Month: January 2018

January 20 2009- Barack Hussien

GM- FBF – You can only loose what you cling to.

Remember – “The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” President Barack H. Obama

Today in our History – January 20, 2009 – Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th President of the United States of America and the first African American to have held the post. He was born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii to Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham. His parents separated when he was an infant and divorced when he was 2 years old, after which Obama Sr. returned to Kenya. Obama admitted to a feeling of loss and confusion at the absence of his father as well as an identity crisis about being a black child in predominantly white surroundings. Obama Sr. was killed in a tragic car accident in Nairobi in 1982 when Obama was 21 years old. Ann moved to Indonesia and remarried, and Obama has a half sister named Maya Soetoro Ng fom his mother’s second marriage. He was sent back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents while his mother and sister lived in Jakarta. He enrolled at Punahou Academy and graduated with academic honors.

After high school, Obama studied at Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years before transferring to Columbia University in New York. He graduated from Columbia in 1983 with a degree in political science. After a brief stint in the business sector, he moved to Chicago in 1985 to work as a community organizer for low-income residents. During this time, he visited his father and grandfather’s graves in Kenya and upon his return, entered Harvard Law School in 1988. he met his future wife, Michelle Robinson, while working as an associate at the Chicago law firm of Sidley Austin when she was assigned to be his adviser during her summer internship at the firm. At Harvard, Obama was the first African American editor of the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude in 1991. He then returned to Chicago to practice civil law at the firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland, while also teaching part time at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992-2004. He married Michelle in 1992 and have two daughters named Malia and Sasha.

Obama published his autobiography in 1995, titled “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance”. It received great reviews and an audio-book version of the same, narrated by Obama himself, received a Grammy Award for best spoken word album. In 1996, Obama won a seat in the Illinois State Senate and in 2000 he unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives seat. As a state senator, he openly expressed his views against George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq. He then started rallying support for his decision to run for the U.S. Senate, a nomination that he won with a 52% vote. In August 2004 he went head to head with former presidential candidate Alan Keyes in three televised debates, discussing diverse issues such as gun control, stem cell research, abortion and taxation. Obama won a seat in the U.S. Senate with 70% votes, becoming the third African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Obama published his second book, titled “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream” in 2006 which became a New York Times as well as best seller. He announced his candidacy for president against Hillary Clinton in 2007, and defeated her in a close contest. In November 2008, Obama won the election against the Republican candidate John McCain and was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009. He faced various challenges in his term including a global economic crisis and two wars being fought abroad. Obama introduced several reforms such as the Affordable Care Act (or Obama Care, as it is more popularly known) which has received equal measure of support and criticism, and the Budget Control Act of 2011 to contain excessive government spending. Some of his other major decisions included legalizing gay rights, advocating gun control after the school shooting in Connecticut and resuming foreign relations with Iran, Venezuela and Cuba.
Obama was re-elected in January 2013 for a second term in office. He has taken several initiatives but his popularity ratings have gone down compared to his last term. With a number of international crisis to handle such as the situation in Syria, Palestine and Ukraine, Obama continues to show his leadership abilities and pave the way for economic and social reform. He is also the winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation and climate change, and his support for multilateral agencies such as the United Nations in order to promote international cooperation. Research more about this great American and tell your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 19 1856- Bridget Mason

GM – FBF- For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Remember – It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it is good too check up once and a while that you haven’t loss things that money can’t buy”

Today in our History – January 19, 1856 – Bridget “Biddy” Mason, born a slave in Mississippi in 1818, achieved financial success that enabled her to support her extended family for generations despite the fact that she was illiterate. In a landmark case she sued her master for their freedom, saved her earnings, invested in real estate, and became a well-known philanthropist in Los Angeles, California.

Although born in Mississippi, Mason was owned by slaveholders in Georgia and South Carolina before she was returned to Mississippi. Her last owner, Robert Marion Smith, a Mississippi Mormon convert, followed the call of church leaders to settle in the West. Mason and her children joined other slaves on Smith’s religious pilgrimage to establish a new Mormon community in what would become Salt Lake City, Utah. At the time Utah was still part of Mexico.

In 1848 30-year-old Mason walked 1,700 miles behind a 300-wagon caravan that eventually arrived in the Holladay-Cottonwood area of the Salt Lake Valley. Along the route west Mason’s responsibilities included setting up and breaking camp, cooking the meals, herding the cattle, and serving as a midwife as well as taking care of her three young daughters aged ten, four, and an infant.

