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Celebrating the History of our

COMMUNITY Emerge! | winter 2012 |

Emerge! PUBLISHER A n d r ew S c o t t B ro ok s s c o t t @ e m e r ge va . c o m

Publisher’s Note

D I R E C TO R O F G R A P H I C S & D E S I G N M e l v i n Ja c o b s m e l v i n @ e m e r ge va . c o m

Celebrating the History of Our Community

C O N T E N T E D I TO R , P U B L I C R E L AT I O N S, & SALES Selena Lipscomb s e l e n a @ e m e r ge va. c o m 434.429.9795

February is black history month. One month of the year reserved to

SALES Larry Oldham l a r r y @ e m e r ge va . c o m 434.728.3713

honor the contributions of African Americans to American society. Here at Emerge! we try to do this every season of the year. Like all communities in our country, Danville has had its own unique history and it’s important to not forget the people and events that have made us who we are. But, at the same time, there is an important thing to keep in mind. If you are walking or even jogging, it’s easy to look around and enjoy the view. You can notice the hummingbird sipping on nectar or the child playing on the bench. You can glance over your shoulder and get a second look at things you may have only caught a glimpse of in passing. But, if you are in a full sprint and you look back over your shoulder, then you will lose your balance and fall over your own feet. Life is truly about knowing when to walk, when to jog, and when to sprint. It’s about knowing when to rest and when to backtrack. Life is about knowing when it’s the right time to look over your shoulder and when it’s the right time to have a laser-like focus on a single point in front of you. It’s about creating momentum and using that momentum to carry you when you get tired. Much has been made recently about the divisions in our society. Too often we are divided by money, divided by religion, divided by color. We are often defined by the way in which we divide ourselves. But, just like in mathematics, when you divide, you come up with something smaller. By default, our society has used these divisions to keep the power from the individuals. I doubt there was some grand plan to segment our society; we all kind of just fell into the patterns that define us. Things have started to change. The internet now allows people to communicate with each other in unprecedented ways. Our interactions with people all over the country and even the world have multiplied. Our access to information, both true and false, has multiplied. It’s time to multiply our expectations. Multiply our goals. Multiply our results. Of course there are still systems and programs in place that are obstacles to success. But, there is truly no limit to what we can accomplish. I challenge you to look at your individual situation, no matter where you are in your life, and decide that things can and will be better. Make friends with someone outside of your world. Seek out someone who has improved their lot in life and ask them how they did it. And listen. Stop talking and start listening. No one is going to give us anything that can improve our life except for a map to success. For some people that map looks a lot like a college curriculum guide. For others that map will look like a job working alongside an entrepreneur who is open to guiding, or even a job doing something that no one else wants to do. No matter what, that map isn’t static. It’s dynamic and ever-changing. Each of us will have a different starting point but for all of us the destination can be the same. We don’t have control over the distance of the journey, but we do have control over how dedicated we are to traveling it. For many of us, our maps seem small. Sometimes it’s our family or our financial standing that makes that map seem small. Other times, there are people who set out to keep us from seeing the whole map. But, if you get out there and start traveling the roads, the map will open up for you and you will realize there are places you can go in this life that you may never have even imagined.

MEET THE WRITERS - WINTER 2012 L a S h e e ra L e e, A n n Pay n e A n d e r s o n , Fr e d M o t l ey, Ke v i n Pe r r y, Fa i t h S t a m p s, L a r r y Campbell, Elaine Campbell, Curtis R. M i l l n e r, D a v i d W i l s o n , D ebb i e S p a r k s, Ke i s h a Ave r e t t , C ha l m e r s W. M eb a n e, J r. , S e l e n a L i p s c o m b, T i m o t hy L a m a r M a l o n e, Tra c i F. S c a l e s, S g t . D a r r e l l G u n t e r, V i r g i n i a M o t l ey, Ro b D. M c M a n n e n , Immanuel Martin P RO O F R E A D E R Tra c y Ja c o b s P H OTO G R A P H E R S P h i l l i p Wa r r e n , S t e p h a n i e H e n d e r s o n , Fr e d Wa t k i n s A RT I S T S A l p o n z a C l a r k , A dr i e n n e To o m e r AC C O U N T I N G C i n dy A s t i n c i n dy @ e m e r ge va . c o m e m e r g e \ i h - m u r g \ ve r b 1 . t o c o m e fo r t h i n t o v i ew 2. to come up or arise 3 . t o c o m e i n t o ex i s t e n c e E d i t o r i a l Po l i c i e s : D a n R i ve r E m e rg e ! i s a q u a r t e r l y m a ga z i ne c o ve r i n g a l l a s p e c t s o f l i f e i n t h e D a n R i ve r r e g i o n a s s e e n f ro m a n A f r i c a n - A m e r i c a n p e r s p e c t i ve. We p r i n t a n d d i s t r i b u t e f r e e o f c h a r ge, d u e e n t i r e l y t o t h e b a c k i n g o f o u r a d ve r t i s e r s. W i t h i n o u r p a ge s a p p e a r v i ew s f ro m a c ro s s t h e s o c i a l s p e c t r u m . A l t h o u g h t h e v i ew s ex p r e s s e d m ay n o t n e c e s s a r i l y r e f l e c t t h e v i ew s o f t h e p u b l i s h e r, e d i t o r, o r s t a f f, we a l l s u p p o r t t h e f r e e d o m o f ex p r e s s i o n . I ro n i c a l l y, we r e s e r ve t h e r i g h t t o a c c e p t , reject, and edit all submissions and a d ve r t i s e m e n t s. D a n R i ve r E m e rg e ! M a g a z i n e 753 Main Street #3 D a n v i l l e, V i r g i n i a 2 4 5 4 1 877.638.8685 w w w. e m e r ge va . c o m © 2 0 1 2 - A n d r ew B ro o k s M e d i a G ro u p - A l l R i g h t s Re s e r ve d Re p ro d u c t i o n s o r us e i n w h o l e o r i n p a r t i n a ny m e d i u m w i t h o u t w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n o f t h e p u b l i s h e r i s s t r i c t l y p ro h i b i t e d . We e n c o u ra ge yo u t o ex p r e s s yo u r s e l f. P l e a s e e m a i l t o s u b m i s s i o n s @ e m e r ge va . c o m w i t h s t o r y i d e a s, p o e t r y, f i c t i o n , a n d a ny t y p e o f c o n t e n t yo u m ay f e e l l e d t o s h a r e. T h i s i s a l a b o r o f l o ve. Fo r t h e W i n t e r E d i t i o n , t h e d e a d l i n e fo r s u b m i s s i o n s i s M a r c h 1 5 t h . T h e a d ve r t i s i n g d e a d l i n e i s April 15th.

Whether you walk, jog, or sprint is up to you.

Andrew Scott Brooks PUBLISHER


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Cover photo courtesy of the Library of Virginia. June 10, 1963, Morning of Bloody Monday. Thurman Echols leading the young protestors in hymns at the danville City Courthouse.

Emerge! | winter 2012 |

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Winter 2012 ! e g r e m E




Nobody Can Turn Me Around


What Does Our Society Need?


First State Bank


Taxes Done For Free


Put Your Heart Into What You Do



It’s always important to remember the events that have helped


Fayette Area Historical Initiative

change society. Keeping that in mind, this issue of Emerge! is


100 and Counting

going to take you on a journey through time, not only seeing


Violence in Danville

the past, but seeing the future of our area as well. The fight


Shining a Light On Violence

for equality by people such as Reverend Thurman Echols and


From My Library to Yours: Book Reviews

the late Chalmers Mebane, Jr., has given us the freedom share


Identifying the Early Signs of Reading Difficulty


First Lady of Danville


Hymn of History


Keeping It Real


I Am Not the Help


Emerge Gets Fit


Why Are We So Afraid of Who We Are?


Danvillian From a Distance



Everyone can be great…because anyone can serve. - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

stories such as Rob McMannen. Thank you to all of those that have fought for the freedoms and liberties that we all share today. Thank you to those that have dedicated their lives to a life of service to our communities. And, thank you to all of those that are continuing the fight to make our communities healthier, wealthier, and wiser. We would like to offer our condolences to the family of Lawrence M. Clark, who was a well-respected historian, community leader, and educator.

Thank You to our Advertisers! 37 Abe Koplen Clothing Co. 39 Adult Care Options 27 Barkhouser Ford 37 BEST Coalition 28 Danville Parks, Recreation & Tourism 9 Danville Regional Foundation 43 Danville Toyota 15 Dependable Home Healthcare 2 Danville Regional Medical Center

35 Get Fit Dan River 40 Gold Star Mortgage 28 Goodwill Industries 33 Kingdom Dominion, LLC 40 Martinizing 13 Negril 15 Organo Gold 33 Piedmont Credit Union 28 Piedmont Hematology & Oncology 40 Piedmont Preferred Women’s

Emerge! | winter 2012 |

Healthcare Associates 7 Robert Woodall Auto 15 Smart Beginnings 15 Takessa Walker, Realtor 5 The Highlander 44 URW Community Federal Credit Union 15 Victoria Catherine 39 Yates Home Sales

Emerge! | winter 2012 |

Nobody Can Turn Me

Around of 1963, the 16 year old vibrant young man, answered the call to challenge business as usual in Danville.

