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.
A student in India sends greetings on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday
Students in France requesting an interview of Dr. King
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”
Via Bauman Rare Books – referenced in Gregory William’s letter to Dr. King.
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 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.
All information obtained from The King Center’s website – Thekingcenter.org.
As we continue to applaud the achievements of women around the globe, we must embrace young women and girls as they make their way in the world.
Despite our “busyness” we must advocate for needs of our younger sisters as often, and as loudly, as we can. Our commitment to empowering the next generation is truly a collaborative effort — one that will require great resources if we are to succeed. This endeavor is not without its challenges, but I am confident that we can do this.
Leymah Gbowee – via Mic.com
I opened today’s post with a video by Leymah Gbowee, the Liberian activist and 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, who shares the story of her personal transformation and implores us to find ways to unlock the untapped potential of girls. If you are reading this post on your smart phone or table, and cannot see the video, please follow this link to the Ted Talks website. Once there, type Leymah Gbowee into the site’s search engine.
Here is a brief overview of Ms. Gbowee’s amazing achievements from Mic.com.
Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee was sick of enduring the civil war that had been ravaging her country since 1999. Using her education in peace studies and in collaboration with the organization Women in Peacebuilding Network, Gbowee led a mass women’s movement of peaceful protests and strikes. The group also enacted a now-infamous sex strike, in which many Liberian women refused to sleep with their partners until peace was achieved.
The movement culminated in Gbowee and her comrades daringly holding the delegates responsible for peace talks hostage until they reached an agreement. Harnessing the power of women banning together and the tactic of peace, Gbowee successfully helped bring the Second Liberian Civil War to an end in 2003. “It’s time for women to stop being politely angry,” Gbowee once said. Thankfully, Gbowee continues to lead by example and loudly continues to demand justice, through writing, speaking and her work with the Gbowee Peace Foundation.
Brooklyn Legends is pleased to join with the Gbowee Peace Foundation, and organizations world-wide, in advancing the cause of women and girls. We hope that you will join us in this endeavor. There is plenty of work to do.
50 Years From Now, Here Are the Trailblazing Women We’ll Be Celebrating as Poineers – via Mic.com
Leymah Gordon’s speech – Unlock the Intelligence of Women and Girls – via Ted.com
UN Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka makes a plea to “all countries to ‘step it up’ for gender equality.”
At Brooklyn Legends we celebrate the achievements of amazing women from the African diaspora everyday. It is our privilege to join the world in celebrating International Women’s Day, and to add our voice to the plea for gender equality. Won’t you join us?
Please take a few moments to follow today’s conversation on Twitter @womensday or @Women_on_IWD.
From time to time, we each need to be reminded just how important our contributions are. We may not have a public platform, but what each of us has to offer has a greater impact than we could ever realize.
As we recognize the 86th birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I wanted to share this video on the Dignity of Labor with you.
As you go about your plans to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, please remember to celebrate yourself, and each other!
Rev. Dr. King, President Johnson and civil rights leaders
Martin Luther King, Jr. – stanford.edu
Lena Horne & Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
Coretta Scott King via Life Magazine
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Time Magazine, 1957
Martin, Coretta, Dr. and Mrs. King, Sr., – imagecollect.com
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – nobelprize.org
Dr. King with his family via Life Magazine
On Monday, January 19, 2015, America will commemorate the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, beloved husband and father, who is regarded by many to be one of America’s favorite sons. If he were alive Dr. King, who was born on January 15, 1929, would be 86 years old.
Many public tributes have been planned in Dr. King’s honor, especially in Brooklyn. If you are still contemplating what to do on this day, we have a few recommendations for you.
Have you considered spending the day at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)? There is always tremendous buzz around BAM’s tribute to Dr. King, which is one of the largest tributes in New York. Brooklynites are always excited to be a part of this annual celebration which is co-sponsored by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Medgar Evers College.
This year’s keynote address will be given by Dr. Cornel West, noted author professor and activist. What would a celebration be without music? In addition to Dr. West, guests will be treated to performances by Sandra St. Victor & Oya’s Daughter, former lead singer of The Family Stand, and the New York Fellowship Mass Choir led by Rev. David Wright, son of Rev. Timothy Wright, who is also known as Brooklyn’s Godfather of Gospel who died in 2009. After his address, Dr. West will sign copies of The Radical King, his new collection of Dr. King’s writings. Sound interesting? For additional information, please be sure to visit BAM’s website.
Brooklyn is New York City’s largest borough and celebrations in honor of Dr. King will take place in several neighborhoods. When making your plans, please remember to look for events that are scheduled for Saturday, January 17th and Sunday, January 18th. For a complete guide please clickhere. We encourage you to celebrate with your fellow neighbors from Bedford Stuyvesant, Sheepshead Bay, Central Brooklyn and downtown.
Each year President Obama and the First Family join Americans throughout the country in recognizing Dr. King’s birthday as a National Day of Service. If there is a favorite cause you would like to take consider, this weekend will provide a perfect chance for you to get involved. Lastly, if you are out and about, and love to take pictures, may we ask you to share them with us? We would love to see how the day unfolded through your eyes.
