Saturday, March 27, 2010

Awesome Site


I had to let you know how much I enjoyed reading the interviews on your site. I am a 49-year-old, who grew up in Bristol, Va. and moved to Colorado in 1970. Currently, my husband, Rex and I own and operate the Scott County Virginia Star in Gate City. I found your site when I was trying to find something about Doretha Ross and I read her story.

I love that you have preserved your history but it breaks my heart to read the about injustice and suffering that you all have to live with.

It is my hope that maybe someday racism, sexism, and all the other "isms" will be wiped out of our vocabulary.

Good luck and I look forward to the unveiling of your state historic sign.

Thanks for keeping history alive,

Lisa Watson McCarty
Scott County Virginia Star
PO Box 218
Gate City, VA 24251
Fax 276.386.2354

Answers to "Can You Identify These Folks?"


The picture is from 1954, and this is the staff of the Douglass High School Newsletter and the Annual Staff.

Thanks to everybody who offered guesses, and congratulations to those, including Helen Bunting who named just about everybody.

More to come!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Move Over Law


A Driving Law that some may not be aware of...

New Law: If a patrol car is pulled over to the side of the road with their
lights flashing, you have to move to the next lane (away from the stopped
vehicle) or slow down to 20 mph.. Every state except Hawaii and Maryland
and the D.C. has this law. In California, the "Move-over" law become
operative on January 1, 2010.

My son got a ticket on Pleasant Hill coming back from Wal-Mart. A Duluth
police car (turned out it was 2 police cars) was on the side of the road
giving a ticket to someone else. My son slowed down to pass but did not move
into the other lane. The second police car immediately pulled him over and
gave him a ticket.

My son and I had never heard of the law. It is a fairly new law that
states if any emergency vehicle is on the side of the road with its lights
flashing, if you are able, you are to move into the next lane. The cost of
the ticket was $754 (in Georgia , that is), with 3 points on your license and
a mandatory court appearance.

Click here to go to the "Move Over America" website.

Please let everyone you know who drives about this new law.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Every Urban Prep senior is college-bound

100 percent of first senior class at all male, all African-American Englewood academy is accepted to universities

Urban Prep Academy senior Keith Greer, along with his classmates, celebrates the news they will receive a free prom in Chicago because 100 percent of the graduating class was accepted into 4-year colleges or universities. (Chicago Tribune photo by Heather Charles / March 5, 2010)

Four years ago, Bryant Alexander watched his mother weep.

She stared down at a muddle of D's and F's on his eighth-grade report card and threatened to kick him out. He had barely passed elementary school, and high school wasn't even on his radar.

"Something just clicked," Alexander, now 18, said. "I knew I had to do something."

On Friday, Alexander proudly swapped his high school's red uniform tie for a striped red and gold one — the ritual at Englewood's Urban Prep Academy for Young Men that signifies a student has been accepted into college.

As the Roseland resident and 12 others tied their knots, Chicago's only public all-male, all-African-American high school fulfilled its mission: 100 percent of its first senior class had been accepted to four-year colleges.

Mayor Richard Daley and city schools chief Ron Huberman surprised students at the all-school assembly Friday morning with congratulations, and school leaders announced that as a reward, prom would be free.

The achievement might not merit a visit from top brass if it happened at one of the city's elite, selective enrollment high schools. But Urban Prep, a charter school that enrolls all comers in one of Chicago's most beleaguered neighborhoods, faced much more difficult odds.

Only 4 percent of this year's senior class read at grade level as freshmen, said Tim King, the school's founder and CEO.

"There were those who told me that you can't defy the data," King said. "Black boys are killed. Black boys drop out of high school. Black boys go to jail. Black boys don't go to college. Black boys don't graduate from college.

"They were wrong," he said.

Every day, before attending advanced placement biology classes and lectures on changing the world, students must first pass through the neighborhood, then metal detectors.

"Poverty, gangs, drugs, crime, low graduation rates, teen pregnancy — you name it, Englewood has it," said Kenneth Hutchinson, the school's director of college counseling, who was born and raised in Englewood.

He met the students the summer before they began their freshman year during a field trip to Northwestern University, the first time many of them had ever stepped foot on a college campus. At the time, Hutchinson was Northwestern's assistant director of undergraduate admissions. Inspired by what he'd seen, he started working for Urban Prep two months later.

"I'm them," he said Friday as he fought back tears. "Being accepted to college is the first step to changing their lives and their communities."

Hutchinson plays a major role in the school, where college is omnipresent. Students are assigned college counselors from day one. To prepare students for the next level, the school offers a longer than typical day — about 170,000 minutes longer, over four years, than other city schools — and more than double the usual number of English credits, King said

Even the school's voice-mail system has a student declaring "I am college-bound" before asking callers to dial an extension.

