Tag Archives: people

Remembering a 1939 sit-down strike

On this date in 1939, Samuel Wilbert Tucker and six collaborators staged what has got to be one of the cleverest civil rights sit-ins of all time. One by one, William Evans, Otto L. Tucker, Edward Gaddis, Morris Murray, and Clarence Strange went to the circulation desk at the Alexandria (VA, US) Public Library and requested library cards. As each was refused a card to use the library his taxes supported, he quietly went to the stacks, selected a book, sat at a table, and began to read it. Then the next followed with the same request, result, and action.

S. J. Ackerman’s 2000 account, published as “Samuel Wilbert Tucker: The Unsung Hero of the School Desegregation Movement” in Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, begins with the priceless description of these events shown at the right. Eventually, of course, library managers and city officials summoned the police. Meanwhile, according to story, Robert Strange (the sixth collaborator) raced to Mr. Tucker’s nearby law office and alterted him about how the events were occuring.

Inside the library, the police arrested the miscreant readers and led them outside. When they emerged from the library, the officers and five collaborators found 300 spectators, according to Mr. Ackerman. Mr. Tucker’s ploy had worked spectactularly on the ground, though it didn’t generate as much press as one might have hoped. According to Mr. Ackerman’s account, “The media paid scant attention to the episode. Preoccupied with the Hitler-Stalin pact, disclosed that same day, the Washington Star missed the story. The Post reported that ‘five colored youths’ had staged a ‘sit-down strike.’ The Times Herald and the African-American Washington Tribune used similar terminology.”

Even if it didn’t make a big splash, the 1939 sit-down strike in a public library sounds like an early incident in something pretty important. Civil rights. Non-violence. Rule of law. Access to public services. The list could go on and on….

There are sequels to this story: Mr. Tucker was later offered a library card for a “colored library,” and he refused it. He later co-founded an eminent law firm in Richmond (VA, US) and argued important civil rights cases, many before the US Supreme Court (including Green v. County School Board of New Kent County). He served for many years as the representative of Virginia’s NAACP. And very much more.

You can read more about Mr. Tucker including Mr. Ackerman’s account and the Wikimedia biographical entry about him.

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Filed under Civil rights, Education, Equity, Justice, Neighborhood, Non-violence, Peace, Politics, Thanks for reading

Apple’s Human Family Ad

I understand that advertisements are brief, so the iPhone ad by Apple featuring Maya Angelou’s marvelous “Human Family” had to be limited to 60 sec. Ms. Angelou’s poem runs 105 sec. So, of course, some parts of the poem had to be cut. Well, here’s a link allowing you to hear Ms. Angelou reading the poem in it’s entirety. Sorry. No photos shot on an iPhone or anything else. Just the the elegant, excellent words in her beautiful, more-alike-than-different, human-family voice.

Most readers will see the Apple advertisement without my help.

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Filed under Arts, News, Notes and comments, Peace, Technology, Thanks for reading, What I'm reading, Words

Staying out of touch while traveling

When you are traveling, sitting in an airplane or walking through an airport, have you ever shivered when you think about all the places people put their yucky fingers? Thousands of people from lots of different places. People who are not perhaps as fastidious about washing their hands as I am? People touching lots of handrails, doorhandles, parts of the plane’s interior, etc.

Well the folks at TravelMath conducted a small study to assess the level of colony-forming units of bacteria on various surfaces in airports and airplanes. The results are shown in TravelMath’s infographic at the right.

My interpretation: Take wipes and hand sanitizer to address issues with

  • Tray tables,
  • Overhead vents, and
  • Seat buckles.

I’m already accustomed to grabbing a towel to flush the toilet in airplane lavatories. I use my elbow for the levers on urinals when they require flushing, and I simply avoid stalls in airport restrooms.

You might find full report at TravelMath worth reading. There’s a description of the study methods as well as a discussion of issues regarding boarding times’ effects on cleaning.

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Filed under Eco-stuff, News, Thanks for reading, Travels

Kansas student to Gov. Brownback: “Tip the schools”

I may be a bit late to the dance, but I still want to admire the provo-like action of Kansas University student Chloe Hough. According to a story by Rochelle Valverde in the Lawrence (KS, US) Journal-World, while working as a waitron in a local restaurant, Ms. Hough served Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback on 2 May 2015; Gov. Brownback has been leading an effort to make substantial reductions in Kansas state spending, including on education, on the argument that lowering government costs and reducing taxes will spur substantial growth in business, industry, and jobs. When Ms. Hough presented the governor with the check, she annotated the check with a personalized message. You can see an image of the check and get the full story in the LJ-W‘s version of Ms. Valverde’s story.

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Filed under Amusements, Education, News, Notes and comments, Politics

Bring more that just your Irish family

In case you’ve missed it, an entire country will be holding a referendum on marriage equality. Nope, this is not just nine old jurists in Washington, DC, USA. It’s The Republic of Ireland, a bastion of battles between religious groups, and Ireland actually is leading the way here. The question will be put to the electorate 22 May 2015.

Polls show widespread support of the initiative, but will the voters turn out to endorse it? The Belongto organization (BeLonG To— BeLonG To Youth Services; they have lots of different capitalizations!) developed another marvelous spot in its series of LGBT supporting spots. The one shown here encourages folks to vote “yes” on the initiative.


In a story in the Guardian entitled Irish voters to decide on same-sex marriage in May referendum, Leo Varadkar, a minister of the government came out and encouraged a positive vote. Additionally, in a separate story in the Guardian, entitled Irish voters keep campaigners guessing as gay marriage referendum nears, Henry McDonald reported about Irish people of note (the Irish drag artist Panti, whose real name is Rory O’Neill, and Pat Carey, who was once a whip in parliament) who also supported a “yes” vote.

The BBC reported on this process in November of 2013.

All of this is worth reviewing, I’d say. But see if you can watch the YouTube clip without getting a little emotional.

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Filed under Civil rights, Equity, Humanism, Notes and comments, Politics

Prescient or Same-old-same-old?

The passing of Mario M. Cuomo, former Governor of the US state of New York, makes me wonder whether he was so savvy that he saw the future or he was just describing conditions that keep recurring. In his speech to the 1984 Democratic National Party Convention, he pitched what I consider one of the most cogent and moving counters to Mr. Ronald Reagan’s economic polices.

Mr. Reagan’s policies were implemented and we have suffered the consequences ever since. Mr. Cuomo anticipated it. He called it. He suggested compassionate, humane alternatives, as in this source for the full speech and these briefer excerpts.

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Filed under Equity, Memories, News, Non-violence, Notes and comments, Politics, Thanks for reading

Admiring Mr. Sam

Dear Michael Sam,

I don’t follow American football—let alone college American football—with the great passion that many people do in my neighborhood or my country. But I do know enough about it to understand that, as a football player, your declaration of your sexual orientation will be met with a lot of passion by people. I fear that the passions many people will express will be thoughtless, heartless, and worse (if that’s possible). I am glad that you will have supporters.

I admire you for pre-emptively standing before all those people and saying, in effect, “Here I am.” Continue reading

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Filed under Equity, Humanism, News, Notes and comments, Thanks for reading