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Character Education Black History Month

Civil Rights in America A publication of the Afro-American Newspapers The Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper 2519 N. Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21218 (410) 554-8200 The Washington Afro-American Newspaper 1917 Benning Road NE Washington, DC 20002 (202) 332-0080 John J. Oliver Jr. Chairman/Publisher Avis Thomas-Lester Executive Editor Diane Hocker Character Education Project Manager Dorothy Boulware Project Editor Zenitha Prince Contributing Writer Vickie Johnson Denise Dorsey Graphic Designers

Table of Contents 4 Civil Rights in America - Black History Month 2014 6 Character Education Profile: Stephon Jackson - T. Rowe

Price

7 Rights Redeemed Through Righteous Legislation 10 Character Education Profile: David A. Washington IV Verizon

14 Character Education Profile: Barbara Palmer - BGE 16 Character Education Profile: Ricardo Duncan - Verizon 17 Character Education Profile: Kimberly Bruton - T. Rowe Price

19 Character Education Profile: Anne Moultrie - College Savings Plans of Maryland

Cover Images: Top row: Adam Clayton Powell AFRO Archives; “Emancipation” 1863 loc.gov; Donald Gaines Murray AFRO Archives; Bottom row: Parren Mitchell; Clarence Mitchell and LBJ Apr. 11, 1968; Signing of Civil Rights Act

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Welcome to Character Education 2014

T

he Afro-American Newspapers’ Character Education program is designed to promote positive character traits in our public school students. Each year, several corporate professionals and business leaders join our effort and share stories that illustrate how the building of their character not only helps them personally but also in the workplace. During Black History Month, the AFRO is delivered to public middle schools across the region including Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C. Each publication contains the testimonies of our corporate partners. How does it work? During the AFRO’s Black History Month series – the newspaper’s most active and sought after series each year– we feature a Black History and Character Education publication that profiles diverse corporate professionals, their success stories and helpful strategies for planning a successful career. Each week, eighth graders from Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Howard Afro-American Newspapers

County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Washington, D.C. Public Schools receive the publication at no cost. The goal is for students to read the featured profiles and Black history content and submit an essay connecting what they’ve learned from a particular profile to the importance of character building. Winners of the essay contest are awarded valuable prizes to further their education and an opportunity to meet the corporate professional they chose to write about. Why eighth graders? Our research shows that by the eighth grade, most students have started to seriously think about their career goals and are more receptive to the information shared by the business community. How can the schools help? • Allow the AFRO to deliver Character Education to your school on a weekly basis throughout the month of February. In addition, provide the AfroAmerican Newspapers in your school’s media center or library on a weekly basis for the current calendar year. • Assist in coordinating the distribution of the publication within February 22, 2014

participating school districts. • Identify a liaison to advise us on information concerning character education that can be included in each edition. • Encourage teachers and students to participate in the essay contest.

How do schools benefit? • The AFRO encourages staff and students of participating schools to submit stories, columns, photos, etc., about the importance of education and good character. • During February, all participating schools receive the Character Education publication to assist students in their learning of Black history and to further promote literacy. Partnership opportunity Corporations, nonprofits and other organizations are invited to become strategic partners with this campaign. By becoming a partner, your company will help provide the AFRO as an educational tool to eighth graders throughout the region. In addition, your company will illustrate its support for professional development among today’s youth. Character Education/Black History Month

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Civil Rights in America Black History Month 2014 The AFRO examined its own coverage of Civil Rights in America with the research that culminated in the August 2013 special publication, Why We March. We became convinced that such a comprehensive task was totally impossible so we focused on particular decades, 1901-1963, highlighting the March on Washington on the 50th commemoration of the monumental event. The return to the subject with this year’s Black History Month theme, “Civil Rights in America,” affords us another opportunity, with no less limitation. The real struggle for justice began, not on a specific date with a specific event, but the moment kidnapped Africans found themselves haplessly deposited on land occupied by people who considered the Africans to be less than themselves; who felt the God-ordained position for the Africans was to be permanent servitude and labor for the benefit of their “owners.” Despite assertions to the contrary, there

was never a peaceful resignation that life should be thus. As the moth wriggles to exit the cocoon, as the fetus pushes to extricate itself from the womb, Africans pushed against the new framework that forced them into a permanent underclass – something inappropriate for people who’d been told there was nothing greater than themselves under the heavens. So they pooled their human resource as they learned each other’s dialects and languages; they pulled together to hide their native worship gatherings; and they performed their duties with determination despite the inborn knowledge that freedom was

