Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sins Of Thy Father: Revered American Civil Rights Icon Sentenced To Jail For Molesting Daughter(s)...

Tha Artivist Writes:

Martin Luther King Jr., center, leading a civil rights march in Alabama in 1965, with James Bevel at far right. (William Lovelace - Getty Images)

This is truly sad indeed...Noted American Civil Rights Icon Rev. James Bevel is facing up to 15 years in prison for molesting his daughter(s)...The same man who helped desegregate Birmingham, Alabama through Project C by making Dr. King use kids whom famously and righteously went to jail for the cause is now going to jail for the infamous and devious act of harming his own kids!!!

Rev. Bevel is an interesting study in contrast indeed...A truly brilliant man who was considered an exceptional and charismatic orator and activist organizer by many inside and outside The Movement...A man whose gifts were put to good use and effect by helping America exorcise some of its racist demons has, for the moment, lost the fight with his own demons...

Before we be too quick to judge this man who is among the youngest of 17 kids from Itta Bena, Ms and who was sexually abused himself (he was having sex with grown women by the time he was 11), let us understand him and his family and how his unhealthy relationships with women,starting with his mother *(not too be too Freudian) grew out of control and ended up tragically destroying and swallowing the innocence of his own seeds...

Let's separate Rev. James Bevel the Man from Rev. James Bevel the Icon...Let us not stain the communal and spiritual achievement of a movement with the personal failings of a man...The Greater The Hero, The Greater The Flaws...Let us remember, not forget or learn that some of the greatest and most revered heroes and sheroes of the Bible were some of the most flawed individuals to ever walked the earth...

Many families, past and present, have suffered under the iconic baggage of some of its members...Picasso was a great artist and genius, but he wasn't such a great father or husband and neither was Miles Davis, Albert Einstein, Charlie Parker or Benjamin Franklin...The list is long and diverse as a Miles Davis Discography, but the point is this, in order to be great or exceptional in the empirical sense you must sacrifice or dare say neglect other parts of your life especially when it comes to intimate relationships with loved ones...Another point is don't negate mutually positive human accomplishments of an individual by giving more emphasis over that individual's human errors and failings...

We all live in glass houses...And to many of us it is perception not reality that counts...

Bevel leaving the courthouse after hearing his daughter's testimony accusing him of sexual abuse. (Copyright Rebecca Drobis 2007)

"What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
-Mark 8:36

The fact that his daughter and former namesake described him as "objective", "scientific" and "emotionally detached" illustrates well how Rev. Bevel was a man who didn't let many people know what he truly thought and felt; people who thought they were close weren't close to him at all or as close as they thought they were...

The Whole Bevel Family are in my prayers and thoughts...

Please read the great article from the Washington Post by Les Carpenter that came out Sunday May 25, 2008 which by the way inspired my blog post:

A Father's Shadow:

Author Les Carpenter Respond To Readers' Questions:

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special~Eyewitness To The Crucifixion: The Last Days Of MLK:

It Was All A Dream: Tigers' Connection To 68...

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special: February 18, 2007~"We Shall Overcome"-The Henry Hampton Collection (Creator of the Award Winning Eyes On The Prize Documentary) :

Create Green Jobs/Economy By Spreading News About Upcoming Lieberman-Warner Bill...

Green For All Founder & Green Movement Leader Bro. Van Jones with W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Founder And Leader Bro. R2C2H2 Tha Artivist...As you all can see Bro. Van Jones is a fan of the art of Tha Artivist (picture-"Howling Wolf")

Dear Friends and Allies,

Next week will mark the beginning of a national debate that will define our generation.

As the U.S. Senate takes up the Lieberman-Warner "Climate Security Act" (S. 2191), Americans of all backgrounds will be debating climate change policy in the papers, online, on the radio, and on TV.

We need to seize this opportunity to frame climate policy as a way to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty, while at the same time protecting our most vulnerable communities.

On Tuesday, May 27, Green For All hosted a national conference call with over 200 participants to talk about ways we can communicate our vision for national climate policy. A podcast of the conference call and related resources are available on our website: .

Green For All is not advocating support for or opposition to the Lieberman-Warner bill. Instead, we are promoting simple but compelling messages regarding a vision for climate protection that:

1. Maximizes the gain for low-income communities and communities of color,
2. Minimizes the pain for the most vulnerable,
3. Invests in green-collar jobs,
4. Limits carbon emissions at a level that science (not big business) dictates, and
5. Makes polluters pay.

Our opponents are ready to play on economic fears and trumpet false concerns for the poor and people of color in an effort to justify the pollution-based status quo. The attacks have already begun, so we must be prepared to weigh in and win the framing war in our local media outlets around the country next week.

We hope that you will help spread this vision as your own in your local media during the national debate next week by writing your own letters to the editor and contacting reporters.

Please visit our website to access resources and tools to help you communicate this vision with your local media and your community. Please use these tools to strengthen and amplify your message, on behalf of yourself or your organization.

On our website you will find:

Climate vision talking points and ideas
Media Toolkit
Podcast of Green For All national conference call
Lieberman-Warner summary
No one voice is as strong as all of our voices. Thank you,

Van Jones
Green For All

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

An Untold Backstory Of The Founding Of The National Civil Rights Museum...

