Mary Modjeska Monteith Simkins, sometimes called the matriarch of Civil Rights activists in South Carolina
Modjeska Monteith was raised to be an activist, although it’s doubtful her parents would have phrased it that way. Her father, a master brick mason, and her mother, a schoolteacher who only quit teaching when Modjeska was born, were affluent by the standards of the day; their financial independence enabled them to stress the importance of racial pride, Christian mission, community service, and respect for education. Her father, the son of a white lawyer and his domestic servant (and a former slave), did not want his family to live subservient to the white world and emphasized the importance of supporting one’s own people. He kept pictures of famous black people in the home, and he made sure his family reached out to those neighbors who had less. Through their church, they often visited and cared for the ill or the desperately poor. The family supported black-owned businesses and were even part owners of a black-owned grocery store. Without realizing it, her upbringing was preparing Modjeska to be one of the “talented tenth.”
Our march route; about three miles on a sunny, but chilly, day.
I’m not quite ready to move on to the “what’s next” part of this movement, so I hope you’ll indulge one more diary about Saturday’s March for Our Lives. Alonso del Arte did a post on Saturday at the Orange about the Detroit march (Detroit students march for their lives), but I want to add my own observations and comments, as well as a few of the pictures I took along the way.
Sculpture dedicated to the Foot Soldiers of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham, Alabama
In the spring of 1963, the leadership of the SCLC and SNCC were determined to move on Birmingham, AL, viewed as the most dangerous city in Alabama (in part because it was the power base of Bull Connor). There were concerns that the Movement had stalled. Less than a year earlier, attempts had been made to desegregate facilities in Albany, GA, but the Albany police chief, Laurie Pritchett, had stymied their efforts at gaining national attention by meeting non-violent direct action with his own tactics of non-violence. Although protesters had been arrested, violence was kept at a minimum, and protesters were dispersed to jails throughout Georgia, depriving them of the ability to continue their protests in the jails. The leadership knew that Bull Connor, Birmingham’s racist Commissioner of Public Safety, would show no such restraint. If national attention was to be gained, and if the Kennedy Administration was to be pushed into action, it would take a major, but dangerous, push in Birmingham.
Leaflet issued by the Women’s Political Council calling for a boycott of Montgomery busses.
There are trailblazers and torchbearers. The trailblazer is the pioneer; the torchbearer follows and amplifies the path of the trailblazer. (There is no judgment implied in these designations, and one can be a trailblazer at one moment, while a torchbearer at another.) The students who sat at lunch counters in Greensboro and Nashville were trailblazers; one could make the argument that the Freedom Riders were torchbearers. Moms Demand Action/Everytown for Gun Safety are trailblazers; the students of Parkland and the March for Our Lives are carrying the torch. The Women’s Political Council of Montgomery, AL and Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, and Rosa Parks were trailblazers; Dr. King and the residents of Montgomery, who organized and conducted the Montgomery bus boycott, were the torchbearers. Today’s post is about the Women’s Political Council, without whom there would never have been a Montgomery bus boycott.
Open concept; unified color theme; minimal clutter. What more could a person want? (Pets, children, and red wine drinkers not allowed.)
There’s not going to be a political post today for the Village; I once again swapped my day with janesaunt at DK, so Thursday will be my Village political post both here and at the Orange. In the meantime, since so many of us are involved with or considering downsizing, moving, and decluttering, I thought it would be a good time to review many of the hints and tips available to us from the HGTV-like perspective, as well as the “been there, done that, still don’t have my own tv show” viewpoint.
The Dream: The KonMari Method of Decluttering
One of the tenets of Marie Kondo’s Japanes method of decluttering is to hold each object in your hand and ask yourself if the item sparks joy. If it does, it’s a keeper; if not, it gets tossed.
The Reality: There’s a Method?
And do bags count as an object, or do we have to open them up and hold each individual piece that was jammed into them 5-10 years ago?
The Dream: KonMari not for you? Use the Toss, Donate, or Save approach.
This is a way to declutter that is more clinical than emotional. Decisions still need to be made, but with boxes clearly marked as toss, donate, or save, the pressure is on.
The Reality: Check your local ordinances.
The Dream: Stainless steel appliances are still high on homebuyers’ wish lists.
The Reality: Does this count?
The Dream: When preparing your home for sale, it should be depersonalized so that potential buyers can envision it as their space, rather than as your home.
The Reality: Stock up on spackle, find the touch-up paint, and plan on spending hours patching holes.
The Dream: When selling one’s home, paint walls in neutral colors and utilize pops of color in your decor.
The Reality: Oh, c’mon…just took down all the pictures and patched the holes, and now it’s time to make my home look like a rental apartment? If bold is good enough for this house, it’s good enough for mine!
The Dream: If you have a room that has become a dumping ground, clean it out and give it a defined purpose.
The Reality: Your realtor might cry.
The Dream: Be creative, and keep to a budget by upcycling or repurposing existing pieces.
The Reality: Or not…
Happy spring cleaning, decluttering, staging, or moving!
I was raised in the Christian, United Methodist tradition, and it’s a tradition I still [mostly] embrace. I don’t proselytize, but sometimes there is a universality to a message one hears in church, and yesterday was one of those days.
Years later though she could recall almost every physical detail of what it had been like to sit there in that course on English literature, Diane Nash could remember nothing of what Professor Robert Hayden had said. What she remembered instead was her fear. A large clock on the wall had clicked slowly and loudly; each minute which was subtracted put her nearer to harm’s way….It was always the last class that she attended on the days that she and her colleagues assembled before they went downtown and challenged the age-old segregation laws at the lunch counters in Nashville’s downtown shopping center. No matter how much she steeled herself, no matter how much she believed in what they were doing, the anticipatory fear never left her.
Excerpt from the prologue of The Children by David Halberstam
I’ve been sensing a great weariness in myself and others, and as I was thinking about that over the weekend, I realized that music had somehow become a neglected part of my routine. It was a startling revelation, since I have so often relied on music to help me access and embrace emotions that I generally hold inside. Music can make me feel vulnerable yet invincible; sad but determined; angry but joyous. Today I’m sharing some of the songs that have become part of the playlist of my life: sometimes to strengthen me for resistance; sometimes to calm me; sometimes for the sheer outpouring of joy. Please share some of your songs in the comments.
Photograph of Septima Clark, ca. 1960, Avery Photo Collection, 10-9, Courtesy of the Avery Research Center.
Like many white folk, my knowledge of the icons of the civil rights movement is limited at best and thoroughly deficient at worst. When I read that Dr. King had once described Septima Clark as the “Mother of the Movement” and realized that I had no knowledge of her role, I knew it was time to do some digging. As usual, this is just an overview, intended to whet your curiosity and encourage you to do some digging of your own.
A teacher and a life-long educator, Clark is most remembered for her role in establishing Citizenship Schools, which had the goal of providing full citizenship through education. In 1961, she became the SCLC director of education and teaching and traveled throughout the South, directing workshops which taught participants their constitutional rights, how to organize, as well as teaching literacy. Even more mundane topics like how to write a check were covered. Clark felt that literacy was the keystone for advancement: