What did MLK leave behind by xhk15176


                                        Special promotional issue
                                    Black History Month 2005

 M a k e r
                                               Malcolm X
                                          His relevance today

                                           Black America
                                          A positive look ahead

                                               Ossie Davis
                                                A giant is gone

 What did MLK                                 Wangari
 leave behind?
 The wrangling King family                    Maathai
                                                The first black
 Behind the scenes of the                    woman to win the
                                             Nobel Peace Prize
 Civil Rights Movement
 An interview with Dr. King’s
 right-hand man, Wyatt Tee Walker

 The controversial
 George Washington Carver
 King                                Interview

 M a k e r

Founder and Managing Editor:
Levy Daugherty

Parmy Withers-Olson
                                                   4      Dr. Wyatt Tee
                                                          The man behind
                                                          Martin Luther King’s
Published by:
American Clergy

Advisors and special thanks to:

Dr. Chang Shik Yang
Rev. Dr. Milton Reid
Rev. Dr. Lonnie McLeod
Margaret Herbers
Sertan Baykara

                                     8    Wangari Maathai:
Louise Strait

                                          Global recognition for a
                                          headstrong Kenyan


The King Maker looks
at how history has been
shaped by the contribution
of black people.
                                     9    Are Dr. King’s wife and children
                                          exploiting his legacy?
It unearths the unknown
golden nuggets of the past

                                     In Memoriam
that are relevant to our lives
This issue, coinciding with
Black History Month, looks
beyond what we already

know about African-
Americans in history.                     The actor who stood up for Civil
We show you why America                   Rights: Ossie Davis
would be a different country
altogether were they not a
part of its making.

Front cover photo by Benedict
Fernandez, courtesy of JFK Library
and Museum
13   Malcolm X Forty years
     since his death - what can
     he give us?

15   The struggle
     and potential of
     Black America

     18                     Profile
                            A farmer’s guru
             Joe Williams

22     An array of moving
       quotes from African
       American legends

                                              Rosa Parks
                                               I N T E R V I E W

Creating the
As Martin Luther King Jr’s right-hand man, Rev. Dr. Wyatt
Tee Walker was one of the most important people behind the
scenes in the civil rights movement. He looks back and explains
how a few African-American Baptist preachers changed the world.

Q: How exactly did it happen that you started the                Q: When you first joined the SCLC, you left behind
SCLC?                                                            your church and focused full time on that. Did you
                                                                 feel that it was time to move on from being a full-
It was founded in 1957 and the first meeting I attended           time pastor to working for the civil rights move-
was in Clarksdale, Mississippi. As I came through the door       ment?
into the sanctuary of the church where the meeting was
held, Martin King interrupted his annual report, saying          Working for the SCLC was an extension of the church. I
that his friend Wyatt Walker had come from Virginia. He          believed it was the work of the African-American church
put me on the national board. Because I had some writing         to bring justice to the aggrieved community, which was
skills, I became part of his inner circle. You know, doing       primarily African-American. The black preacher is the
press releases and things like that.                             freest person in black life because of the support of the
                                                                 people in their congrega-
Q: What was it about you that made him feel you                  tions. We are not affected      Gunshots are heard
would be best for that position?                                 by the pressures that are       during a march with
                                                                                                 King in Cleveland
                                                                 brought to bear by the
I guess my alleged organizational ability.                       power brokers in any
                                                                 particular city, and we
Q: It must have been pretty good because the SCLC                weren’t afraid of losing
started off with five members, and when you came                  our jobs. It is not an ac-
it went up to 100 members.                                       cident that Martin Luther
                                                                 King became a leader.
My first budget was something like $57,000, and in about a        If he had been in the
year it was over a million. I really had great success. But my   postal service, he never
greatest contribution, I think, was designing the Birming-       would have had a holiday
ham Campaign.                                                    named for him.

Q: How well did you and Martin
Luther King work together?
                                                  “[Dr. King and
Fabulously well. We were good friends
                                                  I] were good
and we respected each other. In many              friends... I was
ways I was the organization man, and he
was the symbol of our movement. In fact           the organization
he was more than that, because he gave
us much of the strategy. Our movement             man and he was
would not have been successful at all had
he not provided us with his philosophy            the symbol of
of nonviolence. He took the modern
techniques of Gandhi and draped around            the movement.”
them the theology of Jesus Christ. And
that is unique. Martin Luther King
took Gandhi’s nonviolence and made it

Q: You were behind the scenes
organizing everything, strategizing.
How could you structure everything
to work so well?

I think I was helped because I had been
a pastor and I talked preacher talk, so to
speak. The Bible is replete with instances
that could relate to our struggle of the
60s. Part of the struggle was to convince
our own kind of the need for the church
to join the struggle for justice.

Q: In the end, did you find that
you could only rely on a few core
                                                Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee
Yes. We went ahead with what we had              Walker at his home
                                                 in Chester, Virginia
and that was the key. The ministerial alli-
ance in Birmingham voted that they did
not want Martin Luther King to come.
But we came anyway, because we were                                 me. They just elected not to arrest them at the same time.
convinced that Birmingham, being the biggest and baddest But I’ve always felt that my wife and children were with
city in the South, needed the movement that we led.                 me. They were movement children. That’s the way we de-
                                                                    scribed them. They grew up during the time of the move-
Q: You supported Martin Luther King a great deal.                   ment, and my daughter was barred from all public schools
Who supported you at that time?                                     in Virginia because we wouldn’t sign the People Placement
                                                                    Act, which perpetuated segregation. And our house was
My wife. And my children; they were open to the ridicule            under attack by people with racist views. There were times
of their classmates—that your father’s in jail. And the             when I was on the road that my wife would sleep with a
rightness of our cause propelled us forward. And the fam-           gun under her pillow because of the danger of attacks on
ily and friends of the movement helped us.                          the house. We caught a fellow one night who shot out the
When I went to jail in Petersburg over entering the library         lights. We got anonymous phone calls, nasty calls.
by the wrong entrance, my wife and two children were with
                                    Rev. Walker looks at the picture he
                                   took of Dr. King while in prison with   is. But a good start would be to guarantee a
                                                    him in Birmingham      four-year college education to every African-
                                                                           American child.

