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ACTION SPEAKS HERITAGE EXCELLENCE EDUCATION JOURNAL

OCTOBER 2020

Gloria J Keith

I want to share a story of a crisis in a predominantly black community. How the black community organized and invited political and business reps for questions and assistance. Below.
ACTION SPEAKS BLACK COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER
Gloria J. Keith. September 1983 Panama City Florida.
Keep Your Eyes Open. Black Community Joins Together for Positive Action to Fight Crime. In their neighborhood. How the process might be of interest and help for your community? Coronavirus Pandemic comeback? No pain . No money lost if no help.
Over 400 people crammed into the Glenwood Recreation Center, now known as The Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center- Panama City, Florida, 2 days, after Gloria Keith and support groups organized a meeting to discuss “Crime in Our Neighborhoods”. Along with the audience, several leading state, county, and city representatives were invited and responded, positively, to this historical event. “I have been here for over 27 years, this black woman has made more changes in 5 years than I have seen in the 27 years, I have been here, in Bay County Florida,” spoke Sheriff Lavelle Pitts on a local college radio station.

KEEP EYES OPEN. 1983. A CRISIS IN BLACK COMMUNITY INSPIRED BLACK COMMUNITY UNITY TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS WITH HELP FROM OTHER REPRESENTATIVES OF COMMUNITY

Keep your eyes open. Black Community Joins Together for Positive Action to Fight Crime

History must be reported as it is. The murder of Ms. Dorothy Holmes, 51 years old, 8/10/83, stroked a nerve within the community about the increase of and frequency murder within our predominantly black area.
After hearing about her death, the community was overshadowed with fear which forced most of the people to consider previous murders which have taken place within the year in the predominantly black community, their frequency and most of them, unresolved.
The previous murders included Robert Scott, whose skeleton was found and the cause of death, was, murder. Evelyn Bellamy was found in her front yard –stabbed in chest, and with a cut throat. Bellamy is the only murder supposedly solved or charged to a person. Most of those in the community who have voiced opinions about the case do not believe that the person, Comer, committed the crime.
Leonard Bell was found in an old deteriorated house near a church and the cause of death was murder. Versa Thomas, a retired schoolteacher, who taught English to practically everyone living in our community, whether in a classroom setting or just merely passing in a shopping center, was supposedly being robbed and in the process stabbed, though minor wounds, this crime caused her death.
A white woman working as a clerk in the Junior Food Store on Sixth Street, also in the predominantly black community, was shot and her murder is yet unsolved. The name- Mildred Hendrix. Another woman, black, was found in the nude at her 13th St. home, stabbed in the chest and a cut throat, like the murder of Mrs. Dorothy Holmes, was the murder of Mildred McGee.
While in the middle of the first stage of fear or in the beginning of the second stage, anger, many women became threatened by the possibility that they were insecure in their home, and otherwise, though they had taken great precautionary measures in security.

It was because of this fear that a program was planned for Friday, 8/12/83, two days after the body of Mrs. Holmes was found, to bring about an initial awareness and offer to the masses direction to convert their fear into positive actions, which could serve in assisting the law enforcement departments and finding evidence, which may lead to the murderers of the six person and serve the people of the community in dealing directly with the issue of “crime in our neighborhood ending quote by putting the people in contact with those that are experts are professionals in the field of crime. Stop, crime prevention, crime protective devices, willing to share knowledge with those in the community that are concerned.

“I knew her well,” said a friend of Dorothy Holmes.
“She would not unlock her door, unless she knew who you were. She carried the key on her person that she would use when someone she knew was there to see her.
We talked many times about security and I believe she got everything possible to secure her home.”
Most of the people who knew Mrs. Holmes referred to her as a “perfect person”.
She had her yard mowed each week. Her home was immaculate, and, time was taken to put into her dressing and grooming.
She taught English at Jinks junior High school. The principal, during, her memorial service, made a resolution to award a student each year in her honor.
Awilda Versa Thomas-The Greatest Teacher-ever. Her story was not resolved in time before we had to move away .

Keep Your Eyes Open. Black Community Joins Together for Positive Action to Fight Crime (Continue Part III).
GET Angry: DO Good.
Dr. W. E. B. Dubois wrote: “the responsibility for their own social regeneration is to be placed largely upon the shoulders of the Negro people, African-Americans. But such responsibility must carry with it a grant of power; responsibility without power is a mockery and a farce. If, therefore, the American people are sincerely anxious that the Negro, African-American shell put forth his or her best efforts to help him or herself, they must see to it that he/she is not deprived of the freedom and power to strive.”