In 2008, a historic event occurred that continues to redefine our world; Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America. President Obama, during his inauguration address, openly acknowledged the courageous efforts of the Civil Right Movement. One could rationalize that the only reason President Barack Obama does exist is due to the heroic efforts of the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement. These mavericks of justice dared to fight for equality during a turbulent and dangerous time. Danville, Virginia, which is the last Capital of the Confederacy, was poised for change during the 1960’s Segregation, as in the majority of southern cities, was the status quo of the day. The majority of African Americans were tired of living as second class citizens. During the course of history in Danville, there have been people who have fought for change. One such person who answered the call for equality was Reverend Thurman O. Echols Jr. In the summer

Reverend Echols recalls being ready to make a positive difference in the lives of the community around him. He remembers the substandard housing, employment, and social conditions African Americans suffered at the time. Reverend Echols states how African Americans were not afforded the same shopping or leisure activities as the rest of the community. Viewing the disparities plaguing his community, he knew that changes had to be made. Rev. Echols credits the African American Church as being the catalyst for the movement. He stated that churches were where people met to plan and organize. In particular High Street Baptist Church and Bibleway Church were utilized as meeting grounds for organizers. Rev. Echols also gives reference to Reverends Lendall Chase, Apostle Lawrence Campbell, and Alexander Dunlap, along with Julius Adams and Arthur Pinchback. These men were instrumental in facilitating change in Danville. These men formed the Danville Christian Progressive

Emerge! | winter 2012 |


Association. Their association wanted to put an end to the segregation that plagued the city. Therefore, they filed suit against the city of Danville in 1962. According to public records, the men were arrested in 1963 for attempting to integrate a restaurant. In addition, Reverend Echols states he was inspired by the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth who served as a mentor to him. He states that Reverend Shuttlesworth was a man who did not mince words and would inspire the crowds with his passionate speeches. On June 10, 1963, a young Echols found his voice. He led sixty of his peers to the Municipal Building located in Danville, Virginia. Leading a peaceful demonstration, the group carried signs and made demands that their concerns be addressed. However, the group was greeted with nightsticks and hoses. Echols along with two other students were arrested. According to Reverend Echols, the majority of the groups were arrested under a pre-civil war “John Brown Law’ statue against any person conspiring to incite the colored population to insurrection against the white population.” Echols recants that his mother and father were also arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He stated that they arrested his father while he was working at his job at Dan River Mills. According to Historians, Bloody Monday, which occurred in Danville, Virginia, on June 10, 1963, was the site of the most violent Civil Rights Movement in the state of Virginia. Reverend Thurman O. Echols is a man of vision and purpose. It is due to his and others courage that this community is a better place. I would like to personally thank the soldiers of the local Danville Civil Rights Movement for their fight for equality. E







50#/-).'30%!+%23 (ILL(ARPER


What does our Society Need? by ANN PAYNE ANDERSON Deputy Chief Ronald Hairston

celebrate our differences and learn how to live in harmony. Our society needs to value education. Families should highlight learning in elementary, middle, secondary, and postsecondary studies as a vital part of life and future success. We need to establish a sense of ownership in our workplaces by participating in continuous learning opportunities. Knowledge breeds a qualified generation that can surpass all expectations.

Round, open eyes blinking at the worry, determination, hurdles, and possible hope that the future will bring. Staring, blank faces that watch the world around them go by and wish for a change, but sometimes are too afraid to challenge the ties that do bind them. What does our society need? Our society needs leaders who are willing to take a chance to help others. This society needs leaders who are willing to avoid the distractions, set positive goals, and work hard to inspire this generation and strengthen the upcoming generations.


Oh, people, where is the strength that our forefathers had, the drive and determination to be heard and to follow their dreams? Our society needs for people to strive to be their best, to respect others, but most importantly, to respect themselves. In order to achieve this, we need to be willing to learn from others. Our women need to continue to be the foundation of the family and not just rear children, but raise respectable young citizens who will be productive for our society. Our men need to support their families mentally, emotionally, and financially, which will teach their children to become another generation of strong parents. Also, we need to embrace diversity. This community, this world, is constantly changing. The lines that separate people are constantly blending. We need to

Emerge! | Fall 2011 |

Furthermore, our society needs to question the present circumstances as we remember the past and look toward the future. We cannot continue to accept whatever we are told as the truth. We need to research both the sources and the information. We need to learn to be quiet and sometimes humble, because fighting is not always necessary. Yet, we need to acknowledge when it is time to stand up for our rights, and agree on the most appropriate manner to voice our opinions, rage, and despair. Let’s use our eyes and smiles to meet the coming of a better tomorrow, a world of more opportunities. Let’s work hard today so our children can reap the rewards of a prosperous and educated society that will continue to grow. Let’s prepare our children for the subtle, but tiring fight to survive that they will still have to endure as they become adults. Our society needs to celebrate our many accomplishments, but still remember the obstacles of the past and prepare for upcoming trouble over the horizon. Through hope, education, and the strength of family ties, our community can continue to flourish and exceed the dreams that sweetly teased our forefathers’ vision and journey. E



itting in the car waiting for the traffic light to change, we all saw it the exact same moment. At first glance, it looked like lots of white sheets on clotheslines flopping in the wind, but when the words, “What is that?” were spoken from our lips, we knew it was more than “that.” “Let’s go see what that is” my wife suggested.

short story by FRED MOTLEY

white sheets were actually an art sculpture of rope, white cotton linen, and cloth pins entitled, “A Day’s Work.” It had been commissioned for the upcoming Spoleto Festival. I smiled and wondered what the reaction of the slaves who had once lived here would have been, knowing that every wash day when they hung their white sheets on the rope lines with cloth pins they were creating art!

This was our first outing on our trip to Charleston, South Carolina. When we reached the site entrance a signpost read, McLeod Plantation and a smaller sign, Spoleto Festival. My wife asked if I thought Mary McLeod Bethune’s family had any connection to this plantation, she graduated from the same college that my wife and I graduated, Barber-Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina. I Artwork by Alphonza Clark simply responded, “I’m not sure.” The heat was very, very, very hot, but the grove of trees created a nice shade and a We drove inside the plantation. A stretch window fan breeze, just making the heat of Crape Myrtle trees followed the long bearable. I’ve heard it said, trees are to be gravel driveway. Once we came to the God’s gifts of wisdom to man. Standing end of the stretch of trees there was in the mist of all that wisdom, I walked a magnificent antebellum white house to a tree and hugged it. I laid my head emerged in a backdrop of tall Oaks. We on the tree’s chest requesting from its got out of the van and headed toward historical roots, entrance to the people’s the sheets, which were what caught our stories they’d witnessed. I heard the eyes to begin with. Once we rounded sounds of the sheets popping like whips, the side of the big house we were able and I watched them billow majestically like to see a row of one room plank houses sanctified garments. The sound was scary, nestled in a landscape of Pecan, Magnolia, but such a beautiful sight. and moss draped Oak trees. A tour guide explained these plank homes were the Then, I heard my wife’s voice calling remains of slave quarters, and that the me to look inside one of the houses.

Standing at the door, it seemed impossible to have a whole family stuffed in that one small room. The scent of wrongfulness permeated. I stepped back into the grove of trees. Sunbeams slivered through and melted as fresh churned butter on the planks. I noticed, at the corner of each house a Rose of Sharon. People planted Rose of Sharon around their houses as sign of welcome, grace, and mercy. Everything became familiar, perfect, and peaceful. The grass became so green; the sheets so white; the sky so blue; the houses so neat, and yellowish stained. My wife joined me and we hugged as we watched our children and niece move around the yard laughing. A Magnolia perfumed wind gust sashayed by and the sheets began to dance around us just as we has seen them from our car. We became a Jonathan Green painting. What an intriguing sight we must have made for people sitting in their cars and asking, “What is that”? With my feet planted I felt within my soul become a sanctuary, once, in this place, in the midst of a restrictive complex, lifestyle was hope, integrity, unity, and faith. As we were leaving I pulled a sprig of green gray moss from a tree. I wanted a historical ornament to remind me to seek, feel, and cultivate the spirits of memories into stories that would become vessels to overcome adversity, and harvest a positive future. Lest we forget from whence we came! E

Emerge! | winter 2012 |



First State Bank has been committed to the success of the Danville, Virginia, area for more than 92 years. We are

a community bank with roots steeped in the history of the region and have played an integral role in the overall political, historical, and social well-being for AfricanAmerican people since its beginnings. The bank has withstood the test of time from our beginnings on April 22, 1919, when our first stockholders held it organizational meeting in the Masonic Hall on Patton Street, to the establishment of our bank at 211 North Union Street on September 8, 1919. We are forever grateful to the 21 men who were the first officers and directors of the bank. They came from all walks of life in the community. They were doctors, lawyers, preachers, farmers, and local merchants. These men set out to establish a business venture that would have a significant impact on the African- American community and an expectation that the bank play a pivotal role in the economic


development of the African-American community. The first ad announcing the opening of the bank was published in the Danville Bee on September 5, 1919, reading that a new business venture was opening and, “Every colored person in the city is expected to open an account and to witness the launching of the greatest business venture of the colored people of this section.” Originally opened as the Savings Bank of Danville, the bank strived as it provided basic banking services to its customers. In 1925, the bank changed its name to Danville Savings and Trust after qualifying to exercise trust powers under the laws of Virginia and in 1953, the bank made a second name change to what we now know as First State Bank. Operating under the slogan of “The Bank of Dependable Service,” in 1934, First State became the first bank in the Commonwealth of Virginia to qualify to make FHA loans. In 1958 First State Bank became one of the first banks in Virginia to be an authorized agent under the Federal Housing Administration’s new certified Agency

Emerge! | winter 2012 |

Program. This program was a great help to many home buyers who could make only small down payments and handle the monthly installments. Our history shows that, First State Bank was the first bank during the Great Depression to reopen its doors after the National Banking Holiday in 1933, declared by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt without restrictions. In 1945, the bank passed the million dollar mark in deposits and over ninety percent of the African-American churches in the community did their business with the bank. During the civil rights era, in 1963, Mr. M.C. Martin, President of the bank, served on a grand jury as the first black juror that was convened to indict demonstration leaders. Instead of accepting the indictment, Mr. Martin issued a minority report, published in the Danville Register, suggesting that the police focused on arresting the leaders instead of fulfilling its responsibility to Danville’s Black community. The Bank posted 32 cash bonds for 18 jailers and as appeals were being made, Mr. Martin leveraged


Why isn’t

your company advertising in


TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE ARE ASKING THE SAME QUESTION. Today First State Bank operates at the bank’s original location at 201 N. Union Street and remains the only African American owned commercial bank in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


real estate for security of the Danville Christian Progressive Association. In addition, Mr. Martin was instrumental after being denied access to use of a public park with his family in Virginia. He then filed a suit against the State of Virginia that segregation of a public park was unconstitutional and AfricanAmerican facilities were unequal to that of white parks. He won this landmark case that not only improved the condition of parks for African Americans in Danville and Pittsylvania County, but it eventually led to the desegregation of public parks in the State of Virginia. Today First State Bank operates at the bank’s original location at 201 N. Union Street and remains the only African American owned commercial bank in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The bank has total assets of 37 million dollars, and is SWaM (Small Women and Minority) certified by the State of Virginia. First State offers an array of retail and commercial banking services to include free checking and free online banking with bill pay, 15 and 30 year mortgage and home equity loans, and loans for new church buildings, additions or remodeling, and commercial loans to small and medium size businesses. E Emerge! | winter 2012 |


TAXES done

for free

The Building Economic Success Together Coalition is Here to Help YOU!


Community Impact Director at United Way of Danville-Pittsylvania County

With the start of the New Year, many families look forward to a big tax return.

