Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Voted...Early! Will You?

On Wednesday, October 27, 2010, by my actions, I paid tribute to those who bought my privilege with their lives, limbs, persecution and livelihood.  I VOTED...Early! 

In tribute to the many who made this possible, I want to highlight a few of the individuals and key legislation that helped to codify this right. 

U.S. Constitution - Amendment 15
(Proposed 2/26/1869; Ratified 2/3/1870)

 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Fannie Lou Hamer, (1917-1977) Voting and Civil Rights Leader
A native of Mississippi she stood against scurrilous discrimination and racism to champion voting and civil rights in the state of Mississippi.  In 1962, Fannie Lou Hamer was evicted from her home after attempting to register to vote in her home state and in 1963, she was arrested on a false charge and brutally and savagely beaten by police in Winona, Mississippi.  On August 22, 1964, Ms. Hamer delivered a historical speech at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Also see,
2.  Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired,
3. 1964 Speech at the Democratic National Convention,

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner--Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) workers murdered in Mississippi

James Chaney, a 21-year-old black man from Meridian, Mississippi; Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old white Jewish anthropology student from New York; and Michael Schwerner, a 24-year-old white Jewish CORE organizer and former social worker also from New York, were killed by the police and the Ku Klux Klan on June 21, 1964 in Neshoba County, Mississippi while working there on voter registration efforts. 

Voting Rights Act of 1965
  •  Introduced in the Senate as S 1564 by Mike Mansfield (D–MT) and Everett Dirksen (R–IL) on March 18, 1965. 
  • Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965.
 This law prohibited the use of discriminatory voting practices, such as poll taxes and literacy tests, that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans voters.  See also, 

File:Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr. - Voting Rights Act.jpg
President Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr. and other Civil Rights Leaders at the signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6,1965.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Golden Voice of Smokie Norful, Masterful Musician and Singer

Just sharing some inspiration from Pastor Smokie Norful.  May it bless you.

Pastor Smokie Norful

NPR Interview & Performance, May 14, 2009

I Need You Now, Live Performance

For more information on Pastor Smokie Norful, see

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Passing of Women History Makers: Albertina Walker and Apostle Betty P. Peebles

Within the last few days, two legendary women transcended the earthly boundaries of this world to be in the presence of the God they proclaimed in song, music, and sermon.  On Friday, October 8, Gospel Legend Ms. Albertina Walker, also known as the Queen of Gospel, died at the age of 81 in Chicago, Illinois.  Less than a week later, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area pauses to remember the life of Apostle Betty P. Peebles, the Senior Pastor of Jericho City of Praise in Landover, Maryland who died on Tuesday, October 12.  She was 76.  Both of these women have made tremendous contributions in their respective fields that deserve our recognition and respect.

Ms. Albertina Walker
Gospel Music Legend
Queen Albertina's career, that began as a protege of the late legendary Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, spanned over 60 years.  She recorded hits like "Please Be Patient With Me" and "I Can Go To God In Prayer".  She was peers with many of Gospel's greatest artists like the late Rev. James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar, and Dorothy Norwood.  She sang with the same fervor whether she was singing for U.S. Presidents, international dignitaries like Nelson Mandela, or at a local music festival.  As I listened to the radio this past Friday during The Yolanda Adams Morning Show I concluded from  Gospel Artist Yolanda Adams' comments honoring Ms. Albertina, that she will be remembered not only for her contributions to the idiom of Traditional Gospel Music, but also for mentoring and supporting younger artists.

Apostle Betty Peebles, preaching the Gospel
Apostle Betty Poindexter Peebles, with the support of her husband, the late Bishop James R. Peebles, Sr., built a church that started in 1964 from very humble beginnings to a campus that includes more than 150 acres housing a 10,000 seat sanctuary, a school for pre-kindergarten to High School students, a Christian college, and an administrative office building.  The church also owns a senior assisted living facility found not far from the church campus.  The Jericho City of Praise, located adjacent to Fedex Field where the Washington Redskins play football, leases parking spaces to season ticket holders during football season.  What an innovative way to get an offering! The Washington Post said of Betty Peebles, "[She] distinguished herself not only as a visionary who saw the expanded role her church could play, but also as one of very few women to helm a megachurch. By 2004, she had become the only woman leading any of the country's largest 100 churches." 

Apostle Peebles endured great tragedy in the lost of her husband during the building process of the Landover location and the subsequent death of two of her sons, Jaime Jr. and John.  Her eldest son, Jaime, died less than four months after her husband's death.  In the midst of grief and sickness, she continued to teach, caste vision, and pour into the members and community of Jericho City of Praise.  I will also remember Apostle Peebles as one who proclaimed that "Jesus Is Lord!".  Her son, Joel R. Peebles, Sr.  will succeed his mother as Senior Pastor.  

Apostle Peebles and her accomplishments were one of the motivations that initiated the planning of the Women's History Makers Event scheduled for March 2011.  This event will honor women, from the WashingtonD.C. metropolitan area, including Maryland and Virginia, who are history makers, pioneers, and trailblazers in the fields of:
  • Art & Literature
  • Business
  • Civic/Religious Leadership
  • Media
  • Medicine/Science
  • Music and Entertainment
  • Public Service & Education
  • Sports
Please stay tuned for more details. 