In 1851 Smith and his family and slaves set out in a 150-wagon caravan for San Bernardino, California to establish yet another Mormon community. Ignoring Brigham Young’s warning that slavery was illegal in California, Smith brought Mason and other enslaved people to the new community. Along the trek Mason met Charles H. and Elizabeth Flake Rowan, free blacks, who urged her to legally contest her slave status once she reached California, a free state. Mason received additional encouragement by free black friends whom she met in California, Robert and Minnie Owens.

In December 1855 Robert Smith, fearing losing his slaves, decided to move with them to Texas, a slave state. The Owens family had a vested interest in the Mason family as one of their sons was romantically involved with Mason’s 17-year-old daughter. When Robert Owens told the Los Angeles County Sheriff that slaves were being illegally held, he gathered a posse which including Owens and his sons, other cowboys and vaqueros from the Owens ranch. The posse apprehended Smith’s wagon train in Cajon Pass, California en route to Texas and prevented him from leaving the state.

After spending five years enslaved in a “free” state Bridget Mason challenged Robert Smith for her freedom. On January 19, 1856 she petitioned the court for freedom for herself and her extended family of 13 women and children. Los Angeles District Judge Benjamin Hayes took three days before handing down his ruling in favor Mason and her extended family, citing California’s 1850 constitution which prohibited slavery.

Mason and her family moved to Los Angeles where her daughter married the son of Robert and Minnie Owens. Mason worked as midwife and nurse, saved her money and purchased land in the heart of what is now downtown Los Angeles. Mason also organized First A.M.E. Church, the oldest African American church in the city. She educated her children and with her wealth became a philanthropist to the entire Los Angeles community. Bridget “Biddy” Mason died in Los Angeles in 1891. Research more about this great America and tell your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 18 1887- Richard Harvey

GM – FBF – I believe every child has the right to a mother and a father. Men and women are not the same. That’s not to say they’re not entitled to equal rights, but they are not the same.

Remember – “All We Ask Is Equal Laws, Equal Legislation And Equal Rights”

Today in our History -January 18, 1887 – Richard Harvey Cain was born a free black in Greenbrier County, Virginia on April 12, 1825. In 1831 his parents moved to Gallipolis, Ohio where he attended school. Seventeen years later, in 1848, he joined the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and became a minister in Muscatine, Iowa. Cain moved to South Carolina in 1865 to lead a Charleston AME church and soon became involved in local politics. In 1868, he was elected a member of the South Carolina State Constitutional Convention. Later in the year he was elected to the South Carolina State Senate, a post he held until 1870. Cain was editor and publisher of the South Carolina Leader which eventually became the Missionary Record.

In 1872, Richard Harvey Cain was elected to South Carolina’s at large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Cain served on the Agriculture Committee in the 43rd Congress. He is most remembered, however, for his support of a civil rights bill introduced into the House in 1870. Although the bill failed to be enacted, during the debate he spoke eloquently and passionately about his own experiences during a trip to the nation’s capital where he was denied first class accommodations on a train. By 1874, Cain’s at large seat was eliminated and he chose not so seek another office that year. He continued, however, to be actively involved in the South Carolina Republican Party and in 1876 he returned to Congress representing the 2nd district of South Carolina. Cain served one term and then returned to his ministerial duties in Charleston. In 1880 Cain was elected a Bishop in the A.M.E. Church. Soon afterwards he moved to Texas and became one of the founders of Paul Quinn College in Austin. Bishop Cain served as the college’s first president between 1880 and 1884. Three years later on January 18, 1887, Richard Harvey Cain died in Washington, D.C. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 17 1984- Bobby Goodman

GM -FBF – To be in one’s shoes when they are away from this country and with help can bring them back safely.

Remember – I am so thankful to my God through Jesus Christ and your prayers allowed Reverend Jackson to get me out of here. – Bobby Goodman

Today in our History – January 17, 1984 – Retired U.S. Navy pilot Bobby Goodman was part of a historic moment on this day in 1984. After his plane was shot down over Lebanon and a subsequent capture by Syrian forces, Rev. Jesse Jackson and others helped negotiate Goodman’s release.

Tensions in the region were high as a result of the Lebanese Civil War. Two fighter jets were fired upon from Beirut, prompting U.S. forces to respond with a bombing mission. Goodman and fellow Lt. Mark Lange piloted a bomber plane that was struck down by missiles. In the ejection descent, both men were injured but only Goodman survived. Syrian troops and Lebanese civilians held Goodman captive before he was shipped to Damascus.

