Black History Moment: 59 Years Ago Today, Ms. Rosa Parks Refused To Surrender Her Seat On A Montgomery, Alabama Bus. Sparked A Nation.


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Rosa Parks

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African-American civil rights activist, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement”. Her birthday, February 4, and the day she was arrested, December 1, have both become Rosa Parks Day, commemorated in both California and Ohio.

 

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake‘s order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps, including Irene Morgan in 1946,Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, and the members of the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit (Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) who were arrested in Montgomery months before Parks.NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws, although eventually her case became bogged down in the state courts while the Browder v. Gayle case succeeded.

 

Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.

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At the time, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for training activists for workers’ rights and racial equality. She acted as a private citizen “tired of giving in”. Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job as a seamstress in a local department store.

 

Eventually, she moved to Detroit, where she briefly found similar work. From 1965 to 1988 she served as secretary and receptionist to John Conyers, an African-American U.S. Representative. After retirement, Parks wrote her autobiography and lived a largely private life in Detroit. In her final years, she suffered from dementia.

 

Parks received national recognition, including the NAACP’s 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman and second non-U.S. government official to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.

 

Rosa Parks Lying in Honor

From October 30-31, 2005, Rosa Parks lay in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. Parks was the first woman to lay in honor in the Capitol Rotunda and the second African-American. Parks is best known as a civil rights pioneer. She died on October 24, 2005, in Detroit, Michigan. Authority for use of the Rotunda granted by Senate Concurrent Resolution 61, 109th Congress, 1st Session, agreed to October 29, 2005.

 

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This official Architect of the Capitol photograph is being made available for educational, scholarly, news or personal purposes (not advertising or any other commercial use). When any of these images is used the photographic credit line should read “Architect of the Capitol.” These images may not be used in any way that would imply endorsement by the Architect of the Capitol or the United States Congress of a product, service or point of view. For more information visit www.aoc.gov.

 

Rosa Parks Statue

On February 27, 2013, a statue of Rosa Parks commissioned by Congress was unveiled in National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, approximately 100 years after her birth on February 4, 1913. Rosa Parks, whose arrest in 1955 for refusing to yield her seat on a segregated bus to a white passenger helped ignite the modern American civil rights movement. This bronze statue depicts Parks seated on a rock-like formation of which she seems almost a part, symbolizing her famous refusal to give up her bus seat. The statue is close to nine feet tall including its pedestal. It weighs 600 pounds and its granite pedestal, partially hollowed out inside, weighs 2,100 pounds. The pedestal is made of Raven Black granite and inscribed simply with her name and life dates, “Rosa Parks/1913–2005.” More:go.usa.gov/2xJz

 

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This official Architect of the Capitol photograph is being made available for educational, scholarly, news or personal purposes (not advertising or any other commercial use). When any of these images is used the photographic credit line should read “Architect of the Capitol.” These images may not be used in any way that would imply endorsement by the Architect of the Capitol or the United States Congress of a product, service or point of view. For more information visit www.aoc.gov.

 

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Early years

Rosa Parks was born Rosa Louise McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama, on February 4, 1913, to Leona (née Edwards), a teacher, and James McCauley, a          carpenter. She was of African ancestry, though one her great-grandfathers was Scots-Irish and one of her great-grandmothers was a slave of Native American descent. She was small as a child and suffered poor health with chronic tonsillitis. When her parents separated, she moved with her mother to Pine Level, just outside the capital of Montgomery. She grew up on a farm with her maternal grandparents, mother, and younger brother Sylvester. They all were members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), a century-old independent black denomination founded by free blacks in Philadelphia in the early nineteenth century.

 

McCauley attended rural schools until the age of eleven. As a student at the Industrial School for Girls in Montgomery, she took academic and vocational courses. Parks went on to a laboratory school set up by the Alabama State Teachers College for Negroes for secondary education, but dropped out in order to care for her grandmother and later her mother, after they became ill.

 

Around the start of the 20th century, the former Confederate states had passed new constitutions and electoral laws that effectively disfranchised black voters and, in Alabama, many poor white voters as well. Under the white-established Jim Crow laws, passed after Democrats regained control of southern legislatures, racial segregation was imposed in public facilities and retail stores in the South, including public transportation. Bus and train companies enforced seating policies with separate sections for blacks and whites. School bus transportation was unavailable in any form for black schoolchildren in the South, and black education was always underfunded.

 

Parks recalled going to elementary school in Pine Level, where school buses took white students to their new school and black students had to walk to theirs:

 

I’d see the bus pass every day… But to me, that was a way of life; we had no choice but to accept what was the custom. The bus was among the first ways I realized there was a black world and a white world.

 

Although Parks’ autobiography recounts early memories of the kindness of white strangers, she could not ignore the racism of her society. When the Ku Klux Klan marched down the street in front of their house, Parks recalls her grandfather guarding the front door with a shotgun. The Montgomery Industrial School, founded and staffed by white northerners for black children, was burned twice by arsonists. Its faculty was ostracized by the white community.

 

In 1932, Rosa married Raymond Parks, a barber from Montgomery. He was a member of the NAACP, which at the time was collecting money to support the defense of the Scottsboro Boys, a group of black men falsely accused of raping two white women. Rosa took numerous jobs, ranging from domestic worker to hospital aide. At her husband’s urging, she finished her high school studies in 1933, at a time when less than 7% of African Americans had a high school diploma. Despite the Jim Crow laws and discrimination by registrars, she succeeded in registering to vote on her third try.

 

In December 1943, Parks became active in the Civil Rights Movement, joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP, and was elected secretary. She later said, “I was the only woman there, and they needed a secretary, and I was too timid to say no.” She continued as secretary until 1957. She worked for the local NAACP leader E.D. Nixon, although he said, “Women don’t need to be nowhere but in the kitchen.” When she asked “Well, what about me?”, he replied “I need a secretary and you are a good one.”

 

In 1944, in her role as secretary, she investigated the gang-rape of Recy Taylor, a black woman from Abbeville, Alabama. Parks and other civil rights activists organized the “Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor”, launching what the Chicago Defender called “the strongest campaign for equal justice to be seen in a decade.”

 

Although never a member of the Communist Party she and her husband did attend meetings and the Scottsboro case was a case that had been brought to prominence by the Communist Party.

 

In the 1940s, Parks and her husband were members of the Voters’ League. Sometime soon after 1944, she held a brief job at Maxwell Air Force Base, which, despite its location in Montgomery, Alabama, did not permit racial segregation because it was federal property. She rode on its integrated trolley. Speaking to her biographer, Parks noted, “You might just say Maxwell opened my eyes up.” Parks worked as a housekeeper and seamstress for Clifford and Virginia Durr, a white couple. Politically liberal, the Durrs became her friends. They encouraged—and eventually helped sponsor—Parks in the summer of 1955 to attend the Highlander Folk School, an education center for activism in workers’ rights and racial equality in Monteagle, Tennessee.

 

In August 1955, black teenager Emmett Till was brutally murdered after reportedly flirting with a young white woman while visiting relatives in Mississippi.On November 27, 1955, Rosa Parks attended a mass meeting in Montgomery that addressed this case as well as the recent murders of the activists George W. Lee and Lamar Smith. The featured speaker was T. R. M. Howard, a black civil rights leader from Mississippi who headed the Regional Council of Negro Leadership. The discussions concerned actions blacks could take to work for their rights.

 

Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

 

Montgomery buses: law and prevailing customs

In 1900, Montgomery had passed a city ordinance to segregate bus passengers by race. Conductors were empowered to assign seats to achieve that goal. According to the law, no passenger would be required to move or give up his seat and stand if the bus was crowded and no other seats were available. Over time and by custom, however, Montgomery bus drivers adopted the practice of requiring black riders to move when there were no white-only seats left.

The No. 2857 bus on which Parks was riding before her arrest (a GM "old-look" transit bus, serial number 1132), is now a museum exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum.

The No. 2857 bus on which Parks was riding before her arrest (a GM “old-look” transit bus, serial number 1132), is now a museum exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum.

The first four rows of seats on each Montgomery bus were reserved for whites. Buses had “colored” sections for black people generally in the rear of the bus, although blacks comprised more than 75% of the ridership. The sections were not fixed but were determined by placement of a movable sign. Black people could sit in the middle rows until the white section filled; if more whites needed seats, blacks were to move to seats in the rear, stand, or, if there was no room, leave the bus. Black people could not sit across the aisle in the same row as white people. The driver could move the “colored” section sign, or remove it altogether. If white people were already sitting in the front, black people had to board at the front to pay the fare, then disembark and reenter through the rear door.

 

For years, the black community had complained that the situation was unfair. Parks said, “My resisting being mistreated on the bus did not begin with that particular arrest…I did a lot of walking in Montgomery.”

 

One day in 1943, Parks boarded the bus and paid the fare. She then moved to her seat but driver James F. Blake told her to follow city rules and enter the bus again from the back door. Parks exited the bus, but before she could re-board at the rear door, Blake drove off, leaving her to walk home in the rain.

 

Her refusal to move

After working all day, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus around 6 p.m., Thursday, December 1, 1955, in downtown Montgomery. She paid her fare and sat in an empty seat in the first row of back seats reserved for blacks in the “colored” section. Near the middle of the bus, her row was directly behind the ten seats reserved for white passengers. Initially, she did not notice that the bus driver was the same man, James F. Blake, who had left her in the rain in 1943. As the bus traveled along its regular route, all of the white-only seats in the bus filled up. The bus reached the third stop in front of the Empire Theater, and several white passengers boarded.

 

Blake noted that two or three white passengers were standing, as the front of the bus had filled to capacity. He moved the “colored” section sign behind Parks and demanded that four black people give up their seats in the middle section so that the white passengers could sit. Years later, in recalling the events of the day, Parks said, “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.”

 

By Parks’ account, Blake said, “Y’all better make it light on yourselves and let me have those seats.” Three of them complied. Parks said, “The driver wanted us to stand up, the four of us. We didn’t move at the beginning, but he says, ‘Let me have these seats.’ And the other three people moved, but I didn’t.” The black man sitting next to her gave up his seat.

