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nubianNubian Art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

by Azell Murphy

Ancient Nubian civilization flourished for more than six thousand years. This sophisticated and unique culture is characterized by its own artistic development, central organization often led by a king, and during one period, a type of writing call Meroitic. Nubians created some of the earliest ceramics in the ancient world, as well as magnificent stone colossal sculptures. They built pyramids for their kings, and for over sixty years they ruled Egypt. Geographically, the area called Nubia overlapped southern Egypt and the northern Sudan. It is located from the first cataract of the Nile to the foothills of Ethiopia. This location made Nubia a transfer point between Africa and Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Christian and Islamic worlds. The Nubians were made up of diverse cultures which occupied this portion of the Nile River Valley. These cultures were linked by many common traditions but also distinguished by their unique works of art and individual customs.

The new gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, provides an opportunity to highlight Nubia’s contributions to the world.

8cultpyramidBOSTON – For centuries, cultures around the world have been fascinated by the ancient kingdoms of Africa. Royal pyramids, sophisticate tombs and burial customs, colossal stone statues, intricate hand-crafted pottery and exotic hand-crafted jewelry are a part of the African legacy that the Western world is just beginning to explore and understand.

A permanent gallery dedicated the art and culture of ancient Nubia, the region of Africa that is southern Egypt and northern Sudan, premiered at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston on May 10, 1992. The spectacular gallery, “Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of Africa”, highlights more than 25,000 artifacts and original works of the ancient Nubian civilization, spanning six thousand years (6000 B.C. – 350 A.D.) of African history.

The ancient Nubian objects and materials on display were recovered during archaeological excavations conducted between 1913 and 1932 by the Harvard University Museum of Fine Arts and Boston. The Archaeological Expedition led by George A. Reisner, curator of the Department of Egyptian and Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Museum of Fine Arts. The Egyptian government asked Reisner to head an archaeological survey of Nubia. The survey was necessary because of plans to enlarge the first Aswan dam built in 1899. When the dam was finished, the ancient remains of the Nubian cultures that existed between the first and second cataracts of the Nile would be lost underwater.

8culteguyptionbraceletReisner was so intrigued with what he found that he returned to Nubia to begin an in depth investigation. From 1913 to 1932 Reisner excavated massive mud-brick forts, temples and royal pyramids.

The government of Sudan agreed to award half of the objects found to the Harvard University- Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Expedition, with the Sudan choosing first what it wanted to keep. Today, the Museum of Fine Arts, now houses the finest and most extensive collection of Nubian art outside of the Sudan.

In the gallery is a model recreating the tomb of Aspelta, an ancient king of Kush from about 600 – 580 B.C. in Nuri, Sudan. Attached to the actual pyramid was a small chapel in which the king’s soul was honored and fed in daily rituals. In the model, one side of the chapel is cut out, allowing the museum visitor to view its interior details. The original granite monuments and offering table that were inside the king’s actual tomb are exhibited in an adjacent case.

Below ground, the model’s burial chambers are cut out to allow museum visitors to look into the tomb and see a model of the king’s coffin. Although the original coffin was brought to Boston, it will not become a part of the museum display until the museum constructs a gallery floor strong enough to support the coffin’s twelve ton weight.

The kings and queens of ancient Nubian civilization had their tombs supplied with servant figures, known as “shawabtis” , which were believed to perform work for them in the underworld. One of the most spectacular displays in the gallery is an eighty-six stone “shawabtis” from the pyramid of King Taharka at Nuri. Taharka was the greatest of all Nubian pharaohs to rule Egypt and is mentioned twice in the Bible.

The Hathor crystal pendant is an extraordinary example of metal craftsmanship of ancient Nubian civilization on display in the gallery. A polished rock crystal globe is surmounted by a gold image of the head of The goddess Hathor. The head is finely detailed, manufactured from sheet gold that has been delicately modelled and refined. The crystal ball is pierced through the center, forming a shaft which is lined with gold and capped at the base. Jewelry designed with these kinds of internal chambers commonly held prayers or other charms to ward off evil. This remarkably beautiful piece dates back to the eighth century B.C. and was found in the tomb of an unnamed queen of King Piye (a great king who conquered Egypt about 720 B.C.), and was probably worn by her as a pendant. Nubians created some of the finest ceramics of the ancient world. Delicate and creative vessels made by the Kerma culture (2000 – 1550 B.C.) are on display in the Nubian gallery. The crafters of this pottery achieved an eggshell thinness and remarkable symmetry. Pottery shapes include the fine bell-mouthed cups, delicate long-spouted jars and a ram-head pitcher.

