JUNE 30: Overheard conversation, Charleston, New Yorkers (full issue)

Gwinnett Forum | Issue 15.25 | June 30, 2015

15.0630.Threefrom GACS 

PERFECT SCORES: Three Greater Atlanta Christian School students achieved perfect scores on the 2015 National Latin Exam. Caroline Bower (rising 10th), AnnaBelle Hellinger (rising 10th), and Elise Karinshak (rising 9th) all achieved this distinction. Latin teacher Judy Tenney says this is Caroline Bower’s second year to achieve a perfect score. This high honor was achieved by only 1,004 students out of over 140,000 who participated worldwide. Two students scored an incredible 39/40! They were Jack Hollier and Lacy Shaffer.
TODAY’S FOCUS: Overheard Conversation on MARTA Bus Gives Area Hope
EEB PERSPECTIVE: Charleston Citizens Show the Nation a Way Out of Tragedy
ANOTHER VIEW: New Yorkers Mean Business in More Than One Way
FEEDBACK: Republicans Seem To Be on the Wrong Side of History
UPCOMING: Peachtree Corners To Develop Community Resources Access
NOTABLE: First Time Sugar Hill Author Wins Next Generation Book Award
RECOMMENDED READ: The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Savannah Civil Rights Museum Houses Distinctive History of Area
TODAY’S QUOTE: What Happens To Conservatives in Washington
MYSTERY PHOTO: Lady Bespeckled with Coins Still in Nevada

Two guys in conversation on a bus gives the area some hope

By Jock Ellis

CUMMING, Ga., June 30, 2015 — NBA hoops was the first thing I heard when I would hop aboard a MARTA bus headed toward the Lindbergh Station.

Two guys, one on either side of the aisle, would be deep in conversation about the previous night’s game. Both clearly enjoyed getting to talk about something they obviously loved. One guy was a 40ish black man wearing work khakis while the other, a 30-something white guy, was dressed in a three-piece, blue pinstripe suit. Their conversations would run from before I hopped on until we disembarked to await the train. And maybe after.

Here were two guys on what appeared to be opposite ends of the economic spectrum, if their clothes were any indicator, but a talkative testimony to the fact that even in diversity, we share interests and concerns. To me, their bond is the reason public transit is necessary in Metro Atlanta, a place that is nothing if not diverse.

As the expression goes, “We need to talk!” Over 50 years of a continually expanding and improving road system and increasingly cooler cars have had the effect of insulating us from all but a handful of our fellow Atlantans, our best-buds and work or church friends. But if E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one) is to work, making a cosmopolitan population of about five million people spread over hundreds of square miles into a solidified force able to work together to make the metropolitan area more livable and prosperous, it is going to take knowing those who are around us.

Who is more likely to understand concerns of others and have sympathy for their plight, the two guys talking hoops, or two people driving alone down Interstate 85?

These are not the only unaffiliated riders I’ve ever heard talking and their ideas and concerns, which are probably shared by thousands. When was the last time you heard two Atlantans talking who didn’t know how to solve the city’s problems? Travel doesn’t have to be around the globe to be broadening; it can be riding to work each day.

Of course, one of the biggest problems those of us in Metro Atlanta have is getting to work. Some of us have no cars, others have heavily traveled surface roads for commutes, and many of us have the jammed interstates that are sure to put us in a “mood” for the day. Transportation is a topic we can really sink our teeth into.

Gwinnett County is just another version of Atlanta, only more diverse. The area has been a huge draw for peoples from all around the world, as I’m sure anyone who reads this already knows. The idea of bus and/or rail transit is being kicked around by many people. It appears that for the first time since the original MARTA vote met with general scorn from the still relatively rural population, it could now actually have a chance of passing.

Should it do so, it will most definitely give this varied population a chance to become that Unum on the Lincoln penny.


People of Charleston showed the way out of tragedy

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher

JUNE 30, 2015 | Recently a gunman walked into a church with intent to murder, cause mayhem and start a revolution against black people.

15.elliottbrackInstead, his killing of nine church members brought people of all faiths and color together, finding even those closest to the people he shot to forgive him.

God moves in mysterious ways.

