Issue 14.85 | Jan. 30, 2015
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga., Jan. 30, 2015 -- February is Black History Month, the annual observance in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom for remembrance of people and events in the history of the African Diaspora. Black History month is mainly intended to educate the populous and honor African Americans regarding their cultural background and to show "Racial superiority is a mere pigment of the imagination."
Over the past century, African American life, history, and culture have become major forces in the United States and the world. In 1915, few could have imagined that African Americans would become appreciated by the global community in music, art, and literature. Fewer still could have predicted the prominence achieved by African Americans, as well as other people of African descent, in shaping world politics, war, and diplomacy. Indeed, it was nearly universally believed that Africans and people of African descent had played no role in the unfolding of history and were a threat to American civilization itself. A century later, few can deny the centrality of African Americans in the making of American history.
This transformation is the result of effort, not chance. Confident that their struggles mattered in human history, black scholars, artists, athletes, and leaders self-consciously used their talents to change how the world viewed African Americans. The "new Negro" of the post-World War I era made modernity their own and gave the world a cornucopia of cultural gifts, including jazz, poetry based on the black vernacular, and an appreciation of African art. African American athletes dominated individual and team sports transforming baseball, track-and-field, football, boxing, and basketball. In a wave of social movements, African American activism transformed race relations, challenged American foreign policy, and became the American conscience on human rights.
While the spotlight often shines on individuals, this movement is the product of organization, of institutions and institution-builders who gave direction to effort. The National Urban League promoted the Harlem Renaissance. The preservation of the black past became the mission of Arturo Schomburg and Jesse Moorland, leading to the rise of the Schomburg Research Center in Black Culture and Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. The vision of Margaret Burroughs and others led to the African American museum movement, leading to the creation of black museums throughout the nation, culminating with the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Student activism of the 1960s resulted in the Black Studies Movement and the creation of black professional associations, including the National Council of Black Studies, and a host of doctoral programs at major American universities.
At the dawn of these strivings and at all points along the road, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) has played a vital role. When he founded the Association in 1915, Carter G. Woodson labored under the belief that historical truth would crush falsehoods and usher in a new era of equality, opportunity, and racial democracy. This has been its charge for a century. In honor of this milestone, ASALH has selected "A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture" as the 2015 National Black History theme.
JAN. 30, 2015 -- When I heard of the death of George Black, immediately popping into my mind was an image of George speeding down the Interstate, with his car's blue light flashing, passing all of us, as he hurried to another accident scene. You knew it was George, for his car had several antennas and radios on it, so that he was assured of getting the accident reports. (That was before cell phones, which George came to love, were everywhere.)
George wanted to get there as soon as he could, to search over the evidence, and see what caused the accident, and how such accidents could be averted in the future. He was intensely motivated toward better safety, not just in traffic matters, but in the wider scope of safety.
His zeal during his 22 years in Gwinnett in searching for causes in auto accidents, and in later years in airplane crashes and other accidents, led to safer conditions, and fewer deaths, because of his steadfast determination to get to the center of probable cause of such incidents.
For 12 years, he was the Gwinnett Traffic Engineer, and later was the director of transportation in Gwinnett for another 10 years. His leaving Gwinnett was for greener pastures, appointed by President Bill Clinton as a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for two terms, from 1996 to 2003. His local background and experience was of immense help in this position. He was the first highway engineer to sit on the board. After leaving the board as a member, he continued as a researcher on the NTSB.
George was born in Atlanta, graduated from Avondale High, and got his degree at Georgia Tech, in civil engineering. He then was in the Air Force, piloting B-52s, and later was an aircraft maintenance officer.
One of his finest efforts came in his first investigation with the NTSB, delving into the cause of a ValuJet airliner crashing into the Everglades Swamp. His seeking answers in this air crash led to much wider problems within ValuJet. Eventually the airline closed. His efforts led to increased air safety on other airlines.
Another of his investigations, one into the cause of a fatal bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minn., determined that it was design problems of the bridge 50 years earlier in this tragedy, leading to improved bridge designs throughout the nation. In his eight years with NTSB, he approved the work on 110 major accidents, issuing 1,995 safety recommendations, not limiting his recommendations to roadway and airline traffic, but to many safety endeavors.