Besides showcasing great Nubian accomplishments, “Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of Africa” educates museum visitors about Nubian historical figures. The great King Piye who conquered Egypt is represented by a magnificent bronze offering table found in his tomb. A fold handled mirror of his brother and successor Shabako is on display. A statuette of Piye’s son Taharka is one of the most expressive displays in the gallery. Taharka, built his pyramid in Nuri, Sudan, which was excavated by the Boston Museum in 1917.

According to museum officials, conservation and restoration of over a hundred fragile or fragmented objects that had never been displayed since their arrival in Boston more than seventy years ago was the most troubling of all planning stages for the finished gallery. Two stone monuments that were shipped to Boston as several blocks of carved sandstone were the largest and most extraordinary reconstruction tasks.

One consisted of twenty-three blocks that made up the interior walls of a Nubian king’s pyramid chapel of about 300 A.D. Found as a part of the ruins of a pyramid in Meroe, Sudan, in 1921, the walls show the king seated on a lion throne, protected by the winged goddess Isis. On one side he is greeted by male courtiers, while on the other side he is greeted by the chief queen and female courtiers.

Before this object could be reconstructed, the individual stones had to be specially treated because of their brittle and unstable condition, museum officials say. The treatment was a complex process, requiring their movement to a specially ventilated room, where they were treated with a liquid stone strengthener.

The installation of the “Nubia: Ancient Kingdoms of Africa” gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston was made possible through grants from the NYNEX Foundation and New England Telephone. Additional support was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal Agency.



The Sullivan Principles: A Quest Interview

MR. SINGLETON: Good morning, Mr. Sullivan — Dr. Sullivan, I’m from Black History Is No Mystery.


MR. SINGLETON: And I know that you are teaching a lot about the history and learning the culture. My first question to you is who is your favorite man and woman in history and what is your greatest lesson learned from history?

DR. SULLIVAN: Well, my favorite man and woman in Black history is Frederick Douglas because I think at the important time Frederick Douglas articulated the needs of Black people out of slavery at a time when they needed a direction and they needed a voice that would be heard not only in America, but in Europe. Now, you know, he spoke before the end of slavery as well as after slavery. So I have a great regard for Frederick Douglas. I also have a great regard for Adam Clayton Powell, who was my personal mentor and who helped shape my philosophy and the way I do things even to these days. And, of course, I have a great regard for my dear friend Martin Luther King. We were friends. We knew each other. And I say, still, he was the greatest mover of justice and civil rights that America has ever seen.

MR. SINGLETON: Tell me about OIC, how that got started, Tasty Cake boycott and how that lead to Coke, A & P and the banks?

DR. SULLIVAN: Well, in the 50’s I looked around and saw that Blacks had nothing but menial jobs in our communities, with a very few exceptions. At that time, incidentally, we took a — we found that 70 percent of our women either worked as domestics or in service jobs. And so we decided that we would put leverage on companies to employ Blacks. We had no laws to make them employ Blacks. Affirmative action was only a word at that time. So we decided we would use the strength of our churches and our pastors. And we would use what I call “selective patronage, economic withdrawal, economic power” because at that time 20 percent of all the purchasers in Philadelphia were Black. And I realized that the margin of profits of most companies was only 2 or 3 percent, at the most. So we chose a company, the first one was Tasty Cake. It was a vulnerable company because we at Tasty Cake more than anybody else, but they didn’t employ our people except in menial jobs. So I went to them and asked them to employ our people and they said they would think about it. And a month later, while they were thinking, we went back to our churches and 400 black preachers, after talking about God, talked about Tasty Cake. And we stopped eating Tasty Cake overnight. A month later Tasty Cake began to employ Black people for the first time. The president called me and said, “Reverend, tell them Colored people to eat Tasty Cake again.”

Then we went — we ended discrimination in the baking industry. Then we went to the soft drink industry where there was not a single Black salesmen driver in Philadelphia of a major bottling company — not one! And so we started with Coca Cola. It didn’t last long because we drink more Coke than anybody else. And within the week, they employed Blacks for the first time. Then we went to Pepsi Cola. Pepsi Cola employed the first vice president corporate in America, as a result of the Philadelphia —

MR. SINGLETON: What was his name
DR. SULLIVAN: Harvey Russell.

MR. SINGLETON: Okay. Thank you.

DR. SULLIVAN: Harvey Russell. He became the first vice president of a major company in America as a result of the Philadelphia campaign. And, incidentally, all of those companies became great supporters of our rights. Tasty Company is one, now a model in Philadelphia for all the companies. Coca Cola., a model. And Pepsi Cola is my strongest friend. They do more to help me than anybody else.