Bailey in 1988 with an early design, then called The National Civil Rights Center. The name, the look, and the overall scope of the project would soon change


It is ironic that the National Civil Rights Museum which celebrates the black struggle through history has not had its own history told by the media or by the Museum itself. Now for the first time in the Museum's seventeen year history, a white journalist, Preston Lauterbach, tells that story. As with the limitations of any magazine piece, there is far more to the story to be told. Lauterbach's story is important because we need to know how black people, often in spite of ourselves, brought this important international treasure into being. Please share it with others. Yours in Freedom,

D'Army (Co-Founder Of the National Civil Rights Museum)

The Crucible

By Preston Lauterbach, Courtesy of Memphis Magazine

The National Civil Rights Museum: From Scarred To Sacred Ground

Larry Kuzniewski

If the late film director Robert Altman made one of his intertwined tales that portrayed modern Memphis, it would have looked something like this: An ensemble cast, each character powerful and charismatic, each representing what Memphis has become since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: D'Army Bailey, Lois DeBerry, Roscoe Dixon, John Ford, Dick Hackett, Benjamin Hooks, J.R. "Pitt" Hyde III, Tom Jones, Bill Morris, Chuck Scruggs, the Rev. James Smith, Maxine Smith, Jesse Turner Sr., and A.W. Willis Jr. For the plot, white mayors, businessmen, and government officials working hand-in-hand with black politicians and professionals, contrasting the impossibility of such cooperation here in the dark spring of 1968. And for the movie's setting: One could ask for no more scarred or sacred ground than the place that saw the sacrifice of an American icon.

This, however, is no fiction. These personalities clashed, cooperated, sometimes circumvented one another, and formed coalitions toward the unprecedented goal of building a National Civil Rights Museum on that bloodstained ground. The story's conclusion, however apparent to anyone who's visited the South Main district since fall 1991, was anything but foregone in the days, months, and years after the mortal wounding of King at the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. >>>

Save The Lorraine

had you gone to Mulberry Street ten years after King's death, you would have seen two ramshackle shotgun houses, a raggedy warehouse, an abandoned nightclub, and a lounge around the Lorraine Motel. Aside from the lounge, the only profession functioning near the Lorraine was the world's oldest. Prostitutes rented far more rooms at the rundown motel than travelers, though a few permanent tenants lived there. Weeds pushed through the concrete of the dry swimming pool. Paint flaked from the room doors, a few dangling open from their hinges. Busted beer bottles and broken window glass from the rooms littered the pocked blacktop parking lot.

Visitors still wanted to see the forgotten pivot point of American history. They stood on the broken glass and looked up toward the balcony. The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) — the organization King helped found in 1957 and died as president of — installed a plaque and a glass enclosure around the door to Room 306. You could walk upstairs and see the meager shrine inside Room 306. Motel owner Walter Bailey's (no relation to D'Army Bailey) wife Loree suffered a brain hemorrhage the day of the King shooting and died five days later. Walter displayed her high-heeled shoes and books from her library near the sheet that had been thrown over King after the shooting and the dishes from which he ate a last supper of catfish. A few Ernest Withers photographs of King in Memphis adorned the walls. Visitors could drop a coin or fold a bill to place in a slot outside the display. It seemed fitting, some said, that the place where King's life came to a premature end had become forsaken.

Though his controversial style caused friction, and later his ousting, from the organization created to turn the dilapidated Lorraine into a national museum, D'Army Bailey's efforts were crucial to the project's success.
Photo: Brad Jones

D'Army Bailey, born in Memphis, was active in civil rights as a student at Southern University from 1959 to 1962, and as an organizer in Manhattan after completing his law degree at Yale University in 1967. Bailey returned to his hometown to practice law in 1973 and first visited the Lorraine in 1976. "It was depressing," he recalls. "All I could figure was that the white city fathers saw it as a tragic site that would go away. There was a certain air of defeatism among black people. They didn't seem to perceive that this place of tragedy was a treasure."

Though younger generations of Memphians know him as the affable "Mr. Chuck" from his popular children's show on WKNO, Chuck Sgruggs played a crucial role in saving the Lorraine Motel.

Chuck Scruggs, known today as Mr. Chuck, host of a local children's television show, came to Memphis as general manager of radio station WDIA in 1972. In the late 1970s, Scruggs' wife Imogene led guests of the Memphis Council for International Friendship, mostly government officials, business people, and teachers from abroad, on tours of Memphis. "One of the requests they'd make was to see the site where Dr. King was assassinated," Scruggs recalls. "We'd stand there and the visitors would be in awe of the site."

In 1982 Scruggs and WDIA completed a successful fund-raising drive to save the all-black town of Mound Bayou.

Walter Bailey, still scraping by at the Lorraine Motel, reached out to Scruggs for help to preserve the site. Scruggs, aglow from the triumph in Mound Bayou, consulted his weary staff about a potential "Save the Lorraine" campaign. "They said, 'No way,'" he recalls.

"That was my reaction too," Scruggs continues. "But I thought beyond the process of raising funds toward what would happen with that site without some special care. I told my staff, 'If this becomes a warehouse, the blacks will feel that the whites should have saved it, and whites would feel that blacks should have saved it. It would cause hostility.'"

Meanwhile, D'Army Bailey's interest in the Lorraine grew. "I didn't make any commitment in my own mind that I was going to do anything about it," he says. "One day I was going to the little convenience store on the corner of Pauline and Vance to buy beer. There's a laundromat next door where Walter Bailey, the owner of the Lorraine, went to do his laundry. As he came out of the laundromat, I came out of the convenience store, and we talked out front there about his property. If the prostitutes hadn't been providing business, he couldn't have kept the doors open."

Challenges Ahead

prostitutes and the nickels left at the Lorraine shrine failed to keep the motel afloat, and the property went into foreclosure in April 1982. Scruggs' sense of responsibility to history overpowered his fatigue. "Fifteen years after the assassination nobody did anything to protect the Lorraine," he says.

"Credibility Was At Stake."

Scruggs contacted key WDIA staffers A.C. Williams, Carl Conner, and Bill Atkins, along with prominent African-American banker and accountant Jesse Turner Sr. and D'Army Bailey — whom Walter Bailey had suggested — to meet at the Petroleum Club downtown. Turner, president of Tri-State Bank, would be named the first black Shelby County Commission chairman in 1983. He epitomized the credibility Scruggs desired for the project. They formed the Martin Luther King Memphis Memorial Foundation, which D'Army Bailey chartered as a tax-exempt nonprofit. At its outset the foundation had no money and no designs on the motel apart from protection. Scruggs was the first president.