People are often eager to file their taxes in anticipation of getting back money needed to catch up on the bills, pay off debt, or set aside for a rainy day. Unfortunately, many of these families will never see a good portion of the refund. More than half of all taxpayers pay a tax preparer to file their tax return. In some cases, having a commercial tax preparer file a detailed tax return is necessary. Commercial tax preparers charge an average of $200 to prepare a return and an individual could pay several hundred dollars more if he/she chose to get a rapid Refund Anticipation Loan (RAL). Often, RALs are advertised as “fast cash” or a “quick tax refund.” As a general rule, families making less than $50,000 can save the cost of preparation. RALs are similar to “payday loans” in that they provide advances on a borrower’s anticipated income - in this case, a tax refund - and come at a steep price. In the case of a RAL, the loan is repaid when the IRS issues the borrower’s expected refund, but if there is an error on the return and the IRS does not send the refund, the borrower is expected to repay the loan, often with staggering interest rates. The principal attraction of RALs is that customers are usually able to receive cash advances within two days of electronically


filing their tax returns, and most families do not realize just how high the fees are for RALs. RALs are often promoted through various retail establishments that offer to prepare an individual’s taxes and then convince them to use refund loans for in-store purchases. While RALs do provide a fast cash loan, having the refund deposited directly into a bank account only takes about 7 to 10 days and saves the tax payer $200 or more. The Building Economic Success Together (BEST) Coalition provides an alternative to the commercial tax preparers for many individuals that qualify in our region. During the upcoming tax season, the BEST Coalition works to help low and moderate income residents of Danville, Pittsylvania, and Caswell Counties get their taxes done for FREE and focuses on getting individuals the money that they earned, and putting all of that money back into their pockets. A couple hundred dollars is a lot of money in these tough economic times. When an individual needs the cash, it’s easy to get caught up in the lure of fast cash. The BEST Coalition reminds taxpayers that another day or two is worth the wait to get all of your money. On average, refunds are received between five to seven days of filing.

Emerge! | winter 2012 |

Last year, BEST VITA Volunteers prepared over 1300 tax returns and saved individuals over $320,000 in tax preparation fees alone. If an individual’s household income was less than $50,000 in 2011, local IRS certified volunteers are available throughout the community to help. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites are conveniently located in Danville and throughout Pittsylvania and Caswell Counties.

We all started somewhere Give your child the start they deserve Register Early for Kindergarten - March 16, 2012 What do you need to do? ͻ &ŝŶĚLJŽƵƌĐŚŝůĚ͛ƐŽĸĐŝĂůďŝƌƚŚĐĞƌƟĮĐĂƚĞ ͻ Find your child’s Social Security card ͻ &ŝŶĚLJŽƵƌĐŚŝůĚ͛ƐŵŽƐƚƌĞĐĞŶƚŝŵŵƵŶŝnjĂƟŽŶ;ƐŚŽƚͿƌĞĐŽƌĚ ͻ Find three proof of residency documents. The address given must be the address of the parent or legal guardian How do you register? ͻ WĂƌĞŶƚƐƐŚŽƵůĚƌĞŐŝƐƚĞƌƚŚĞŝƌĐŚŝůĚƌĞŶŝŶƚŚĞĂƉƉƌŽƉƌŝĂƚĞƐĐŚŽŽůĂƩĞŶĚĂŶĐĞnjŽŶĞ Where do you go? ͻ ZĞŐŝƐƚƌĂƟŽŶĨŽƌŵƐĐĂŶďĞƐĞĐƵƌĞĚĨƌŽŵĂƐĐŚŽŽůŽƌĂƚƚŚĞ^ĐŚŽŽůŽĂƌĚŽĸĐĞ ĂŶǀŝůůĞWƵďůŝĐ^ĐŚŽŽůŽĂƌĚKĸĐĞͲϳϵϵͲϲϰϬϬWŝƩƐLJůǀĂŶŝĂŽƵŶƚLJ^ĐŚŽŽůŽĂƌĚKĸĐĞͲϰϯϮͲϮϳϲϭ

133 Robertson Avenue Danville VA, 24541 434.797.8887

Last year, BEST VITA Volunteers prepared over 1300 tax returns and saved individuals over $320,000 in tax preparation fees alone. Combine that savings with both the federal and state refunds, and almost $2,000,000 were placed back into the hands of residents in our community.

Taxpayers who qualify for this FREE service should have a valid social security number or an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) and have an income of $50,000 or less. If you have questions about whether or not you might qualify for this FREE service, and if you live in Danville or Pittsylvania County, call (434) 7935627. In Caswell County, call (336) 694-7447. Tax appointments are now being taken. The BEST Coalition is here to help you save money! Get back what you’ve earned… and get it back for Free! E



Emerge! Emerge! | winter 2012 |


Put Your

heart in what you do by LARRY CAMPBELL

Each moment you live is your chance to have a real and powerful influence on the way your life unfolds. Every decision, priority, thought, and action makes a difference.

Are you killing time, or are you bringing it to life? What you do with special moments matter much, because this moment is the most valuable thing you now have to work with.

Are you being a burden, or are you being useful? There’s something valuable and unique that you can contribute, and your outlook will brighten as soon as you do. Are you making excuses, or are you exploring the opportunities? With a positive, focused, and purposeful approach, you can transform the challenges into meaningful rewards. If what you’re getting from life is not living up to your expectations, ask yourself this. What can you make more positive and meaningful about what you’re putting into your life?


If you’re making excuses for failure, it probably means you don’t really want to succeed. When you’re focused on what’s holding you back, it may mean that your heart is not really in the effort to move forward. Instead of seeking to explain your failures, take an honest look at your intentions. Is there something else you could be doing that would inspire you toward a more positive and effective focus? The problems you face may not be your fault. Yet when you promote and defend them, you give them more power than ever. You will find yourself sabotaging your own efforts by giving your problems power. It’s time to reconsider those efforts. Either find a way to positively invest in what you’re doing or find a way to move on. You have the power to make things happen and to succeed in the face of even the most difficult obstacles. To fully access that power, you must be doing what truly matters to you. Instead of finding new excuses for your failures, look for new reasons to succeed. Truly put your heart in what you do, and what you do will become great. E

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Love, love, love.

Many have asked the question, what is love? Some define love according to its categories. Some say it’s an emotion, strong affection for someone or something. It has to do with having a personal attachment to or for. Others say that it is a multiplicity or variety of feelings and emotions differing according to individual beliefs, circumstances, culture, language and religion. Where would we be today without love? Though sometimes used ever so loosely or lightly, the real definition, what mortal is able to grasp it or who is truly able to define it? “It goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes,” says one writer. Love is complex and abstract in nature and is able to cross boundaries, barriers, languages and religions. There have been love songs sung, poetry written, and certainly, expressions of love given. To paraphrase one author, so what if I’m able to capture the masses by eloquent speech and great swelling words so that those around me are impressed? If love does not accompany my words, my words become loud, empty, meaningless noise. If I have much understanding and knowledge of things to come; if I have faith enough to overcome any obstacle in life, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. If I happen to have plenty and I decide to give all of my possessions to the less fortunate, and even dare to give my life for some worthy cause, and my name go down in history as a martyr. If my actions are not based in love, then my very acts add nothing to my account. Real love goes a long way, lasts a long time and originates from a generous heart. It finds no need to envy or compete with others, is not showy, arrogant, proud or boastful. Love does not behave rudely, is not selfish for it gives and not takes. Love is not easily angered or provoked and thinks on that which is good. Love does not rejoice at the misfortune or downfall of others, does not wish or orchestrate evil upon others. It rejoices in that which is true, just, and good. There are those that are great. There are things that are great. But the greatest of these is love. Love bears, believes, hopes and endures. Love never fails. Love is eternal for love is of God. E

Supportive verses: I Corinthians 13 John 3:16

Fayette Area


by CURTIS R. MILLNER The Fayette Area Historical Initiative, (FAHI), currently located at 40 West Main Street, Martinsville, Virginia, purchased the former Imperial Savings and Loan Association building, 211 Fayette Street, Martinsville, Virginia, on December 16, 2011. This building once remodeled and brought up to code, will be the new African American Museum and Culture Center. The historical Imperial Savings and Loan Association was established in 1929, and the building located at 211 Fayette Street was built in 1953. The building has two stories plus a basement totaling 2,320 sq. ft., and is sitting on 6,600 sq. ft. of land. There is currently a reception area, three


AND COUNTING Tarpley Chapel Baptist Church (TCBC) celebrated 100 years of life for Ella Day on Sunday, September 11, 2011. She was born on September 24, 1911 in Swansonville, Virginia, to the late Arthur G. Walton and Georgeanna Tarpley Walton. In her early years she was married to Jesse Day and to their union nine children were born. Mr. Day preceded her in death in 1969. Ella has 37 grandchildren, 52 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, and 3 greatgreat-great-grandchildren. She is a very kind, soft spoken, and loving person to all that she comes in contact with.

offices, a vault, and three restrooms with plenty of room for expansion. The Imperial Savings and Loan Association was founded by William Cody Spencer, with an initial sum of $300.00, and was granted its charter on July 16, 1929. Surviving eighty-one years to be the last African American owned and operated savings and loan association in the state of Virginia, The Imperial Savings and Loan Association closed in 2010. At its closing it had assets in excess of $8,000,000. When the Savings and Loans closed its doors Mrs. Simone H. Redd, Martinsville’s first African American Female Savings & Loan President, was serving as its fifth

president, others being William C. Spencer, Dr. Harry P. Williams, William B. Muse, and Kelvin G. Perry, (presently president of First State Bank of Danville.) The FAHI was able to purchase the building with donated funds and a promissory note. FAHI currently has an ongoing fundraising effort to raise funds to pay off the note, and to do the needed renovations prior to its anticipated opening, the latter part of March 2012. FAHI is a tax-exempt 501 3Š charitable organizations and is open Tuesday thru Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and other times by appointment by calling (276) 732-3496. E

Ella Day became a member of Tarpley Chapel Baptist Church at the age of 16. In her early years she was very active in keeping the church beautiful, and loved to singing in the choir. Her hobbies are cooking and making quilts for family members. Mrs. Day is blessed to be in good health, and only takes a vitamin and eye drops each morning. For the past 30 years she has been an active part at the Young at Heart Seniors Club in Chatham, Virginia. The pastor at Tarpley Chapel, Robert Divens Jr., often states that Ella is a blessed woman. In honor of Ella, Tarpley Chapel hosted a special service to express their love for her. Many church members, family, and friends were in attendance for the 100th birthday celebration. E Emerge! | WINTER 2012 |


violence by DAVID WILSON

in Danville

When Do You Say Enough?