But we went to the banking industry and threatened to withdraw our money out of the banks and all the banks began to employ Blacks and managers and on, and on, and on, until we opened doors for thousands of Blacks. Martin King asked me to come to Atlanta to discuss the program and I discussed it. And there was a young man there in that meeting by the name of Jesse Jackson, just a kid. And there we organized what came to be known as Operation Bread Basket, who is the model on the Philadelphia program and Jesse became the head of it with Bread Basket.

MR. SINGLETON: How are we going to create ownership that has a conscientiousness towards community? Many times people start businesses and own them, but how are we going to make that come down to the rest of the Black Americans who are —

DR. SULLIVAN: Well, there’s a lot of wealth among Blacks that they don’t even know they have. When you talk about capital formation, it doesn’t occur overnight. You look at great companies and you say, look at these companies. It took Pepsi Cola 33 years to pay a dividend. It took Westinghouse 43 years to pay a dividend.

MR. SINGLETON: Is that right?

DR. SULLIVAN: It takes time for companies to develop and grow. So we must begin to use our resources by collectivism; putting our resource together to build for ourselves and we can build giant enterprises. We’ve already demonstrated it can be done in Philadelphia, by what I call a 1036 Plan, where people invested $10 a month for 36 months. Through the years, 4000 of them, now they own shopping centers, human development centers, housing development.

MR. SINGLETON: Tell me about that shopping center? That is very interesting. You started a shopping center in Philadelphia. I think it was the first Black owned.

DR. SULLIVAN: Yes, well, everybody can see it. It is there on Broad Street. We own no shopping centers in this country. Very few housing developments. No human services center, at all, in this country. So I decided that we would use the resources of the people and ask people to invest $10 a month for 36 months. I asked 600 people to do that and in time, 4,000 people did it. And with that money, we build Prowess?? Plaza in Philadelphia, which is the largest shopping center owned and operated by Blacks in America. And then we built another shopping center in West Philadelphia that is as large as the one on Broad Street, Prowess?? Plaza. Then we built a human services center that is worth $10 million. Then we built housing developments that are worth $10 million. And the thing that happened was these people with their $10 for 36 months accumulated capital so that we could build for ourselves and own for ourselves, with capital formation now in excess of $30 million.

Now, this can be done anywhere, if people have the trust and the stability with a program, to keep that little investment in. It’s not asking people to do a lot. $10 a month is not much. That’s equal to a few packages of cigarettes or a bottle or something like that. Thirty-six months, collectively, with Black people doing that, look, in 10, 20 years they can control main streets of most of the cities in this country. You know, it doesn’t require much money to buy. A million dollars can buy $20 million worth of property if you’ve got the cash because people are cash poor. And if you have $5 million in cash, you can buy main street in any two in America, almost. It doesn’t require much, but you must use what you have as a leverage to build and to acquire and that’s collecting wealth. It’s not talking, it’s collectivizing and doing.

MR. SINGLETON: What is the new boycott line of the 90’s and beyond?

DR. SULLIVAN: Well, it will be more massive. At the Summit I said there are many companies who practice price control on commodities in Africa, the cocoa, the coffee, the bauxite, the minerals, price control, and many of these controls are put on this country without even the leaders of the countries having a say about it. That’s what I call international price fixing. One day, when our constituencies are developed enough, and we find our commodities purchased — good purchased in Africa that appear on our shelves and Blacks do not have a say on what happens to those prices — I’m talking about national and international selective patronage programs.


DR. SULLIVAN: So that kind of thing will perhaps ultimately become the next step of massive boycotts.

MR. SINGLETON: Okay. My last question, because I want to finish this interview, is you said that history and culture and roots are important, why? How do they put bread and butter and meat and potatoes on the table?

DR. SULLIVAN: If a person has self-pride and a desire for self-sufficiency, he’ll get out and work for the meat and potatoes on the table. If a man believes he is not going any place, has no roots, no hope, he’ll shrivel?? in a corner and wait for people to give him crumbs. A proud man won’t settle for crumbs. He will find a way to get out and get some bread and potatoes to put on the table for this family. That’s self-pride and that, sir, is Black Power.

MR. SINGLETON: Thank you very much.

Reverend Leon Howard Sullivan 1922-2001


Leon black History

Born October 16, 1922, in Charleston, West Virginia, Reverend Sullivan was Pastor Emeritus of Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was also founder and Chairman of the Board of Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of America and OIC International and president of the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH). Reverend Sullivan was also a director of General Motors Corporation, Mellon Bank Corporation and Boys Scouts of America.
Reverend Sullivan was educated at West Virginia State College, Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University and has received innumerable awards and over thirty honorary degrees from colleges and universities in America, including Dartmouth, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania and Yale.
From 1950 to 1988, Reverend Sullivan served as pastor of Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Under Reverend Sullivan’s leadership, membership in the church grew from 600 to 6000, making Zion Baptist one of the largest churches in America.
In 1964 Reverend Sullivan founded Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of America, a program sponsoring training and retraining on a massive scale, the first program of its kind in the history of the United States. Since its beginning, OIC has trained more than one million men and women and more than 800,000 have been placed in gainful employment, earning approximately $15 billion a year in annual income. The OIC program has successfully operated in over 100 cities across the United States. Reverend Sullivan founded OIC International in 1969. In 1989, OIC’s twentieth year, seventeen African OIC’s were operating in 12 countries, graduating more than 20,000 trainees.

