Category: 1900 – 1949

February 10, 1948- Minneapolis Lakers and Harlem Globetrotters

GM – FBF – My fellow Wilmington, North Carolina native Meadowlark Lemon is a true national treasure. I watched him play for the Harlem Globetrotters when I was growing up and his skill with the basketball and dedication to the game were an inspiration not only to me, but to kids all around the world.
Michael Jordan NBA Hall of Fame Basketball Player

Remember – “You must understand as a kid of color in those days, the Harlem Globetrotters were like being movie stars.”
Wilt Chamberlain NBA Hall of Fame Basketball Player

Today in our History – February 10, 1948 – THE DATE WAS SET FOR THE MINNEAPOLIS LAKERS AND THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS TO PLAY (February 19, 1948) IN WHICH THE GLOBETROTTERS WON! The Harlem Globetrotters originated on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, in the 1920s, where all the original players were raised. In spite of the team’s name, the squad was born 800 miles west of Harlem in the south side of Chicago. In 1926, a group of former basketball players from Chicago’s Wendell Phillips High School reunited to play for the Giles Post American Legion basketball team that barnstormed around the Midwest. The following year, the team became known as the Savoy Big Five while playing home games as pre-dance entertainment at Chicago’s newly opened Savoy Ballroom The Globetrotters began as the Savoy Big Five, one of the premier attractions of the Savoy Ballroom opened in November 1927, a basketball team of African-American players that played exhibitions before dances. In 1928, several players left the team in a dispute. That autumn, several of the players, led by Tommy Brookins, formed a team called the “Globe Trotters” and toured Southern Illinois that spring. Abe Saperstein became involved with the team as its manager and promoter. By 1929, Saperstein was touring Illinois and Iowa with his basketball team called the “New York Harlem Globe Trotters”. Saperstein selected Harlem, New York, New York, as their home city since Harlem was considered the center of African-American culture at the time and an out-of-town team name would give the team more of a mystique. In fact, the Globetrotters did not play in Harlem until 1968, four decades after the team’s formation.

The Globetrotters were perennial participants in the World Professional Basketball Tournament, winning it in 1940. In a heavily attended matchup a few years later, the 1948 Globetrotters-Lakers game, the Globetrotters made headlines when they beat one of the best white basketball teams in the country, the Minneapolis Lakers (now the Los Angeles Lakers). The Globetrotters gradually worked comic routines into their act—a direction the team has credited to Reece “Goose” Tatum, who joined in 1941—and eventually became known more for entertainment than sports. Once one of the most famous teams in the country, the Globetrotters were eventually eclipsed by the rise of the National Basketball Association, particularly when NBA teams began fielding African-American players in the 1950s. In 1950, Harlem Globetrotter Chuck Cooper became the first black player to be drafted in the NBA by Boston and teammate Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton became the first African-American player to sign an NBA contract when the New York Knicks purchased his contract from the Globetrotters. The Globetrotters’ acts often feature incredible coordination and skillful handling of one or more basketballs, such as passing or juggling balls between players, balancing or spinning balls on their fingertips, and making unusual difficult shots.

In 1952, the Globetrotters invited Louis “Red” Klotz to create a team to accompany them on their tours. This team, the Washington Generals (who also played under various other names), were the Globetrotters’ primary opponents up until 2015. The Generals were effectively stooges for the Globetrotters, with the Globetrotters handily defeating them in thousands of games.