The foundation made another key addition in terms of credibility with A.W. Willis Jr., an attorney and mortgage broker. Willis earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1953 at a time when African Americans were segregated from Southern law schools. He returned to Memphis and opened the first integrated law firm in the city, which represented James Meredith in 1961 when Meredith broke the color barrier at the University of Mississippi. Willis built more political muscle in 1964 as the first African American elected to the state general assembly since Reconstruction and as the corner man in Harold Ford Sr.'s 1974 election to Congress.

In existence for only a few days, the group found much to accomplish. First, they received a letter from Coretta Scott King's attorney requesting that they not use her husband's name. Members rechristened their group the Lorraine Civil Rights Museum Foundation. Scruggs visited Walter Bailey, asked him to take down the shrine in Room 306, and struck a deal to purchase the Lorraine for $240,000. Scruggs obtained a stay on the foreclosure and hatched a plan to raise the necessary funds. D'Army Bailey recalls the difficulty early on. "When we started to raise money to renovate this place, we only had one corporation, Lucky Heart Cosmetics, that gave us any money. Paul Shapiro, the owner, donated $10,000 for the effort, and we put him on the museum board."

History for Sale

GOING ONCE: Crowds of curious onlookers on the steps of the courthouse, anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Lorraine's auction.

a crowd of curious citizens and TV cameras crowded the Shelby County Courthouse steps on the cold and breezy day of December 13, 1982, to see history sold. The Lorraine foundation had failed to raise the $240,000 to buy the motel's mortgage, making the site of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination the featured property at a foreclosure auction.

D'Army Bailey, Scruggs, Willis, and Turner represented the Lorraine foundation, with Bailey doing the group's bidding against six others including Harry Sauer, the holder of the Lorraine Motel mortgage. The foundation carried $65,000 — $10,000 from Paul Shapiro and $55,000 from donations — to the courthouse steps that morning. James Smith, president of the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) — the union of Memphis sanitation workers — delivered to the group a check for $25,000. Other bidders dropped off as the price of history jumped in $5,000 increments. But it became clear to the foundation that their $90,000 would not carry the day, particularly as they looked over at their only remaining competition, Sauer.

As the figure neared the foundation's threshold, Turner made it known that Tri-State Bank would loan the foundation $50,000 on a handshake if they could find an underwriter. Willis searched the crowd for friendly faces, and found Paul Shapiro of Lucky Heart to guarantee $25,000. AFSCME's Smith guaranteed the other half, boosting the foundation bidding power to $140,000. Bailey says that he went $4,000 past the foundation's limit, and punctuated his last bid to signal the exhaustion of funds to Sauer. "I bid on up to $144,000 and said, 'And not a penny more.' [Sauer] understood that if they bid again, they were going to own the building.'"

Sauer went silent and the gavel dropped.

"It was a glorious feeling," Scruggs recalls.

Bailey concurs, adding, "But it was still a rundown whorehouse. What are we going to do with it?"

From Whorehouse to Museum

the first years were a struggle. "We went to [Walter Bailey] and told him to keep operating it, and keep whatever money he made," D'Army Bailey recalls. "I would have to call Memphis Light, Gas and Water and ask them not to shut off the utilities, and to their credit they didn't. We didn't have any money to pay our loan for six or seven years."

D'Army Bailey assumed the foundation's presidency from Scruggs in late 1983 and took a dominant role in shaping the project. "It was my idea to take the property and make it something that captured the essence of the 1960s civil rights struggle. Black people were not engaged by '82. White people, students, and liberals were not engaged in activism. So, here I had the place where King died, which is a symbol of activism. It came to me that if we're going to have the site of King's death, let's use it to tell the world about the whole struggle."

Though Bailey claims the concept, Scruggs and others credit Willis with naming it the National Civil Rights Museum. Bailey acknowledges Willis' contributions, though he says that he and advertising executive John Malmo actually named it.

Tom Jones became involved in the Lorraine project in 1985 while serving as an aide to Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris. "The person we dealt with the most in those days, and the unsung hero of the museum, was A.W. Willis," Jones recalls. "The county became involved because of their respect for him."

Morris had been Shelby County Sheriff when King was assassinated, and transported James Earl Ray from London, where Ray was apprehended, to Memphis. Elected county mayor in 1976, he recognized the unique opportunity to make the museum a reality. "We'd approved projects for different constituencies, but this was the first time that I'd had the opportunity to take a strong stand for the African Americans in our community," Morris explains. "It was the desire of the black leadership in Memphis to have this, and I thought it was an appropriate thing to do and aggressively supported it."

Bailey says that city mayor Dick Hackett was a willing and powerful ally as well. The mayors' participation in the museum project contrasts sharply with Henry Loeb's refusal to negotiate with Memphis sanitation workers. The city and county's initial involvement amounted to $10,000 for a consultant to issue a call for bids on the project. "When we saw Ben Lawless' plan, it clicked right away that this was the guy we'd need," Bailey says.

Lawless, a retired exhibition director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, first came to Memphis in the early 1980s to consult with an upstart Elvis Presley Enterprises as it attempted to make a tourist attraction out of Graceland. Jones explains Lawless' impact on a public suspicious of the project's merit: "All of a sudden, people understood the quality of it."

With the property acquired and concept in place, the foundation needed only to collect Lawless' estimated cost for the project: $8.8 million. The museum design firm Eisterholdllewellyn won the privilege to develop the exhibits. Distinguished historians Spencer Crew and James Horton — both African Americans — defined the story told in the museum. "We were only $8.8 million and the $50,000 that we owed Tri-State Bank short," Bailey quips. "Ben said to get half of the money from the state, 25 percent from the city, and 25 percent from the county. Meanwhile, Willis had asked Rep. Roscoe Dixon to introduce a bill for $10 million for this project."