The rigorous academic environment and strict uniform policy of black blazers, red ties and khakis isn't for everyone. The first senior class began with 150 students. Of those who left, many moved out of the area and some moved into neighborhoods that were too dangerous to cross to get to the school, King said. Fewer than 10 were expelled or dropped out, he said.

At last count, the 107 seniors gained acceptance to a total of 72 different colleges, including Northwestern University, Morehouse College, Howard University, Rutgers University and University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Alexander was accepted to DePaul University.

While college acceptance is an enormous hurdle to jump, school leaders said they know their job isn't done; they want to make sure the students actually attend.

To that aim, King said, staff made sure that every student has completed the dreaded Free Application for Federal Student Aid, lest the red tape deter them.

Later in the year, the school plans to hold a college signing day where every student is to sign a promise to go to college, he said. Staff will stay in touch through the summer and hopefully in the first years of school.

"We don't want to send them off and say, ‘Call us when you're ready to make a donation to your alma mater,' " King said. "If we fulfill our mission, that means they not only are accepted to college, but graduate from it."

For now, students are enjoying the glow of reaching their immediate goal.

Normally, it takes 18-year-old Jerry Hinds two buses and 45 minutes to get home from school. On the day the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana was to post his admission decision online at 5 p.m., he asked a friend to drive him to his home in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

He went into his bedroom, told his well-wishing mother this was something he had to do alone, closed the door and logged in.

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" he remembers screaming. His mother burst in and began crying.

That night he made more than 30 phone calls, at times shouting "I got in" on his cell phone and home phone at the same time.

"We're breaking barriers," he said. "And that feels great."
Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Caring for Daddy

Kingsport man has spent last 31 years in nursing home



Willard Robinson was only in his early 50s when a stroke robbed him of the ability to use his right side. Following the stroke, Willard’s three children, Susan Robinson, Kathy Robinson and Donald Robinson Sr., each tried, at some point in time, to keep him at their homes.

Thirty-one years ago, the children of Willard Robinson (center) made the difficult decision to have their father live in a Kingsport nursing home, after a stroke he suffered required such care. Now 85, Robinson is often visited by his children Kathy Robinson (left), Donald Robinson Sr., and Susan Robinson. Photo by David Grace —