 

Parks moved, but toward the window seat; she did not get up to move to the redesignated colored section. Blake said, “Why don’t you stand up?” Parks responded, “I don’t think I should have to stand up.” Blake called the police to arrest Parks. When recalling the incident for Eyes on the Prize, a 1987 public television series on the Civil Rights Movement, Parks said, “When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.’ I said, ‘You may do that.'”

Eyes on the Prize – 01 – Awakenings 1954-1956

Published on Dec 2, 2013

Awakenings focuses on the catalytic events of 1954-1956. The Mississippi lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till led to a widely publicized trial where a courageous black man took the stand and accused two white men of murder. In Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to yield her bus seat to a white man and triggered a yearlong boycott that resulted in the desegregation of public buses. Ordinary citizens and local leaders joined the black struggle for freedom. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was formed. In response, may white southerners closed ranks in opposition to the burgeoning black rights movement. Racial discrimination finally became a political issue.

 

 

Rosa Parks’ arrest
Booking photo of Parks
Police report on Parks, December 1, 1955, page 1
Police report on Parks, December 1, 1955, page 2
Fingerprint card of Parks

During a 1956 radio interview with Sydney Rogers in West Oakland several months after her arrest, Parks said she had decided, “I would have to know for once and for all what rights I had as a human being and a citizen.”

 

In her autobiography, My Story she said:

 

People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.

 

When Parks refused to give up her seat, a police officer arrested her. As the officer took her away, she recalled that she asked, “Why do you push us around?” She remembered him saying, “I don’t know, but the law’s the law, and you’re under arrest.” She later said, “I only knew that, as I was being arrested, that it was the very last time that I would ever ride in humiliation of this kind…”

 

Parks was charged with a violation of Chapter 6, Section 11 segregation law of the Montgomery City code, although technically she had not taken a white-only seat; she had been in a colored section. Edgar Nixon, president of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP and leader of the Pullman Porters Union, and her friend Clifford Durr bailed Parks out of jail the next evening.

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Montgomery Bus Boycott

Nixon conferred with Jo Ann Robinson, an Alabama State College professor and member of the Women’s Political Council(WPC), about the Parks case. Robinson believed it important to seize the opportunity and stayed up all night mimeographing over 35,000 handbills announcing a bus boycott. The Women’s Political Council was the first group to officially endorse the boycott.

 

On Sunday, December 4, 1955, plans for the Montgomery Bus Boycott were announced at black churches in the area, and a front-page article in the Montgomery Advertiser helped spread the word. At a church rally that night, those attending agreed unanimously to continue the boycott until they were treated with the level of courtesy they expected, until black drivers were hired, and until seating in the middle of the bus was handled on a first-come basis.

 

The next day, Parks was tried on charges of disorderly conduct and violating a local ordinance. The trial lasted 30 minutes. After being found guilty and fined $10, plus $4 in court costs, Parks appealed her conviction and formally challenged the legality of racial segregation. In a 1992 interview with National Public Radio‘s Lynn Neary, Parks recalled:

 

I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time… there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn’t hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.

 

On the day of Parks’ trial — December 5, 1955 — the WPC distributed the 35,000 leaflets. The handbill read:

 

“We are…asking every Negro to stay off the buses Monday in protest of the arrest and trial … You can afford to stay out of school for one day. If you work, take a cab, or walk. But please, children and grown-ups, don’t ride the bus at all on Monday. Please stay off the buses Monday.”

 

It rained that day, but the black community persevered in their boycott. Some rode in carpools, while others traveled in black-operated cabs that charged the same fare as the bus, 10 cents. Most of the remainder of the 40,000 black commuters walked, some as far as 20 miles (32 km).

 

That evening after the success of the one-day boycott, a group of 16 to 18 people gathered at the Mt. Zion AME Zion Church to discuss boycott strategies. At that time Parks was introduced but not asked to speak, despite a standing ovation and calls from the crowd for her to speak; when she asked if she should say something, the reply was, “Why, you’ve said enough.”

 

The group agreed that a new organization was needed to lead the boycott effort if it were to continue. Rev. Ralph Abernathy suggested the name “Montgomery Improvement Association” (MIA). The name was adopted, and the MIA was formed. Its members elected as their president Martin Luther King, Jr., a relative newcomer to Montgomery, who was a young and mostly unknown minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

 

That Monday night, 50 leaders of the African-American community gathered to discuss actions to respond to Parks’ arrest. Edgar Nixon, the president of the NAACP, said, “My God, look what segregation has put in my hands!”[32] Parks was considered the ideal plaintiff for a test case against city and state segregation laws, as she was seen as a responsible, mature woman with a good reputation. She was securely married and employed, was regarded as possessing a quiet and dignified demeanor, and was politically savvy. King said that Parks was regarded as “one of the finest citizens of Montgomery—not one of the finest Negro citizens, but one of the finest citizens of Montgomery.”

 

Parks’ court case was being slowed down in appeals through the Alabama courts on their way to a Federal appeal and the process could have taken years.Holding together a boycott for that length of time would have been a great strain. In the end, black residents of Montgomery continued the boycott for 381 days. Dozens of public buses stood idle for months, severely damaging the bus transit company’s finances, until the city repealed its law requiring segregation on public buses following the US Supreme Court ruling in Browder v. Gayle that it was unconstitutional. Parks was not included as a plaintiff in the Browder decision because the attorney Fred Gray concluded the courts would perceive they were attempting to circumvent her prosecution on her charges working their way through the Alabama state court system.

 

Parks played an important part in raising international awareness of the plight of African Americans and the civil rights struggle. King wrote in his 1958 bookStride Toward Freedom that Parks’ arrest was the catalyst rather than the cause of the protest: “The cause lay deep in the record of similar injustices.”[35] He wrote, “Actually, no one can understand the action of Mrs. Parks unless he realizes that eventually the cup of endurance runs over, and the human personality cries out, ‘I can take it no longer.

 

Later years

Rosa Parks Interview (Merv Griffin Show 1983)

Published on Jun 26, 2012

Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks tells Merv the famous story of her refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 and her subsequent arrest— the event widely regarded as the spark which lit the flames of the Civil Rights Movement. She also talks about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Merv Griffin had over 5000 guests appear on his show from 1963-1986.

 

 

After her arrest, Parks became an icon of the Civil Rights Movement but suffered hardships as a result. Due to economic sanctions used against activists, she lost her job at the department store. Her husband quit his job after his boss forbade him to talk about his wife or the legal case. Parks traveled and spoke extensively about the issues.

 

In 1957, Raymond and Rosa Parks left Montgomery for Hampton, Virginia; mostly because she was unable to find work. She also disagreed with King and other leaders of Montgomery’s struggling civil rights movement about how to proceed. In Hampton, she found a job as a hostess in an inn at Hampton Institute, a historically black college.

 

Later that year, at the urging of her brother and sister-in-law in Detroit, Sylvester and Daisy McCauley, Rosa and Raymond Parks, and her mother moved north to join them. Parks worked as a seamstress until 1965.

 

That year, John Conyers, an African-American U.S. Representative, hired her as a secretary and receptionist for his congressional office in Detroit. She held this position until she retired in 1988.[6] In a telephone interview with CNN on October 24, 2005, Conyers recalled, “You treated her with deference because she was so quiet, so serene — just a very special person … There was only one Rosa Parks.”

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The 1970s was a decade of loss and suffering for Parks in her personal life. Her family was plagued with illness; she and her husband had suffered stomach ulcers for years and both required hospitalization. Then in their 60s, her brother Sylvester and husband were both diagnosed with cancer, as was her mother. Parks sometimes visited three hospitals in the same day. In spite of her fame and constant speaking engagements, Parks was not a wealthy woman. She donated most of the money from speaking to civil rights causes, and lived on her staff salary and her husband’s pension. Medical bills and time missed from work caused financial strain that required her to accept assistance from church groups and admirers.

 

Her husband died of throat cancer on August 19, 1977 and her brother, her only sibling, died of cancer that November. Her personal ordeals caused her to become removed from the civil rights movement. She learned from a newspaper of the death of Fannie Lou Hamer, once a close friend. Parks suffered two broken bones in a fall on an icy sidewalk, an injury which caused considerable and recurring pain. She decided to move with her mother into an apartment for senior citizens. There she nursed her mother Leona through the final stages of cancer and geriatric dementia until she died in 1979 at the age of 92.

 

In 1980, Parks—widowed and without immediate family—rededicated herself to civil rights and educational organizations. She co-founded the Rosa L. Parks Scholarship Foundation for college-bound high school seniors, to which she donated most of her speaker fees. In February 1987 she co-founded, with Elaine Eason Steele, the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development, an institute that runs the “Pathways to Freedom” bus tours which introduce young people to important civil rights and Underground Railroad sites throughout the country. Though her health declined as she entered her seventies, Parks continued to make many appearances and devoted considerable energy to these causes.

 

In 1992, Parks published Rosa Parks: My Story, an autobiography aimed at younger readers, which recounts her life leading to her decision to keep her seat on the bus. A few years later, she published her memoir, titled Quiet Strength (1995), which focuses on her faith in her life. On August 30, 1994, Joseph Skipper, an African-American drug addict, entered her home and attacked the 81-year-old Parks in the course of a robbery. The incident sparked outrage throughout the United States. After his arrest, Skipper said that he had not known he was in Parks’ home but recognized her after entering. Skipper asked, “Hey, aren’t you Rosa Parks?” to which she replied, “Yes.” She handed him $3 when he demanded money, and an additional $50 when he demanded more. Before fleeing, Skipper struck Parks in the face. Skipper was arrested and charged with various breaking and entering offenses against Parks and other neighborhood victims. He admitted guilt and, on August 8, 1995, was sentenced to eight to 15 years in prison. Suffering anxiety upon returning to her small central Detroit house following the ordeal, Parks moved into Riverfront Towers, a secure high-rise apartment building where she lived for the rest of her life.

