by Jacquie Taliaferro, LaHitz News
The San Francisco NAACP Annual Gala was held Nov. 5 honoring the legacy of the 1961 Freedom Riders, Danny Glover and the Tuskegee Airmen. Carol Ruth Silver and Claude Albert Liggins received the SF NAACP Freedom Riders’ Legacy Award. Actor, producer and humanitarian Danny Glover and Cheryl Dawson, MA, MDiv, received the San Francisco NAACP Philanthropist/Activist Award. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, founded Feb. 22, 1852, and First African Methodist Episcopal Church, founded Aug. 1, 1852, were given the San Francisco NAACP Founders’ Award. The Tuskegee Airmen William “Bill” Campbell San Francisco Bay Area Chapter was honored with the San Francisco NAACP Presidential Medal of Freedom Award.
Civil rights activist and political leader Dr. Leslie B. McLemore, hailing from Jackson, Mississippi, was the keynote speaker. He and Rev. Dr. Amos Brown, SF NAACP president, who is also from Mississippi, have been fighting together for justice for over 60 years. Both Dr. McLemore and Dr. Brown spoke about the importance of mentorships and the value of picking a group or a person to start mentoring. Dr. McLemore said, “There are some very rich and powerful folks in this room. It is time for you to choose a young person and start mentoring them.”
Rev. Brown talked about renaming Burnett Child Development Center for Leola M. Havard. Ms. Havard, who is now retired from the San Francisco Unified School District, was at the gala with some current school district staff. Rev. Brown did some research and found out Peter Burnett, California’s first governor, tried to pass laws keeping Blacks from entering our state. I wonder how many Black kids who graduated from the school, located in the Hunters Point Bay View neighborhood, are aware of Rev. Brown’s findings?
When receiving his award, Danny Glover gave homage to his personal heritage, recognizing his parents, Jimmy and Carrie Glover, who were life-long members of the NAACP. Giving his observations of recent movements, Glover said the Occupy Wall Street Movement is a “genuine” revolutionary movement by the people. Danny is truly a global ambassador for peace and humanity.
The representatives of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. chapter were mostly the sons of the airmen, although one actual pilot was in attendance. All of the original pilots still living are in their 80s and 90s. Their legacy is still vibrant, as there is the Tuskegee Airmen and Young Aviators Group, which is headed by David Cunningham, who was in attendance as well.
George Lucas hosts private ‘Red Tails’ screening
I was at a private screening of “Red Tails” held just two days before the NAACP Gala at LucasFilm. As the film is coming out Jan. 20, 2012, we must work to ensure that the film’s $35 million dollar advertising budget includes Black owned media companies to do showcases that benefit Black communities it plays in.
The recent September 2011 report from Nielsen, “The State of the African American Consumer,” that was done in association with the National Newspaper Publishers Association indicates the Black media and Black consumerism should not be ignored.
The value and great need for Black media companies were underscored at the San Francisco NAACP Freedom Fund Gala, as not one corporate media organization was present to report what took place. The positive news of the San Francisco Bay Area Black community at the gala – both history and current news – was ignored.
To the many people of various cultures and ethnic backgrounds who were not aware of the gala, it is as if it never happened. Some media observers have indicated that when it comes to representation of people of color, we have reverted back to the media editorial conditions of the late ‘60s. Yes, it’s time to change for the better once again.
On 11/11/11, we salute our veterans: “Thank you all for your part in protecting America.” As a sidebar, I’d like to say, “Happy Birthday, Dad,” who would have been 100 years old today. Also, let’s not forget today is Rev. Jesse Jackson’s birthday as he celebrates his 70th in Los Angeles.
Jacquie Taliaferro can be reached at LaHitzNews@yahoo.com.
It’s 1944. As the war in Europe continues to take its toll on Allied forces, the Pentagon brass has no recourse but to consider unorthodox options – including the untried and untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country – and the fate of the free world.