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March on Washington

Golden Asro Frinks: “The Great Agitator”

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Golden Asro Finks 1976
Golden Asro Frinks (right) (1920-2004)

 

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.

Frinks died in 2004.  He was 84 years old.

Sources:

http://wakeforestgazette.com/golden-frinks-organizing-the-grassroots/

 

https://www.ncpedia.org/biography/frinks-golden

 

 

 

 

Happy 106th Birthday Dr. Dorothy Height

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Happy 106th Birthday Dr. Dorothy Height!
Born on March 24, 1912, in Richmond, VA, she spent her life fighting for civil rights and women’s rights. One of Height’s major accomplishments was directing the integration of all of the YWCA’s centers in 1946. In 1957, Height became the president of the National Council of Negro Women. In 1963, Height was one of the organizers of the famed March on Washington. Ironically, she, nor any other women were allowed to speak at the march.

54th Anniversary of “I Have A Dream Speech”

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

August 28, 2017 marks the 54th anniversary of the historic “I Have A Dream Speech” given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in Washington, DC during the March on Washington.  More than 200,000 flooded the capital for the historic speech.  Below are some little known facts about the March that you may not know.

  • The March on Washington along with the speech given by Dr. King was said to pressure President Kennedy to approve federal civil rights legislation in Congress.
  • Dr. King was not the “originator” of the “I have a dream” language contained in his speech. It is likely that this language was first used by then 22 year old Prathia Hall after the burning of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in 1962.  King had preached at a church service following the bombing.  Prathia Hall prayed during the service.  During her prayer she shared the “I have a dream” language.  Check out our previous Black Mail post for more information on Prathia Hall.  https://wordpress.com/post/blackmail4u.com/169
  • Originally, the speech was entitled, “Normalcy – Never Again” and did not contain any “I have a dream” wording. Dr. King was encouraged by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson who whispered to him during the speech, “Tell ‘em about the dream Martin.  Tell em’ about the dream.“
  • Dr. King was the last speaker of the day. Many of the march participants, had already left to return to their homes and missed the historic speech.
  • William Sullivan, head of the FBI’s domestic intelligence division wrote a memo after the speech labeling Dr. King “as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”
  • King’s speech, initially did not get much attention in the media. The march itself received most of the media attention.  By the time of King’s death in 1968, the speech, had been largely forgotten.
  • Dr. King first shared, “I have a dream” during a speech in Detroit two months before the March on Washington. Several of his staffers actually tried to discourage him from using the language again.

Check out a video excerpt of the speech:

Source(s):

Blackmail4u.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I47Y6VHc3Ms&feature=yout

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/08/i-have-a-dream-speech-facts-trivia.html

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/28/us/mlk-i-have-a-dream-9-things/index.html

1963 Walk To Freedom: 1st Time “I Have A Dream Speech” Shared By MLK

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

(11886) Civil Rights, Marches, "Walk to Freedom", Detroit, 1963

Left to right: Walter Reuther, Benjamin McFall, James Del Rio, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rev. C.L. Franklin. Behind Franklin is Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanagh.

Two months before the “March On Washington” was held, there was The “Walk To Freedom”  on June 23, 1963.  Held in Detroit, it was the largest ever civil rights demonstration in the country at the time. It was estimated that approximately 125,000 people marched down Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

It was also the first time that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous, “I Have A Dream Speech”.  National and state leaders who marched along with Reverend King included United Auto Workers president Walter Reuther, former Michigan governor John B. Swainson, and Detroit mayor Jerome Cavanagh.

The march ended at Cobo Hall where Dr. King was cheered by thousands of supporters when he stated that segregation needed to end.  Dr. King believed that it was the responsibility of African Americans to take part in peaceful demonstrations like the Walk to Freedom, which he called, “one of the most wonderful things that has happened in America.”

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