 

In 1994 the Ku Klux Klan applied to sponsor a portion of United States Interstate 55 in St. Louis County and Jefferson County, Missouri, near  St. Louis, for cleanup (which allowed them to have signs stating that this section of highway was maintained by the organization). Since the state could not refuse the KKK’s sponsorship, the Missouri legislature voted to name the highway section the “Rosa Parks Highway”. When asked how she felt about this honor, she is reported to have commented, “It is always nice to be thought of.”

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In 1999 Parks filmed a cameo appearance for the television series Touched by an Angel. It was to be her last appearance on film; health problems made her increasingly an invalid.

 

In 2002 Parks received an eviction notice from her $1800 per month apartment due to non-payment of rent. Parks was incapable of managing her own financial affairs by this time due to age-related physical and mental decline. Her rent was paid from a collection taken by Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit. When her rent became delinquent and her impending eviction was highly publicized in 2004, executives of the ownership company announced they had forgiven the back rent and would allow Parks, by then 91 and in extremely poor health, to live rent free in the building for the remainder of her life. Her heirs and various interest organizations alleged at the time that her financial affairs had been mismanaged.

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Legacy and honors

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  • 2000,
    • her home state awarded her the Alabama Academy of Honor,
    • she receives the first Governor’s Medal of Honor for Extraordinary Courage.
    • She was awarded two dozen honorary doctorates from universities worldwide
    • She is made an honorary member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
    • the Rosa Parks Library and Museum on the campus of Troy University in Montgomery was dedicated to her.

 

 

  • 2005,
    • On October 30, 2005 President George W. Bush issued a proclamation ordering that all flags on U.S. public areas both within the country and abroad be flown at half-staff on the day of Parks’ funeral.
    • Metro Transit in King County, Washington placed posters and stickers dedicating the first forward-facing seat of all its buses in Parks’ memory shortly after her death,
    • the American Public Transportation Association declared December 1, 2005, the 50th anniversary of her arrest, to be a “National Transit Tribute to Rosa Parks Day”.
    • On that anniversary, President George W. Bush signed Pub.L. 109–116, directing that a statue of Parks be placed in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. In signing the resolution directing the Joint Commission on the Library to do so, the President stated:

      By placing her statue in the heart of the nation’s Capitol, we commemorate her work for a more perfect union, and we commit ourselves to continue to struggle for justice for every American.

    • Portion of Interstate 96 in Detroit was renamed by the state legislature as the Rosa Parks Memorial Highway in December 2005.

 

 

 

 

 

  • 2012, President Barack Obama visited the famous Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum after an event in Dearborn, Michigan, April 18, 2012.

 

  • 2012, A street in West Valley City, Utah‘s second largest city, leading to the Utah Cultural Celebration Center is renamed Rosa Parks Drive.

 

  • 2013,
    • On February 1, President Barack Obama proclaimed February 4, 2013, as the “100th Anniversary of the Birth of Rosa Parks.” He called “upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor Rosa Parks’s enduring legacy.”
    • On February 4, to celebrate Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday, the Henry Ford Museum declared the day a “National Day of Courage” with 12 hours of virtual and on-site activities featuring nationally recognized speakers, musical and dramatic interpretative performances, a panel presentation of Rosa’s Storyand a reading of the tale Quiet Strength. The actual bus on which Rosa Parks sat was made available for the public to board and sit in the seat that Rosa Parks refused to give up.
    • On February 4, 2,000 birthday wishes gathered from people throughout the United States were transformed into 200 graphics messages at a celebration held on her 100th Birthday at the Davis Theater for the Performing Arts in Montgomery, Alabama. This was the 100th Birthday Wishes Project managed by the Rosa Parks Museum at Troy University and the Mobile Studio and was also a declared event by the Senate.
    • During both events the USPS unveiled a postage stamp in her honor.
    • On February 27, Parks became the first African American woman to have her likeness depicted in National Statuary Hall. The monument, created by sculptor Eugene Daub, is a part of the Capitol Art Collection among nine other females featured in the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Parks and U.S. President Bill Clinton

Parks and U.S. President Bill Clinton

Rosa Parks Transit Center, 360 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.

Rosa Parks Transit Center, 360 Michigan Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.

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Veterans Day 2014.


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Presidential Proclamation — Veterans Day, 2014

VETERANS DAY, 2014

- – – – – – -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A PROCLAMATION

 

Since the birth of our Nation, American patriots have stepped forward to serve our country and defend our way of life.  With honor and distinction, generations of servicemen and women have taken up arms to win our independence, preserve our Union, and secure our freedom.  From the Minutemen to our Post-9/11 Generation, these heroes have put their lives on the line so that we might live in a world that is safer, freer, and more just, and we owe them a profound debt of gratitude.  On Veterans Day, we salute the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who have rendered the highest service any American can offer, and we rededicate ourselves to fulfilling our commitment to all those who serve in our name.

 

Today, we are reminded of our solemn obligation:  to serve our veterans as well as they have served us.  As we continue our responsible drawdown from the war in Afghanistan and more members of our military return to civilian life, we must support their transition and make sure they have access to the resources and benefits they have earned.  My Administration is working to end the tragedy of homelessness among our veterans, and we are committed to providing them with quality health care, access to education, and the tools they need to find a rewarding career.  As a Nation, we must ensure that every veteran has the chance to share in the opportunity he or she has helped to defend.  Those who have served in our Armed Forces have the experience, skills, and dedication necessary to achieve success as members of our civilian workforce, and it is critical that we harness their talent.

 

Across our country, veterans who fought to protect our democracy around the globe are strengthening it here at home. Once leaders in the Armed Forces, they are now pioneers of industry and pillars of their communities.  Their character reflects our enduring American spirit, and in their example, we find inspiration and strength.

 

This day, and every day, we pay tribute to America’s sons and daughters who have answered our country’s call.  We recognize the sacrifice of those who have been part of the finest fighting force the world has ever known and the loved ones who stand beside them.  We will never forget the heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice and all those who have not yet returned home.  As a grateful Nation, let us show our appreciation by honoring all our veterans and working to ensure the promise of America is within the reach of all who have protected it.

 

With respect for and in recognition of the contributions our service members have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor our Nation’s veterans.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2014, as Veterans Day.  I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through appropriate public ceremonies and private prayers.  I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I call on all Americans, including civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, and communities to support this day with commemorative expressions and programs.

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.

 

BARACK OBAMA

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U.S. President Barack Obama participates in the dignified transfer of U.S. Army Sgt. Dale R. Griffin at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware

History of Veterans Day

 

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

 

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities.  This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

 

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

 

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

 

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

 

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

 

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

 

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

 

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation”which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

 

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On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.

 

In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.

 

The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

 

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

 

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

 

Happy Veterans Day

 

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Iraq veteran, activist Tomas Young dies at 34

 

Published on Nov 10, 2014

Iraq War veteran and anti-war activist Tomas Young has died at the age of 34. One of the first to openly oppose the US-led war after being paralyzed while deployed, Young spoke to many, including RT, about why we should demand more of our leaders. RT’s Manila Chan has the interview.

 

 

 

Vets can make out with several freebies on Veterans Day

 

Veterans and active military personnel can eat for free at many establishments on Veterans Day. (Photo: Largemouth Communications)

Veterans and active military personnel can eat for free at many establishments on Veterans Day.
(Photo: Largemouth Communications)

Let’s say you’re a veteran with lots of free time — and big ambitions to rake in plenty of pay-back for your service to your country.

 

Well, some of America’s biggest and most patriotic brands have three words of advice for you: go for it.

 

If you play your cards right on Veterans Day — and some other days, too — here’s how freebie-seeking veterans and active military can cash in. This list is not comprehensive — and some require military ID or have other requirements.

 

• Get a free haircut. Veterans who visit Great Clips shops on Nov. 11, can either receive a free haircut — or a card for a free haircut to redeem by Dec. 31.

• Eat a free meal. At Hooters, the freebie meal on Veterans Day can be worth up to $10.99, with any drink purchase. Applebee’s, Chili’s and California Pizza Kitchen all offer free meals from a special menu to vets and active military.

• Eat a free buffet. Golden Corral is serving free dinner buffets (with beverages) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 17, at all restaurants, to anyone who is serving or who has served in the military. That same date, Bonanza Steakhouses also will offer free buffets for vets and active military.

• Down a free burger. Shoney’s offers its signature All-American Burger, free, to vets or active duty military all day on Veterans Day. Or, you can head to Red Robin and get a Red’s Tavern Double burger with Bottomless Steak Fries, on the house. Max & Erma’s offers a free cheeseburger combo and dessert to vets and active military.

• Drink a free coffee. Starbucks is offering a free, tall brewed coffee on Tuesday to all U.S. military veterans and active duty servicemembers — and their spouses.

• Scarf down free pancakes. IHOP offers vets and active military free Red, White and Blue pancakes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Bob Evans also has all-you-can-eat hotcakes on Veterans Day for veterans and active military.

• Lick a free cone. Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt shops are giving away free single-scoop ice cream cones to all veterans and military personnel on Tuesday.

Work-out for free. 24-Hour Fitness offers free use of the health club to vets and active military through Tuesday.

• Enjoy a free appetizer. Red Lobster, through Thursday, is offering free appetizers to veterans and active duty military.

• Sip a free beer. Restaurants owned by CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries (including Gordon Biersch Brewery, Rock Bottom, Old Chicago Pizza and ChopHouse & Brewery) offer a free craft beer to active and retired military Tuesday.

• Down a free doughnut — and coffee. Krispy Kreme will give a free doughnut and small coffee to anyone who identifies themselves as a veteran or active duty military on Veterans Day.

• Get free game tokens. Chuck E. Cheese will give 20 free tokens to U.S. military vets and active-duty military through Saturday.

• Get your junk hauled, free. For disabled veterans, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling locations, will offer free junk removal to disabled vets who book on Veterans Day.

 

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Happy 115th Birthday Percy Lavon Julian.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Percy Lavon Julian (April 11, 1899, Montgomery, Al. – April 19, 1975, Waukegan, Illinois) was a U.S. research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants. He was the first to synthesize the natural product physostigmine, and a pioneer in the industrial large-scale chemical synthesis of the human hormones, steroidsprogesterone, and testosterone, from plant sterols such as stigmasterol and sitosterol. His work would lay the foundation for the steroid drug industry’s production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and birth control pills.