A Symbol of What Memphis Could Be

jones and morris, though supportive of the project, understood that the public might not wholeheartedly concur. "It was an incredibly hard sell," Jones explains. "The political dynamic was against doing something 'black.' The county legislative body was predominantly white, Republican, and the city's was essentially the same. This project was the crucible for Memphis."

Meanwhile, Willis and Bailey, along with John Dudas and Ann Abernathy of the Center City Commission, burnt countless gallons of gasoline on I-40 between Memphis and Nashville as they aggressively pushed the project in the state legislature. They went door to door down the State House halls seeking votes for the bill Dixon had introduced — with the request reduced to $4.4 million per Lawless' suggestion of a state, county, and city split — to finance the museum's construction. State senator John Ford and representatives Dixon and Lois DeBerry rallied other black legislators to show united support, and the bill passed the state legislature in spring 1986. Plenty of well-intended financing projects go no further than a passing vote, but this one had the inimitable Ford behind it. It passed through the Senate finance committee without a hitch — a bright spot in Ford's tarnished legacy.

Jones thinks that the museum development marked a point of arrival in Memphis' history. "This was the first time that African Americans with a big idea sat at the same table and hammered it out aggressively, and as assertively and as honestly as they could, and got us to a different place as a city," he says. "This museum could symbolize all that Memphis can be. I don't want to overstate it, but there seemed to be a new momentum to reaching across racial divides that were like chasms in this city." Bailey says that with the state funds approved, the city and county fell in line with their shares. The National Civil Rights Museum had $8.8 million behind it by summer 1987, a time of triumph and impending tragedy. Willis, one of the inspirational and indispensable figures in the making of the museum, fell ill and died July 14, 1988, at age 63.

Controversy followed the museum's windfall. Ford disputed the selection of Tony Bologna as architect on the project, recommending James Lindy instead. Eventually, state architect Mike Fitts, who supervised the project, chose the black-owned Nashville firm of McKissack and McKissack.

The Lorraine Motel finally ceased operations January 10, 1988. Longtime Lorraine tenant Jackie Smith refused to leave. She closed herself up in her room and was forcibly removed on March 2nd. She set up a protest outside the museum that continues to this day. Despite lawsuits, civic arguments, and Smith's civil disobedience, construction of the National Civil Rights Museum began June 25, 1990.

Power Struggles

Bailey, in need of funding for the museum, approached local businessman Pitt Hyde (pictured here), who joined the museum's board, bringing with him not only much-needed funding, but the backing of local business titans.

d'army bailey recognized the need to diversify the Lorraine foundation's board of directors and add to the group of political professionals and civil rights veterans he'd assembled. "We needed to raise a half-million dollars for artwork for the museum entryway and to finance operations," Bailey explains. "I had come to know a handful of white businessmen on the board of directors of Leadership Memphis. When I needed money to do this artwork, I decided to go to Pitt Hyde."

Hyde says that the museum concept fit nicely with the philanthropic goals of the Hyde Foundation to promote education in Memphis and make the city attractive to skilled workers. His involvement also fulfilled a personal ideal. "I'd been very supportive of the movement," Hyde says. "I was not an activist or involved, I was busy running a business, but I was always supportive and followed the things that were going on very closely. It's a very easy subject to get involved with."

As the project's driving force, Bailey felt a singular responsibility to the museum, but less so to his board. Bailey maintains that he could not work with the Nashville development group — which included Fitts, Lawless, historians Crew and Horton, and the McKissack firm — while clearing every decision with the Memphis board. "They knew things were happening," Bailey says, "but they didn't have any grip on them, because they were isolated from it. All they could do was keep the pressure on me to open up and put them into the process. I was not willing to do that. Tensions developed."

Bailey disrupted meetings to prevent his board from offering input on any aspect of the museum. "I would conduct a one-man filibuster to keep them from voting if necessary," he says. "But you know that you're creating a situation where something's got to give, when you're creating that much tension."

"The meetings were explo-sive," Jones recalls. "There was name calling and vilification. In time it just wore a majority of the members down. It became a regular feature of the meetings. Those days were often D'Army screaming at Pitt Hyde, or somebody else."

"It was a power struggle," Scruggs says.

Born On The Fourth Of July

the museum moved for-ward despite the deepening of personal conflict on the board. On July 4, 1991, a crowd of over 5,000 gathered on a steamy morning to witness Rosa Parks cut a red, white and blue ribbon at the museum dedication ceremony, and give new life to the scene of seismic tragedy on Mulberry Street. "When I came to Memphis to join the march along with Mrs. King [April 8, 1968], I could not even think about coming to this site," she told the crowd. "I did not want to see the place where he lost his life. But today I'm very happy and proud to be here and be part of this museum."

Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, then thought to be flirting with a run at the Oval Office, looked on from the platform of dignitaries as Jesse Jackson addressed the contingent. "I stood here 23 years ago when the fateful shot was fired," Jackson bellowed. "It's tough to be here. The wound is still open."

Jackson brought special attention to D'Army Bailey from the podium that day, but Scruggs says that the event celebrating the museum's beginning helped bring about the end for its founder. "D'Army forged the July 4th opening of the museum," Scruggs says. "He set that without the board's approval. We were sort of shocked. He'd had things printed up and invited people. We thought, 'This is his party.'"

Certain political implications of that day further illustrated the differences between Bailey and board colleagues. "Some of us felt that maybe Bill Clinton shouldn't be there, or that someone from both sides should be there," Scruggs says. "I was concerned about the organization getting caught up in political conflict. I didn't know who was going to be in office next time and what support we'd need."

