Tag Archives: Events

An Indomitable Spirit — Autherine Lucy ~ History


NMAAHCLonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

The University of Alabama was founded in 1831. For the next 121 years, the school’s unwritten “whites only” policy went unchallenged.

That began to change when on September 4, 1952 a pair of young women, Autherine Lucy and Pollie Anne Myers, would begin a long, arduous battle to end segregation at the University of Alabama.

Lucy and Myers met at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama, where Lucy was earning her bachelor’s degree in English. Following their graduation from Miles College, Myers suggested the young women apply to Alabama for graduate school. “I thought she was joking at first, I really did,” Lucy told writer E. Culpepper Clark, author of The Schoolhouse Door, chronicling the fight to desegregate the University of Alabama. Myers wasn’t kidding.

Autherine Lucy with Thurgood Marshall and Roy Wilkinson
Roy Wilkins in a press conference with
Autherine Lucy and Thurgood Marshall,
director
and special counsel for NAACP
Legal Defense
and Education Fund.
March 2, 1956. Library of Congress Prints and
Photographs Division Washington, D.C.

The pair sent inquiry letters to the university on September 4, 1952, and on September 13, just nine days later, they each received a letter welcoming them to Alabama.

On September 19, when Lucy and Myers submitted applications that indicated their race, admissions officials quickly changed their minds. The next day, September 20, 1952, the Dean of Admissions told the women a mistake had been made and the pair was turned away.

As news of Alabama’s actions spread throughout the black community, Arthur Shores and Thurgood Marshall, two of the most prominent African American civil rights lawyers in the nation, immediately went to work on behalf of Lucy and Myers. Shores first wrote to the university president, John Gallalee, and asked for the women to be reinstated. Gallalee refused.

So, as September 1952 came to an end, Marshall and Shores launched what would become a three-year legal effort — Lucy and Myers vs. University of Alabama.

However, a year before the Lucy and Myers court hearing, one of the most significant events in American history took place. On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court issued its landmark ruling in the case of Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka. The Court unanimously declared segregation illegal. The policy of “separate but equal” was cast aside.

On June 28, 1955, just 13 months after the Brown decision, U.S. District Judge Harlan Grooms heard Myers and Lucy’s case against the University of Alabama. He listened to arguments from both sides that day; 24 hours later, Grooms ruled in favor of the young women.

Finally, three years after Autherine Lucy and Pollie Anne Myers had been denied admission into the university, there appeared to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the pair. That was far from the case.

Hoping to discredit the young women, Alabama had hired private investigators to dig into their backgrounds. Shortly after Groom’s ruling the school discovered that Myers had been pregnant and unwed at the time she applied. A violation of the school’s moral codes, Myers was disqualified from admission.

Now Lucy faced walking onto the all-white campus alone. Grudgingly admitted into the school — she was denied dining and dormitory privileges — Lucy stepped onto the campus on February 3, 1956, nearly four years after she had been turned away.

There were no incidents during her first two days of classes. However, that changed on Monday, February 6. Students mobbed her, initially shouting hate-filled epithets. Lucy had to be driven by university officials to her next class at the Education Library building, all the while being bombarded with rotten eggs.

Once there, Lucy locked herself in a room and prayed, she said later, for strength, fearing she was going to die at the hands of the throng. Finally Denny Chimes arrived to take her home. The mob quickly turned on him. With the horde distracted, Lucy was secreted to a patrol car and taken safely away from the campus. Later that night, the university’s Board of Trustees voted to remove Lucy, claiming it was for her own protection.

The event made news worldwide. It was largely felt that local police had simply let the mob rampage. Attorneys Shores and Marshall filed a complaint saying the university had been complicit in permitting the crowd to intimidate and threaten Lucy. The complaint was a tactical mistake.

Unable to demonstrate the school played a role in the mob action, Marshall and Shores withdrew the complaint but not before it had gone public. That allowed the university to accuse Lucy of defaming the school and its administration. This was legal grounds for her expulsion. For all intents and purposes, Alabama had won.

While Lucy felt defeated, Marshall, who would become the first African American Supreme Court Justice in 1967, thought differently. In a letter to Lucy he said:

“Whatever happens in the future, remember for all concerned, that your contribution has been made toward equal justice for all Americans and that you have done everything in your power to bring this about.”

Seven years later, Lucy’s battle for equal justice finally bore fruit. In June 1963, Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first African Americans to enroll and become full-time students of the University of Alabama. Malone, who entered as a junior, received her bachelor’s degree in Business Management in 1965.