He later started his own company to synthesize steroid intermediates from the Mexican wild yam. His work helped greatly reduce the cost of steroid intermediates to large multinational pharmaceutical companies, helping to significantly expand the use of several important drugs.

During his lifetime he received more than 130 chemical patents. Julian was one of the first African-Americans to receive a doctorate in chemistry. He was the first African-American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, and the second African-American scientist inducted from any field.

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Published on May 2, 2013

The grandson of Alabama slaves, Percy Julian met with every possible barrier in a deeply segregated America. He was a man of genius, devotion, and determination. As a black man he was also an outsider, fighting to make a place for himself in a profession and country divided by bigotry – a man who would eventually find freedom in the laboratory. By the time of his death, Julian had risen to the highest levels of scientific and personal achievement, overcoming countless obstacles to become a world – class scientist, a self – millionaire, and a civil – rights pioneer………..please watch the whole damn video please and learn more about this good brother percy julian and teach your kids on black history please!

 

 

 

Percy Lavon Julian
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Julian circa 1940–1950

BornApril 11, 1899
Montgomery, AlabamaDiedApril 19, 1975 (aged 76)
Waukegan, IllinoisOccupationChemistSpouse(s)Anna Roselle JohnsonChildrenPercy Lavon Julian, Jr.
(1940–2008)
Faith Roselle Julian
(1944– )ParentsElizabeth Lena Adams
(1878–?)
James Sumner Julian
(1871–1951)

 

 

Early life and education

Percy Julian was born in Montgomery, Alabama as the first child of six born to James Sumner Julian and Elizabeth Lena Julian, née Adams. James, a graduate of what was to be Alabama State University (as was his wife), was employed as a clerk in the Railway Service of the United States Post Office, and his father had been a slave. Elizabeth worked as a school teacher. Percy Julian grew up in the time of the racist Jim Crow lawsculture in the United States. Among his childhood memories was finding a lynched man hanged from a tree while walking in the woods near his home. While it was generally unheard of for African-Americans at the time to pursue an education beyond the eighth grade, Julian’s parents steered all of their children toward higher education.

Julian attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. The college accepted few African-American students. The segregated nature of the town forced social humiliations. Julian was not allowed to live in the college dormitories and first stayed in an off-campus boarding home, which refused to serve him meals. It took him days before Julian found an establishment where he could eat. He worked firing the furnace, as a waiter, and doing other odd jobs in a fraternity house. In return, he was allowed to sleep in the attic and eat at the house. Julian graduated from DePauw in 1920 Phi Beta Kappa and valedictorian. By 1930 Julian’s father had moved the entire family to Greencastle, Indiana so that all his children could attend college at DePauw. The father was still working as a railroad postal clerk.

Julian wanted to obtain his doctorate in chemistry, but learned it would be difficult for an African-American. After graduating from DePauw, Julian became a chemistry instructor at Fisk University. He then received an Austin Fellowship in Chemistry and went to Harvard University in 1923 for his M.S. Worried that European-American students would resent being taught by an African-American, Harvard withdrew Julian’s teaching assistantship. He was unable to complete his Ph.D. at Harvard.

In 1929, while an instructor at Howard University, Julian received a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship to continue his graduate work at the University of Vienna, where he earned his PhD in 1931. He studied under Ernst Späth and was considered an impressive student. In Europe, he found freedom from the racial prejudices that had nearly stifled him in the States. He freely participated in intellectual social gatherings, went to the opera and found greater acceptance among his peers. Julian was one of the first African-Americans to receive a PhD in chemistry, after St. Elmo Brady and Edward M. A. Chandler. During Julian’s lifetime he earned more than 138 chemical patents for his work. He was the first African-American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, and the second African-American scientist inducted from any field.

After returning from Vienna, Julian taught at Howard University for one year, where he met his future wife, Anna Roselle Johnson (PhD in Sociology, 1937, University of Pennsylvania). They married on December 24, 1935 and had two children: Percy Lavon Julian, Jr. (August 31, 1940 – February 24, 2008), who became a prestigious civil rights lawyer in Madison, Wisconsin; and Faith Roselle Julian (1944– ), who still resides in their Oak Park home and often makes moving speeches about her father and his contributions to science.

At Howard, Julian got involved in university politics and set off an embarrassing chain of events. After he goaded, at the University President’s request, a white chemist named Jacob Shohan into resigning, Shohan retaliated by releasing to the local African-American newspaper the letters Julian had written to him from Vienna. The letters contained accounts of Julian’s sex life, and criticism of individual Howard faculty members. Julian’s laboratory assistant, Robert Thompson, also charged he had found his wife and Julian together in a sexual tryst.

Time_Julian

When Thompson was fired for filing a lawsuit against the University, he also gave the paper racy letters which Julian had written to him from Vienna. Through the summer of 1932, the Baltimore Afro-American published all of Julian’s letters. Eventually, the scandal, and its accompanying pressure, forced Julian to resign. He lost his position, and everything he had worked for.

After the scandal, Julian’s mentor, William Blanchard, threw him a much-needed lifeline at the lowest point in Julian’s career. Blanchard offered Julian a position to teach organic chemistry at DePauw University in 1932. Julian helped Josef Pikl, a fellow student at the University of Vienna, to come to the United States to work with him at DePauw. In 1935 Julian and Pikl completed the total synthesis of physostigmine, and confirmed the structural formula assigned to it. Robert Robinson of Oxford University in the U.K. was the first to publish a synthesis of physostigmine, but Julian noticed that the melting point of Robinson’s end product was wrong, indicating that he had not, in fact, created it. When Julian completed his synthesis, the melting point matched the correct one for natural physostigmine from the calabar bean.

Julian also extracted stigmasterol, which took its name from Physostigma venenosum, the west African calabar bean that he hoped could serve as raw material for synthesis of human steroidal hormones. At about this time in 1934, Butenandt, and Fernholz, in Germany, had shown that stigmasterol, isolated from soybean oil, could be converted to progesterone by synthetic organic chemistry.

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Private sector work: Glidden

After being denied a professorship at DePauw in 1936 for racial reasons, Julian applied for a job at the Institute of Paper Chemistry (IPC) in Wisconsin. However, the Wisconsin city of Appleton where the institute was located, was a sundown town, forbidding African-Americans from staying overnight, stating directly “No Negro should be bed or boarded overnight in Appleton”. DuPauw had offered a job to fellow chemist Josef Pikl, but declined to hire Julian, who had superlative qualifications as an organic chemist, apologizing that they were “unaware he was a Negro”.

Julian wrote to the Glidden Company, a supplier of soybean oil products, in part because his wife was suffering infertility, to request a five gallon sample of the oil to use as his starting point for the synthesis of human steroidal sex hormones. After receiving the request, W. J. O’Brien, a vice-president at Glidden made a telephone call to Julian, offering him the position of director of research at Glidden’s Soya Products Division in Chicago. He was very likely offered the job by O’Brien because he was fluent in German and Glidden had just purchased a modern continuous counter current solvent extraction plant from Germany for the extraction of vegetable oil from soybeans for paints and other uses.

Julian supervised the assembly of the plant at Glidden when he arrived in 1936. He then designed and supervised construction of the world’s first plant for the production of industrial-grade, isolated soy protein from oil-free soybean meal. Isolated soy protein could replace the more expensive milk casein in industrial applications such as coating and sizing of paper, glue for making Douglas fir plywood, and in the manufacture of water-based paints.

At the start of World War II Glidden sent a sample of Julian’s isolated soy protein to National Foam System Inc. (today a unit of Kidde Fire Fighting) of Philadelphia, PA which used it to develop Aer-O-Foam, the U.S. Navy’s beloved fire-fighting “bean soup”; and while it was not exactly Julian’s brainchild, it was his meticulous care in the preparation of the soy protein that made the fire fighting foam possible. When a hydrolyzate of isolated soy protein was fed into a water stream, the mixture was converted into a foam by means of an aerating nozzle. The soy protein foam was used to smother oil and gasoline fires aboard ships and was particularly useful on aircraft carriers. It saved the lives of thousands of sailors. Citing this, in 1947 the NAACP awarded him the Spingarn Medal, its highest honor.

Percy Julian Stamp-205x310

Steroids

Julian’s research at Glidden changed direction in 1940 when he began work on synthesizing progesteroneestrogen and testosterone from the plant sterolsstigmasterol and sitosterol, isolated from soybean oil by a foam technique he invented and patented. At that time clinicians were discovering many uses for the newly discovered hormones. However, only minute quantities could be produced from the extraction of hundreds of pounds of spinal cords.

In 1940 Julian was able to produce 100 lb of mixed soy sterols daily, which had a value of $10,000, in sex hormones. Julian was soon ozonizing 100 pounds daily of mixed sterol dibromides. The result was the female hormone progesterone which was put on the U.S. market in bulk for the first time.The soy stigmasterol was easily converted into commercial quantities of the female hormone, progesterone, and the first pound of progesterone he made, valued at $63,500 was shipped to the buyer in an armored car. Production of other sex hormones soon followed.

His work made possible the production of these hormones on a larger (kilogram) industrial scale, with the potential of reducing the cost of treating hormonal deficiencies. Julian and his co-workers obtained patents for Glidden on key processes for the preparation of progesterone and testosterone from soybean plant sterols. Product patents held by a former cartel of European pharmaceutical companies prevented a significant reduction in wholesale and retail prices for clinical use of these hormones in the 1940s.

On April 13, 1949, rheumatologist Philip Hench at the Mayo Clinic announced the dramatic effectiveness of cortisone in treating rheumatoid arthritis. The cortisone was produced by Merck at great expense using a complex 36-step synthesis developed by chemist Lewis Sarett. It started withdeoxycholic acid from cattle bile acids. On September 30, 1949, Julian announced an improvement in the process of producing cortisone. This eliminated the need to use osmium tetroxide, which was a rare and expensive chemical. By 1950, Glidden could begin producing closely related compounds which may have partial cortisone activity.