Reverend Sullivan was also the founder of Progress Investment Associates, which built and manages the largest shopping center constructed, owned and operated by Black people in America. He is founder and trustee of Progress Non-Profit Charitable Trust, a broadly based community development corporation with emphasis on the physical redevelopment of our inner cities, with additional components in economic development and education.
In 1977, Reverend Sullivan initiated the Sullivan Principles, a Code of Conduct for companies operating in South Africa that became the standard for social responsibility in equal opportunity for companies in South Africa, as well as other parts of the world. The Sullivan Principles are widely acknowledged to be one of the most effective efforts to end discrimination against Blacks in the workplace in the Republic of South Africa, becoming a major platform on which others could speak out for equal rights in South Africa against the apartheid system.
Recently, with the assistance of some of this country’s most esteemed corporate leaders, Reverend Sullivan established the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH). The mission of IFESH is to help American companies, institutions and individuals to get involved in improving conditions of people primarily in Africa, and other developing countries.
Reverend Sullivan served as pastor of Zion Baptist Church for 38 years, from 1950-1988. In June, 1988, he became pastor emeritus in order to spend his time training and feeding the hungry people of Africa and the developing nations of the world, and to assist the expanding work of OIC.
The activities of the Church include a day care center, federal credit union, community center program for youth and adult activities, employment agency, adult education reading classes, numerous athletic teams, choral groups and a family counseling service.
In 1963 he was cited by Life magazine as one of the 100 Outstanding Young Adults in the United States.
Reverend Sullivan founded the Progress Investment Associates, coming out of the membership of the Zion Baptist Church. Progress Investment Associates has built a million dollar garden apartment complex (Zion Gardens), the first of its kind in the East; a two million dollar shopping center (Progress Plaza) –the largest shopping center built, owned and operated by Black people in America; a second inner city community shopping center, Progress Haddington Shopping Plaza, and has built and operated successfully, Progress Human Service Center, a multi-million dollar facility constructed in the heart of Philadelphia which provides multiple social, health and human services to residents of the community.
Reverend Sullivan is founder and trustee of the Progress Non-Profit Charitable Trust. The “Trust” is a broadly based community development corporation. Its emphasis is on physical redevelopment of our inner cities with additional components in economic development and education. The “Trust” is engaged in developing housing and new shopping center developments in Philadelphia and in providing tutorial assistance for hundreds of young people in the area.
Reverend Sullivan has founded and established two eight million dollar housing complexes in Philadelphia for senior citizens called Opportunities Tower I and Opportunities Tower II, the finest of their kind in the city.
Reverend Sullivan is a 33rd Degree Prince Hall Mason and a Shriner. He was married to the former Miss Grace Banks; they had a son Howard, two daughters, Julie Sullivan-Johnson and Hope Sullivan-Hurley and three grandchildren : Charles Solomon Sullivan, Leon Todd Johnson and Chelsea Grace Hurley.



The South Shore Minority Business Circle

by Mary Glolias

In 1989 a group of successful minority business people created the South Shore Minority Business Circle “to provide a voice and network for minority owned firms”, said Jackie Roundtree, President of The South Shore Minority Business Circle.

This network enables businesses in the South Shore to come together and share their ideas for the community. They accomplish this is through supporting businesses and enterprises owned by South Shore Minority Business Circle members and other minority business professionals.

They provide a means for the members to receive financial resouces, concentrate on issues that aid in the growth of the business community, work to make contacts with other community professionals, and hold discussions between South Shore Minority Business Circle Members and state and local elected officials.

One major accomplishment of this group is the connection made to Reebok International Ltd. South Shore created a staff to target Reebok Internationl Ltd. On March 18, 1993 Reebok International Ltd. ‘s Minority Business Enterprise Purchasing Program (MBEPP) accepted the support of more than 30 leaders in the Massachusetts minority business community.

Reebok International Ltd. is based in Stoughton, Massachusetts and is a well known designer of sports, fitness and casual footwear and clothing. As well as the creation of the apparel, they are also known for the marketing and distribuiton of their products.