Pages from AFRO American Newspaper ‘Why We March’ Issue Aug. 2013

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more than a gift, but a right of their very existence. Even after the law mandated the justice that was long overdue, previous owners enticed them to return with promises of freedom later on, regaling them with tales of unknown and unseen dangers that awaited them beyond the constraints of the familiar environment they’d occupied during their enslavement. They fought individually. They fought collectively. And in the late 1800s, early 1900s they began to organize with the first meetings of the Niagara Movement that evolved into the NAACP. They owned businesses. They earned degrees. They found careers. They opened schools and churches. The demand was never quieted. The shout is still heard. Civil Rights in America has its own history and culture, its own heroes and sheroes, its own footprint and fingerprint and has been the seed of justice seekers throughout the world. During these four weeks, we’ll talk about the unsung heroes, whose names may never be called during Black History Month commemorations but whose selfless sacrifices reverberate through the ages. We’ll discuss the culture that evolved almost surreptitiously. Not everyone who participated in the struggle professed to be a Christian, but the faith of the movement derived its energy from the words of Jesus – the “turn the other cheek” manifesto that fueled demonstrations and weeded out ineligible candidates.

A distinctive lingo. Words took on new meaning when they were used in the freedom fight. Fighting words became melodious. “I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus” morphed into the mind being stayed on freedom. “I’ll Overcome Some Day,” penned by Methodist Bishop Charles Albert Tindley, became “We Shall Overcome.” The spiritual that served as a work song as well as a worship theme became the voice of determined fighters – “I Shall Not Be Moved.” There even emerged a uniform. Determination morphed into militancy. The naturals of the ‘50s grew into the afros of the ‘60s. Clothing became more relaxed – less like “Sunday go-tomeeting” clothes for church; more like clothes for work. We will also look at how the word was transported, the media for the message: how the news of the struggle traveled, how the media evolved from beginning through social media, with its hashtags, memes and selfies-along the way highlighting key journalists. Most poignantly we’ll focus on the key legislation and the legislators who championed their enactment in the areas of education, public accommodations, voting and much more. All this will offer little more than a glimpse into the history of a struggle that propelled its participants into a just space and continues to fight for the maintenance of that justice in all spheres of influence for all people.

Wikimedia Commons Images clockwise from top left: Diagram of a slave ship from the Atlantic slave trade. 1790 Niagara Movement leaders W. E. B. Du Bois (seated), and (left to right) J. R. Clifford, L. M. Hershaw and F. H. M. Murray at Harpers Ferry

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Bishop Charles Albert Tindley Original six members of the Black Panther Party, top l to r: Elbert “Big Man” Howard; Huey P. Newton, Sherman Forte, Bobby Seale. Bottom: Reggie Forte and Little Bobby Hutton. Nov. 1966 Slaves Waiting for Sale painting by Etre Crowe, 186

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Self-aware and Working to Do Better… I was a decent student in public elementary school and, fortunately, had the chance to attend the Gilman School for middle and high school. The work was hard and I succeeded only because of the support of my parents and several teachers along the way, like my sixthgrade teacher, Mrs. Laura Rogers, and Gilman’s headmaster, Mr. Redmond Finney, who pushed me to excel. I enjoyed Gilman but had to really work hard to meet the very high academic standards and sometimes came up short. But my parents never accepted excuses. “Work harder, work smarter!” my father would say. He was such a great example of someone who achieved so much despite segregation, bad schools, and limited job opportunities. He only had a ninth-grade education, but was a carpenter, plumber, electrician, and mechanic. He was also good with numbers, a wonderful singer and musician, and he spoke German fluently! I had a great role model and learned to appreciate him as I grew older. My parents and life experiences have taught me one very important lesson, one that I try to use in my everyday life. That is, “you know in your heart what you are capable of and you know what you can work on to do better.” I have met and interacted with so many different types of people in school, work, and volunteering. I have learned that they all come with a preconceived notion of who you are and what you are capable of. Sometimes they

think you cannot possibly achieve at a certain level or know something about a certain topic. Or they expect that you are an expert at something or about a topic that you may be completely unfamiliar with. Some might call that prejudice or “prejudging,” but I have learned that it doesn’t really matter. What matters is what you know in your heart you can do and what you can work harder at to do better. This philosophy of living has taken me to great educational institutions, including the University of North Carolina and the Wharton School of Business. It has also helped