What came through at his memorial service on Monday of this week was what a wide scope of interests George had, from flying to photography to trains and tuba playing, dogs and astrology, all done with good humor and his easy-going demeanor. People from all walks of his life, from a Georgia Tech professor to someone who was a student there when George would speak to classes. Close friends and several people from Gwinnett spoke briefly about this public servant. Jim Hall, former chairman of the NTSB, sent a letter handed out at the service, with a lengthy statement of George's professional accomplishments. The local speakers included Helen Tapp, Charlotte Nash, Chuck Button and Dick Carothers.
George had a passion about safety, one which led to improved safety regulations throughout the nation. His passion was instrumental in saving lives as he made major contributions to Gwinnett, and the nation.
George Washington Black, 1945-2015: May You Rest in Peace.
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Editor, the Forum:
A recent posting reminded me of a friend of mine in Mississippi who came across a good price on two coffins. He bought them feeling real pleased that he saved a lot of money.
Later the coffin salesman asked when he was going to come pick up his coffins. He replied that he intended to have them picked up as needed after death.
Then he was told that he had to pick them up immediately. He was forced to get them. He brought both of them to his house. Fortunately he and his wife designed their house with big closets and he had them put in the closet of an upstairs bedroom.
Every time I stay overnight with this couple, I stay in that bedroom. They call the bedroom the "Coffin Room." I have stayed there many times and I have never opened the door to that closet.
It may be unnecessary to say this but I will say it anyway...this is a true story.
Misses classical music on WABE radio, FM 90.1
Editor, the Forum:
In a recent GwinnettForum column, you note that Radio WABE (FM 90.1) has changed its format to more talk, less music, in order to combat the entry of WRAS (FM 88.5) into the public radio market.
I am painfully aware of this change as I listened (note past tense) to WABE for classical music during the day. I am not at all happy with their change.
Atlanta has way, way too many news/talk stations already. It had only one classical FM music station, and now it has none. Atlanta should be ashamed.
Owner tells of "green cemetery" located in Milton, Ga.
Editor, the Forum:
I read with interest your article on the changes in funerals in our state.
You might find it interesting that in Milton, Ga. [North Fulton County], we have established Georgia's only state-regulated Green Cemetery, Milton Fields (www.miltonfieldsgeorgia.com), at 1150 Birmingham Road.
Unlike traditional cemeteries we do not allow embalming or vaults and only allow simple wooden caskets or shrouds. I estimate we can save families 60 percent of the cost of a funeral
The Upsilon Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in partnership with the Lawrenceville-Duluth Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc, are working to promote literacy and educate youth with a Diamonds and Pearls Black History Month Reading Relay each Saturday in February from 1 to 2 p.m. at select Gwinnett County library branches.
Kids of all ages (and their parents and guardians) are invited to attend this celebration of Black History. The schedule at the following libraries shows:
Author, civil rights activist to speak Feb. 6 at Suwanee library
Celebrate Rosa Park's birthday with author Jon Odell and 1960s civil rights activist Margaret Block, a veteran of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. Odell and Block will lead a book discussion at GCPL's Suwanee Branch on February 6 at 7 pm. Jon Odell, author of The Healing and Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League, was born and raised in Mississippi. The event will be at the Suwanee branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library, 361 Main Street Suwanee.
Margaret Block, a native of the Mississippi Delta, a poet and a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, served as the secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, established by the civil rights protestors in Mississippi in the 1960's. Ms. Block received the 2005 Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Award from Mississippi Valley State University.
Atlanta Home Show coming to Gwinnett Center on Feb. 6-8
Over 150 home remodeling experts will gather together at Gwinnett Center February 6-8, for the 18th Annual North Atlanta Home Show. Featuring the latest products and services for home remodeling, interior decorating, landscaping and outdoor living, the North Atlanta Home Show offers attendees the opportunity to comparison shop and talk to the experts one-on-one. The three-day event includes expert speakers, door prizes, live radio broadcasts, buyer discounts and much more. General admission is $8 and tickets may be purchased at the door.