Have you asked yourself the question recently, “Why are we seeing so many acts of violence in our area, especially in such a down home, quiet, and laid back city like Danville, VA.” As a

concerned citizen, father, brother, uncle, cousin, friend, etc., I try to lay a foundation for what we want to see changed. We don’t want to lay blame on any one person, department, board, council, organization, institution, or group because we all share the responsibility of making our collective community better. We must recognize that we didn’t just get here and we won’t just get out of it overnight, but with all of our continued help we can change the tide of what we have been seeing lately. Why is it that we care so little about a human life that we are so easily willing to take one for the smallest of reasons? What has happened to our village community of yesterday, where in most places around the city, we didn’t have to even lock our doors because we were always looking out for one another? It takes an entire village to raise a child, but we have gotten so ME-centered and isolated from one another that we will not allow others into the process of helping us with child rearing, because we think we know it all. Some of us won’t correct ourselves or our children in the home, and then we dare anyone else outside the home to do it. We cannot continue to blame and point fingers at others for our plight, but at some point we must shake off victimhood, and become victorious over our circumstances.


We have so many opportunities at our fingertips, and there is no excuse anymore for not doing something with your life. But do we want to be somebody? Do we want to see our communities cleaner and safer for those children we are bringing into this world? In many ways I don’t think so, because we are clawing at one another, failing to support one another and killing one another at an alarming rate. We have to change this mentality. One thing parents can do is love our children as we should, and also correct them as we should. A lot of love and a little discipline will go a long way in this world. We need to be involved in the school progress and conduct at these institutions of learning. We need to support and encourage our youth when they are doing well, and help correct them when they’re

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We have so many opportunities at our fingertips, and there is no excuse anymore for not doing something with your life.

not. We also need to be role models, and not allow them to act any different than what they see us do and say. They are always watching us and emulating what they see in the home when they are in public. When we are constantly putting our children down, telling them they are bad, and will never be anything or anybody, failing to discipline them properly, or teach them respect for themselves, we’re raising children who will never really understand the value of life. We all know that the violence is just a bi-product of more systemic problems in the home environment that need correcting. We have to learn to dialogue with one another and find our commonalities instead of always harping on our differences. Communicating and trying to be understanding with one another is a key to our success. We must stop putting down one another, we have to stop being jealous of one another, we have to stop fighting one another, and by all means stop killing one another! Get involved with your neighborhood watch associations, volunteer at church, and community centers that are building the youth and young adults, and mentor a few young people to make a difference in their lives. Overall, we are accountable to each other and there must be open channels of communication. We must have unity, but without trust there is no unity, and without communication between us there is no trust. Today you begin to effect change, you get to say enough is enough, you get to say no more to other negative trends will affect our city, and you get to be a part of the solution to make things better. When do you say enough? E

Shining a Light on Violence by DEBBIE SPARKS

Danielle Montague, sitting outside the Boys & Girls Club in Danville

STOP the VIOLENCE was the theme of a special dance and cabaret held at the Boys & Girls Club in Danville this summer. The event, nicknamed the “Helenas Event” was the creation of Ms. Danielle Montague, a Danville native and GW High School graduate. Danielle is a 22 year old senior at Norfolk State University, majoring in Exercise Science and Kinesiotherapy. She is a dancer and has a passion for life. Maybe that’s why the death of her cousin five years ago affected her in the way it did. In May of 2007, Danielle’s older cousin, Zackary, was shot and killed for simply offering a ride to a friend. Little did he know that there would be extreme consequences for his favor. His friend, whom he picked up, was involved in an illegal drug trade, and that night proved fatal for Danielle’s cousin. He was, to quote a very old cliché, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong folks. There was a gun fight, Zackary was hit, and died that night.

Why was her world exploding with knowledge of drug deals, violence, guns, and gangs? Why were people that she knew electing to live these kinds of lives — endangering not only themselves, but their friends and the people that loved them? If only there could be an end to the violence. Most people think it, but it only took one young 22 year old woman to do something about it. Danielle decided that there should be a special event that would bring all ages together to produce awareness of the violence that our community faces today, and the fact that we can come together as a community to “Stop the Violence;” Hence, the “Helenas Event.” Helenas means Shining Light. Danielle wants to shine the light of peace into this community and make people aware that there is a better way. The red carpet was rolled out, the menu planned, and the entertainment was chosen. That night, the young and the, well — young at heart — came together to lend support to Danielle and the event she so carefully planned so that her cousin’s death would not be in vain, so that others could be told that they can choose a different path. Justin Crews, another of Danielle’s cousins spoke at the event, telling people that we all need to be leaders. “You don’t have to be a professional person to be a leader; whatever one’s station in life, they can be leaders - Leaders are alert, vigilant, and show people a better path to a full life.” Danielle chose the Boys & Girls Club as recipient of the proceeds of the fundraiser because they teach kids that they don’t need to use drugs, be in gangs, or carry out acts of violence to feel “important.” The club teaches kids that they have an alternative to violence, they are responsible for their own future, and they can achieve success and have a full life by learning self-control, respect for one another, and becoming accountable for their own actions.

Danielle, only 17 at the time, was — as was the entire family — devastated. Nothing like this had ever happened to this close-knit family before. Danielle’s voice still quivers as she talks about that night — a night that would challenge her world and send her into the reality of adulthood And so, young Danielle’s hard work and sooner than she ever wanted to be. She wanted planning paid off. The event was a success – to attend the prom, dance, laugh, and spend and she plans to hold the event again next year. weekends hanging out with her friends. Instead, Until then, she will keep on telling people that now she brooded about what happened to her we need to STOP the VIOLENCE. E Emerge! | winter 2012 | beloved Zackary.


From My Library to Yours


Between Friends by D.L. Sparks

Sinners and Saints by Victoria Christopher Murray and Reshonda Tate Billingsley What happens when two fiery first ladies strategize for their husbands to become leader of a religious powerhouse? Well, if you know Jasmine Larson Bush and Rachel Jackson Adam, you know it means war. Jasmine and Rachel are two first ladies on a mission. Both of them want their husband elected President of the prestigious Baptist Coalition at all costs. Now, Jasmine and Rachel are first ladies with a vivid past. Walking in a new light, both of them have decided to give up their devilish ways for halos. However, we all know the flesh is weak. Therefore, they each feel compelled to dust off their old gloves and fight to get their man to the top. However, they are both going to find out that the devil in the church can be scarier than the devil in the street.

Between friends is a fast paced, action packed book about crime, loyalty, and love.

The Heart

Idalis and Trip have been friends through the good and the bad. However, their friendships take a dangerous turn when Idalis gets involved with Lieutenant Linc Briscoe.

Ok, can you say fab-u-lous boys and girls? This book has the foot on the gas and never brakes!

Linc resents Idalis’ friendship with Trip Spencer. Therefore, Idalis, trying to prevent a battle, disrupts her friendship with the hunky DEA agent. However, Trip is called back home to handle the hustle and bustle of a big drug bust. Thereby, throwing Idalis’ seemingly “perfect” world into a tailspin. Will Trip’s visit home turn Idalis life into a battle at home and in the streets? You will not be disappointed with this urban drama.

Sinners and Saints will have you flipping pages to read the antics of the characters. Hurry to get your copy.


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by Iris Bolling

A Recipe for Desire by Cheris Hodges

A Recipe for Desire is a hot and tasty story of how the ingredients, love and redemption, can soothe the soul. Marie Charles is an overindulged party princess. She is constantly engaging in behavior that leaves her the talk of tabloid news and social media. She finally burns her get out a jail free card; therefore, she is sentenced to community service with the sexy chef Devon Harris. Initially, Devon is not impressed with this glamour girl. However, one taste may leave him asking for seconds.

JD is running for the Presidency of the United States. However, there are some good ole boys who will do “anything” to keep his vision from occurring. However, they don’t know that his brother-in-law, who just happens to be a retired kingpin, will protect his family with the zeal of a lion. Throw in some romance and a little something, something, and you won’t be able to put this book down.

identifying the early signs of reading difficulty


Education Coordinator, Sylvan Learning of Danville As your child enters school for the first time or returns back to school from summer break, you may be concerned about his/her reading ability. With the significant amount of discussion devoted to standards, test scores, and literacy, there is an intense pressure for students to be able to read well independently. You may be familiar with the phrase “Reading is Fundamental,” and it is. Reading is the basic component needed to be successful in any subject area. According to the experts at Sylvan, a leader in tutorial and supplemental education, reading improves other language arts skills, encourages learning, improves grades, and is fun! A child who struggles to read fluently on the grade-level will most likely fall behind in subjects across the board. Therefore, it is important that parents are able to recognize the early signs of potential reading problems, and to seek help as early as possible. Here are some points to consider if you suspect that your child is having trouble with reading: • When did the child begin talking or does he/she have trouble expressing themselves in words? • Is there a family history of reading and/ or other learning disabilities? • Does the child struggle to decode, “sound out” words when reading? • Does the child seem disorganized, careless, and/or have trouble focusing in order to complete a task? • Does the child have trouble following directions, turn away when being talked to, or talk off subject during conversation/ discussion?

• Make frequent complaints of being sick, hurt, or tired? • Or just simply does not enjoy reading? While the above points may suggest that your child is having trouble with reading, it is imperative that you communicate your concerns to your child’s teacher in order to have the proper evaluation conducted. Once it has been confirmed that your child may need help with reading, here are some things that you can do at home: • Emergent Readers ages 3-5yrs. OldRead aloud each day, sing nursery rhymes, and the alphabet song, point out letters and words on signs as you go throughout the day, have your child tell you about their drawings and day at school or daycare, practice making letters using clay or pipe cleaners, and play simple word games. • Early Readers ages 6-7yrs. Old- Read aloud each day, ask your child questions about what is being read to them or what they are reading, discuss different story outcomes, allow him/her to choose from a variety of reading material, play simple board games, and be a model reader for your child.

