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Dr. Alveda King on the passing of Poet Maya Angelou

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

For Immediate Release
May 29, 2014

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Poetic Justice“I’m telling you that the best decision I ever made was keeping that baby! Yes, absolutely. Guy was a delight from the start — so good, so bright, and I can’t imagine my life without him.”
– Maya Angelou speaking of the birth of her son.

Maya Angelou touched the hearts of millions through her poetry, her wit and her wisdom. Our hearts go out to her son, Guy Johnson, and to all of her family and friends.

Not only was the poet laureate a powerful writer, artist and thinker; she was also a woman of matchless compassion and an eloquent humanitarian activist and champion of the poor and oppressed of all nations.

During the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement, she served as a fund-raiser for the cause and was a SCLC organizer. She was a close friend of my Aunt Coretta Scott King. They became “sisters” for justice. Maya and Aunt Coretta were contemporaries, and had many things in common.

For example, they were both mentors of the dearly beloved media personality Oprah Winfrey.

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I admired her mostly from a distance. I did have the opportunity to meet her and greet her through the years when she graced our family with her presence. She shared her poetic gifts at memorable events that helped to support the work of the “Movement,” and later the King Center. I was blessed to be present during some of these times, and even shake her hand and receive the blessing of her smile bestowed upon me.

Sometimes we think we know a person. Then some information about them surfaces that helps us to love that person all the more. This is the case of my discovery of a life saving decision she made years ago.

I never knew until now about her personal decision to birth her son Guy who was conceived when she was a teenager. She described her decision in her first autobiography. She could have sought an illegal abortion but, instead, decided to keep her baby.

While her circumstances are not so uncommon, what is unique about her decision is that her courage, compassion and conviction that we know and love in all of her poetry enabled her to publicly share her experience which she shared in an essay published in FAMILY CIRCLE years ago. In that essay, she called her actions the best decision of her life.

“When I was 16, a boy in high school evinced interest in me, so I had sex with him — just once. And after I came out of that room, I thought, Is that all there is to it? My goodness, I’ll never do that again! Then, when I found out I was pregnant, I went to the boy and asked him for help, but he said it wasn’t his baby and he didn’t want any part of it.

I was scared to pieces. Back then, if you had money, there were some girls who got abortions, but I couldn’t deal with that idea. Oh, no. No. I knew there was somebody inside me. So I decided to keep the baby.

My older brother, Bailey, my confidant, told me not to tell my mother or she’d take me out of school. So I hid it the whole time with big blouses! Finally, three weeks before I was due, I left a note on my stepfather’s pillow telling him I was pregnant. He told my mother, and when she came home, she calmly asked me to run her bath.

I’ll never forget what she said: “Now tell me this — do you love the boy?” I said no. “Does he love you?” I said no. “Then there’s no point in ruining three lives. We are going to have our baby!”

What a knockout she was as a mother of teens. Very loving. Very accepting. Not one minute of recrimination. And I never felt any shame.

At 17 I got a job as a cook and later as a nightclub waitress. I found a room with cooking privileges, because I was a woman with a baby and needed my own place. My mother, who had a 14-room house, looked at me as if I was crazy! She said, “Remember this: You can always come home.” She kept that door open. And every time life kicked me in the belly, I would go home for a few weeks.

I struggled, sure. We lived hand-to-mouth, but it was really heart-to-hand. Guy had love and laughter and a lot of good reading and poetry as a child. Having my son brought out the best in me and enlarged my life. Whatever he missed, he himself is a great father today. He was once asked what it was like growing up in Maya Angelou’s shadow, and he said, “I always thought I was in her light.”

Years later, when I was married, I wanted to have more children, but I couldn’t conceive. Isn’t it wonderful that I had a child at 16? Praise God!”
Yes. Praise God! We thank God for her courage, her love, her gifts, and her joy of being a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. Beyond what she leaves to her natural family, Maya Angelou leaves a great and memorable blessing in the hearts of the millions whom she touched with her artistry; and, she leaves behind a luminous vision of hope that will inspire millions more for generations to come.”

For Generations to Come by Dr. Alveda C. King

Our family tree means more to me, Than silver or gold, or a Rolls Royce.
I can rejoice and be glad, that Mother and Dad loved each other— and God;
Who blessed their union. From one to another, we are linked to each other…
Through the blessings and mercy or our awesome Creator; Our Creator, the Artist,
Who reminds us of Eternity; In the smiles of our children, who have the
Spirit of our ancestors—Twinkling out from their eyes . . .
Reminding us of the Generations to come.