We at Brooklyn Legends are proud to join the world in this year’s celebration of Dr. King’s birth. We celebrate his legacy.
I hope that you enjoyed Thanksgiving with your family, friends and loved ones. In a few weeks we will celebrate Christmas throughout the world and I am truly excited.
I find Christmas to be one of the most magical times of the year. Perhaps it is my overall disposition, but I sense that most people are gentler and kinder. While tragic, recent events have taken their toll, I do feel that people are trying their best to welcome the holidays. I am not suggesting that “all is calm,” but I would prefer that you take this as my prayer for peace and my hope for reconciliation.
As you might have noticed, it is very easy for me to get caught up in the joy of Christmas. I am looking forward to the holiday decorations I have selected; exchanging gifts with my husband, friends and family; attending several of the holiday concerts I have been invited to and watching Disney’s A Christmas Carol – which is one of my favorite holiday rituals.
At the same time, I cannot forget those for whom the holidays are filled with reminders of what they currently do not have. If you walk the streets of New York City, or take public transportation, you will encounter those who are in need in everyday. However, in addition to those I encounter daily, there are hundreds of individuals that I would never see or know about if it were not for theNew York Times Neediest Cases Fund.
Natasha Mohammed – Andrew Spear, NY Times
Emie Payen – Kevin Hagen, NY Times
Ana Reifman – Hiroko Masuike, NY Times
Linda Malloy – Angel Franco, NY Times
Roderick Bradshaw – Edwin Torres for NY Times
Ana Miguel – Sam Hodgson, NY Times
A Brief History of The Neediest Cases Fund
On December 25, 1911, New York Times publisher Adolph S. Ochs went for a walk after dinner. He met a shabbily dressed man who received Christmas dinner at the Y.M.C.A., but he had no place to sleep. Ochs gave him a few dollars and his business card. He told the stranger, “If you’re looking for a job, come see me tomorrow.”
This chance encounter left Ochs feeling charitable and curious as to whether or not this feeling could be the basis for a city’s goodwill. The next year he sent a reporter to several of New York City’s private welfare agencies to collect stories about the poor. His objective was to publish articles about the Hundred Neediest Cases in New York. The appeal would be made not with a direct request for donations, but with the facts of their lives. As it turned out, these stories sounded a powerful call. The campaign, which began on December 12, 1912, was soon adopted by other publishers in the United States and abroad. The idea was brilliant in its simplicity – a newspaper would make a general appeal for the needy and help the City’s welfare agencies solicit funds.
How You Can Help
After reading the profiles ofEmie Payen, a 55-year-old woman who has defied a short life expectancy for decades; Roderick Bradshaw, a father who found a path to success while raising his 5-year old son; Ana Miguel, a woman who overcame surges of addiction and instability, and is now encouraging others to do the same; Anna Reifman, a woman who for many years was trapped within her own anxieties before learning she was not alone; Natasha Mohammed, a mother who is praised for stoking her children’s creative tendencies while struggling to say warm and Linda Malloy, a grandmother who is savoring sobriety and working to rebuild her life, it is clear that New Yorkers need help year-round.
If you are looking for a cause to adopt this season, I encourage you to consider the New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. Since its inception more than 100 years ago, the fund has worked closely with several New York City charities and has raised more than $275 million. The present campaign began on November 2, 2014 and runs through January 23, 2015. Here is a list of the participating organizations.
It is in this spirit of reflection that I write today’s post. I know that there are thousands of organizations, not featured on this list, that are making a difference in the lives of New Yorkers everyday. We at Brooklyn Legends salute these organizations and extend our best wishes to the people they serve.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
I hope that everyone had a wonderful July 4th holiday. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed. I received many e-mails with best wishes for a happy summer, and just to say “hello.” Thank you for reaching out. I truly appreciate hearing from you. For today’s post, I am pleased to share information about The Honorable Yvette Clarke, one of Brooklyn’s favorite daughters.
Many residents of Brooklyn’s new Ninth Congressional District were justly proud when Clarke was elected to be their Congresswoman in November 2006. The areas that fall under her careful stewardship include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, Ocean Hill, communities within Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Sheepshead Bay, Windsor Terrace and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, which is where I live.
I am equally excited that Congresswoman Clarke’s office is within walking distance from my apartment. There is great satisfaction in knowing that my Representative is so accessible.
Rep. Clarke & Dr. Una Clarke – via Jamaicangleaner.com
Prior to her election as Congresswoman, Clarke served on the New York City Council where she represented Brooklyn’s 40th District. She has the distinction of succeeding her pioneering mother and former City Council Member Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, making them the first mother-daughter succession in the history of the Council.
As Brooklyn’s Representative for the Ninth Congressional District, Congresswoman Clarke stands by her commitment to the legacy of excellence set forth by the Honorable Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman and the first Caribbean-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Congresswoman Chisholm would become the first woman of African-American and Caribbean descent to run for President as a major-party candidate.
