Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Four are complete!

I'm starting to realize that my mental state is directly tied to the strength of the audiobook I'm listening to. I finally finished 'The Lost Symbol' by Dan Brown (a tedious rehashed plot line ala the Da Vinci Code and 'Angels and Demons'). I'm going to listen to Chuck Palahniuk's 'Fight Club' tomorrow. I love his books but never read 'Fight Club' even though the movie is fantastic. I want to see how respectful Hollywood was of the book.

Tomorrow will be long on drawing and short on painting. Time to set up another five for next week. My goal is to have everything left of David Richmond done by the end of the month. 

Trying to get to the steps by month's end.

A rare pic of me actually painting.

David Richmond and Clarence Lightner
Clarence Everett Lightner was the first popularly elected mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina and the first African American elected mayor of a metropolitan (defined as having a population of 50,000 or more) Southern city. Lightner, a Democrat, was also the first and to date only black mayor of Raleigh, serving in office from 1973 to 1975.

His mayoral election gained national attention since only 16% of registered voters in Raleigh were black, and it was unique for a white-majority city to elect a black candidate for mayor. Even more surprising to some was the fact his race was rarely mentioned in the campaign. Lightner came of age in an era when most blacks in the South were still disfranchised, was elected to the City Council two years after passage of the Voting Rights Act, and was elected mayor six years later. Lightner was a man of "dignity and perseverance", who brought people together when he entered public political life, as he had for years in his community work.
In a 1976 book on Southern politics, authors Jack Bass and Walter DeVries wrote "Perhaps no political campaign better reflected changing attitudes on race than the 1973 mayor's race in Raleigh, in which black City Councilman Clarence Lightner won support from a coalition of white suburbanites concerned about urban and suburban sprawl."
Kelly Alexander, Alex Rivera & James O'Hara
Kelly Miller Alexander was born in Charlotte, N.C. on August 18, 1915, the youngest of four sons of Zechariah and Louise B. McCullough Alexander. He attended Charlotte public schools. At Second Ward High School, Alexander played half-back on the football team and earned the nickname "Ship-wreck Kelly." After studying at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, he graduated from the Renouard College of Embalming in New York City. He succeeded his father as president of Alexander Funeral Home, Inc. and Alexander Mutual Burial Association.

Like his father, Alexander became identified in community affairs early in life and selected the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as the vehicle by which he would become involved in the fledgling civil rights movement. He reactivated the dormant Charlotte Branch, NAACP, in 1940; and in 1948, he was elected president of the North Carolina State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Branches, a post he held until October, 1984. Under his leadership, the N.C. Conference became the largest state conference in the country with over 120 branches and 30,000 members. In 1950, Alexander was elected to the National NAACP Board of Directors and became a Life Member in 1954. In 1976, he was elected vice chair of the National Board. In June, 1983, Alexander became acting chair, then was elected chair in January, 1984.
Alexander twice ran unsuccessfully for the Charlotte City Council in the 1950s. In 1965, his home, along with those of his brother Fred, lawyer Julius Chambers, and activist Reginald A. Hawkins were bombed. No suspects were apprehended, nor did any group ever accept responsibility for the terrorist acts.
Kelly Alexander, Sr. died on April 2, 1985 and was buried in York Memorial Park in Charlotte.

Alex Rivera
was b
orn in 1913 during the height of the Jim Crow era. Rivera was the eldest of three children of Greensboro dentist and civil rights activist Dr. Alexander M. Rivera Sr. and his wife, Daisy Irene Dillard Rivera. Rivera grew up immersed in civil rights activism, since his father was a zealous NAACP member.

Rivera attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., and worked at the Washington Tribune before he was recruited in 1939 by founder Dr. James E. Shepard to establish the first news bureau for N.C. College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central University).

During World War II, Rivera departed the university to serve with the Office of Naval Intelligence from 1941 to 1945. After his military service, he joined the Norfolk Journal and Guide. In 1946, Rivera became a regional correspondent for the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the country's leading black-owned newspapers with a national distribution of nearly 200,000. Based in North Carolina, he covered Virginia and the Carolinas for the Courier and the National Negro Press Association.

During his stint with the Pittsburgh Courier, Rivera became famous for his coverage of the last lynchings in South Carolina and Alabama, the legal challenges to school segregation, and the aftermath of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. His coverage of those events garnered him a Global Syndicate Award in 1955.

Rivera returned to N.C. Central University in 1974 to serve as public relations director, a position he held until his retirement in 1993. He was one of the first African-American reporters to regularly participate in North Carolina governors' press conferences.

In 1993, Gov. James B. Hunt, Jr. recognized Rivera's lifelong contributions to the state and nation by awarding him the Order of the Longleaf Pine, the highest civilian honor that can be granted in the State of North Carolina.

Rivera's passion was athletics and at NCCU, he had the opportunity to photograph some of the world's greatest men in sports, including legendary basketball coach John B. McLendon whose mentor had been the architect of basketball, Dr. James Naismith. Thanks to Rivera, images of McLendon with his players, including five-time NBA All-Star Sam Jones, have been preserved for the historical record. In 2005, NCCU honored Rivera with the naming of the Alex M. Rivera Athletic Hall of Fame located in the McLendon-McDougald gymnasium.

James Edward O’Hara was born a free person in New York City to an Irish merchant and West Indian mother. While growing up he worked as a deckhand on ships that sailed between New York and the West Indies.  When he was eighteen O’Hara settled Halifax County, North Carolina with a group of missionaries.

After the Civil War, James O’Hara taught at freedman’s schools in New Bern and Goldsboro, North Carolina. O'Hara also studied law at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  Shortly after North Carolina’s 1868 Constitutional Convention which reorganized state government and authorized black male voting, O'Hara was elected to the North Carolina state legislature.  In 1871, while still in the legislature, he completed his law apprenticeship and passed the North Carolina bar exam.  In 1878 O’Hara won the Republican nomination for North Carolina’s heavily black Second Congressional District.  He lost the general election to white Democrat William Hodges Kitchin. Four years later, in 1882, O'Hara again faced Kitchin and won the election by 18,000 votes.  He was reelected in 1884.

O’Hara served on the House Committees for Pensions, Mines and Mining, and Expenditures on Public Buildings. During his first term O’Hara was the only African American in Congress.  James O'Hara was dedicated to civil rights and progress for African Americans. He was an active speaker against racial violence and introduced one of the first bills to make lynching a federal crime.  When the House considered a bill to regulate interstate commerce O’Hara introduced an amendment requiring equal accommodations for all travelers.  His amendment failed.  O’Hara also fought for the rights of women when he introduced a bill that would prohibit gender based salary discrimination in education.

O’Hara stood for reelection in 1886 but faced another black Republican, Israel B. Abbott.  O’Hara lost in the primary and returned to North Carolina after his term ended.  He practiced law with his son Raphael and published a small newspaper called the Enfield Progress. In September 1905 James Edward O'Hara died of a stroke at age 61.

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