tool for herself. Novelty was something different for the team.
Sometimes her ability was questioned because she’s small, Black, and Jamaican. Ms. Llewellyn was determined to look past the negativity and going to race and win. We should love one another regardless of race or religion. Hate is too much burden; love is actually simpler, according to Ms. Llewellyn. Recall that saying, “Love covers a multitude of sins.” Have faith so we work together, play together, and struggle together. She quoted Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong of good courage. God goes with you and won’t leave or forsake you.” All we need is faith the size of a mustard seed. We must fight discrimination on basis of sex or whatever. In closing, Peggy’s Dad knew she had talent, and he prepared her for obstacles. Look past and above the negative. Love and respect helps one’s perspective. It’s a topic and attitude.

Here’s a photo of me at the MLK march; it was taken by Sarah Miller, the main photojournalist for the Tyler Paper. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10107171117769518&set=pcb.10218140711931630&type=3&theater

Emmett J. Scott Bio (1873-1957) by Anthony Neal Emmel

“A native of Houston, Texas, Emmett J. Scott garnered a reputation as Booker T. Washington’s chief aide. He was also the highest ranking African-American in the Woodrow Wilson’s Administration. The son of ex-slaves, Scott was born in 1873. In 1887, he entered Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, eventually leaving school in his third year. Soon he worked at the Houston Post, first as a sexton, and later as a copyboy and journalist. In 1893 Scott, along with Charles N. Love and Jack Tibbit, formed the Texas Freeman, Houston’s first African American newspaper. Scott also worked for Galveston, Texas, politician and labor leader, Norris W. Cuney.

Scott caught the attention of Booker T. Washington, who hired him in 1897. For the next eighteen years, Scott served Washington as a confidant, personal secretary, speech writer, and ghostwriter; in 1912, he became Tuskegee’s treasurer-secretary. Scott advocated Washington’s philosophy of constructive accommodation over immediate social integration. Scott and New York Age editor T. Thomas Fortune helped Washington found the National Negro Business League (NNBL) in 1900.

In 1917, two years after Washington’s death, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Scott special advisor of black affairs to Secretary of War, Newton Baker. Scott wrote reports on conditions facing African- Americans during the period, which were published as “The American Negro in the World War” (1919) and “Negro Migration during the First World War” (1920). From 1919 to 1932, Scott was the business manager and secretary treasurer of Howard University, retiring from the college in 1938. During World War II, Scott worked for the Sun Shipbuilding Company of Chester, Pennsylvania, and helped the company create Yard No. 4 for black laborers. Scott was married and had five children, all of whom graduated from college. He and his wife also raised his five younger sisters, who also earned their degrees. Scott died in Washington, D.C., in 1957 at the age of 84.”

https://blackpast.org/aah/scott-emmett-j-1873-1957

Booker T. Washington: Neglected Exemplar of Practical Education

By Mr. J.D. Meyer…Juneteenth 2005/Revised: Juneteenth 2008

Introduction
First, it’s very doubtful that I would have discovered Booker T. Washington if it wasn’t for primary resources on the Internet. In other words, third-rate historians who pass judgment while withholding evidence from the reader have obscured the real writings of BTW. Thus BTW is “ a figure more often caricatured than understood,” to quote Thomas Sowell et al’s article, “Up from Slavery,” based on Washington’s autobiography with the same name. BTW has been unfairly and illogically labeled as an Uncle Tom for emphasizing vocational education near the turn of the 20th Century. Yet in “The Awakening of the Negro,” Washington stated that if a Black owned the mortgage on a White’s house, then that White couldn’t prevent the Black from voting. In his autobiography, Up From Slavery, Washington admitted, “How often I have wanted to say to white students that they lift themselves up in proportion as they help to lift others, and the more unfortunate the race, and the lower in the scale of civilization, the more does one raise one’s self by giving the assistance.”