But with his many physical impairments, the task of caring for their dad at home just became too daunting.
“We just weren’t able to take care of Daddy like he needed to be taken care of. So, we chose, as a family together, to put him in a nursing facility,” Susan said.
And though Susan admits it was a very difficult decision to make — most residents are much older than just 53 when they are admitted into a nursing home — the family knew from the beginning it was the right one.
“We knew if he was in a facility we would know he was getting the care he needed,” she said.
Willard just celebrated his 85th birthday this month and has been a resident of Kingsport’s Holston Manor for the past 31 years, making him not only one of the oldest residents there, but also one of the residents who has lived there the longest.
“I really wanted to bring Daddy out at one time and have him try to come live with me again. But he didn’t want to come out. He’s been here for so long, and it’s a big world out there now,” said Kathy. “Everything’s changed. It’s not like it was when he was younger. It’s different now.”
Susan said she also tried more than once to bring her dad home to live with her.
“I took him out to try to take care of him. He lived with me for a few weeks. It was difficult. I had children, and it was hard to take care of kids and him, too. So, I chose to bring him back. I knew because of his situation, it would be best for him,” she said.
Although Willard’s physical capabilities are somewhat limited and his speech is just a bit slurred, his children say he still loves to tell stories and make those around him laugh.
“It’s just such a blessing that he’s still with us and his mind is so sharp,” said Susan. Willard doesn’t complain about his situation. He’s accepted the hand he’s been dealt. “I like it here. I guess I had to like it because when I had a stroke, I had to come here. But it’s best for me,” Willard said. He does point out, though, that his positive outlook comes from a higher power. “It’s the good Lord. He keeps me positive,” he said. But a person can’t spend more than 30 years in a nursing home and not think about the things of his former life. “The hardest part about being here is worrying and wanting to go anywhere I want to go and knowing I can’t. When I get to thinking about things I used to do before and I can’t do now, that’s hard,” Willard said. “I watch the birds at the bird feeder and it makes me wonder about the world out there.” Outdoor activities were a big part of Willard’s younger years. “I used to play ball. I loved to play ball. I used to hunt in the wintertime. I loved to fish and I see people fishing on TV. I think about stuff I can’t do anymore and that’s what hurts so bad,” he said. He said he also thinks a lot about the people in his life he’s had to say goodbye to. “Except for my children, everybody’s gone. I lost my mother and my dad when I was 20 years old,” Willard said. “I’ve been on my own a long time.” Prior to his stroke, Willard says he worked at a tire and recapping store on Center Street and then at Eastman, which he says was where he was employed when he had his stroke. “I worked out there a good little while and made it pretty good,” he said. And though it is a different world out there today than what Willard once knew, he says all of the changes haven’t been so bad. Willard, an African-American born in 1925, says he never thought he’d live to see the day that a black man was elected president of the United States. “I never thought it would happen. Never did,” he said. “But I feel so proud to have lived to see it happen. And I know there’ll be another one again some day.” Kathy says her dad was “overwhelmed” with the outcome of the 2008 election. “I bought him an Obama shirt that he’d wear around. He loved his shirt,” she said. Willard jokes with his children and tells them he’s going to run in the next presidential election. “It’d sure be nice to have all that money the president gets,” he tells them. Willard does realize, however, that not everyone shares his excitement over President Obama. But, like with a lot of things, he uses his sense of humor to deal with it. “One day there was a white lady in here from Mississippi. She said she didn’t like the president. I asked her why. She said, ‘Because he’s black.’ “I said, ‘What? What’s wrong with black? Ain’t that pretty?’ he laughs as he points to the skin on his own arm. “She just didn’t know what to say.” Even though their dad has been in a nursing facility most of their adult lives, Donald, Kathy and Susan all have fond memories of their dad and stories to share about him that still make the four of them laugh togethe r.
“When Daddy was younger some man got his eye knocked out and Daddy whittled a piece of wood and made it look like an eye and tried to put it in that man’s head. That’s what Daddy’s nickname was when he was growing up — Wood Eye — because he tried to stick a wood eye in that man’s head,” Kathy said.
Coming to visit their father at Holston Manor for more than three decades has become “the norm” for the Robinsons. They’ve accepted that this is his home and they’re OK with that.
“It’s been a peace of mind for all of us, knowing he’s been well-taken care of all these years in this facility,” Susan said. “They’ve taken real good care of him. We appreciate the care that they’ve given to Daddy and all their hard work. And we know we can get up and come here anytime, day and night and check on him and he’s OK.”
Kathy agrees.
“We can go to sleep at night knowing Daddy’s OK,” she said.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can You Identity These Folks?


We had so much fun with the last one, so here's another picture from our past.. Do you know these Douglass folks?


These guys were in charge of school news letters, and also the layout for the school annual, I believe.
This picture was taken in the historic Douglass High School Gym.
If you're in the picture, you're disqualified LOL!

I know who they are.. I just don't know the order.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Project Vote Smart: Look Up Your OWN Politician!

Ever wonder about the voting record of your politician? How about the one that makes a lot of noise, and never has anything positive to say?

By going to Project Vote Smart, you can look up everything you ever want to know about every politician and Congress person before you vote for them, for whatever reason. You'll find biographies, history of their entire voting record, stance on current and previous issues, etc.

Be informed, BEFORE you cast your vote!

To go to Project Vote Smart, please click here.

Syracuse University Looking for African-Americans

If you know of anyone who might be interested, please send this to them.

Syracuse University has 10 Full Rides for African American Men and Women Interested in Studying Architecture. Mark Robbins, Dean of Syracuse University's School of Architecture is desperately seeking young men and women of color interested in pursuing a five year professional degree in Architecture. He says he's deeply committed to bringing diversity to his field and has scholarship money set aside to fully cover education costs for 10 students. He says that Hispanic enrollment in the school has increased substantially, but it's been harder to attract Blacks.

Syracuse University School of Architecture has a great reputation and this seems like a terrific opportunity, so please pass this on to everyone you know.

Contact: Mark Robbins, Dean, School of Architecture (315) 443-2256 (315) 443-2256 (315) 443-2256 (315) 443-2256 (315) 443-2256 (315) 443-2256 (315) 443-2256 http://soa.syr. edu/index. php_School of Architecture

Syracuse University
201 Slocum Hall
Syracuse , NY 13244-1250

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things.....

A little boy was waiting for his mother to come out of the grocery store. As he waited, he was approached by a man who asked, "Son, Can You tell me where the Post Office is?"

The little boy replied, "Sure! Just go straight down this street a coupla blocks and turn to your right."

The man thanked the boy kindly and said, "I'm the new pastor in town.
I'd like for you to come to church on Sunday. I'll show you how to get to Heaven."

The little boy replied with a chuckle. "Awww, come on... You don't even know the way to the Post Office...."