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The Long Journey from the back of the bus... It is ironic that two unrelated incidents resulted in my tracing of 200 years of Contributions Blacks gave this nation as part of our Bicentennial Celebration, but the incidents happened. The first presented itself when Gordon Parks, the celebrated movie director and musician and photographer (whom I first met a couple of decades ago around the Harlem Y), and I retreated to a next door bar to relieve ourselves for a few moments from our duties as honorary pall bearers at the Bier of the late and great Duke Ellington, in the Third Avenue Funeral Parlor where our mutual friend was laid out. We retreated to the bar only to be joined by a stack of great names in show business, who, too, wanted to cry in their beers and tell some tall tales about their acquaintanceship with the great Duke. As the sauce flowed up and down the bar and between telephone calls that the cats made to their home and to friends, the conversation got around to why someone should document for posterity not only what the great Duke had done, but also what others of the craft who had gone ahead, like Langston Hughes and Andy Rosaff and Fats Waller had done. Gordon thought I should do the documenting because he argued "You had years of writing about our trials with that newspaper (Pittsburgh Courier) and you have seen us in action." I felt suckered and retaliated by accusing Gordon of wanting to get some facts for a movie script - So, I shouted back, "no,you do it - you have the proper medium. You have films and you have your camera." Our conversation came to an abrupt halt when Thelma Carpenter came into the bar and chased us back to our post at Duke's bier. Gordon left town after the funeral to go on location to film his "Leadbelly" movie. I returned to the office of the Borough President. The idea f tracing the contributions Blacks made to the cultural heritage of these United States came suddenly in focus when I was appointed by Percy Sutton to represent our office coordinating some of the Bicentennial projects the City was to present. The results are herewith presented: Now there are numerous ways in which writers can present history. A lot of our history never got in the history books because of the interpretation by some writers who went before. This tracing, born at Duke's bier and nurtured in a local watering spa, and given direction by a chance appointment, is slanted from a political standpoint, on what Blacks have accomplished down through the two hundred years. I have used Black research written in books by Blacks for the first hundred years. I have relied on some of the Twentieth Century who made it, and are still around to tell it. I am indebted to the late William Kilpatrick of the Southern jurisdiction, and the Prince Hall Mason of New York, for giving me a copy of a speech about Crispus Attucks, delivered at the 1960 Shriners' Convention by the late John Wesley Dobbs. Mr. Dobbs said Crispus Attucks was the first patriot to die on Boston Commons, five years before the Revolution for our country's freedom. I was fascinated by some sentences left out of the Constitution of the United States written by those sterling founding fathers. The boys simply forgot about human rights for Blacks. Our history continues with notes on Blacks, like Prince Whipple and Peter Salem and the Handcock Bucks who fought in the Revolution. Benjamin Bannecker was the first of the real activists. He not only laid out the City of Washington when L'Enfante, the French architect quit and went home in disgust, but wrote vitriolic letters to Thomas Jefferson castigating him for his insensitivity to the rights of Blacks. The Reverend Richard Allen was forced to start his own Church, the AME Zion Church, when he was not allowed to worship at the white church in his City. In 1830, John Russwam and Samuel Cornish felt that the establishment press was not doing anything on our cause, so they printed our first Black newspaper to tell the world about us. After the founding of the Black press, comes the work of Sojuner Truth and Harriet Tubman. These two ladies were the real Civil Righters of their times. I am indebted to Dr. Leslie Alexander of the National Medical Association for telling me about Dr. McKinney, the first Black lady doctor of her time. I am indebted, to Langston Hughes for this research which I found in a book he and Milton Meltzer called a "Pictorial History of the Negro in America." The first court case on Education for Blacks was argued by Charles Sumner in Boston on behalf of the Blacks in that City in 1843. We have never gotten over going to court to get rights for Blacks in the schools of the staid City of Boston, Mass. Then came the Dredd Scott decision in which Jutice Toney in St. Louis, rules that Blacks had no rights whites had to respect. Then a man named Frederick Douglass, the first of the great abolitionists, who exerted phenomenal influence on Abe Lincoln and Ulysses Grant, two U.S. Presidents, for our rights. Through Mr. Douglass and the Civil War, I found out what role Blacks played in shaping the commercial destiny of this country with their inventions. Norbert Rillieux developed a fast inexpensive method for refining sugar cane in 1846. Lewis Howard Latimer helped to invent the telephone. Elijah McCoy worked on lubrication for machines. Granville T. Woods developed the steam boiler. Jan Matzeliger invented a method of pleating leather in shoe manufacture. Then, our agrarian economy was revolutionized by the birth of George Washington Carver, the man who did so much with the lonely peanut. (Continued on page 6) DELEGATE, 1976 MELPAT ASSOCIATES • PRODUCERS 2225 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10037 MEL PATRICK, President and Publisher HILDA STOKELY Exec. Vice President (212) FO 8-5559 ANN PATRICK Secretary and Treasurer [[2 column table]] Page No. | [[topic]] 1-137 | The Negro in America, 1550-1976 138-139 | New York Chapter, National Ass'n of Black Social Workers 141-144 | National Caucus of Black School Board Members 146-149 | Northern Jurisdiction, Prince Hall Masons 151 | Empire State Medical Association 152-153 | Prince Hall Grand Lodge 157-161 | National Newspaper Publishers Association 164-165 | Links 166-167 | Chi Delta Mu Fraternity 168-169 | Chi Delta Mu Wives 170-173 | National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 176-177 | Navy 178 | Elks of the World 184-189 | Democratic Party 196-199 | Chi Eta Phi 200-204 | Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority 205-209 | Zeta Phi Beta Sorority 210-211 | Common Cause Ladies 215-219 | National Association of Business & Professional Negro Womens Club 226-233 | Church Ushers Association of N.Y. State Inc. National United Church Ushers Association 234-237 | Eta Phi Beta Sorority 238-239 | National Bar Association 240-243 | Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity 246-259 | National Urban League 260-263 | Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority 264-271 | N.B.C. 273-277 | National Medical Association 279-281 | Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity 282-285 | National Association of Negro Women 288 | CBS 294-299 | Shriners 300-301 | Daughters of Isis 302-305 | Omega Psi Phi Fraternity 308-309 | Republican Convention 310-311 | Museum of Art 314-315 | Bourban Story 316-317 | Whitney M. Young Classic 320-323 | Tennis 324-331 | Black Caucus 333-335 | 369th Veterans Association 336-337 | Southern Jurisdiction 338-343 | Phi Beta Sigma 344-345 | Paul Robeson-Langston Hughes 346-348 | Edges 350-351 | Happenings 352 | In Memoriam [[/table]]
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