Bailey maintains that state architect Mike Fitts set the July 4th date at one of the many Nashville meetings that the Memphis-based museum board members did not attend. He says that operating the board democratically would have slowed the project down. "I wasn't going to put that to a vote, I was going to do what Fitts said and have the opening July 4th. They got mad because I had to be heavy-handed about it," he says.

"Their complaint was, 'D'Army's style. He won't listen to anybody. He wants to run everything his way. He's a dictator.'"

When asked if he indeed ran things as a dictator, Bailey says, "Yes. After all, I was trying to build the museum in Nashville, and the two weren't compatible. You couldn't have it both ways. We were already doing it with professionalism in Nashville. It wasn't a difficult choice."

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 28, 1991, the National Civil Rights Museum opened to the public when museum foundation charter members Bailey and Scruggs joined Allegra Turner and Archie Willis III, wife and son of Jesse Turner and A.W. Willis Jr., respectively, to sever symbolic chains of oppression. Meanwhile, Jackie Smith, a once-promising opera singer who lived at the Lorraine and guided tours of its humble shrine to King so many years earlier, continued her protest of the new facility. She blared King's delivery of his "I Have a Dream" speech from a portable cassette player during the opening festivities. Touted as the first comprehensive treatment of civil rights history, the museum hosted between 800 to 900 visitors that day.

Bailey Gets The Boot

perhaps, as bailey asserts, the museum required a bullish, dominant leader to see it to completion. That job done, though, the museum board sought change. "Members of the board felt that we were on the verge of squandering everything that we had worked for," Jones says. "This institution is bigger than all of us. Chuck said, 'If we all have to go, then let's all leave. It's this museum that's important.'"

Scruggs backed these words up less than a year after the museum's opening. "I led the effort to get Bailey off the board." Scruggs explains. "I was chairman of the by-laws committee. Man, they tried to keep the by-laws committee from functioning. What we did was set term limits. I knew that I was out when I agreed to the term limits, but I couldn't think of another way to do it. I crashed the plane with D'Army and me in it. I wasn't piloting it alone, the board was there with me, and there were other people who could've been hurt."

Meanwhile, Maxine Smith, president of the local NAACP chapter, put out feelers to a potential replacement, outgoing NAACP national president Benjamin Hooks.

On June 13, 1992, the board voted Hooks in as president. Bailey walked out of the meeting and resigned his post on the board.

"We hoped that he would stay," Jones says, "but that we would have a board more conducive to reaching a consensus. His removal was for a very practical reason: we couldn't get any work done."

"It hurt and still hurts," Bailey says. "But it wasn't the first time I'd hurt. I resigned because the board was solidly against me. What was I to stay there for?"

That, as Bailey says, wouldn't be the "D'Army style."

Holy Ground

the making of the National Civil Rights Museum left some of its hardest workers bitter. It simply would not have happened though, had a coalition of diverse individuals not rolled up their sleeves and sweated together. One wonders how history may read differently if their sense of enlightenment and commitment to the cause had been more prevalent in the city 40 years ago. The museum symbolizes the city's progress from April 1968. More importantly, the effort of those individuals embodied that progress.

"There will be a point in time when historians look back at the museum as the bookend to the awfulness of the King tragedy," Jones says. "The museum process showed that good things could happen if people didn't just react to the same old prejudices and messages."

The museum's effect on visitors stems from that spirit. "Someone told me that standing there looking at King's room was the most powerful moment of his life," Jones says. "And that's happening every day down there."

"I'll never forget when Nelson Mandela came to tour the museum," Hyde says. "We got out on the balcony and Mandela just stopped. He said: 'I can feel the presence of Dr. King. This is holy ground.'" Beverly Robertson, executive director of the museum since 1997, admits that the 17-year-old facility needs some upgrades. She foresees structural renovation, technological updates of the exhibits, and a national marketing campaign in the museum's future. But she also wishes to see new stories told within the museum walls.

Beverly Robertson, executive director of the NCRM since 1997.
Brad Jones

"We haven't really told the back-story of this place," she says. "We don't talk about Mr. Bailey, who owned the Lorraine Motel. But we have to embrace all of those people who had a role in making this happen. I don't want to marginalize any of them. That's one story we've got to tell here in the museum — how it moved from the Lorraine Motel to become the National Civil Rights Museum." M

*Listen To Judge D'Army Bailey Discuss The NCRM In Crisis On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio:

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special~Eyewitness To The Crucifixion: The Last Days Of MLK:
It Was All A Dream: Tigers' Connection To 68...
W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special: February 18, 2007~"We Shall Overcome"-The Henry Hampton Collection (Creator of the Award Winning Eyes On The Prize Documentary) :

Texan in Arkansas Prison For 30 years Is Innocent...

Harold Davey Cassell, Known As Dinker, Will File His Last Appeal

Cassell, Innocent Man, After 30 Years In Arkansas Prison

By Danny Lyon

My name is Danny Lyon. I am a well known photographer and filmmaker. In 1962, when I was twenty, I was in jail in Georgia with Dr. Martin Luther King. When I was twenty six I did a major photo documentary inside the Texas Prison system, published as Conversations with the Dead. At the time there were 12,500 inmates in the Texas Department of Corrections. Today there are 200,000. Inside the prison I met an inmate named James Renton.

Early in the morning of Dec. 21st, 1975 , in the woods outside of Fayetteville , a young police officer from Springdale , named John Hussey was murdered. Kidnapped, handcuffed and shot four times in the head with his own gun, it was clear from the beginning that his abduction and murder were connected to a burglary that had happened a few hours earlier, in Rogers , Arkansas . The FBI believed that four men were present that night at the burglary, and all four were present at the murder, and that all four fired a shot into Officer Hussey.

One of these men, Don McLaughlin, committed suicide. Another, Larry Wallace, vanished into the Texas prison system. The third was Renton , who was convicted and sentenced to Life. Renton died in prison in 1995. The fourth man was Harold Davey Cassell. Cassell, who would not testify at his own trial and refused to “help put Renton in the electric chair” was also found guilty of capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison. Cassell, whom most people call Dinker, is still in prison.

