Remembering Linda Brown & Celebrating A Legend

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Brooklyn Legends family, it is an honor to pay tribute to the life and legacy of Linda Brown, the lead named plaintiff in Brown v. Board of Education – the 1954 landmark case which led to the outlawing of school segregation.

Linda Brown passed on Sunday, March 25, 2018.  She was 76 years old.  Her actions, and those of the other students represented in the case, charted a new course in America’s educational system.

In 1950, the NAACP asked a group of African-American parents, that included Linda’s father – Oliver Brown, to attempt to enroll their children in all-white schools with the expectation they would be turned away.  Mr. Brown honored this request and set out to place Linda, who was in 3rd grade, in Sumner Elementary School.  As anticipated, she was was not allowed to attend.  This action set the strategy for the civil rights group to file a lawsuit on behalf of the 13 families, who were from different states. Since Linda Brown’s name appeared at the top of the list of plaintiffs, the case was known as Brown v. Board of Education and would be argued before the United States Supreme Court.  The lead attorney working on behalf of the plaintiffs was future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

An important objective of Brown was to dismantle the precedent that was set in place by the 1896 decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, which sanctioned the idea of “separate but equal” facilities for racial divisions.  When the Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education, their decision disavowed the notion of “separate but equal” and concluded that segregated facilities deprived African-American children of a richer, and fairer, educational experience.

Life for Linda after the ruling  

When the Court reached its decision, Linda Brown was in junior high school student, which was a grade level that had been integrated before the Brown decision.  In 1959 the Brown family moved to Springfield, Missouri.  In 1961 Oliver Brown died and Mrs. Brown moved the girls back to Topeka, Kansas shortly thereafter. Linda Brown went on to attend Washburn and Kansas State universities.

To learn more about Linda Brown’s life and legacy, please follow this link.

2C834C22-F295-4270-BA13-7A95DC296BF7

“Sixty-four years ago a young girl from Topeka brought a case that ended segregation in public schools in America,” he tweeted. “Linda Brown’s life reminds us that sometimes the most unlikely people can have an incredible impact and that by serving our community we can truly change the world.”
Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer

Submitted with gratitude and appreciation.

Thank you Ms. Brown!

Monique

Commemorating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Letters of Support

Dr. King in his study, Atlanta GA

Dr. King in his study at home in Atlanta, GA

Dear Readers,

Brooklyn Legends is proud to commemorate the life and accomplishments of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King was born on January 15, 1929 at his family home in Atlanta, Georgia.  This year he would celebrate his 87th birthday.

From December 1955 until April 4, 1968, Dr. King was the leader of America’s Civil Rights Movement. By all accounts this was among the most tumultuous periods in our history. Yet despite the many acts of hatred and violence,  Dr. King remained steadfast in his commitment to lead a non-violent campaign. He received support from men and women worldwide.

Here in the United States, there were many who stood with Dr. King and the architects of the Civil Rights Movement. These men and women gave their time, legal and professional services and money. They would join thousands of African-Americans in this fight for equal rights. While today many challenges persist, we cannot deny the progress that was achieved. These life-changing events have shaped my life and my ancestors.

As I was preparing for this post, I spent some time looking through the archives on The King Center’s website. In addition to extensive historical information, there are many photos, letters and telegrams for visitors to see. All information has been digitally preserved through the generosity of JP Morgan Chase. Today I would like to share few letters sent to Dr. King from children thought the world. I have also included a few condolence letters sent to Mrs. King shortly after Dr. King was assassinated.  When you have a moment, I encourage you to visit the site which can be found by following this link.

Fondly,
Monique

A student sends greetings on Mahatma Ghandi's birthday

A student in India sends greetings on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday

Students in France requesting an interview of Dr. King

Students in France requesting an interview of Dr. King

A student in Chicago requests information about Dr. King's Church

A student in Chicago requests information about Dr. King’s Church

A student who wants to be a Pediatrician references Dr. King's book "Strength to Love"

A student who wants to be a Pediatrician references Dr. King’s book “Strength to Love”

Via Bauman Rare Books

Via Bauman Rare Books – referenced in Gregory William’s letter to Dr. King.

Letter sent to Mrs. King after Dr. King was killed.

Letter sent to Mrs. King after Dr. King was killed.

Sent to Mrs. King from a student in NYC after Dr. King was killed.

Sent to Mrs. King from a student in NYC after Dr. King was killed.

Sent to Mrs. King from PS 32 in NYC after Dr. King was killed

Sent to Mrs. King from PS 32 in NYC after Dr. King was killed

Sent to the SCLC in Dr. King's honor with a donation from a high school in Beverly Hills, CA.