Goodman’s capture made international news and his mother made public pleas for his freedom. Rev. Jackson, who was in the midst of attempting to secure the Democratic Party nomination for president, rallied other faith leaders to join a delegation that traveled to Syria to meet with President Hafez al-Assad.

Jackson gathered the likes of Min. Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Wyatt T. Walker and many others for the peace mission. After the group met on January 2, Goodman was freed the next day.

Rev. Jackson and Goodman traveled home immediately and met with President Ronald Reagan, who first criticized Jackson’s involvement in the negotiations. Some experts say that Jackson, being somewhat neutral as a man of the cloth, may have been the right person for the job considering Reagan was an unpopular figure in Syria.

Goodman continued to serve, flying in bombing missions during the Gulf War before retiring at the rank of commander in 1995. He and Jackson reunited in 2014 for the first time since their stirring first encounter. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 16 1865- William T. Sherman

GM – FBF – So you think that you know where the term 40 acres and a mule comes from. Read the history of it below.

Remember – “The islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns River, Florida.” – General William T. Sherman – (General – U.S. Army)

Today in our History – On January 16, 1865, during the Civil War (1861-65), Union general William T. Sherman
issued Field Order No. 15 in January 1865, calling for the redistribution of confiscated Southern land to freedmen in forty-acre plots. The order was rescinded later that same year, and much of the land was returned to the original white owners.

William T. Sherman issued his Special Field Order No. 15, which confiscated as Union property a strip of coastline stretching from Charleston, South Carolina, to the St. John’s River in Florida, including Georgia’s Sea Islands and the mainland thirty miles in from the coast. The order redistributed the roughly 400,000 acres of land to newly freed black families in forty-acre segments.
Sherman’s order came on the heels of his successful March to the Sea from Atlanta to Savannah and just prior to his march northward into South Carolina. Radical Republicans in the U.S. Congress, like Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens, for some time had pushed for land redistribution in order to break the back of Southern slaveholders’ power. Feeling pressure from within his own party, U.S. president Abraham Lincoln sent his secretary of war, Edwin M. Stanton, to Savannah in order to facilitate a conversation with Sherman over what to do with Southern planters’ lands.
On January 12 Sherman and Stanton met with twenty black leaders of the Savannah community, mostly Baptist and Methodist ministers, to discuss the question of emancipation. Lincoln approved Field Order No. 15 before Sherman issued it just four days after meeting with the black leaders. From Sherman’s perspective the most important priority in issuing the directive was military expediency. It served as a means of providing for the thousands of black refugees who had been following his army since its invasion of Georgia. He could not afford to support or protect these refugees while on campaign.
The order explicitly called for the settlement of black families on confiscated land, encouraged freedmen to join the Union army to help sustain their newly won liberty, and designated a general officer to act as inspector of settlements. Inspector General Rufus Saxton would police the land and work to ensure legal title of the property for the black settlers. In a later order, Sherman also authorized the army to loan mules to the newly settled farmers.
An 1868 sketch by A. R. Waud illustrates the difficulties faced by the Freedmen’s Bureau, caught between white planters on one side (left) and emancipated slaves on the other (right). The bureau was established in 1865 after Union general William T. Sherman issued his Field Order No. 15, which called for the resettlement of freedpeople on confiscated lands.
Freedmen’s Bureau
radical plan for land redistribution in the South was actually a practical response to several issues. Although Sherman had never been a racial egalitarian, his land-redistribution order served the military purpose of punishing Confederate planters along the rice coast of the South for their role in starting the Civil War, while simultaneously solving what he and Radical Republicans viewed as a major new American problem: what to do with a new class of free Southern laborers. Congressional leaders convinced President Lincoln to establish the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands on March 3, 1865, shortly after Sherman issued his order. The Freedmen’s Bureau, as it came to be called, was authorized to give legal title for forty-acre plots of land to freedmen and white Southern Unionists.
The immediate effect of Sherman’s order provided for the settlement of roughly 40,000 blacks (both refugees and local slaves who had been under Union army administration in the Sea Islands since 1861). This lifted the burden of supporting the freedpeople from Sherman’s army as it turned north into South Carolina. But the order was a short-lived promise for blacks. Despite the objections of General Oliver O. Howard, the Freedmen’s Bureau chief, U.S. president Andrew Johnson overturned Sherman’s directive in the fall of 1865, after the war had ended, and returned most of the land along the South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida coasts to the planters who had originally owned it.
Although Sherman’s Special Field Order No. 15 had no tangible benefit for blacks after President Johnson’s revocation, the present-day movement supporting slave reparations has pointed to it as the U.S. government’s promise to make restitution to African Americans for enslavement. The order is also the likely origin of the phrase “forty acres and a mule,” which spread throughout the South in the weeks and months following Sherman’s march. Research more about this event in history and tell your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 15-1 Dr. Martin Luther King

GM – FBF – Leadership is self-made. People who have deliberately decided to become problems solver lead better.