The rampage in Charleston, S.C., known as the Holy City, indeed turned the people of that city not toward recrimination and violence, but to love, grace and forgiveness. While shootings in other cities have turned into rioting and burnings of buildings, instead the people of Charleston saw another way. Their actions spoke of love and redemption, and speaks well of their teaching in the Holy City.

We’re proud of the citizens of Charleston. Indeed, they have shown the rest of these United States that there is another way. Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud.

Ironically, it often takes a crazy turn of circumstances for people to find the route to solve problems they often do not, or do not want, to recognize.

"Mother" Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, S.C.

“Mother” Emanuel AME Church, Charleston, S.C.

Who would have thought that one of the immediate consequences of the Charleston shootings would be for the state’s conservative Republican governor to speak out against flying the Confederate flag at the state capitol?

Not only that, but that this move to bring the Confederate flag into the discussion would be one that reverberates all across our country, making that symbol of the Old South a new rallying cry for all sorts of people of this country? Who would have thought?

In effect, it was the human heart speaking to our country, recognizing the sufferings of the people of Charleston, and in particular, the suffering of black people. We remember how our country has itself suffered from those who won’t give up a lost cause….one that brings division, not union, to our nation.

Overnight, finally people in many parts of the country “got it” about the Confederate flag, and were able to perceive that flag in a new light. No longer will most people fly or see that flag with sympathies for the old South. Now they can understand the problems that it causes, especially in the black community.

Yet there will be those who cannot put this flag and cause to rest. They will continue to unfurl those colors, waving them, and never recognize that most Americans look upon them with pity and disappointment that they continue to live in days gone by. Fortunately, these people are a tiny minority, one which may never see the light.

Our nation is newly inspired not by the heartbreaking shootings in Charleston, but by the turn of events that the shooting have engendered.

While other incidents have brought little change in our nation’s gun laws, somehow this tragedy in Charleston seems a little different, perhaps engineered by the actions of the Emanuel AME Church’s congregation in showing love and forgiveness to the shooter.

Maybe this time we can stimulate movement to quell the National Rifle Association’s lock on our Congress, and move toward a more civilized legislative agenda to curtail the gun lobby. But this hasn’t happened previously when those with weapons have brought destruction to individuals, families, communities.

Non-violent action of love and forgiveness is a powerful weapon. The people of Charleston recognized this, and showed the nation their understanding. We optimistically pray that more good can come from this tragic situation out of Charleston.


New Yorkers mean business in more than one way

By Debra Houston

JUNE 30, 2015 | Several columns back, I wrote, “People are people wherever you go.” I wondered if New Yorkers fit my theory. So I tested it when my husband and I recently visited our son in Manhattan.

00_icon_houstonMy verdict? New Yorkers are like the rest of us except they move at rocket speed. Keeping up with them is possible only if you’re willing to match their aerobic pace.

This is because Manhattan is a city that chases money. From street hawkers to hot dog vendors to even the homeless, everyone sings to the tune that time is money.

From our cab snaking down 49th Street, we watched young men haul crates on and off trucks in front of endless storefronts. Cab drivers clocked their passengers, dodged other traffic, and honked horns to clear the intersections. Pedestrians crossed through anyway in a rush to get somewhere apparently important.

At restaurants, servers swung food trays and snatched up tips. Tourists and hawkers in symbiotic rapport exchanged cash for sightseeing tickets. Double-decker tour buses cruised day and night in a city that churns nonstop.

Hordes of people shared limited space. My son advised us not to stop and gawk at skyscrapers. So we kept moving with the flow and often felt like minnows swimming in a school of sharks. In Times Square we learned how hard it is to change course if you dare swim against the tide.

On our return to LaGuardia Airport, my husband asked our Uber driver if he liked to fish. “I don’t have time,” he said in a Bronx accent. “I work 16 hours a day, six days a week.” He added, “I went fishing once and ended up serving time for defending myself. A man hit me in the head with a rock. I threw a bottle at him, and it took 40 stitches to close up his face. ”

My husband made a suggestion. The car jerked to a stop at a red light and the driver held up his fists. ”As long as I got these, I don’t need anything else.”

New Yorkers mean business in more ways than one.