Washington’s greatest speech (1895) was praised by many but maligned by some
as the Atlanta Compromise rather than the Atlanta Exposition address. http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/39/ It was the first speech by an African-American before an integrated audience in this country. This was a time when 100 Blacks/year were being lynched. Reconstruction was long over, having only lasted from 1865-1877. Furthermore, a conquering army had imposed Reconstruction.

In his later years, Mr. Washington admitted that if his Atlanta Exposition had been unsuccessful, it could have shattered the cause for Black advancement for years. Instead, the governor of Georgia ran across the room to shake BTW’s hand and offer congratulation. President Grover Cleveland mailed a letter of praise to BTW. The climate around the turn of the 20th Century was so tense that President Theodore Roosevelt was criticized for having lunch with Mr. Washington. It was even the topic of cruel newspaper cartoons.

This presentation will examine the Atlanta Exposition Address, a talk that is a
component of Washington’s autobiography, Up From Slavery. Then we’ll have an
overview of “The Awakening of the Negro.” Our first reading is from “Black Race, Red Race,” reflections on Washington’s early career as the dorm supervisor of Native Americans at his alma mater, Hampton College. We will end with the article that significantly shaped my views on African-American history, “Keeping the Spotlight on Failure,” by the late Elizabeth Wright, and a chilling indictment of how many teach Black history to be little more than slavery, freedom, civil rights movement, and integration. There were plenty of great economic and institutional success stories individual and group, before the civil right movement and desegregation. Philosophical heirs to Booker T. Washington can be found at websites like http://www.btwsociety.org and http://www.bookerrising.net.

Excerpt from “Black Race and Red Race”—BTW
Six years after graduating from Hampton Institute, General Armstrong, the
President of Hampton, invited Booker T. Washington to be the dorm director for a
group of Native American males. Hampton is still one of the leading HBCU’s
today.
“There was a general feeling that the attempt to educate and civilize the red men at Hampton would be a failure. All this makes me proceed very cautiously, for I felt the keen responsibility. But I was determined to succeed. It was not long before I had the complete confidence of the Indians, and not only this, but I think I am safe in saying that I had their love and respect. I found that they were about like any other human beings; that they responded to kind treatment and resented ill treatment. They were continually planning to do something that would add to my happiness and comfort. The things that they disliked most, I think, were to have their long hair cut, to give up wearing their blankets, and to cease smoking; but no white American ever thinks that any other race is wholly civilized until he wears the white man’s clothes, eats the white man’s food, speaks the white man’s language, and professes the white man’s religion.”

The Atlanta Exposition Address
Why did BTW feel that vocational education was so important? First, because the
Talented Tenth that WEB DuBois wanted to nurture was just that—the 10% of any
population that can become doctors, lawyers, and the like. BTW chose to reach the black masses. As the first president of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Washington seized the opportunity to do just that. The practical education movement at Tuskegee was paralleled at white colleges like my alma mater, Texas A&M University, because of the Morrill Act of 1862. This act provided for state funding for universities in each state to specialize in the sciences of agriculture, engineering, and more.
Thus, there is nothing demeaning in not gambling on replacing one’s archeology professor. For as, Booker T. Washington contended in Atlanta at the Exposition Address, “No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.”BTW opened the Atlanta Exposition Address by stating that the event was the greatest thing to happen between the races in the thirty years since the end of slavery. Then he admitted that the awkwardness of Reconstruction. The newly freed slaves began at the top instead of the bottom and blacks sought a political position rather than “real estate or industrial skills” or “starting a dairy farm or truck garden.”

On the other hand, subsequent research revealed to me that at least some to those African-Americans who ascended to political power truly were competent—like Matthew Gaines of Brenham, Texas. Mr. Gaines was instrumental in the founding of Texas A&M to the extent that a movement led by Aggie Republicans like my former philosophy professor, Richard Stadelmann, wanted to have a statue of Gaines erected on the campus.