An original poem by Dr. Alveda C. King, Author of New Release, KING RULES
Submitted as a tribute in memory of Dr. Maya Angelou

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Violence Hits Close To Home As Young Solider Is Gunned Down After Christmas

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

Xavier Arnold

Dear Friends and Family please pray with us. Our niece/cousin by marriage, Mi-Mi Ursula Beal Arnold – her stepson 21 year old military man, Xavier Arnold was shot and killed this week. Pray for his father James Arnold, his mother and his entire surviving family.

His immediate family is calling for an X Movement Rally in Atlanta today at 5 PM. We are urgently requesting prayer support. Please attend if you are in the City.

“… If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT)

Please God don’t let Atlanta go the way of Detroit and Chicago. Stop the violence all over the world, and begin in our own lives. Please bring an end to the killing of our children, youth and young adults. A juvenile has been apprehended in regards to the incident.

I must be true to my heart and remind us during this tragic time that the sanctity of life is under siege from the time of natural human conception in the womb until natural death. Guns are just part of the problem. The violent hatred spurred by greed and Godless lawlessness is occurring more and more frequently.

I saw the new Mandela movie this week. Even though President Mandela repented of his early days of radical violence, the seeds of violence and hatred sown wreaked havoc. I pray that we will remember that love is stronger than hate.

It’s still close to Christmas, so I’ll close with this:

In a 1967 Christmas sermon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “The next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and good will toward men is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life. …Man is a child of God, made in His image, and therefore must be respected as such….And when we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won’t exploit people, we won’t trample over people with the iron feet of oppression, we won’t kill anybody.”

For more on the story and Xavier Arnold click HERE.

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Alveda King Remembers President Mandela’s Courage and His Smile

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Mandela_King_Malcolm

President Nelson Mandela paid a heavy price to stand against apartheid while campaigning for human justice and human dignity. His message still resonates though his weary, battle worn body has gone the way of those gone before him.

Long may we remember his courage, his fortitude and his gentle smile; none of which were ever tarnished during the years of his battles, oppression, incarceration, and the restorative years following his release. Ninety-five years of life is a fitting testimony to the strength of character of this legendary statesman.

A portrait hangs in my home. In the frame, poised between his fellow champions Martin and Malcolm, Mandela smiles while Martin is solemn and Malcolm is stoic. To be able to radiate joy in times of conflict is a gift. To experience their three different expressions, the combined epitome of the human dream of freedom is simply amazing.

President Mandela now takes his place in history. He will be missed. The world has lost a great leader.

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Precious Moments with Mother, Remembering Daddy

Friday, November 1st, 2013

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“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise… Ephesians 6:2 NLT

God is so amazing. He can take a trail of tears and make those tears into a beautiful testimony. Such is the case with my mother Naomi Ruth Barber King and me. You may know that I was born on January 22, 1951 after being rescued from abortion because my grandfather, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. saw me in a dream three years before I was conceived and convinced my mother to change her mind about aborting me through a D&C. You can read all about that in my testimony and book HOW CAN THE DREAM SURVIVE IF WE MURDER THE CHILDREN.

Recently, Mother and I took a few trips to interesting locations. One was with Steve Strang and members of his family to Gibbs Park in North Georgia. Of course my mother, whose nickname is “The Butterfly Queen” spent precious moments chasing a lovely butterfly. I bought her a butterfly umbrella to take home. Mother shared some of her “memories” about the Civil Rights Movement. You can see the video HERE.

Mother’s favorite flowers are yellow roses. We brought some home from my granddaughter’s lunch with parents’ day. That little baby and her mother avoided the abortion mills and we are enjoying life together. Praise the Lord! In the picture, Mother is wearing a blue blouse because Daddy’s favorite color was blue; which is why Mother also often wears blue butterflies in her hair.

She and my other daughter spend a lot of time together. The other day, I joined them for lunch at Chick-fil-A. On the way to lunch, Mother told us that the favorite thing I’ve ever given her was “a Chick-fil-A fried sweet potato pie.” Needless to say, she left the meal with some to take home.

I’ve tried to capture the memories in the photos you see; but needless to say, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but who can capture time in a bottle or a photo frame?