Stephon Jackson

Vice President, Director of Associate Analyst Programs

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me to achieve a modicum of success in my career and, most recently, in my role as Vice President, Director of the Associate Analyst Programs at T. Rowe Price. I am passionate about investing and my family, and I try to live by this philosophy of selfawareness and working hard to do better. I try to share this with my kids and lead by example. So, as I live my life I focus on this simple lesson that has kept me grounded. I try not to kid myself about what I don’t know, and from there I just try to work really hard to get better where I can. I know it’s not fancy, but it has been the most effective way for me to set and achieve my goals. I hope it can help you, too.

February 22, 2014

Afro-American Newspapers


Rights Redeemed Through Righteous Legislation By Zenitha Prince Contributing Writer Following the American Civil War, which came to represent a national referendum on slavery, Congress passed legislation that resulted in three major amendments to the U.S. Constitution: the 13th Amendment that ended slavery (1865); the 14th Amendment (1868) that gave African Americans citizenship, adding their total population of 4 million to the official population of southern states for Congressional apportionment; and the 15th Amendment (1870) that gave African-American males the right to vote (this was before women’s suffrage). Not everyone believed in the power of legislation to change America’s racist system. “I don’t believe you can change the hearts of men with laws or decisions or anything else,” said President Dwight Eisenhower during a June 26, 1957 press conference, according to a transcript on The American Presidency Project website. The Civil Rights Movement targeted both—the hearts of the American public and the laws that have marginalized Blacks for centuries. Thus, in the Movement’s agenda for liberty, equality and justice for all, legislation served an important role.

Images: “The effects of the proclamation” Harper’s Weekly 1863; 24th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops. “Let Soldiers in War, Be Citizens in Peace” 1865; “Emancipation” 1863 loc.gov

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“The Civil Rights Movement was looking for change in whatever way it could be attained,” said Tanya Clay House, public policy director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Legislation was one vehicle to Adam Clayton Powell Jr. make larger national change.” Adam Clayton Powell Jr., pastor But not all legislation important to the Civil Rights Movement took of Abyssinian Baptist Church, an place on a federal level. historical African-American institution in Harlem, N.Y., became After the Civil War, as Southern states sought to re-assert self-rule, the first African American to win a they passed “Black codes,” laws that sought to limit the freedom and seat to the New York City Council in negate the equality of the former slaves. 1941 and the first African American In response, Congress—led by Radical Republicans, who sought to represent New York in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1945, to enfranchise Blacks—passed the Freedmen’s Bureau bill on July according to Biography.com. 3, 1866 (the renewal of a bill first passed by the Abraham Lincoln During his 12 terms on Capitol administration in 1965,) which was enacted after Congress overrode Hill, the brash, often nona veto by President Andrew Johnson. First created to aid former slaves conciliatory but commanding leader and orator was an outspoken through food and housing, health care, and negotiating labor contracts, advocate for African-American human rights issues, calling the 1866 Freedmen’s legislation expanded those rights to include the for an end to lynching in the South and Jim Crow laws and to distribution of land, schools for their children, and military courts to economic oppression of the poor. ensure these rights. “Here was a person who would at least ‘speak out.’... That would be different ... Many Negroes were angry that no Between 1870 and 1871, Congress also passed three Enforcement Northern liberals would get up on the floor of Congress and Acts, criminal codes which protected Blacks’ right to vote, to hold challenge the segregationists. ... Powell certainly promised office, to serve on juries, and receive equal protection of laws as to do that,” historian Charles V. Hamilton wrote in his provided under the 14th and 15th Amendments in response to the 1992 political biography. “[In] the 1940s and 1950s, he was, indeed, virtually alone.... And precisely because of that, he terrorism of the Klu Klux Klan against the empowered ex-slaves. was exceptionally crucial. In many instances during those In 1875, Congress passes the first Civil Rights Act, guaranteeing earlier times, if he did not speak out, the issue would not African Americans equal rights in transportation, restaurant/inns, have been raised. ... For example, only he could (or would theaters and on juries. The law is struck down in 1883 by the Supreme dare to) challenge Congressman [John] Rankin of Mississippi on the House floor in the 1940s for using the word ‘nigger.’ Court, which argues the Constitution allows Congress to act only on He certainly did not change Rankin’s mind or behavior, but discrimination by government and not that by private citizens. he gave solace to millions who longed for a little retaliatory After that period of “Reconstruction” fizzled and died with the defiance.” end of Army intervention in the South in 1877, White Southerners Working with NAACP lobbyist Clarence Mitchell Jr., Powell developed a strategy known as the “Powell pursued their “Redemption” as they sought to reestablish their self-rule. Amendment,” a provision to bar discrimination in the White-dominated state legislatures began to enact Jim Crow laws that spending of federal funds, which he would propose for all perpetuated White supremacy and Black second-class citizenship. appropriation bills. In 1890, in spite of its 16 Black members, the Louisiana General He also took personal steps to foster desegregation-angering Southern segregationists in the process—by Assembly passed a law to prevent Black and White people from riding integrating congressional restaurants, recreational facilities together on railroads, establishing the “equal but separate” doctrine, and press stations; and advocating for independence for according to the Constitutional Rights Foundation. The law was African and Asian nations. buttressed by the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision of 1896, which, somehow, deemed the segregation laws as not being in breach of the 14th

