Rally for Stevie Wonder

 

The Story Board Game Blog Series Entry II

We are proud to present our second blog in this series and the first by one of our NABS Historians, Sister Gloria Black of Buffalo, NY.   Sister Black’s blog will take many of us down a beautiful memory lane. Take a moment to read and send Sister Black a reply.

Rally for Stevie Wonder  by Gloria Black

In 2012 while surfing the web in pursuit of where do I go from here, after self-publication of two family books,  Seek and Ye Shall Find and Operation Save a Generation, I found the National Association of Black Storytellers’ website.  I joined online. More seeking led me to the Tradition Keepers: Black Storytellers of Western New York of which I became a member.

Illness and winter nights kept me from being involved the way I wanted to be;  yet I didn’t give up.  God’s time is the only way for me to go with a smile!  I can’t thank Mama Linda enough for the board game.  “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”  When  NABS reminded me that we don’t just tell the story, we live the story, I got the Holy Spirit and flashbacks of yesteryears.

For my personal assignment, I chose question ten of the board game, which asks:  HOW MANY CIVIL RIGHTS/HUMAN RIGHTS DEMONSTRATIONS, SIT-INS, PROTESTS, MARCHES, RALLIES, ETC. HAVE YOU PARTICIPATED IN?  NAME THEM.

Stevie Wonder for BlogDSC02011

There were two rallies and many protests.  My first rally took place in the 1980’s.  I attended a concert given by the great musician, Stevie Wonder.  Needless to say, the concert was sold out.  Stevie of course rocked the house with his performance, but when he did his new single, “Happy Birthday”, he brought down the house.  We all were in the groove with his lyrics and his music.  The emcee asked everyone to stand and join in.  That’s when the spirit became intense.  The audience began to shout that we wanted a holiday passed by Congress to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  When the lights were turned on, I saw that I wasn’t the only one with a tear-soaked face.  We were told that petitions were at the concert as well as in circulation around the world and that each one of us could sign our names before we left the building.

Stevie Wonder popularized the campaign in 1980 and hosted the Rally for Peace press conference in 1981. Six million signatures were collected for petitions to Congress to pass the law making Dr. King’s birthday an official holiday.  According to Paul Andrews (1985) of The Seattle Times, this petition was the largest petition drive in favor of an issue in U.S. history.

Finally, at the White House Rose Garden on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan, signed a bill proposed by Representative Katie Hall of Indiana, creating a Federal holiday to honor Dr. King.   This long-awaited tribute was observed for the first time on January 20th, 1986.

A statement by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in his book, The Mis-Education of the Negro, sums up in part the NABS philosophy:    “The Negro can be made proud of his past only by approaching  it scientifically themselves, and giving their own story to the world” (p. 124)

References
Andrews, P. (1985, January). Making the calendar. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from
http://www.seattletimes.nwsource.com/special/mlk/perspectives/holiday/

Black, G. (2010). Operation save a generation. Cedar Rapids: Eagle Book Bindery.

Black, G. (2010). Seek and ye shall find. Cedar Rapids: Eagle Book Bindery.

Woodson, C. G. (1933). The Mis-Education of the Negro. Kindle Version.

Photo Credit:

Stevie Wonder – Thomas Hawk – Flickr Photos

Wax Statue of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr.  from The National Great Blacks in Wax  Museum , Baltimore, MD.

(NABS Festival and Conference Tour, 2013) – Linda Cousins-Newton, Photographer.

 

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If you are interested in submitting a blog for publication, please contact Caroliese Frink Reed, NABS Education Chair, at afamstorytellers@gmail.com  or Sister Linda Cousins-Newton, Blog Administrator, at Akan@aol.com.