During the process of writing “Like a Thief’s Dream” (PowerHouse Books!/thief.html) a book about Renton , I visited Fayetteville and went through thousands of pages of documents and evidence that has been preserved in Springdale . I also interviewed all the major figures still alive in the police department and the FBI that were active in the case. I interviewed Cassell many times for many hours and collected other documentation from inmates that knew both Cassell and Renton in prison.

There is absolutely no question that Cassell was not present during the burglary at Rogers that proceeded the crime and was not present during the abduction of Officer Hussey. He and another burglar, who had been in Fayetteville the previous night, were 100 miles away in Oklahoma when the officer was murdered by two people (McLaughlin and Renton ), not four, in the woods west of Fayetteville .

Cassell, who is today at 58, an extremely likable and educated inmate, has been in prison for thirty years. He is innocent. He is also one of over one thousand men doing life sentences in Arkansas who will almost certainly die in prison. In the United States there are at least 100,000 inmates also serving life sentences. Most of these men will almost certainly never be released.

Cassell has unsuccessfully used up all but one of his Federal and State appeals. His wife, Colleen McGrath, who still awaits him in the free world, says “Dinker should be released for time served.” She is right. Whatever his role in this horrendous crime, and it was zero, he has done enough prison time. Father Louis Franz of Arizona has hired the West Memphis Lawyer, Gerald Coleman to file what is Dinker’s last chance to leave the Arkansas prison alive. Dinker is a teacher in the Cummins Unit. His address is Harold Davey Cassell #73885, PO Box 500 , Blk #2, Grady Arkansas, 71644 – 0500.

Media interested in this story may contact me at Father Lou Franz can be reached at Arkansas Churches for Life, PO Box 1208 , Flagstaff , Arizona ...Thank you for reading this.

Danny Lyon

Saturday, May 24, 2008

James Reese Europe's Descendant Sings James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant's Praises

May 14, 2008

Hello r2c2h2,
I really loved your book about James Reese Europe. The artwork was a tribute and very beautiful too. Your web site is exciting and your artful messages are profound.
I did find a bit of information in your book that was factually incorrect and I just wanted to bring that to your attention. Lieutenant James Reese Europe had one son James Reese and five grandchildren, Patricia, Lynn, James R. Jr., Virginia and Theresa. There are nine great-grandchildren, Jared Cotter (American Idol contestant), James Reese IV, Robert Foster (guitarist and cellist), Jason, Jeremy, Jamie, Casey, Jessy and Reese. There are no great great grand children.

My name is Ellen Europe-Gomez and my children are James Reese Europe IV and Robert Foster Europe.
Thank you for your interest in a true American hero. We are so proud of this brave and innovative man.
Bless you and I wish you continued success in your endeavors.
Ellen Europe-Gomez

*Named To The Smithsonian Institute's Jazz Books For Kids And Young Adults List*

Official Website:

Buy The Book @

5/25/08~W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special:On Patrol In No Man's Land, Iraq War Veterans Speak Out...

One Full Year On The Air!!!

May 2008's Theme Is
"Going Forward..."

Date: Sunday May 25, 2008

Time: 4pm-6pm Central/5pm-7pm Eastern

Topic: On Patrol in No Man’s Land, Iraq War Veterans Speak Out...

About The Show

In Observance Of Memorial Day Weekend & The Fifth Year Anniversary Of The Iraq War, W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio reached out to two veterans of the Iraq War to get their sides of the story…Much of what you hear you won’t hear or see on the corporate news, read about in the corporate newspapers and heard discussed on corporate talk radio…

These are exclusives…As you listen please be inspired to be active in ending this tragedy as soon as possible...And never forget the sacrifices made by all involved, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, who aren’t making a shameful load of money off the misery of others…We will have more Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans on W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio in the future so if you know any who are interested in being interviewed please e-mail us at

Listen To The Actual Show Online:


Bro. Adam Kokesh, U.S. Marine Vet of the 1st Regiment Detachment of the 3rd Civil Affairs Group & Leading Anti-War Activist/Spokesperson (Iraq War Veterans Against The War); Bro. Detran Delaney, U.S. Army E4 Specialist Vet of the 507th Maintenance Company

A.) About Bro. Adam Kokesh

Adam Charles Kokesh was a Corporal in the United States Marine Corps Reserve and a veteran of the Iraq War. He is currently an anti-U.S. occupation of Iraq activist and is notable for wearing portions of his military uniform to anti-war protests and the attempts of the Marine Corps to downgrade his honorable discharge in response.

Please Check Out The Following Links For More On Bro. Adam Kokesh:


B.) About Bro. Datrin Delaney
Bro. Delaney was in the same unit, The 507th Maintenance Company, as famous P.O.W.s Private Jessica Lynch and Private Shoshana Johnson…On March 23, 2003, Bro. Delaney escaped certain death and possible capture when the maintenance truck he was riding in was cut off from a convoy due to a sudden sandstorm...Unfortunately, the leading Humvee was ambushed by Iraq insurgents and many people inside the Humvee were killed…This incident also led to the captures of the aforementioned Privates Lynch and Johnson…

Learn how Bro. Delaney went from being an underachieving high school student from a broken home, with zero male role models and with zero prospects to becoming a recent award winning college graduate with a 3.8 GPA and a role model/mentor for elementary school kids as well as a source of pride for his family and his neighborhood in Memphis, Tn…

Bro. Delaney will weigh the pros and cons of military service and also voice his opinions about the supposed necessity of the Iraq War in particular and The War On Terror in general…Bro. Delaney will also recall the comrades he lost in the line of duty…

Featured Music By: The James Reese Europe Orchestra, Binky Mack & Brotha’s Keepa

Get Involved
As Always You Can Catch Tha Artivist Presents…W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio Live Every Sunday @ 4PM Central/5PM Eastern By Clicking On The Following Link:

Please Be Our Invited Guest By Calling Us Live @ 646-652-4593 Or E-mailing Us Your Questions And Comments @

As Always Please Spread The Good News!!!


