On June 15, 1953, the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott occurred. It was the first Black bus boycott in in the U.S. Years before the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the black residents of Baton Rouge took a stand against racism and segregation. In 1950, the city began to require all residents to use segregated public bussing. Prior to this, black residents utilized black-owned public transportation and required all residents to use the city’s public transportation which enforced segregated seating. Black residents had to sit at the back half of the bus or stand, even if seats in the “white” section were empty. Black passengers comprised 80% of bus passengers and were fed up with standing up on buses while “white” seats remained empty, particularly after the company had raised fares from ten to fifteen cents in January 1953. Continue reading “Before The Montgomery Bus Boycott There Was The Baton Rouge Bus Boycott”→
Founded in April 1960 the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was organized by African American college students to give younger blacks a stronger voice in the civil rights movement. Activist Ella Baker, who was a director with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was credited with organizing students to launch SNCC. Baker was concerned that SCLC, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was not in sync with younger blacks who sought faster progress in the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others hoped that SNCC would serve as the youth arm of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). However, SNCC chose to remain independent of SCLC throughout its existence. Continue reading “2020 Marks 60th Anniversary Of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)”→
Dr. Willa Beatrice Player (1917 – 2003) was an African American educator and civil rights, activist. She made history by becoming the first African American woman to lead a four year, fully accredited liberal arts college. Player took the helm as president of Bennett College for Women from 1956-1966.
Golden Asro Frinks (1920 – 2004) was a field secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and a civil rights activist. Frinks was born in Wampee, North Carolina but lived mainly in Edenton, SC where he resided since the age of 17. He was named, “Golden” by his mother because of a “golden text” of scripture that was read at a church service she attended on the day of his birth.
Frinks was an unsung hero of the civil rights movement for 30 years; leading countless youth and adults; many of whom were African American and Native American. He was arrested eighty-seven times for his civil rights activities. A veteran of the United States Army, he served during World War II as a staff sergeant at Fort McCullough, Alabama. After his military service, he returned to Edenton and married Ruth Holley. They had one daughter, Goldi Ann Frinks Wells.
Frinks became involved in civil rights activism and organizing in 1956 in an effort to desegregate restaurants, theaters, stores, and other public spaces. He also led the fight to end Jim Crow practices. He used many of the same nonviolent tactics of civil disobedience used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. such as sit ins, demonstrations, protests, and marches. Frinks was selected by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to become Field Secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); a position he held until 1977.
His unorthodox style was extremely effective and earned him the nickname of “The Great Agitator”. Frinks lead over a dozen civil rights movements during his career as an activist; three of which were on par with movements led in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. His activism was not limited only to North Carolina. A great deal of the organizing for the civil rights organizing in Selma, Alabama was conducted in in Frinks’ home. He also assisted with organizing the March on Washington. Leading efforts to advocate on behalf of individuals experiencing racial discrimination was also a hallmark of Frink’s activism. Joann Little was one such individual. She was an African American woman accused of killing the jailer who had assaulted her while she was in prison in the 1970’s. Frinks also advocated on behalf of the Tuscarora Indians in 1973; marching to the state capital to support the group in gaining tribal recognition as well as representation on the Robeson County School Board.
Frinks is remembered as having some unorthodox ways; frequently dressing in a gold colored jumpsuit or sometimes a dashiki adorned with gold chains with a cross. To energize meetings, he might jump on a table. At one time, Frinks set a coop of chickens free around a courthouse building in Alabama to delay the start of a court hearing; a strategy he may have employed on more than one occasion.
He also played an integral role in advocating on behalf of four black teenagers in 1993. The teens were arrested after a fight at a bowling alley in Hampton, Virginia. Frinks became involved on behalf of the NAACP over concerns that the charges against the teens were excessive. One of the youths being charged, was a local football and basketball standout, Allen Iverson. Iverson maintained his innocence; stating that he left the area as the fight started. Iverson felt he was being targeted because he was a “star”. He had been sentenced to five years in prison. Frinks involvement was instrumental in bringing national attention to Iverson and the incident. 60 Minutes covered the story and Governor Douglas Wilder would eventually commute his sentence. Iverson was then able to attend Georgetown University and play basketball. He went pro just two years later and experienced great success as shooting guard in the NBA.
