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Little Known Facts About the “I Have a Dream” Speech

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Marchers from all across the city and nearby descended on the historic East Side Monday to participate in the largest march in the nation. About 300,000 people overflowed in the street of Martin Luther King Drive to honor his legacy and what he fought for more than a half century ago.

While Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is known as one of the great leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, many may not know the struggle that went on behind the scenes that led to King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech” at the march on Aug. 28, 1963.

Here are some little known facts:

Dr. King almost didn’t give the “I Have a Dream” part of the “I Have A Dream” speech. Singer Mahalia Jackson urged Dr. King to tell the audience “about the dream,” and Dr. King went into an improvised section of the speech.

The person who wound up with the typewritten speech given by Dr. King is retired college basketball coach George Raveling. A college basketball player at Villanova, organizers saw Raveling in the crowd and asked him to be a bodyguard on stage. He was standing next to Dr. King on the stage, and he decided to ask him for the paper copy of the speech and Dr. King obliged. Raveling has the speech locked away in a safe place. He was offered $3 million for it but wouldn’t sell it.

William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois, the co-founder of the NAACP, died on the day before the event at the age of 95 in Ghana. Roy Wilkins asked the marchers to honor Du Bois with a moment of silence.

The official event was called the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy made a nationally televised address calling for a drive for more civil rights. That same night, NAACP leader Medgar Evers was murdered in Mississippi.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech was added to the United States National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2002.

The march almost didn’t include any female speakers. It was only after pressure from Anna Arnold Hedgeman, the only woman on the national planning committee, that a “Tribute to Negro Women Fighters for Freedom” was added to the official program. Daisy Bates, president of the Arkansas NAACP who played a key role in integrating schools in Little Rock, told the crowd: “We will walk until we are free, until we can walk to any school and take our children to any school in the United States. And we will sit-in and we will kneel-in and we will lie-in if necessary until every Negro in America can vote. This we pledge to the women of America.”

An openly gay man organized the march in less than two months. Bayard Rustin is “the most important leader of the civil rights movement you probably have never heard of,” as LZ Granderson put it in a CNN column. Not only did he organize the march in a matter of months, Rustin is credited with teaching King about nonviolence. He also helped raise funds for the Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Council. During the time, his sexual orientation was known, and he was often in the background to prevent it from being used against the movement.

Rustin, who died in 1987, was honored with a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2013.

The “I Have a Dream” speech is still taught in school, but how does it compare against other pivotal speeches by 20th century leaders, such as John F. Kennedy or Franklin D. Roosevelt? A panel of more than 130 scholars got together in 1999 to rate the best speeches of the 20th century and King’s speech ranked No. 1.

Read the speed here.

Sources: National Constitution Center, SoftSchools.com, and CNN

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Sharing Stories of Racial Discrimination

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San Antonio residents of color are invited to share personal stories of racial discrimination for the third annual HBCU Oral History Project, hosted at St. Philip’s College Feb. 15-17, from 9 AM to 5 PM in the Sutton Learning Center, 1801 Martin Luther King Dr.

The HBCU Truth & Reconciliation Oral History Project is an endeavor that uses the power of spoken and documented words to heal and create spiritual and social change. These stories and, the related research, will be used to inform policy changes within the political environment and spiritual changes from a grassroots and common person’s perspective.

Under the direction of Rev. Steve Miller, the Project’s founder, digitized oral history accounts will be gathered by the HBCU academy which includes; Huston-Tillotson University, Jarvis Christian College and Southwestern Christian College. Participating partner universities include, Austin Presbyterian, Baylor University and TCU.

Miller’s work has resulted in federal civil rights investigations by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and the United States Department of Justice’s Community Services Division, primarily, within the Texas educational system. His work has brought increased equity to hiring processes, enlarged job opportunities, and fostered greater understanding of institutional partiality through education.

Miller has coordinated and won legal actions at the federal court level and has been the stimulus of rewrites of discipline policies, whose ends resulted in fewer minorities being exposed to and caught in the educational system’s disciplinary apparatus, which correlates highly with elevated juvenile justice and mass incarceration rates.

For more information, contact St. Philip’s Director of Student Success Dr. Angela McPherson Williams at (210) 486-2090, awilliams284@alamo.edu or Project Founder and Director Rev. Steve Miller at (713) 557-6520 – (512) 404-4800, stevemiller@usclo.com

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Legendary Newsman Eugene Coleman passes

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From his obituary:

Eugene Coleman, Sr.  was born on February 3, 1921, in Ennis, Texas. He was one of six brothers and three sisters to the parents of Mr. John Latelasafale Coleman and Mrs. Beatrice Simms Coleman,  all who proceed him in death.

Coleman moved to San Antonio in the 1970’s. He accepted Christ at an early age and he attended Mt. Zion Baptist church under the leadership of Rev. Claude W. Black.

Coleman, a Civil Rights and community activist, begin his career as a photographer during his World War II service in the Air Force.  Coleman was co-founder of SNAP magazine with Mr. G. J. Sutton and Rev. Claude W. Black. Mr. Coleman served as editor to publish news that was often neglected by mainstream media. He was an entrepreneur of the only black photography studio in San Antonio,  located in St. Paul Square. Businessman of Snap house, a chicken stand at the corner of N. Hackberry and E. Houston street, just up the road from his Photography studio.

Coleman was married to Mrs. Doris Coleman, and to that Union they had one son, Eugene Coleman, Jr.  He was later united with Mrs. Birdie Mitchell Coleman, who preceded in death in 1999. Coleman was always working and supporting others like San Antonio Black History Collection, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Mario Marcel Salas Papers and SNAP News collection, he was always a businessman.

He leaves to cherish his memories son, Mr. Eugene Coleman, Jr. A long time special friend, Mrs. Hertha Black Grant, a devoted caretaker, Mrs. Juanita White. Very close friends Mr. and Mrs. Oscar L Vicks and Mr. and Mrs. Derick Williams. A host of relatives and friends.

For more details visit https://www.lewisfuneralhome.com/notices/EUGENE-COLEMANJR

 

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VIA Transit Celebrates Freedom Rider

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VIA Metropolitan Transit and St. Philip’s College will team up to honor civil rights activist Rosa Parks on what would have been her 106th birthday, anchored by a vintage 1966 GM Dreamliner VIA bus that is a piece of San Antonio history.

Freedom Rider Barbara Bowie will speak about her experience, and Parks’ passion for education at 1 pm on Feb. 4 at the Turbon Student Center at St. Philip’s, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive. VIA will also announce a contribution to the Dr. Bowie Scholarship Foundation, in memory of Ms. Bowie’s late spouse Dr. J.R. Bowie, III.

Parks, “the mother of the freedom movement”, is widely known for not giving giving up her seat to a white bus rider during a time when black people were regulated to the back of the bus. The 40-foot VIA bus will be parked next to the Turbon Student Center from Feb. 4-8.

Parks rode the VIA bus in the city’s first MLK March 32 years ago in 1987. Special Rosa Parks Seats were installed in VIA buses in 2005, and every VIA bus (510) has a special yellow seat designated in honor of Rosa Parks. That year – 1987 – when Parks passed the campus was significant in that St. Philip’s College received its Historically Black College and University (HBCU) member institution designation from the federal government. Additionally, the vintage VIA bus carried a group of Freedom Riders as ceremonial passengers in the city’s recent 2019 MLK March.

For the operating hours of the display Feb. 4-8 and details on the Feb. 4 opening event, contact VIA.

All are welcome to attend the following 2019 Black History Month events, and visit the web page for updates:

*** = SPC Debut

++ = Paid Event

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