Sent to the SCLC in Dr. King’s honor with a donation from a high school in Beverly Hills, CA.

Credits:
All information obtained from The King Center’s website – Thekingcenter.org.

Commemorating A New Year’s Tradition – Watch Night Service

Dear Readers,

Watch Night, Dec. 31, 1862 - the Clayton Museum

Watch Night, Dec. 31, 1862 – the Clayton Museum

Soon we will bid adieu to 2015 and welcome 2016.  This year has been filled with many highs, but there have been some sad days too. Dear friends who started this journey with me have since made their transitions. I firmly believe they will always be with us as long as we love and honor them.

Each year on New Year’s Eve, I share this post commemorating Watch Night, a tradition that is deeply rooted in the history of people of African descent throughout the United States, in memory of my grandparents and the many elders who helped raise me.

As a child growing up in Savannah, Georgia, I remember my grandparents would make their way to church every New Year’s Eve.  This was a solemn time for them.  Looking back on those days, I also remember how their voice would change as they recounted the painful stories their parents and grandparents shared.  I would also grow to appreciate how they were able to quiet their spirits whenever they heard the song “How I Got Over”.  When I look at my life, I have so much to be thankful for.  There has never been a day when I have not said I’m grateful!

The summary below is reprinted from the African-American Registry.  This site is a wonderful resource for African-American history and culture.  I am including the link to the site for your reference.

Date: Wed, 1862-12-31*
* On this date in 1862 the first Watch Night Services were celebrated in Black communities in America.

The Watch Night service can be traced back to gatherings also known as “Freedom’s Eve.”  On that night, Black slaves and free Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law.  At the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863; all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free.  When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as many people fell to their knees and thanked God.

The article goes on to explain that Blacks have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year.  It’s been over a century since the first Freedom’s Eve and tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate “how we got over.”  This celebration takes many African-American descendants of slaves into a New Year with praise and worship.  The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year.  Some people come to church first, before going out to celebrate, for others, church is the only New Year’s Eve event.

There have been instances where clergy in mainline denominations questioned the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year’s Eve. However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year’s Eve services in the black experience in America.

Wishing you peace and joy in 2016!

________________________________

Reference:
The African-American Desk Reference, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc The New York Public Library John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Publishing

A New Year’s Eve Tradition – Watch Night Service

Dear Readers,

Recently I shared with you some popular New Year‘s Eve celebrations that many will observe.  For this post, I will focus on Watch Night, a tradition that is deeply rooted in the history of people of African descent throughout the United States.

As a child growing up in Savannah, Georgia, I remember my grandparents would make their way to church every New Year’s Eve.  This was a solemn time for them.  Looking back on those days, I also remember how their voice would change as they recounted the painful stories their parents and grandparents shared.  I would also grow to appreciate how they were able to quiet their spirits whenever they heard the song “How I Got Over”.  When I look at my life, I have so much to be thankful for.  There has never been a day when I have not said I’m grateful!

The summary below is reprinted from the African-American Registry.  This site is a wonderful resource for African-American history and culture.  I am including the link to the site for your reference.

Date: Wed, 1862-12-31*
* On this date in 1862 the first Watch Night Services were celebrated in Black communities in America.

The Watch Night service can be traced back to gatherings also known as “Freedom’s Eve.”  On that night, Black slaves and free Blacks came together in churches and private homes all across the nation awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law.  At the stroke of midnight, it was January 1, 1863; all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free.  When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy as many people fell to their knees and thanked God.

The article goes on to explain that Blacks have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since, praising God for bringing us safely through another year.  It’s been over a century since the first Freedom’s Eve and tradition still brings us together at this time every year to celebrate “how we got over.”  This celebration takes many African-American descendants of slaves into a New Year with praise and worship.  The service usually begins anywhere from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and ends at midnight with the entrance of the New Year.  Some people come to church first, before going out to celebrate, for others, church is the only New Year’s Eve event.

There have been instances where clergy in mainline denominations questioned the propriety of linking religious services with a secular holiday like New Year’s Eve. However, there is a reason for the importance of New Year’s Eve services in the black experience in America.

Wishing you peace and joy in 2015!

Monique

________________________________

Reference:
The African-American Desk Reference, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc The New York Public Library John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Publishing

The People’s Champion – Public Advocate Letitia James

Dear Readers:

In a couple of weeks, we will witness summer’s seamless transition to fall.  For many, the shift in seasons ushers in a new set of priorities.  There is a renewed sense of purpose, and we are committed to finishing the year on a high note.