                                                                           Q: What about other pastors like Martin
                                                                           Luther King – can they do similar things

                                                                           If you look at the southern experience, the
                                                                           people who were the most vocal and who
                                                                           the power structure tried to put pressure on
                                                                           were the black preachers, which indicates
                                                                           that they are the people who are most effec-
                                                                           tive in changing the social demographics of
                                                                           the South.

                                                                                                        King were put
                                                                                                        in a Birming-
                                                                                                        ham jail in 1967
Q: What about this next generation of children                                                          for parad-
- how do you feel they’ve carried on this legacy?                                                       ing without a
                                                                                                        permit, Walker
My children are very sensitive to any kind of discrimi-                                                 smuggled a tiny
                                                                                                        Minox camera
nation even to this day. It’s the generation after them
                                                                                                        into the jail by
that is so silent. We sense that they feel like things have                                             taping it to his
always been the way they are, even though the results                                                   upper leg. He
took a great deal of sacrifice and struggle. My children                                                 took the now
know what it took. They have lived through the time                                                     world-famous
of colored water fountains and white water fountains,                                                   photo of Dr.
and white restrooms and colored restrooms. But there                                                    King (below). In
                                                                                                        a little jailhouse
haven’t been enough movement children to start a
                                                                                                        interplay, King
movement of their own.                                                                                  reversed places
                                                                                                        and took this
Q: Obviously there have been some changes in                                                            photograph of
the laws and civil rights have progressed, so if                                                        Walker (above).
they were going to start a movement of their own,                   This is the first time this photo of Walker has been
what would it be about?                                             published. Ironically, King and Walker were serv-
                                                                    ing time for an incident
                                                                    which had taken place
It would have to be against the culture of racism that              four years earlier, and
exists in America. There are subtle forms of segrega-               Birmingham was already
tion and discrimination, which are more difficult to fight            desegregated. “We had
than the obvious signs that we saw. America should face             to keep in line with the
its guilt about slavery. One way to begin is by paying              non-violent credo, and
reparations to people of African-American descent, who              just do what we had to
                                                                    do,” said Rev. Dr. Walker.
were promised 40 acres and a mule. Emancipation came
                                                                    Also serving a sentence
and we never received the 40 acres or the mule. That’s              were Rev. Ralph Aber-
why there’s been this cry for reparations in the last few           nathy, Rev. Fred Shuttle-
years. People say it’s too hard to calculate, and maybe it          worth and Dr. King’s
                                                                    brother, Rev. A.D. King.
                                                                  n 1960 Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker was
                                                                  installed as the first full-time Execu-
Q: If they have so much potential, what’s holding                 tive Director of Martin Luther King’s
them back?                                                     Southern Christian Leadership Confer-
                                                               ence (SCLC). He and the late Dr. King had
Convenience and they do not have a dedication to hard          been friends since their seminary days.
work. I mean, it’s hard doing what Dr. King and I did.         Together they led the SCLC to become a
It takes a lot of time, a lot of sacrifice on the part of       national civil rights power. Rev. Walker
your family and sacrifice in terms of your own well-be-         mapped strategies, recruited personnel,
                                                               organized workshops, supervised meet-
ing and your finances. Martin Luther King died a poor
                                                               ings - in short, laid the groundwork for the
man. I think he had one $5,000 policy. It wasn’t enough        movement.
really to bury him. America is so materialistic; it’s hard
to divorce oneself from the get-rich-quick idea that ex-       Today Rev. Walker is a Senior Pastor of the
ists in America. But the black church is a sleeping giant.     Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Har-
                                                               lem, New York. A powerful and thought-
                                                               provoking speaker, he was placed by a poll
Q: Do you think there are any future Martin
                                                               in Ebony Magazine as one of the fifteen
Luther King’s out there?
                                                               greatest black preachers in the United
                                                               States. His work in civil rights continued
Someone like Martin Luther King comes down the pipe            long after the death of Dr. King, and it
every once in a while, and that’s God’s doing, not man’s       has earned him international recognition.
doing. But I think we could stand another one.                Nelson Mandela’s first stop in the United
                                                               States as President of South Africa was at
                                                               a service at Rev. Walker’s church.
                                                               As Chairman of the Consortium for Cen-
                                                               tral Harlem Development, Rev. Walker is
                                                               responsible for a $100 million housing
                                                               construction project. He has written 27
                                                               books and is one of the world’s leading
                                                               authorities on music of the African-Ameri-
                                                               can religious experience. He lives with his
                                                               wife of 55 years in Chester, Virginia, and
                                                               is currently undergoing rehabilitation from
                                                               several strokes in the last half a year.
                                                               Doctors have recently told him he will
                                                               never walk again. Not being one to take
                                                               ‘no’ for an answer, Rev. Walker says he
                                                               intends to prove them wrong.

                                             from left: Dr.
                                             King and Rev.
                                             Abernathy are
                                             arrested dur-
                                             ing a protest,
                                             pastors from
                                             the SCLC lead
                                             marchers in a
                                             rousing prayer,
                                             the bus used
                                             by the Free-
                                             dom Riders
                                             is burned in

                                     M A K I N G               H I S T O R Y

The Tree
                                                                                                      save African nature
                                                                                                      under threat from
                                                                                                      industrialization and
                                                                                                      “If we did a better

                                                                                                      job of managing our
                                                                                                      resources, conflicts
                                                                                                      over them would be
                                                                                                      reduced,” she said in a
                                                                                                      conference speech in
Wangari Maathai                                                                                       China. “Protecting the
                                                                                                      global environment is
has just become the first                                                                              directly related to se-
black woman to win the                               by
                                                                                                      curing peace.”
Nobel Peace Prize.                                   Baykara
                                                                                                      She was awarded the
                                                                                                      Nobel Peace Prize

