In the late 1970s, the New York State Human Rights Commissioner was about to find the Plattsburgh Elks Club guilty of violating state laws against racial discrimination. Rather than acquiesce, the club opted for a drastic, self-punishing move: refusing all public rentals of its facilities rather than allow local blacks to rent them. Surrendering their official “public accommodation function” (under state regulations, renting the building or grounds to anyone) was accomplished by adopting a new rule: “The use of the club’s facilities and accommodations shall be granted only to members of the Elks, to sodalities, auxiliaries, and other organizations associated or affiliated with the Elks, and to their guests.” » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights’
Context is everything. So, without cherry-picking, here’s the exact, complete quotation from a longtime member and former leader defining a prominent group in Plattsburgh back in 1976. “The Elks are a fraternal organization based on the principles of charity, justice, brotherly love, and fidelity. Membership is open to men 21 years of age or older who are citizens of the United States, believe in God, and have not been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral issues. There is no discrimination against race, religion, politics, economic status, or any other circumstances.” » Continue Reading.
At Plattsburgh’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Celebration in 1990, Chairperson Vivian Papson shared a personal recollection of Jackie Archer with the Press-Republican’s Anne Smith:
“The first time I made contact with Jackie was in 1987. My introduction to her was a firm yet musical voice on the phone saying, ‘I’m Jacqueline Archer. I live in Plattsburgh and I think that this community needs to have a way to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday. I would like to organize a commemorative gathering; would you be interested in working with me?’ Everyone is very proud of Jackie. She is confined to a wheelchair but has tremendous spirit and interest in the community. She is unbelievably active.” » Continue Reading.
In early 1967, Jackie Archer, president of Plattsburgh’s NAACP chapter, twice addressed the Beekmantown PTA, once on the subject of teen drinking, and later about the importance of maintaining mental health.
When Black Power stories filled the media, she gave interviews to the press, explaining that whites needn’t fear violence. “They think Negroes want to take over, but they only want the rights that have been promised them.” she was quoted saying. “Some laws have helped the status of the Negro… but are only a scratch on the surface. If the men in Newark or Detroit had jobs they would not be rioting.” » Continue Reading.
In 1964, Jackie Archer had several irons in the fire. She was a member of the Beekmantown PTA and was very active in several religious capacities as secretary of the Board of Christian Education of the First Baptist Church; a member of the church’s Guild and Missionary Society; a substitute Sunday school teacher; and, in June, she became Recording Secretary for the Clinton County Council of Churches.
Much of her time, however, was devoted ongoing issues of concerned to the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and its leader Paul Lewis: job and housing discrimination. » Continue Reading.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired a national movement and remains a catalyst for peaceful change after he was martyred for the cause. He was hardly beloved by all: many felt threatened by him, and when he protested against the war in Vietnam, many criticized him for losing focus and supposedly deserting the primary goal of addressing racial inequality.
Millions supported his efforts, but it was a chaotic time, filled with uncertainty about the future. With the bitterness, hatred, and violence that was revealed, even on the nightly TV news, it sometimes seemed doubtful that true change could ever be achieved.
But Dr. King wasn’t alone as a leader. Others took up the mantle at all levels of society, and when someone did in Clinton County, I found renewed hope that substantive change could be achieved. » Continue Reading.
History was made in New York State recently when the New York State Senate – after 16 very long and often disappointing years – finally passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) granting basic human and civil rights protections to the Transgender and Non-Binary communities.
GENDA had previously passed the NYS Democratic majority Assembly 11 years in a row. Also signed into law was the ban on LGBTQ Conversion Therapy, a controversial practice that attempted to change a child or youth’s sexual orientation or gender identity through highly discredited therapeutic means. » Continue Reading.
Actor and activist Danny Glover, Albany civil rights leader Alice Green and youth advocate Brother Yusuf Abdul-Wasi Burgess will be the first recipients of the Spirit of John Brown Freedom Award, to be awarded at the John Brown Day 2016 celebration on Saturday, May 7th, at 1 pm.
The annual event, which is organized by Westport-based human rights and freedom education project John Brown Lives!, will be held at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid. The public is welcome. » Continue Reading.
The author of a best-selling book decrying the state of history education in the United States will speak at a teacher workshop in Lake Placid on Friday, March 4.
John Brown Lives! will host James Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me, at a day-long workshop, “Teaching the Past & Why It Matters Today,” meant to help teachers, librarians and others working with students constructively engage issues of social justice in the classroom and community using history and dialogue as primary tools.
First published in 1995, Lies My Teacher Told Me challenged traditional historical narratives taught to students. After comparing a dozen history textbooks then in widespread use, Loewen concluded that the books were filled with an “embarrassing blend of bland optimism, blind nationalism, and plain misinformation.” » Continue Reading.
On Saturday an Adirondack Diversity Symposium will be held in Newcomb as part of an effort to make the Adirondacks more attractive to people of diverse backgrounds.
In July, one family celebrated it’s sixtieth anniversary of doing just that – introducing inner city youth to the wonders of nature and, in so doing, helping them on a path towards a healthy and rewarding future. » Continue Reading.
A biographer who has written extensively about John Brown, a civil rights activist who marched in Selma and a memorial honoring a youth leader who introduced countless city youth to the Adirondacks will highlight John Brown Day 2015.
The annual event will be held Saturday, May 9, from 2 to 4 pm at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid. It is free and open to the public.
Speakers at the event, an annual celebration honoring the life and legacy of abolitionist John Brown, include biographer Louis DeCaro and civil rights activist Dr. James H. Carter. » Continue Reading.