Robert E. Lee High School – Baytown, Texas. Time to Change The Name

Posted Posted in Removing Confederate Symbols

Robert E. Lee High School

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now’s not the time for REL debate, GC board prez says

(Goose Creek last state district with school named after Robert E. Lee)

Ms. Jessica Woods, GCCID Board President:
Board: Howard Sampson | Agustin Loredo III | Jessica Woods | Richard Clem | Ben Pape | Tiffany Guy | Shae Cottar

An article in the July 30, 2020 edition of the Baytown Sun reports you as “suggesting the Robert E. Lee High School name-change debate should take a back seat to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Sun continues: “She also said now is not the appropriate time due to the pandemic and the subsequent legion of school reopening issues.”

With all respect due such reasoning, one has nothing to do with the other. The long-overdue name change will affect neither school-opening nor any health issues related to COVID-19.  This was true for Robert E. Lee High School in Fairfax, Virginia where the School Board voted to no longer honor a traitor to America and changed the name on July 24, 2020 to honor John R. Lewis. So, how do you want history to record your name and those of your board members?

From Dr. Martin Luther King: “We are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. It is not enough to say it will get better by and by. Each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.”

       —Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

From the late John R. Lewis: “To those who have said, “Be patient and wait,” we have long said that we cannot be patient. We do not want our freedom gradually, but we want to be free now!” 

      
The Honorable John R. Lewis–(age 23) March on Washington, August 28, 1963.

We African Americans are all too familiar with 400 years of the “Now is not the time” refrain.

  • We heard “Now is not the time” in the decades that embraced “Separate but equal,” prior to the 1954 Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

  • We heard “Now is not the time” when we were told that slavery was good for “colored folks—Negroes” because of “benevolent masters.”

  • We not only heard “Now is not the time,” we heard “Never,” when George Wallace stood in the school doorway blocking desegregation of the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963. He said: “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” His words may well have been uttered by racist, hate-filled General Robert E. Lee. What he actually asserted—“the relation of master and slave…is the best that can exist between the black and white races”—was worse.

You graduated from Kingwood High School in 1989.

Would you be proud to have graduated from Hirohito High School, named for the Emperor of Imperial Japan? Hirohito was responsible for the deaths of Americans during the sneak attack at Pearl Harbor and, like Robert E. Lee, was determined to destroy America? Of course not.

Now is not the time?
When is the time?
Now is the time. History and our nation declares it is so.

Robert E. Lee's Confederate Slave Hunt

——————

NOTE: I graduated from G. W. Carver High School in Baytown Texas. This storied, highly respected, tradition-rich, award-winning institution, named after Dr. George Washington Carver, was razed and the debris carted off by the G.C.C.I.S.D of Baytown, Texas in 1967. Yet, it lives on in history’s archives, and in the hearts, minds, and souls of those who will never let it be forgotten.

Except for the heroic efforts of J. Warren Singleton, former student and relentless community activist/former coach and educator, the memorial marker identifying its existence would not exist.

George Washington Carver High School

George Washington Carver High School Marker

Russell Hamman, of Baytown, Texas is another who has long demonstrated his commitment to keeping the history of Baytown’s G.W. Carver High School, and the contributions of blacks alive.

Finally, I humbly suggest the Robert E. Lee High School be renamed:

George Washington Carver High School. This will be a fitting and just rebirth of an institution of such notable achievement, and too quickly reduced to rubble.

George Washington Carver – a Scientist, artist, professor, leader,
humanitarian and creative genius.

While George Washington Carver’s rise from slavery to scientific accomplishment has inspired millions, time has reduced him to the man who did something with peanuts. This documentary uncovers Carver’s complexities and reveals the full impact of his life and work.

Let your voices be heard. Connect and express your thoughts here or at the following:

Thanks.

Gene Cartwright, 
Pulitzer-nominated author, past Oprah guest author

Carrie Cartwright, author

Kevin Craven

 

 

 

Why My Birthday is My Mother’s Day and My Father’s Day.

Posted Posted in Society

Mom and Dad

A Celebration of the love shared by my sainted parents.

Today, July 6th, is my birthday. I am the second child and first son born to the best parents God ever created. However, my acceptance of congratulations and well-wishes are—to quote a well used phrase—like a crowing rooster taking credit for the sunrise. I had little to with this miraculous and blessed event.

For as long as I can remember, I have viewed my approaching birthday, not through my eyes but have tried to see it through the eyes of an anxious, excited, prayerful and hopeful twenty-something black couple surviving in a small, Gulf-Coast Texas town in the Jim Crow era. Politics, racism and bigotry aside, my thoughts are always sharply drawn to them—Marie and Elmer Cartwright.