1.  Carla K. JohnsonQueen of Gospel' Albertina Walker dies at age 81The Chicago Tribune, October 8, 2010 

2. Hamil Harris and Emma Brown, Jericho City of Praise co-founder Betty Peebles dies; grew Pr. George's megachurch into social, economic force, The Washington Post, 10/13/10

Thursday, October 7, 2010

All Things Clark Sisters

The Clark Sisters are coming to the Washington, D.C. metro area this week for Radio One's Spirit of Praise Concert.  As a lifelong fan, I am truly excited and even though, I don't have tickets yet, I am believing that I will be in the "House".  As a way to celebrate "The Golden Girls", a name used by Karen Clark Sheard to refer to her sisters, I am posting some vintage/throwback pictures I have of "The Girls" from their visit to Howard University in 1982 for the Homecoming Gospel Concert.  That was my freshman year at Howard and they gave us great church that night. 

Special mention of the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, the matriarch of the Clark Family, past International President of the Music Department of the Churches of God In Christ, teacher, and just a really anointed woman of God.  Experiencing a musical where Dr. Clark directed a mass choir in Oakland, California in 1979 changed my life.  She was a great mentor and I was blessed to be in her presence several times and even host her in Washington, D.C. on one occasion. 

The Clark Sisters are Jacky, Twinkie, Denise (she is a sister and one of the original members of the group) Dorinda, and Karen.  I am really happy to see the success and recognition they are currently receiving.  They deserve it.  They have put the work in.  Twinkie Clark is a legendary songwriter and musician (she also attended Howard University); Karen is a singer extraordinaire; Dorinda gives you all she's got every time she sings; and Jacky is both a singer and a registered nurse. 

Well, for those who don't know, 'you better ask somebody' and check out the Grammy-Award winning  Clark Sisters at Reid Temple in Glendale, Maryland on October 9, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.

Enjoy the throwback pics and song, "You Brought The Sunshine"!

Jamila Woods & Karen Clark Sheard

Quintin Robertson & Dr. Mattie Moss Clark

Jacky Clark Chisholm

Denise Clark Morrison

Twinkie Clark & Nona Ogunsula
Dorinda Clark Cole

Friday, October 1, 2010

Not Forgotten: Tribute to Four People in My Life Who Have Been Lost to Breast Cancer

Carolyn Hodges Hickman (1966 - 1998), Howard University graduate and Nurse
     Carolyn was a beautiful young lady whom I met through one of my linesisters (a sorority sister that pledged with me). She was also a member of my church. Her faith made an indelible and unforgettable impression on my life. Carolyn was a daughter, sister, and wife.

Carolyn's life inspired me and FOR THIS CAUSE, Inc. to partner with Safeway Food Stores (Eastern Region) in 2003 to establish a free breast cancer screening program in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area for young women under 40 years old who did not have adequate insurance coverage.  Through the partnership grant, over 100 women were enabled to receive a free mammogram.

Kayla Parker Tolbert
Kayla Parker (1971 - 2007), Songwriter, Producer, Singer, and Gospel Artist
Although I did not personally know Kayla Parker, she inspired me as a songwriter. "He's Concerned About You", a song written by Kayla and recorded by Cece Winans and Vanessa R. Williams, is a blessing to me every time I hear it.  She was the wife of  David E. Tolbert.

For more information on Kayla, see this link:

To see a clip of Kayla performing, see this link:

Cheryl Albert Reed
Cheryl Albert Reed (1967 - 2009), Howard University graduate, Entrepreneur,  and Delta Sigma Theta Soror
     I had the pleasure of meeting Cheryl as pledgee for Delta Sigma Theta at Howard University in 1988.  She was such a sweet person with a lively spirit and wonderful smile.  The last time I saw Cheryl was at her home in Atlanta in 2006.  Although she was in treatment for the disease, she was hosting a Baby Shower for one of my linesisters. During my visit to her home, we got to spend a little time together when she shared with me some of the creative things she was working on.  Cheryl was a daughter, soror, wife, and mother. Such a wonderful woman, Cheryl you are not forgotten. 

Cheryl was featured in a CNN story by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Triple Negative Breast Cancer.  For more information, see the link below:

Jacqueline P. Harrison, Washington, D.C. resident and Breast Cancer volunteer
     I met Jacqueline in 2002 during my work as the Executive Director of FOR THIS CAUSE, Inc., a non-profit organization I founded to raise awareness about the breast cancer mortality and high incidence rates among young African American women under 40 years old in Washington, D.C.  Although Jacqueline was over 40 and fighting the disease at the time, she volunteered with my young unknown organization and worked very hard to get the word out about our annual community event.  She had a wonderful spirit and an illuminating smile.  I so was touched by her generous, giving and positive spirit that the organization named an award in her honor.  Jacqueline was also a mother.

Dedication to Breast Cancer Survivors and the memory of those who have succumbed: 
"He's Concerned About You"
written by Kayla Parker and performed by CeCe Winans

Feel free to give a shout out (name) to a person who you lost to breast cancer, but you have not forgotten how they impacted your life.

[Special thanks to Renee Pinkston Arnold, Christol L. Powell and Wendy Bowser Smith for their contributions to this Tribute.]