Tag Archives: Medgar Evers

“The Dash”

legacy bookI wonder how many of you have taken the time to reexamine the life you’ve been given. If you were to view the headstone that comes with the end of life; you will see your name inscribed. You will also witness a tiny Dash that separates the years of one’s birth and death that represents the whole of a person’s life. This should bring about an illuminating discovery. So if this tiny dash were to tell your life’s story, what would it say?

A few years ago I was blessed to be the vehicle to channel an epic novel titled “Just a Season” where a man journeys back in time to reexamine all the important people, circumstances, and intellectual fervor that contributed to the richness of his life. I chose to title this novel “Just a Season” because that’s all God gave us, and this novel is a story of life. It captures the journey, life and times, of an African American man living in America and the significant history witnessed during his journey.

Television Host and Poet Sistah Joy said, “Thank you for your example of tenderness and discipline in what I know is a story of love, delicately shared with readers in a way that says this life, though brief, is significant. So hold it in highest regard for “the dash” is our legacy to love ones, indeed to the world, which we are blessed to share, albeit, for Just a Season.” 

Other reviewers complemented this epic story by saying “This is the stuff movies are made of… not since “Roots” have I read a story that so succinctly chronicles an African American story!” Another said, “Not since The Color Purple have I read a book that evoked such emotions.”

Cheryl Hayes of APOOO Book Club said in her review that “Wills pulls you in from the very first page… Just a Season is a heart-wrenching story about growing up and believing in yourself. I highly recommend this book to young men in high school, trying to find themselves and feeling like they have nowhere to turn.”

This book has received rave reviews and I’m honored having my work mentioned in the same sentence with “Roots” and “The Color Purple”. This is evident of its richness and I’m blessed that the story has touched the hearts of so many and mankind. I will say, and you can quote me, “You will see the world through new eyes”. I will say, and you can quote me, “You will see the world through new eyes”.

It’s been said that there are no words that have not been spoken and no stories that have never been told but there are some that you cannot forget! It’s been several years since “Just a Season” and it’s time to move on. I’ve penned a new novel “Legacy – A New Season“. It is the sequel and the continuation of “Just a Season” and a stand-alone story rich in history on a subject rarely explained to children of this generation concerning the African American struggle.

Legacy – A New Season” the long awaited saga to the epic novel “Just a Season” will take you on an awe inspiring journey through the African American Diaspora, as told by a loving grandfather to his grandson in the oral African tradition at a time when America changed forever.

Prelude to “Just a Season”

A MUST READ!!!A season is a time characterized by a particular circumstance, suitable to an indefinite period of time associated with a divine phenomenon that some call life. One of the first things I learned in this life was that it is a journey. During this passage through time I have come to realize that there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that everyone will encounter.

Today, I have to face a valley and it’s excruciating. It’s June 28th, a day that I once celebrated as a very special day. Now, it’s filled with sorrow. The reason this day is different from all others is because I have come to the cemetery at Friendly Church.

Normally it’s hot and humid as summer begins, but not so today. It’s a cool gray day with the sky slightly overcast. I hear the echo of birds chirping from a distance. There is also a mist or a light fog hovering very near the ground that gives the aura of a mystical setting.  This is a place where many of my family members who have passed away rest for eternity.  Some have been resting here for over a hundred years. I have grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, a sister, and many friends here as well. The cemetery is in the most tranquil of places secluded from the rest of the world, very peaceful and beautiful, almost like being near the gateway of heaven.

My heart aches today because I have come here on what would have been my son’s birthday. This is a very hard thing for me to do as the natural order suggests it should be the other way around. Another difficulty is that this is the first time I will see his headstone that was put in place just a few days ago. Although I know what it should look like, it’s going to be hard to actually see it. It will indicate the finality of losing the dearest of all human beings.  It’s hard to imagine what the rest of my life will be like without my precious son.

As I pass Granddaddy’s gravesite, I stop to say hello. After a brief moment, I continue in the direction of my son’s resting place. As I get closer, I begin to receive a rush of emotion to the point that my movements slow as the sight comes into view. I can now see his name clearly and I whisper “God why did you take him?” I become numb as I finally arrive at his gravesite, overwhelmed with this never before known emotion. This is something I never thought I would ever have to do, but here I am!!!

Suddenly, the sky begins to clear somewhat, as I now feel the sun’s rays from above.  At this very moment, I receive an epiphany upon reading the dates inscribed on the stone.  1981 – 2001. What does this really mean? The beginning and the end, surely, but in the final analysis it is just a tiny little dash that represents the whole life of a person. I fall to my knees realizing the profound impact of that thought causing me to look to the heavens and wonder. If someone, for whatever reason, were to tell the story concealed within my dash. What might they say?