Julian also announced the synthesis, starting with the cheap and readily available pregnenolone synthesized from the soybean oil sterol, stigmasterol of the steroid cortexolone (also known as Reichstein’s Substance S), a molecule that differed from cortisone by a single missing oxygen atom; and possibly 17α-hydroxyprogesterone and pregnenetriolone, which he hoped might also be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis, but unfortunately they were not.

On April 5, 1952, biochemist Durey Peterson and microbiologist Herbert Murray at Upjohn published the first report of a fermentation process for the microbial 11α-oxygenation of steroids in a single step (by common molds of the order Mucorales). Their fermentation process could produce 11α-hydroxyprogesterone or 11α-hydroxycortisone from progesterone or Compound S, respectively, which could then by further chemical steps be converted to cortisone or 11β-hydroxycortisone (cortisol).

After two years, Glidden abandoned production of cortisone to concentrate on Substance S. Julian developed an excellent multistep process for conversion of pregnenolone, available in abundance from soybean oil sterols to cortexolone. In 1952, Glidden, which had been producing progesterone and other steroids from soybean oil, shut down its own production and began importing them from Mexico through an arrangement with Diosynth (a small Mexican company founded in 1947 by Russell Marker after leaving Syntex). Glidden’s cost of production of cortexolone was relatively high, so Upjohn decided to use progesterone, available in large quantity at low cost from Syntex, to produce cortisone and hydro cortisone.

In 1953, Glidden decided to leave the steroid business which had been relatively unprofitable over the years despite Julian’s innovative work. On December 1, 1953, Julian left Glidden after 18 years, giving up a salary of nearly $50,000 a year, to found his own company, Julian Laboratories, Inc., taking over the small, concrete-block building of Suburban Chemical Company in Franklin Park, Illinois.

On December 2, 1953, Pfizer acquired exclusive licenses of Glidden patents for the synthesis of Substance S. Pfizer had developed a fermentation process for microbial 11β-oxygenation of steroids in a single step that could convert Substance S directly to 11β-hydrocortisone (cortisol), with Syntex undertaking large-scale production of cortexolone at very low cost.

Percy Julian 3

 

Oak Park and Julian Laboratories

Around 1950 Julian moved his family from Chicago to the village of Oak Park, Illinois, where the Julians were the first African-American family. Although some residents welcomed them into the community, there was also opposition by some. Their home was fire-bombed on Thanksgiving Day, 1950, before they moved in. After the Julians had moved to Oak Park, the house was attacked with dynamite on June 12, 1951. The attacks galvanized the community and a community group was formed to support the Julians. Julian’s son later recounted that during these times, he and his father often kept watch over the family’s property by sitting in a tree with a shotgun.

In 1953, Julian founded his own research firm, Julian Laboratories, Inc. He brought many of his best chemists, including African-Americans and women, from Glidden to his own company. Julian won a contract to provide Upjohn with $2 million worth of progesterone. To compete against Syntex, he would have to use the same Mexican yam as his starting material. Julian used his own money and borrowed from friends to build a processing plant in Mexico, but he could not get a permit from the government to harvest the yams. Abraham Zlotnik, a former Jewish University of Vienna classmate whom Julian had helped escape from the Nazi European holocaust, led a search to find a new source of the yam in Guatemala for the company.

In July 1956, Julian and executives of two other American companies trying to enter the Mexican steroid intermediates market appeared before a U.S. Senate subcommittee. They testified that Syntex was using undue influence to monopolize access to the Mexican yam. The hearings resulted in Syntex signing a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department. While it did not admit to restraining trade, it promised not to do so in the future. Within five years, large American multinational pharmaceutical companies had acquired all six producers of steroid intermediates in Mexico. Four of which were Mexican-owned.

Syntex reduced the cost of butts as an intermediate more than 250-fold over twelve years, from $80 per gram in 1943 to $0.31 per gram in 1955. Competition from Upjohn and General Mills, who had together made very substantial improvements in the production of progesterone from stigmasterol, forced the price of Mexican progesterone down to less than $0.15 per gram in 1957. The price continued to fall, bottoming out at $0.08 per gram in 1968.

In 1958, Upjohn purchased 6,900 kg of progesterone from Syntex at $0.135 per gram, 6,201 kg of progesterone from Searle (who had acquired Pesa) at $0.143 per gram, 5,150 kg of progesterone from Julian Laboratories at $0.14 per gram, and 1,925 kg of progesterone from General Mills (who had acquired Protex) at $0.142 per gram.

Despite continually falling bulk prices of steroid intermediates, an oligopoly of large American multinational pharmaceutical companies kept the wholesale prices of corticosteroid drugs fixed and unchanged into the 1960s. Cortisone was fixed at $5.48 per gram from 1954, hydrocortisone fixed at $7.99 per gram from 1954, and prednisone fixed at $35.80 per gram from 1956. Merck and Roussel Uclaf concentrated on improving the production of corticosteroids from cattle bile acids. In 1960 Roussel produced almost one-third of the world’s corticosteroids from bile acids.

One year Julian Laboratories chemists found a way to quadruple the yield on a product on which they were barely breaking even. Julian reduced their price for the product from $4,000 per kg down to $400 per kg He sold the company in 1961, for $2.3 million. The U.S. and Mexico facilities were purchased by Smith Kline and Julian’s chemical plant in Guatemala was purchased by Upjohn.

In 1964, Julian founded Julian Associates and Julian Research Institute, which he managed for the rest of his life.

Percy Julian 1

National Academy of Sciences

He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1973 in recognition of his scientific achievements. He became the second African-American to be inducted, after David Blackwell.

Death

Julian died of liver cancer on April 19, 1975 in St. Theresa’s Hospital in Waukegan, Illinois and was buried in Elm Lawn Cemetery in Elmhurst, Illinois.

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Legacy and honors

 

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Nova documentary

Ruben Santiago-Hudson portrayed Percy Julian in the Public Broadcasting Service Nova documentary about his life, called Forgotten Genius. It was presented on the PBS network on February 6, 2007, with initial sponsorship by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation and further funding by theNational Endowment for the Humanities. Approximately sixty of Julian’s family members, friends, and work associates were interviewed for the docudrama.

Production on the biopic began at DePauw University‘s Greencastle campus in May 2002, and included video of Julian’s bust on display in the atrium of university’s Percy Lavon Julian Science and Mathematics Center. Completion and broadcasting of the documentary program was delayed in order for Nova to commission and publish a matching book on Julian’s life.

According to University of Illinois historian James Anderson in the film, “His story is a story of great accomplishment, of heroic efforts and overcoming tremendous odds… …a story about who we are and what we stand for, and the challenges that have been there, and the challenges that are still with us.”

 

Patents

 

Publications

 

 

 

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Next Battle: The “NO”vember 4th, 2014 Mid-Term Elections.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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The 2014 United States elections will be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested in this election along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except LouisianaMississippiNew Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races.

 

 

2014 United States elections
Midterm elections
Election day November 4
Senate elections
Seats contested 33 seats of Class II
and various mid-term vacancies

English: 2014 Map

English: 2014 Map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Map of the 2014 Senate races
Light red: Retiring Republican
Dark red: Incumbent Republican
Light blue: Retiring Democrat
Dark blue: Incumbent Democrat
Gray: no election
House elections
Seats contested All 435 seats to the 114th Congress
Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested 38

English: Color coded map for the 2014 U.S. gub...

English: Color coded map for the 2014 U.S. gubernatorial races (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Map of the 2014 gubernatorial races
Light red: Term-limited or Retiring Republican
Dark red: Incumbent Republican
Light blue: Term-limited or Retiring Democrat
Dark blue: Incumbent Democrat
Green: Incumbent Independent
Gray: no election

 

 

Congressional elections

 

Senate elections…. All seats in Senate Class II will be up for election. Additionally, special elections will be held to fill vacancies in the other two Senate Classes.

 

Senate Class II 

Class 2 consists of:

 

States with a Class 2 senator: AlabamaAlaskaArkansasColoradoDelawareGeorgiaIdahoIllinoisIowaKansasKentuckyLouisiana,MaineMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMontanaNebraskaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNorth Carolina,OklahomaOregonRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasVirginiaWest Virginia, and Wyoming.

 

 

House of Representatives elections

 

All 435 voting seats in the United States House of Representatives will be up for election. Additionally, elections will be held to select the delegates for the District of Columbia and four of the five U.S. territories. The only seat in the House not up for election will be the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, who serves a four-year term.

 

On March 11, there was a special election for Florida’s 13th congressional district.

 

 

Gubernatorial elections

 

Elections will be held for the governorships of thirty-six of the fifty U.S. States and threeU.S. territories. Special elections may be held for vacancies in the other states and territories.

 

OBAMA CORNELL

 

The 2014 Midterms are coming. Less than 7 months away. Get registered, get your voter ID. Get educated on new voting rules in YOUR State, county, districts.

 

The Mid Term Elections Are 7 Months Away. Here Is ALL You Need To Know For Voter Registration. Get Links, Facts, Phone Numbers & Mailing Information To Get Registered AND Learn New Voter I.D. Laws In YOUR State.

Mid Term Election Day November 4th, 2014…7 Months Away. Get Prepared. Barack That Vote!

 

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Voter Registration

 

VOTER REGISTRATION

 

 

Registration Deadline: Voter registration is closed for the ten (10) days before an election

 

Party Affiliation: No party registration required for primary voting

 

VOTER REGISTRATION QUALIFICATIONS:

 


Age: Must be 18 years old

 

Citizenship: Must be a United States Citizen

 

Residency: Must be a resident of your state

 

Mental Competency: Have not been legally declared “mentally incompetent” by a court

 

Felony Convictions: Have not been convicted of a disqualifying felony (or have rights restored)

 

ID Requirements: Driver’s license number or Social Security number

 

OBTAINING A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM

 

 

Online: http://www.sos.state.  your state here /elections/GetRegForm.aspx

 

 

In person
– Local County Board of Registrars
– Driver’s licensing office
– County and select municipal public libraries
– Department of Human Resources
– WIC Program, Department of Public Health
– Medicaid Agency
– Department of Rehabilitation Services
– Public 4-year universities
– Select private 4-year universities

 

By mail/ in writing : Must write/phone your local elections office

 

 

 

VERIFYING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS

 

 

Check Status of Your Voter Registration

 



The NAACP has once again teamed up with the National Urban League to sponsor the National Voter Empowerment Hotline at 1-866-MyVote1 (1-866-698-6831).