The Minority Business Enterprise Purchasing Program’s goal is to create an open path and increase the opportunites for minority-owned businesses while making Reebok’s supplier base diversified. $20 million for the next two years will be used for the purchases of goods and services from minority-owned businesses. The program will begin with firms in Massachusetts and later advance to firms throughout the Northeast and the nation. Reebok will advertise in minority trade and other publications in specific markets.

“Reebok is and has always been a socially responsible corporation. The MBEP Purchasing Program enhances Reebok’s commitment to the communities in which we live and work,” said Paul Fireman, Reebok Chairman.



An Effort at corporate social justice

by Luix Virgil Overbea and Mary Golias

BOSTON – Former President Jimmy Carter was the speaker. Paul Fireman, chairman and CEO of Reebok International Ltd., presented the honors. They delivered inspirational messages to a special group of young people, winners of the prestigious 1991 Reebok Human Rights Awards.
This was the fourth annual human rights ceremony, sponsored annually by the Reebok Human Rights Projects. These honors are presented to young people, aged 30 or under at the time of nomination.
Two women and three men received prizes of $25,000 each for their dedication to the cause of human rights at ceremonies from the the Reebok Human Rights Projects. They include an advocate for children in Mozambique, a street educator in Guatemala, a leader of migrant workers in South Florida, a human rights leader in El Salvador, and a young person jailed several times for his protests in Cuba.

In addition two special awards were also presented, one to an ll-year-old girl, fighter for youth in America, and the other to three Russians, posthumously, for defending the Soviet Parliament from being overrun by rebellious military forces during the recent Soviet coup attempt.

Known for his world wide activity in behalf of human rights since leaving office, President Carter praised the winners for their sincere efforts in the cause of helping mankind. Human rights for one person will be assured when human rights for all are supported, he declared. Mr. Carter is also a member of the Reebok Human Rights Award Board of Advisors. Fireman, also a member of the board of advisors, said: “This is the fourth year of the Reebok Human Rights Awards, our way of combining two passions, two commitments – a passion for young people, and a commitment to human rights. Today we honor young people who often work in lonely darkness. We are here to shine a bright light on these young people and what they have done for all of us.”

Actor Paul Winfield opened the program with a dramatic reading. The Bay State Choral Singers sang a musical prelude.

Awards winners were:

David Moya of Cuba, executive secretary of the Party for Human Rights in Cuba (PPDHC), belated 1990 award. When the 1990 honors were made, Moya, 25, was in prison. He was refused permission to leave jail to travel to the UnitedStates to receive his prize. He has been in and out of jail since he was 16 because of his various demonstrations against the Cuban administration. In 1989 he was imprisoned for seeking to organize a demonstration outside the Soviet Embassy during the visit of then Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to Cuba. Later he was sentenced to additional time for “contempt.” Moya was forced out of Cuba after being freed from incarceration. In the United States, he is still protesting Cuba’s government. A political catalyst in Washington, D.C. Moya is forming a coalition of Cuban young people in the United States to promote democratic values and respect for human dignity in their homeland.


The following were 1991 current honorees:
Sauveur Pierre, 31, advacate for more than 200,000 migrant farmworkers in the sugar cane fields of South Florida each year. He uses the courts and legislative activity to improve the living conditions and working conditions of these workers. A person who taught himself English, Pierre worked with Florida Rural Legal Services to keep up with the legal problems of the workers. This agency says of him, “Without Sauveur’s unflagging enthusiasm and commitment, few of the farmworkers’ advances in the past three yours would have been possible.”

Carlos Toledo, 24, of Guatemala, coordinator of Casa Alianza’s (Covenant House in Guatemala) Street Educators Program. This agency’s charge is to protect 5,000 street children against police brutality and against growing up alone. To do this he must encourage these youngsters to accept, shelter, food, and clothing, to stop sniffing glue, to get an education, and protect them from their enemies, usually police officers or some type of security officer. He also addresses their cases through the courts. He averages 10 hours a day walking the streets to protect his children. To him life is a daily risk, but children come first.


Abubacar Sultan, 28, national director of Save the Children Federation, a program that trains children, 6-13 years of age, forced into the civil war in Mozambique. More than 200,000 children have been made orphans during this crisis. He has trained 500 workers in 50 of Mozambique’s war affected areas. He also conducts community seminars through army and police officers to sensitze them identifying these children. He also is a key figure in reuniting children with their parents, 4,000 children and families in all.

Maritala Lopez, 22, secretary of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Christian Committee of the Displaced of El Salvador (CRIPDES). As one of 14 children of a peasant family, Ms. Lopez had no formal education. She worked in the fields. She became a refugee after her father and two of her brothers were hanged. Then she learned to read and write, later helping to found CRIPDES. She barely escaped death after being among 65 members tortured and beaten for three days by Treasury Police in 1990. She continues to fight for the displaced, saying, “This sad reality (of my family’s suffering) has been a reason for me to become more conscious of the justness of my work for those in need.”