Washington’s bold call to both races was “Cast your buckets down where you
are.” At that time, it meant for blacks not to give up on America and sail back to Africa. For whites, it meant not to expect foreign immigrants to be the answer to economic expansion because of the loyalty shown by African-Americans over the centuries. Suggesting anything to whites back then was quite bold. Yet perhaps the latter was one of Washington’s most peculiar contentions as there had been brutal slave uprisings, sometimes with white abolitionist assistance, as noted in WEB DuBois’s critiques of BTW. Perhaps Mr. Washington was hinting that black uprisings could have been a lot more frequent or worse in an off-hand (even clever passive aggressive) way.

Let’s jump back to the Back to Africa movement. It was extremely influential at
the turn of the century until 1920. Marcus Garvey was its most famous proponent and the leader of the largest black movement in history. Martin Delany, the first African-American field officer and a medical doctor, was another key figure. However, Delany changed his mind about the Back to Africa movement and leaned toward South America before his change as well. Dr. Delany has the peculiar distinction of almost being lynched by a white mob in a Northern border state before the Civil War; then he was almost lynched by an angry black mob because he supported an ex-Confederate officer who supported vocational education for African-Americans.
One of the most surprising aspects of this twisted by emotion era in American history for me is that some of the finest men fighting for black rights were the slave masters’ sons, as opposed to uneducated white competing for jobs open to ex-slaves apart from the BTW or DuBois game plan. Always looking at both sides of any issue, Washington admonished blacks not to sink into resentment over the atrocities of slavery because that would bog down progress.

Thus, the central theme of the Atlanta Exposition Address was that “there is no defense or security for any of us except in the development of the highest intelligence of all.” He waved aside already lost causes for his generation such as racial integration offering his example of as being “separate like fingers yet one in the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.” He never renounced equal rights under the law but noted, “The ability to earn a dollar in a factory was more important than the right to spend it at an opera house.” BTW observed that as one-third of the population of the South, blacks could be a force for progress or stagnation, depending on whether blacks took the opportunities that were given, or had opportunities denied them, or simply blundered away chances. Thus,
BTW was able to link the fate of both races by connecting rights and responsibilities.

So how different were Washington and DuBois? Less than what it is popularly
assumed today, and at one time, they were close allies. DuBois did view the Atlanta Exposition as something of a sell-out. DuBois proved to be right in noting that without political rights, African-Americans could not protect what they had earned. Yet DuBois failed to see that part of Washington’s program of vocational education proved to be the beginning of the modern science of agriculture. Building construction was another area of training in all phases from bricklaying to carpentry to architecture.
After Washington’s death, it was discovered that he secretly donated to civil rights causes. Ultimately, Washington praised whites of good will while DuBois verbally attacked whites of ill will. Washington received substantial financial contributions for Tuskegee Institute as its president. DuBois lived to be 95 (1868-1963) while Washington didn’t make it to 60 (1858-1915). Admittedly, the savagery of white backlash over black success and BTW’s relentless speaking and work schedule may have driven him to an early grave. On the other hand, poor DuBois was subjected to an FBI investigation for his socialist leanings, and he moved to Ghana to spend the last years of his life with Kwame Nkrumah, its first president and a Pan-African giant.

Yet DuBois shared the fears of Washington that if whites lost their prejudices
overnight, much of the ignorant masses of blacks would stay down through using
prejudice as an excuse or drift into “indifferent listlessness or reckless bravado.” In short, you could not imagine a more effective early leader for African-Americans than BTW. His ability to point toward quiet economic success as a prerequisite for the achievements of later generations was essential and tragically unappreciated. There wouldn’t have been a Civil Rights’ Movement if some African-Americans hadn’t risen to middle-class stature. Likewise, my new T-shirt says Martin Luther King’s dream is being realized in Barack Obama’s message of change.

The Awakening of the Negro
Washington’s vision of practical education included witnessing the opposite. Once he saw a young man studying French grammar in a run-down shack, and another time, BTW saw a young lady playing a rented piano in a run-down shack. Washington responded to the objections that would surface later anyway: a young black has the right to study French or the piano. But in those troubled poverty-stricken days right after slavery, a more practical alternative was needed. Washington earned his degree at Hampton College—a model for Tuskegee. Washington was “surrounded by an atmosphere of business, Christian influence, and a spirit of self-help that seemed to have awakened every faculty in me, and cause me for the first time to realize what it meant to be a man instead of a piece of property.”