Remember – The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – MLKJR

Today in our History – Martin Luther King, Jr. was the charismatic leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Chosen to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott at its genesis in 1955, the year-long nonviolent struggle brought King under the scrutiny of a wary and divided nation. However, his direction, spokesmanship, and the resultant victory of a Supreme Court ruling against bus segregation, cast him in a brilliant light.

King then persevered in his quest to obtain civil rights for a nation of African Americans. He formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to coordinate nonviolent protests and delivered over 2,500 speeches addressing America’s racial injustices, with I Have a Dream being his most memorable.

When King was assassinated in 1968, the nation shook with the impact; violence broke out in over 100 cities. To many, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a hero.

Dates: January 15, 1929 — April 4, 1968

Also known as: Michael Lewis King, Jr. (born as); Reverend Martin Luther King

Tuesday’s Child
When Martin Luther King, Jr. opened his eyes for the first time Tuesday, January 15, 1929, he beheld a world that would view him scornfully only because he was black.

Born to Michael King Sr., a Baptist minister, and Alberta Williams, a Spelman College graduate and former schoolteacher, King lived in a nurturing environment with his parents and older sister, Willie Christine, in the Victorian home of his maternal grandparents.

(A younger brother, Alfred Daniel, would be born 19 months later.)

Alberta’s parents, Rev. A.D. Williams and wife Jennie, lived in a prosperous section of Atlanta, Georgia known as “black Wall Street.” Reverend Williams was pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, a well-established church within the community.

Martin — named Michael Lewis until he was five — thrived with his siblings in a secure middle-class family and had a normal, happy upbringing. Martin enjoyed playing football and baseball, being a paper boy, and doing odd jobs. He wanted to be a fireman when he grew up.

A Good Name
Martin and his siblings received reading and piano lessons from their mother, who worked diligently to teach them self-respect.

In his father, King had a bold role model. King Sr. was involved in the local chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and had led a successful campaign for equal wages of white and black teachers in Atlanta. The elder King was outspoken and fought prejudice from the pulpit — advocating racial harmony as God’s will.

Martin was also inspired by his maternal grandfather, Rev. A. D. Williams. Both his father and grandfather taught a “social gospel” — a belief in personal salvation with the need to apply the teachings of Jesus to life’s daily problems.

When Rev. A.D. Williams died of a heart attack in 1931, son-in-law King Sr. became pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he served for 44 years.

In 1934, King Sr. attended the World Baptist Alliance in Berlin.

When he returned to Atlanta, King Sr. changed his name and the name of his son from Michael King to Martin Luther King, after the Protestant reformist.

King Sr. was inspired by Martin Luther’s courage in confronting institutionalized evil while challenging the formidable Catholic Church.

Attempted Suicide
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s grandmother Jennie, whom he affectionately called “Mama,” was especially protective of her first grandson. Likewise, King closely bonded with his grandmother, classifying her as “saintly.”

When Jennie died of a heart attack in May 1941, 12-year-old King was supposed to be home babysitting 10-year-old A.D. Instead, he was away watching a parade, disobeying his parents. Inconsolable and racked with guilt, King jumped from a second-story window of his home, attempting suicide.

He was uninjured, but cried and could not sleep for days afterward.

King would later talk about the affect his grandmother’s death had on him. He never forgot his transgression and attributed his religious development a result of the tragedy.

Church, School, and Thoreau
Skipping both 9th and 12th grades, King was only 15 when he entered Morehouse College. During this time, King had a moral dilemma — though the son, grandson, and great-grandson of clergymen, King was uncertain he would follow in their footsteps. The insular nature of the black, southern, Baptist church felt unchallenging to King.

Also, King questioned religion’s relevance in addressing the real problems of his people, such as segregation and poverty. King began rebelling against a life of service to God — playing pool and drinking beer his first two years at Morehouse. King’s teachers labeled him an underachiever.