Renewal by Andersen of Atlanta

00_new_renewal_largeThe public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring GwinnettForum.com to you at no cost to readers. Today we welcome a new underwriter. Renewal by Andersen of Atlanta serves the window replacement and patio door replacement needs of the greater Atlanta area. We are the window replacement division of Andersen Windows, drawing on the Andersen tradition of over 110 years of quality, innovation and craftsmanship.

Our turnkey process includes a respectful in-home sales consultation, custom-manufacturing of replacement windows to precisely fit your home, and installation by a dedicated team of professionals. Best of all, we stand behind our products and installation with one of the strongest warranties in the window replacement business.


Republicans seem to be on the wrong side of history

Editor, the Forum:

00_lettersRepublicans seem to be on the wrong side of history.  The Supreme Court affirms gay marriages but the Republicans rant against this new civil right.  The Republicans sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act by complaining about four words in this comprehensive law but the Supreme Court again uses common sense to support this important health law of the land.

The Republicans whine about our law-abiding undocumented neighbors, yet they do nothing to provide a comprehensive immigration law.  Republicans tout their commitment to a jobs agenda, yet they have passed no meaningful jobs bill.  They pass laws encouraging the carrying of guns but do nothing to prevent the many unspeakable gun deaths in our country.

There is clear evidence that the very rich are getting much richer yet the Republicans support an economic policy that does nothing to help those who struggle daily with limited economic opportunity.  It leads me to wonder why so many Americans vote for the same old politicians that fight against the grain of our history.

Alan Schneiberg, Ph.D., Sugar Hill

Send us a letter.  We encourage readers to submit feedback (or letters to the editor). Send your thoughts to the editor at elliott@brack.net. We will edit for length and clarity. Make sure to include your name and the city where you live. Submission of a comment grants permission for us to reprint. Please keep your comments to 300 words or less. However, we will consider longer articles (no more than 500 words) for featuring in Today’s Issue as space allows.


City of Peachtree Corners to develop community resources access

The City of Peachtree Corners is seeking to simplify the way for people to find access to community resources.

logo_PCSealThe city is launching a community resources program which will be a catalyst for providing a resource for those in need. The program brings at least three important benefits to a community:

  • Serves as a clearinghouse for information;
  • Provides a point of contact for those in need and those providing service; and
  • Facilitates awareness and education about resources.

The key step facing the city is to assemble a core volunteer group to establish a Community Resource Program committee. Councilmember Jeanne Aulbach says: “This is a wonderful way to get involved in our community. We need people who are passionate, committed and willing to work.” The committee’s responsibilities will encompass identifying their work program, creating flyers, brochures, exploring the creation of a website and developing a Community Resources Guide for Peachtree Corners.

  • Those interested in volunteering as a committee member should contact Community Development Director Diana Wheeler via email at dwheeler@peachtreecornersga.gov.

Better Business Bureau announces launch of customer reviews

Customers can now share their marketplace experiences on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) web site which serves Metro Atlanta, Athens and Northeast Georgia. Launching its customer review service, BBB provides a new platform for customers to voice favorable or unfavorable experiences they have had with local businesses.

logo_bbbFred Elsberry Jr., president and CEO for the BBB of the area, says: “For so many years consumers have asked the BBB for a way to praise businesses for admirable practices and service. Now BBB Customer Reviews give them that option. Although customer reviews don’t affect a company’s rating, we take them just as seriously as formal complaints.  We want to ensure the individual posting a review is indeed a customer.  We also verify each reviewer’s email address and give the business an opportunity to respond if desired.”

Adding to the many free services BBB provides to the public, BBB Customer Reviews give additional insight into a company’s behavior and are facilitated by BBB in a fair manner.   BBB posts customer reviews to its website once the reviewer’s email address is verified for authenticity, personal data and inappropriate text is redacted, and the business confirms the reviewer is an actual customer.

Differing from BBB’s traditional complaint service, BBB Customer Reviews can reflect positive encounters, have no effect on a business’s BBB rating, do not seek a specific resolution and have a wider range of acceptable subject matter.

Businesses that receive customer reviews have the opportunity to submit replies directly on the review. Reviewers can also add more comments to their reviews at any time or in reply to a business’s comment.