Get Your Copies

Just a Season

Legacy – A New Season


Black Women and Faith

I came across a newspaper article that I found interesting – yet troubling. It was a nationwide survey conducted by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation that revealed that black women are among the most religious people in the country.” Now, having know a few black women in my time this was not that much of a surprise because I have found that most will out Pope the Pope!

I am going to say from the outset that I am expecting hate mail but if you read my words they are simply designed to provoke thought on the topic. Therefore, I say think about what you read – maybe even step back and look in the mirror. Early in the article there was a powerful statement made by the author who asked, “For what purpose are you seeking an education? Is it not that you may relieve the suffering of humanity?”

There was a woman quoted as saying she found on her phone this: “Finding that verse at that moment was no coincidence… God had spoken. Instantly, a sense of calm and confidence enveloped her. In times like these, when she feels anxious, afraid or unsure… relies on her faith.” Just so you know faith is that what you believe to be true what cannot be seen. Keep reading I have some thoughts on this too! But first let me talk about the survey.

This nationwide survey found that nine in 10 African American women reveals that as a group, black women are among the most religious people in the nation. The survey found that 74 percent of black women said that “living a religious life” is very important. On that same question, the number falls to 57 percent of white women and 43 percent of white men.

I understand that during times of turmoil, which is living in America. Black women endure much more than any other group causing them to turn to their faith to get through. Black women, across education and income levels, say living a religious life is a greater priority than being married or having children, and this call to faith either surpasses or pulls even with having a career as a life goal, the survey shows.

If you are from the African American culture you more than likely would have grown up with gospel music in your background or maybe as your foundation. This more than likely included a mother or grandmother who insisted on all-day church on Sundays and Bible school in the summers. It is inextricably woven into our culture giving us the sense that devotion and faith in God is somehow more strongly connects due to our slave ancestor’s survival of the institution.

Stacey Floyd-Thomas, an associate professor of ethics and society at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, says “Black women have been the most mistreated and scandalized group in U.S. society and culture as they wrestle both individually and collectively with the triple jeopardy of racism, sexism and classism.” To this I agree!

For roughly a quarter of black women who responded to the survey, religion plays a less-than-primary role in their lives; a scant 2 percent of them said it is “not at all” important. To that point Sikivu Hutchinson who describes herself as an atheist makes this point: “What has religiosity and belief in supernatural beings really achieved for African Americans in the 21st century — and in particular African American women, given our low socioeconomic position?”

Looking back on her childhood, Hutchinson wonders: “Why would children be compelled to profess belief, especially when they look around them and see that the world is overpopulated with adult believers flaunting their immorality?” Hutchinson contends that perhaps there aren’t more black women grappling with that answer because there is little in their community that supports a different perspective.

The article went on to say “for most African American women, absolute trust in a higher power has been a truism for centuries. In follow-up interviews with some of the black women surveyed, there seemed to be little or no angst about their religious beliefs or their role in the church. The women said their focus is on one thing: their personal relationship with God.”

LAW AND ORDER THEME!!!

Ok, here is where I am sure to upset some. First, we were brought to America as slaves and there were two choices; take the Bible or die – by way of the rope or gun. Let me remind you there was no word G-O-D in any African language before the coming of Europeans. In addition, the first registered slave ship was named the “Good Ship Jesus”. The WORD, supposedly given by God, that most so fervently believe was rewritten twenty-eight times with the last revision ordered by the diabolical King James of England who stood to benefit from his rendition. My point here is that maybe we should not take the WORD literally.

I want to make two more points; the image of the deity that hangs on most church walls is that of a blonde haired blue eyed European who could not possibly have come from that region of the world, which was in North Africa. The other point is this: there is a church in most communities on every corner, so I say if that was the answer why is it not working.

Let me close by saying that “I believe in something greater than I and I chose to call it God”. This in the practical sense should be adapted to mean “Good Orderly Direction”. I would respectfully suggest that we and black women in particular, look to what is within to find strength to survive. Lastly it might be a good idea to not be so devoted and blindly follow con artist, or maybe I should say, pimps in the pulpit and you know who they are.