                                                                                                      “for her contribution
             angari Maathai is the incarnation of a dream                                             to sustainable devel-
             come true. She has enjoyed an international         (Above) Maathai receives the
                                                                                                      opment, democracy
             career which has established her as one of the      Nobel Prize in Oslo, (below)
                                                                 and celebrates with Green Belt       and peace.”
most outstanding female public figures of the 20th cen-           Movement staff members
tury. Her accomplishments and achievements were recog-                                                International celebri-
nized and celebrated last November when she received the                                              ties like Andrea Bo-
                                                               celli, Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle paid their tribute to the
Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.
                                                               mother-of-three at an awards concert, during which Profes-
She has consistently called for people and governments to      sor Maathai said that Oprah Winfrey – who was co-present-
recognize that the environment is our sole provider and        ing the ceremony - was her role model.
must be protected. She has become a leading role model
                                                               Her journey into peace, human rights, justice and environ-
                          not only for young African wom-
                                                               mental issues continues. She was recently posted as Deputy
                          en but people everywhere.
                                                               Environment Minister for Kenya and will focus on helping
                          Born in Kenya on April 1, 1940,      impoverished women in the country. 
                         Maathai was the first woman in
                         central or eastern Africa to hold a
                         Ph.D., and the first woman to head
                         a university department in Kenya.      Toni Morrison was, in 1993, the first
                                                                black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in
                         “The privilege of a higher edu-
                                                                Literature, and is one of America’s most sig-
                         cation, especially outside Africa,     nificant novelists of the twentieth century. She
 Speaking at a GMB       broadened my original horizon,”        is the author of six major novels, The Bluest Eye,
 protest in Nairobi
                         she said. “It encouraged me to fo-     Sula, Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved and Jazz.
                         cus on the environment, women                        The central theme of Morrison’s
and development in order to improve the quality of life of                      novels is the black American
people in my country and in Africa as a whole.” She also                         experience; in an unjust soci-
ran for the Kenyan presidency in 1997. Her former hus-                            ety her characters struggle
band, whom she divorced in the 1980s, was said to have                              to find themselves and their
remarked that she was “too educated, too strong, too suc-                            cultural identity. Her use of
cessful, too stubborn and too hard to control.”                                      fantasy, poetic style, and
                                                                                        rich interweaving of the
Her most notable work has come as an environmen-                                            mythic, is said to
tal activist. In 1977 she established the Green Belt                                        give her stories great
Movement, a women’s tree-planting program to                                                strength and texture.
                                             A N A L Y S I S
                                                                                             King Center and the people
                                                                                             who work for it.
                                                                                             The institution was founded
                                                                                             by his mother, Coretta Scott
                                                                                             King, soon after her late
                                                                                             husband’s assassination as a
                                                                                             way to keep his legacy alive.
                                                                                             It was meant to be not only a
                                                                                             museum, but as an organiza-
                                                                                             tion to carry on his work.
                                                                                             Led for the last decade by
                                                                                             King’s other son, Dexter,
                                                                                             the center itself is now the
                                                                                             most visited site in the entire
                                                                                             Southeast. That leaves Mar-
                                                                                             tin Luther King III to take a
                                                                                             good look at the huge brick
                                                                                             building commemorating his
                                                                                             father’s work and ideal of
                                                                                             creating a “Beloved Commu-
                                                                                             nity”, and wonder seriously
                                                                                             about how to take things
                                                                                             In America and now the

A Divided Legacy
                                                                                             rest of the world, “civil
                                                                                             rights” is a term that has
                                                                                            been used less and less, while
                                                                                            “human rights” has gained
                                                                                            prominence. Coretta Scott
                                                                                            King especially supports the
                                The family of Martin Luther King Jr.                        human rights ideal through
                                has taken on the important role of                          her campaigns and many
                                carrying on his work. But are their                         speaking engagements. After
                Parmy           separate and very public views                              developments in the law
                Withers                                                                     towards equal rights for racial
                Olson           confusing his message?                                      minorities, it seems for many
                                                                                            like the state is not quite as
                                                                                            big an enemy towards racial

T        he eldest son of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.                                   integration as it once was.
         is standing at the edge of a fountain surrounded   Left waving the flag for racial rights, along with Dr. King’s
         by the walls of the King Center, a large bricked   original SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Confer-
complex in the heart of Atlanta. Beyond the spray of        ence), is the Congressional Black Caucus, a group of
aqua blue water lies the still, rectangular monument to his black civic and community leaders who meet up with the
father, a social activist and preacher that changed America president every few years or so to make sure that future
and inspired millions across the world. This year the       policies are fair. But today’s laws have come a long way
48-year old son and Dr. King’s namesake, Martin Luther      from those in the 1960s. Whereas before Dr. King, Afri-
King III, has taken on the responsibility of leading the    can-Americans did not have equal voting rights, today the
                                                            government has its Commission on Civil Rights, which acts as
a watchdog against any violations in areas ranging from      tional issues” between older members and younger mem-
employment to politics. But this doesn’t mean that there     bers. The latter, like him, wanted to redefine the group in
isn’t anything to campaign about.                            line with a changing political landscape and presumably
                                                             felt they weren’t getting anywhere with the SCLC.
A change in direction?                                       Ironically King seems unconcerned over the fact that his
Take the newly instated MLK III. He wants to take his        mother Coretta, another elder, is in now charge of the
father’s teachings beyond America to the rest of the         center together with him. Age and generation may not
world. “To take over as president has been a great honor     have been the sole reason for the clashes. It was already
and has given me a great opportunity to look at our work     happening at the very heart of what Martin Luther King
from a global standpoint,” he told the media in January      had left behind: his own family.
this year. Before taking charge he’d been president of the
SCLC. “The SCLC was more regional and national,” he          Promoting different views
said. “The King Center’s work
is global.”                                                                             The scene is Ebenezer Baptist
                                                                                        Church in Atlanta. Sitting in the
So what exactly does King hope                                                          same place where she had always
to achieve? “If we could train                                                          listened to the sermons of her
a million people in “Kingian”                                                           husband, Coretta Scott King was
nonviolence then that, to me                                                            preparing to go up to the pulpit
would be an effective and suc-                                                          herself, to address a packed audi-
cessful time that I’m here.” He                                                         ence. Just as before, the speech
hopes to have “educational                                                              was about non-violence. She
seminars around the world” and                                                          made sure people understood
even a database on the Internet                                                         that the essence of Dr. King’s
which people will be able to                                                            teachings, told nearly half a cen-
visit and learn from – although                                                         tury ago, were still applicable to
what would be taught on this                                                            today’s very different social and
database is still unknown.                                                              political climate. But Mrs. King
King is said to be happy to leave                                                       has had more to talk about than
the ranks of the SCLC, where                                                            just non-violence.
he had become weary of his                                   (Clockwise from left)
                                                                                        Nine months earlier her ideas
                                                             Coretta Scott King with
position as president. It hadn’t                             President George W.        were expressed more specifically
been easy when his ideas con-                                Bush at Martin Luther
                                                             King Day in 2004, Martin   when she defended gay marriage,
flicted with the views of older                               Luther King III, Bernice
                                                                                        telling a college audience that
                                                             King, Yolanda King and
members who had marched                                      Dexter Scott King          discrimination against gays and
with his father and now sat on                                                          lesbians was a violation of civil
the board.                                                                              rights.
Rev. Dr. Milton Reid was one                                                           “Gay and lesbian people have
of the board members of the                                  families and their families should have legal protection,
SCLC and said he had originally tried defending Martin       whether by marriage or civil union,” she had said in
when the troubles began. “He is a good man,” said Dr.        March last year. “A constitutional amendment banning
Reid, “but the problem was he was hardly ever there.”        same-sex marriage is a form of gay bashing and it would
Where was he? “He had many speaking engagements,             do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.” Coretta
here, there, and everywhere. He didn’t really want to        Scott King has been a longtime supporter of gay rights,
tackle the real issues and problems we wanted to deal        and she has often used the teachings of her late husband
with.”                                                       to help defend it as a civil rights issue.
The SCLC became plagued with infighting. King himself         It is hard to know what Dr. King himself would think,
has said that most of the problems came from “genera-        since he never spoke publicly about gay rights. This is
certainly a question that has divided not only his closest    There are others
supporters but his wife and children also.                    that claim they
Martin Luther King Jr left behind four young children         know what the
when he was killed in 1968: Yolanda Denise, Martin            iconic civil rights
Luther King III, Dexter and Denice Albertine. The four        leader would have
do have similarities – they have all been active in promot-   really wanted. “Mar-
ing civil and human rights, in upholding their father’s       tin Luther King was
legacy through public speaking, and, unusually, none have     one of the most
married.                                                      tolerant and under-
                                                              standing persons
42-year-old Bernice is the youngest of Dr. King’s four        I’ve ever known,”
children and the only one to follow in his footsteps as a     said Andrew Young,
pastor. Her views on gay rights are entirely different from   who was one of
those of her mother. This was ostensibly confirmed a           King’s top aides.                             A young Yolanda
few months ago when she led a march of around 15,000                                                       Denise tries to get
                                                              “I’d never heard                                   her parents’
people in a protest against changing the constitution to      him make a judg-                               attention during
                                   allow gay marriage. The    mental statement                                     an awards
                                   event was organized        about anyone’s
                                   by Bishop Eddie Long       sexuality except his
       Bernice King                and his New Birth
        has entirely                                          own.”
                                   Missionary Baptist
      different views              Church. The 25,000-        What did Rev. Dr. Milton Reid from the SCLC think of
     from her mother               member church wanted       Bernice King’s actions? “Bernie is a pretty straight lady,”
         about gay                 an amendment to            he said. (No doubt she must be, considering her views on
          marriage.                “fully protect marriage    gay marriage.)
      Both are active              between one man and        Although Bernice King has cleary different views to
     campaigners for               one woman.”                Coretta Scott King, she says her relationship with her
       their beliefs.                                         mother has taught her that two people can disagree
                                   But the march stoked
                                   controversy not just be-   without being divided by their opinions. “We can disagree
                                   cause it had an anti-gay   without being disagreeable,” she said recently. “It’s really
agenda. The thousands of protesters were led directly to      not about you changing everything about you, or me
Martin Luther King Jr.’s tomb in Atlanta, and the event       changing everything about me. It’s about finding common
culminated with Denise lighting a torch and placing it        ground and living from that common ground.”
at the monument.. The image had the inevitable effect
of linking her father to the never-ending debate on gay       A question of meaning
marriage. The cries of dissent had only just begun when
a small protest of around 50 people gathered along the        Martin Luther King Jr’s message was about inclusion, but
route carrying signs that said “Don’t Hijack Dr. King’s       people are still asking what that means when it comes
Dream.” Since the march, Bernice King has been accused        to contentious issues like gay marriage. For those who
of fanning flames of intolerance.                              have taken
                                                              it upon
In her defense has come Alveda C. King, her cousin and        themselves                         The King Center in Atlanta
Dr. King’s niece. As well as being the founder of the         to carry on
faith-based King for America Inc, she is a strong opponent    King’s lega-
of gay marriage. She joined her cousin on the march and,      cy, including
unlike her aunt Coretta, thinks Martin Luther King Jr.        members of
never intended for gay rights to be included in the civil     his family,
rights movement: “Bernice knows deep within that her          the dilemma
father did not march and did not take a bullet for same-      is as thorny
sex marriage,” she told the press.                            as it is crucial.
“Yes, my siblings and I are the sons and daughters of
                                                                    I N         M E M O R I A M
Martin Luther King Jr, and products of our envi-
ronment,” says the younger Dexter Scott King in
his autobiographical book. “But we’re also our own
individual men and women, and we have our own views
about politics, love relationships, life.” For some, the
fact that some members of the King family are pro-gay
rights while other are not, are not significant issues.
They could be relegated to be as important as the split
in food preferences, (Mrs. King and Dexter are both
The Kings, however have chosen to dedicate their lives
to carry on Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, particularly
by taking charge of the King Center, a respected institu-
tion. Thanks to its name and background, the organiza-
tion has vast potential to influence both the government
and the general public, as well as take the form of an
                                                                              O S S I E D AV I S
umbrella organization for other groups.
                                                                                 By Vicky Phelps