Many famous basketball players have played for the Globetrotters. Greats such as “Wee” Willie Gardner, Connie “The Hawk” Hawkins, Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain, and Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton later went on to join the NBA. The Globetrotters signed their first female player, Olympic gold medalist Lynette Woodard, in 1985. The Globetrotters have featured 13 female players in their illustrious history. Baseball Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Bob Gibson, and Ferguson Jenkins also played for the team at one time or another. Because the majority of the team players have historically been African American, and as a result of the buffoonery involved in many of the Globetrotters’ skits, they drew some criticism during the Civil Rights era. The players were accused by some civil-rights advocates of “Tomming for Abe”, a reference to Uncle Tom and Jewish owner Abe Saperstein. However, prominent civil rights activist Jesse Jackson (who would later be named an Honorary Globetrotter) came to their defense by stating, “I think they’ve been a positive influence… They did not show blacks as stupid. On the contrary, they were shown as superior.” In 1995, Orlando Antigua became the first Hispanic player on the team. He was the first non-black player on the Globetrotters’ roster since Bob Karstens played with the squad in 1942–43. The Harlem Globetrotters have been featured in several of their own films and television series and still are a crowd favorite today. Research more about this American Iconic team and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

February 8, 1925- Marcus Garvey

GM – FBF – Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds!

Remember – “I have no desire to take all black people back to Africa; there are blacks who are no good here and will likewise be no good there.” – Marcus Garvey

Today in our History – February 8, 1925 – Marcus Garvey sent to Atlanta Prison. Garvey Was a Political Prisoner! On this day February 8th, Marcus Garvey entered federal prison in Atlanta. Students staged strike at Fisk University to protest policies of white administration.

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements.

He founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.

He founded the Black Star Line, part of the Back-to-Africa movement, which promoted the return of the African diaspora to their Ancestral Land!

Marcus Garvey Letter From Atlanta Prison

Fellow Men of the Negro Race Greetings:
I am delighted to inform you, that your humble servant is as happy in suffering for you and our cause as is possible under the circumstances of being viciously outraged by a group of plotters who have connived to do their worst to humiliate you through me, in fight for real emancipation and African Redemption.

I do not want at this time to write anything that would make it difficult for you to meet the opposition of your enemy without my assistance. Suffice to say that the history of the outrage shall form a splendid chapter in the history of Africa redeemed. When black man will no longer be under the heels of others, but have a civilization and culture of their own.

The whole affair is a disgrace, and the whole black world knows it. We shall not forget. Our day may be fifty, a hundred or two hundred years ahead, let us watch, work, and pray, for the civilization of injustice is bound to crumble and bring destruction down upon the heads of the unjust.

My work is just begun, and when the history of my suffering is complete, then the future generations of the Negro will have in their hands the guide by which they shall know the “sins” of the twentieth century. I, and I know you, too, believe in time, and we shall wait patiently for two hundred years, if need be, to face our enemies through our prosperity.

All I have I have given you. I have sacrificed my home and my loving wife for you. I entrust her to your charge, to protect and defend her in my absence. She is the bravest little woman I know. She has suffered and sacrificed with me for you, therefore, please do not desert her at this dismal hour, when she stands alone. I left her penniless and helpless to face the world, because I gave you all, but her courage is great, and I know she will hold up for you and me.

After my enemies are satisfied, in life or death I shall come back to you to serve even as I have served before. In life I shall be the same; in death I shall be a terror to the foes of Negro liberty. If death has power, then count on me in death to be the real Marcus Garvey I would like to be. If I may come in an earthquake, or a cyclone, or a plague, or pestilence, or as God would have me, then be assure that I would never desert you and make your enemies triumph over you.

Would I not go to hell a million times for you? Would I not like Macbeth’s ghost, walk the earth forever for you? Would I not lose the whole world and eternity for you? Would I not cry forever before the footstool of the Lord Omnipotent for you? Would I not die a million deaths for you? Then, why be sad? Cheer up, and be assure that if it takes a million years the sins of our enemies shall visit the millionth generation of those that hinder and oppress us.

If I die in Atlanta my work shall then only begin, but I shall live, in the physical or spiritual to see the day of Africa’s glory. When I am dead wrap the mantle of the Red, Black and Green around me, for in the new life I shall rise with God’s grace and blessing to lead the millions up the heights of triumph with the colors that you well know. Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm, look for me all around you, for, with God’s grace I shall come and bring with me countless millions of black slaves who have died in America and the West Indies and the millions in Africa to aid you in the fight for liberty, freedom and life.

