Tag: Rev. Jesse Jackson

American Legend Aretha Franklin Laid to Rest in Epic Funeral filled with Detroiters and Dignitaries

via ap.com

Today was Aretha Franklin‘s homegoing service at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, MI. Some may have questioned why the Queen of Soul’s ceremony wasn’t held at her father C.L. Franklin‘s New Bethel Baptist Church (she did hold her final viewing there) – perhaps New Bethel just isn’t a big enough space for those attending her ultimate show. Because once again, the Queen sold out the house.

In a send-off equal parts grand and personal, an all-star lineup of speakers and singers included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton, professor Michael Eric Dyson, Cicely Tyson, Tyler Perry, Ron Isley, Chaka Khan, Faith Hill, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Ariana Grande, Gladys Knight, Shirley Caesar, mayors, senators, members of congress, family and loved ones.

Robinson, the Motown great, remembered first hearing Franklin play piano when he was just 8 and remained close to her for the rest of her life, talking for hours at a time. “You’re so special,” he said, before crooning a few lines from his song “Really Gonna Miss You,” with the line “really gonna be different without you.”

Bill Clinton described himself as an Aretha Franklin “groupie” whom he had loved since college days. He traced her life’s journey, praising her as someone who “lived with courage, not without fear, but overcoming her fears.” He remembered attending her last public performance, at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation benefit in November in New York. She looked “desperately ill” but managed to greet him by standing and saying, “How you doin,’ baby?”

Clinton ended by noting that her career spanned from vinyl records to cellphones. He held the microphone near his iPhone and played a snippet of Franklin’s classic “Think,” the audience clapping along. “It’s the key to freedom!” Clinton said.

Rev. Sharpton received loud cheers when he criticized Donald Trump for saying that the singer “worked for” him as he responded to her death. “She performed for you,” Sharpton said of Franklin, who had sung at Trump-owned venues. “She worked for us.” Dyson took it even further by saying, “She worked above you. She worked beyond you. Get your preposition right!”

Many noted her longtime commitment to civil rights and lasting concern for black people. Her friend Greg Mathis, the award-winning reality show host and retired Michigan judge, recalled his last conversation with her. They talked about the tainted water supply in Flint. “You go up there and sock it to ’em,” she urged Mathis.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced during the service that the city, come Tuesday, would rename the riverfront amphitheater Chene Park to “Aretha Franklin Park” to loud applause.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder reminded those in attendance that Aretha Franklin’s voice is designated as a natural resource of the state in the 1980s.

Franklin died Aug. 16 at age 76. Her body arrived early in a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse. She wore a shimmering gold dress, with sequined heels — the fourth outfit Franklin was clothed in during a week of events leading up to her funeral.

The casket was carried to the church that also took Franklin’s father, the renowned minister C.L. Franklin, to his and Parks’ final resting place at Woodlawn Cemetery, where the singer will join them. Pink Cadillacs filled the street outside the church, a reference to a Franklin hit from the 1980s, “Freeway of Love.”

Program covers showed a young Franklin, with a slight smile and sunglasses perched on her nose, and the caption “A Celebration Fit For The Queen.” Large bouquets of pink, lavender, yellow and white flowers flanked her casket.

Cristal Franklin, foreground left, hugs Vaughn Franklin as Victorie Franklin, left, and Jordan Franklin look on (photo via independent.co.uk)

Family members, among them granddaughter Victorie Franklin and niece Cristal Franklin, spoke with awe and affection as they remembered a world-famous performer who also loved gossip and kept pictures of loved ones on her piano.

Grandson Jordan directed his remarks directly to Franklin, frequently stopping to fight back tears. “I’m sad today, because I’m losing my friend. But I know the imprint she left on this world can never be removed. You showed the world God’s love, and there’s nothing more honorable.”

To see a large part of the almost eight-hour service, click below:

March in Memphis to Honor Martin Luther King Jr. on 50th Anniversary of his Death

People hold signs resembling the signs carried by striking sanitation workers in 1968 as they join in events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (photo via eurweb.com)

by Errin Haines Whack, Adrian Sainz & Kate Brumback, Associated Press via blackamericaweb.com

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. remembered him as “the apostle of nonviolence” as admirers marked the 50th anniversary of his assassination Wednesday with marches, speeches and quiet reflection.