The Center’s latest progress report shows that with the
change of leadership between two brothers, things are                  ssie Davis, the star of stage and screen who
in a state of flux, and Dexter Scott King and Martin                    also took a leading role in the civil rights
Luther King III are rumored to be in the process of                    movement, died February 4th at the age of 87.
determining the center’s future direction.                    In December, Davis and his wife and longtime
As the elder of the two contemplates a strategy, the re-      acting partner, Ruby Dee, were honored at the Kennedy
ality of his influence may start to feel heavy. His father’s   Center. At that time, Davis said, “We knew that every
goal was of creating “the Beloved Community,” applied         time we were on stage, America was looking to make
not just to America but the whole world. He wanted to         judgments about all black folks on the basis of how you
see a world without hunger, poverty and above all con-        looked, how you sounded, how you carried yourself.
                                          flict. Martin III    So any role you had was a role that was involved in the
                                          will be racking     struggle for black identification. You couldn’t escape it.”
              “I have a dream that my
                four little children will
                                          his brains to       Davis knew all the major figures in the civil rights
               one day live in a nation   think how he        movement, and in 1963 he had helped organize the
                where they will not be    can successfully    March on Washington and serve as master of ceremo-
                   judged by the color
                           of their skin,
                                          educate people      nies for the event.
                              but by the  about how to
                                 content  resolve conflict     He started his stage career in Harlem with the Rose
                                 of their
                                          between na-         McClendon Players. He was drafted in 1942, but upon
                                          tions, races        his release in 1945 returned to the stage in Jeb, in which
                                          and families.       Ruby Dee also appeared. They were married in 1948,
                                          At some point       and the two appeared together in 11 stage productions,
                                                              including Raisin in the
                                          it will occur
                                                              Sun, and five movies.
                                          to him that by                                     Speaking at
                                                              Among his film credits,
                                          far the most                                       a conference
                                                              he appeared in Spike           in support of
                                           effective way                                     Haiti
                                                              Lee’s School Daze, Do the
                                           to teach is by
                                                              Right Thing and Jungle
                                           example. 
                                                              Fever. He also wrote
                                                              plays and screenplays. 

                                                           “It is a time for martyrs now,

                                                         and if I am to be one, it will be

         he life of Malcolm X                             for the cause of brotherhood.
                                                          That’s the only thing that can
                                                                                             the Muslim Mosque.
         (1925-1965), African                                          save this country.”   He decided to go on a pilgrim-
                                                          (February 19, 1965, two days
         American civil rights                                  before he was murdered)      age to Mecca and it was there
leader and a major twentieth-                                                                that he is said to have realized
century spokesman for black                                                                  God’s “true teaching”. His
nationalism, ended on when                                                                   opinions about race dramati-
he was assassinated on Febru-                                                                cally changed. No longer be-
ary 21, 1965 - four decades                                                                  lieving that white people were
ago this year.                                                                               evil, he came to believe that
His early life was also touched                                                              Islam could create racial har-
by violence. His father, an                                                                  mony. Not only that, it could
outspoken Baptist minister in                                                                do it better than Christianity, a
Nebraska, died when Malcolm                                                                  religion that had been corrupt-
was 6 years old, probably at                                                                 ed by white supremacists.
the hands of white suprema-                                                                  His new spiritual concept al-
cists. His mother developed                                                                  lowed for his many new views
a mental illness that eventu-                                                                to come forward. He advo-
ally forced her into a mental                                                                cated self-defense in the face
institution. Alone, Malcolm                                                                  of white violence. He fought
then got involved in criminal                                                                against the social captivity and
activities and found himself                                                                 mental bondage of African
sentenced to 10 years in                                                                     Americans. He believed that
prison. It was during his incar-                                                             social ills of African Ameri-

                                      40 Years
ceration that his brother told                                                               cans came from political blind-
him about the Black Muslim                                                                   ness and a religion that taught
religious movement.                                                                          blacks to suffer in humility.
                                                                                             But his rift with Elijah
From devoted follower                                                                        Muhammad had made him
to leader                                                                                    enemies. Several
By the time he was released,                                                                 attempts were
Malcolm was a devoted fol-                                                                   made on his life;
lower of the Nation of Islam,                                                                on February 21,
and Elijah Muhammad had                 As the world remembers his death,                    1965 he was shot
become his spiritual leader.             Malcolm X’s struggles show                          and killed while
Malcolm X became a major                                                                     giving a speech.
                                            the humanity behind the icon.                    Three gunmen
spokesperson for the Nation
of Islam. There was some-                            By Beverly Spencer
thing about his quick wit and
verbal elasticity that resonated
through the African-American
community and pricked the conscience of white America.
While his words angered and cause fear among many
whites, others came to listen with respect and admiration.
His faith came to be challenged, however. Malcolm had             Right: Meeting
been celibate until his marriage to Betty Shabazz in 1958             an Imam in
                                                                   Cairo. After a
on the direction of his mentor, Elijah Muhammad. But in            pilgrimage to
1964 he discovered that the leader he revered so highly had      Mecca, Malcolm
had affairs and fathered illegitimate children. Meanwhile,       came to believe
                                                                       that racial
internal jealousies began developing within the Nation of         harmony could
Islam and Malcolm was compelled to leave. Later that year           only ever be
at the age of 38, he founded a new religious organization,               achieved
                                                                       with Islam
were convicted of murder, and all had been members of
the Nation of Islam.