As we have just lived another Black History Month. Let’s get back to family which is your strength! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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SPIRITUAL GPS GOD PROMISED SOLUTIONS

About The Book

1Spiritual GPS is dedicated to the masses that found themselves paralyzed at life’s intersections and crossroads. This book is committed to those who are in desperate need for God’s direction each and every day of your life. To the one that has lost their way this book is devoted to you. To the one that can’t see God’s promises because of life’s obstructions this book is designed with you in mind.

If you have ever faced a problem that appeared to be bigger than the solution this book is handcrafted by God for you. If you have endeavored to hear the simple words you can this book is for you.

Spiritual GPS is tailored to people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. This book caters to individuals who dare to dream and live on the cutting edge of their next level. Spiritual GPS is focused on allowing you to concentrate on godly solutions instead of the equations.

About The Author

15824_448017698580061_170981324_nApostle Oliver T. Reid, called into the ministry in his youth, is a powerfully anointed and dynamic man of God.  Known to be a remnant preacher and a testament to these times, Apostle Reid flows with a global prophetic mandate with God’s signs and wonders following.  A man of many gifts and talents, he walks in the office of Pastor, Prophet, Evangelist and Teacher, and most affectionately knows him as “Apostle.”  As a trailblazer, stalwart, and international apostle Reid has a passion to see the body restored, sinner’s saved, and broken hearts mended.

A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Apostle Reid is happily married to Miatta Reid and a proud father. He is a graduate of Winston Salem State University with a BA/BS degree in History and Sociology. Apostle Reid obtained a Bachelors as well as a Master’s Degree in Theology from Life Christian University. He is presently in pursuit of his Doctor of Ministry in Theology degree from Life Christian University.

Connect with Oliver:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/otrministriesint?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/otrministries

Email: otrbooking@gmail.com

Author website: http://www.otrministries.org/

Author website:  http://i-am-asolution.com/

Author events page: www.otrministries.com

Links to purchase the book

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-GPS-GOD-PROMISED-SOLUTIONS/dp/148111249X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357367850&sr=1-2&keywords=oliver+reid

Trailer: http://youtu.be/LmSuVXg2f_A

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Remember Trayvon Martin

IN THE NAME OF GOD – GIVE THIS FAMILY JUSTICE…

traIt’s been nearly a year since George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old Black young man on his way back to his father’s townhouse. In the weeks following the shooting, the story captured the nation’s attention, culminating with Zimmerman being charged with second-degree murder last April and Zimmerman’s trail set for this summer.

But as the story has receded from the headlines, the legal case has plodded along. Let us not forget the memory of this you man to include the many who fallen victim to people of this ilk. So here is an updated timeline of what you may have missed:

1. Zimmerman has spent over $300,000 in donations over the last year and is desperate for more funds to finance his defense. Zimmerman has “spent more than $125,000″ on living expenses — not including security — over the last year. His lawyer acknowledged that “Zimmerman’s personal spending may seem exorbitant.” Zimmerman is considering asking the court to declare him “indigent, meaning the public would have to pay for Zimmerman’s defense.” Zimmerman was also sued by a security company for unpaid bills. [Orlando Sentinel, 1/20/2013; Miami Herald, 12/27/12]

2. The trial has been set for June 10. Zimmerman recently asked for a delay of the trial until November but a judge denied his request. Zimmerman’s lawyer says it is “physically impossible for us to be prepared” for trial at that time. A separate proceeding, essentially a mini-trial, to determine whether Zimmerman is immune from prosecution due to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, is scheduled for April 22. [Orlando Sentinel, 2/5/13; Headline News, 2/13/13]

3. New forensic analysis “casts doubt on Zimmerman’s timeline on the night he shot and killed the unarmed teen.” The analysis was done by “Michael Knox, a retired Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office detective and crime scene investigator.” According to Knox, “based on the times and distances Zimmerman said he covered, Zimmerman would have still been on the phone with Sanford police when he claims he was attacked by Martin.” Knox says that other aspects of Zimmerman’s story, like the claim Martin was leaning over him at the time the shot was fired, are supported by forensic evidence. [News 4 Jacksonville, 2/10/13]

4. Zimmerman has gained 105 pounds. [Orlando Sentinel, 1/20/2013]

5. The defense team acquired Trayvon Martin’s school records. According to Zimmerman’s lawyers “some information in Trayvon Martin’s file could be relevant in the defense of George Zimmerman.” State prosecutors and the Martin family attorney opposed Zimmerman’s efforts to acquire the records arguing “because Zimmerman did not know Trayvon before the Feb. 26 shooting, the teen’s past was not a factor in the case.” [Orlando Sentinel, 1/16/13]