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The HHS Mandate and The Creepy Government Shutdown

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

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For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions. It has killed off the flower of our youth: Children no longer play in the streets, and young men no longer gather in the squares. – Jeremiah 9:21 NLT

America, not only do our children not play in the streets, they shoot each other in the classrooms. Don’t think that anyone is safe just because some of us can afford gated mansions, armored cars, private schools and the like. None of us are exempt from the times, including the looming shut down.

Tragically, some of our government leaders are using scare tactics to numb our consciences, to instill fear in us and turn our hearts away from genuine justice.

Please make no mistake about it, the government shutdown is about the HHS Mandate which if allowed will force harmful contraceptives and easy access to abortion on our boys and girls. Yes boys and girls; because when millions of boy babies and girl babies are slaughtered in the womb (since Roe vs Wade); when many more are contracepted into oblivion — generations suffer!

The HHS Showdown is about some members of Congress wanting to further empower and enable Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, to lead our children to their demise along the poison path of chemical and surgical contraceptives and abortions. There is much harm beyond the obvious. Sadly, many members of Congress have read the entire document. The battle is for the seed of humanity, the fruit of our wombs, and so much more!

America, We The People must stand up against the lie that we will suffer, lose our homes and jobs and security if we do not agree with the poison in the HHS Mandate!

Why can’t we have health care that provides healthy bodies for our families without the death and destruction offered by harmful contraceptives and abortions? I’m a mother and a grandmother. My girls do not need free contraceptives and abortions. My sons and grandsons don’t need free condoms and easy access to abortions for the females in their relationships. They all need good education, healthy meals, decent homes and healthy morals and values.

Listen to “hidden lessons from our past— stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of The Lord… He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.” – Psalms 78:2-8 NLT

In his 1967 Christmas sermon, Uncle M. L. (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) spoke these words: “The next thing we must be concerned about if we are to have peace on earth and good will toward men is the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life. …Man is a child of God, made in His image, and therefore must be respected as such….And when we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality, we won’t exploit people, we won’t trample over people with the iron feet of oppression, we won’t kill anybody.”

America, it is time to stand up for truth. For me it’s not just about standing my ground, it’s about standing up and standing out to demand justice and righteousness.

It’s about having done all to stand, standing in the full armor of God!

America, we don’t have to fall for just anything. We’re better than that.

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Happy Fathers’s Day Part Three: Abba Father

Friday, June 14th, 2013

 

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In approaching the Creator of the universe, our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us this:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

Brian Fisher writes in a Fox News op-ed, “As we approach Father’s Day once again, more and more men are realizing the impact abortion has not only had on women, but also on themselves. And the impact is anything but positive.” He says of men who have encouraged or facilitated abortions to avoid raising a child, “In our heart of hearts, we are coming to grips with what we’re doing. We are willfully taking the lives of those we are wired to protect.”
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/06/13/abortion-and-fatherhood-man-take/

In his book REDEEMING A FATHER’S HEART, Kevin Burke ministers to fathers who have aborted children. Let the healing begin for hurting dads.

Finally, Psalm 127 teaches us that “children are a gift from God.” Parents are a gift from God too; remember we were once human children; and by grace we can all become Children of God through Jesus Christ.

So today and always let’s honor our Heavenly Father and thank God for Fathers’ Day. And in some small way, let us honor our human fathers every day.

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Oklahoma Tragedy Reminds Us Again How Precious Life Is

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
Paul Hellstern / The Oklahoma NewsOK.com

Paul Hellstern / The Oklahoma NewsOK.com

Over fifty dead in the tragedy in Oklahoma, where a tornado struck yesterday. At least twenty of those struck down are little school children. Our hearts go out to all of the families who have experienced lost of loved ones in this tragedy.

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A New Favorite Thing

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

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As one who enjoys a nice delicious cup of tea, I find an added treat on the tea tag – quotes from American Heroes. My Uncle M. L.’s quotes are in the collection at www.americanherotea.com. They also have a lovely collection of scripture tea.

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Christ Have Mercy

Monday, December 17th, 2012

SPACER
Sympathy Lilies“In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” Matthew 2:18

As a mother and grandmother, my heart goes out to the families of the children and adults who were killed in the Friday shooting spree in Newtown, CT. My heart also goes out to the woman and the 22 children who were stabbed by a man in the village of Chengping in Henan, China.

May the God of peace comfort those who are grieving these terrible losses.