Washington saw the cardinal needs for African American as, “food, clothing,
shelter, education, proper habits, and a settlement of race relations,” a list that reminds me of the basic needs according to Abraham Maslow. Furthermore, Washington believed that training of strong young people in the “head, hand, and heart” would lift up the race from within better than missionary efforts launched from afar. By learning industrial or hand training, the young African-American could move up from their status at that time. Three other factors stood out: (1) the student could pay for some of his tuition; (2) the school called for a job that required skill; (3) the industrial system teaches “economy, thrift, the dignity of labor” and gives “moral backbone” to students. Such a student gains a “certain confidence and moral independence” when he is “conscious of his power to build a house or wagon or to make a harness.”

It is easy to update these practical suggestions for our century. Obviously,
residential and business construction are still leading fields, and the automobile or truck has replaced the wagon and the harness for the horse. But we need to add computer skills to our list of confidence-imparting practical skills. I am one of many who have the power to search the Internet, type rapidly and save the information on a computer or on a disc, insert tables, dabble with contrasting fonts, and make a Power Point. I could get off-task and ramble indefinitely about the new practical professions that exist today but were not present at the time of BTW.
Mr. Washington’s vision of industrial education was “how to put brains into every process of labor… (Therefore) much of the toil is eliminated and labor is dignified.” Tuskegee had a staggering total of 650 acres of land for agriculture: cattle and vegetables. At this time, 85% of African-Americans in the South worked in agriculture. Furthermore, Tuskegee graduates taught rural blacks how to save money, get out of debt, and buy their own house. Keeping isolated schools open more often was another typical goal. Older adults organized local clubs or conferences, and the Tuskegee Negro Conference was held every February, bringing 800 people together from all over the Black Belt. Besides the Tuskegee Negro Conference for the masses, BTW started a simultaneous gathering called The Workers’ Conference. The Workers’ Conference brought together instructors and administrators from the leading black schools of the South. By having these conferences at the same time, the laborers and educators were able to learn from each other.

What was the strategy behind Washington’s focus on industrial education? It was
to improve race relations through empowering blacks to produces something the white “wants or respects in the commercial world.” Furthermore, the white would become partly dependent on the black and less able to deny his political rights.
One of the greatest evils of the slave system is that it warped the work ethic. The white master did not work but was the ideal—the idle rich. Another evil was that slavery discouraged labor-saving machinery. Blacks worked but under protest. All of these strange quirks led to the Southern habit of putting off repairs until tomorrow. Thus the Tuskegee influence bettered all society—not just black. The South evolved from exporting its cash crop—cotton—in exchange for food supplies, to a society with diversified agriculture.

Keeping the Spotlight on Failure
Elizabeth Wright refutes the notion that blacks achieved little before integration in this fine article. The result of conditioning blacks into such thinking leads them to having a negative opinion of black businessmen and institutions while accepting the guidance of the elite without question. The perpetrators of this view are the black elite and white liberals. She cites no less than nine successful African-American entrepreneurs who lived between 1840—1930; some even lived before the Civil War.

Wright notes that during Booker T. Washington’s heyday, blacks had a better spirit of entrepreneurship, optimism, and pragmatism. It was accepted that economic change would precede changes in the laws. Getting bogged down theory or dwelling on victimization would divert one from making money. Furthermore, the Tuskegee Movement provided moral encouragement as well as technical assistance. Frequently, Washington and his colleagues would go into the rural areas and show poor blacks how to get out of debt, save their money, keep grade schools open more often, and become homeowners.