Special award winners were Ashley Black, 11, a student at the Frank J. Dugan Elementary School in Marlboro, N.J., who led a movement to ban hate games in the United States and around the world.

As an avid Nintendo fan, the outgoing and curious Black was interested in a story on the nightly news on computer games. Her mother did not want to let her watch because it reported on a growing trend of underground computer games in Europe in which players can pretend to be commandants in Nazi concentration camps. She watched anyway and was so upset that video games would be used for hate and racism that she was motivated to take action. Her testimony before Consumer Arffairs Committee began:


On April 29, 1991 something really caught my attention. Nazi video games were being sold in Europe and (were) soon to be sold underground in the United States. In the game you have to kill as many Jews and Turks as you can. I felt it was wrong to see people expressing their hate in video games in which children especially play. I do believe in the Furst Amendment, but this has nothing to do with that. This is promoting genocide. She got 2,000 signatures to stop this hate game.
Three Russian heroes received awards posthumously: Dmitri Komar, Ilya Krichevsky, and Vladimir Usov, who died in the August, 1991 failed coup in Russia. They received the highest civilian honor of their nation, Hero of the Soviet Union, by President Mikhail Gorbachev.
For the second year awards were presented to Boston area students who expressed their human rights views through music, art, poetry, and video. Comedian Sinbad presented the honors, Reebok Human Rights and Me awards, to Matt Tavares of Winchester High School, first prize, and Shun Jing Me of Charlestown High School, second prize, of $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. Performers KRS-One and Lady Miss Kier introduced the winners.

Grammy Award singer James Taylor announced the musical winners: Dana Turney of Wellesley High School, first, and Desmond Powell of Madison Park High School, second.
Actress Holly Robinson presented the video winners: May Vaughn of St. Gregory’s High School, Sendy Vaughn of Boston Technical School, and Hillary Gabbidon of Boston Latin Academy, all from the Roxbury Boys and Girls Club, first prize, and Cherry Ann Goodridge and Denise Williams from Cambridge Rindge and Latin, representing the Cambridge Community Art Center.
Poetry winners, introduced by actress C.C.H. Pounder, were Kate Murphy of Winchester High School, first prize, and Gerta Doreus, Boston English, second.

Closing out the awards ceremony was veteran artist Jackson Browne. He presented a posthumous award to the late concert promoter, Bill Graham, who guided the 1988 Amnesty International Human Rights Now! Tour, sponsored by Reebok.


Phoebe Snow sang “Amazing Grace.” Actress Elpidia Carrillo and musician Livingston Taylor closed the program with a rousing rendition of a statement of commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, followed by the audience singing “This Little Light of Mine.”
Audience response to the whole program was enthusiastic. Many young people in the audience expressed their ambition to strive to become a winner of one of the various awards made that evening.

In addition to President Carter and Fireman, members of the Reebok Human Rights Award Board of Advisors are:

Nasser Ega-Musa, director of external affairs, Reebok International Ltd., Peter Gabriel; Rafer Johnson, former Olympics star and president of California Special Olympics; Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, executive director, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights:
C. Joseph LaBonte, CEO, The Vantage Group; Angel Martinez, corporate vice president, Fashion Footwear Division; Michael Posner, executive director, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights; R. Stephen Rubin, chairman, Pentland Industries, plc.

Sting, Rose Styuron, poet and journalist; Marilyn Tam, president, Apparel Products Division, Reebok International Ltd., and Leonard Zakim, New England Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League.

W.E.B. Du Bois


DuboisCrusaders For Peace: A Book Review

Black civil rights activist, writer and scholar W.E.B. Du Bois is finally beginning to receive the attention and acclaim that he so well deserves. In September 1991, Discovery Enterprises,Ltd., a publishing company in Lowell, Massachusetts, released what is proving to be quite a popular biography of this unsung hero: W.E. B. Du Bois: Crusader for Peace, written by Kathryn Cryan-Hicks, writer and

W.E.B. Du Bois was born in 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. After graduating from Fisk University he went on to study at Harvard and the University of Berlin He was the first Black to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University. As early as the turn of the century, his sociological studies and papers on the African-American community and its history had earned him the title of the “Leading Social Scientist on Black America.”

He became well-known among the general population with the publication of his book of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, in 1903. This book became the most widely read of his twenty-one published works. It was in one of these essays that he emphasized his prediction that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.