 

ABSENTEE BALLOT QUALIFICATIONS

 

 

Who can vote absentee

 


   – Will be absent from the county on election day
– Is ill or has a physical disability that prevents a trip to the polling place
– Is a registered Alabama voter living outside the county, such as a member of the armed forces, a voter employed outside the United States, a college student, or a spouse or child of such a person
– Is an appointed election officer or poll watcher at a polling place other than his or her regular polling place
– Works a required shift, 10-hours or more, that coincides with polling hours

 

 

Other absentee voter qualifications: Business/MedicalEmergency Voting application can be made after the absentee deadline but no later than 5 PM on the day before the election, if the voter is required by an employer under unforeseen circumstances to be out of the county on election day for an emergency business trip, or has a medical emergency requiring treatment from a licensed physician.

 

 

OBTAINING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT

 

 

Absentee Voting Information for U.S. Citizens Abroad

 

 

Get Your Absentee Ballot Now! 

 

 

Federal Voting Assistance Program – Home – To Vote Absentee

 


In person: Visit the local absentee election manager(usually the Circuit Clerk) to request and absentee ballot.

 

 

By mail: Link to address/contact info – County election offices

 

 

Military and oversees voting: http://www.sos.state. your state here us/elections/MilitaryOverseas.aspx

 

 


Emergency Voting: For medical or business emergencies; must apply no later than 5pm the night before the election

 

 

Other absentee ballot information:The absentee ballot application must be returned to the Absentee Election Manager by the voter in person (or by the voter’s designee in the case of medical emergency voting) or by U.S. Mail.  No absentee ballot application may be mailed in the same envelope as another voter’s absentee ballot application.

 

 

SUBMITTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT

Location and time: An absentee ballot returned by mail must be postmarked no later than the day prior to the election and received by the Absentee Election Manager no later than noon on election day. If hand-delivered, the ballot must be in the office of the Absentee Election Manager by the close of business (but no later than 5 p.m.) on the day prior to the election.

 

Other absentee ballot submission information: An absentee ballot cannot be counted unless the affidavit is  notarized or has the signature of two witnesses. If the absentee ballot application is approved, the Absentee Election Manager forwards the ballot by U.S. mail or personally hands the absentee ballot to the voter (or to a designee in the case of emergency voting).

 

EARLY VOTING

 

Early Voting States

 

Absentee and Early Voting

 

Early Voting and Absentee Voting


Deciding how to vote: http://www.votesmart.org

 

Time off to vote: Employees can take time off to vote in any election for which the employee is qualified and registered to vote, unless the employee’s work hours commence at least two hours after the polls open or end at least one hour before the polls close. The employer may determine what hours are available for the employee to vote.

 

Polling Place: https://myinfo. your state here votes.gov/


ID Requirements: Photo ID or HAVA approved ID

 

How to Vote: Paper ballots + Optical scan voting equipment Link to Sample Ballots

 

Problems with voting: HAVA Voter Complaint Form

 

Verifying provisional ballot status: https://myinfo. your state here votes.gov/

 


Verifying absentee ballot status: https://myinfo. your state here .gov/

 

 

One Common Ground, Philipsburg, MT 59858 Hotline: 888-Vote-Smart (888-868-3762)

 

 

2014 U.S. Senate Midterm Election Races

 

Georgia, Iowa, New Mexico, and Virginia. We moved Iowa from “Democrat Hold” to “Tossup.”

 

We currently rate six races in the “Tossup” category (AK, CO, KY, LA, MI, IA), five Democrat seats and one GOP seat, with an additional five seats already projected as “GOP Takeaways” (AR, MT, NC, SD, WV). Republicans need a net six takeaways to regain control of the Senate. Polls and projections on the thirty-five 2014 U.S. Senate Midterm Election races. Get the latest information on the Senate contests here.

 

The Democrats have a five-seat majority (55-45) when you include the two “Independents” who caucus with them. That means Republicans will have to net gain six seats to retake control of the U.S. Senate (If it is 50-50 with the two Independents voting with the Democrats, it would remain in Democratic control because the Vice-President would cast the tie-breaking vote). There are 35 races, 21 of them seats currently held by Democrats, and 14 by Republicans.

 

The 35 races (including special elections) are listed in the table here:

Polls and Projections

 

 

2014 United States elections

 

U.S. Senate

 

U.S. House

 

Governors

 

Mayors

 

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Do your part

 

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Celebrating Black History Month. The Black History Moment Series #26: Chokwe Lumumba, Civil Rights Maverick.


 

By Jueseppi B.

“I only came to the movement because of King and he was killed. I only stayed in the movement because of Malcolm and he was killed. Then I became a leader” – Chokwe Lumumba

“I only came to the movement because of King and he was killed. I only stayed in the movement because of Malcolm and he was killed. Then I became a leader” – Chokwe Lumumba.

 

 

Throughout the month Of February, TheObamaCrat™ will post a daily series called The Black History Moment Series. Each day for 28 days of this historic month you will be given the food of Black History to satisfy your hunger for knowledge. 

 

Celebrating Black History Month: The Black History Moment Series #26: Chokwe Lumumba, Civil Rights Maverick.

 

City Councilman Charles Tillman announced the death of Mayor Chokwe Lumumba at a regually scheduled city council meeting tonight:

 

“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that our beloved brother, civil rights activist and Mayor Chokwe Lumumba has passed away today (Tuesday). More details will be made available in the near future. For now, we ask that you pray for his children and family,” said

 

About an hour later, Tillman was sworn in as acting mayor, a position he will hold until the City Council votes to approve an interim mayor.

 

Lumumba, 66, became mayor in July. He defeated incumbent Harvey Johnson in the Democratic primary and then went on to defeat Jonathan Lee in the general election.

 

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of the promising new mayor of our Capital City, the Honorable Chokwe Lumumba,” said Rickey Cole, the chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party. “His young administration has been a great beacon of hope for so many of us. He was just beginning to make an effective start tackling the long-neglected challenged faced by our Capital City.”

 

Gov. Phil Bryant also issued a statement Tuesday evening after hearing of Lumumba’s death.

 

“Deborah and I are shocked and saddened by the news of Mayor Lumumba’s passing and are praying for his loved ones,” Bryant said. “Just a short time ago, I had the opportunity to join the mayor in a church pew as we welcomed a new development to the city. His enthusiasm for Jackson will be deeply missed.”

 

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Chokwe Lumumba (August 2, 1947 – February 25, 2014) was Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. Lumumba was born in westside of Detroit, Michigan as Edwin Finley Taliaferro, a name he refers to as his ‘slave name’. Lumumba was the second child of eight born to Lucien and Priscilla Taliaferro. He has been prominent in the reparations and other self-determination movements of persons of African descent and was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi on June 4, 2013.

 

Chokwe Lumumba
Chokwe Lumumba 2013.jpg
Lumumba in 2013
Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi
In office
July 1, 2013 – February 25, 2014
Preceded by Harvey Johnson, Jr.
Personal details
Born August 2, 1947
Detroit, Michigan
Died February 25, 2014 (aged 66)
St. Dominic Hospital

 

Early age

Lumumba was overweight as a child, earning the nickname “fat man” within his neighborhood. His father, Lucien, was from Kansas and his mother, Priscilla, was from Alabama. Others of his forebears were Cherokee. He graduated from St. Theresa High School in Detroit where he served as president of the student council and captain of the football team. As a young man he witnessed police brutality. His mother would stand with her children on the neighborhood corners collecting money for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and she impressed on Lumumba the important role of political activism and civil rights. The death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968 had a deep effect on Lumumba and the day following King’s assassination he participated in the occupation of a university building at Western Michigan University. The occupation protested the lack of African American faculty among other academic demands.

 

He majored in Political Science and graduated from Kalamazoo College in 1969 where he formed the Black United Front to advocate for African American studies in Midwestern higher education institutions. Lumumba was elected to the cabinet of the Republic of New Africa in 1971 as the second vice president. He was in the same position when the capital of the provisional government was moved to Hinds County, Mississippi and dedicated on March 28, 1971. Lumumba was in the lead car with Alajo Abegbalola which was halted by the Bolton police on that day when the “Land Celebration” was set to take place marking the establishment of the capital of the Republic of New Africa. In 1972 Lumumba was appointed by the Republic of New Africa president as the Minister of Justice to succeed Attorney William E. Miller Jr.

 

 

Human Rights Defender Chokwe Lumumba

 

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At the age of 60, Chokwe Lumumba is well into his fifth decade as an activist, attorney, and human rights advocate. He began civil rights activism in high school in the 1950s, and since 1968 he has included the language and principles of international human rights in his work.

 

Throughout his life Lumumba has worked to defend the rights of African American activists and communities. He has educated and organized student activists throughout the Midwest and the South and persuaded universities to attract and cultivate people of color. He has been on the frontline of protecting African American communities from drug trafficking and gang violence. He has opposed rights violations by local, state, and national law enforcement and intelligence agencies and vigilante groups; he has confronted the Ku Klux Klan in Michigan and Mississippi.

 

As an attorney Lumumba has played a leading role in many significant cases over the last twenty-five years, representing poor people and political activists and defending individuals and groups whose human rights have been violated. He has fought against the death penalty in general and against executions in individual cases.

 

Over the years Lumumba and members of his family have been harassed, threatened, and arrested for the role he has played in these struggles. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law enforcement agencies have surveyed his activities. He has suffered discrimination when trying to rent and buy property. He has been prevented from practicing law and now is facing the loss of his license to practice in Mississippi in circumstances that suggest that his political activities and speech are the reason.

 

Chokwe Lumumba was born in 1943 into a family of seven brothers and sisters in the public housing projects of Detroit’s West Side. Originally named Edwin Taliaferro, he later renounced this as a “slave name” in favor of Lumumba, after the Congolese nationalist and prime minister, and Chokwe, the name of an Angolan tribe. His early education was in Catholic schools, where blatant racism was part of the learning experience:

 

I remember going to a white church¼.and a guy asked me and my brother, ‘Why are you niggers going to this church?’ Later on a white guy told me with conviction that God had left me in the oven too long. It occurred to me that whites were spending their time teaching their children racism.

