Waiting For Justice To Arrive While Riding The Rocky Mount Bus

I have reached the last stages of editing my third novel.  As background information, the main character, Sarah Collins, is accepted into the highly competitive  Architectural History Program at The University of Texas in Austin. Sarah’s career is the touchstone for the story. 

Sarah adopts a Teddy Roosevelt quote for her own purposes when she talks about the first time she stood before a Double Gallery home in the Garden District of New Orleans which was to be her new home. She says, “This is where the romance of my life began.” Would you be surprised to find in the novel that I mention shotgun houses or the mismanagement of local government?  You will find mentioned the significance of historic buildings. The backdrop for the story has these elements, allowing me to create a world for one of my unlived lives. Through a shocking revelation, the second half of the book returns the reader to the Cotswold village of Burford, where #1 is set in Greening of a Heart.

In writing the Main Street Rocky Mount blog and Facebook page, I wish I had the credentials Sarah Collins acquires. If it didn’t require robbing a bank, I would apply to The Savanah School of Art and Design (SCAD), including architecture, urban design, architectural history, and historic preservation. The school is housed in historic buildings that have been repurposed. Image that! What you get is a Stepheny that grew up on the marvels of Chicago architecture. I have become a perpetual happy student who is self-taught. I love the research, the books, both fiction and non-fiction, that relate to the subjects on the blog. Last Spring, because I was researching a post I wanted to write about black architects in America, I reread Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, set in the world of architects. My new novel is partially set in New Orleans when Katrina makes landfall. I read Chris Rose’s book containing his Post-Katrina columns for the Times-Picayune. It was well written and helpful to me as I tried to fictionalize what was real.  I used a Rose quotation in the novel and need it now. 

‘As bad as it is here, it’s better than being somewhere else.’ 

Between the anxiety over the upcoming election and endlessly waiting for justice to descend upon the City Council and government, it hasn’t been easy being “green,” as Kermit says. Even the virus, a patience maker or derangement instigator, has pushed us towards the limits of “being cute.” Here in Rocky Mount, the names of the same people who have done us wrong are repeatedly spoken. We are still standing on one foot or the other while self-serving decisions are made. To say I’m impatient is an understatement, but I continue to believe the net is going to drop!

Standing on Main Street, taking in all the positive work that happens, despite ourselves, the fine people revitalizing the commercial buildings, will prevail. It has been fifteen years since Katrina (August 2005), and the work to preserve their city and culture continues. New Orleans has a Preservation Group that sets the highest bar possible.  In the novel, I tell you about the bus on Magazine Street that starts service again in October of 2005. The empty bus continues to run its route each day.  Stay on the Rocky Mount bus until the destination is reached, regardless of a bumpy ride.

This building on Sunset downtown looks across at Howard Street – Such Possibilities

An architectural gem sits deteriorating that could become the jewel it once was      Rocky Mount, NC – Ward 1

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Goldsboro – An Accredited Main Street Program – I Have Things To Show You

Sitting on the corner of Elm and LaSalle Streets in Chicago you will find The Church of the Ascension. It is an Anglo-Catholic Episcopal parish (high church) that is one of the threads in my life tapestry. It is candle-lit and filled with holy music. Facing LaSalle Street, mounted on the front of the church, is a bronze sculpture of Christ on the cross. Written below are the words, “Is It Nothing To You -All Who Pass By?” From the first moment, I saw this piece of art, its beauty, and starkness remains powerful and moving. Today, I am still captured by this image.  I mention this when starting to write about Goldsboro because I want the revitalization of Rocky Mount to mean something to you.   

“You can ignore a piece of sculpture or a painting hung on the walls of the Art Institute, but architecture is the inescapable art.”                                                                                 

Blair Kamain, Why Architecture Matters, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Blair Kamin is the architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune, a post he has held since 1992. I’m expecting a used ‘like new’ copy of his book from Amazon any day. I’m hoping to find a new teacher/friend while reading this book. I’ll let you know. 

Welcome to Goldsboro: Note the widened sidewalks, the street lighting, the green space and trees, the pattern brick sidewalks, awnings, the beautiful restoration of each facade. Historically correct upper windows, a unified streetscape.

How this corner building once looked and then…below… the restoration…my photo a few days ago

Once Upon a Time and Today

Don’t miss the sidewalk brick pattern throughout the historic area…everywhere!