The Rev. Bernice A. King recalled her father as a civil rights leader and great orator whose message of peaceful protest was still vital decades later. “We decided to start this day remembering the apostle of nonviolence,” she said during a ceremony to award the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize held at the King Center in Atlanta.

In Memphis, where King died, hundreds of people bundled in hats and coats gathered early in for a march led by the same sanitation workers union whose low pay King had come to protest when he was shot.

Dixie Spencer, president of the Bolivar Hardeman County, Tennessee, branch of the NAACP, said remembrances of King’s death should be a call to action. “We know what he worked hard for, we know what he died for, so we just want to keep the dream going,” Spencer said. “We just want to make sure that we don’t lose the gains that we have made.”

The Memphis events were scheduled to feature King’s contemporaries, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, along with celebrities such as the rapper Common. In the evening, the Atlanta events culminate with a bell-ringing and wreath-laying at his crypt to mark the moment when he was gunned down on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. He was 39.

Wednesday’s events followed a rousing celebration the night before of King’s “I’ve Been To the Mountaintop” speech at Memphis’ Mason Temple Church of God in Christ. He delivered this speech the night before he was assassinated.

Inside the church, Bernice King called her older brother, Martin Luther King III, to join her in the pulpit, and she discussed the difficulty of publicly mourning their father — a man hated during his lifetime, now beloved around the world.

“It’s important to see two of the children who lost their daddy 50 years ago to an assassin’s bullet,” said Bernice King, now 55. “But we kept going. Keep all of us in prayer as we continue the grieving process for a parent that we’ve had yet to bury.”

A gospel singer led a rousing rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and the gathering took on the air of a mass meeting.

Lee Saunders, a national labor leader, recounted how on that night in 1968, King made an unplanned appearance to deliver the famous speech without notes after his aides saw how passionate the crowd was: “There was one man they wanted to hear from.”

But Saunders stressed that the purpose of the week’s commemorations was not just to look to the past.

“Dr. King’s work — our work — isn’t done. We must still struggle; we must still sacrifice. We must still educate and organize and mobilize. That’s why we’re here in Memphis. Not just to honor our history, but to seize our future,” he said.

Some of the sanitation workers who participated with King in a 1968 strike sat in the front row and were treated like celebrities, with audience members stopping to take photos with them before the event started.

To read more: https://blackamericaweb.com/2018/04/04/many-march-in-honor-of-martin-luther-king-jr-s-death/

City of Oakland Pledges to Fund College for Low-Income Students

Tia Dunbar, 18, takes a look around on a mini-tour from Corey Hill, the College and Career Readiness Specialist as she is filmed by Melhik Hailu of ONews for a feature on Dunbar at Oakland High School's brand new Future Center Jan. 26, 2016 in Oakland, Calif. The Center is part of the Oakland Promise Initiative, which is striving to double the number of college graduates in the city within the next eight years. Photo: Leah Millis, The Chronicle
Tia Dunbar, 18, takes a look around on a mini-tour of Dunbar at Oakland High School’s brand new Future Center Jan. 26, 2016 in Oakland, Calif. The Center is part of the Oakland Promise Initiative, which is striving to double the number of college graduates in the city within the next eight years. (Photo: Leah Mills, The Chronicle)

Oakland will launch a citywide effort Thursday to triple the number of college graduates coming out of public schools, an ambitious and expensive “cradle to career” plan that aims to reverse cycles of poverty and hopelessness by raising expectations that all children can thrive in school.

The centerpiece of the Oakland Promise initiative is an infusion of grants, ranging from $500 college savings accounts for children born into poverty to college scholarships of up to $16,000 for low-income students. The money is intended to provide both real and symbolic support, signaling to kids and their families that there’s an investment in their future.

According to officials, who have spent six months developing the initiative and will announce the details Thursday at Oakland High School, it will cost $38 million to ramp up the program over the first four years and up to $35 million annually to sustain it. The money is coming from sources including foundations, philanthropists, the city and the school district.

The effort is something of an experiment, because no other place in the country has this kind of comprehensive, long-term strategy to send more kids to college, city officials said. But the need is great in Oakland, where 10 percent of the city’s public-school ninth graders graduate college.