W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Reps Black History 365 Days A Year!!!


Celebrate Black History And Love All Day Every Day With Works By Tha Artivist:


Check Out The 2007 R2C2H2 Winter Newsletter:

Buy The Award Winning James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant

*Named To The Smithsonian Institute's Jazz Books For Kids And Young Adults List*

Buy The Book @


Get Your Barack Obama "A Legacy Of Hope" T-Shirt Today!!!


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Thank Hitler For Israel...

Tha Artstorian Reports...Special W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News...

Was Hitler A De Facto Jewish Leader???

It was the disobedience and rebellion of the Jews, God's chosen people, to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah, that gave rise to the opposition and persecution that they experienced beginning in Canaan and continuing to this very day... Their own rebellion had birthed the seed of antisemitism that would arise and bring destruction to them for centuries to come.... it rises from the judgment of God upon his rebellious chosen people.
Rev. John Hagee

Last Week Israel celebrated its 60th Anniversary...Last week U.S. Pres. George Bush traveled to Israel to speak at the Knesset and said some pretty divisive and inaccurate things about the U.S. Democratic Party’s involvement in the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany...He said that the U.S. Democrats (actually he should have meant the isolationist U.S. Republican Senator William Edgar Borah from Idaho) and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain were appeasers and apologists for Hitler...

It was also discovered this week that the good Rev. John Hagee said something controversial in a sermon 2 years ago…He said that Hitler was a hunter sent by God to kill Jews and to force the Jews to create or re-create some may say the country known to the world today as Israel…Needless to say this accusation did cause a little ripple in the corporate media lake and then went quietly away…However, not before U.S. Republican Presidential Hopeful John McCain rejected and denounced the good Rev. Hagee (who ironically is a very good friend of the Israeli Nation) for his so-called inappropriate remarks…

The question these points might raise is this: “Was Hitler A Jewish Leader???”

Many of us, especially our brothers and sisters in the Jewish community, would emphatically say Hell No!!!

I say this...Thank Hitler For The Rise Of Israel...

It only took Hitler 6 years to do whereas many others have tried and failed for years and centuries to do…

It can be rationally argued that Hitler did more to change the modern world, for better and for worse, than anyone in 20th Century History...

Hitler’s failed invasion of Russia helped to successfully modernize the Soviet Union military and get it ready post-WW2 for a five decade Cold War showdown with the U.S.A….

Hitler's War also helped to create two horribly ineffective institutions known as the United Nations and
the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency a.k.a. CIA

Even two Popes were made out of HITLER’S WAR ON THE JEWS: Pope John Paul II was helping Jews escape and hide in war torn Poland while current Pope Benedict XVI joined the Hitler Youth or Nazi Boy Scouts…

Need I write more???

In alot of ways his monumental achievements as well as his monumental failures, albeit considered very infamous in many circles, are extraordinary considering the short amount of time he was in power (1933-1945)... Hitler, who was a failed visual artist (failed twice to get into the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna ), became a master artist when he used the world as a canvas to create his masterwork: World War 2... Picasso's Guernica ain't got shznt on Hitler’s masterpiece a.k.a. WW2... I know some of you will label me a "Farra-Kon" for writing these things, but read the following and then tell me what you think:

It can be rationally argued that if Hitler did not initiate the worldwide catastrophe known as WW 2 THEN THERE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ENOUGH WORLD INTEREST IN CREATING A HOMELAND SPECIFICALLY FOR JEWS…As a matter of fact it has been proven that the great White Western Civilization Leaders such as FDR and Winston Churchill knew well before 1941 the atrocities that Hitler was committing upon the Jews and yet they did not bulge a digit in trying to even stop Hitler let alone appease him… It wasn’t until Hitler laid waste to the crown jewel of the British Empire known as London and the Nazi Allies, the Japanese, blitzkreiged Pearl Harbor, that the previously mentioned “men of honor and distinction” decided to act with all deliberate speed…

Many countries would not accept Jewish refugees fleeing the wrath of the Fuhrer…Some Jews were even force to relocate to the Middle East in what is now known as Israel…As a matter of fact the rise of Hitler helped to rapidly fulfill Great Britain's The White Paper Of 1939 mandate to establish a homeland in the Middle East for Israel within five years…

The world powers, after seeing the horrors of Hitler’s War graphically manifest itself in the written testimonies, the photos and films of concentration camps (hell on earth places for Jews in Europe), were guilt tripped into creating the Jewish Promised Land for failure to act in defense of the Jewish people…

Hitler’s aggression led to Israel’s resurrection

Hitler the De Facto Savior of Israel???

Some FOX News Ish Indeed…Karl Rove Top That…

Feel free to holla back by leaving a comment on the post or e-mailing r2c2h2 at gmail dot com

Friday, May 23, 2008

Jealous Is A Good Fit For NAACP...

Jealous To Become NAACP's New President, CEO
Benjamin Todd Jealous

Graduate Of Columbia University And Rhodes Scholar Will Be Youngest National Leader In Organization's History
By Kelly Brewington

A 35-year-old human rights activist with family ties to Baltimore will become the NAACP's new president and chief executive officer, the board of the nation's oldest civil rights organization voted early this morning.

Benjamin Todd Jealous, a graduate of Columbia University and a Rhodes Scholar, will become the youngest national leader in the 99-year history of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

"I'm excited to take the helm of the NAACP," he said early yesterday. "I believe in the urgent need for strong civil rights institutions and strong black institutions in general."

