A journalist once referred to Leontyne Price as, "perhaps the greatest black opera singer of all time."
She defined herself by fierce dedication, discipline, training and hard work--in a word,
Yet, editors across the country today are likely rummaging through archives to recycle columns to commemorate just a few great Americans during Black History Month.
Expect to see columns on say, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., and my favorite, Booker T. Washington.
But why commemorate these Americans during just one month out of twelve? ... because of their complexions?
Over one hundred years ago, Dr. Booker T. Washington said,
Dr. King echoed those very words words sixty years later when he spoke of his dream that little children would live in a nation judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
When it comes to character, Booker T. wrote the book. Literally. His book, "Character Building" is a compilation of talks he gave to students on Sunday evenings at Tuskegee.
He championed individual character, personal responsibility and economic independence. As a practical visionary, he saw that acquiring these values were critical first steps towards developing an
Despite the criticism Starbucks has received, it might be on to something for reminding us we are all members of one race: the HUMAN race.
Let us not let others divide us, one from another, on the basis of what we look like.
"In the eyes of God, there is no color line, and we want to cultivate a spirit where we forget there's a color line anyway" Booker T. Washington.
Did you know that Abe Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the exact same day? Feb 12, 1809!
My good friend, Bill Federer, wrote about it yesterday.
It's a great read: here.
I highly recommend that you join his very informative website, American Minute.
Lincoln's and Darwin's view of the 'human condition' could not be more different:
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On the Road Again
I leave soon for a fifteen-state swing down the East Coast to Florida, over to Louisiana, then up through Tennessee and Kentucky until I finally return home, hopefully in a month.
It all started when I received a call last month from Rev. Paul Benjamin, from Sanford, FL, inviting me to join him in a 'Youth Entrepreneurship Summit' on Monday, Sep. 24. Rev. Benjamin directs the Central Florida Dream Center and is a driving force behind the Love Sanford Project, organized to help the community heal after the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman tragedy that occurred there seven months ago. Here's the video Love Sanford Project press announcement. (skip the commercial; that's not in our control.)
We're thrilled that Rev. Benjamin sought us out to partner with him in introducing the Booker T. Way to Sanford youths. His Central Florida Dream Center looks to be an ideal venue for a Booker T. Club.
The James Madison Institute (JMI), in Tallahasee, Florida, has been in touch with us regarding our public speaking 'niche' for the Society's high school Student Chapters. It has graciously offered to provide us with intern help to contact and coordination the establishment of Clubs and chapters throughout the Florida panhandle. So, we're looking forward to visiting with JMI, Thur Sep 27.
After all, public speaking is an essential skill no matter what path you choose in life. But even Booker T. knew how scary it can seem at first:
"I always suffer intensely from nervousness before speaking. More than once, just before I was to make an important address, this nervous strain has been so great that I have resolved never again to speak in public."
Yet, in pressing on, he gained confidence and respect. He even devoted an entire chapter to the topic in his autobiography, Up From Slavery.
Next stop: New Orleans. We've had several requests amounting to hundreds more Booker T. Washington - American Hero booklets from there. I'm looking forward to seeing how we can help local, interested people start Booker T. Clubs and Chapters in New Orleans, in particular to coincide with the grand re-opening of its once (and again) venerable Booker T. Washington High School in Fall, 2014.
Finally, Shreveport, LA. The Shreveport River Bend Rotary Club donated funds to help kick-start a local Booker T. Club, and with the help of other committed individuals, we're looking to field two clubs there in the near future: one each at a charter and a public middle school.
Did You Know. . .?
Travel just keeps getting more costly no matter what I do to keep costs down (I sleep in the van and freeload off friends along the way). There's just no way around it. At this early stage, face-to-face meetings are absolutely essential.
Playwrights may call them 'angel investors.' Start-up businesses call it, 'venture capital.'
But what we need, "culture capital".
That is, large and small angels willing to invest, inspire, and build a culture of character among our next generation. It really is up to us.
Would you call yourself a culture capitalist?
September 9, 2010
Booker T. Washington American Hero
Dear Fellow American,
I recently wrote 'Booker T. Washington - American Hero,' a booklet that succinctly illustrates Booker T's amazing rise 'up from slavery' to become a great educator, orator, activist, statesman, and leader.
He inspired generations. Today he is a role model for all who appreciate the power of personal responsibility, economic independence and strong moral character.