My parents met, fell in love, married two months later, and remained married for more than a half-century— until my father’s passing. Leading up to, and on this day, I try and place myself in their shoes, individually. I wonder what the months, weeks, days, and hours were like leading to the instant my mom knew her “time” had come.

I envision my doting and attentive father on-guard for the slightest hint of pain or discomfort exhibited by my mother—his “Bae.” In those early morning hours, arrangements for the trip to the hospital (which served both whites and blacks) were in place. Not having a car then, my father’s best friend was ready and waiting. Then the moment arrived.

During those days fathers were not permitted in the delivery room, and so were left to languish on the edge of their seats in the waiting room. I imagine observing both my mother and father during those tense and uncertain hours.

Although she never spoke of it, and I never thought to ask, I wonder how she coped with the pain, the contractions, the heightened anxiety. There was no such thing as an epidural. I remember her speaking of something called a “local,” — likely mild sedation given to reduce pain.

I imagine what the actual delivery was like for her—my birth, my being held upside down and made to cry to clear my lungs, her seeing me for the first time and making sure I was alright. I know her first barely audible words were: “Thank God.” Often, newborns would be taken away, cleaned and dressed, then soon thereafter returned. It was then my mother was able to hold me for the first time.

Not long afterwards, the doctor would have gone to the waiting room to inform my father his first son was born a healthy, bouncing eight+ pounds and twenty-one inches. Knowing my dad, immediately after shaking Dr. Lillie’s hand, his first words would likewise have been: “Thank God.” Next, he would have asked how soon before he could see Mom and me.

My extended family and friends would have to wait for the news. There were no cell pones and many poor families had no home phones. Sure to pattern, if Deacon Phillips or his wife, Maude or the right person at St. John Missionary Baptist Church were told, word would be quickly shared throughout the community.

And so, that’s where my mind goes to as each July 6 approaches. There’s much more I could write about my thoughts in that regard but I’ll close here.

While I recognize and pause to celebrate the generic “Mother’s Day and “Father’s Day,” my celebration is made deeply personal and more poignant by celebrating these two amazing and inspiring people of love and Faith on the day of my birth.

And while there are many not as fortunate as am I— those not blessed with sainted parents—I hope you find my experience meaningful as you view your own life. If you at least have a mother (and hopefully a father) for whom you hold a deep and abiding love, you may now consider viewing your birthdays as I do mine.


The following are two poems I wrote in honor of my mother. Both are found in my “Still Dreaming” book of poetry. “My Mother’s Voice” is found in “Half Moon, Full Heart.”

Her Hands

©2004 Gene Cartwright

Calloused, scarred, and bruised.
Her hands.
Bearing silent witness to her love.
Her hands.
They spoke of hardship and sacrifice.
Her hands.
I held them, tried to soften them.
Her hands.

She smiled, knowing all the while,
any change would be small;
hardly noticeable at all.
Her tasks would not diminish,
her chores would never finish;
my efforts could not replenish
the velvet -like touch,
the youthful beauty of…
her hands.

Yet, none were ever more beautiful.
Her hands.
They fed me, they nurtured me.
Her hands.
They were gentle, and reassuring.
Her hands.
She clasped them to pray for me.
Her hands.

And all the while, she just… smiled,
never once cursed the rain,
nor despaired of her pain.
She would often comfort me;
she used humor to make me see
how difficult things would be,
were she a lady of leisure,
determined to preserve…
her hands

Now, daily, when I recall
her seasons of life, and all
that she was and might have been
I know the God shown in her life,
the joy that leaped from her face,
the love in her eyes that flowed from
her heart were made real by the touch of…
her hands—My Mother’s loving hands.

My Mother’s Voice

She spoke to me in a calming, melodic voice,
though I yet longed for first breath.
Even then, my heart beat to the rhythm of her soul.
It marched to the cadence of her pure spirit.
It flourished in the still comfort of her being.
And I heard my mother’s voice.

She spoke to me in a quiet and sure voice,
though I had yet to touch her sweet face.
Even then, my heart beat to the rhythm of her soul.
Her blood flowed to the reaches of my own eternity.
Her breath filled me with life, everlasting.
And I heard my mother’s voice.

She spoke to me with an endless, eternal truth,
though I had scarcely seen first light.
Even then, my heart beat to the rhythm of her pulse.
It soared with the lift of her tireless wings.
It rejoiced in the glow of her guiding light.
And I heard my mother’s voice.

