Tag Archives: Point/Counterpoint

Patricia Robert Harris ~ Women’s History Month



National Museum of African American History and Culture
Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page From Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.
A Page From Our American Story
A Higher Standard: Patricia Roberts Harris
Patricia Roberts Harris sworn in as US Ambassador to Luxembourg
Patricia Harris in her swearing in ceremony
to be the U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.
Provided by the U.S. State Department.

Black women have always served a critical role in the African American community, from the names we all know — Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Rosa Parks — to today’s young mother fighting for educational opportunities for her children. Others have quietly broken barriers to open doors that were once closed to people of color.

Patricia Roberts Harris is one of those quiet warriors whose life stands as a testament to excellence, tenacity, and commitment to change.

She was born on May 31, 1924, the daughter of Hildren and Bert Roberts, in Mattoon, Illinois. A product of Illinois public schools, Harris attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., on scholarship and graduated summa cum laude in 1945. From early in her life as a brilliant scholar at Howard, she went on to become the first African American woman to serve as a United States ambassador and later the first African American woman to serve as a Cabinet Secretary. Harris was a powerful influence in American politics and a major figure during the Civil Rights Movement.

After graduation from Howard, she went back to the mid-west and began graduate work at the University of Chicago in 1946. But the opportunity to become actively involved in working for social justice drew her back to Washington, D.C. She continued her graduate work at American University, and, at the same time, served as assistant director for the American Council of Human Rights. She also served as the first national executive director of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., of which she was a member.

At the encouragement of her husband, William Beasley Harris, a prominent attorney in the District, Harris enrolled in The George Washington University Law School, where she graduated in 1960, first in her class.

During this time, while still active in the fight for civil rights, Harris became increasingly involved in the Democratic Party. Her ability to organize and manage did not go unnoticed. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy selected Harris to co-chair the National Women’s Committee for Civil Rights, described as an “umbrella organization encompassing some 100 women’s groups throughout the nation.”

In October of 1965, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Harris ambassador to Luxembourg, making her the first African American woman to be chosen as a United States envoy. For Harris the historic moment was bittersweet, saying, “I feel deeply proud and grateful this President chose me to knock down this barrier, but also a little sad about being the ‘first Negro woman’ because it implies we were not considered before.”

With the change of administration in 1968, Harris’ diplomatic role ended. She returned to Washington, D.C., and became the first woman to serve as Dean of Howard University’s School of Law.

In the early 1970s, Harris’ involvement in the Democratic Party culminated in her being named chairman of the powerful credentials committee and an at-large-delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

The election of Jimmy Carter in 1976 thrust Harris into the spotlight, again for another “first.” Shortly after taking office in 1977, Carter selected Harris to become Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Again Harris made history, this time by not only becoming the first African American woman to become a Cabinet Secretary, but also the first to be in the line of succession to the Presidency, at number 13.

During her confirmation hearing, Senator William Proxmire challenged her nomination and asked her if she felt capable of representing the interests of the poor and less fortunate in America. By this time in Harris’ life she had established herself as not only a recognized leader for civil rights, but also as a prominent corporate lawyer and businesswoman. Some, including a few black leaders, wondered if Harris had grown out of touch with the very people she was charged with serving.

Harris’ answer silenced her critics and perhaps best explains what motivated her throughout her life:

“Senator, I am one of them. You do not seem to understand who I am. I am a black woman, the daughter of a dining car waiter. …a black woman who could not buy a house eight years ago in parts of the District of Columbia. I didn’t start out as a member of a prestigious law firm, but as a woman who needed a scholarship to go to school. If you think I have forgotten that, you are wrong…if my life has any meaning at all, it is that those who start out as outcasts may end up being part of the system.”

 

US Postal Stamp of Patricia Roberts Harris

During her tenure as HUD Secretary, she helped reshape the focus of the department. A staunch supporter of housing rehabilitation, Harris funneled millions of dollars into upgrading deteriorating neighborhoods rather than wiping them out through slum clearance. She developed a Neighborhood Strategy Program that subsidized the renovation of apartments in deteriorated areas. In addition, she expanded the Urban Homesteading Plan and initiated Urban Development Action Grants to lure businesses into blighted areas. She poured millions of dollars into renovating deteriorating housing projects throughout the nation.