“In 1905, Du Bois helped to organize the Niagra Movement, a forerunner of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.). It was in his role as editor of the N.A.A.C.P.’s magazine, The Crisis, that Du Bois was able to reach out to Black Americans, in particular young Black writers like Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen, who were profoundly influenced by him.

Du Bois also helped initiate the Pan-African movement. Working with people all over the world, he was able to organize several conferences with the goal of uniting people of African descent and gaining independence for the colonies in Africa.

Du Bois’ concern for human rights led to his involvement in the international peace movement. He spoke out against the anti-Red hysteria of the McCarthy era and encouraged cooperation with Russia and Red China. Cooperation was vital to world peace, he argued.

His honesty and commitment to world peace resulted in an indictment from the Federal government. In 1951, he was charged with refusing to register as a foreign agent.
For six years he and his wife, Shirley Graham Du Bois, were not allowed to travel outside the U.S. In 1953, the World Peace Council awarded Du Bois its International Peace Prize, but he was unable to be present at the Council’s European meeting to accept the award.

Although Du Bois was acquitted, his reputation was tarnished. Publishing companies
and newspapers were afraid to publish his writings.

At ninety-three years of age, he and his wife moved to Accra, Ghana, at the invitation of that country’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, to begin work on the Encyclopedia Africana — a work covering all aspects of African history and culture. Two years later, on August 27, 1963, the eve of the March on Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois died at his home in Accra.

The people and government of Ghana recognized the importance of Du Bois early on. His home in Accra was declared a national monument, and a library has been established there in his name. Our country has been slow to recognize his achievements. In February 1992, for Black history month, the Postal Department issued a stamp to honor Du Bois, a small step toward acknowledging his influence.

This biography is another step. It is an important one because it recognizes that Du Bois’ influence, like that of all Black history-makers, reaches out to all people, not just African-Americans. It reaches young and adult readers with a story that has not been told enough.

W.E.B. Du Bois: Crusader for Peace is one of a series of picture book biographies issued by Discovery Enterprises. Another book in the same series, of interest especially to students studying the abolition movement or women’s rights, is Lucretia Mott: Friend of Justice by Kemkrapp Sawyer. Contact the publisher directly at (800) 729-1720 for information on ordering and on how you can use these fine biographies as a fundraiser for civic and community groups.

W.E.B. Du Bois


W E B Du BoisOn the Backlash to the Previous Letter

After the May 1922 Issue of The Crisis Magazine, was published, W.E.B. Dubois was severely upbraided for his analysis of Lincoln. The following is his response to such criticism which was subsequently published in the September 1922 issue. We love to think of the great as flawless. We yearn in our imperfection toward perfection. Sinful, we envisage Righteousness.

As a result of this, no sooner does a great man die than we begin to whitewash him. We seek to forget all that was small and mean and unpleasant and remember the fine and brave and good. We slur over and explain away his inconsistencies, and at last there begins to appear, not the real man, but the tradition of the man -remote, immense perfect, cold and dead.


“Abraham Lincoln was a southern poor white, of illegitimate birth, poorly educated and unusually ugly, awkward, poorly dressed. He liked smutty stories and was a politician down to his toes.”


This sort of falsehood appeals to some folk. They want to dream their heroes true; they want their heroes all heroic with no feet of clay; and they are astonished, angered, hurt if someone speaks the grim, forgotten truth. They can see but one motive for such digging up of filth, for such evil speaking of the dead – and that is prurient love of evil.

Thus many of my readers were hurt by what I said of Lincoln. I am sorry to hurt them, for some of them were tried friends of me and my cause – particularly one like the veteran, wounded at Chickamauga and a staunch defender of our rights, who thinks my words “unkind and uncalled for.”

First and foremost, there comes a question of fact. Was what I said true or false? This I shall not argue. Any good library will supply the books, and let each interested reader judge. Only they should remember that, as one of many naive critics writes, “I know that there are among his early biographers those who say something to the same effect,” but against these he marshals the later words of those who want to forget. I leave the matter there. If my facts were false, my words were wrong – but were my facts false?

Beyond this, there is another and deeper question on which most of my critics dwell. They say, What is the use of recalling evil? What good will it do? Or as one phrases it,
“Is this proper food for your people” I think it is.


“And I love him not because he was perfect but because he was not and yet triumphed”


Abraham Lincoln was perhaps the greatest figure of the nineteenth century. Certainly of the five masters — Napoleon, Bismarck, Victoria, Browning and Lincoln — Lincoln is to me the most human and lovable. And I love him not because he was perfect but because he was not and yet triumphed. The world is full of illegitimate children.

The world is full of folk whose taste was educated in the gutter. The world is full of people born hating and despising their fellows. To these I love to say: See this man. He was one of you, and yet he became Abraham Lincoln.

