Friday, March 27, 2009

One of the Greatest

One of the Greatest
Originally uploaded by DeHoll
"This is a textbook you will read this semester from cover to cover."

I was sitting in a classroom when a young teacher named Dennis Dowdell began passing back thick blue copies of a new textbooks with an embossed title.

The book was From Slavery to Freedom. It was written by a brilliant, but humble scholar.

John Hope Franklin was a teacher, author, orator and researcher who not only documented history but made it.

The groundbreaking text was the first widely distributed Black History text used in America's public schools. It has exposed millions to indisputable facts about U.S. history.

This was a man who saw a black settlement in Oklahoma eradicated in days and nights of ethnic cleansing after World War I.

He knew Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Dubois, Marcus Garvey, Mary McLoud Bethune, Martin Luther King, Elijah Muhammed, Malcolm X and others on a first name basis.

He rubbed shoulders with Paul Robeson and led the research on the Brown versus the Board of Education case that allowed a young lawyer to win a 1954 court victory that eventually equalized public spending in the nation's public

I heard him lecture at an Ohio university in the 1970's and heard him speak at a church in Texas in the 1980's.

In the 1990's, I interviewed him after he was appointed to head a commission on race in America. I also smiled when this humble man who raised orchids in his spare time was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

John Hope Franklin use to joke with his mother about a "Negro" becoming president of the United States.

As a distinguished endowed professor at Duke University, he spoke in the past few months of the irony of seeing that happen.

John Hope Franklin met his maker at the age of 94. I like to think he has been able to look him in the eye and smile, adding that he knew and spoke with President Obama and died believing in the true possibilities of America.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Obtaining fresh water a challenge in a lot of the world

Photograph originally uploaded by bdinphoenix
In the U.S., we often take clean water for granted. Turn on the tap and - ta-da! - drinkable H2O. But across huge swaths of the planet, it's not that simple.

According to the United Nations, 2.6 billion people - that's 41% of the global population - lack access to clean water.

That's why the U.N. has set aside March 22 as World Water Day, which calls on governments and individuals to recognize how crucial water is to our health, economy, and environment.

While the numbers can be staggering - 6,000 children die each day from diseases that could have been prevented by having access to clean water and sanitation - the solutions are surprisingly simple.

A mere one-dollar investment in providing access to clean water will return seven dollars in economic productivity, because people don't get sick, don't miss work and school, and live longer.

This past Sunday marked the first day of the Tap Project, a weeklong fundraiser initiated by UNICEF to offer clean and accessible drinking water to children all over the world. More than 100 restaurants in the Washington area are asking customers to donate $1—or as much as they’d like to give—to drink tap water, normally free of charge.

You can also support The Tap project

The project was launched last year in New York City. At more than 300 restaurants, the city raised $100,000 and provided 4 million children with clean water. This year, UNICEF expanded the idea to include 13 cities around the country. More than 100 restaurants are participating in the Washington area through March 22nd.

On March 22, you can participate in live or virtual water marches sponsored by Starbucks. In Washington, D.C., New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Las Vegas, and other cities, people will walk miles to draw attention to water issues. These marches are inspired by the 3-6-mile journey women and children in many countries make every day just to get water.

Article by DeHoll on