I want you to have this booklet. Free. Just phone or email me to tell me where to send it. I'll be happy to send you one… or more to hand out if you like.
Soon I'll be on the road, trekking through mid-Atlantic states and the South to talk to high schools and colleges, local service clubs, and church groups. Today's generation of young Americans need to know his story, especially in the face of the alarming trend toward more government control over our lives.
This month, I will be in Washington, DC and Virginia, then in the Carolinas in October, and in November, Georgia and Florida.
Some dates are still open. So, if you would like me to speak before your organization, please let me know your open dates/times as soon as you can.
The Exact Moment I became an American
By Ronald Court (nee, Courtemanche)
In just two days on September 11, 2010 I will observe the exact moment I realized I was an American and not a multi-hyphenated French-Canadian-American whose grandparents came down from Quebec in search of a living-any living.
It was 11:35am on that fateful day nine years ago in 2001. I had been teaching at Champlain College but as the planes stuck the towers, classes were cancelled. I drove home, but found myself turning off toward the local flag shop. As the realization of what happened set in, that America, our country… my country, me was attacked. I heard myself declare, "I am an American.
Dear October 11, 2010
What an interesting time this travelin’ road show has been so far.
Well, this has been some journey so far, and we’ve only just begun!
From our first ‘on the road’ talk at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, we’ve spoken and met and with several wonderful folks all around the Commonwealth… from Arlington, to Great Falls, Manassas, Purcellville, Fredericksburg, Hampton and Norfolk… Washington, DC, too!
All while traveling and living in my road-office/home van, ‘Max’ (‘Maximilian’ or “Maxine’).
I’ve awoken at 5am on a side street on the Georgetown University’s campus to see a couple of deer grazing not five feet from me… and on the streets of Washington DC as the city wakes up to the sounds of street sweepers.
Bobby Little of Manassas, VA, arranged for me to meet a couple of inspiring teens, twins Brett and Alex Harris, authors of “Do Hard Things” at a teen conference they hosted in Woodbridge. I read their book a couple of years ago, and was very impressed with what they have set out to do. Check their website. These young men are the real deal.
Met some fine folks at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville ,which the Harris twins are attending, even as they bring their message to teens around the country.
Yesterday I spoke before “the Lunch Bunch” at a Grand Corral in Norfolk, VA. A chance encounter with a star Negro League ballplayer ‘back in the day’ at a MacDonald’s on Monday brought me the invitation. A fine group of men that I was honored to speak to about Booker T. Washington and suggest they form a Society chapter to introduce and instruct young men in their community to the vision and values of BTW and of the Booker T. way.
Along the way, I’ve showered and exercised at Planet Fitness facilities all over Virginia, and enjoy the good fortune of having relatives located strategically in Fredericksburg (niece) and here now in Morrisville, NC (son Barnaby).
Barnaby’s home will be my ‘command center” for a few days, as I visit high schools, and speak at area Kiwanis, Rotary and church youth groups.
While I’m out having fun, planting seeds from which Society Chapters and Booker T. Clubs will grow, Jennifer Faulkner has been running the office, keeping things going smoothly. Never a day goes by with a quiet tip of my hat to her.
I hope to get in the swing of posting on Twitter and Facebook more frequently and soon, so do stay tuned.
All the Best,
Ninety-Five Years Ago Today
November 14, 1915 ...
Booker T. Washington died within hours of reaching his home in Tuskegee, AL.
Ten thousand attended his funeral. And though hundreds of thousands have embraced his philosophy through the years, recent generations tend to ignore or have forgotten him.
For two months, I’ve been on the road, planting seeds among business, student, and faith groups from New York to Florida to establish Booker T. Clubs that will help young Americans live, learn, and lead, “The Booker T. Way.”
I am excited to report that from Washington DC, Norfolk VA, Fayetteville NC, Columbia SC, Atlanta GA and many points in between, we now have solid contacts and relationships with local leaders who appreciate the need and desire to instill Character, Education and Opportunity among young Americans in their community.
However, I desperately need your help to continue. Though I sleep in my conversion van while on the road to avoid hotel costs, the Society’s expenses continue to mount up.
I have never taken any salary – and continue to serve without pay. Still, without your help, we will not be able to nurture the seeds we have planted all along the south-east, nor continue our work throughout the South to Texas come Spring.
The Booker T. Washington Society Inc. is 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan, and educational.
The BTW Society does not solicit or accept government funding.
Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.