Aimlessly, King studied sociology and considered going into law. He voraciously read and came upon the essay On Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau. King was fascinated by noncooperation with an unjust system.

It was Morehouse president Dr. Benjamin Mays, however, who challenged King to align his ideals with his Christian faith to address social dysfunction. With Mays’ guidance, King decided that social activism was his inherent calling and that religion was the best means to that end.

To his father’s joy, Martin Luther King, Jr. was ordained a minister in February 1948. That same year, King graduated from Morehouse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology at age 19.

Seminary: Finding A Way
In September 1948, King entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. Unlike at Morehouse, King excelled at the predominately-white seminary and was extremely popular — especially with the ladies. King became involved with a white cafeteria worker, but was told that an interracial romance would devastate any career move. King halted the relationship, yet was heartbroken.1

Struggling for a way to help his people, King absorbed the works of great theologians. He studied Reinhold Neibuhr’s neo-orthodoxy, a concept which emphasizes human involvement in community and a moral duty to love others. King studied Georg Wilhelm Hegel’s essentialism and Walter Rauschenbusch’s social responsibility — which was more consistent with King’s rationalization of social gospel.

However, King despaired that no philosophy was complete within itself; thus, the question of how to reconcile a nation and a people in conflict remained unanswered.

Discovering Gandhi
At Crozer, Martin Luther King, Jr. heard a lecture about India’s leader, Mahatma Gandhi. As King delved into Gandhi’s teachings, he became captivated by Gandhi’s concept of satyagraha (love-force) — or passive resistance. Gandhi’s crusades countered the British’s hatred with peaceful love.

Gandhi, like Thoreau, also believed that men should proudly go to jail when they disobeyed unjust laws. Gandhi, however, added that one should never use violence because it only bred hate and more violence. This concept won India its freedom.

The Christian doctrine of love, King concluded, operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence, could be the most powerful weapon utilized by an oppressed people.

At this juncture, however, King had only an intellectual appreciation of Gandhi’s method, not realizing that an opportunity to test the method would soon materialize.

In 1951, King graduated at the top of his class — earning a Bachelor of Divinity degree and the prestigious J. Lewis Crozer fellowship.

In September of 1951, King enrolled in doctoral studies at Boston University’s School of Theology.

Coretta, the Good Wife
A most important event occurred outside of King’s classroom and church nucleus. While still in Boston, King met Coretta Scott, a professional singer studying voice at the New England Conservatory of Music. Her refinement, good mind, and ability to communicate on his level enchanted King.

Though impressed by the sophisticated King, Coretta hesitated to become involved with a minister. She was persuaded, however, when King said she possessed all the qualities he desired in a wife.

After overcoming resistance from “Daddy” King, who expected his son to choose a hometown bride, the couple married June 18, 1953. King’s father performed the ceremony on the lawn of Coretta’s family home in Marion, Alabama. After their wedding, the couple spent their honeymoon at a funeral parlor owned by a friend of King (hotel honeymoon suites were not available for blacks).

They then returned to Boston to complete their degrees, with Coretta receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in June 1954.

King, an exceptional orator, was invited to preach a trial sermon at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Their current pastor, Vernon Johns, was retiring after years of challenging the traditional status quo.

Dexter Avenue was an established church of educated, middle-class blacks with a history of civil rights activism. King captivated the Dexter congregation in January 1954 and in April he agreed to accept pastorship, following completion of his doctoral thesis.

By the time King turned 25, he had received his PhD from Boston University, welcomed daughter Yolanda, and delivered his first sermon as Dexter’s 20th pastor.

Give and Take in Their Marriage
From the beginning, Coretta was committed to her husband’s work, accompanying him around the world, stating, “What a blessing, to be a co-worker with a man whose life would have so profound an impact on the world.”2

However, throughout the Kings’ marriage, there was constant conflict about the role Coretta should play. She wanted to participate more fully in the movement; while King, thinking of the dangers, wanted her to stay home and raise their children.

The Kings had four children: Yolanda, MLK III, Dexter, and Bernice. When King was home, he was a good dad; however, he wasn’t home much. In 1989, King’s close friend and mentor, Reverend Ralph Abernathy wrote in his book that he and King spent 25 to 27 days per month away from home. And though it was no excuse for unfaithfulness, it gave ample opportunity. Abernathy wrote that King had “a particularly difficult time with temptation.”3

The couple would remain married for nearly 15 years, until King’s death.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott
When 25-year-old King arrived in Montgomery in 1954 to pastor Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, he didn’t plan on leading a civil rights movement — but destiny beckoned.4

Rosa Parks, secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP, had been arrested for her refusal to relinquish her bus seat to a white man.