6. Zimmerman is suing NBC News. In the suit, Zimmerman claims NBC unfairly portrayed him as a “racist and predatory villain.” [ABC News, 12/6/12]

7. The judged denied Zimmerman’s request to be removed from GPS tracking. [Fox Orlando, 12/11/12]

8. Trayvon Martin would have turned 18 on February 5. [Huffington Post, 2/5/13]

A heavy and cruel hand has been laid upon us. As people, we feel ourselves to be not only deeply injured, but grossly misunderstood. Our white country-men do not know us. They are strangers to our character, ignorant of our capacity; oblivious to our history and progress, and are misinformed as to the principles and ideas that control and guide us, as a people. The great mass of American citizens estimates us as being a characterless and purposeless people; and hence we hold up our heads, if at all, against the withering influence of a nation’s scorn and contempt.

—- Frederick Douglass, in a statement on behalf of delegates to the National Colored Convention held in Rohester, New York, in July 1853. [Now what has changed]

My prayers and sympathy go out to this family. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!!!


The First Civil Rights Martyr

 Medgar Wiley Evers was born in Decatur, Mississippi on July 2, 1925; dying the victim of a racially motivated assassination on June 12, 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi after attending a rally. He was the third of four children of a small farm owner who also worked at a nearby sawmill. His social standing was impressed upon him every day but Evers was determined not to cave in under such pressure. He once said his mission was evident at the age eleven or twelve when a close friend of the family got lynched.

He walked twelve miles each way to earn his high school diploma and joined the Army during the Second World War. Perhaps it was during the years of fighting in both France and Germany for his and other countries’ freedom that convinced Evers to fight on his own shores for the freedom of blacks. After serving honorably in the war he was discharged in 1946, he began working for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1952. Evers travelled throughout the state of Mississippi trying to encourage voter registration and worked tirelessly to enforce federally mandated integration laws.

On 12 June 1963, hours after President John F. Kennedy gave a televised speech condemning segregation, Evers was shot in the back by a high-powered rifle while returning home. He crawled to the house and collapsed in front of his wife and three children; he died an hour later. The rifle found at the scene belonged to Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the all-white Citizens’ Council, a statewide group opposed to racial integration akin to the KKK. Beckwith was tried twice, but both trials ended with a hung jury and he was released.

Nearly thirty years later, thanks to the persistence of Evers’ widow, Myrlie Evers-Williams, the case was reopened and Beckwith was tried and convicted in 1994, and the conviction was upheld by the state supreme court in 1997. Evers-Williams published For Us, The Living in 1967; Beckwith’s trial was the basis for the 1996 film Ghosts of Mississippi that starred Whoopi Goldberg.

Medgar Evers position in the civil rights movement was that of field secretary for the NAACP and recognized as one of the first martyrs of the civil rights movement. His death prompted President John Kennedy to ask Congress for a comprehensive civil rights bill, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the following year.

The Mississippi in which Medgar Evers lived was a place of blatant discrimination where blacks dared not even speak of civil rights, much less actively campaign for them. Evers, a thoughtful and committed member of the NAACP wanted to change his native state. He paid for his convictions with his life, becoming the first major civil rights leader to be assassinated in the 1960s.

Evers was featured on a nine-man hit list in the Deep South as early as 1955. He and his family endured numerous threats and other violent acts, making them well aware of the danger surrounding his activism. Still he persisted in his efforts to integrate public facilities, schools, and restaurants. He organized voter registration drives and demonstrations. He spoke eloquently about the plight of his people and pleaded with the all-white government of Mississippi for some sort of progress in race relations. To those people who opposed such things, he was thought to be a very dangerous man.

In some ways, the death of Medgar Evers was a milestone in the hard-fought integration war that rocked America in the 1950s and 1960s. While the assassination of such a prominent black figure foreshadowed the violence to come, it also spurred other civil rights leaders, also targeted by white supremacists, to new fervor. They, in turn, were able to infuse their followers with a new and expanded sense of purpose, one that replaced apprehension with anger.

Still the scars of racism kept accumulating. Evers was astounded by the living conditions of the rural blacks he visited on behalf of his insurance company. Then in 1954 he witnessed yet another attempted lynching. “My father was on his deathbed in the hospital in Union, Mississippi,” Evers related in Martyrs. “The Negro ward was in the basement and it was terribly stuffy. My Daddy was dying slowly, in the basement of a hospital and at one point I just had to walk outside so I wouldn’t burst.