“Yes, this initiative is ambitious,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf. “All my life I’ve seen this as the one thing that has held Oakland back.”

Over the next 10 years, officials said, Oakland Promise plans to open 55,000 college savings accounts, provide $100 million in college scholarships and serve 200,000 students and families. Every City Council and school board member has endorsed it, as have 100 community organizations, two dozen university officials and 200 leaders including the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

$25 million raised

While sustained funding is the central challenge, Oakland officials say they raised $25 million to launch the effort. The school district is expected to cover $1 million annually, and the city has committed $150,000, a number that may increase now that the initiative has begun, officials said.

The East Bay College Fund plans to contribute $1.5 million per year, while Kaiser Permanente and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. are giving $3 million and $1 million, respectively, to start up the program. Organizers will need $18 million more to cover the costs through 2020, an amount they say is reachable.

“It will be on us to make the case that eventually this would be one of the smartest public investments that any city could make,” Schaaf said.

Continue reading “City of Oakland Pledges to Fund College for Low-Income Students”

Respectful Mourning and Calls for Action at Funeral for Michael Brown

Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s mother, at his funeral in St. Louis. (RICHARD PERRY / THE NEW YORK TIMES)

ST. LOUIS — They came by the thousands to pay their respects. Among them were the parents and extended family — some 500 strong — of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot and killed more than two weeks ago by a Ferguson police officer.

But the crowd of mourners also included the Rev. Jesse Jackson; film director Spike Lee; T. D. Jakes, the bishop of The Potter’s House, an African-American megachurch; several members of Congress; representatives from the White House; and two children of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

During a deeply religious service here on Monday at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, several speakers exhorted mourners to work for justice, not just for Mr. Brown but for others, long after the funeral was over.

“There is a cry being made from the ground, not just for Michael Brown, but for the Trayvon Martins, for those children in Sandy Hook Elementary School, for the Columbine massacre, for black-on-black crime,” the Rev. Charles Ewing, Mr. Brown’s uncle, said.

Speaking before the overflowing crowd, the Rev. Al Sharpton criticized the militarization of the police and their treatment of Mr. Brown, while calling on African-Americans to push for change instead of “sitting around having ghetto pity parties.”

On Sunday, relatives of Mr. Brown had asked for quiet during the funeral. The fatal shooting had set off weeks of protests and a severe police reaction in Ferguson. Several speakers echoed pleas from Mr. Brown’s family for people to refrain from protesting on Monday.

“Please don’t exacerbate the almost unbearable pain of this family,” said Bishop Edwin Bass of the Church of God in Christ. “It is imperative that we resist the temptation to react by rioting.”

Many mourners, most of whom were black, wore buttons showing Mr. Brown’s picture, and large photos of Mr. Brown stood at the front of the church. Rousing hymns by the Missouri Jurisdictional Choir repeatedly brought the entire crowd to their feet.

Among the family members who spoke, Cal Brown, Mr. Brown’s stepmother, said that just weeks before he was shot, Mr. Brown had described a dream in which he had seen bloody sheets hanging on a clothes line. “He pretty much prophesied his own death and he didn’t even realize it,” she said, calling him “an awesome man” who wanted to have a family and “be a good father.”

In addition to numerous readings from the Bible, there were readings from Dr. King and references to significant court cases in black history. Referring to the original determination in the Constitution that blacks were counted as three-fifths of a man for the purposes of voting, Benjamin Crump, the lawyer who is representing Mr. Brown’s family, said that the teenager “was not three-fifths of a citizen. He was an American citizen and we will not accept three-fifths justice.”

Continue reading “Respectful Mourning and Calls for Action at Funeral for Michael Brown”

Seventeen Years Ago Today: Million Man March Took Place On Washington’s National Mall

Million Man March

The Million Man March (pictured throughout), one of the most moving and emotional moments ever in African-American history, took place on the grounds of the National Mall on this day in 1995. The symbolic importance and cultural impact of the huge gathering signified a shift in the attention on issues that plagued urban environs and minorities. The National African American Leadership Summit and the Nation of Islam worked in tandem alongside local chapters of the NAACP to make the March a reality. Continue reading “Seventeen Years Ago Today: Million Man March Took Place On Washington’s National Mall”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
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