Our Main Street Streetscape is beautifully designed as well. Benches, the medium planted with trees all nestled in now. It was a great decision to start implementing our street design. We lag far behind with our commercial buildings, their restoration, and repurposing. When you visit Elizabeth City, Tarboro, New Burn, Goldsboro, all accredited with the NC Main Street Program, you will see that we have paid dearly for having our Main Street affiliation sabotaged. It calls for accountability, record keeping, and citizen participation. The “My Way” agenda is not interested in any of that. Drive over to Goldsboro and see for yourself how economic development within the context of Historic Preservation looks. Wouldn’t you like to see our Historic Downtown back on track with the Main Street Program?

The photos other than mine were featured in a great article. Here is the link.

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The Old Neighborhood – 700 Block Arlington Street

By now, the morning sun was just over the horizon and it came at me like a sidearm pitch between the houses of my old neighborhood. I shielded my eyes. This being early October, there were already piles of leaves pushed against the curb—more leaves than I remembered from my autumns here—and less open space in the sky. I think what you notice most when you haven’t been home in a while is how much the trees have grown around your memories.         – Mitch Albom

705 Arlington Street

A block of homes on Arlington Street in Ward #3 provides another look at the heart of Rocky Mount; its neighborhoods. Walking the block with my camera in hand, it was an ‘if only’ moment when I wished I had the money to invest in Rocky Mount’s neighborhoods. I treated myself to some leaf-kicking while sauntering along. I refrained, however, from picking up leaves here and there as I once did on the way to school.  

There is always a favorite find on a block where the trees have grown around it as if protecting a secret jewel only the neighborhood is privileged to see. I must say the house seems mysterious viewed through overgrown “stuff.” (731 Arlington Street will soon be featured on the Main Street Facebook page. Hope you’re following.)

It turned out to be another “Honey, what you doin'” moment. I made a new friend, Keith Graham, who lives and is restoring his home at 727 Arlington St. Mr. Graham is a tight bundle of strength; his energy makes him appear bouncing on his toes as he showed the work he has already accomplished. Lucky for Rocky Mount, he owns some other rental properties that he is working on with the same enthusiasm. Mr. Graham showed me the small tree he has planted in the front yard for a nephew who has died. I listened to several other family stories that I felt privileged to hear. Image what an example this would be if this one block of homes on Arlington Street, a major artery, was restored. The revitalization of neighborhoods for our housing needs is a necessity and the answer to many of our problems.   

Mr. Graham’s House 727 Arlington
711 Arlington Street
715 Arlington Street
719 Arlington Street
723 Arlington Street
727 Arlington Street -A Different View
735 Arlington Street

One of the payoffs of revitalization in Rocky Mount is people being able to say, I am living as a person who is Somewhere and not just Anywhere. I encourage you to drive through downtown and through the Wards, to reconnect with  Somewhere!  I often say, “Wow, look at that…or with dismay, “Oh, my goodness, how can this be?”  Neighborhood after neighborhood, there are homes like these on Arlington Street. With a plan, ingenuity, investment, neighbors helping neighbors to even rehang a shutter, things can change for the better. Community Buy-In is my newest bumper sticker. You have to Believe!   

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Monday: A Perfect Few Hours At The Mill

“Oh, to be home again! Under the apple-boughs, down by the mill!”                                  James Thomas Fields

Sitting outside at the Mill today was DE-vine. The sky was Carolina blue and the temperature heavenly. I love Books and Beans, a beautiful restoration of the old Canteen. With a dear friend, an egg and cheese sandwich on GF toast, and sweet tea, you feel that you could live forever. I would like this October weather to last until Spring, wouldn’t you? The once upon a time story of the Mill lingers in the air, the buildings that were on life support now hail and hearty once again. The energy and new purposes of the Mill seem to radiate from the brick, the windows gleaming with sunlight, and renewed energy that looks out upon a preservationist’s delight. Here is a premier example of revitalization that has brought revenue, people, more private investment to Rocky Mount. The immeasurable contribution of how to do things right is a lesson in a win-win attitude, where everyone benefits. Thankful for a few hours at the Mill on a beautiful day spent admiring the scene. Thank you for providing this sense of place that is vital to Rocky Mount’s story; instrumental to creating its future.         