Harris was so effective in her post, that when HUD was split to create two new entities — the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — Carter moved quickly to name Harris secretary of HHS, a position she held for the remainder of his administration.

In 1982, following an unsuccessful bid to become mayor of Washington, D.C., Harris became a full-time professor at The George Washington University National Law Center. She passed away on March 23, 1985 at the age of 60.

In January, 2000, the U.S. Postal Service honored Ms. Harris with a commemorative postage stamp bearing her likeness. Dignitaries from around the nation attended the unveiling ceremony at Howard University, her alma mater, to pay tribute and recognize her contribution to the nation. In addition, Howard created the Harris Public Service Program in her honor to augment its course offerings in public policy and to encourage students to consider careers in public service.

Patricia Roberts Harris’ life is a powerful chapter in our American story. “I am one of them…,” she said at her 1977 hearing to become HUD Secretary. Those words underscored her commitment to social justice and her sense of responsibility to the African American community and to the nation. Those words serve as testament to her life and legacy: political pioneer, successful businesswoman, educator, and champion for civil and equal rights.

All the best,
Lonnie Bunch, Director

Lonnie Bunch
Director
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the newest member of the Smithsonian Institution’s family of extraordinary museums.

The Museum will be far more than a collection of objects.
The Museum will be a powerful, positive force in the national discussion about race and the important role African Americans have played in the American story — a museum that will make all Americans proud.

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Meet Newt … in his own words


Newt and Trump Talk ‘Apprentice’ Program For 10 Poor Kids … some videos have been deleted … go figure

Poor kids could work as Janitors

Poor Children have no values, no work habits, no cash unless it’s gotten illegally

Child labor laws are stupid

Bertolli … pan roasted Red Snapper


PAN ROASTED RED SNAPPER WITH GRILLED ONIONS, SWEET MELON AND FETA SALAD

 
 
 

PAN ROASTED RED SNAPPER WITH GRILLED ONIONS,

SWEET MELON AND FETA SALAD

By Chef Fabio Viviani

  • Makes Serves 2, double ingredients for 4 servings
  • |
  • prep time: 10 minute(s)
  • |
  • cook time: 15 minute(s)
 

Ingredients:

 
1 bunch green onions
1 Tbsp. Bertolli® Classico™ Olive Oil
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
3/4 lb. red snapper, cut into 2 (6-ounce) pieces
Bertolli® Extra Light™ Tasting Olive Oil
1/4 cantaloupe, cut with melon baller
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 to 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
Bertolli® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Directions: 

  • Brush onions with 1 tablespoon Bertolli Classico Olive Oil; season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Preheat grill or grill pan.
  • Brush green onions with additional Bertolli Classico Olive Oil and grill until tender, slightly brown and caramelized, approx. 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Season fish with salt and fresh ground black pepper on both sides. Heat 2 tablespoons Bertolli Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat and cook skin-side down, approx. 4 minutes, pressing lightly with spatula to crisp the skin. Turn and cook 4 minutes or until snapper flakes with fork and is nicely browned on both sides. Let rest.
  • Combine melon balls with crumbled feta. Season with a touch of salt, fresh ground black pepper and white balsamic vinegar to taste; set aside.
  • Plate grilled onions, place snapper on top and finish with melon salad. Season with fresh ground black pepper to taste, drizzle with Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Fabio Viviani, owner and Executive Chef of Cafe Firenze in Moorpark, California and Firenze Osteria Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar in Toluca Lake, California.

 

Happy Halloween


Halloween

Happy Halloween

The weather, is  wicked.  It is reported that winter is rolling in for the mid-west and east coast though life is as per usual here in the 206 … windy cold and reports of Halloween rain.