Know this. I am the fruit of shared love,
brought forth by unseen, yet unfailing hands
that shaped the universe.
I am a solemn song of ceaseless prayer,
voiced without end; an answer bestowed
long before the Amen,
granting my own Genesis,
and even my Revelation.

She spoke to me in a thousand tender ways,
though I answered with only needs and wants.
Even then, she gave beyond her own possessions,
with the eternal love and vision of an angel,
without a want for merit or mention,
And I heard my mother’s voice.

And still she speaks in a voice that fills my being,
though her face eludes my sight and touch.
Even now, my heart beats to the rhythm of her soul,
It marches to the cadence of her pure spirit,
And I still hear my mother’s voice.
Yes, in deepest dark or brightest light,
I still hear my mother’s voice.

And when I am no more,
and not even my deepest footprints remain
for young eyes to see,
Even then, hearts will beat to a rhythm
they did not compose.
They will march to a cadence,
not their own,
And they will hear their mother’s voice.
Yes, even they will hear their mother’s voice.


Staying Alive: A Woman’s Essential Guide to Living Safely

Posted Posted in Society, Women's Issues

PREDATORS WORK 24/7

Sadly, 1 in 3 Women Will Be a Victim.
Vow to not be a victim then act to make it so.

Where are you right now—at work, home, shopping center, coffee shop, nightclub, restaurant, on a trip, in a hotel, in an elevator, headed to your hotel room, walking a street, jogging, in your bedroom, sitting alone in your car, at a stop sign or traffic light, underground parking garage or placing groceries in your car?

It’s a long question but just go with it.
Do you feel safe? Are you truly safe? 
Be honest. It’s a long question but just go with it.
Do you feel safe? Are you truly safe? Be honest.

Unfortunately, statistics on violence against women are more and more alarming, despite efforts to reduce the numbers. If you are a woman 21 or older, chances are nearly 1 in 3 you will experience a random or domestic, violent attack in our lifetime. Many women are at unusually high risk of serious injury or murder. In many cases, the victim knows her attacker. This is why this invaluable eBook is essential to being Alert, Aware, and Armed with information that just may save your life.

You have seen the headlines:

You have watched the TV news footage of a woman violently attacked while jogging, walking in a parking garage, leaving a mall, while on vacation or while sleeping in her own bed. You have seen these horrific stories, shook your head in disgust and vowed to be more cautious. Then…what?

Perhaps you’ve munched on snacks, while watching ‘Law & Order’’— stories ripped from the headlines, and felt completely safe. Later, you returned to “business as usual.” And so it goes until, may God forbid, the victim is you or someone you know.

As we repeatedly point out in “Staying Alive: A Woman’s Essential Guide To Living Safely,’” you are your first line of defense. We pull no punches in giving women the facts, the tools, and the means to protect and defend themselves.

Our goal is to enlighten and empower. We dedicate this work to all potential victims of violence, but especially women. This book is not intended to frighten you unless fear is what it takes to encourage you to protect yourself.

Let’s face it: whether we are or are not individually targeted for victimization, predators often perceive that we are.

Thieves, victimizers, and predators go to work everyday; they do not discriminate by age, race or religion; they do not respect walls or fences, and they do not care whether you are male or female. However, rightfully or wrongly, women are more often preferred targets. I know this, personally. Understand one thing: your job is to return home safely every night. Period!

Do not be misled by the stereotypical image of what a criminal or potential predator looks like. An attacker/predator may look as harmless as your neighbor, banker, minister, deliveryman, mechanic, plumber, Congressman or even your doctor. Professional predators may disarm with a smile or even a kind gesture. Remember serial killer, Theodore Bundy had the charm, good looks, demeanor, and appearance that fooled many women victims.

Staying Alive: A Woman’s Essential Guide To Living Safely focuses on helping you protect yourself in public and in private venues. You must always be AWARE.

See Staying Alive: A Woman’s Essential Guide To Living Safely, at Amazon, where you can buy the print book for $9.95 and get the eBook FREE. With Staying Alive: A Woman’s Essential Guide To Living Safely, we help you stay aware and alive. Visit our StayingAliveBook.com web site.

where you can buy the print book for $9.95 and get the eBook FREE. With Staying Alive: A Woman’s Essential Guide To Living Safely, we help you stay aware and alive.

Learn how to Live Safely! – Jane

I am proud to have co-authored this book with my good friend and associate, Jane Austen Dickey. Thanks, Jane.

Gene