The civilization of today as gone drunk and crazy with its power and by such it seeks through injustice, fraud and lies to crush the unfortunate. But if I am apparently crushed by the system of influence and misdirected power, my cause shall rise again to plague the conscience of the corrupt. For this again I am satisfied, and for you, I repeat, I am glad to suffer and even die. Again, I say cheer up, for better days are ahead. I shall write the history that will inspire the millions that are coming and leave the posterity of our enemies to reckon with the host for the deeds of their fathers.

With God’s dearest blessings, I leave you for a while. Research more of this American activist and share with your babies I will be speaking at the Fulton Leadership Academy in Atlanta, GA. today and will not be able to respond to any more posts. Make it a champion day!

February 7, 1926- Carter G. Woodson

GM – FBF – Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.

Remember – “When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.” – Carter G. Woodson

Today in our History – February 7, 1926 – Carter G. Woodson leads the way – Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history. The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.

That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent.

Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.

The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.

In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.

President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Research more about the begining of this National event and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 30 1910- Granville Tailer

GM – FBF – Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

Remember – “Great dancers aren’t great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.” Granville Tailer Woods

Today in our History – January 30, 1910 – Granville Tailer Woods Dies. The magnitude of an inventors work can often be defined by the esteem in which he is held by fellow inventors. If this is the case, then Granville Woods was certainly a respected inventor as he was often referred to as the “Black Thomas Edison.”

Granville Woods was born on April 23, 1856 in Columbus, Ohio. He spent his early years attending school until the age of 10 at which point he began working in a machine shop repairing railroad equipment and machinery. Intrigued by the electricity that powered the machinery, Woods studied other machine workers as they attended to different pieces of equipment and paid other workers to sit down and explain electrical concepts to him. Over the next few years, Woods moved around the country working on railroads and in steel rolling mills. This experience helped to prepare him for a formal education studying engineering (surprisingly, it is unknown exactly where he attended school but it is believed it was an eastern college.)

After two years of studying, Woods obtained a job as an engineer on a British steamship called the Ironsides. Two years later he obtained employment with D & S Railroads, driving a steam locomotive. Unfortunately, despite his high aptitude and valuable education and expertise, Woods was denied opportunities and promotions because of the color of his skin. Out of frustration and a desire to promote his abilities, Woods, along with his brother Lyates, formed the Woods Railway Telegraph Company in 1884. The company manufactured and sold telephone, telegraph and electrical equipment. One of the early inventions from the company was an improved steam boiler furnace and this was followed up by an improved telephone transmitter which had superior clarity of sound and could provide for longer range of distance for transmission.
In 1885, Woods patented a apparatus which was a combination of a telephone and a telegraph. The device, which he called “telegraphony,” would allow a telegraph station to send voice and telegraph messages over a single wire. The device was so successful that he later sold it to the American Bell Telephone Company. In 1887, Woods developed his most important invention to date – a device he called Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph. A variation of the “induction telegraph,” it allowed for messages to be sent from moving trains and railway stations. By allowing dispatchers to know the location of each train, it provided for greater safety and a decrease in railway accidents.

Granville Woods often had difficulties in enjoying his success as other inventors made claims to his devices. Thomas Edison made one of these claims, stating that he had first created a similar telegraph and that he was entitled to the patent for the device. Woods was twice successful in defending himself, proving that there were no other devices upon which he could have depended or relied upon to make his device. After the second defeat, Edison decided that it would be better to work with Granville Woods than against him and thus offered him a position with the Edison Company.

In 1892, Woods used his knowledge of electrical systems in creating a method of supplying electricity to a train without any exposed wires or secondary batteries. Approximately every 12 feet, electricity would be passed to the train as it passed over an iron block. He first demonstrated the device as an amusement apparatus at the Coney Island amusement park and while it amused patrons, it would be a novel approach towards making safer travel for trains.