“The sound of water escaping from mill dams, etc., willows, old rotten planks, slimy posts, and brickwork, I love such things.” – John Constable

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The Shop on the Corner – Virginia’s – THE KRESS BUILDING

“Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.” —Kate Spade

Virginia Dunn Dasher, the original owner of Virginia’s Dress Shop could not have imagined that all these years later her daughter, Ginny Dasher Dunn, would still be holding down the corner selling beautiful clothes. The shop moved to 164 SW Main Street in 1982 where mother and daughter sent you off with the right coat, hat, sweater, dress for casual wear, or fit for a wedding. With a nod to the past, you will still find beautiful negligees and nightgowns for a trousseau and beyond, and half slips.      

“Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” —Bo Derek

Life changes and moves on doesn’t it. Ginny is keeping a watchful eye on her dear husband who now needs some looking after. The fate of the shop is winding down. One of the steps is a storewide SALE that I have twice benefited from with several additions to my wardrobe that I love. Hurry in. Several things I debated over are now gone!  Ginny has long been a place marker on Main Street. She belongs to the Downtown Merchants Group, a constant voice cheerleading for the revitalization of property and attracting businesses.  A gem.     She is one of the prisms of light on Main Street.  

The Kress Building holds memories for native Rocky Mount folks. I was told about the fudge, Spanish nuts, and popcorn smells when entering. Today, there is metal signage covering up windows above the front door that would no longer be allowed and would be removed in restoration. Though my photographs are of a photograph, stand with me, and appreciate another Main Street jewel. 

Virginia’s -164 SW Main St. -252-446-4487

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Four Amazing Black College Presidents That Inspire Those Who Come After Them – Part 4

This post is written with eyes wider than when I began the series. I have loved all the comments, regardless of the position taken.  I was rather proud of all of us,  not a temper tantrums to behold. I had this brilliant idea. I will write about black lives that have risen to the top of their professions as proof that blaming racism severely limits the possibilities of life.  Some comments basically said that these accomplishments prove nothing. “Well yes,” there are a brilliant few, but under no circumstance should they be separated from the racism and victimization that exist.  We cannot and will not abandon the facts we’ve been told about systematic racism, which seems to me makes successful black people out to be aberrations. Don’t skip the fact that “so and so” spoke about BLM and would be scandalized to be included in this series.  And really, Stepheny, you have no qualifications to write about something you can’t possibly understand. Though told that writing about racism is racist, I error on the side that says not talking about it opens the door to nonsense. If you believe you are 3/5 of a person because, at last week’s Council meeting, you were told that is so, you are better off listening to me write about how great these successful blacks are.

Dr. Shirley Jackson 

A theoretical physicist, Jackson has proven a trailblazer in every aspect of her career. She has been the driving force behind the explosive growth in funds, faculty, and programming at RPI since 1999. Since that time, her Rensselaer Plan has received more than $1.25 billion in invested funds. Jackson secured a $360 million anonymous, unrestricted gift in 2001; essentially, she has overseen and raised more funds than anyone else in the school’s history. During her tenure, Jackson has hired more than 325 new tenure-track faculty and implemented award-winning student life programs. In all her spare time, Jackson finds time to serve on multiple boards, including the New York Stock Exchange, IBM, and FedEx.

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson of RPI is more than the nation’s highest-paid college president: she is the woman Time magazine calls “the ultimate role model for women in science.”

First African-American woman to receive a doctorate from MIT
First African-American women to lead a top-ranked research university
Co-Chair of President’s Intelligence Advisory Board for Barack Obama
Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, appointed by Bill Clinton
Recipient of 53 honorary doctorate degrees
Highest-earning college president with a salary of more than $7 million
Ranked among the 50 Greatest Living Geniuses

Walter M. Kimbrough, Dillard University

Walter Kimbrough is known as the “Hip Hop Prez” thanks to his Twitter handle, Dr. Walter Kimbrough is one of the few college presidents known for using social media to its greatest advantage.

Recognized for his research and writings on historically black colleges and universities, Dr. Kimbrough came to Dillard University in 2012 after serving for seven years as the president of Philander Smith College, when he was one of the youngest university presidents of our time.

Named one of the 25 college presidents to follow on Twitter (bachelorsdegree.com, 2010)
Named by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one of 25 to Watch (2009)
Made the coveted Ebony Magazine Power 100 list of doers and influencers in the African-American community (2010)

Christopher B. Howard, Hampden-Sydney College

Christopher Howard is not only one of the youngest college presidents in the United States; he also happens to be a Rhodes Scholar, an Air Force veteran, and an All-American high school football player.