What does Malcolm X stand for today?
Malcolm X offered the white world an expression of
black masculinity that it was unfamiliar with. He offered
the olive branch of peace in one hand and arrows of war
in the other, if peace were rejected. He was said to be a
faithful husband and good father, a committed servant
who surrendered and lived in submission to God’s will
and a man of integrity to all people.
 The qualities of Malcolm X should be the qualities of
all men today, regardless of race, religion, color or creed.
This is what Malcolm X means today: a role model for
male masculinity that is both passionate and compas-
sionate. A man committed to family and fatherly
responsibility, with no divorce and no adultery.
His image and his words still haunt the unrigh-
teous; his life, growth and intellectual develop-                     Martin Luther King and
                                                               Malcolm X at a at a civil rights
ment remain a testimony that human change                          meeting in 1964. They had
is not only possible but inevitable if we are to               opposite upbringings and very
overcome race and religious hatred.                              different ways of promoting
                                                                    their messages. But their
The late actor, activist and humanitarian Ossie                 goals of reclaiming the rights
Davis characterized him best in his eulogy. “He                   of African Americans, were
was and is a prince—our own black shining                                essentially the same.
                                                                   Left: Malcolm X prays at a
prince.”                                                                     mosque in Cairo
                                                 C O M M E N T

Black America
                                                                                                               By Freeson

        used to work on a bee farm and I love looking           Innovation brought by need
        at the differences between the African killer bees      Even after their depressing early history that included the
        and European bees. The African killer bees, for         likes of slavery and segregation, many African-Americans
        instance, are extremely aggressive compared to their    right up to today, feel that their community need to find
European counterparts. Get stung by a European bee near         a better way of life. Perhaps almost by default, that need
his hive and you’ll be stung by about three more within         has brought out innovative and creative figures like George
the next 30 seconds. However, if you’re unlucky enough          Washington Carver and Madam C. J. Walker. The number
to fall prey to an African killer bee, within the next half a   of inventions and new ideas that have come from black
minute you will have been stung by as many as two hun-          people is stunning, although sadly, it is little acknowledged.
dred of his angry friends, and there will be enough venom       Who knew that the traffic light was invented by a black
in your body to halt the palpitations of your heart. Here’s     man, or the first open heart surgery was performed by a
another aspect of these two insects: the aggressiveness of      black man, or even the first ironing board was invented by
African bees is what causes them to produce incredible          - wait for it - a black woman.
amounts of honey, even more than European bees. Why?            One starts to see
Quite simply, the Africans. The bee “farmers” in certain        a pattern emerg-
parts of Africa climb up the trees and mountainsides to         ing when looking
harvest enormous wild honeycombs, and their constant            at other peoples
onslaught means the poor bees must fight to survive. The         who have
honey is collected differently, too. While the European         experi-
bees have sugar water dispensers on their farms, their          enced
African cousins fly far and wide for nectar, making some         oppression.
of the tastiest and healthiest honey on earth.
The people of Scotland went through hundreds of years             helping of chicken or pie.
of domination by the English, but the country produced            There’s an openness that         Jesse Owens
two inventors that developed some of the world’s most             African Americans have
crucial devices: Alexander Graham Bell with the telephone         that can be expressed            infuriated the
and John Logie Baird, who succeeded in transmitting the           particularly well between
first television picture in 1926. Scotland as a country has        each other. My father and
worked to gain independence, establishing its own Parlia-         I went to buy a suit in a
ment in 1999 and now developing an overwhelming sense             downtown store with price tags to match its posh interior.
of national pride.                                                We got everything we needed except the tie, and headed
Back in America, black people have an expression for cre-         for another place down the road. Entering the store we
ating an invention or any apparatus out of nothing – ghetto.      found the prices to be dramatically cheaper. Thoroughly
Take an old steering wheel and weld it to a bicycle to            impressed, my father turned to one black man standing at
form makeshift handles. That is ghetto. The term defines           the check-out line and exclaimed, “Man, do you shop here
a unique characteristic of innovation that you might not          often?” “Oh yeah, all the time,” the stranger replied as if
find, for instance, in a whiter society where it would make        he were talking to a friend. My dad couldn’t contain his
more sense to go out and buy a new bicycle. Where there’s         enthusiasm. “This place is great! We were just down the
a need, there’s innovation.                                       road and bought a suit from that over-priced place.” The
African-Americans are a peo-                                                            man gave a knowing nod. “I know
ple of almost inextinguishable                                                          that store – that’s where the educated
want. We are certainly not as                                                           consumer shops.” My dad laughed,
satisfied with our life, jobs,                                                           “You mean un-educated consumer!”
and education, as the majority                                                          The man leaned on my dad’s shoulder
of society. But black people                                                            and they both doubled over. I stood
as a whole, with all our wants                                                          there surprised as I was sure this man
and needs, are a people with                                                            and my father had never met.
great potential. We’ve already                                                          Perhaps most notably, African Ameri-
expressed it in many forms                                                              cans display their sincerity in church.
such as music, literature,                                                              There people show an overwhelming
sports, and of course invent-                                                           desire to convey love and veneration
                                         A Civil Rights march in Washington DC
ing. We have defied the world’s                                                          for God through praising, singing,
expectations many times                                                                 clapping, even dancing. Many other
over. For instance, the myths about white skin privilege          churches with congregations of other races certainly make
dissolved when Jesse Owens, Eddie Tolan and Ralph Met-            their best efforts to do the same, but there’s nothing quite
calfe all won medals in the 1932 Olympics. Then in Berlin         like a black church. It seems as though the most devoted
in 1936, Owens went on to become part of Olympic                  and passionate religious people are those who had to work
history as the first competitor to win four gold’s in the 100      to keep their faith alive in the face of repression.
meters, 200 meters, long jump, and the 4x100-meter relay.         I once met a Catholic
His dominating victories infuriated the Nazi racists. Other       priest named Father
                                                                                               Black people don’t
great sportsmen and women like Jackie Robinson, Michael           Sebastian who had
Jordan, Michael Johnson and the Williams sisters have not         been a missionary            realize how potentially
only instilled pride amongst the black community, they’ve         in India. He told me         deep our passion for
uplifted America as a country.                                    stories about hor-
                                                                                               life and faith can be.
African-Americans can be emotional people, and when a             rific attacks against
major decision must be made even the intellectual ones            Christians where he’d
will feel inclined to look inside their heart for answers.        been stationed – churches were burned, cars bombed and
In church, in the way we greet each other, the way we             people were killed because of their faith. But Father Se-
cook food – it’s all centered around the heart and sharing        bastian himself had decided to hold fast to his beliefs and
ourselves with our family and friends. I have fond memo-          refuse to renounce his identity as a Christian, even at the
ries of our family reunions where uncles and especially           risk of his life. Despite the destruction he faced, Father
aunts would not let me leave until I’d had at least a fourth      Sebastian had an air of vitality that I have not seen in any
other Catholic priest. There was a depth to his wisdom
and understanding about life that told me that he was, to
the core, a man who practiced what he preached.
Black people don’t realize how potentially deep our
passion for life and faith can be. Yet these are two
things that we struggled for decades to freely attain. The
suffering that black people went through is, for many,
frustratingly unappreciated. And while some will call
for more recompense for the slavery and segregation,
others are pointing to how we can reap something from
that miserable history. The old cliché “what doesn’t kill
you makes you stronger” is hard to bear emotionally, but
logically it is applicable. It makes sense that we would
appreciate our freedom and the opportunities that come
with living in America much more after having suffered
to reach it. Perhaps we ought to consider ourselves
lucky that freedom wasn’t handed to us on a plate.
The famed story of Moses in the Bible says that for
centuries, the Israelites had suffered as slaves under the
Egyptians. Their decedents, the Jewish people, experi-
enced further atrocities in Nazi Germany where millions
                                        were killed in the
                                        Holocaust. But to-
                                        day, Jewish people
                                        are in enviably high
                                        positions in indus-
                                        try, media, politics,
                                        law and medicine.
                                        How did that hap-
                                        pen? Jewish people
                                        are said to have an
                                        incredibly strong
  President L.B. Johnson signs          sense of commu-
     the 1968 Civil Rights Bill
                                        nity and identity,
                                        which comes from
the collective understanding that they are God’s “chosen
Looking back at history as African Americans, we’re
starting to realize that we really have been rising up over
obstacles like racism that were once seemingly insur-
mountable. There is a powerful but as yet untapped
potential amongst the black community in America.
Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Frederick
Douglass were a few individuals in history that brought
about significant change. They showed that real prog-
ress starts with a vision and a person – and it makes
perfect sense to me if that person is black. 
                                                  P R O F I L E