For many years, black and white sociologists, psychologists, educators, those with in-depth consideration for others, have been striving to get the message over to black vote to do and died in the guidance of the Bible instructs us to do. Dr. WEB Dubois, Mega Evers, Harriet Tubman, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, taught, wrote, spoke, and demonstrated in every aspect of their public actions, to try to get a message across to black folks, “yes, get angry; sin, not, but keep moving forward…”
The message has finally come across. The votes of blacks in Chicago ruled that “blacks coming together in unity, angry with the way things have been going in the American society for black, can make a positive difference.”
Across the nation, Blacks believe that by changing their anger into positive accidents will be more beneficial to the masses.
The attention had not been raised before, as it was, the day that Mrs. Holmes was found. She was a prominent Black American citizen, educator for many years, and well respected by most of the community, who knew her. Her home was “most secure.” When she would go out to church at night, as she did, the night of August 9, 1983, “she would either have someone to follow her home, making sure, no criminal attempts were being made against her or her home, or she would bring a young lady to church and back with her, who lived close by,” according to a co-church member.
The riots of the 60s, whether in Newark, New Jersey or Miami, Florida were negative actions, which resulted from fear, anger, hate. The recent election of Harrell Washington, in Chicago as mayor was also the results of fear, anger, but before reaching the third stage, 97.5% of the black population in Chicago converted their emotional energies into positive actions instead of negative ones.
Finally in the state of Florida in the County of Bay in the city of Panama City, where the blacks are in Eleven thousand 681 strong in the County and 3500 strong in the city, which averages approximately 12% in both, realize that in anger, we can mass, without hostility, and confront those persons in authoritative positions to deal with certain direct issues such as “crime in our community or “Neighborhood” and plan positive actions to be carried out by the people living within the community.
To represent the law enforcement departments on August 12, 1983, there were authorities such as: Jim Appleman, Florida State Atty., Bay County Sheriff-the Vale pit; Panama City Police Department, chief-Leroy French; Edward Miller, attorney at law, crime stoppers president; Sgt. Frankie Winchester, crime prevention, Sheriff’s office; Ernest Jordan, state investigator; Lieut. Carl evidence police departments; Lieut. Joe Halfords Police Department; others from the crime stoppers organization came by to bring some literature, which was helpful.
The crowd consisted of over 400 people jammed having no more standing room with in the Glenwood recreation Center Auditorium. The format used was very productive in communicating the fear of the masses with the law enforcement officials. Gloria Keith, the publisher, editor of Action Speaks served as the moderator co-coordinator while, Mary Carey, Mary Bruce, Doris Johnson, Eva Jordan, (all members of A-CURE advisory committee for urban revitalization equity organization), grass-roots organization recently organized under the leadership of an executive council to meet the needs of the people within the minority community. By dealing with the issues of concern served as the planning committee. The crowds drawn to the meeting should be credited to the media sources, including telephone trees consisting of many sororities and fraternal organizations with in the County. The media sources were W.MBB, Channel 13TV; WJHG, TV 7: Panama City News Herald: and Action Speaks Inc.
Though there was no official count taken of the participants, there appeared to be as many men there as were women. Young, old, black and some white came in concern of the frequent crime rise within the predominantly black community.
In peace did the meeting began, and in peace did the meeting end with the problems, yet unresolved, but in different directions than what the organizers felt that it would have gone provided that, this meeting of the August 12th, 1983 had not happened. It did. It was a “great beginning” for the people of the predominantly black community to start building better community by helping to solve malicious crimes and preventing them from taking place so easily and taking such a long time to resolve.

FRIENDS IN THIS SENSITIVE TIMES OF UTMOST CRISIS

What is the definition of a friend?

a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Do you ever know anyone?

Every day we live we learn more about ourselves. Is their ever time to take time to learn another?

I was married to one man for 31 years before his complete Spiritual Transformation. It’s 15 years since his departure from this earth. I have learned things I didn’t know about him within the past year. Not from anyone else. But within my self. My own thoughts. The things I have learned helps me. Perhaps, I can use the knowledge to answer questions our children and grandchildren have.

And, then, there are friends I am no longer near. I revisit, mentally, times we shared. I see many things, differently. Nothing that I get angry about. Just more of an understanding about the friend. Now, if I see or when I see the friend, the new revelation may never again come to mind.

New friends in my life at this time of crisis come about more apt. In different ways, such as in social media settings. What we have in common may only be the Coronavirus Pandemic Crisis. Will we ever meet on a physical level? I don’t think so. Yet, for now, we are friends.

Respectfully Submitted

Gloria J HUNT Keith

ACTION SPEAKS HERITAGE EXCELLENCE EDUCATION JOURNAL

May 2020

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