Some may prefer to believe (as one correspondent intimates) that he was of Mayflower ancestry through the “Lincolns of Hingham!” Others may refuse to believe his taste in jokes and political maneuvers and list him as an original abolitionist and defender of Negroes.

But personally I revere him the more because up out of his contradictions and inconsistencies he fought his way to the pinnacles of earth, and his fight was within as well as without. I care more for Lincoln’s great toe than for the whole body of the perfect George Washington, of spotless ancestry, who “never told a lie” and never did anything else interesting.

No, I do not love evil as evil; I do not retail foul gossip about either the living or the dead; but I glory in that crucified humanity that can push itself up out of the mud of a miserable, dirty ancestry; who despite the clinging smirch of low tastes and shifty political methods, rose to be a great and good man and the noblest friend of the slave.

Do my colored friends really believe the picture would be fairer and finer if we forgot Lincoln’s unfortunate speech at Charleston, Illinois, in 1858? I commend that speech to the editors who have been having hysterics.

Abraham Lincoln said:

“I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the White and Black races — that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with White people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the White and Black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”
And in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the White race.

This was Lincoln’s word in 1858. Five years later he declared that Black slaves “are and henceforward shall be free.” And in 1864 he was writing to Hahn of Louisiana in favor of Negro suffrage.


The difficulty is that ignorant folk and inexperienced try continually to paint humanity as all good or all evil. Was Lincoln great and good? He was!

Well, then, all evils alleged against him are malicious lies, even if they are true. “Why should you wish to hold up to public gaze those defects of character you claim he possessed, knowing that he wrought so well?”

That is the very reason for telling the Truth. That is the reason for painting Cromwell’s mole as it was and not as some artists conceive it ought to have been. The scars and foibles and contradictions of the Great do not diminish but enhance the worth and meaning of their upward struggle: it was the bloody sweat that proved the human Christ divine; it was his true history and antecedents that proved Abraham Lincoln a Prince of Men.

Public Enemy Can’t Truss It


The Public Enemy’s account of the slave trade, this country’s worst crime.

Bass in your face
Not an eight track getting’
it good to the wood
so the people
Give you some a dat
reactin’ to the fax
that I kick and it stick
And it stay around
Pointin’ to the joint,
put the Budda down
Goin’, goin’, gettin’ to the roots
Ain’t givin’ it up
So turn me loose
But then again I got a story
That’s harder than the hard-core
Cost of the Holocaust
I’m talkin’ about the one still goin’ on
I know Where I’m from ,
not dum-diddie-dum
From the base motherland
The place of the drum
Invaded by the whacked diddie whacked
Fooled the black, left us faded
King and Chief probably had a big beef
Because of dat now I grit my teeth
So here’s a song to the strong
‘Bout a shake of a snake
And the smile went along wit dat
Can’t truss it

Kickin’ wicked rhymes
Like a fortune teller
Cause the wickedness done by Jack
Where everybody at
Divided and sold
For liquor and the gold
Smacked in the back
For the other man to mack
Now the story that I’m kickin’ is gory
Little Rock where they be
Dockin’ this boat
No hope I’m shackled
Plus gang tackled
By the other hand swingin’ the rope
Wearin’ red, white and blue Jack and his crew
The guy’s authorized beat down for the brown
Man to the man, each one so it teach one
Born to terrorize sisters and every brother
One love who said it
I know Whodini sang it
But the hater taught hate
that’s why we gang bang it
Beware of the hand when it’s coming from the left
I ain’t trippin just watch ya step
Can’t truss it

Gettin’ me bruised on the cruise
What I got to lose, lost all contact
Got me laying on my back
Rolling in my own leftover
When I roll over, I roll over in somebody else’s
90 F-kin days on a slave ship
Count’ em fallin’ off two, three, fo’ hun’ed at a time
Blood in the wood and it’s mine
I’m chokin’ on spit feeling pain
Like my brain bein’ chained
Still gotta give it what I got
But it’s hot in the day, cold in the night
But I thrive to survive, I pray to God to stay alive
Attitude boils up inside
And that ain’t it (think I’ll never quit)
Still I pray to get my hands ’round
The neck of the man wit the whip
3 months pass, they brand a label on my ass

To signify
I’m on the microphone
Sayin’ 1555
How I’m livin’
We been livin’ here
Livin’ ain’t the word I been givin’
Haven’t got
Classify us in the have-nots
Fightin’ haves
‘Cause it’s all about money
When it comes Armageddon
Mean I’m gettin’ mine
Here I am turn it over Sam
427 to the year
Do you understand
That’s why it’s hard
Fore the black to love the land
Once again
Bass in your face