The event includes three days of expert speakers on a variety of home remodeling subjects. HGTV's real estate and décor expert Tonya M. Williams will speak on "Design and Décor Tips." Walter Reeves, the Georgia Gardener, will kick-off the speaker roster at noon on Friday, March 20 with "Refresh Your Landscape," and will return Saturday morning, March 21 to broadcast "The Lawn and Garden Show" live . Following will be a broadcast of WSB's "Home Fix-It Show" hosted by Dave Baker. HGTV's Joe Washington will present "Adapt and Garden Smart," and National Association of the Remodeling Industry members will offer advice on "What to Consider When Remodeling." The North Atlanta Home Show will be open from noon-6 p.m. on Friday, February 6, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 7 and noon - 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 8.
The City of Grayson has been recognized at the Annual Georgia Main Street Luncheon as one of 17 communities that are graduating from the Georgia Main Street Start-up Program in 2015 to receive the national designation of a Classic Main Street Community. In the fall of 2013 the City of Grayson was selected, out of 25 applicants, to participate in the largest Main Street Start-up class in the history of the Georgia Main Street Program. Over the following 14 months our community has worked closely with the Office of Downtown Development at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to prepare our community, downtown business owners, volunteers and elected officials for the journey ahead.
Billy Peppers, director of the Office of Downtown Development, reflected that "Each of the communities recognized here today has worked hard to earn the distinction of calling themselves a Main Street city. They join an expansive statewide network now comprised of over 100 designated Main Street Communities. We know that no matter what challenges lay ahead, each of these cities has worked hard to build a solid foundation upon which a successful Main Street Program can be built."
Mayor Allison Wilkerson says: "Grayson is proud to be selected as
part of this nationally recognized program which will build upon the unique
potential of our city. I am very excited about the opportunities that
being a Main Street Community will bring to the City of Grayson."
Grayson, Snellville officials get GMA certification of recognition
Two Gwinnettians received a Certificate of Recognition from the Georgia Municipal Training Institute at the Georgia Municipal Association's Annual Mayors' Day Conference in Atlanta on January 25. They are Grayson Mayor Allison Wilkerson and Snellville Councilmember Dave Emanuel. To receive a Certificate of Recognition, a city official must complete a minimum of 42 units of credit, including at least 18 hours from the required list. The training program consists of a series of more than 50 courses which are offered by the Georgia Municipal Training Institute, a cooperative effort of GMA and the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government. The nationally-recognized series of training opportunities are designed specifically for elected city officials.
Best new restaurant we've dined at lately is Rico's, in a former Pure Service Station in Buford. The place is intimate, while the food is nothing less than great, as you dine in the service bays of the former filling station. We had a luscious pork tenderloin, with a great side dish of a hash brown casserole. All four of us dining loved the food, having a hard time deciding from several items on the inviting menu. Operated by Enrico Cunnington, a native of the Philippines, who formerly had a eatery at the Mall of Georgia. He is a Buford High graduate, who learned his cooking skills from his family. Described as international comfort food, you will enjoy dishes here. Get there before 11:30 or after 1 p.m., since the place quickly fills. It's open daily at 306 West Main Street in Buford for 11 a.m. through 8 p.m., and open until 9 p.m. on the weekend. Closed Mondays.
(Continued from previous edition)
In 1907, during Bishop Cleland Kinloch Nelson's tenure as bishop of Georgia's Episcopal Church, a burgeoning population necessitated the division of the Diocese of Georgia. The new Diocese of Atlanta comprised the northern and middle parts of the state, and its bishop was seated, or based, in Atlanta. Nelson chose to lead the new diocese. Lauded for his successful supervision of the division, Nelson is also remembered for his outspoken opinions in the name of justice. He spoke out against the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank, chiding his flock for their "disregard of justice and indifference to the value of human life." Nelson died in 1917, the same year that the United States entered World War I.
Following the creation of the Diocese of Atlanta, the original Diocese of Georgia, seated in Savannah, selected Frederick Focke Reese as bishop. He served from 1908 until his death in 1936. Inheriting as his charge a large sector of the less-prosperous agricultural parts of the state, Reese was nevertheless a capable leader through World War I and the first years of the Great Depression.