Dr. Howard presides over Hampden-Sydney College, a private men’s school in Virginia. Since coming to H-S, the school has seen record enrollment numbers—the highest in the history of the college. Along with his wife Barbara, Howard co-founded Impact Young Lives, a non-profit group that provides scholarships and travel opportunities to college students of color in South Africa.

  • Recipient of the Air Force Academy’s Campbell Award, the highest academic award in the country presented to a senior football player
  • Named by the Library of Virginia a 2010 African-American Trailblazer in Virginia History
  • First African-American president at Hampden-Sydney
  • Senior advisor on African Affairs at the Albright Stonebridge Group

Gwendolyn Boyd, Alabama State University

There’s no place like home for Montgomery, Alabama native Gwendolyn Boyd, who has returned to her undergraduate alma mater as president. Alabama State University must have been glad to have her home after her 30+ years spent as an engineer at the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratories: How often does a board agree on anything unanimously, much less the position of college president?

Boyd, who is single, came back to ASU in January 2014 and signed a contract that contained an interesting clause, one that prohibited her from having overnight visitors (of a romantic nature).

  • First female president of Alabama State University
  • First African-American female to earn a master’s in mechanical engineering from Yale
  • Appointed by President Obama in 2014 to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African-Americans
  • An ordained itinerant elder in the AME Church

This information came from an article by The Best Schools – Interesting College Presidents   3-23-20

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Included In This Series Are Two Of My Heros: Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, and Stanford University Provost, CondIessa Rice -People Like This Believe, “You Can Do Anything You Want To Do In America As A Black, Including Becoming President” -Shelby Steele

Michael Bruce Curry (born March 13, 1953) is an American bishop who is the 27th and current presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church. Elected in 2015, he is the first African American to serve as presiding bishop in The Episcopal Church. He was previously bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina.

I met Michael Curry when he first became Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina. He worshipped regularly with us at St. Joseph’s in Durham, and then at Holy Family in Chapel Hill where we transferred. He preached at our Easter Vigil’s and once spent all of Holy Week with us. I have prayed beside him, even considered becoming a groupie to follow him from church to church. His humor, preaching, and magnetism made my three young granddaughters wide-eyed as they listen to him in the darkened church. It seemed the candle that aluminated his dark face and shining white teeth were all the light needed. At the Royal Wedding, the stiff-upper-lip royalty spent most of their time looking at their programs evidently embarrassed by the exuberance. There was nary a smile except for the wedding couple themselves. Here at home, we swayed with the black gospel choir, were filled with pride and love for this preacher-man, who spoke of love to the millions watching. He is an amazing, holy man, a towering presence in the lives of believers. Look no further than this engaging man to remind yourself, “You never cede control of your own ability to be successful to something called racism.” – Condoleezza Rice.

The Royal Wedding Sermon: “Think and imagine a world when love is the way. … Because when love is the way, we treat each other like we are actually family. When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all. And we are brothers and sisters, children of God. My brothers and sisters, that’s a new Heaven, a new Earth, a new world, a new human family.

Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza “Condi” Rice is an American diplomat, political scientist, civil servant, and professor who served as the 66th United States Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009 and as the 20th United States National Security Advisor from 2001 to 2005.

“The fact is, race is a constant factor in American life. Yet reacting to every incident, real or imagined, is crippling, tiring, and ultimately counterproductive. I grew up in a family that believed that you might not be able to control your circumstances, but you can control your reaction to them. There was no room for being a victim or depending on the white man to take care of you.” 

Condoleezza Rice, Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family

The first book I bought and downloaded on a new Kindle was Rice’s Extraordinary, Ordinary People. I hope I live long enough to cast a vote for her Presidency. Her story, interests, and endless talents are inspirational. As a child, she was molded into a classical pianist, as well as a competitive figure skater. Professionally, she was taught to be a fearless leader and pursue her goals with limitless horizons. She followed in her father’s footsteps, a career in academia. In 1993, Stanford University appointed her as its provost; making Rice the youngest person ever and first African American to hold that prestigious position. 

I write about these “Vital Few” and add Jesse Owens’s words that still apply if you expect to achieve and succeed “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, discipline, and effort.” It is not racism that holds us back but ignoring Jesse Owen’s timeless formula.