Thirty-two years after Autherine Lucy was expelled from Alabama she was asked to return and talk to a history class at the university. Shortly afterward, a pair of faculty members implored the university to reverse Lucy’s expulsion. Alabama did just that, sending Lucy a letter in April 1988 inviting her to return.

In 1989, Lucy returned to the university to begin her master’s degree in elementary education — the same year her daughter Grazia started her undergraduate studies. In 1992, mother and daughter attended commencement together to receive their degrees. Autherine Lucy was given a standing ovation when she walked across the stage.

Today a $25,000 endowed scholarship at Alabama bears Autherine Lucy’s name. When her portrait was installed at the university in 1992, it was evident her courage and sense of justice had helped change American society.

dd-enews-temp-lonnie-bunch-2.jpg All the best,

Lonnie Bunch
Director

P.S. We can only reach our $250 million goal with your help. I hope you will consider making a donation or becoming a Charter Member today.

Celebrate black history all year round ~~ repost


naacp

Black History Month may be over, but, we can celebrate the stories that make up our history throughout the year.
We are making history every day thanks to the men and women who serve our communities all over the country, fighting for justice and equality.
The NAACP’s commitment to those who move black history forward has been unbroken for more than a century. Let’s continue that commitment together. Become a member of the NAACP. Support our work and join us in making new stories—American stories.

Join today!Every time a new voter is registered, or we march in unison to a state capitol, lifting our voices for those who can’t, or fight to end a “Stand Your Ground” law, we are creating black history—American history. Not every hero is as well known as W. E. B. DuBois, Harriet Tubman, or Rosa Parks, but this in no way diminishes the measure of these accomplishments and contributions.
NAACP members stand behind these champions by fighting for the things that matter to all of us. When we work to ensure every person has the right to vote, when we demand an end to racial profiling, when we help to ensure folks have access to health insurance, when we fight for better education and an end to economic inequality, it amplifies the work being done by our unsung heroes every day. We all know that black history is more than one month of note—we stand tall throughout the year. Stand with us. Join us in making history. Become an NAACP member today:

http://action.naacp.org/history-year-round
Thank you for making history with us,
Lorraine C. Miller Interim President and CEO

FDR had something to say about voting


votingFranklin D. Roosevelt once said

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

I Have Decided To Stick With Love … MLK jr. “Where Do We Go From Here”


“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”   Thus spake Martin Luther King. Sort of.

MLK jr.

Excerpt from his August 16, 1967 “Where Do We Go From Here” speech.

He actually said this:

I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer  to mankind’s problems. And  I’m going  to  talk about it everywhere  I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when  I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding  love.  For  I have seen  too much hate. I’ve seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I’ve seen hate on  the  faces of too many Klansmen and  too many White Citizens Councilors in  the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear.  I have decided to love.

 

below is a commentary by: Her Bad Mother

If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love.

He’s right, of course. And he’s still right that talking about love isn’t popular in some circles, that for some, talk of love is just so much bosh and crap and none of us really believes that stuff, do we? Because talking about love is too easy, and real problems require real solutions, not sentimentalism, and isn’t everyone who prattles on about love at best a misguided optimist, of the cock-eyed variety, at worst an insincere manipulator, and shouldn’t we all just be getting angry?

No. No. Because nothing good was ever achieved through anger and hate. Because moving through the world wearing shit-colored glasses blinds us to the world-changing possibilities of hope and friendship and community and, yes, love. Because whether we’re talking about the assholes that wander the Internet looking for opportunities to spread ugliness and hostility or the pundits and politicos who put their enemies in crosshairs or the poor, miserable souls who think – or claim to think – that God tells them to hate – we’re talking about the same thing. We’re talking about the burden of hate. It drags us down. Whether it comes in small parcels or large, it weighs us down. It breaks our backs and it binds our arms and it (alongside, I would argue, apathy, which is just hate leached of its color and energy) is the thing that prevents us from seeing good and feeling good and realizing real change. It blinds us. It makes us ugly, and it makes it so that we can’t see how ugly we’ve become.

But. We can refuse it. We can decide to refuse the burden of hate; we can opt to not let it touch our shoulders. We can choose to stick with love, whatever that looks like. We can choose to stick with love. It’s not always easy – I get angry; I get lots angry and I get bitchy and I sometimes really struggle with the whole love thy neighbor thing because, seriously, the global neighborhood includes people like the Westboro Baptists – but still. We can choose to stick with love.