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Amendment, which guaranteed equal protection under law to all citizens. The constitutional guarantee of state sovereignty played a major role in these laws, said Clay House, of the Lawyers’ Committee. “This was reinforcing the states’ rights theory that they (states) had their separate ability to enact laws apart from the federal government and this enabled them to enact even more oppressive laws,” she said. Under Jim Crow, thousands of Negroes are lynched; schools, the military, public transportation, restaurants, public restrooms and other public accommodations became segregated; voter registration and other electoral laws, such as poll taxes and literacy tests, disenfranchised millions of Black voters; marriages between Black and White persons were made illegal by laws such as Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, and more. The Civil Rights Movement campaigned against such heinous laws in the streets of Alabama, Mississippi and elsewhere, but also in the political palaces of Washington, D.C. And, as the Movement gained momentum, victories began to mount—in the courts and on Capitol Hill. Here are a list of legislative landmarks in the civil rights struggle and key players.

Executive Order 9981

Signed by President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1948, this executive order desegregated the Armed Services, stating, “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.” The Order reflected other steps taken by Truman to address civil rights and the pressure of labor and civil rights leader A. Phillip Randolph, whose advocacy had already resulted in desegregation of defense industries. In a meeting with Truman, Randolph remonstrated the president for the deletion of a desegregation clause from a military draft bill and other legislation. “Negroes are in no mood to shoulder a gun for democracy aboard so long as they are denied democracy here at home,” Randolph told the president, according to an article by the White House Historical Association. Randolph also left behind a three-page memorandum to the president making specific requests: 1) send a supplemental message to Congress asking for an anti-segregation amendment and civil rights

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Images: Headline of the Chicago Defender on July 31, 1948; Members of the 332nd Fighter Group attending a briefing in Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945 Toni Frissell, loc.gov; U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Edward Williams exchanges a handshake with President Harry S. Truman, Oct. 13, 1950

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Responsibility: Minting the Coin That Marks Your Character The web encyclopedia, Wikipedia, tells us that the word character is derived from the ancient Greek word “Charaktêr,” referring to a mark impressed upon a coin. We then can base a person’s moral character on those impressions that we leave on other people about the qualities that we possess, which define who we are. When I think about a quality that makes or defines who I am, there can be none that stand out more than that of responsibility. Responsibility to me is the hallmark of who a person really is. The ability to take responsibility or demonstrate responsibility in decisions and deeds speaks volumes about a person’s character and he or she are made of. I learned at a very early age from my parents that developing a strong sense of responsibility was something that I was going to have to embrace and contend with very early in life. Like a lot of people I didn’t grow up with a “silver spoon in my mouth” ( rich). So, we had to make do with that which we were given, and often times we must do chores to earn extra money or collect an allowance. This eabled my sisters and me to take advantage of some of the spoils of being young, such as cool clothes, popular devices and going to the movies. I soon learned, however, that with this allowance came responsibility – to discern how I would best spend the money

because these resources were very few and far between. I could not afford to buy something that would not serve me well or be to my detriment because I would have to wait until another opportunity emerged for me to perform a task that might earn some additional funding. Learning this valuable lesson at a very young age allowed me to go into the professional world with a firm understanding that by acting responsibly with my resources, decisions