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“I Sing Because I’m Happy-I Sing Because I’m Free” Celebrating The Achievement And Success Of Black Musicians -Part 2

The music industry has been transformed by talented, remarkable black artists: singer-songwriters and performers. Their contributions to jazz, soul, rock, gospel, and R&B stand in contrast to the victimization cry that our usual City Councilmen and cohorts cry when questioned or criticized. These usual suspects make a living telling the black community they are victims and thwarted by racism. The reality across the spectrum of American life, however, bears witness to the endless achievements and contributions by blacks who have helped change the world. Nowhere is that more evident than in the field of music. It is a shameless thing, because of personal gain, the usual suspects never extoll the possibilities in the lives of all blacks and especially the youth. No wonder black youth are often left hanging out in gangs where they find some validity to their lives through belonging.

In talking to my grandsons and great-grandsons, I am likely to call them “Honey, boy………” This series is a message for all the black sons, and grandsons: “Honey, boy, it is all possible once you dissent from the victimization explanation of black fate.” – Shelby Steele

I can’t imagine my musical world without this shortlist of favorite black musicians and these particular songs. I know the selections date me, but then, I am dated. This music has followed me through the years, and I am grateful.

(Click On Each Name For Music)

Ray Charles

GEORGIA ON MY MIND

Soul music pioneer and fuser of R & B, Gospel and Country music, Ray Charles is a legend and was one of the world’s greatest artists. Blind, but beyond talented, the artist is famous for such singles as ‘Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand’ and ‘Kissa Me Baby’ as well as ‘Mess Around’. Known as ‘The Genius’ and ‘The Father of Soul’ Charles’ remarkable talent inspired many musicians and his creativity extended to the many instruments that he touched.

John Legend

BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER

Legend was born John Roger Stephens on December 28, 1978, in Springfield, Ohio. A child prodigy, Legend’s grandmother taught him how to play the piano, and he grew up singing in the church choir. He went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he directed a co-ed a cappella group. After graduation, he switched gears and worked for Boston Consulting Group, but continued to perform in nightclubs in New York City.

Stevie Wonder

I’LL BE LOVING YOU ALWAYS

Stevie Wonder, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. A prominent figure in popular music during the second half of the 20th century, Wonder is one of the most successful songwriters and musicians.

Louis Armstrong

ELLA FITZGERALD AND LOUIS ARMSTRONG ~ “THEY CAN’T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME”

Multi-talented, all-round performer Louis Armstrong had a presence that is world-famous and was known for his influences to Jazz. He was associated with bands such as ‘His Hot Five’ and ‘His Hot Seven’ and ‘The All Stars’, and could popularize music in his style. In the 1930s he broke barriers and was featured in a Hollywood movie. Known for ‘What a Wonderful World’, a world-renowned single, Armstrong truly is one of the greats.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by McBride/Mediapunch/REX/Shutterstock (8877948a) Whitney Houston Receives the United Negro College Fund Award in New York City July 1988 Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW  

American singer and actress Whitney Houston was incredibly popular in the 1980s and was known for her big voice and unique style. She sang in her local church and was inspired by Gospel as a genre. Clive Davis transformed her career and she is known for such hits as ‘Saving All My Love For You’. She collaborated with Mariah Carey on the single ‘When You Believe’ and her significant contributions to modern music are undeniable.

Aretha Franklin

How Do You Keep The Music Playing (from Duets II: The Great Performances)

Aretha Louise Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter, actress, pianist, and civil rights, activist. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was a minister. At the age of 18, she embarked on a secular-music career as a recording artist for Columbia Records. By the end of the 1960s, Aretha had come to be known as the “Queen of Soul”. Known for her energy and ability to sing multiple genres, her impact on the music genre is unsurpassed.

Nat King Cole

MISTY

Nat King Cole was an American musician who came to prominence as a jazz pianist. He owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. In 1956, Cole became the first African American performer to host a variety of television series, and for many white families, he was the first Black man welcomed into their living rooms each night. He has maintained worldwide popularity since his death in 1965.

Ella Fitzgerald

YOU CAN CRY ME A RIVER

Known as the ‘First Lady of Song’ or ‘Lady Ella’, a significant contributor to the Jazz genre, Ella Fitzgerald was a remarkable singer. She was discovered by and worked with Chick Webb and his band and rose to fame in the 1930s. Her uplifting tone can be recognized in such singles as ‘Dream A Little Dream of Me’ and ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’.

Louis Allen Rawls was an American singer, songwriter, actor, voice actor, and record producer. Rawls released more than 60 albums, sold more than 40 million records, and had numerous charting singles, most notably his song “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine”. He worked as a film, television, and voice actor.