• Fluent Readers ages 8-above- Set aside 20-30mins each day for reading, allow your child to choose from a wide selection of reading materials (books, magazines, newspapers, comics), make sure the material is appropriate for your child’s current reading level, discuss what he/she already knows about the topic, ask questions about what is being read, have your child make note cards for unfamiliar words found while reading, and encourage your child to work crossword puzzles and to play word games. As your child advances from simply decoding words to finding meaning in what is read, the above activities will continue to improve their phonemic awareness, vocabulary, critical thinking, and comprehension skills, as well as, foster a love for reading. Lastly, if you see that your child is having trouble with reading; do not hesitate to seek immediate intervention, the sooner, the better the outcome. E

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“We were just a group of guys who decided that the time was ripe to strike a blow against Jim Crow in Danville.� Loyal Baptist Church


Emerge! | winter 2012 |

I’ve been asked to write my recollections of the first Civil Rights Demonstrations that occurred in the city of Danville, Virginia during the 1960s. Specifically, the events leading up to and including the sitins at the Main Library and Ballou Park on Saturday, April 2, 1960. It’s not as easy of a task as many may assume, because much involves writing from the memories of events which took place almost half a century ago. Mainly due to the fact that we were not a formal organization, there were no minutes of meetings being kept, and no one in the group maintained any kind of journal. We were just a group of guys who decided that the time was ripe to strike a blow against Jim Crow in Danville. What inspired us to take those actions at that time? That’s an easy question to answer. It was the lunch counter sit-ins that began in Greensboro, North Carolina, on February 1, 1960, three students at Greensboro A&T State University, began a sit-in at the local Woolworth lunch counter. As a result of their actions lunch counter sit-ins began occurring in various cities across the South. As we watched these sit-ins unfold we decided that it was time someone stood up to the terrible Jim Crow conditions in the city of Danville. And, of course, we eventually decided that that “someone” would be us. So, when we first came together around the idea of organizing a protest against Jim Crow in Danville, naturally the lunch counter at the downtown Woolworth’s was the first target discussed. In fact, it remained our main target until about a week before the actual sit-ins. By that time lunch counter sit-ins had occurred in many other cities around Virginia. The effect of the sit-ins had caused already resulted in several lawsuits and we felt that the outcome of those cases would affect all of Virginia, including Danville. So by that principle we decided that a lunch counter sit-in at

for Change 1960’s Sit-ins

by CHALMERS W. MEBANE, JR. These are the firsthand accounts from the spokes-person for the Danville sit-ins which occurred April 2, 1960.

the Woolworth counter in Danville might not serve all that much of a purpose, except maybe for its symbolic value. We, therefore, shifted our attention onto two other targets: the segregated Public Library System and the segregated Parks and Recreation System. After much discussion it was decided to conduct our sit-ins at the Main Library. African Americans were not allowed to use the Library on Main, but rather Grasty Branch Library. Our other target was Ballou Park, the largest public park in the city, but was likewise reserved for Whites only. As with the other sit-ins sweeping the South, we decided the participants would be students. Even though two of the protesters were adults they were attending the local high school under the GI Bill. So, we took over the task of getting the word out among the students at John M. Langston High School. As a result 15 of the 16 participants were students at Langston. Since the participants would be students and school was in session we decided that Saturday would be the best day to launch our protest. The first Saturday after we

were completely organized was April 2, 1960. So we asked the group to meet at High Street Baptist Church that Saturday morning. We assumed from the very beginning that we would be able to count on the backing and support of the NAACP. In fact, we felt we would need their support, because we expected we would be arrested. So about midweek we stopped by Loyal Baptist Church on Holbrook Street to meet with Rev. Doyle Thomas, who was the President of the local chapter on the NAACP, to inform him of our plans for the coming weekend. Rev. Thomas seemed quite pleased to learn that we planned to strike a blow against Jim Crow in Danville, and assured us the NAACP would support us 100 percent. So, on Saturday morning, April 2, 1960, the entire group of demonstrators assembled for the first time at High Street Baptist Church. At that point we informed all the participators that the Main Library would be our primary target and that Ballou Park would be our secondary target, figuring the library would be the best candidate as violence would be unlikely to occur there. continued on page 24

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continued from page 23

If, as we expected, the sit-in at the library caught the Danville leadership by surprise we should have no problem getting inside. Whether we moved on to Ballou Park would depend on how things turned out at the library. Primarily, whether we were arrested and hauled off to jail during the Library sit-in.

High Street Baptist Church

Before we left the church that morning it was decided that one person would be the spokesman for the group. In case we were questioned by the police or reporters all questions, except those concerning our identity, would be referred to that spokesman. I was selected to be that spokesman. We then got into several cars and drove from High Street Baptist Church to the Main Library which was located at the corner of Main Street and Holbrook Ave. The students participating had been instructed to bring homework assignments, so we just walked into the library and quietly took seats at the various tables. That particular morning there were very few people using the library at that time, maybe six or less. Having never been inside the library I assumed that was normal for a Saturday morning. I sat down at a table that was already occupied by one library patron, a white male who appeared to me to be approximately 18 to 20 years old. I sat directly across from him facing the front desk where I was able to keep an eye on the Librarian and the front entrance. It was at that point that the most unexpected event of the entire day occurred. The young man across from me looked up from the work he was doing and said, “I’m happy to see you guys here.” I was caught completely off guard and surprised, because about the last thing I expected was to be welcomed by a white stranger. I remember he said that he was from Richmond. I didn’t get his name. In fact, I don’t remember if he gave it. I didn’t speak. I just nodded in his direction and smiled slightly, and nothing else was said.

We spent about twenty minutes inside the library. I’m not aware of anybody else saying anything to any of us during that time. I was trying to concentrate on doing a homework assignment I had brought with me, but I was mainly watching the Librarian who was on the telephone for virtually the entire time we were inside. Finally, after about twenty minutes she walked to the center of the room and

24 Emerge! | winter 2012 |

announced that the library was closing for the day and everyone would have to leave immediately. Since she said everyone, and not just us, we decided not to defy her request that we would just leave and decide our next course of action based on what actions the Library would take in the coming days or weeks. So, we simply got up, and all walked out to our cars which were parked across the street on Holbrook Street.

At that point I believe we went back to High Street Baptist Church to consider the day’s events, and to determine our next move. Since the library sit-in had been rather “uneventful” (meaning, no arrests) and hadn’t lasted very long we decided to go ahead with our plans for Ballou Park. So, we got into our cars and drove to Ballou Park. As with the library, there were not a lot of people using the park when we arrived. At least not in the area we used, which was near the corner of West Main Street and Park Ave. There were probably less than a dozen people in the area that I could see. Over the next ten or fifteen minutes most of them left and we pretty much had the section of the park to ourselves. We brought along at least one basketball, and some of the guys began shooting baskets while the rest of us watched. I immediately took a seat at the pavilion, and spent most of my time there watching the various entrances to our area of the park. The park offered a whole different set of challenges than the library. Whereas I gave virtually no thought to the possibility of violence at the library, I had

Westmoreland Elementary School

some real concerns about the situation at the park. By far my biggest concern was that once word traveled throughout the nearby community that we had practically taken over the park that some local tough guys would show up intent on driving us out. Fortunately, not much happened before someone notified the police. The police arrived with what turned out to be a couple of city officials plus a photographer from the local newspaper. I’m not sure how long we had been in the park before the police arrived. I think we had been there at least an hour, but probably less than two hours. The police began rounding up everyone and bringing them over to the pavilion area, which is where I was already seated. The photographer snapped a few pictures which would appear in the local newspaper the following Monday and the police began gathering information from the demonstrators. For each of us they wrote down the name, age, sex, and home address. Once all this information had been gathered one of the city officials announced that the park was closing and that everyone must leave. Those who refused to leave would be arrested. Just as with the situation at the library, we decided that since the park was being closed to everyone and not just us we would leave immediately. So, at that point we got into our cars and drove back to High Street Baptist Church. Back at the church we went over the day’s events once again. Someone notified Rev. Thomas that our mission for the day had been completed without incident and there had been no arrests. We decided that we wouldn’t set a date for our next demonstrations until we were able to review the city’s response to that day’s demonstrations. We advised everyone that they could now go home and we would get the word out at Langston when we decided on our next move. We had no way of knowing at the time, but we would never assemble again as a group. Our demonstrations would turn out to be a one-day affair without any violence or arrests and would proceed almost immediately to the judicial system. The following week the Danville City Council met and decided that the Main Library would remain closed while they worked out a card membership system. And for good measure the Grasty Branch Library for African Americans would also remain dosed. They also decided that rather than operate Ballou Park on an integrated basis that all parks in the city would be closed for the time, which, of course, included those parks located in African-American communities. The NAACP decided to immediately file a lawsuit against the city in Federal Court on our behalf to force the city to reopen the libraries and parks and operate them on an integrated basis. Aside from my own case the only actions I can recall the city taking against the demonstrators was to try to bring financial pressure on their parents. In those days Danville’s daily newspaper had both a morning edition and an evening edition. The Danville Register was delivered in the morning, while the Danville Bee was delivered in the evening. The information gathered continued on page 26

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Langston High School

continued from page 25

by the police at Ballou Park identifying the demonstrators was published in the Monday, April 4th edition of the Danville Bee. But the police and city officials didn’t stop there. They used that information to try and identify the parents of the demonstrators. So in a subsequent edition of one of the newspapers during that week they published the names of the parents of each demonstrator. As stated above, this was an obvious attempt to put pressure on the parents. But since our demonstrations lasted only one day before proceeding to trial I’m not aware of anything this might have accomplished. As for the two adult demonstrators, I think we were both supporting ourselves via the GI Bill, and neither of us had regular jobs. As I recall, when they published the names of the parents they misidentified my father as Samuel Mebane. Sam was actually a cousin. My own parents were separated and my father was living in Dayton, Ohio. At that time Sam worked as a deliveryman, so his being identified as my father almost certainly had no adverse effect on him. The only problem I incurred as a result of the demonstrations happened the following week. About two days after my picture and name appeared in the Danville newspaper as the leader of the demonstrators the white doctor who had delivered my daughter about six weeks earlier sent me a letter demanding that I pay him in full immediately for his services or face a lawsuit, which went against a


Marker reads, “In memory of those slaves buried here” (pictured above)

“The young man across from me looked up from the work he was doing and said, “I’m happy to see you guys here.” I was caught completely off guard and surprised, because about the last thing I expected was to be welcomed by a white stranger.” verbal agreement he and I had to pay in installments. As I recall, it turned out that he was on the Board of Directors of the library. Fortunately, with the help of my uncle, Thurman Bethel, I was able to pay him in full that very week and move on. I’m not aware of any of the other demonstrators, or their parents, being affected in any way but I’ve had very little contact with them so cannot be sure. The NAACP assigned several local lawyers to handle our case. As one of the organizers of the demonstrations it was decided that I would be called upon to testify. Since I lived in Almagro I was assigned to Attorney Ruth Harvey. All of my pretrial preparation meetings took place in her office on South Main Street, and involved just the two of us. I didn’t meet any of the other lawyers until I arrived in court for the trial. Surprisingly, at least to me, I don’t remember much about the trial itself. I remember the courtroom was upstairs in the Main Post Office building on Main Street. I can picture myself taking the stand. But, I don’t remember any of the questions asked or any answers I may have given. The judge eventually handed down a decision in our favor and the city appealed. The best I can recall, when I left Danville in September of that year to enroll at Hampton Institute the libraries and parks were still closed while the city’s appeal worked its way through the federal court system. If you would like to see the original writing of the first-hand account, along with the AfricanAmerican exhibit please visit the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History. E

Emerge! | winter 2012 |

get your straight 1960’s Sit-ins

by LaSHEERA LEE 1. Danville Native George Swanson First African American to be admitted to UVA Law School 2. Danville Native Jim Johnson Fought heavyweight Championship of the world against Jack Johnson 3. Danville Native Ruth Jean Bowen First African American women to own talent agency 4. Charles Kenneth Coleman Ran for Danville City Council in 1946. First to attempt the act since reconstruction Credited with starting the Civil Rights Movement in Danville 5. Ruth Harvey Charity In 1972 first African-American woman from Virginia elected to the Democratic National Committee







False - During that period in Danville it was common for African Americans, especially teenagers, to go downtown in groups. This appears to be a case of the police expecting that should civil rights sit-ins come to Danville they would most likely occur at Woolworth. So when they observed groups of African-American teenagers doing what they normally do on Saturdays they assumed those groups were part of the demonstrators. In fact, none of the sixteen demonstrators who left the library went anywhere near Woolworth during that time. We had eliminated the possibility of a lunch counter sit-in at Woolworth from our plans more than a week earlier.