After the end of BTW’s influence, progress was no longer due to the individual’s effort and enterprise but the result of a group of civil rights leaders. The title that Ms. Wright chose for this article was actually borrowed from Mr. Washington himself. He noted that there were already black leaders in his time that wanted to remind their followers of sad stuff to keep them loyal but depressed and good whites feeling guilty. Nevertheless, I’d like to interject that it’s essential to examine each view in order to have a balanced view of African-American social/intellectual history. Without legal protection, successful black communities like Tulsa suffered wholesale destruction with no recourse, and lynchings got worse when African-Americans became more successful in the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. Ironically, the Tuskegee machine was far from democratic and often crushed opposition from other black scholars.

Overall, I still endorse Ms. Wright’s view of African-American history with its
endorsement of Booker T. Washington as the more valid model. For example, the GI bill enabled many black World War II veterans to go to college, become more successful economically, and influence legal change. Perhaps the current young hustlers carry on some of that BTW style attitude concerning the importance of “make money first”; however, there’s all too often a spirit of Machiavellianism and a frequent idolization of gangsters. Obviously, black-on-black crime has never been worse, especially violent crime. John McWhorter observes a counterproductive anti-intellectual spirit in today’s youth also. Washington endorsed putting scientific skill into trades like agriculture, and he never negated that a “talented tenth” would go into professions like medicine and the law. But BTW did note that it’s more important to be able to make a dollar than spend it
in the theater of your choice.

Let’s look at some of those entrepreneurs cited in Ms. Wright’s article. First, she mentions Martin Delany (1812-1885) of West Virginia, hailed as the “Malcolm X of the 19th Century.” I mentioned a bit of history earlier in this essay. Dr. Delany was the first black field officer and medical doctor. He also was a book and magazine author who wrote non-fiction and fiction. Dr. Delany wrote for Frederick Douglass’s journal, the North Star. Charles and Ana Spaulding founded the Mutual Life Insurance Company of Durham, North Carolina at the turn of the 20th Century, and the company still exists today. William Powell was an ex-slave who opened a repair shop and invented or improved tools. George Downing owned a hotel in Rhode Island and was a caterer before the Civil War. Robert Reed Church was a Memphis businessman who built a park for summer festivities, graduations, and held Thanksgiving dinners for the poor.

To conclude my summary/analysis of “Keeping the Spotlight on Failure,” we
need an inclusive attitude toward information on history, especially something as twisted by dogmatic paradigms as African-American history. I certainly didn’t want to read depressing Black History essays, and I received tons of them until I wrote a guide to writing a Black History essay for my class. It was their one chance to do an essay on this topic, so be happy. Undoubtedly, Ms. Wright could have predicted that young blacks would generally focus on the dreariest aspects of their history unless urged not to do so.

Conclusion
To conclude this talk, I hope you have a better understanding of Booker T.
Washington’s achievements in the cause of African-American advancement and the business-oriented movement that not only succeeded him but preceded him too. It is too easy to judge somebody in the distant past by today’s standards. Maybe history can teach us to develop empathy and understand cause-and-effect. Furthermore, it is a victory for an entire country when any disadvantaged group can improve their status, not just the disadvantaged group.

Unity Night of Kwanzaa 2016: Some Friendly Muslim Thought Leaders, by J.D. Meyer

Welcome to Unity Night of Kwanzaa, Tyler Texas—the first night of our seven-night festival. Furthermore, it’s the 50th Anniversary of Kwanzaa! How does Kwanzaa’s founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga describe Unity? Unity invites an “alternative sense of solidarity…the world’s health and wholeness require education to know about others.” In this year’s Unity address, Dr. Karenga asserts, “For we come into being and best express and develop our humanity in relationship.” This reminds me of benevolence, the first of the five virtues of Confucianism (Ruism) Benevolence is a simple four-stroke character, a person standing next to the number “two,” symbolizing society.

Perhaps never before in Kwanzaa’s history have Unity Night presentations got the opportunity to repair an upset, divided country following the last election. In other words, our talks could go beyond the Afrocentric Black Elite. First of all, I resolve to stay positive and not bash ideological opposites. Who remembers that great soul song by the O’Jays, “Unity”? The chorus asserts, “Unity, we must have unity. For united we stand, divided we fall.” I’m going to focus on some great work of fine Muslims in this country and elsewhere.