At a New York City Council Meeting - Observer.com

At a New York City Council Meeting – Observer.com

Last year at this time, Brooklynites lent their support to former Councilwoman Letitia James as she pursued her dream of becoming New York City’s Public Advocate.  She would be the first African-American woman from Brooklyn to hold this position.  For many voters, James was the perfect choice, as she has spent much of her career advocating for the people of Brooklyn.  Ascending to this new role was clearly the next step.  On November 2, 2013, she would be successful in her quest.

Outlining her agenda - article.wn.com

Outlining her agenda – article.wn.com

Since taking office, Public Advocate James and her team have charted a broad agenda, and are focused on creating effective change for all New Yorkers.  They envision: Good Work for Fair Pay; Access to Healthcare; a Common Sense Public Education Policy; Utilizing the Court to Preserve Public Education; Universal School Lunch; Keeping New Yorkers in New York, and Legislative Action for Working People.

This past April, Public Advocate James and her team published their first progress report – Our First 100 Days.  Many New Yorkers have expressed their gratitude for the care and concern that she, and her team, bring to today’s challenges.  As a Brooklynite, this does not surprise me.  James is a tireless champion for social justice, education and legislative reform.  While the title that she holds is new, her support for those in need is not.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We will provide you with a closer look at these initiatives, and their impact, in future Brooklyn Legends posts.  Today we wanted to provide you with a glimpse of the many things our champion is up to.

Many of the people who I have come in contact with believe our Public Advocate is just getting started.  She is just sharpening her focus.  I believe that her best days are ahead, and I want to see her win.  Her successes will become our successes, and that suits me just fine.  Besides, everyone needs a champion.

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Monique

In Search of Dignity

Dear Readers:

So much time has passed since my last post.  I truly miss connecting with you.  Now that summer is almost over, and my vacation and travel schedule has leveled off, you will be hearing from me much more often.

Michael Brown -  New York Daily News

Michael Brown – New York Daily News

Throughout my travels I have been following the events of the past few weeks. The first incident that comes to mind is the tragic death of Michael Brown, and the impact on his family and the people of Ferguson.  I also find myself thinking about Michael’s friends and classmates.  How will they cope?  Will steps be taken to ensure that his classmates have access to grief counselors?  How will history record this horrific incident?  Most important off all, after the media leaves, and the 24 hour news cycle moves to the next breaking story, who will speak for Michael Brown?  Will he and his parents be treated with the grace and respect that they so rightly deserve?

This tragic end to a young life, filled with hope and promise, has cut to our core; giving way to a resurgence of issues we naively hoped were in the past.  Despite the best efforts of our civil rights leaders, academics and influencers, prejudice, hatred and fear still exist.  Unless we can create a space where honest conversations can take place around issues of race and perception, these emotions will continue to confront and challenge us.

Shortly after the news of Michael Brown’s death was publicized, men and women from all over America made their way to Ferguson.  As with all tragedies, there are always opportunists and detractors, but I believe that the people who made the journey were motivated by a sincere desire to stand in unity with Michael’s family.  At the end of the day, their precious gift has been taken from them.  Nothing will take away their pain, but we can help hold them, and surround them with love up at a time when they need it the most.  I watched as Michael Brown’s parents spoke to the world with such great composure and “dignity.”  To be completely transparent, I spent the past few days searching for that word, which I have not heard used much since my grandmother died.  I remember hearing her words “dignity is the one thing no one can take away from you, unless you surrender it.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The next few months will be long and arduous for Ferguson, particularly as the world will be watching.  While those who made their way to stand in solidarity at the beginning of this tragedy will eventually focus on other events in their lives, new strangers will come to take their place.  They will stand united in their grief, their anger and their disbelief.  They will stand because this is what we, as people of African-American descent, have done throughout our fight for social justice in this country.  This most recent situation brings to my mind a quote on dignity:

I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have
three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and
dignity, quality and freedom for their spirit.
I believe that what self-centered men have torn down,
other-centered men can build up.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

almighty-yellowplant.blogspot.com

almighty-yellowplant.blogspot.com

We at Brooklyn Legends join the world in celebrating the life of Michael Brown.  We stand united with his family and we pray that God grant them peace.

Fondly,

Monique

 

 

Truly Phenomenal – Remembering Dr. Maya Angelou

Image

Remembering Dr. Maya Angelou – one of the world’s most Phenomenal Women!

With fondness,
Monique

 

Remembering Dr. Maya Angelou – A Beacon of Hope & Truth

Dear Readers,

A few minutes ago we lost a great intellectual, a leader, seeker of truth and a great visionary – Dr. Maya Angelou.