Parks’ arrest on December 1, 1955, presented the perfect opportunity to make a strong case for desegregation of the transit system. E.D. Nixon, former head of the local NAACP chapter, and Rev. Ralph Abernathy contacted King and other clergymen to plan a citywide bus boycott. The organizers of the boycott — the NAACP and the Women’s Political Council (WPC) — met in the basement of King’s church, which he had offered.

The group drafted demands for the bus company. To secure the demands, no African American would ride the buses on Monday, December 5th. Leaflets announcing the planned protest were distributed, receiving unexpected publicity in newspapers and on radio.

Answering the Call
On December 5, 1955, nearly 20,000 black citizens refused bus rides. And because blacks comprised 90% of the transit system’s passengers, most buses were empty. Since the one-day boycott was successful, E.D. Nixon held a second meeting to discuss extending the boycott.

However, the ministers wanted to limit the boycott so as not to anger the white hierarchy in Montgomery. Frustrated, Nixon threatened to expose the ministers as cowards. Whether through strength of character or divine will, King stood to say he was no coward.5

By meeting’s end, the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) was formed and King was elected president; he had agreed to lead the boycott as spokesperson. That evening, King addressed hundreds at Holt Street Baptist Church, stating there was no alternative except to protest.

By the time the bus boycott ended 381 days later, Montgomery’s transit system and the city’s businesses were nearly bankrupt. On December 20, 1956, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the laws enforcing segregation on public transit were unconstitutional.

The boycott changed King’s life and the city of Montgomery. The boycott had illuminated the power of nonviolence to King, more than reading any book had, and he committed to it as a way of life.

Black Church Power
Buoyed by the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the movement’s leaders met in January 1957 in Atlanta and formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The group’s aim was to utilize the people-power of the black church to coordinate nonviolent protests. King was elected president and remained at the helm until his death.

Several major life events transpired for King in late 1957 and early 1958 — the birth of a son and the publication of his first book, Stride Toward Freedom.

While signing books in Harlem, King was stabbed by a mentally ill black woman. King survived this first assassination attempt and as part of recovery, took a trip to India’s Gandhi Peace Foundation in February 1959 to refine his protest strategies.

The Battle for Birmingham
In April 1963, King and the SCLC joined Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) in a nonviolent campaign to end segregation and to force businesses to hire blacks in Birmingham, Alabama.

However, powerful firehoses and vicious attack-dogs were unleashed on the peaceful protestors by “Bull” Connor’s local police. King was thrown into solitary, where he penned Letter from a Birmingham Jail, an affirmation of his peaceful philosophy, on April 16, 1963.

Broadcast on national news, images of the brutality wrenched an unprecedented cry from an outraged nation. Many began to send money in support of the protesters. White sympathizers joined the demonstration.

In a few days, the protest became so explosive that Birmingham was willing to negotiate. By the summer of 1963, thousands of public facilities were integrated across the country and companies began to hire blacks for the first time.

More importantly, a political climate was created in which passage of broad civil rights legislation seemed plausible. On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy proved his commitment to the passage of civil rights legislation by drafting the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson after Kennedy’s assassination.

The March on Washington
The events of 1963 culminated in the famous March on Washington in D.C. On August 28, 1963, nearly 250,000 Americans arrived in sweltering heat. They had come to hear the speeches of various civil rights activists, but most had come to hear Martin Luther King, Jr.

Planning the rally had been a group effort, involving King, James Farmer of CORE, A. Philip Randolph of the Negro American Labor Council, Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, John Lewis of SNCC, and Dorothy Height of the National Council of Negro Women. Bayard Rustin, King’s long-time political advisor, was the coordinator.

The Kennedy Administration, fearing violence would ensue, edited the content of John Lewis’ speech and invited white organizations to take part. This involvement caused some extremist blacks to consider the event a misrepresentation. Malcolm X labeled it the “farce in Washington.”6

The crowd far exceeded the expectations of the event’s organizers. Speaker after speaker addressed the progress made or lack thereof in national civil rights. The heat grew oppressive — but then King stood up.