David A. Washington IV Sr. Managing Client Partner Verizon Enterprise Solutions

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and actions, I could be successful and have a long career. I’ve built a strong career over the past 17 years and I am responsible for multi-million dollar transactions that not only determine the livelihood of my employees, but also the successes of my company and business needs of my clients. Responsibility then is a key characteristic that will serve you well to develop and appreciate now to position you best for a world of future opportunities -- thus forming your character and allowing you to make a strong impression on the world.

February 22, 2014

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safeguards in any Universal Military Training bill or Selective Service bill and 2) end segregation by executive order immediately. Finally, the memo stated: “Use your administrative diligence to prevent a repetition of the wartime abuses, indignities and humiliations suffered by Negro soldiers.”

Civil Rights Act of 1957

The first law addressing the legal rights of African Americans and passed by Congress in the 82 years since Reconstruction, the legislation established the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to investigate claims of racial discrimination. Pushed by President Dwight Eisenhower, who –cynics said—was motivated by his desire for the “Black Vote,” the bill aimed to ensure that all African Americans could exercise their right to vote. The legislation was significantly watered down by then-committee chairman Sen. James Eastland, of Mississippi, especially after a public outburst by Georgia Sen. Richard Russell, who claimed it infringed upon states’ rights. It was enacted on Aug. 29, 1957.

The 24th Amendment

Clarence Mitchell Jr. Clarence Mitchell Jr. served as the director of the Washington bureau of the NAACP and became the foremost civil rights lobbyist in Washington, who was an instrumental force in working to pass landmark civil rights legislation. Such was his ubiquity and influence, he was popularly called the “101st senator” and former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker referred to Mitchell as the “lion in the lobby.” “Clarence Mitchell did not want to overturn the system. He wanted to expand opportunities within the system that would be inclusive of his people – of all African-Americans. That was his goal,” said Denton Watson, author of Mitchell biography Lion in the Lobby, in a July 1990 C-SPAN interview. “He felt the Constitution was a document to be treasured, that it was next to the Bible, that he treasured the most. So he wanted to include all Americans within the protections of the Constitution, and he worked in that vein.” It was sometimes lonely work as he struggled to create bipartisan coalitions and amass factual evidence to present at bill hearings as he sought to promote civil rights measures. After President Kennedy’s death, Mitchell often met with President Johnson to strategize on the best approach for getting Civil Rights legislation passed. Among other things he provided a list of senators for the president to court, including Sen. Everett Dirksen, who, as the minority leader, “held the key to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” Watson said.

On Jan. 23, 1964, Congress passed the law, abolishing the poll tax, a law instituted after Reconstruction to make it difficult for poor Blacks to vote. Efforts to abolish the restrictive laws had begun since the late 1930s but had been defeated by Southern Democrats. As Mississippi Sen. Theodore Bilbo reportedly declared, “If the poll tax bill passes, the next step will be an effort to remove the registration qualification, the educational qualification of Negroes. If that is done we will have no way of preventing the Negroes from voting.” Proposed by President John F. Kennedy, the 1964 amendment made the poll tax unconstitutional in regards to federal elections. At the time of its ratification, however, five states—Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi--still retained a poll tax. It was not until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6–3 in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966) that poll taxes for state elections were deemed unconstitutional.

Civil Rights Act of 1964

On June 11, 1963, in a nationally broadcast speech, President John F. Kennedy

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unveiled plans to pursue a comprehensive civil rights bill in Congress, stating, “This nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.” The plan had been developed after several meetings with civil rights leaders. Following Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, President Lyndon Johnson took up the cause. The bill passed the House of Representatives in midFebruary 1964, but became mired in the Senate due to a filibuster by southern senators that lasted 75 days. When the bill was passed and signed by Johnson on July 2, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hailed it as “the dawn of a new hope” that would “bring practical relief to the Negro in the South, and will give the Negro in the North a psychological boost that he surely needs,” according to a copy of the statement published on the website of The King Center. The sweeping legislation forbad employers to discriminate against minorities and created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce those laws; authorized federal intervention to ensure the desegregation of schools, parks, swimming pools, and other public facilities; and restricted the use of literacy tests as a requirement for voter registration, among other gains.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was passed as a part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” and signed on April 11, 1965. The law was meant to address educational achievement gaps emphasized equal access to quality education and established high standards and accountability. “By passing this bill, we bridge the gap between helplessness and hope for more than 5 million educationally deprived children,” Johnson said at the bill’s signing.