Like many of you, I grew up listening to, and often reciting, Dr. Angelou’s great poems.  She entered my life at that awkward time when I needed a role model to look up to.    Of course there was my mother, and many strong women who helped her to raise me, but I also longed to model a wise woman who I could add to my inner circle.  Dr. Angelou was this person for me.

Whenever I would sit and read  I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Life for Me Ain’t Been No Crystal Stair, Phenomenal Woman, and Still I Rise, the world somehow seemed better.  It was as if everything, and everyone, was kinder and easier to understand.  There is true power in the written word.

I came across Dr. Angelou’s interview with Bobby Jones titled The Mask and I wanted to share it in her honor.

Brooklyn Legends joins the world in mourning the loss of Dr. Maya Angelou.  Thank you dear Maya.  You will always be a beacon for many of us.

Rest in Peace.

Monique

Award Winning Journalist, Inspired to Tell Us More

Dear Readers,

In the coming days we will salute Michel Martin, the Emmy-award winning journalist with an impressive career than spans nearly three decades.  I am also proud to add that she is a Brooklyn native.

In 2006, Michel joined NPR to develop Tell Me More, the one-hour daily NPR news and talk show that made its national debut in April of 2007.  Tell Me More can be heard on public radio stations across the country.  If you would like tune in, you may visit the NPR homepage, click programs and look for Tell Me More.  To get you started, I have included the link for you. Please click here.

I can’t wait to share more about Michel’s great accomplishments with you.  Until then, I will leave you with one of her quotes that I found to be inspiring.

“I wonder what it is like to leave everything and everyone you know for the promise of a better life, to run for President, to be a professional athlete, to parent a child of a different race.  I am fascinated by people who live lives different from my own.  And, at the same time, I feel connected to all of these being a journalist, a woman of color, a wife and mother.”

Stay tuned,
Monique

_______________________________
Credits:
Information on Michel Martin – NPR.org

Access to Higher Education – II

Dear Readers,

Last week, we shared a list of the Top 10 Scholarships for African-American students that was published in The Dallas Weekly this past December.  The feedback was tremendous, and requests for additional information continue to pour in.  Thank you for letting us know we are on the right track.  Additionally, your comments about the amazing Brooklyn women featured in the post was heartening.  I hope that Britney Wilson, Veronica Threadgill and Dr. Aprille Ericcson-Jackson will continue to be a source of inspiration to all of us.

Many of our readers have asked us to share additional scholarship information as we receive it.  We are honored and humbled by this request, and we will take it very seriously.  These updates will not take replace our regular posts but will be in addition to them.

So, why the focus on Education so early in the calendar year?  While there is no one “right” answer, please consider the following.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the famous Brown v. Board of Education decision, There is always a tendency to think of Brown as “one case”, when it was actually a coordinated group of five lawsuits brought by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) against school districts in Kansas, South Carolina, Delaware, Virginia and the District of Columbia.  The legal victory in Brown did not transform the country immediately, but striking down segregation in the nation’s public schools, provided a major catalyst for the civil rights movement and made advances possible in desegregating housing, public accommodations and institutions of higher education.

There are some challenges, and I am convinced there always will be.  However, we cannot deny the hard-fought gains, resulting from the Brown v. Board of Education decision, have afforded us the luxury of contemplating college for ourselves or loved ones.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The information provided here is a fragment of what is available.  However, our objective is to plant the seed of encouragement, in the hearts and minds of those who seek it.

Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation Scholarship

Amount of Award: $1,500 yearly for up to four years
Application Deadline: April 20 for the Jacksonville, Florida area
May 20 for the New York Metropolitan area.

Awarded to individuals diagnosed with leukemia or cancer before the age of 21.  Applicants must live in the Jacksonville, Florida or the New York Metropolitan area (including Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Passiac and Union Counties in New Jersey).  Academic record, leadership, high moral character are additional requirements.  Recipients must be enrolled in an accredited college or university full-time or planning to enroll on a full time basis.  For additional information visit this link.

Candice’s Sickle Cell Fund

Amount of Award: Three scholarships for $1,500 each (2 payments of $750 presented in September and January)
Application Deadline: May 6

Award must be accepted in person at the annual Scholarship Luncheon
Established to raise awareness among the public about sickle cell disease.  Applicants must live in the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut).  Applicants must also submit a 250 word essay that details how sickle cell has affected them, their educational goals and plans to achieve those goals.  Lastly, the applicant must also describe those individuals who have been instrumental in helping them persevere while struggling with this disease.  For additional information, and an application, please follow this link.