Let’s.

Please …

Love trumps hate

Get Set for a Healthy Winter Season


While contagious viruses are active year-round, fall and winter are when we’re most vulnerable to them. This is due in large part to people spending more time indoors with others when the weather gets cold.

Most respiratory bugs come and go within a few days, with no lasting effects. However, some cause serious health problems. People who use tobacco or who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more prone to respiratory illnesses and more severe complications than nonsmokers.

Colds usually cause stuffy or runny nose and sneezing. Other symptoms include coughing, a scratchy throat, and watery eyes. There is no vaccine against colds, which come on gradually and often spread through contact with infected mucus.

Flu comes on suddenly and lasts longer than colds. Flu symptoms include fever, headache, chills, dry cough, body aches, fatigue, and general misery. Like colds, flu can cause a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. Young children may also experience nausea and vomiting with the flu. Flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. A person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it.

Flu season in the United States may begin as early as October and can last as late as May, and generally peaks between December and February. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • More than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized from flu-related complications each year, including 20,000 children younger than age 5.
  • Between 1976 and 2006, the estimated number of flu-related deaths every year ranged from about 3,000 to about 49,000.
  • In the 2013 – 2014 season, there were in the U.S. 35.4 million influenza-associated illnesses, 14.6 medically attended flu illnesses, and 314,000 flu hospitalizations.
  • Prevention Tips

Get vaccinated against flu.

With rare exceptions, everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against flu. Flu vaccination, available as a shot or a nasal spray, can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, missed work and school, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

It’s ideal to be vaccinated by October, although vaccination into January and beyond can still offer protection. Annual vaccination is needed because flu viruses are constantly changing, flu vaccines may need to be updated, and because a person’s immune protection from the vaccine declines over time. Annual vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing serious complications from flu. These people include:

  • young children under 5 years, but especially those younger than 2.
  • pregnant women
  • people with certain chronic health conditions (like asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease)
  • people age 65 years and older

Vaccination also is especially important for health care workers, and others who live with or care for people at high risk for serious flu-related complications. Since babies under 6 months of age are too young to get a flu vaccine, their mother should get a flu shot during her pregnancy to protect them throughout pregnancy and up to 6 months after birth. Additionally, all of the baby’s caregivers and close contacts should be vaccinated as well.

Wash your hands often. Teach children to do the same. Both colds and flu can be passed through contaminated surfaces, including the hands. FDA says that while soap and water are best for hand hygiene, alcohol-based hand rubs may also be used. However, dirt or blood on hands can render the hand rubs unable to kill bacteria.

Try to limit exposure to infected people. Keep infants away from crowds for the first few months of life.

Practice healthy habits.

  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise.
  • Do your best to keep stress in check.

Already Sick?

Usually, colds have to run their course. Gargling with salt water may relieve a sore throat. And a cool-mist humidifier may help relieve stuffy noses.

Here are other steps to consider:

  • Call your health care professional. Start the treatment early.
  • Limit your exposure to other people. Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Stay hydrated and rested. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated products which may dehydrate you.
  • Talk to your health care professional to find out what will work best for you.

In addition to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, there are FDA-approved prescription medications for treating flu. Cold and flu complications may include bacterial infections (e.g., bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia) that could require antibiotics.

Taking OTC Products

Read medicine labels carefully and follow the directions. People with certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure, should check with a health care professional or pharmacist before taking a new cough and cold medicine.

Choose OTC medicines appropriate for your symptoms. To unclog a stuffy nose, use nasal decongestants. Cough suppressants quiet coughs; expectorants loosen mucus; antihistamines help stop a runny nose and sneezing; and pain relievers can ease fever, headaches, and minor aches.

Check the medicine’s side effects. Medications can cause drowsiness and interact with food, alcohol, dietary supplements, and each other. It’s best to tell your health care professional and pharmacist about every medical product and supplement you are taking.

Check with a health care professional before giving medicine to children.

See a health care professional if you aren’t getting any better. With children, be alert for high fevers and for abnormal behavior such as unusual drowsiness, refusal to eat, crying a lot, holding the ears or stomach, and wheezing.

Signs of trouble for all people can include

  • a cough that disrupts sleep
  • a fever that won’t respond to treatment
  • increased shortness of breath
  • face pain caused by a sinus infection
  • high fever, chest pain, or a difference in the mucus you’re producing, after feeling better for a short time.

This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.