“With the addition of verified customer reviews, our BBB information paints an even clearer picture of a company’s track record in the marketplace.  It is more important than ever for consumers to search BBB BEFORE hiring a company,” Elsberry says.

  • Consumers are encouraged to make their opinion count by leaving a customer review for a business.  To post or read BBB Customer Reviews, visit http://www.bbb.org/atlanta and find the feature in any BBB Business Review.

First-time Sugar Hill author wins Next Generation book award

Genealogist and first-time author, Michael Nolden Henderson of Sugar Hill was recently awarded first place honors in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the largest not-for-profit book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors. Henderson’s memoir, Got Proof! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Documentation, won first place in the memoir category and received finalist in the African American literature category.



In 2010, Henderson, a native of New Orleans, La. and graduate of Xavier University, became the first African American in Georgia (where he currently resides) inducted into the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution. His research into the relationship between a woman of color who gained her freedom in 1779, and a French national who fought in the Revolutionary War under Bernardo de Galvez in Spanish Colonial Louisiana, is the focus of his book and of the 2010 segment of the PBS televised series, History Detectives.”

He says: “Being honored with such a distinguished award for my very first book is both humbling and encouraging. This is truly a tribute to my Louisiana ancestors whose lives inspired me to write Got Proof.”

Henderson has joined several lineage societies, including the General Society of the War of 1812 in Louisiana. He is a genealogy researcher and lecturer who speaks to audiences nationwide. In 2014, Henderson received two other book awards for Got Proof: Finalist in the 50th Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) presented by the Georgia Writer’s Association, and the Minnesota Society Stephen Taylor Award for writing and preservation of history presented by the National Society, Sons of the American Revolution.

Lawrenceville chapter visits Capitol and 124th DAR Congress

15.0630.DARinDCSix members of the Daughters of the American Revolution Philadelphia Winn Chapter in Lawrenceville were in attendance with approximately 100 Georgia Daughters in Washington, D.C. recently, marking the DAR’s 124th Continental Congress. The goal for this 124th Continental Congress is to raise $1,250,000. Another goal of President General Lynn Fourney Young’s three year term is to log 12,500,000 volunteer hours in the Celebrate America! Campaign.

Among those present included Past Regent Peggy Freeman; First Vice Regent Kitty Watters; and Chapter Junior of the Year Valerie Craft. Philadelphia Winn Daughter Sara Rawlins was recognized for her National second place for Dolls in the American Heritage Contest.


The Wright Brothers

Nonfiction by David McCullough

00_recommendedOne of our nation’s best authors scores again with the recounting of a pair of unknown bicycle mechanics mastering the methods by which birds fly. Through long trial and error, always learning from their mistakes, these Dayton, Ohio brothers adapted the bird’s techniques so well, first Orville, then Wilbur, and today mankind, is able to fly. The brothers were two of America’s most practical inventors, spending little money for materials to finally get airborne. The French people were much more accepting of their idea than the slow-moving US government. Most of the royalty of Europe came to France to witness the brothers in longer and longer flights. McCullough’s insights come heavily from personnel correspondence of the family. It’s a story well told. Today it deservedly sits atop the New York Times best seller list.  Enjoy this accounting of early experiments which led to today’s modern airplanes. — eeb

  • An invitation: what books, restaurants, movies or web sites have you enjoyed recently? Send us your recent selection, along with a short paragraph (100 words) as to why you liked this, plus what you plan to visit or read next. –eeb

Savannah civil rights museum houses distinctive history of area

Savannah‘s modern civil rights movement was charted by local African Americans and adhered to the principles of nonviolent protest. The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum is named in honor of the father of that movement.

15.0630.museumThe museum site was originally constructed in 1914 as an African American bank. It later served as the Guaranty Insurance Company, with Walter Sanford Scott, a local black millionaire, as president, and as the Savannah office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Gilbert came to Savannah as pastor of the historic First African Baptist Church on Franklin Square, which he served from 1939 to 1956. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Gilbert was nationally known as an orator, tenor, and religious playwright. In the late 1940s, with financial help from 24 people, both blacks and whites, Gilbert developed the West Broad Street YMCA in the McKelvey-Powell Building, which had served as a USO facility during World War II.