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Four Earth Departures During this Holiday Season – I Remember Each Departed Loved One with Tears and Smiles

Monday, December 3rd, 2012


Mary Ellen Strong: A Mentor and a Friend, Rest in peace dear sister

This holiday season has been especially touching for me. My Aunt Coretta’s brother, Rev. Obie Scott died, and we attended his funeral the day after Thanksgiving. Then I received an email that a dear neighbor of ours had passed. The funeral was a few days ago. Then, I received a call that my mentor was in hospice, and was told to “get ready.” Then a cherished member of my home church died. Four funerals in close proximity, and they were all real honest to goodness home goings!

I’m sharing a news article regarding my mentor, Dr. Mary Ellen Strong. Her first memorial service was last week, the second is this coming weekend.

Mary Ellen Strong, a pioneer in black media and marketing in Milwaukee and Chicago, died Tuesday, November 27, 2012 of heart failure at her California home. She was 91.

Strong had lived in California for several years, where she had worked with various ministries, said her son, Jerrel Jones.

“She was the first in so many things,” he said. “She did have the pioneering spirit.”

Her long and varied career included politics, publishing and marketing. It began with the annual Wisconsin Negro Business directory in 1949.

“It started many things, and was the beginning of my known work,” she said in 1956, when she made an unsuccessful bid for 6th district alderman. In a feature story at the time, she said, “Milwaukee has a great soul. I want to give it body. I think this is the most strategic ward in Milwaukee. I’m in love with it.” It was the same year that Vel Phillips ran for an aldermanic seat and became the first black and the first woman elected to Milwaukee’s Common Council.

Around the same time, Strong founded the Milwaukee Defender, a weekly newspaper in Milwaukee billed as “Wisconsin’s only negro news of and by negroes.” It published until 1961.

“She was a spirit in terms of business and making things happen in Milwaukee,” said Clayborn Benson, founder and director of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society.

Benson called the business directories she produced a comprehensive look at Milwaukee’s black community at the time, covering businesses as well as clubs, civic and social organizations and more. It featured ads for black businesses and businesses that were friendly to blacks, including a national listing of hotels where blacks could “vacation without humiliation,” according to a Wisconsin Historical Society archive listing. The directory published until 1961.

In 1963, Strong started the Milwaukee Courier, part of the Courier chain of newspapers, said her son, who now runs the paper.

In 1972, Courier Communications Corp. bought WNOV, the first black-owned radio station in Wisconsin, Jones said.

By the mid-1960s, Strong had moved to Chicago and was publisher of Black Family magazine in Chicago, had founded her own public relations, marketing and research firm and was director of the marketing and research division of the Chicago Courier.

She also was founder and president of Welcome New Neighbor Service Inc., a nationwide marketing company aimed at black consumers, and worked as a marketing and advertising consultant.

One of eight children, Strong moved to Milwaukee with her family a short time after she was born in Gary, Ind. Her father died when she was young. She attended Milwaukee Public Schools and was the first black person to attend what was then the Milwaukee Business University, according to the 1956 story on her aldermanic bid. She took vocational school classes in the evening, studying everything from speed reading to millinery and real estate law.

The latter would come in handy when she bought a plot of land in Chicago and announced plans to build “a high rise building that will stand tall in the second largest Negro market in America,” according to a 1966 Milwaukee Journal story on her life in Chicago.
She sold the building when she moved to Atlanta, where she became involved in ministry work, her son said.
Her nephew, Monty Shadd, remembers her as “always very busy, always on the go.”

He added, “She was an adventurer. She was a pacesetter, a ground breaker – not only assertive but aggressive. What she did was so radical in some cases. She knew what she wanted, and she went after it.”

Strong was married four times. Her marriage to Jesse Jones ended in divorce, as did her marriage to Lawrence Shadd. In 1970, she married attorney James Strong, who had been a U.S. diplomat to Gambia and worked as a marketing executive with Kellogg Corp. After his death, she married Andrew Gaines of Atlanta, the father and manager of the late singer Donna Summer. He died about five years ago.

For more than 25 years, Strong was involved with ministries – including Abundant Living Family Church in California, Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles, Word of Faith in Detroit and Nashville, Believers Bible Christian Church in Atlanta and others.
Her son said he read a quotation recently that reminded him of his mother. It began, “Work for a cause, not for applause,” he said.
“That’s the way she was. When she left Milwaukee, believe me, Milwaukee had a void.”

Besides her son Jerrel Jones, she is survived by a daughter, Carolyn Wright; two brothers, Leonard Brady of Milwaukee and Walton Brady of El Paso, Texas; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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