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Despite concerted efforts to dismantle state-led disenfranchisement of Black and poor White voters, including Department of Justice’s efforts to eliminate discriminatory election practices by litigation on a case-by-case basis, such practices persisted. The murder of voting-rights activists in Philadelphia, Miss.,

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Image: Signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Afro-American Newspapers


Legg Mason is proud to support Black History Month and the 2014 AFRO Character Education Campaign

Afro-American Newspapers

February 22, 2014

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Excel in Compassion Despite earning great grades and having support from family and friends – I suffered from low self-esteem in middle school. I was self-conscious, especially when it came to my body image. But, I quickly learned that being kind and compassionate toward others counteracted this feeling. As a young woman I made it my mission to help others and I volunteered at local hospitals and mentored with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Today, I continue to build these fulfilling relationships both professionally and personally. Professionally, I have enjoyed a 37 year career at BGE. I started as clerk typist and then several years later became a customer contact center representative. Currently, I am a business account representative, helping property managers and landlords effectively manage their properties through bge.com. On a daily basis, I am assisting customers with their challenges and it is rewarding to know that I have helped them find a solution. Personally, I have also been so blessed. As a two-time breast cancer survivor I have been able to draw from my own experience to assist, mentor, inspire and encourage other woman battling the disease. I understand the long journey cancer patients face. I am so honored to support my friends, family, coworkers and their families, and anyone else that needs encouragement. Hope and humor go a long way in

helping to cope with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. I also devote some of my volunteer time to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, a residence for out-of-town patients

Barbara Palmer Business Account Representative

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undergoing treatment in Baltimore. As a breast cancer survivor today, I wish that I had the ability to tell my younger self to not focus so much on body image and what others think. I offer you the advice to focus on building meaningful, positive, supportive relationships. Excel in compassion and help others both personally and professionally. Simply smiling can making a difference in someone’s day or life – and making a difference is priceless – as it will be the greatest accomplishment you will ever earn.

February 22, 2014

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and state troopers’ unprovoked attack on peaceful voting rights marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965, finally turned the public tide—and the congressional one—against Southern legislators who had resisted voting rights legislation. On Aug. 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation, which finally guaranteed what had been promised in the 15th amendment: that no one would be denied the right to vote based on race.

Images: Police wait for marchers to come across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965; Bloody Sunday - Alabama police attack Selma-toMontgomery Marchers, 1965 Wikipedia

Strom Thurmond

Executive Order 11246

On Sept. 24, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246, which prohibited employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin by those organizations receiving federal contracts and subcontracts. Perhaps, more significantly, the order set the precedent for affirmative action. “The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Such action shall include, but not be limited to the following: employment, upgrading, demotion, or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation; and selection for training, including apprenticeship,” the order stated.

Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965 Signed by President Lyndon Johnson on Oct. 3, 1965, this legislation, also known as the Hart–Celler Act, was a sharp turn away from the immigration policy that had ruled since the 1920s. The then-existing law showed preference to western European immigrants and excluded Latin Americans, Asians and Africans.

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U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, of South Carolina, was the ultimate nemesis of the struggle for civil rights on Capitol Hill. During his previous time as governor of South Carolina, Thurmond was considered fairly progressive, particularly because of his intervention and influence in arresting all those responsible for the lynch mob murder of Willie Earle. But his actions in Washington seemed to belie that legacy. Thurmond was known as a staunch segregationist. He helped engineer a manifesto, signed by a bulk of Southern senators, that decried the Supreme Court’s decision to desegregate public schools as the result of the {Brown v. The Board of Education} ruling. And, during a run for presidency in 1948, he became renowned for stating, “All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, into our schools, our churches and our places of recreation and amusement.” More infamously, however, Thurmond, on Aug. 28, 1957, conducted the longest filibuster in history, speaking for 24 hours and 18 minutes in an unsuccessful attempt to derail the {Civil Rights Act of 1957,} according to U.S. Senate records. In 1964, he switched his allegiance to the Republican Party after growing increasingly disillusioned with the national Democratic Party, some of whose leaders were supporting the Civil Rights Movement, and became a prominent force in the emergence of a conservative Republican Party in the South. After Thurmond’s death in 2003, it was discovered that at age 22, he had fathered a biracial child, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, with Carrie Butler, a then-16-yearold African-American domestic worker who worked for his family.