                                                        A Mystic
                                                         Small and mild-mannered,
                                                         George Washington Carver
                                                         is often remembered for finding
                                                         hundreds of uses for the peanut.
                                                         Behind his discoveries, though,
                                                         were unconventional views about
                                                         intuition and spirituality, as well as
                                                         astonishing self-discipline.
                                                                                        By Parmy Withers-Olson

G         eorge Washington Carver came into the world
          as a commodity. Born to slave parents, he was
          traded for a racehorse and left in the custody
of a white guardian. As a child he witnessed the severe
maltreatment of African Americans; he once watched a
                                                              Your department exists only on paper and your labora-
                                                              tory will have to be in your head.”
                                                              Carver accepted and hopped on a train to face a new life
                                                              of teaching classes and doing research on plants. Once
                                                              settled in at the Institute he constructed a laboratory
mob of white men pull a black prisoner out of jail, tie       out of a scrap heap of odds and ends, from which he
him with a rope, and drag him for five blocks. Later as a      was able to create countless products like soap from the
young man Carver was faced with the frustrating obstacle      sweet potato, the pecan and, most famously, the peanut.
of being turned down from studying at Iowa State Col-         It was also then that Carver made a decision that would
lege because he was black.                                    last to the end of his life: he would devote his work to
One of his most distinctive characteristics was starting to   help improve the lives of farmers and their families.
emerge from all this: George Washington Carver was not
one to be deterred.
                                                              The farmers’ teacher
Unwavering in his desire to study, Carver eventually
did get his masters in agriculture from Iowa State. And       Compelled by his new commitment, Carver began to
it was then that something unusual happened. A letter         meet with farmers around Tuskegee and accompany
came from an old college friend, Booker T. Washington,        them to church, at that time the community’s hub. He
offering him a teaching post at the all-black agricultural    would go to their homes afterwards and expound his
college, the Tuskegee Institute. “I offer you hard, hard      “scientific agriculture” ideas such as crop rotation - using
work,” Washington wrote. “The task of bringing a people       plants that didn’t “wear out” the land like cotton did,
from degradation, poverty, and waste to full manhood.         but returned nitrogen to the soil. He told them to stop
                                                              buying fertilizer in town and use compost from the farm
instead. Carver suggested that families could grow some          to him. A fellow
of their own food at home instead of buying everything           professor and close
in town using their meager profits from cotton. He                friend, Glenn Clark
showed people how to preserve foods for later use during         said that Carver’s
winter months and gave them recipes for garden crops.            practice of speaking
Slowly he helped bring a balanced diet to the rural poor.        to flowers “sprang
The scientist/teacher eventually started to connect the          from humility. And
principles of loving and caring for one’s neighbor to            his humility was
farming itself. In an article called Being Kind to the Soil he   maintained by a
said, “The farmer whose soil produces less every year,           sincere and constant
is unkind to it in some way. He is not doing by it what          awe of the natural
he should; and is robbing it of some substance it must           world.”
have. He becomes, therefore, a soil robber rather than a
progressive farmer.” Carver ultimately wanted to achieve         Courting
global sustainability, but to do so farmers needed to apply      controversy
principles of justice, love, frugality, creativity, and even
sacrifice.                                                        One of Carver’s
                                                                 strongest views was
                                                                 about intuition.
Scientist or mystic?                                             Anything that was
At the base of his scientific discoveries were views about        needed, even a sci-
nature that are said to have been almost mystical. Carver        entific solution, was
was convinced that nature held the answers to all of             just beyond your fin-
life’s questions, and that all one needed to do to get the       gertips, waiting to manifest. Carver said this was a power
answers was listen. “I love to think of nature as unlimited      that was available to everyone. He also said “Divine
broadcasting stations through which God speaks to us             inspiration” helped him in his scientific research, saying,
every day, every hour, and every moment                          “I never grope for methods; the method is revealed at the
of our lives,” he said. To maintain what                                                 moment I am inspired to create
                                                                                         something new.”
he called a deeply personal relationship
with God, Carver kept a strict regimen.
                                                      Dr. Carver often His willingness to publicly discuss
“All my life I have risen regularly at four          talked to flowers his unusual techniques left Carver
o’clock and have gone into the woods                                                     at odds with the scientific com-
and talked with God. There He gives                     and had done                     munity and their dedication to a
                    me my orders for the
                     day. Alone there with
                                                          so since he                    rational, deductive methodology.
                                                                                         It prompted a New York Times edi-
                     things I love most, I                was a boy.                     torial in 1924 to claim that Carver
                      gather specimens and                                               showed “a complete lack of the
                           study the great                                               scientific spirit,” and that “real
                             lessons Nature is so eager to       chemists” did not attribute their successes to inspiration.
                               teach us all. When people are     But Carver stood his ground and replied: “Inspiration
                               still asleep, I hear God best     is never at variance with information; in fact, the more
                               and learn my plan.”               information one has the greater will be the inspiration.”