The number of Episcopalians in Georgia increased during World War I, although fewer numbers of priests were available to congregations during the conflict. Parishes, however, responded generously to calls for financial assistance to support the efforts of their internal missions.
Henry Judah Mikell, Nelson's successor in Atlanta, emphasized the need for the Episcopal Church to work with the state's college students, as well as to continue its work among African Americans. Under his leadership the diocese established college centers, which ministered to students at universities and colleges around Georgia.
In 1933, as part of his efforts to help young people affected by the depression, Mikell founded "Camp Mikell" at Toccoa Falls. Relocated in 1941 to another site outside of Toccoa, the Mikell Camp and Conference Center continues to support meetings, classes, contemplative retreats, and recreational gatherings for Episcopalians of all ages.
The Diocese of Georgia maintains a similar center, the Georgia Episcopal Camp and Conference Center (or Honey Creek), which is located near Waverly in southeast Georgia.
The Great Depression of the 1930s affected both of the state's dioceses. The leadership and congregants found it difficult to pay salaries, so they cut expenses by reducing or eliminating support for some of their publications and schools. However, they managed to fund a celebration, consisting of ceremonies and special services, in 1933 to commemorate the bicentennial of the Anglican Church's founding in Georgia. World War II (1941-45) brought challenges similar to the ones seen during previous conflicts-the financial resources of the churches were diverted to the war effort, and many of the congregations' young men were called to military service.
(To be continued)
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ON THE CALENDAR
Georgia Cares Presentation, Monday, January 26 at 10:30 a.m. at the Gwinnett Council for Seniors office, 196 East Pike Street, Lawrenceville. Learn more about health insurance information, counseling and assistance for senior adults, and their families as well as other eligible individuals when they need help understanding Medicare. Call 770 822 5247 to make a 45 minute appointment.
Duluth Art Workshop, Thursday, January 29 starting at 7 p.m. at the Stantec Meeting Room, 3160 Main Street (across from city hall). Come help write the Public Art Master Plan to define the city's unique character and translate it into public art throughout the city.
the Roof, the musical will be presented at Greater Atlanta Christian
School on January 29, 30 and 31 at 7:30 p.m. at the Williams Fine
Arts Center. Read
Executive Lecture Series at Gwinnett Tech, Monday, February 2 at noon at the Busbee Center Auditorium. Speakers from the Securities and Exchanges Commission will talk of current issues related to fraud in the country, among other topics. For more information, visit www.GwinnettTech.edu or call 770-962-7580.
Cultural Festival, February 5-7, at Archer High School, at
2225 New Hope Road, Lawrenceville. Sponsored by the Snellville Arts Commission,
the three day event is in honor or Black History Month, and will showcase
"Cindy, the Musical," at 7 p.m. February 6, and 3 p.m. on February
(NEW) "Pink Goes Red" with line dancing at the Lucky Shoals Community Center, 46521 Britt Road, Norcross, on Friday, February 6 at 6:30 p.m. This is to support the American Heart Association "Wear Red Day," and to bring awareness of heart disease. Sponsored by Upsilon Alpha Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Space is limited and reservations are required. For more details, go online here.
(NEW) Second Annual Black History Month Program at Friendship Baptist Church, 3375 Church Street, Duluth, on February 7 at 4 p.m. "Back to the Old Landmark" is the subject. For more details, send an email here or call 404 933 4725.
State-of-the-County address, by County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash, Thursday, February 19, starting at 11:30 a.m., at Gwinnett Center. Cost is $75 per person. To register, go online here.
Centuries of Childhood: An American Story, now at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, continues through April 30. Visitors connect the stories of American history to their own experiences by learning about the lives of five historical children and their families. A supplementary exhibit is titled Georgia's Sacred Soils. This exhibit blends science and history through the exploration of Georgia's geology and its colonial history. Both exhibits are included in the price of admission to the EHC. More info: www.gwinnettEHC.org.
MORE EEB PERSPECTIVE
Gwinnett Forum publisher Elliott Brack suggests that Gwinnett County needs a long-range list of continuing objectives for improving the county. Read more.
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