Ann passed away 3 years ago on September 5, 2016.
We dated in junior high school -yes, junior high school-and high school. She was a member of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP, back in the day, with me. After my 4 years in the Air Force, our paths crossed again, and we married in December 1966. We would have celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in December of 2016.
Losing a mate/spouse/partner/significant other is different than losing a child, a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, and a family member. The Love is different. When you lose that person, you lose a part of yourself. You lose someone you went to sleep with every night and spent most of your waking moments with. You mourn, you grieve, you cry, and you remember those moments that only the two of you could remember.When I called Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick Sr. – Bishop Sr.—to tell him Ann had passed, and to ask him to “give” Words of Comfort at her service, he of course, said he would. Bishop Sr. has been a friend of both of our families, and eulogized several of my family members and Ann’s family members. After praying with me, he said to me, “Rodney grieve and mourn whatever way you want. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. And in the middle of your grieving, thank God for the more than 50 years he gave you and Ann together.”
I remember those words every day. Mourning does not get any easier. After Ann passed, several friends and family members suggested I "take a vacation" or “get-away” for a while. They meant well, and the suggestion was made in Love, but you cannot “get-way from” or “take a vacation from” a life of memories and experiences. You carry them with you. A song, a favorite place, a food dish, a movie, celebrating the holidays.No one really knows how you feel when you lose a wife and a partner and a soulmate and a best friend, all rolled into one magnificent person. They think they do...they don’t.
I am learning to “manage” grieving, just like many must learn to manage pain. And I always remember the great experiences and the great memories and the great times God gave me with Ann.
Ann was an Old School Music person too, and one of our favorite songs was written by Paul Williams entitled, “You and Me Against The World.” We particularly liked Jerry Butler’s version. A few of the lyrics...
“You and me against the world
Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world
And for all the tears we cried
I always felt God was on our side
And when one of us is gone
And one is left alone to carry on
Then remembering will have to do
Our memories alone will get us through.
Think about the days of me and you
Of you and me against the world.”
Ann was not here for the birth of our first Great Grand, Everly Ann, "presented" by our granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Kyle (Marquiette) Dorrell, but thanks to Kita and Kyle, she carries Ann's name.
I am not through crying, nor will I ever be. I am not through grieving, nor will I ever be. What a great 50+ years. I Love Ya Baby, and I Really Miss You. -- Me.
Blacks fighting against Racism today is NOT a NEW Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement never ended. Blacks fighting for human dignity and respect today is Not New. There is no difference in Blacks fighting for human dignity and respect today and how they fought during the days of the American Christian Holocaust called Slavery. The Civil Rights Movement of the Forties, Fifties, and Sixties and decades before, was an extension of the fight. And the fight today is an extension of the fight. Same Fight--Different Time--Different Day.
Martin Luther King and John Lewis and Thurgood Marshall and Ella Baker and Medgar Evers and A. Philip Randolph and Ruby Hurley and Daisy Bates and Malcolm X, and Rutledge Pearson...extensive list...fought the same fight that Ida Wells-Barnett and James Weldon Johnson and Walter White and William Trotter and W.E.B.DuBois and Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and Richard Allen and Denmark Vesey...extensive list...fought.
Young people today are fighting the same fight thousands before them fought. Being enslaved and kept in chains is the history of America. Lynching Blacks is the history of America. Racism is the history of America. Being judged by the color of your skin is the history of America. Being denied the right to vote is the history of America. Being denied Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as a Black person is the history of America.
Blacks fighting for all of these "things" ...these Freedoms...is the history of America. That has not changed. The fight FOR Civil Rights IS the fight AGAINST The American Institution of Racism. The day is different ...the names are different...but the issues are the same and the skin color is the same; and in the final analysis, THE STRUGGLE is the Same. And THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES.
Boycotting the NFL because of its Racism, is like boycotting any establishment because of its Racism, and it works for ME. I do not try to get anyone to necessarily see my point of view.
Back in the day, we boycotted ALL of downtown, because of the rampant Racism by stores wanting Blacks to spend money in their establishments but only where THEY wanted us to spend OUR money. That was an Insult. Many of you respond by saying, "That was then, today is different." The question is, Is It Really?
Fighting Racism and its subtleties, if you are Black, and the sacrifices you must make, if you are Black, are more important than balancing your conveniences, if you are Black.
Charlie Cobb is truly an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. He is one of the organizers of the 1964 Freedom Summer in Mississippi. His is not a household name, but it should be. I met Charlie several years ago after he and his wife, Ann, moved to Jacksonville. He is a friend, and I proudly claim him now as an honorary native of Jacksonville. I knew about Charlie prior to meeting him. Certainly, his incomparable background and exceptional reputation preceded him. He is Truly a Civil Rights legend.
Charles E. Cobb Jr. is a former field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and has taught as a visiting professor at Brown University. An award-winning journalist, Charlie is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame and is a 2018 Distinguished Carnegie Fellowship Award Winner. He will teach a class on civil rights this year as a visiting professor at North Carolina Central.