Lou Rawls

YOU’LL NEVER FIND ANOTHER LOVE LIKE MINE

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (9241939fq) Usher Raymond attends a special screening of “Fences”, at Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall,, in New York

Usher

DO YOU REMEMBER

Usher Raymond IV is an American singer, songwriter, actor, businessman, and dancer. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee until moving to Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of 12, his mother put him in local singing competitions before catching the attention of a music A&R from LaFace Records.

Queen Latifah

WHO CAN I TURN TO

Dana Elaine Owens, better known by her stage name Queen Latifah, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and producer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, she signed with Tommy Boy Records in 1989 and released her debut album All Hail the Queen on November 28, 1989, featuring the hit single “Ladies First”. Her lead in the mivie, The Secret Life of Bees is not to be missed.

I am writing this series for those who dare to embrace the possibilities of their lives refusing to believe otherwise.

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The “Vital Few” – A Series on Black Achievement Across The American Spectrum: Sports, Music, Medicine, Education, Politics…Part 1

I read Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, after college when I returned to my normal reading life. For years, I worried that I was neither smart nor important enough to disappear from the world as the entrepreneurs and industrialists in the novel leave to make a plan to thwart socialism. Canadian economist Reuven Brenner refers to these rare individuals as the “vital few.” These thoughts have led me to write this series about black achievement across the wide spectrum of American life. The series features but a few of the black men and women who have proven it is possible to live to the other side of the past and live among the “vital few.” The series is offered as an inspiration to all who aspire to live the possibilities of their lives.

When hearing the ongoing rhetoric of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and some of our City Council Members, and cohorts who preach the victimization of blacks, you never hear about the lives mentioned in this series. Such achievements do not support their narrative. Those who cry victimization have made a handsome living to the detriment of their communities. Drive through Wards 1-4 and see for yourself what years of this world view have wrought. This shameless position affects black youth who hear little about the possibilities of their lives. I have spent hours dragging photos and taking notes about black people who have taken responsibility for their lives against all odds and helped change the world. Their photos need to be pinned on bedroom walls as a sign of what is possible. (To think that 63 years after the publication of Atlas we are facing an election about the very thing Rand wrote: we must save Capitalism!)

I think we have come to a place in black America, sadly from my point of view, where we have once again begun to rely on our history of victimization as our primary source of power to wield within society.  -Shelby Steele

Misty Danielle Copeland is an American ballet dancer for American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States. On June 30, 2015, Copeland became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in ABT’s 75-year history. Since then, whenever Ms. Copeland has danced leading roles with Ballet Theater, her performances have become events, drawing large, diverse, enthusiastic crowds to cheer her on at the Metropolitan Opera House, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. When she starred in “Swan Lake” with Ballet Theater she becomes the first African-American to do so with the company at the Met.

Because She Did, I Can: A Conversation with My Young Black Ballerina

“Those were the words Lela spoke to me as we listened to the interview of Misty Copeland, talking about being the 1st African-American Prima Ballerina at the American Ballet Theater.”

I wanted to open the dialogue about race in ballet and bring more people in. It’s just beautiful to see the interest that has exploded for such an incredible art form that I will forever be grateful to! Misty Copeland

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City Council: Do The Right Thing – The Taxpayers Should Not Pay For The Black Lives Matter Action Committee’s Street Mural

621 Pennsylvania Ave -Ward 1

If there is as much as $20k available for a mural, that money should NOT be given to an organization that can very well pay for their own projects. Not having this kind of money, it is easier to rely on”their guys” on the Council. The laughable bit is that if they were providing the money, I doubt the project would cost $1000.

Taxpayers do not approve of this latest scheme. Read the comments on Concerned Citizens who have far better suggestions for the use of this money. What about the house pictured above in Ward 1? There are plenty of houses in Wards 1,2,3,4 that sit boarded up and abandoned that continue to be neglected by their Councilmen. Even worse is the condition of the housing people are living in.

I will take our local Black Lives Matter Action Committee seriously when they think bigger for the community than a mural on the street. When they mentor young people who need someone to believe in the possibilities of their lives. I’ll believe the Committee when all this posturing and bluster translates to action and real help. If the September 13th City Council meeting approves as much as $20k for Mr. Blackwell’s son, rather than doing the right thing, it will be one more unforgivable decision for the “My Will Be Done” Agenda that has little to do with other black lives that do matter. Wouldn’t it be grand if for once right prevails.

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