Shirley Chisholm – via Makers.com
Like Congresswoman Chisholm, Clarke is an unwavering champion for the people of her native Brooklyn. While she presently holds the title of legislator, Clarke has effectively used her experiences as an activist and community organizer to become an effective leader and tireless advocate on issues of paramount importance to the people of Brooklyn; particularly jobs, immigration reform, education and housing. These are indeed weighty issues for they affect our nation. Today, I will focus on Clarke’s recent movement in the area of job creation and her fight for an increase in the minimum wage. I will share additional information with you regarding her advocacy for immigration reform, education and housing in future posts.
On Thursday, July 10, 2014, Congresswoman Clarke released a statement on the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 – H.R. 803. The bill passed by 415 to 6.
“The people themselves have always been our most important resource. To remain competitive in the Twenty-First Century in an economy that includes every nation in the world, we must support people in the development of their individual capacities.” Congresswoman Clarke goes further to say “I believe that the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will allow more people to access training programs to develop the skills our economy needs.”
Photo via GerritsenBeach.net
Two weeks ago, just before the July 4th holiday, Congresswoman Clark released a statement on the June Jobs Report, which indicated the long-term unemployment rate has declined to 2.0 percent, as more companies are hiring workers who had been unable to find a job for more than six months. “This report demonstrates that our economy is rebounding. Small business lead the way in creating 117,000 jobs last month and our economy has continued to recover from the economic crisis under the leadership of President Obama.” Congresswoman Clarke also uses this upward movement to make the case for supporting an increase in the hourly wage. “I’d also urge my colleges in the House of Representatives to allow for a vote on increasing the minimum wage. There are millions of workers with full-time employment whose wages are insufficient to support their families. An increase to $10.10 an hour would affirm the dignity of work, and allow millions of Americans to escape poverty.”
In early March, Congresswoman Clarke lobbied for a vote on unemployment benefits for Veterans. This request was based on a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities which determined that 200,00 veterans of the armed forces have already lost benefits this year. This request was submitted to Speaker of the House John Boehner in a letter signed by 161 members of Congress. In Clarke’s words, “the failure to extend unemployment benefits has been inexcusable. The women and men of our armed forces who sacrified for us, their follow citizens and for their nation, deserve better from their representatives in Washington, D.C. The continued refusal of Republic leaders to schedule a vote on this matter demonstrates the intention to avoid the issue. The soldiers who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, and cannot find jobs, cannot avoid the issue and their obligations to their families. We have a responsibility to act.”
I would like to close today’s post with a video featuring Congresswoman Clarke’s plea for the passage of a Jobs Bill. For me, this is a stark reminder of why we need a dynamic leader, such as our esteemed Congresswoman, advocating on our behalf.
We are all in this together! Continue to be inspired. Also, do not be afraid to add your voice to the many issues that challenge us in today’s economy.
Ruby with Denzel in American Gangster – Everett Collection
Ruby, Ossie and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Booktrib.com
On the cover of Ebony Feb. 1961
At the March on Washington – Policymic.com
Ruby, Ossie and Children Protest the War – 1966 Bruce Davidson
Ruby Dee in the Jackie Robinson Story – Getty Images
Another beautiful Legend has made her transition, the elegant Ms. Ruby Dee. I am so heartened by the many posts about her life and talent. She was truly one of the giants of stage and screen. If I live to be 91, I certainly hope that I age as gracefully as she did.
My fondest memory of this Grand Dame was her performance in one of my favorite plays – A Raisin In The Sun, which premiered in 1961. Ms. Dee starred as Ruth Younger, a steadying presence for her husband Walter Lee Younger, portrayed by Sidney Poitier; her mother-in-law Lena Younger, portrayed by Claudia McNeil and her sister-in-law Beneatha Younger, portrayed by Diana Sands.
A Raisin In The Sun addressed the ever-present civil rights issues of that time – racial discrimination in housing and impediments to economic advancement due to limited employment opportunities. Despite these challenges, there were three aspects of this story that I am most fond of: the family’s decision to move into their new home in the Lakewood section of Chicago despite attempts to dissuade them, Beneatha’s dream of becoming a doctor, which was rarely seen on film during that time in our history and the prominent status given to each of Beneatha’s male suitors.
Ms. Dee’s appearance in this play (and movie) did not come as a surprise to her family, friends and colleagues. Like her husband, Ossie Davis, she took an active role in the fight for civil rights and used her status to promote the cause of African-Americans in the entertainment industry. In 1963 this dynamic couple served as Masters of Ceremonies for the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. When the world said goodbye to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she and her husband were there. Similarly, when the world bid farewell to Malcolm X, they were also present. These are just a few examples of their many contributions to the cause of racial and social justice.
Brooklyn Legends joins the world in saluting the life and legacy of the great Ms. Ruby Dee. She was truly a woman of style and substance. For me, she had a quintessential elegance that I will always remember.
I would like to close this post with a quote from her daughter: Nora Davis Day:
“We gave her our permission to set sail.
She opened her eyes, closed her eyes and away she went.”