In 1962, Charlie Cobb became a field secretary in the Mississippi Delta region for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), for whom he wrote the original proposal for the Mississippi Freedom School, an education initiative that was launched during Freedom Summer in 1964. As a field secretary for SNCC, Charlie was a grassroots organizer; he lived in the homes of the people he worked with, as did other SNCC field secretaries, staying with sharecroppers, janitors, cooks, maids, factory workers, and day laborers and learning their perspective firsthand.
According to Charlie, this concept had a lot to do with the influence of Ella Baker, one of the great Icons of the Civil Rights Struggle. As Charlie put it, Ms. Baker taught us to organize from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. I sat down with Charlie to talk about his experiences and asked his motivation to join the Civil Rights Movement. Charlie began:
“Mississippi was chosen as the site of the Freedom Summer project due to its historically low levels of African-American voter registration; in 1962 less than 7 percent of the state's eligible black voters were registered to vote. First, you can struggle against great odds, as evidenced by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party forcing the creation of a two-party system in the South. Sit-ins, and the student sit-in Movement, not only challenged the infrastructure of racism but empowered the free speech movement at many traditional universities and is where the roots of Black Studies departments can be found. The Civil Rights Movement changed people, their lives and the eventual paths they would take. The civil rights experience literally changed lives.” He also felt that the Civil Rights Movement saw the emerging leadership of young Black high school students and Black college students, who took the initiative fighting segregation and racism through direct-action demonstrations. Black students established going to jail for a principle, which at the time was quite new and revolutionary. Finally, he commented that Black World War II veterans were a very important part of the movement—Medgar Evers, Vernon Dahmer, Aaron Henry, to name a few. Fighting for freedom in foreign countries and then coming home to bigotry and blatant Jim Crow laws did not resonate at all.
We talked about Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, and, although there are many who know of her leading the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964, few know about a savage beating she took the year before. Charlie gave me this account: “On June 3, 1963, after returning from a civil rights workshop in South Caroline, Fannie Lou Hamer and other civil rights workers arrived in Winona, Mississippi, by bus. They were ordered off the bus and taken to the Montgomery County jail. Later that night while in jail, three white men came into her cell with two Black prisoners. They made her lay down and ordered the Black prisoners to beat her with a blackjack. They savagely beat her until they got tired. When she was released three days later, it took her more than a month to recover, but we never felt she ever fully recovered. Though she died fourteen years later apparently of breast cancer, she continually had kidney complications from the beating she sustained that night in 1963, which I am convinced contributed to her death.”
In June 2014, Charlie spent several weeks in Mississippi with SNCC colleagues as they commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the Mississippi Freedom Summer. Charlie Cobb was the the first activist-in-residence of the SNCC Legacy Project, a partnership between Duke University and SNCC. The SNCC Legacy Project is designed to document SNCC’s major role in the struggle for freedom and to allow young activists to draw on the hard-won experiences and wisdom of those who marched before them.
Charlie is a part of the heritage of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Freedom Movement, and the Civil Rights Movement. Like many veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, he understands that America’s founding fathers did not have the equality of Black citizens in mind when they originated the country’s founding documents. Many will argue that America still does not. Yet you fight anyway. Charlie understands the unpaid debt. Experiences from the Civil Rights Movement eternally affect your life. I did not have to ask Charlie; I knew from my experiences. Charlie Cobb Jr. has spent a lifetime simply working to get America to pay its debts. They remain overdue. Charlie Cobb calls Jacksonville Home. I am glad.
Every time Black folks trivialize Racism including excusing those Blacks --Jay-Z--who enable White Racists and their Racism, YOU are enabling Racism while insulating Racists. You are also saying you can, and you will compromise your Black self-respect for a price.
When you say what Jay-Z and others do, and are doing is OK in the scheme of things because "it is business", you are saying The Racism business is more important than your Black integrity and your Black human dignity and respect.
If you are White, Racism is a " game" which You play, Daily.
If you are Black, Racism is not a game when you are the target of White Core Racist Attitudes, Daily.
The Struggle Continues.
JACKSONVILLE AND ITS WHITE CHARTER SCHOOLS. EVERYONE KEEPS WAITING ON JACKSONVILLE TO “GROW” INTO BEING A TOP-TIERED CITY. AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN.
Jacksonville shows every day it is not close to...and perhaps chooses not to want to be...a top-tiered city, even with, an NFL football team. Passing the half-cent sales tax for public education makes so much sense. Yet, Jacksonville’s City leadership is poised to kill this much needed resource for Jacksonville's children. Jacksonville once again FLUNKS another test to represent “ALL” the people.