Fareed Zakaria
Let’s start with my hero and favorite journalist, Fareed Zakaria https://twitter.com/FareedZakaria —the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN on Sunday morning at 9 am and re-run at noon. The GPS stands for Global Public Square, and he has interviewed many of the top leaders in the world. Since delivering this Kwanzaa talk, I accepted an invitation to his closed Facebook group: Fareed Zakaria GPS Fan Club! Of course, I was already getting Fareed Z’s Daily Briefings in my email.

Fareed is a Muslim immigrant from India, and he has a Ph.D. in Political Science from an Ivy League university. He also writes for the Washington Post and published a book, The Benefits of a Liberal Arts Education. However, Fareed isn’t a practicing Muslim but somewhere between deist and agnostic; plus his wife is Christian. Perhaps you could call him a cultural Muslim, but my point is that there is a continuum of beliefs within any religion from nominal to fundamentalist to fanatic.

Ulil Abshar-Abdallah & Indonesia
Our next standout is Ulil Abshar-Abdallah, and we’re friends on Twitter. https://twitter.com/ulil What is the most populated Muslim country? What Muslim country enjoys complete religious freedom in their constitution? The answer to both questions is Indonesia, and Ulil is the founder and leader of the Liberal Islam of Indonesia, also known as the Jaringans. The President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, is known for his love of Heavy Metal music–notably Metallica and Megadeth. Indonesia has plenty of popular native heavy metal bands too, such as Burgerkill. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/jul/11/joko-jokowi-widodos-metal-manifesto

I just checked Ulil’s Twitter site, and his pinned tweet states, “Don’t let politics ruin friendship.” A pinned tweet is always first on your list. A few days ago, he retweeted an article from the British journal, Independent, that warned about Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar financing extremist Islamic missionary groups in Germany. A few weeks ago, I shared some news with Ulil and everybody else from the Saudi hashtag #EndMaleGuardianship. It was a cluster of articles about Saudi women battling for equal rights. On Christmas, Ulil tweeted a New York Times article about being okay to wish Muslims a Merry Christmas. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/opinion/why-its-not-wrong-to-wish-muslims-merry-christmas.html Christians and Muslims share some of the same miracles.

“What is Liberal Islam? (a) open to all forms of intellectual exploration, all dimensions of Islam; (b) prioritizing religious ethics, not literal textual reading; (c) believing that truth is relative, open for interpretations and plural; (d) siding with oppressed minorities; (e) believing in the freedom to practice religious beliefs; (f) separation of world and heavenly authorities, religious and political authorities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaringan_Islam_Liberal Islam is a “living organism that makes us feel enthusiasm.” When Mohammad said, “There’s no compulsion in religion,” it was in response to a follower asking Mohammad if he should go get his son, who had moved to practice Christianity–an older religion. Ulil cited a Moroccan feminist, who felt the veil was no longer valid, but it simply serves the political interests of men. Originally, the head coverings were to protect Muslim women from being harassed just to bother Mohammad.But lets keep the burka. I’ve seen some beautiful models wearing them. Furthermore, who could object to an American flag motif?

Unfortunately, Indonesia has radical Islamic terrorist groups, but the government works with the USA in developing counter-terrorism strategies in USINDO. Indonesian police have successfully raided terrorist training camps. Furthermore, the founder of a leading Islamist group, Jamaah Islamiyah (JI) was imprisoned. http://www.usindo.org/resources/counter-terrorism-strategy-in-indonesia-adapting-to-a-changed-threat-2/ Ulil asserts that the roots of Muslim fundamentalism are a feeling of being left behind in science and economics and becoming spectators of Western injustice. Some Muslims protest the mayor of Jakarta–“Ahok” Basuki, a Chinese Christian.

Edarabia
Edarabia is the Middle East’s #1 Education Guide; helping students, parents and educators to interact and select the best institutions. Edarabia is based in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—all on the Arabian Peninsula. https://twitter.com/Edarabia “Visitors can find the latest industry news, upcoming events, job listings, research updates, compare ratings, add reviews and engage with others in the community forum. Edarabia.com covers all areas of education including but not limited to universities, colleges, schools, nurseries, language institutes, training academies, music schools, online degrees and much more.”