 

At Saint Theresa High School, where he was student council president and captain of the football team, he began to engage in political protest activities. He and his mother would stand on street corners to collect money to support the activities of the Student National Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a primarily African American organization promoting respect for civil rights throughout the South. A speech given by Martin Luther King in 1963 inspired Lumumba to make civil rights his life’s work.

 

Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968, affected Lumumba profoundly. He says, “I think the single most important thing in my political development is his death. You see, to my mother he was the Black Moses. She followed him and she always talked to me about him”. On the day following King’s death, Lumumba, participated in a student takeover of the University Center Building of Western Michigan University, where he was a student. The protesters demanded that the university hire more African American teachers and create Martin Luther King scholarships for African American students.

 

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Lumumba became part of the movement to establish African American studies programs at other universities throughout the Midwest and he helped organize Black student movements in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. He formed the Black United Front at Kalamazoo College in western Michigan, forcing a shift of resources from buildings to childhood education in the predominantly African American area of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

 

In 1969 Lumumba entered law school at Wayne State University in Detroit. In the first year, however, eighteen of the twenty-four Black students in his class failed due to a discriminatory grading system. In response to this injustice, Lumumba and other Black students occupied the law school administration building demanding reinstatement of the students and fair grading practices. As a result Wayne State readmitted the students and established an anonymous system of grading. Ultimately all but two of the students received good grades and graduated, many of them becoming prominent attorneys and judges. Lumumba himself graduated cum laude in 1975. Lumumba continued his advocacy of equal education at Wayne State and has supported programs that allow African American students to succeed in the law school environment.

 

After graduation, Lumumba became an advocate for the protection of Black communities, following attacks by local police and vigilante groups. Rather than harassing the so-called “radical leadership”, special units of the Detroit police, had begun targeting the African American community for “pre-emptive action”.

 

Lumumba confronted these abuses with community patrols against violence and drug dealing and an urban scout program for young people to protect themselves against gang and racial attacks. He created the Malcolm X Center to educate and train young Black activists. He established Africa-centric schools to teach the dismantling of racism and sexism and inspire Black pride. He challenged the excessive rates for heat and electricity being charged residents of poor neighborhoods.

 

In the early 1970s in a case of national prominence, Lumumba defended Hayward Brown, a radical Black activist who had previously been acquitted of assaulting a police officer. Lumumba defended Brown on charges of possession of a concealed weapon in the virtually all-white suburb of Dearborn, Michigan. When a jury of nine Blacks and three whites could not reach a verdict, Lumumba declared,

 

The Wayne County prosecutor has chased Haywood Brown relentlessly from jury to jury, from judge to judge and from court to court with trumped-up charges¼.Not only are his human rights being violated, ours are likewise. They are using our tax dollars in their endeavor to silence another freedom fighter.

 

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Also at this time Lumumba became vice-president of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA), an organization formed to coordinate the efforts of individual activists, Black nationalists, and grassroots groups of diverse philosophies. The RNA was staunchly anti-capitalist, sought reparations for slavery, and aimed at giving African Americans control over their lives and land. Although the RNA drew support from prominent civil rights figures like Congressman Julian Bond and comedian Dick Gregory, it became a key target of the FBI’s Cointelpro program, a system of illegal government subversion intended to destroy groups perceived to be a threat to the USA. They followed him throughout the country, attempted to recruit a cousin to spy on him, and kept constant watch on his mother’s house.

 

Not surprisingly this kind of advocacy and activism had consequences for Lumumba and his family. In September of 1971, he was arrested during a citywide sweep after the murder of a Detroit police officer. While he was being booked, police officers referred to his involvement with the RNA saying, “We’re going to send you all back to Africa in boxes with African names on them”. Lumumba’s younger brother, then 13, was arrested and held in jail but never charged. Police have made a point of informing Lumumba’s landlords of his past political activities.

 

In 1972 the RNA purchased land near Jackson, Mississippi, as the geographic base for the movement. The RNA met with discrimination, threats, harassment, roadblocks, and arrests by local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Lumumba took responsibility for confronting and negotiating with theses agencies and managed to convince the FBI to order the removal of roadblocks preventing access to the land. Local police and the FBI mounted an assault on a house that was serving as RNA headquarters in Jackson. In 1973, Mississippi police officers stopped Lumumba and his wife while they were out for a walk; he recalls, “They put a shotgun in my gut and asked, ‘Are you the second-in-charge of the black-ass niggers?’”

 

Back in Detroit in 1976, Lumumba joined the staff of the Detroit Public Defenders Office, providing free counsel to indigent clients. In 1978 he set up his own law firm with the intention of combining his political advocacy with his legal skills. He sued Wayne State University for abandoning their program of affirmative action in admitting African American students. He defended Alton Maddox, a prominent police-abuse attorney suspended by the Michigan Bar Association because he refused to give authorities information about a client.

 

On July 22, 1978, inmates at the maximum security prison in Pontiac, Illinois rioted to protest violations against prisoner rights, including unsanitary living conditions; cramped quarters; cold, insect-infested food; lack of medical treatment; and guard brutality. Many prisoners were injured and three guards were killed in the riot; twenty-eight African Americans and three Latinos were charged. Sixteen of the accused, popularly known as the “Pontiac Sixteen”, faced murder charges and a possible death sentence if convicted. Lumumba agreed to defend Ozzie Williams, whom he perceived to be one of the most political of those charged, in this significant case. Eventually, all charges against the defendants were dismissed. Lumumba said at the time, “The Pontiac Sixteen trial is ¼ the type of case that I got into the legal profession to deal with”. At trial ten of the Pontiac Sixteen were found not guilty; all charges against the other defendants were dismissed.

 

CHOKWE-LUMUMBA

 

Lumumba was an organizer of and speaker at the February 1980 New York City march for the rights of African Americans. Five thousand people walked from Harlem to the United Nations Building to demand an international forum on the plight of minority populations in the US.

 

He was lead defense counsel in the “Brinks Case”, a major legal confrontation between the Justice Department and a group of revolutionaries who had been charged with the October 1981 robbery of $1.6 million from an armored car and the killing of two police officers and a guard in Rockland County, New York. On November 10, 1981, New York Judge Irving Ben Cooper barred Lumumba from representing Fulani Sunni Ali (Cynthia Boston) on charges arising from the Brink’s incident, citing his political ideology, his values as a lawyer, and his behavior on the witness stand. Of this ruling Stephen Shapiro, then chief counsel for the New York Civil Liberties Union said, “The opinion incredibly ignores two sacred rights in this country: the right to free speech and association, and the right of a criminal defendant to choose her own lawyer”. Lumumba ultimately won the right to represent Fulani Sunni Ali and her husband, Bilal Sunni Ali. The charges against Fulani were ultimately dismissed when witnesses established her whereabouts in New Orleans at the time of the Brink’s incident in New York.

 

On September 3, 1983, the Brinks Case ended in a stunning defeat for the US Government. Six of the eight defendants were acquitted of all major charges, and no defendant was convicted in the actual robbery. As a result of his comments to the press, Lumumba was held in contempt by the District Judge.

 

In 1985 Lumumba worked with a legal team that successfully uncovered evidence demonstrating how the FBI targeted and framed activist Geronimo Pratt. That work ultimately helped win Pratt’s release ten years later. In similar cases he defended Asata Shakur, Mutulu Shakur, and Mutulu’s son, the popular music performer Tupac Shakur. In 1991 he represented activists in Los Angeles protesting the videotaped police beating of a young Black man named Rodney King. Lumumba notes with pride that most of his political clients have gone on to become effective activists; Geronimo Pratt, for example, now works as a community development advocate in Louisiana and Africa.

 

In 1985 Lumumba became active in the movement against apartheid in South Africa, training and motivating young people to become active in “fighting for something other than drug turf”.

 

When Lumumba returned to Mississippi in 1988, his application to practice law in the state was held in limbo for three years. But he rapidly became a noted legal and community advocate, focusing on clients who had experienced violations of their fundamental human rights. For example, he defended DeWayne Boyd, a civil rights activist who had helped to sue the US Department of Agriculture for reparations for African Americans. Lumumba offered his protection to Boyd, who was in Mississippi trying to prevent the illegal expropriation of African American-owned land.

 

After he was granted the right to practice law in 1991, Lumumba represented the family of Johnnie Griffin, a community activist who had been shot by the police, in a wrongful-death suit. A self-avowed segregationist police officer shot Griffin to death at his home in front of his four children. Lumumba won $250,000 in compensatory damages for the family.

 

In the 1990s Lumumba increasingly specialized in cases where racial prejudice and political power combine to produce biased investigations, unjust arrests, and excessively punitive sentences. In a landmark case for Mississippi, he wins the acquittal of George Little, a young African American charged with murder for defending himself against an attack by a white man.

 

In July of 1995, 13-year-old Elliot Culp was one of several witnesses to the murder of a white woman by a white man. Although Culp had reported what he saw to police, they chose not to investigate the perpetrator but to arrest Culp instead. The teenager spent one year in prison charged with capital murder before Lumumba won his acquittal and release. Lumumba said at the time of Culp’s release, “This verdict is a triumph over thoughtless, narrow-minded advocates for wholesale execution and wholesale incarceration of our children”.

 

In February of 1996, Lumumba announced that he would pursue lawsuits on behalf of Charles and Esther Quinn. A few days after the Quinns’ son Andre Jones had been arrested in August of 1992, he was found hanged in a shower stall in the Simpson County jail. The case attracted national attention for three reasons: first because he was one of the last of forty-eight jailhouse hangings of young African American men in Mississippi since 1987; second, because an independent autopsy ruled the death a homicide after state’s pathologist had called it a suicide; and finally, because the hanging happened under the supervision of Simpson County Sheriff Lloyd “Goon” Jones. Jones had become infamous after being accused in the deaths of two foreign journalists covering the landmark racial integration admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi in 1962. Jones was later implicated in the murders of two Jackson State University students in 1972. Lumumba won substantial damages for the Quinn family.