2) The demonstrations were timed to coincide with the anniversary of the week Jefferson Davis spent at the Sutherlin house in 1865. - April 1960 False - We didn’t even think of that building as the Sutherlin house. To us that building was simply the Main Library, nothing more. We didn’t give any thought to Jefferson Davis. So I was surprised when I read a reference in the newspaper the following week linking our demonstration at the library to Jefferson Davis’ stopover in Danville. As stated above, the sit-ins started in Greensboro in February and we started planning for our own demonstrations in March. April 2nd just happened to be the first Saturday to appear on the EmErgE! | wintEr 2012 |






Lady firstof danville

Sandy Saunders, wife to the Honorable Mayor, Sherman Saunders, has dedicated her life to the betterment of this community. Whether she is working with her church or one of the many local organizations she is a part of, Mrs. Saunders is always striving make a difference. by SELENA LIPSCOMB

Emerge! Magazine: Thank you for agreeing to do the interview. Sandy Saunders: Thank you for this opportunity, although it was not expected. EM: Are you originally from Danville? SS: No, I was born and raised in Chatham, Virginia. I have also lived for a short time in New York and Washington, DC. EM: Tell us a little about your Educational Background. SS: Well, I am a graduate of Northside High School in Gretna,Virginia. I continued my education at Phillip’s business college in Roanoke,Virginia and Danville Community College (DCC). EM: What are some of the activities and organizations in which you are a part of? SS: I am a member of Shockoe Missionary Baptist Church in Java,Virginia. I have been employed by the State of Virginia for thirty-eight years, worked for the Virginia Department of Corrections for six years, and thirty-two years with Danville Community College. Over the years I have worked in several departments, and I also held several other positions while employed at Danville Community College. I have served as Project Coordinator and Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors for Alliance for Excellence. The Alliance for Excellence is partnership between Virginia Community Colleges and African American churches for the purpose of post high school education leading to college degrees. Also, I have been the Chairperson, representative, sponsor, and member of several organizations at DCC.

Other community activities include President of the Dan Valley Chapter/American Business Women’s Association (ABWA), past President, Vice President, and Secretary of the YWCA of Danville/Pittsylvania County, member of The Wednesday Club, and member of the Alzheimer’s Council for Danville/Pittsylvania County. EM: How has it felt being the First Lady of Danville? SS: When Sherman decided to run for public office, I realized at that moment I would have to share him with the public. During this time, I have not regretted doing so. He enjoys what he does, and I support him wholeheartedly. We have always felt the need to serve our community, and this continues to be a part of both our life experiences. We both have come to realize that nothing was gained on our own volition, but only through God, and the people he placed in our lives to help us along the way. However, we may be seen or received; I would say it was part of an unforeseen master plan. I am grateful for any success Sherman and I may have achieved. It is the result of God and so many others who helped us along the way. EM: Have there been many challenges as the First Lady? Where do you draw strength from? SS: Perhaps the biggest challenges I have had to deal with are the “expectations” from others. While Sherman and I have received so much support from the community, and we appreciate it very much. I am concerned that many do not understand that the mayor does not have “sole” authority. For example, it is not like the cities of Richmond,Virginia, Washington, DC, or New York City, where mayors are elected by all voters, and do have extended authority, as

well as assigned staff members. Most all decisions in Danville,Virginia, require the majority votes of the nine city council members, as city council appoints the mayor. It has always been that way. For me, strength comes from God, family, friends, and community supporters. And of course, Sherman is very supportive. EM: How does it feel to have to share your husband with the entire city? SS: I’m fine with it. I’ve done this for nearly fourty years now. It’s a part of both of our lives. We both are extremely busy trying to create opportunities and make life better for others, especially the youth in our city. So, it’s a “partnership” we agreed to form at the beginning of our relationship and we both enjoy it. EM: I am sure a lot of people try to get your ear trying to reach your husband on their thoughts of the city how do you handle that? SS:Yes they do. This happens very often and usually, I smile, I always listen to what they have to say and try to be as thoughtful as possible. And when I can, I share the information or a request with Sherman. He listens and considers all facets, prior to any decision making. It is always a good feeling when such ideas become a reality. We never take the credit. EM: What are your plans when that day comes that you will have your husband all to yourself again? SS: (LOT’S OF SMILES) Right now, my plans are to take a long vacation, probably Aruba or Cancun. Relax, reflect, and spend more time with family and friends. Volunteer to help others, and start working on our “HONEY-DO LIST!” EM: That sounds like a wonderful game plan. Thank you for sharing with us.

Emerge! | winter 2012 |


Hymn of


Support Live Music

Music was the most important form of expression to people in bondage. Opportunity, not the desire

for fame or fortune was the objective; even through there was very little joy and much pain during what surely seemed like a hopeless existence. The slave laborer chanted as to reflect on his inner soul. This emotional release was a sacred form of communication. It was a way of informing fellow slaves, educating, and uniting their communities.


The roots of music sprouted from the plantations, inspiring what we know as Gospel Music. This new music created by the slaves along with their religion was no less important than family, and it validated the power of God’s grace. It empowered the lowly slave, thanks to evangelicals. However, slave owners didn’t want unity in Christ, only to bring God to so-called heathens and civilization to savages. With the help of Scripture and Rhythmic improvised passages, executed in an extravagantly expressive manner, this creation came to be known as Gospel Music. The exuberant way of worship

Emerge! | winter 2012 |

Our Heart and Soul impacted the world without limitations.

derived from a combination of church services and spiritual activity directed by the Holy Spirit. Choirs chanted and sang in response uninhibitedly and choreographed to the preacher’s sermon much like we see and hear in today’s music with male quartets such as Sammy Terry and the Spiritual Highlights. This sincere from the heart, “Spirit of Hope,” also spawned the music we came to know as the Blues. The Blues represented our deepest sorrow and hurt as we sought deliverance and freedom from slavery during the beginning of the Civil War. Artists such as Thomas A. Dorsey emerged with, “Precious Lord,” which was later performed by the Great Magalia Jackson at the Martin Luther King Jr. funeral. Mahalia also sang at the MLK “I Have A Dream Speech” and at one of the Inaugural parties of President John F. Kennedy. Mahalia Jackson recorded, “Move on Up a Little Higher,” the first gospel song to sell one million copies. This Magnificent feat established the standard for what is now known as Commercial Success. A few years later hugely successful touring artist, Gertrude Pridgett, also known as ‘Ma’ Rainey, sang the blues of the working class –sharecroppers and field workers. While touring, ‘Ma’ Rainey met and signed the great Bessie Smith who sang of poverty and oppression and a no hope in sight mood throughout the deep south particularly the Mississippi Delta, the birthplace of the blues. This powerful form of Creative Expression brought about a form of music called Jazz which fueled a rebellious spirit and wild mood of abandon that seemed to dominate life during prohibition. Jazz bands and combos led to the creation of Rhythm and Blues, bringing stardom to singers like Dinah Washington, who made Blues popular in the mid 20th century and Billie Holiday, affectionally known as ‘Lady Day’ who hailed from Baltimore, Maryland. Both singers had an abundance of charisma. The blues were later adopted by whites and then studied, copied, and re-produced by artists like Elvis Presley and re-sold as Rock and Roll in the 1950’s. It was then covered by The Rolling Stones overseas as well as by the Beatles. Our Heart and Soul impacted the world without limitations. As time progressed knowledge of the musical business world created a united front for African American’s which in turn created success with the creation of Motown by Berry Gordy who discovered artists like The Supremes, out of which came Dianna Ross, The Temptations, The Jackson 5, and eventually out of this family group universal stardom for the late Great King of Pop, Michael Jackson. This legacy is sealed in history

Unity, not isolation, is the key to inner peace. as this, “Soulful Expression,” still drives today’s society in other modern day forms of music such as Hip–Hop, Neo Soul, Acid Rock, Opera, Folk, Country, and Alternative Rock. Through technological advances music has influenced our culture and magnified our craft in other entertainment areas. This is evident in areas such as dance, theater, and motion pictures thus giving songwriters, story tellers, and poets a much deserved place in history as well. Historically, poets hail from the teachings originating from English Descent. In the modern world we have various poetic individuals whose expressions are controversial and almost destructive to some who may still see the hopelessness of an oppressive industry and society. Take for example, the hard core rappers who may or may not have the weight of the world on their shoulders, but describe through words the downfall of a village and the realization that no matter what your race, religion, or status you will still be persecuted, denied, and crucified regardless of what you say. Therefore, many remain loyal to the environment they grew up in, and subscribe to the mentality of kill or be killed, even if the words, actions, and motive of a few prove to be useless in every way towards the ultimate success and prosperity of any movement or in my view a ‘Groovement.’ Free speech however is now our most valuable right as humans on this earth, so one can simply ‘Keep it real,’ ‘Get in where You fit in’, or ‘Be Yourself,’ thus inspiring the creative spirit founded by slaves who were denied this basic right in the first place. Unity, not isolation, is the key to inner peace. Today my musical tastes are rooted in the history of the great artists who endured much strife and were constantly denied, robbed, and persecuted, but through it all, the legacy lives on. My soul is filled with much joy, and I am forever grateful for the freedoms I’ve inherited from my ancestors. The people who helped create through painful struggles, music to help us celebrate this testimony. I share with music lovers and I pray that all who love music will come to know and love America’s never ending history. E Emerge! | winter 2012 |