But the NAACP's 64-member board was not united in its selection of Jealous. The vote, which came after an arduous eight-hour closed-door meeting that ended close to 3 a.m. at the Westin Baltimore International Airport hotel, came as some members complained they were shut out of the selection process.

Jealous, however, received key support from NAACP board Chairman Julian Bond.

During the meeting, Jealous gave lengthy presentation to board members, after which each member was permitted to ask him a question. That portion of the meeting lasted three hours and from time to time, loud applause could be heard outside the closed meeting room. When Jealous emerged from the conference room, he said the interaction with board members "went really well. Fabulous."

"When you have 64 people, you will always have many opinions," he said. "But judging from the applause and the questions, I think most people felt very good about me."

Jealous has spent the last six years in leadership positions with advocacy roles, including three years as director of Amnesty International's U.S. Human Rights Program, and most recently as president of the San Francisco-based Rosenberg Foundation, which supports social justice organizations. Before that, he spent three years as executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, an organization of 200 black-owned community newspapers.

In an interview with The Sun, Jealous expressed an admiration of the NAACP, an organization he said his family has supported for five generations.

"I've spent my entire life in this movement," he said. "I was raised to believe that there is no greater calling than to serve your people in the cause of justice. That is how I have spent my life. I have no higher ambitions."

Although he grew up in Pacific Grove, Calif., Jealous spent summers at his grandparents' home in Baltimore's Ashburton neighborhood, where his family was active in the Baltimore NAACP. Jealous' mother, who is black, was among the first students to desegregate Western High School in 1955, he said. His father, who is white, took part in sit-ins to desegregate Baltimore lunch counters, Jealous said.

He takes the helm at the NAACP during a critical time in its nearly 100-year history. The organization has struggled to increase membership, raise money and battle critics who question if the organization can remain relevant in the post-civil rights era.

Jealous said he will make financial stability a priority for the organization and plans to use his personal relationships with top foundations around the country to build fund-raising. He said he will also focus on supporting the NAACP's nearly 2,000 local units across the country and on using technology more effectively to "pull people into this movement."

He points to his youth as an asset in recruiting new members and said he thinks he can work to create consensus among the board's various factions.

The most recent president and CEO, Bruce S. Gordon, resigned abruptly in March 2007, following clashes with the board. He had spent 19 months at the helm.

Gordon said he and the board could not come to an agreement on a vision for the organization. His departure surprised and frustrated board members, who had unanimously selected the former Verizon executive with great fanfare, noting his long corporate resume should boost fundraising.

Several months after Gordon's departure, the organization revealed significant financial troubles, forcing leadership to cut the staff at the NAACP's Baltimore headquarters by about 40 percent through attrition and layoffs. Leaders also announced the temporary closing of seven regional offices, a move that upset local chapter officers, who complained that without the regional offices, members were losing a vital conduit to the national office. The financial problems derailed a plan to move the organization's headquarters from northwest Baltimore to Washington D.C.

Earlier this year, Bond said a huge fundraising campaign helped shrink last year's $3 million deficit to less than $300,000.

Despite that progress, a group of a dozen dissident board members calling itself "Leadership of Conscience" tried unsuccessfully to unseat Bond, and complained that the president's search was an example of how the NAACP is ruled by an elite inner circle that is out of touch with its grass roots.

Last year, the NAACP recruited a 15-member search committee made up of activists, scholars and eight board members. The panel named three finalists to the board's 17-member executive committee, led by Bond.

According to syndicated columnist George E. Curry, the other finalists for the top post included Alvin Brown, 37, a senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton; and the Rev. Frederick D. Haynes III, pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas.

Copyright © 2008, The Baltimore Sun

*W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Special~The State Of Black America 2008*


April 13, 2008~The State Of Black America Part One

April 20, 2008~The State Of Black America Part Two

April 27, 2008~The State Of Black America Part Three

R2C2H2 Speaks About History, Politics, Jazz, and Art in new article...

A Seedling In A Forest Of Giant Sequoias:
The Great Myrlie Evers-Williams (Widow Of The Great Medgar Evers) And Legendary Businessman & Founder Of Black Enterprise Magazine Earl Graves Are Fans Of The Art Of R2C2H2 Tha Artivist

"Tha Great Artstorian" & The Great Historian Meet At Last: The Incomparable Dr. John Hope Franklin Is A Fan Of Tha Artivist...

Photo by Mike Maple
Playing Taps For A Forgotten Jazz Great: Ron Herd II a.k.a. R2C2H2 Tha Artivist warms up on his trumpet Saturday to play a tribute to band leader and arranger Jimmie Lunceford, who taught in Memphis in the 1920s and went on to perform throughout the world.

Tha Artivist Says:

This was truly a fun and engaging experience...The things that we talked about are things that I am very passionate about as you all know all too well!!! I hope that many of you out there get as much inspiration and insight from my artastic ramblings as I get from learning about and promoting my passions!!! Special thanks goes to the author of the article, the lovely, brilliant and very passionate Sis. Shamontiel Vaughn a.k.a. The Maroonsista for finding me interesting enough to write about!!! An Artivist in her own right you can check out more works from the gifted and thoughtful Sis. Shamontiel at ...

R2C2H2 Speaks About History, Politics, Jazz, and Art

*Also Listen To The Exclusive R2C2H2 Interview On Poet-On! Courtesy Of

As Always Please Spread The Good News!!!

More Great Work From R2C2H2 Tha Artivist:

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News & Radio Reps Black History 365 Days A Year!!!


Celebrate Black History And Love All Day Every Day With Works By Tha Artivist:


Check Out The 2007 R2C2H2 Winter Newsletter:

Buy The Award Winning James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant

*Named To The Smithsonian Institute's Jazz Books For Kids And Young Adults List*

Buy The Book @


Get Your Barack Obama "A Legacy Of Hope" T-Shirt Today!!!


$ Millions Of Dollars In Scholarships, Internships & Job Offers $
Please Visit