Edarabia’s pinned tweet is a roundup of books recommended by teachers and their reasons why. They have a Paper.li account called The Edarabia Times. Paper.li accounts are a daily newsletter gathered from those you follow in cyberspace. Edarabia and I are Twitter friends too; plus, they added me to an influential educators list. My Paper.li account, The BohemioTX, is my pinned tweet.

On Christmas, I found an awesome article by Edarabia entitled, “Five Tips in Building a Community of Learners.” http://www.edarabia.com/110008/3-tips-in-building-a-community-of-learners/ It was largely a reaction to the possibilities that technology bring to the classroom. Here are the five points: (1) Use an innovative approach. (2) Embrace new learning opportunities. (3) Encourage a ‘community’ between your students. (4) Make learning relevant. (5) Let students know you care about them.

This article reminded me of including edited student essays in my Developmental English textbook. Two of the standouts are about a veteran driving tanks in Bosnia and an account of the “chopped” technique in Houston’s Rap music.
I sent this article promptly to an American education leader, Angela Maiers, the founder of the #YouMatter paradigm. Many of us love to be scholarly with our cyberspace friends and include links to articles and hashtags in our tweets and posts.

MENA-ICT
Let’s close with an account of the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Information and Communication (ICF) Forum. https://twitter.com/MENAICT It’s the premier ICT industry event in this region. The forum is held once every two years in Jordan through the direction of King Abdullah II since 2002. King Abdullah II is one of our best friends in the Muslim world. A former front-line soldier, King Abdullah II supports our military actions in the Mid-East, avoiding front-line conflict, which would look like a Christian-Islam apocalypse.

“The MENA ICT Forum showcases the entire region’s ICT success stories, and discusses latest trends, opportunities, and future outlooks.” The MENA-ICT Forum launched a 1000 Entrepreneurs National Initiative this year. Israel is a member of MENA, as is all of the Mid-East and North Africa. The first Arab Spring country, Tunisia, is still doing rather well as a democracy

CONCLUSION
I hope my Kwanzaa Unity talk has shown that we have strong allies in the Islam world, and not just an odd mix of “frenemies” and enemies. We started in the USA with Fareed Zakaria before examining Ulil Abshar-Abdallah and his country, Indonesia; Edarabia, a leading education site, based in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and the UAE, and the MENA-ICT conference and its sponsoring group. Many Muslims are battling for progress in education, religion, technology, and economics.

Northside Revitalization, Tyler 21: Annotated Link Page (3rd Edition), By J.D. Meyer…….9-4-19

  1. http://www.lisc.org Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Our Initiatives: (1) Affordable Housing, (2) Education, (3) Economic Development, (4) Financial Stability, (5) Health, (6) Safe Neighborhoods, (7) Community Leadership, and (8) Policy & Research.
  1. https://www.communityprogress.net/ Community Progress https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-34 Vacant Properties:Growing Number Increases Communities’ Costs and Challenges
  1. http://foodsecurity.org/committees / Active committees are Community Economic Development, Food & Faith, International Links, Policy, & Urban Agriculture.
  1. https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-economics-of-historic-preservation The Economics of Historic Preservation, by Randal Mason, 75 pages. The first ten readings in the annotated bibliography are the “best to initiate and inform a reader new to economic preservation issues” (pg. 29).
  1. http://kantarmedia.srds.com/common/pdf/claritas360/ClaritasPRIZMPremierSegmentNarratives.pdf Claritas PRIZM Premier Segment Narratives 2018. (43 pages)The 68 PRIZM zip code clusters are subdivided into three categories based on life stage and several social groups based on the urban to rural continuum. https://claritas360.claritas.com/mybestsegments/#zipLookup Zip Code Lookup/Segment Details/Resources/About The zip code is also clustered by household income, household population, population by age, & population by race & ethnicity.