TELACU Scholarship Program

Amount of Award: Undisclosed
Application Deadline: March 17

There are strict requirements around guidelines, partnering colleges and universities.
Each year the TELACU Education Foundation awards hundreds of scholarships to students in California, Texas, Illinois and New York.  Applicants must be a low income, first generation, full-time college student at one of TELACU’s partnering colleges and universities.  For New York residents, applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.25 (or the high school equivalent).  To review the program’s guidelines, and to download an application, please follow this link.

Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start Scholarship Program

Amount of Award: Full tuition (less financial aid) and a four-year paid internship with JP Morgan Chase.
Application Deadline: January 18

Applicants must be a high school senior living in New York City and in attendance at one of the City’s public, private or parochial schools who has been accepted to one of the participating New York City colleges.  For additional information please follow this link.

The Eye Bank Young Ambassador Scholarship

Amount of Award: $1,000 in memory of Christopher Nordquist
Several Specific Application Requirements: Including a short essay describing an educational initiative or public service the applicant participated in to promote eye donation.
Application Deadline: June 1st

The Eye-Bank is pleased to announce the establishment of its Young Ambassador Scholarship in Memory of Christopher Nordquist, who was two when he died and left the gift of sight.  When his family made the decision to donate Christopher’s corneas, he became one of The Eye-Bank’s first Young Ambassadors. The applicant must live within New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Duchess and Putnam counties.  The applicant may be a high school senior, or a student enrolled in a two or four year college or university or pursing studies at a trade or technical school. and under 25 years old at the time of the application.  For additional information, please follow this link.

The Lighthouse Scholarships

Amount of Award: There are four specific categories and each carries a $5,000 prize.
Application Deadline: Undisclosed

The Lighthouse scholarships reward excellence, recognize accomplishments and help students who are blind or partially sighted achieve their career goals.  Applicants must be legally blind (have a best corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, and/or a visual field of less than 20 degrees). Scholarships are based on academic and other achievements, and candidates are not required to demonstrate financial need.  Applicants must be US citizens, and reside and attend school in any of the following states: CT, DE, FL, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, WV and VT, or Washington, DC. Proof of citizenship will be required of all winners.

For an application, or additional information, please follow this link.  Once on the homepage, click on the services and assistance link to access scholarship details.

Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity

Award Amount: Undisclosed
Application Deadline: April 30

Several Specific Application Requirements:
Must be a student who has come up with a distinctive solution to a problem faced by his/her school, community, or family.
The second option is a student who has solved an artistic, scientific, or technical problem in new or unusual ways.
Last option is a student who has developed an innovative way to save the environment or introduce an initiative that will improve the health of fellow citizens.

This is a non-traditional scholarship focused on rewarding academic achievement and financial need.  The specific goal is to reward and encourage innovative and creative problem solving. The scholarship aims to honor these students and to help make their higher education goals more accessible.  Open to residents of all states who will be attending college in New York or Connecticut OR to residents of New York or Connecticut who will be attending college anywhere in the United States.

For application, and more information, please follow this link..

New York Women In Communications Foundation Scholarship Program and the
Ruth Whitney Scholarship Fund from Glamour Magazine

Special Note: These are two separate scholarship funds, managed by the New York Women In Communications Foundation
Award Amount: Undisclosed
Several Specific Application Requirements
Application Deadline: January 27

Scholarships awarded by the New York Women In Communications Foundation are based on academic excellence, need and involvement in the field of communications.  Applicants can be high school seniors who are residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or Pennsylvania, attend a high school in one of these states, and will graduate at the end of this current school term.  Additionally, applicants must be majoring or (for high school seniors) declaring a major in a communications-related field, including but not limited to advertising, broadcasting, communications, english, film, journalism, marketing, new media, or public relations. Lastly, applicants must have an overall GPA of 3.2 or better (or the high school equivalent).

For an application, or additional information, please follow this link.  Once there, access the Foundation and click on the scholarships link.

The Silver Shield Foundation

Award Amount: Undisclosed
Application Deadline: The Foundation takes a personal approach to this process.

The Silver Shield Foundation reaches out to every family in New York City, and the surrounding area, that has lost a mother or father in the line of duty.  The Foundation ensures that the death of a parent does not mean the end of educational opportunity.

A Foundation Family Enrollment Form is sent to the family. Once the form is com­pleted and returned to the Silver Shield Foundation, a scholarship fund is established for the child (children) of the deceased parent.  Funds may be used for tutoring or tuition at an accredited college, or graduate, vocational, preparatory or technical school. The Found­ation keeps in contact with the student to determine his/her future educational plans.

For an application, or additional information, please follow this link.

______________________________

Credits/Additional Background information
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)