Posts Tagged ‘Martin Luther King’

available on bettye-harwell.artistwebsites.com

Digital art
Bettye W. Harwell

This image is a thought-piece reminding me of Rosa Parks as a symbol of so many women who rode stoically when transportation was segregated. The idea of it being legal to make women stand when seats were empty or give up one’s seat to a man or child was intended to strip people of their dignity

The red attire, particularly her hat, indicates that try as one might, there was still pride left.  This image was created as digital art on the iPAD. While it is small, there is power in the composition. The cool colors suggested in the reflection indicate the reminder of the King theory of non-violence to bring about justice.



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The image of Dr. Martin Luther King and President Barack Obama is a portion of a painting done in black and white acrylic on canvas.

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This week I was interviewed on Skype for the second time about my knowing Martin Luther King. The first time, a few years ago, a granddaughter made the questions and it was recorded and adapted into a very fine video.

This time the younger sister had her teacher invite me to answer questions posed by her 4th grade class. In total, 18 students kept me on my mental toes for 23+ minutes. I recorded the audio on my iPad (SoundNote App) but forgot to turn it off immediately. I hope to get a copy made by the school.

Who knew?

The things children want to know are serious and unexpected. Technology puts you face-to-face with each excited child even though we are states apart. I found it made my day to share with them the young and active Martin I knew.

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"Frederick Douglass"

by B. W. Harwell

Why did Frederick Douglass take this as his name?


Definition – Names
Gale Encyclopedia of US History:Naming offers a history of given names as well as information on last names.

Selecting a name for a child is a task for parents. Often friends and family contribute ideas. The decision needs to be made by the time of birth to satisfy Social Security.

Some cultures name a baby after a relative or a deceased child. Middle names are sometimes the maiden name of the mother. Unlike other societies, American wives usually take the husband’s last name and this is passed down to the children.

It is a more recent trend for wives to keep their maiden names and hyphenate the children’s last names.

And so the question of who am I? is both a name and an identity issue. Are girls the only ones who look for a new name and identity between 14 and 16 years old? Do boys have nicknames earlier than girls? Nicknames can be a badge of honor for some outstanding skill, or be negative tags.

African Americans and immigrants share some naming issues. Early European immigrants came to this country by way of Ellis Island. They spoke little or no English. The people who assisted them in filling out required forms could not understand the spelling or sound of their names. Some immigrants knew to suggest an Americanized name to blend in or took the spelling that was put on their papers. Later, many assumed new names for work (movie stars) and to help their children become accepted by their peers. This can be a nightmarefor families trying to trace their histories.

Africans and African Americans were given only a first name by slave traders and owners. Some of the records show that their owners were not well-educated so that spelling was phonetic. The first census in the United States was taken in 1790 and only a few free people of color were listed and were listed by only one name. It was not untilthe census of 1880 that last names and family groupings were listed.

Where did these last names come from? Some were taken from a slave owner. Some were made up to make a statement: Freeman, Washington, or Carpenter and other choices. The ability to name oneself must have given a feeling of power to an individual. During the Civil War aliases were used when a soldier, black or white, served under someone else’s name. (See Fold3 for documents where alias is used.)

The next generations used the middle name as a repository for the mother’s family name as a record and identity marker. More recently African Americans have taken names that identify a relationship to Africa. Children who had only letters for names by school-age made their choices of a full name.One uncle of mine said proudly that his name was Andrew David when responding to the teacher taking attendance. Martin Luther King was M. L. many of his young years.

Naming and other cultural activities in dress and music have become more broadly accented across ethnic lines.  Lou Alcinder took a Muslim name to match his religious affiliation. The most famousis, perhaps, the change from Cassius Clay to Mohammad Ali.

Who knew?

Who you are starts with your name. Families caution you not to embarrass the family name. It is given to you to protect and value. It carries all of the cultural dictates about how you should act as you maneuver through life.

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"I Have A Dream"

Dr. M. L. King, Painting (partial) by B. W. Harwell

When Dr. King came to Chicago for marches in Cicero, Illinois and other parts of the city, Dr. King was often met with threats and actual violence. Even when he was the target, others were endangered.

In addition to his  work, he also met with the Chicago Urban League staff.  City leaders and other influential members of the community sat down with him and his staff to talk strategy.
On one such occasion, he was asked to decide what the next step would be.

My husband was on the Urban League staff and in that meeting. Knowing that I had  known Dr. King, he told me of the long silence in the room while waiting for a response.

When he spoke, King said,”I cannot say what the next move should be. God is not speaking to me now.”

“Anyone doubting Dr. King was convinced after he spoke.” ( a contemporaneous report by John S. Harwell, 1930-2010)

We Remember, We honor

A bust of Dr. King is in the Capital Rotunda and a statue (see image) on the Washington Mall was unveiled a few months ago. His birthday has been designated a National Holiday.

Dr. Martin Luther King

Image via Wikipedia

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Defining terms – lore

Lore means knowledge gained through tradition or anecdote. Like a story that is passed down in generations.


My favorite definition is the surface between the eye and the tongue of a snake.

Family Lore telling stories passed around as truth.
A little embellishment or a whopper? The reader can decide. (more…)

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