 

In the mid-1990s Lumumba took on the system of capital punishment in Mississippi. Typically defendants in capital cases, predominantly African- Americans, have little access to information or competent counsel. In their fear and vulnerability, they frequently follow the advice of prosecutors to plead guilty and serve life in prison, rather than “take their chances with a jury and get death”. Death sentences and executions in the USA are plagued by: racial disparities, execution of juvenile and mentally disabled prisoners, and conviction of people who are later found to be innocent.

 

When Lumumba observes that in over ninety percent of his cases the defendant is either found not guilty or his death sentence is reversed, he stresses that any good, independent attorney would have the same results. However, most poor defendants receive totally ineffective counsel because of the system of representation in effect in Mississippi is not designed to ensure effective representation of defendants in these complex cases.

 

According to Lumumba, the case of John Buford Irving is typical. Irving was convicted and sentenced to death for shooting a white storeowner during an alleged 1976 robbery when he was 17-years-old. After Lumumba took up the case, secured a new sentencing hearing, and won a change of venue. Irving’s death sentence was reversed. Lumumba notes that in prison Irving has developed into an advocate for other prisoners, often writing their appellate briefs.

 

Lumumba has consistently participated in demonstrations against the activities of the Ku Klux Klan. In 1990 he represented anti-Klan demonstrators accused of infringing on the Klan’s civil rights. As a demonstrator and outspoken advocate, Lumumba has had police protecting the Klan point their guns directly at him. He has also defended groups of anti-Klan demonstrators in other parts of the country.

 

The Mississippi legal establishment has also directed its hostility against him. In 2000 the Mississippi Bar publicly reprimanded Lumumba for speaking out against Hinds County Circuit Judge Swan Yerger. A self-proclaimed segregationist, Yerger had dismissed a lawsuit filed against a white police officer brought by Lumumba for an African American client. Lumumba challenged the judge’s decision as being discriminatory. Judge Yerger held him in contempt and filed a complaint with the Mississippi Bar.

 

Lumumba is currently embroiled in a fight for professional survival, facing the potential loss of his ability to practice law in Mississippi. In the summer of 1996, an African American named Henry Payton came before Judge Marcus Gordon of the Leake County Circuit Court in Carthage, Mississippi. Payton was convicted of bank robbery and arson and sentenced to five years in prison. However, the conviction was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court, which found that Judge Gordon had violated Payton’s rights in the trial. The case was returned to Gordon for a new trial; Payton hired Lumumba to defend him.

 

According to reports, during the trial Judge Gordon openly expressed animosity toward Lumumba and bias against Payton. Lumumba requested that the judge disqualify himself; the judge refused. When the jury was unable to reach a verdict, Gordon ordered them to deliberate further and two hours later the jury returned with a verdict of guilty. This time, Judge Gordon gave Payton a sentence of forty-eight years in prison.

 

After the trial several jurors said that they would not have found Payton guilty, but had understood the judge’s instructions to mean that the law required them to put aside their honest beliefs to reach a verdict. Other jurors admitted that they were acquainted with one of the prosecution’s key witnesses and had decided that Payton was guilty before the trial began.

 

In October 2001, Lumumba filed a motion for a new trial. At the hearing Judge Gordon would not allow any of the jurors to testify and refused to order the appearance of people with knowledge of jury misconduct. Lumumba accused Gordon of being unfair. Later Lumumba told a reporter that Gordon “had the judicial demeanor of a barbarian”. He was held in contempt, ejected from the courtroom and jailed for three days. He was fined $300 for saying he was proud to be removed from the courtroom, and $500 for “failing to demonstrate contrition”.

 

On April 10, 2003, two lawyers and a judge from Harrison County, Mississippi, formed a tribunal and held a hearing on the charges. Lumumba explained that his comments during the Payton trial were prompted by the biased manner of Judge Gordon, including: allowing Payton to be brought before the jury in chains; cutting off Lumumba’s voir dire of potential jurors; interrupting Lumumba’s opening statement; reading erroneous instructions to the jury; and sentencing Payton to forty-eight years. One of Lumumba’s attorneys argued that he had spoken out only with the intention of defending his client’s rights, that the statement made about the judge’s demeanor was protected as free speech, and that the transcript of the proceedings failed to show any evidence Lumumba had disrespected or disrupted the court. The tribunal found Lumumba guilty and ordered that he be publicly reprimanded.

 

The Mississippi Bar is apparently not satisfied with this reprimand and is appealing the tribunal’s decision to the Mississippi Supreme Court, requesting a one year suspension — a punishment that would require Lumumba to give up all his clients and retake the state bar examination. A hearing was held on April 22, 2003, but a ruling has not yet been announced.

 

In a separate proceeding, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Lumumba’s conviction for contempt of court. Leake County refused bond and he served three days in jail.

 

Lumumba says, “Of course the origin of these proceedings is political. It comes down to the Bar not wanting an assertive human rights lawyer who will challenge the various local courts and tribunals in Mississippi”.

 

Though Front Line is not in a position to express an opinion on the merits of the pending proceedings, the circumstances of these charges against Lumumba raise substantial questions about whether he is being singled out for harsh treatment on the basis of his political beliefs and advocacy for unpopular clients and causes rather than his actual conduct in the courtroom.

 

The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders states in Article 9 that everyone has the right

 

To offer and provide professionally qualified legal assistance or other relevant advice and assistance in defending human rights and fundamental freedoms…. in the exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms¼ everyone has the right¼ to benefit from an effective remedy and to be protected in the event of the violation of those rights.

 

Lumumba can recall his first moment of outrage at racism. In 1955 his mother showed him a magazine photograph: “It was a picture of the body of Emmett Till in JET Magazine”. (The 14-year-old Till, an African American, had been kidnapped, tortured and murdered in rural Mississippi for whistling at a white woman).

 

I said that they need to get the bad people that did that, and Mama said it wasn’t just a few bad people, but America that was at fault. And this will eventually destroy it. I did not understood that at the time, but she said it in such a way that it stuck with me.

 

When asked if he considers himself a civil rights lawyer, Lumumba responds, “I am more fond of human rights, because human rights are what you have, regardless of who gives them to you”.

 

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2013 mayoral race

On Election Day for the Democratic Party primary for Mayor of Jackson on May 7, 2013, prior to the regular, local evening news, it was known that Lumumba had forced Jonathan Lee into a runoff election and that the incumbent, Harvey Johnson, Jr., had been soundly defeated in each municipal ward. Lumumba had led in at least five of the seven wards. Von Anderson of Jackson noted that Lumumba had raised only $69,000 prior to the primary election on May 7 which is five times less than Jonathan Lee, but that their grassroots work would be more decisive in the upcoming runoff.

 

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On May 15, Attorney Regina Quinn, the fourth place Democratic primary finisher, endorsed Lumumba for his stance on infrastructure development as an economic stimulus for local Jackson businesses and his insistence that the city pay women equally with men in like positions. The local weekly noted that the candidate was influenced more by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party than the standing Mississippi Democrats.

 

Chokwe Lumumba, with his son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and daughter, Rukia Lumumba, celebrates his primary victory on May 21.

Chokwe Lumumba, with his son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, and daughter, Rukia Lumumba, celebrates his primary victory on May 21.

 

On May 21, 2013 Lumumba defeated Jonathan Lee by over 3,000 votes and bested his opponent in five out of the seven municipal wards. With negligible opposition in the June 4th general election, he easily became the mayor-elect for the capital and largest city of Mississippi. One day after the electoral victory, Lumumba questioned the significance of Christoper Columbus as a ‘discoverer of America’. He won the general election on June 4, 2013 and was sworn in as Mayor on July 1, 2013.

 

Chokwe Lumumba’s Inaugural Speech – Monday, July 1, 2013

 

Published on Jul 2, 2013

Mayor Chokwe Lumumba giving his Inaugural Speech on Monday, July 1st, 2013. In this speech Chokwe lays out his vision and ideas rebirth and revitalization of the City of Jackson, Mississippi.

 

 

 

Civil Rights Veteran Chokwe Lumumba Elected Mayor of Jackson, Miss., Once a Center of Racial Abuses

 

Published on Jun 6, 2013

Just days before the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, the city’s voters have elected longtime black nationalist organizer and attorney Chokwe Lumumba to become mayor. Describing himself as a “Fannie Lou Hamer Democrat,” Lumumba surprised many political observers by winning the Democratic primary, despite being outspent five to one.

 

 

 

He went on to easily win this week’s general election. Over the past four decades Lumumba has been deeply involved in numerous political and legal campaigns. As an attorney, his clients have included former Black Panther Assata Shakur and the late hip hop artist Tupac Shakur. As a political organizer, Lumumba served for years as vice-president of the Republic of New Afrika, an organization which advocated for “an independent predominantly black government” in the southeastern United States and reparations for slavery.

 

He also helped found the National Black Human Rights Coalition and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. “People should take a note of Jackson, because we have suffered some of the worst kinds of abuses in history,” Lumumba says. “But we’re about to make some advances and some strides in the development of human rights and the protection of human rights that I think have not been seen in other parts of the country.”

 

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Chokwe Lumumba – Mayor of Jackson Ms.

 

It is truly an honor to be named as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Man of the Year for 2014. The indelible impact that Dr. King made during his lifetime as an activist for human rights and his ongoing legacy still serve as a model of what can be achieved through commitment, determination, and vision.

 

Because of the works of people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, and many others, I am afforded the incredible opportunity to serve the People of the great City of Jackson.

 

Let us honor his vision by committing to strive to uplift our community as a whole and not just in part. To make Jackson Rise… we must help each of our citizens rise. Through collective effort and hard work our city’s potential for greatness is unlimited. We honor Dr. King and his commitment to all of us.

 

 

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Black History Month 2014 Presents: Celebrating Black History Month; The Black History Moment Series, #1 thru #26….

 

In Case You Missed This Series….Black History Month 2014 Presents: Celebrating Black History Month; The Black History Moment Series.

 

 

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