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The Journey to Self-Confidence My journey began in Panama City, Panama in Central America at a young age. I was 9 years-old when I moved from Panama to Brooklyn, New York and quickly learned that I had to adapt to life in the United States. My family was not aware of my apprehension and anxiety at that time, but I had a couple of really good teachers who befriended me and inspired me to be a good student in spite of my challenges. The support of my school teachers, Mr. Habib and Mr. Jackelow, really helped my confidence and allowed me to succeed in school. Being born in Panama, meant that Spanish was my primary language, and I initially struggled in my English classes. I found myself reading everything that I could get my hands on; I read books, newspapers, magazines, and even milk carton containers. Yes, milk carton containers! The connection between my English class and all other classes was very evident, because the grades I received in other classes improved as my confidence and grades in English did the same. The relationship between my English

class and doing well in school was improving my reading comprehension, which gave me the tool to follow along and focus on the task at hand. Having self-confidence will allow you to face challenges and not give up when the situation gets tough. In addition, being prepared for anything you do (school exams, playing sports, etc.) will provide you with the necessary self-confidence to succeed. It is important to remember that you don’t have to be the smartest student to become a doctor, lawyer, teacher or engineer, but you have to be willing to work hard to achieve your goal.

Ricardo Duncan

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February 22, 2014

Afro-American Newspapers


Buried Deep Within My family moved many times during my childhood. However, the most difficult move was when my dad was studying for his doctoral degree in Iowa. In the early ‘70s, America’s landscape toward racial attitudes may have legally changed but the people I encountered had not. Unlike most my age, starting the eighth grade was not exciting. I took solace in knowing the school grounds well enough to avoid the popular crowd and bullies. Within a month, I was looking forward to Christmas break since my family would return to North Carolina to visit my grandparents and extended family. It was during that trip that I recall one very special conversation with my grandmother. She didn’t ask me how I was doing in Iowa but instead she proceeded to weave into the conversation that “courage is buried deep within each of us and it’s always there when life gets hard; just remember to use it.” I only heard her voice during the 15-hour car ride back to Iowa and decided to give 100 percent to my studies and stop avoiding those in school who were indifferent to me. When school ended, my grades improved and I was no longer invisible to my eighth-grade class. My desire to continue my education remained my top priority. Completing my graduate and undergraduate degrees from The University of Cincinnati in four years was no easy endeavor. Nevertheless, I charted my course and remained disciplined. Fast forward to my adult years. I’ve been in the work force more than 30 years; and the last 24 years have been in information technology. I’ve experienced success as a direct result of planning, being focused, hard work, and a few failures along the way. However, I’ve found that my greatest accomplishments have come from my courage to acknowledge those failures, which placed me outside of my comfort zone and forced me to search what was buried deep within. Looking back on my life, I realize that it really was in the

eighth grade that I learned the most about myself—courage, discipline and my trust in God. When you find yourself faced with difficulty and you’re thinking of giving in to the moment, close your eyes and listen to the words “courage is buried deep within each of us and it’s always there when life gets hard; just remember to use it.”

Kimberly Bruton Windows Systems Consultant

Afro-American Newspapers

February 22, 2014

Character Education/Black History Month

17


As Johnson said at the bill’s signing at the foot of the Statue of Liberty, “This [old] system violates the basic principle of American democracy, the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man. It has been unAmerican in the highest sense, because it has been untrue to the faith that brought thousands to these shores even before we were a country”. Under the new law, preference would be shown to immigration applicants based on skills and family relationships with citizens or U.S. residents.

Fair Housing Act of 1968

On April 11, days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sparked an eruption of violence and civil unrest in cities across the nation, President Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act of 1968, aimed at curbing discrimination in the sale, lease or rental of housing, or making housing otherwise unavailable because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin.