“If you want me to sing this Christmas song with the feeling and the meaning, you better see if you can locate that check.” -Mahalia Jackson
Mahaila Jackson (1927-1971) is celebrated as one of the greatest gospel singers of all time. She is referred to as “The Queen Of Gospel”. As a child, she shared a small “shotgun” house with 13 people. Raised by an aunt after the death of her mother, Jackson quit school in 4th grade to help out at home. Her amazing vocal skills were evident even when she was a young child. She moved to Chicago at age 16 looking for better opportunities. Instead, she found only low-income domestic work. While in Chicago she joined Greater Salem Baptist Church and began touring with the Johnson Brothers as a “fish and bread” singer (singing for donations). She would later sell 10 cent tickets for her performances and also found work singing at funerals and revivals. She promised to live a pure life and not use her vocal skills for secular entertainment….a promise she kept. Continue reading “Mahalia Jackson: Serious About Securing The Bag!!”→
On April 3, 2018, Dr. Bernice King and her siblings took part in a service at Mason Temple Church in Memphis, TN to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination which occurred on April 4, 1968. The last public speech given by King was at Mason Temple on April 3, 1968. Bernice King comments on the trauma and grief she and her siblings still experience even as adults. …..50 years later. Not only was Dr.
King assassinated, but so was King’s mother, Alberta King who was shot and killed while playing the organ at a church in 1974. King’s brother Rev. Alfred Williams died from drowning in 1969. Many felt the “accidental drowning” may not have been an accident. Alfred King was also very active in the civil rights movement and worked closely with his brother.
Bernice King’s words in commemorating the 50th anniversary of her father’s assassination, are both poignant and moving as she reflects on experiencing the grief and trauma of the father that they “have yet bury“. The grief and trauma of these experiences is still present with them……… 50 years later.
Click on the link below to view an excerpt of Bernice King’s comments:
MLK QUOTE: “Be concerned about your brother……either we go up together or we go down together.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
MLK made this quote on, April 3, 1968, during what would be his last speech at Mason Temple Pentecostal Church in Memphis, TN. King was in town to support black sanitation workers who were seeking better pay and working conditions. In this famous “mountain top” speech, some felt King seemed to be keenly aware that his life might be cut short.
On April 4, 1968, King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel. Originally, James Earl Ray was arrested and convicted of King’s murder. He later recanted his confession. However many felt Ray was not King’s killer and that there was a conspiracy between the US government and the mafia to murder King. An initial ruling found that conspiracy was proved. However, the ruling was later dismissed by the Department of Justice due to a lack of evidence.
Check out the video link to view an excerpt from this historic speech:
Jimmie Lee Jackson (1938 – 1965) was born in Marion, Alabama. In February, 1965, Jackson was a 26 year old Vietnam veteran, a father, and the youngest deacon at his church. He worked as a laborer. Jackson was also an active supporter of voting rights. He had been working with other activists to advocate for voting rights in Selma and Marion, Alabama. When Dr. Martin Luther King arrived in Selma in 1965, Jackson had already attempted to register to vote several times. Dr. King decided to bring the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to Selma because he was concerned about the police brutality being experienced by non-violent black activists. He hoped to get the attention of national media outlets to the violence that was occurring. He hoped this attention would put pressure on President Lyndon Johnson to pass voting rights legislation.
Powerful quote from weeklysift.com! Dr. King’s legacy is being both sanitized and euthanized!
“We celebrate his birthday and make anniversaries of noteworthy events in his life, but by their very veneration the Powers That Be have sanitized Dr. King’s memory, removing everything they find threatening.” -Weeklysift.com