Whether by discomfort or distraction, the start of King’s oration was atypically lackluster. It is said, however, that King suddenly stopped reading from penned manuscript, being tapped on the shoulder by renewed inspiration. Or was it the voice of famed gospel singer Mahalia Jackson shouting to him “tell ’em about the dream, Martin!”7

Laying jotted notes aside, King spoke from the heart of a father, declaring that he had not lost hope, because he had a dream – “that one day my four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” The speech King never intended to give was the greatest speech of his life.

The fact that King’s I Have a Dream speech was comprised of portions of his sermons and speeches does not denigrate its essence. At a time when a voice was needed, I Have a Dream so eloquently embodied the soul, the heart, and the hope of a people.

Man of the Year
Martin Luther King, Jr., now known worldwide, was designated Time magazine’s 1963 “Man of the Year.” In 1964, King won the most coveted Nobel Peace Prize, donating its $54,123 proceeds to advance civil rights.

But not everyone was thrilled by King’s successes. Since the Montgomery Bus Boycott, King had been the unknowing subject of the covert scrutiny of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Hoover was personally malicious toward King, calling him “most dangerous.” Hoping to prove King was under communistic influence, Hoover filed a request with Attorney General Robert Kennedy to put King under constant surveillance.

In September 1963, Robert Kennedy gave Hoover consent to break into King and his associates’ homes and offices to install phone taps and recorders. King’s hotel-stays were subjected to FBI monitoring, which allegedly produced evidence of sexual activity but none of communist activity.

The Poverty Problem
The summer of 1964 saw King’s nonviolent concept challenged in the north, with riot outbreaks in black ghettos in several cities. The riots resulted in massive property damage and loss of life.

The riots’ origins were clear to King — segregation and poverty. Although Civil Rights had helped blacks, most still lived in extreme poverty. Without jobs it was impossible to afford decent housing, healthcare, or even food. Their misery birthed anger, addiction, and subsequent crime.

The riots disturbed King deeply and his focus shifted to the poverty dilemma, but he was unable to garner support. Nevertheless, King organized a campaign against poverty in 1966 and moved his family into Chicago’s black ghetto.

King found, however, that the successful strategies used in the South did not work in Chicago. Also, King’s impact was diminished by the increasingly vitriolic rant of the black urban demographic of the period. Blacks began turning away from the peaceful course of King to the radical concepts of Malcolm X.

From 1965 to 1967, King met with constant criticism over his passive nonviolent message. But King refused to discard his firm convictions of racial harmony through nonviolence. King placidly addressed the harmful philosophy of the Black Power movement in his last book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

To Remain Relevant
Although only 38 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. had wearied of years of demonstrations, confrontations, marches, going to jail, and the ever-present threat of death. He was disheartened by the criticism and the uprising of militant factions.

Even as his popularity waned, King sought to clarify the link between poverty and discrimination and to address America’s increased involvement in Vietnam. In a public address, Beyond Vietnam on April 4, 1967, King stated that the Vietnam War was politically unjustifiable and discriminatory towards the poor. This placed King under the watchful eye of the FBI even more.

King’s last campaign seemed a precursor to today’s “occupy” movement. Organizing with other civil rights groups, King’s Poor People’s Campaign would bring impoverished people of various ethnicities to live in tent camps on the National Mall. The event would take place in April.

Martin Luther King’s Last Days
In the spring of 1968, drawn by a labor strike of black sanitation workers, King went to Memphis, Tennessee. King joined the march for job safety, higher wages, union recognition, and benefits. But after the march began, a riot broke out — 60 people were injured, one killed. This ended the march and a saddened King went home.

Upon reflection, King felt he was surrendering to violence and returned to Memphis. On April 3, 1968, King gave what proved his last speech. Towards the end, he stated that he wanted a long life but had been warned he would be killed in Memphis. King said that death did not matter now because he’d “been to the mountaintop” and had seen “the promised land.”

On the afternoon of April 4, 1968 — a year to the date of delivering his Beyond Vietnam argument, King stepped onto the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. A rifle blast rang out from a boarding house across the way. The bullet tore into King’s face, slamming him against a wall and onto the ground. King died at St. Joseph’s Hospital less than an hour later.

Free at Last
King’s death brought tremendous grief to a violence-weary nation and race riots exploded all over the country.

King’s body was brought home to Atlanta so that he could lay-in-state at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he had co-pastored with his father for many years.