Images: MLK and LBJ Mar. 18 1966 White House photo; Fair housing protest, Seattle, Washington, 1964 Wikipedia

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Character Education/Black History Month

February 22, 2014

Afro-American Newspapers


A Little Discomfort Can Be Good There I was practicing with my high school volleyball team at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin, TX, when the drama teacher tapped me on my shoulder. He was casting “Blithe Spirit,” a play by Noel Coward, and he wanted me to try out for the lead. My first reaction was surprise. I had never been in a play, never thought about being in a play, and was comfortable playing volleyball. Being in the play would mean leaving the team. And it would be difficult to memorize all those lines. But then other thoughts took over— this would be something different. Trying something new and unfamiliar might be good. I said “yes” and decided to step out of my comfort zone. I landed the part and delivered a crowd-pleasing Madame Arcati. At 16 years old, I had not begun to realize how much I had already started to step out of my comfort zone. I was spending my second year at a boarding school at which I was one of only seven African Americans among 225 students. Preparing for college, I wanted to go to a part of the country that I had never visited. I did not apply to any schools in Texas, my home state. I spent four years at Wellesley College outside of Boston. And what did I major in? French, of all things, because I loved literary analysis, but analyzing literature in another language was more challenging. I earned my master’s degree in comparative literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, another part of the country that I had never visited before. Unknowingly, I had already started down the path of embracing the unfamiliar, of putting myself in situations outside of my comfort zone. This behavior has served me well. When I moved

to Bradenton, FL, after I was married, I had the confidence to walk into the local newspaper’s office and apply for a job as a reporter. I had never taken a journalism course and I had never written a news article. But I had the confidence, the strength, and the drive to try something new. I landed the job as the education reporter. During my years there, I asked for, and was granted, permission to interview Coretta Scott King, Barbara Bush, and Nancy Reagan. In my formative years as a public relations professional in higher education, I grabbed the opportunity to add different skills to my experiences, drafting speeches and asking to interview University of Maryland Alumna Judith Resnik, who would a few years later lose her life in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Now, as the vice chancellor for communications for the University System of Maryland, I often look back at my childhood in Houston, TX, and my three years at St. Stephens’s. My ability to not only survive but to thrive in situations outside of my comfort zone has deep roots. I am the child of parents who took me with them to march in civil rights demonstrations and to encourage people to register to vote. Fortunately, I have not been afraid to step out of my comfort zone. As a result, I have had wonderful opportunities and have been amazed by what I’ve learned about my potential and abilities. I challenge others— especially young people—to dare to be more than what they already know.

Anne Johnson Moultrie

Vice Chancellor for Communications, University System of Maryland Board Member, College Savings Plans of Maryland

Afro-American Newspapers

February 22, 2014

Character Education/Black History Month

19


Afro-American Newspapers’

Character Education Essay Contest

T

Eighth-Graders Only

he Afro-American Newspapers’ Character Education Contest was launched 16 years ago to promote positive character development among the nation’s leaders of tomorrow – our youth. We believe good character has to be taught and modeled, which is why we have chosen to profile local corporate professionals and business leaders in our publication. The featured individuals, time and time again, incorporate positive character traits – such as honesty, respect, responsibility, courage and perseverance – in their everyday lives, proving to be positive role models in their community. For the contest, students are asked to read the featured profiles and choose the one that inspires them most to incorporate positive

character traits in their own lives. Students should then write an essay that best explains why they chose the article and how they plan to use what they’ve learned to shape their future. • Essays should be between two and four pages in length (doublespaced) and must be typed. • Essays will be judged on neatness, grammar, punctuation and the student’s ability to give insight on what they learned from the profile. Judges are impartial volunteers and may include teachers, staff from local colleges and universities and the editorial staff at the AFRO.

For more information concerning the Afro-American Newspapers’ Character Education Contest, please contact: Diane Hocker, 410-554-8243.

Prizes to be awarded

Deadline: April 4, 2014 E-mail essays to:

charactereducation@afro.com or mail typed essays to:

Diane Hocker • Afro-American Newspapers 2519 N. Charles Street • Baltimore, Md. 21218 No faxes will be accepted 20

Character Education/Black History Month

February 22, 2014

Afro-American Newspapers

2014 BHM Week 4  
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