The last few weeks of mid-term2014 campaigning by the Republican Tea Party have made me sick ,what with all the loony tune behavior, overt lies and racist comments by folks who are not qualified to be representing anyone let alone the people of America do not seem to understand or care that we can hear them…

 “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” -George Orwell

 I personally do not want to go back to what sounds like colonial days  …it controlled my great- grandparents lives & the future of my parents and now a group on the hard right are determined to repeal equity in all its forms … we must move forward stay in the present so discrimination fails …the past fails

Remember the Restore Sanity and or Fear Rally?

 

That rally on 10/30/10 ,was fun to me and while some seemed confused over what the point or the message was; it was the obvious silliness of it all that some folks wanted needed and hopefully experienced. I for one, felt it was a moment to gather at the National Mall either physically or online like me and apparently there were 4 million of us online while 250thousand were at the Mall to say to America ~ listen to the rhetoric! It is getting crazy. We know people are not just engaging in silly fear mongering tactics, the engagement has become physical and people are being hurt or killed. It was time for the bullying to stop and time for a more moderate tone or nothing will get accomplished at all.  Jon Stewart said …something like we are in the hard times, but it is not the end of times.  If you listen to the right, in my opinion they  not only believe that the boogey man is out to take theirs away from them but they have to take back their country in whatever form that takes even if they have to use 2nd amendment remedies.  To me, this sounds insane and stirs fear, which provokes folks to react instead of being proactive.  I was fearful each time I heard Palin, Beck, Limbaugh and others make comments that could seemingly cause folks to commit crimes and lately lodge death threats. Today, most people are seeing through the GOP nonsense.   The rally was diverse had great music by the Roots, Ozzy Osborn, Mavis Staples, Tony Bennett, Yusuf, the OJays,Kid Rock plus cutie pie John Legend and I was totally impressed by the not so R&B instrument, the Tuba. It looked like they had enough potties though rumors were they did not and yes, there were many miscues. We need another one of those rallies. There were many people different from themselves standing together without violence, some may have even agreed to disagree but I saw no one being taken down because of it or stomped on or put in handcuffs, not too many offensive signs and actually, some were quite clever.

The crowd definitely leaned left of center grew to 250thousand people so we know they could not have all been lefties though some in the media might have you believe that. By the end of the day, reports and or stories started being blasted and one in particular grabbed my attention because I question the reasons lady had for being at the rally or even her sanity a bit but hey, she was there expressing or doing her own thing though strange in my opinion. The AP interviewed and gave this lady major attention and while we all have the 1st amendment to fall back on she stated she and the 400 she brought there voted for Obama but will not again. This woman stated she not just wanted to wipe the slate clean she admitted to having dreams of Jon Stewart as a candidate but as she describes her dream, it became violent. I have to say all I could think of was insane in the membrane when I read it and boy it was definitely symbolic of what is going on today. When people are angry and in their anger if poked prodded  just enough , out comes inappropriate reactions by folks who need to take it down a notch … who knew it would take a comedian to say this is how I feel do you feel this way too! Ok, so let us take it to our National Mall and show our Politicians and their cronies whoever that may be and tell them we want debates we want discussions but the crap that is going on right now is not acceptable. In my case, the Republican Tea Party is at fault …done and period. The provocateurs know who they are and I don’t know about you but having some or quite possibly a lot of them running for Public Office possibly getting paid by our tax dollars is just unacceptable to me let alone having to know what they plan to do if elected.

CONGRESS: the House led by Republicans & the Senate by Dems :


The Senate will meet on the following dates at the following times for pro forma sessions only with no business conducted:

Tuesday, September 25th at 9:30am

Friday, September 28th at 10:00am

Tuesday, October 2nd at 11:00am

Friday, October 5th at 1:00pm

Tuesday, October 9th at 11:00am

Friday, October 12th at 10:30am

Tuesday, October 16th at 10:00am

Friday, October 19th at 11:00am

Tuesday, October 23rd at 1:00pm

Friday, October 26th at 1:00pm

Tuesday, October 30th at 10:00am

Friday, November 2nd at 11:00am

Tuesday, November 6th at 11:00am

Convenes : Friday, November 9th at 10:00am

 *****************************************************

The next meeting in the House is scheduled for 10amET September 25 2012

http://www.houselive.gov/