Let me start by saying, I Am Not a fan of Charter Schools. Charter Schools, to me are nothing more than White Segregation Academies...i.e., the Charter schools on the White side of town are massively White and counting; and the few, very few by comparison, Charter schools on the Black side of town are massively Black. Many of the Black Charter school’s student numbers are simply used to “inflate” the White Charter School numbers to make it appear they are more than the Segregation Academies they are.
The Florida Legislature over the years intentionally sabotaged public education by not being responsive and not appropriating the needed dollars. Then they proclaimed public education is “failing”, when it is really the legislators who were failing by not providing public school teachers and students with the necessary and required resources and money.
Of course, White politicians -ad nauseum- rationalize the only people being hurt by their actions are the Black students and the Brown students, and their parents. So What? Over the years, White Jacksonville/White Florida purposely did not “maintain” the school facilities in Black Jacksonville, but you certainly maintained them in White Jacksonville.
Then in the midst of their slovenly treatment of Black educational facilities and their maintenance needs, we see this tremendous spike in Segregated Charter schools of late, to the further diminution of public education. And it is not Choice, just another “code word.” IT is White parents getting their White children away from the “Black infested school system” (words I have read and heard here in Jacksonville.)
There is a need to build, rebuild and renovate public school buildings. Florida’s Legislature over the years and with the total support and the insistence of the Jeb Bush administration, and certainly continuing until now, have “dedicated” a substantial portion of the monies intended for public education, including "bricks and mortar" money to instead, go to Charter schools... White, Segregated and Segregating Charter Schools.
Let me point out, there is no Such Thing as a Public Charter School. They are ALL private. They have a quasi-administrative involvement with the State of Florida. Charter schools in Jacksonville are not subject to the Duval County School Board. There is little or no oversight as you can determine with Charters closing regularly and the owners of the Charters and their “front men and women” walking away with taxpayer’s money, leaving parents, especially Black parents scrambling to get their children back in the public school system. It has happened a number of times here in Jacksonville and throughout the State of Florida.
Charters can do whatever the hell they want to do, with a nod and a wink wink from the State of Florida, and get away with it. Charters are for White students and White parents. Even with the need to build new public schools and renovate/rebuild others. RIGHT NOW, TODAY, Jacksonville’s City leadership is DEMANDING a disproportionate amount of money “off the top” for the Private Charters in exchange for their support of the dollars, a sales tax will bring.
Don’t give us ---White City officials, White parents, and White students---what we want for the Charter Schools, and we will not support the extension of the sales tax. Still another reason why you CANNOT say the word “progressive” and Jacksonville in the same sentence. It obviously will not work. Let’s just call it Educational Racism and White Privilege intimidation. I am waiting for someone...anyone...to explain to me in a public discourse why I am wrong.
The Struggle Continues!
White America: He must have been doing something "wrong" or the police would not have shot him.
Me: Yes he was doing something "wrong." He was Breathing While Black.
Some More Thoughts...
1) He who learns, teaches.
2) You cannot stand Tall, if your Back is Bent.
3) I give less than a Tinker's damn what you think of me.
Me: What Class. What Dignity. What Integrity. What Principles. What Elegance. What Quality. What a Leader!
Observer: Are you talking about president donald trump?
Me: NO, not for this Racist president. I was thinking aloud about President Obama.
White political pundits continue to say, they "expect more from donald trump." As a Black person, donald trump is doing exactly what WE expected him to do. Being an "illegitimate" president does not make a difference.
We know, and it plays out every day, Racists who wear suits and skirts, like the Racists who wore pointy-head hoods and robes, have NO Integrity and NO principles. Racist donald trump and Racist White America are performing as advertised.
The Racist-in-Chief sends his Slave Patrols out to arrest undocumented workers while at the same time his businesses are Actively hiring undocumented workers.
When you are a Racist dealing with and insulated by other Racists on a daily basis, you can say and do anything and get away with it. This Racist White American president is showing you the insidious degree of Christian White American Racism and a Racist Lifestyle to which Christian White Americans have Easily grown accustomed.
The Struggle Continues!
1) Teachers...in addition to the varied, sundry, and ridiculous things they Must do as teachers, have the added task of answering awkward questions from their students, about the even more awkward (and then some) president of the United States; and
2) My grandmother told me as a youngster, "Baby, you are known by the company you keep." If she were still with me today, I would love to ask her what that says about donald trump.
The Struggle Continues!
Racist and Racism are not comfortable words, nor should they be. They both describe the reality of America's existence.
While purporting to be a Christian country, America has shown it is anything but. White Christian America has taken my Melanin, which gives me my Black hue of skin, to somehow mean I am inferior. Then White America deny and ignore the factual knowledge that the Greatest Civilizations in the history of Mankind were on the continent of Africa, a continent with many countries of Melanin people. EVERY civilization "borrowed" or "stole" knowledge +, from African countries.
Memo...Egypt is not now, nor was Egypt ever in Europe.
I tire of White America and the White Media cringing when Racist and Racism are used. Blacks did not create the circumstances that those words describe, White America Did!
The Struggle Continues!