To the Editor:
As a longtime board member of AIDS Care Service, I want to express my deepest gratitude for the responsible, continuing attention paid by The Chronicle to this essential community non-profit agency Most recently, “‘Dining; events raising money for AIDS Care Service,” by Layla Garms (on) Jan. 23 presented a clear, in-depth summary of the invaluable support provided by Deacon Sammie Gray and Union Baptist, the projects undertaken by St. Anne’s Episcopal and Rector Lawrence Womack, the commitment of such restaurants as Sweet Potatoes, as well as the articulate leadership of ACS by Jesse Duncan.
As funding is cut for HIV programs, the expansion of Medicaid is rejected, and many social support services disappear, the challenge to all of us as individuals to contribute attention, time and funds is as great as ever. We must not ignore the compelling reminder from Gray: “A lot of people were ignorant about the disease and a lot of people think they’ve got all these new medicines now, that it ain’t out there, but it’s out there, and it’s strong.”
The Father of Black History Month
To the Editor:
The distinguished Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson began the celebration of Black History in February of 1926; originally the observation was one week. A careful study of his life will unveil that he came from poor beginnings. This notable historian graduated from Harvard University with a Ph.D. Like many Blacks who rose to prominence, his parents were former slaves. His ultimate ambition was to inform all Americans of our brilliant past. Knowledge of the past was to him a vehicle of empowerment to enlighten impoverished blacks.
His greatest legacy to us and to the world is one of a revealer of truth. Omitted from American history books are the marvelous contributions of those that have gone on before us. They were facts not readily or easily available. Persons who through the pursuit of knowledge became inventors, politicians, scientists, educators, business persons and more.
Woodson believed obscurity and lack were conquerable obstacles. He was an educator for children. I read my first Carter G. Woodson book at seven years old. “African Myths Together With Proverbs: A Supplementary Reader Composed of Folk Tales From Various Parts of Africa,” an elementary school book, remains in my library today. I was inspired to be a historian. When called to ministry, I studied a coveted copy of “The History of the Negro Church,” published in 1921. He described the work of qualified preachers who were first in “social welfare.” We seldom hear of them. They were instrumental in obtaining proper housing for the poor, establishing colleges and church schools. It is a wonderful pattern for leadership who desire to transformed lives of the destitute.
This February, do not repeat historical facts as though you are on a game show. I encourage you to take a closer look at those great achievers who changed lives for all. They rose above torrent and vicious winds of racism to reach their destiny. Understand the objective of Black Month. The past is our strength in hard times, for they accomplished more with less. Knowing the “spirit” of how they overcame will guide us. We have provisions to provide a service for the least. Our lives can be richer because Dr. Carter G. Woodson passed this way.
Rev. Deborah Dickerson,