Many of Woods inventions attempted to increase efficiency and safety railroad cars, Woods developed the concept of a third rail which would allow a train to receive more electricity while also encountering less friction. This concept is still used on subway train platforms in major cities in the United States.
Over the course of his life time Granville Woods would obtain more than 50 patents for inventions including an automatic brake and an egg incubator and for improvements to other inventions such as safety circuits, telegraph, telephone, and phonograph. When he died on January 30, 1910 in New York City he had become an admired and well respected inventor, having sold a number of his devices to such giants as Westinghouse, General Electric and American Engineering – more importantly the world knew him as the Black Thomas Edison. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 24 1938- The Jack And Jill of America Foundation

GM – FBF – Nobody said Jack and Jill doesn’t do good things. But don’t try to lie like Jack and Jill has nothing to do with elitism.

Remember – Our chrildren need a safe posative invirement to learn, grow, play and network with others who have the same intrests. – Marion Stubbs Thomas

Today in out History – The late Marion Stubbs Thomas founded Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, on January 24, 1938, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She organized a group of twenty-one mothers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the idea of establishing a social and cultural union for their children. From the beginning, this new club, Jack and Jill, focused on instilling values and leadership skills in their children and providing “all the opportunities possible for a normal and graceful approach to a beautiful adulthood.” This group in Philadelphia quickly inspired others to found similar organizations. The second “chapter” of Jack and Jill was established in New York City in 1939, and a third in Washington, D.C. in 1940. The local group became an inter-city association, expanding to Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Maryland, Boston, Buffalo, New York, Columbus, Ohio, Durham, North Carolina and Memphis, Tennessee between 1944 and June 1, 1946 — the birth date of the national organization. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Jack and Jill of America, Inc. is divided into seven geographic regions for administrative purposes. Each region has a Director, Treasurer, Secretary and Foundation Member-at-Large, and is represented on a National Executive Board. At present, there are more than 230 Jack and Jill chapters in 35 states across the United States, with more than 10,000 mother members and 40,000 parents and children.

In 1968, the organization created its philanthropic arm, the Jack and Jill of America Foundation, incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois. The Foundation has been responsible for the origin and funding of a large number of educational and charitable projects benefiting children and families in communities across the United States. Through the years, Jack and Jill of America has made contributions to other organizations and projects, including: Africare, The United Negro College Fund, Rainbow/PUSH, King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (also called March of Dimes), the Children’s Defense Fund, and to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Mothers of children between the ages of 2 and 19 hold the membership and are required to plan and host monthly activities for the children, who are the focus of the program. Children are divided into age groups (2-5, 6-9, 9-12, 12-14, and 9th through 12th grade) and take part in cultural activities, fundraising, leadership training, legislative events and social events such as ski trips, pizza parties, cotillions, as well as college planning, theater trips and conferences, to name a few. Mothers attend required monthly meetings and act on committees focused on the work of the organization, as well as larger efforts aimed to better the conditions of all children, not just their own. Annual dues, mandatory philanthropic assessments and extensive children’s activities usually result in annual costs of several hundred dollars to each member.

Mothers have to be invited into the group. Members are professional women who are doctors, lawyers, business executives, professors, teachers or are housewives married to men who are doctors, lawyers or business executives. Each chapter may decide on its own selection process; some include a prospective member and her family to participate as guests prior to being voted upon by the membership. Chapters may also, at their own discretion and often when the chapter has become too large, close their membership intake during a given year; and do not entertain prospective members.

Graduating teenagers are celebrated and honored at the annual Regional Teen Conferences during an event where they are introduced to the other families in the membership and their guests, announce their college choice and are welcomed into the adult “village”. Children who graduate out of the program are granted legacy status and may automatically join when they have children of their own.

Jack and Jill of America celebrated its 75th anniversary in Philadelphia, PA in 2012 during the 40th National Convention, and again in April 2013.

There are currently 7 regions, including the Eastern region, Mid-Western region, Central region, Far West region, Mid-Atlantic region, South Central region, and South Eastern region. Each region has a certain number of states within it. Research more about this American Institution and you may want to get your babies in it. 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 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!