On that very night a Negro had fought with a white man in Union and a white mob had shot the Negro in the leg. The police brought the Negro to the hospital but the mob was outside the hospital, armed with pistols and rifles, yelling for the Negro. I walked out into the middle of it. I just stood there and everything was too much for me…. It seemed that this would never change. It was that way for my Daddy, it was that way for me, and it looked as though it would be that way for my children. I was so mad I just stood there trembling and tears rolled down my cheeks.”

Evers quit the insurance business and went to work for the NAACP full-time as a chapter organizer. He applied to the University of Mississippi law school but was denied admission and did not press his case. Within two years he was named state field secretary of the NAACP. Still in his early thirties, he was one of the most vocal and recognizable NAACP members in his state. In his dealings with whites and blacks alike, Evers spoke constantly of the need to overcome hatred, to promote understanding and equality between the races. It was not a message that everyone in Mississippi wanted to hear.

Telephone threats were a constant source of anxiety in the home, and at one point Evers taught his children to fall on the floor whenever they heard a strange noise outside. “We lived with death as a constant companion 24 hours a day,” Myrlie Evers remembered in Ebony magazine. “Medgar knew what he was doing, and he knew what the risks were. He just decided that he had to do what he had to do. But I knew at some point in time that he would be taken from me.”

Evers must have also had a sense that his life would be cut short when what had begun as threats turned increasingly to violence. A few weeks prior to his death, someone threw a firebomb at his home. Afraid that snipers were waiting for her outside, Mrs. Evers put the fire out with the garden hose. The incident did not deter Evers from his rounds of voter registration or from his strident plea for a biracial committee to address social concerns in Jackson. His days were filled with meetings, economic boycotts, marches, prayer vigils, and picket lines and with bailing out demonstrators arrested by the all-white police force. It was not uncommon for Evers to work twenty hours a day.

On June 12, 1963, U.S. president John F. Kennedy, who would be assassinated only a few short months later, echoed this sentiment in an address to the nation. Kennedy called the white resistance to civil rights for blacks “a moral crisis” and pledged his support to federal action on integration.
That same night, Evers returned home just after midnight from a series of NAACP functions. As he left his car with a handful of t-shirts that read “Jim Crow Must Go,” he was shot in the back. His wife and children, who had been waiting up for him, found him bleeding to death on the doorstep. “I opened the door, and there was Medgar at the steps, face down in blood,” Myrlie Evers remembered in People magazine. “The children ran out and were shouting, ‘Daddy, get up!

Evers died fifty minutes later at the hospital. On the day of his funeral in Jackson, even the use of beatings and other strong-arm police tactics could not quell the anger among the thousands of black mourners. The NAACP posthumously awarded its 1963 Spingarn medal to Medgar Evers. It was a fitting tribute to a man who had given so much to the organization and had given his life for its cause.

Rewards were offered by the governor of Mississippi and several all-white newspapers for information about Evers’s murderer, but few came forward with information. However, an FBI investigation uncovered a suspect, Byron de la Beckwith, an outspoken opponent of integration and a founding member of Mississippi’s White Citizens Council. A gun found 150 feet from the site of the shooting had Beckwith’s fingerprint on it.

Several witnesses placed Beckwith in Evers’s neighborhood that night. On the other hand, Beckwith denied shooting Evers and claimed that his gun had been stolen days before the incident. He too produced witnesses–one of them a policeman–who swore before the court that Beckwith was some 60 miles from Evers’s home on the night he was killed.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of Medgar Evers’s story lies in the attitudes of his two sons and one daughter. Though they experienced firsthand the destructive ways of bigotry and hatred, Evers’s children appear to be very well-adjusted individuals. “My children turned out to be wonderfully strong and loving adults,” Myrlie Evers concluded Ebony. “It has taken time to heal the wounds [from their father’s assassination] and I’m not really sure all the wounds are healed. We still hurt, but we can talk about it now and cry about it openly with each other, and the bitterness and anger have gone.”

At the same time, Mrs. Evers asserted in People that she hopes for Beckwith’s conviction on the murder charges. (He was, indeed, convicted after the third trial.) “People have said, ‘Let it go, it’s been a long time. Why bring up all the pain and anger again?”‘ she explained. “But I can’t let it go. It’s not finished for me, my children or … grandchildren. I walked side by side with Medgar in everything he did. This [new] trial is going the last mile of the way.”

As a fitting tribute, Evers was interred at Arlington National Military Cemetery in Washington DC. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!

“Just a Season”

Legacy – A New Season is coming!

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