Keeping It Real

in the african-american community by TRACI F. SCALES

As the I have been an advocate for persons affected and infected by HIV/AIDS for over fifteen years. I have done outreach and education on HIV/AIDS for the past 10+ years. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV weakens your body’s defense system, which makes it hard for your body to fight off other health problems that it could normally resist. As time goes on, your body becomes less able to fight off diseases. You can have HIV and still feel perfectly healthy. The only way to know for sure whether you are infected is to get tested. Knowing your HIV status is one way you can help prevent the spread of HIV. Obtaining a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS does not mean the end of the world to newly diagnosed persons with HIV/AIDS, and it is not a death sentence. With proper medical care and the commitment to adhere to medication compliance as well as keep all medical appointments and lab work appointments. When someone is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, this determination is made through a series of lab work that is ordered by a qualified physician such as CD4/CD8 count along with an HIV Viral load tests which will measure the level of HIV in the blood to determine the progression and outlook of the HIV disease and to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. AIDS is now the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 25–34. And, African-American women are more than 21 times as likely to die from HIV/ AIDS as non-Hispanic white women. Today, women account for more than 1 in 4 new HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. Of these newly infected women, about 2 in 3 are African-American. Most of these


Today, women account for more than 1 in 4 new HIV/AIDS cases in the United States. Of these newly infected women, about 2 in 3 are AfricanAmerican.

women received the HIV virus from having unprotected sex with a man. It is a known fact that African-American women have the highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the United States. Unfortunately, the statistics keep climbing. When talking with women about HIV/AIDS, I have found that most women have been infected by a male whom they thought they were in a monogamous relationship with. Some other reasons why African-American women are affected by HIV/AIDS more than women of other races include:

Poverty — One in four AfricanAmerican women lives in poverty, which is strongly linked to HIV risk. People living in poverty also get lower-quality health care in general, which can mean advancing from HIV infection to AIDS more quickly.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) — HIV is most commonly spread to women through sexual contact. Untreated STIs that break the skin, such as genital

Emerge! | winter 2012 |

herpes, give HIV easy access into the bloodstream. African-American women have high rates of many STIs.

Incarceration of African-American Men — Based on current rates of incarceration, nearly one-third of all AfricanAmerican men will enter prison during their lifetimes. Cycling in and out of the prison system leads to fewer available African-American men in the community to have long-term faithful relationships with, and a greater chance of having multiple partners over time. Living in prison also exposes many men to risk factors for HIV. This raises a man’s risk of getting HIV in prison and passing HIV to his female partner at home. The number of African-American women in relationships with men who have multiple sex partners and they (African-American women) know about the multiple partners is alarming. When educating African-American women, I

give them the analogy of the risks of having multiple partners as: when you have sex with man/woman who is having sex with multiple partners, you are also sleeping with every person that the partners have slept with and the list goes on. HIV/AIDS can be transmitted from an infected person to another through: blood (including menstrual blood), semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. Blood contains the highest concentration of the virus, followed by semen, then by vaginal secretions followed by breast milk. Activities that allow HIV/AIDS transmission: unprotected sexual contact, direct blood contact, including injection drug needles, blood transfusions, accidents in healthcare settings, or certain blood products, and mother to baby (before or during birth, or through breast milk.) Unfortunately, HIV/AIDS cases continue to grow in the African-American community, and the ages are from 10 and up. There is a rise in African American senior citizens being infected by HIV/AIDS as well. I am always leery of giving statistics for persons infected with HIV/AIDS in Danville, because I know that there are a large amount of infected persons who do not receive care in Danville, therefore are included in another town/ region’s statistics. HIV/AIDS is still on the rise and I urge each of you to think smart, and protect yourselves, as well as your children. Educate, educate, educate is the best method of prevention (outside of abstinence and protected sex.) E

If you are interested in having an HIV/AIDS/ STD education session, please contact Traci Scales at

Organizations that you can connect with regarding HIV/AIDS: • Advocates for Youth • • Black AIDS Institute • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS • National Minority AIDS Council • National Prevention Information Network, CDC • Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease (WORLD)

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I am not

the help

A Tale of Dignity


life. Early on in life, Evelyn realized her wings could not be clipped. She did have a desire not to conform to the norms of Danville in the 1950s and 1960s. Therefore, she moved to New York State to gain employment. While there she worked for several companies. However, her most cherished memories are those associated around her employment as a nanny.

Prior to the Civil Rights Movement, many AfricanAmerican women were employed in a domestic capacity. As a child, I can recall

my grandmother telling me events that surrounded her life as a domestic employee. Some of her experiences were very harsh, to state the less. My grandmother stated that she began her employment at the age of ten. She stated that at the time, she worked for fifty cents a week. However, there were times that her employer did not give her the money that was owed. The book, The Help, dramatizes some of the everyday trials and struggles that African-American women encountered performing domestic work. Several

African-American groups and authors condemned the book. There are some people that thought the book painted a stereotypical view of African-American women. In addition, several groups stated that there were variations of the story to be told. Well, whether you agree or disagree with book, it allowed a light to be shed on a relatively unknown topic. However, there were some AfricanAmerican women who redefined the “help.” These women were able to play the game by their own rules. Often, these women’s job descriptions were that of nannies. They were able to cultivate and nurture future generations. Evelyn Thompson Pendergrass, was a woman who was able to break the mold of the “help.” Ms. Evelyn has lived a very exhilarating

34 Emerge! | winter 2012 |

Ms. Pendergrass, recalls a friend referring her as a nanny for the children of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Ms. Evelyn states that the family she began working for became her “extended” family. She also recalls that Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis were very involved in the Civil Rights Movement. The couple organized and marched for the movement. Ms. Evelyn remembers how marching and organizing was a very dangerous business. Therefore, she had the task of keeping the children safe, nurtured, and cultivated. She was constantly meeting and entertaining with the likes of Vernon Johnson, Harry Belafonte, and Ralph Bunche. She vividly recalls Ralph Bunche calling Ossie Davis, and stating he could not get service at a hotel in Alabama. She stated that Davis replied, if Bunche could not break the barrier, he knew he would not make it. In addition, she worked as a nanny for the family of Sidney Poitier. Once again, she was enthralled into a world of politics and entertainment. Ms. Evelyn recalls never feeling out of place. She was able to observe some of the best and the worst of the Civil Rights Movement and people. Ms. Evelyn made a mark on the world at a time that our nation was battling hatred and bigotry. I would like to salute all of the African-American women who were brave enough to stand during a time that people kept expecting them to fall. E

Emerge get’s fit

by Sgt. Darrell Gunter 4th Recon BN I&I Staff-USMC

Emerge Work Out Hello Emerge family, I’m back with another series of workouts for couples. In this series you Sgt. Darrell Gunter and your partner will be able to push and motivate each other. These workout plans are a baseline for you to get started. You should always do research, find a plan and stick to it if you find that works. If you have to, tweak the program according to how your body is responding, and don’t give up. By doing our own research my wife and I we found it to be empowering and it gave us a reason to train even harder when we started out without a trainer. We hope you and your love ones will empower each other to GET FIT, STAY HEALTHY and LIVE LONG! E

Tuesday Chest- Flat bench 4 sets 8-12 reps Incline bench 4 sets 8-12 reps Decline bench 4 sets 8-12 reps Cable crossover (top) 4sets 8-12 reps Flat w/dumbbells 3 sets 6-10 reps Incline w/dumbbells 3 sets 6-10 reps Flat bench (fly) w/ dumbbells 3 sets 6-10 reps Cable crossover (bottom) 3 sets 6-10 reps Triceps- Dips 3 sets 6-10 reps (or until failure) Cable pull downs w/rope or v-bar 4 sets 8-12 reps Cable pulls w/rope or v-bar 4 sets 8-12 reps Thursday Legs- (thighs) Squats 5 sets 8-10 reps Leg press 4 sets 8-10 reps

Leg extension 4 sets 8-12 reps Lunges w/dumbbells or barbell 3 sets 40 feet Hamstrings- Lying leg curls 4 sets 8-12 reps Lying leg curls (single leg) 3 sets 6-10 reps Straight leg dead lift w/dumbbells or barbell Calves- Standing heel raises 5 sets 8-10 reps Seated heel raises 5 sets 8-10 reps Friday Shoulders- Barbell upright rows 4 sets 8-12 Front raises w/dumbbells or barbell 3 sets 8-12 reps Military press w/ dumbbells or barbell Lateral dumbbell raises 3sets 8-12 reps Note: Always drink lots of water and stay away from beverages with lots of sugar.

You may reach me at guntgunz@yahoo. com for advice on workout/meal plans.

four-day workout plan  

monday Back- Chin-ups (wide overhand grip) 2 sets 4 reps Chin-ups (narrow, palms-facing grip) 2 sets 4 reps Chin-ups (medium underhand grip) 2 sets 6 reps Seated cable rows 4 sets 8-12 reps One arm dumbbell rows 4 sets 8-12 reps Lat pull downs (wide overhand grip) 4 sets 8-12 reps Lat pull downs (medium underhand grip) 4 sets 8-12 reps Biceps- Cable crossover 4 sets 8-12 reps Cable curls 4 sets 8-12 reps Standing dumbbell curls 4 sets 8-12 reps Preacher curls w/ barbell 4 sets 8-12 reps

Emerge! | winter 2012 |


Why are we so


Why are we so afraid of who we are? We have advanced from slavery, but not to economic freedom and our own dark shadows. Reflecting back to several years ago when I was invited as a motivational speaker for a Black History Celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I remember the some of the expressions on the faces as I gazed on the crowd. The banquet hall was filled almost to capacity, and the audience consisted of people from all walks of life and from many professions. Included were historians with questionable expression on their faces, critique’s body language in attack mode, and yes, others with jeers on their faces and gleams in their eyes. Preparing myself for what was to come, I knew that I had to devise a plan of action. I must begin to tear down the barriers of non-communication and a lack of co-operation that has become our worst enemy. I just stood still for a few seconds, looking to my left, to the center, and then to my right nodding my head in acknowledgement, and then a warm friendly smile. I saw a few smiles and a few nods back with most of the icy stares now turning into curiosity. I began my conversation with the audience by saying, “I thank you in advance for listening. As I tell my students, when you learn something new, you will gain a new wrinkle on the brain. I do hope that today, each of us will leave this place with a wrinkle, for it is said, that when we allow knowledge to come in, ...a new wrinkle will form. I also hope a new sense of


of who we are?

form smiles or praises, and a closed hand or fist cannot catch anything. Be careful for a blessing may pass you by! “They may have slayed the Dreamer but they cannot slay the Dream, for the Dream lives on and continues to grow as a beautiful gift for all people. I often wonder what this world would be like today, if this man of God (Dr. Martin L. King Jr.) that shook the earth and bought the social consciousness of America to her knees, was still among us.” (applauses erupted) Why Are We So Afraid of Who We Are?