                                Dr. Carver was always seen to    Despite the criticisms, farmers from as far as China,
                                have a flower in his button-      Japan, Russia, India, Europe, and South America were
                                hole, and said that he regularly contacting Carver and asking for advice. During the food
                             talked to them. He had done so      shortages of World Wars I and II, the US army asked
                           since he was a boy, at that time      for his help to develop systems of food dehydration and
                           asking why some of them re-           preservation for thousands of people. Carver’s services
                           quired sunlight and some didn’t,      eventually took him far and wide: he served as nutritional
                      and why it was that roots that looked      adviser to Mahatma Gandhi, was agricultural consultant
                      exactly alike produced different-col-      to the Russian government, and a massage therapist for
                       ored blossoms. Many years later, he       the Iowa State football team. He also played a role in the
                       said, they finally revealed their secrets  Commission on Inter-Racial Cooperation, the Y.M.C.A,
and numerous prayer institutes to promote racial har-         “How do I talk
mony and cooperation.                                         to the little
Carver became a consummate networker and had                  flower?
many friends in high places, including three presidents:      Through it I talk
Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Franklin             to the infinite.
Delano Roosevelt. He often dined with Henry Ford, and         And what is the
Thomas Edison liked him so much that he offered him           infinite?
a salary of over $100,000 a year, almost a million today,     It is that silent,
to come and work for him. Carver declined. He would           small force.
never give up on the goal he’d made early on in life – to     The infinite is not
help poor farmers in America’s deep south.                    confined in the
                                                              visible world.
                                                              It is not in the
Modest to the end                                             earthquake, the
Despite being a scientist, Carver had held fast to meth-      wind or the fire.
ods of fostering his spirituality and intuition. Some         Yet when you look out upon God’s
say he integrated intuition and science to a degree few       beautiful world – there it is.
others achieved. But even though he found international       When you look into the heart of a rose there
fame and rubbed shoulders with powerful figures, he            you experience it – but you can’t explain it.
was, according to a fellow professor, the “least imposing     There are certain things, often very little
celebrity the world has ever known.”                          things, like the little peanut, the little piece
Dr. Carver had earned the salary of $125 a month from         of clay, the little flower that cause you to look
the beginning until the end of his service at Tuskegee.       WITHIN –
Three years before his death, he donated his life-savings     and it is then that you see the soul of things.”
and entire estate to the Institute, establishing the George
Washington Carver Foundation. To this day it dedicates        George Washington Carver
its research to agriculture and helping farmers. 
                         The Martin Luther King Jr.
                           Family Life Institute
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                                 Q U O T A T I O N S

                                     From giants in American history

     When I
     I had
                             We should emphasize not
                                                                    My father
                                                                    was a slave
                             Negro History, but the

     crossed                 Negro    in history           .
                                                                    and my people died to build
     that line,              What we need is not a his-
                             tory of selected races                 this country, and I’m going to
     [on her first escape
                             or nations, but the history            stay right here               and
     from slavery, 1845]
     I looked at my
                             of the world       void of                 part
                                                                    have a          of it, just like

     hands to see if
                             national bias, race hate, and          you  . And no fascist-minded

     I was the same
                             religious prejudice.                   people like you will        drive
                             Carter Woodson
                                                                    me from it.
     person. There           (1875-1950)
                             Speech when founding
                                                                    Is that clear?
                             Negro History Week, 1926
     was such a glory over                                          Paul Robeson (1898-1976)
                                                                    Testimony before the House
     everything.                                                    Un-American Activities
                                                                    Committee, June 12, 1956

                                                         I am not    tragically    colored.
                                                         There is no great sorrow dammed up
                                                         in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes.
                                                         . . . No, I do not weep at the
     Harriet Tubman
     (1820-1913)                                         world—I am too busy sharpening my
     From her official
                                                         oyster knife.
                                                         Zora Neale Hurston, left (1901-1960)
                                                         From “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”

                          Paul Robeson

I am                                          Success is to be
                                              measured not so much
America        . I am
                                              by the position that
the part you won’t
                                              one has reached in life as
recognize. But get
used to me. Black,                            by the        obstacles
confident          ,                           which he has overcome
cocky; my name, not yours; my                 while trying to succeed.
religion, not yours; my goals, my own;        Booker T. Washington
get used to me.                               (1856-1915)
                                              Up From Slavery (1901)
Muhammad Ali (1942- )
The Greatest (1975)

                           Man, if you
                           gotta ask you’ll
 Racism is not an          never know.
 excuse to not do the      Louis Armstrong
 best you can.             (1900-1971)
 Arthur Ashe               Reply when asked
 (1943-1993)               what jazz is

 The battles that count aren’t the ones for
 gold medals. The struggles within
 yourself - the invisible,
 inevitable battles inside all of us -
 that’s where it’s at.
                           Jesse Owens

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