Gilbert reorganized the Savannah branch of the NAACP and was its president from 1942 to 1950. He was the organizer, convener, and first president of the Georgia Conference of the NAACP. Under his leadership, more than 40 NAACP chapters were organized by 1950 in Georgia.

Gilbert served as president of the Citizens Democratic Club and challenged the Georgia all-white primary in Savannah by launching a citywide black voter registration drive, in which hundreds of blacks were registered. This bold move led to the election of a reform-minded white mayor and city council. As a result, in 1947 Savannah became one of the first cities in the South to hire black policemen, along with several other black city employees.

W.W. Law, who became president of the Savannah NAACP in 1950, almost single-handedly led a movement to secure funds for a museum to commemorate Savannah’s civil rights struggle. In 1993 he sought $1 million in funding from Chatham County‘s one-cent special local-option sales tax to build the museum. As a historic preservationist, Law envisioned the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum as a catalyst for reviving the economic and cultural vitality of old West Broad Street.

The Savannah Yamacraw Chapter of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (a nonprofit organization), with Law as president, assumed operation of the museum in 1993. Elorie S. Gilbert, Ralph Mark Gilbert’s widow, donated his letters and papers to the museum.

The museum chronicles the civil rights struggle of Georgia’s oldest African American community. The three floors feature historic photographic and interactive exhibits, including an NAACP organizational exhibit and a fiber-optic map of eighty-seven significant civil rights sites and events. A bronze bust of Gilbert highlights the exhibits on the museum’s first floor, which also features a recreation of the Azalea Room of Levy’s Department Store, where blacks could buy clothing but could not eat in the restaurant. The mezzanine houses a theater, which is a facsimile of an African American church sanctuary, where Law and other leaders reflect on Savannah’s civil rights struggle. A visual montage of West Broad Street’s people and its commerce gives visitors a glimpse of its history. The second floor features lecture halls, classrooms, and a computer room. It also has a video/reading room and an African American book collection for children.

The vision of Law and Gilbert came to fruition in the museum. Thousands of visitors from around the world tour the museum, where people of all races can share a glimpse of the struggle for African American civil rights.


Beautiful shade of blue

15.0630.mystery The water is a beautiful shade of blue, and contrasts dramatically with colorful houses in this seaside community. There are also beautiful spires to help place this location. Send in your thoughts on where this could be to elliottt@brack.net and be sure to include your hometown.

15.0626.mysteryIt didn’t take long for several to recognize the last Mystery Photo, sent in by Beverly Lougher of Lawrenceville. Ruthy Lachman Paul of Norcross wrote immediately that the photo was in “Virginia City, Nevada now a quite dusty town but once, 150 years ago, considered as the richest city in the world. In 1859, a huge lode was discovered here consisting of a mixture of two quite rare precious metals – silver and gold. The Silver Queen Saloon boasts the Silver Queen, with her gown consisting of 3,261 silver dollars and 28 twenty dollar gold pieces, while her jewelry is made of dimes and quarters.

Other recognizing the photo included Crystal Huntzinger, Duluth, and Susan McBrayer of Sugar Hill who added: “Much of the silver was coined into silver dollars at the Carson City mint. She’s 16 feet tall and contains 210 lbs. of silver and is a fixture in the bar of the same name.”

OOPS: A recent mystery photo identified as Garden City Beach, S.C. was incorrect. That photograph was really from Rockport, Mass, and as Karen Garner of Dacula says, who sent in the photo, “that property was for sale last time I looked.” We apologize for the mix-up in identification.


GwinnettForum is provided to you at no charge every Tuesday and Friday. If you would like to serve as an underwriter, click here to learn more.

  • Send your thoughts, 55-word short stories, pet peeves or comments on any issue to Gwinnett Forum for future publication.
  • MORE: Contact Editor and Publisher Elliott Brack at: elliott@gwinnettforum.com
We hope you’ll keep receiving the great news and information from GwinnettForum, but if you need to unsubscribe, go to this page and unsubscribe in the appropriate box.
© 2015, Gwinnett Forum.com. Gwinnett Forum is an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.