The Long Road Ahead Artwork by Adrienne Toomer

“Income inequalities and the negative press will continue until parents stop fighting over the newest sneakers for their children to wear, and start fighting for their children’s need to read.” pride in our heritage will rise from our chest, like a beautiful phoenix rising from the ashes. Some of us may already know the information that I will share. “Please be patient with me, some of us may be tired of hearing --Please listen again! Some of us may not believe... -Please research for yourself! Some of may just be here for show --Please carry away a positive image of us as a people! --Uplift rather that tear down. For blessings come in many ways, tight faces and lips cannot

Emerge! | winter 2012 |

A new chapter in our history was written on January 20, 2009, when President Barack Obama, became the 44th president of the United States. We must learn in the face of adversity, celebrate ourselves. An old African proverb stated that ‘’The lion must become his own historian because the tale of the hunt will always be glorified and told according to the hunter.” We must become our own historians. We need to build bridges, be diligent, not resting, and become proactive, for we are rapidly becoming the 3rd minority in a country in which was built on the shoulders, blood, sweat, and tears of our ancestors. We must recognize problems in our communities and fight to help correct them. Our present problem-solving method is not too successful. Making it and moving out! We must gain economic freedom through education, positive role models, and positive leadership, not abandonment. Teachers are continually blamed for our nations failing education system, and low

performing students. The academic achievements of African-American students continue to be in a rapid decline. Check the graduation rate of our students. Where are our parents and that village of days of old that would help to raise a child? Parents must take back their rightful position as parents, we need to reinvest in African-American communities, be active politically, and not just be seen rubbing shoulders with the elite. Income inequalities and the negative press will continue until parents stop fighting over the newest sneakers for their children to wear, and start fighting for their children’s need to read. Young ladies in high school are trading their education for a pair of eight inch heels, make-up, and a purse. They then leave their books at home, because they cannot balance the heels and the books. The question I pose to you is this, which contains their economic freedom in the future, the heels or the books? Young men trade their education for a pair of baggy pants and a hat. They cannot bring their books to school as a result of being “too busy” trying to hold up their pants with one hand and hide their hat with the other. Adults are constantly asking “what is wrong with the kids of today?” Some of the most vocal adult supporters of these students are those who think it fashionable to wear pajamas and bedroom shoes in public. Do not blame the teachers. It takes a village to raise a child. Parents are the first and most important teachers. Let us begin to recognize problems, assist in finding solutions, and hold up each other in our tragedies and triumphs. The clothes you wear will not matter in the end, but the deeds you do here and the legacy you leave behind will. E

Danvillian From a Distance

From GW Eagles to the Carolina Panthers

Rob D. McMannen

As I like to tell people “What you get to see on the news every night...I was there!”

Born to Tommy and Gwendolyn Shaw McMannen, retired school teachers in the Pittsylvania County School System, I, Rob McMannen, was born and raised in Danville, Virginia. With one sister, Christy McMannen, now an attorney in New Orleans, Louisiana, the two of us were instilled with the belief that whatever we wished to accomplish was just at our fingertips.

station in 1995. It was a one year paid apprenticeship. I completed the program in six months and was later put in charge of the Photographer Trainee program. During my time as a news photographer I was able to cover several local and national news stories, met several celebrities/notable personalities, and had many, many unforgettable experiences (both good and bad.) As I like to tell people “What you get to see on the news every night...I was there!”

Growing up, my dad, Tommy C. McMannen, was my mentor. He always supported, encouraged, and believed in me even in times when I didn’t believe in myself. He worked along with my mother to give Christy and myself a phenomenal head-start in life. He has grown from being an outstanding parent and role model to now also being a great friend...”I Love you, Pop!” While at George Washington High School during 1989, I was heavily involved in the NJROTC. My original career path was to be an officer in the military. However, upon graduation, I found myself at Winston-Salem State University majoring in Mass Communications with a Minor in Speech. During my college years I worked at the campus radio station (WSNC-FM 90.5) as an On-Air Personality, Production Manager, and Sports Announcer. The majority of my experience in school was in radio, but the summer before my senior year I did an internship with WSET 13 in the Danville bureau. It was at that time I realized I wanted to be a TV news photographer/videographer.


Later, I began a freelancing business on the side, and was recruited as a News Photographer to help start up a news department at WCCB-TV FOX Charlotte, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Eventually I was promoted to the Chief Photographer where I was responsible for a staff of 15 photographers and editors. I worked there for 11 years creating a program that is still used today, companywide. During my senior year at Winston-Salem State, I had a job with WXII-TV, in Winston Salem, North Carolina, as a part time Production Assistant. I spent much of my downtime, and a lot of my own free time, shadowing videographers on staff while working two other jobs. After a few years I moved on to WGHP-TV FOX8, in High Point, as Production Assistant in 1993. I was later accepted into the Photographer Trainee program at the

Emerge! | winter 2012 |

After working with WCCB-TV Fox Charlotte, I worked for The Inspiration Networks (INSP) as Broadcast Equipment Supervisor. Responsible for the inventory, organization, maintenance, and distribution of professional grade video equipment used for video shoots locally, nationally, and internationally, I had to build an inventory system from the ground up. Currently, I work for the Carolina Pan-

thers as a cameraman and statistical data spotter. For anyone who doesn’t know, a statistical data spotter keeps track of, logs, and reports player’s yardage gain or loss per play. I also shoot team activities and events on the side as a freelancer. It’s actually quite interesting how I happened into this job. At the beginning of the season an old friend and former co-worker, who works for the Panthers called me one day. It turned out the cameraman that they usually worked with would not be able to make it for the first couple of games, and wanted to know if I would be able to “help them out” and fill in for him. Of course, I jumped at the chance. The way I saw it... THEY were the ones doing ME a favor by offering the opportunity. I LOVE BEING THERE...great people to work with... GREAT organization. I love being a part of the production that goes on behind the scenes with an NFL game. I love having access to aspects the average fan wouldn’t be able to see. It just so happens, the area where we work out of for the game is right next to a family skybox of one of the top players. It’s so interesting to look over every now and then to see them cheer for him and the team. After one game, I was even able to share a private elevator with Michael Jordan. MORAL TO THE STORY: Networking and your professional reputation is KEY!

Danville is and always will be where I call HOME. Even with this amazing opportunity, I still work as a freelance video professional outside of the Panthers team, and I am in the process of growing that business. Even though I live in Charlotte with my wife, Ms. Sonya Gray, and two children, Hailey and Dylan, Danville is and always will be where I call HOME. E

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Emerge! | winter 2012 |

Selenadipitous LEGACY PUZZLE by Selena Lipscomb

I am determined Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing the Negro to live my life National Anthem a song that has always amazed me that the time spent to impact a many young people do not even putting together individual small pieces community, realize exists. There is one stanza will create a work of art that can be glued impact a that states, “God of our weary years, together, and framed for others to enjoy. system, impact God of our silent tears, Thou Who hast Catherine Coleman, People put puzzles together in different a generation, brought us thus far on the way; Thou Selena’s Grandmother ways, some start with the ends while others Who hast by Thy might, led us into the build a dynasty, start with the middle and then build from and leave a legacy. light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray.” In there. Personally, I like to start on the inside order for me to embrace my destiny and the pieces out on the table it can appear and work my way out. define my real purpose for being here it challenging, but once we sit down and begin takes clear direction down the path that to turn the pieces over it’s easier to find At the beginning of this year I did not God has prepared for me. I have to give the pieces that match the picture on the make any resolutions, instead I gave myself honor to the mentors that cut down the box and begin putting the pieces together. a challenge. I challenged myself to find out weeds in that path and glean from their Sure you will pick up a few pieces that look where my piece of this beautiful puzzle of wisdom. I will focus on my vision and like they will match, but they won’t. Don’t life fits in. In order to do that I had to sit purpose not the present. get discouraged. Keep putting it together. back and find the answer to three questions Eventually all the pieces will fit. Please that I consider being the center, or rather MY THIRD PUZZLE PIECE How don’t leave this earth without framing your the heart of who I am. When you define will others know that I was here beyond complete puzzle. I look forward to see your what is inside of you the other pieces will my article on the last page in Emerge? Master Piece. E come together. This is the most important piece because it locks the entire puzzle together. I am MY FIRST PUZZLE PIECE Where determined to live my life to impact a did I come from, beyond Mac and Tonya community, impact a system, impact a Man Man’s Me Moment (my dad and my mom?) I have made it a generation, build a dynasty, and leave By Immanuel Martin point to research my bloodline. I want to a legacy. There are generations behind What my mom said is go deeper than the familiar faces that I see me that need to know I care. When I something that will at the annual McCoy/McEachin/Gamble read about, talk to, and even meet true make a difference in reunion and the bi-annual Adams reunion. my life and the lives of leaders the one thing that stands out is I am going to make every month Black others, but I can break that their vision was or is about creating down what she said History Month and not settle for just change that will impact generations that into three sentences. the twenty –eight days of February. I am may not even be born yet. It is not about going to find out about the preacher, the Be dependable so that becoming famous or rich, because you others know that you entrepreneur, the fighter, the trailblazer that cared. never arrive. But, it is all about making a makes up my DNA. I will define my true difference and living a life worthy enough Be responsible so that others don’t have to clean identity; I will have a clear picture of that my great grandchildren and your great up your mess. ME! grandchildren will benefit from me sitting Be honorable so that when you die people will have good things to say about you, and see the down and putting my puzzle together. I MY SECOND PUZZLE PIECE Why good things that you did with your life. Big or will let my light shine. Small. am I here, beyond just occupying space in the eco system? As I search for this piece Thank you to all those that died so I could go to We all have puzzle pieces to assemble school with my friends regardless of the color of to my puzzle I think about the words of together. Sometimes when we pour their skin. One of my favorite pastimes has been putting puzzles together. It

42 Emerge! | winter 2012 |

Emerge! | winter 2012 |


Emerge Magazine February 2012  

The February 2012 issue of Emerge Magazine.