On Tuesday, April 9, 1968, King’s funeral was attended by dignitaries and commoners alike. Great words were spoken to eulogize the slain leader. However, the most apropos eulogy was delivered by King himself, when a tape recording of his last sermon at Ebenezer was played:

“If any of you are around when I meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral… I’d like someone to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life serving others… And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.”

King’s body is interred at the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

Martin Luther King’s Legacy
Without question, Martin Luther King, Jr. achieved much in the short span of eleven years. With his accumulated travel of over six million miles, King could have gone to the moon and back four-and-a-half times. Instead, he traveled the world giving over 2,500 speeches, writing five books, participating in eight major nonviolent recourses to effect social change, and was arrested over 20 times.

In November 1983, President Ronald Reagan honored Martin Luther King, Jr. by creating a national holiday to celebrate the man who did so much for the United States. (King is the only African American and non-president to have a national holiday.) Make it a champion day!

January 15 1960- The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

GM – FBF – “An organization which claims to be working for the needs of a community – as SNCC does – must work to provide that community with a position of strength from which to make its voice heard. This is the significance of black power beyond the slogan”. – Stokely Carmichael

Remember – A final SNCC legacy is the destruction of the psychological shackles which had kept black southerners in physical and mental peonage; SNCC helped break those chains forever. It demonstrated that ordinary women and men, young and old, could perform extraordinary tasks. – Julian Bond

Today in our History – April 15,1960 – The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, often pronounced /snɪk/ SNIK) was one of the major Civil Rights Movement organizations of the 1960s. It emerged from the first wave of student sit-ins and formed at an April 1960 meeting organized by Ella Baker at Shaw University. After its involvement in the Voter Education Project, SNCC grew into a large organization with many supporters in the North who helped raise funds to support its work in the South, allowing full-time organizers to have a small salary. Many unpaid grassroots organizers and activists also worked with SNCC on projects in the Deep South, often becoming targets of racial violence and police brutality. SNCC played a seminal role in the freedom rides, the 1963 March on Washington, Mississippi Freedom Summer, the Selma campaigns, the March Against Fear and other historic events. SNCC’s major contribution was in its field work, organizing voter registration, freedom schools, and direct action all over the country, but especially in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

In the later 1960s, inspired by fiery leaders such as Stokely Carmichael, SNCC focused on black power, and draft resistance to the Vietnam War. As early as 1965, executive secretary James Forman said he “did not know how much longer we can stay nonviolent” and in 1969, SNCC officially changed its name to the Student National Coordinating Committee to reflect the broadening of its strategy. It passed out of existence in the 1970s following heavy infiltration and suppression by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), spearheaded as part of COINTELPRO operations during the 1960s and 70s led by J. Edgar Hoover. Reserach more about SNCC and the begining of “The Black Panther Party” and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 13 1913- Delta Sigma Theta

GM – FBF – Sororities symbolize all that we wish to accomplish in our lives. They represent the struggles we all face as we grow. Why we cling to them no one can explain, but in the end, we are all stronger for it.

Remember – ” Devastating, & Impacting, & Victorious, & Astonishing. Since A” – 1913

Today in our History – Delta Sigma Theta (ΔΣΘ; sometimes abbreviated Deltas or DST) is a not-for profit Greek-lettered sorority of college-educated women dedicated to public service with an emphasis on programs that target the African American community. Delta Sigma Theta was founded on January 13, 1913, by 22 collegiate women at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Membership is open to any woman who meets the requirements, regardless of religion, race, or nationality. Women may join through undergraduate chapters at a college or university, or through an alumnae chapter after earning a college degree.

With a sisterhood of more than 300,000 initiated members who are predominantly black college-educated women, the sorority currently has over 940 chapters located in the Bahamas, Bermuda, England, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Liberia, South Korea, and the United States. Delta Sigma Theta is a member of multiple umbrella organizations, including the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) – an organization of nine international Greek-letter sororities and fraternities – as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). The current 26th national president is Dr. Beverly Evans Smith.

The first public act of Delta Sigma Theta was participating in the Women’s Suffrage March in Washington D.C., on March 3, 1913. Today, it is the largest African-American Greek-lettered organization. Since its founding, Delta Sigma Theta has created programming to improve political, education, and social and economic conditions, particularly within black communities. In addition to establishing independent programming, the sorority consistently collaborates with community organizations and corporations to further its programming goals.

The organization celebrated its centennial year by being the first black Greek-lettered organization to participate in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA on January 1, 2013 with a float entitled “Transforming Communities through Sisterhood and Service.” Research more about this and other sororities and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!