I found America's Black Holocaust Museum soon after moving to the Milwaukee area six years ago. I was driving north on Interstate 43 when I saw a sign for it just before the North Avenue exit. The museum was indeed an eye opener--the exhibits, the story of museum founder Dr. James Cameron, the museum staff, the spirit of acceptance, understanding and reconciliation. I was taken by it all and joined on the spot. The employees and volunteers welcomed me into their community and they became part of my community.
My husband went with me on my next visit. He not only joined, he became a volunteer--a griot, which is a West African word for story teller. In doing so, he became a student, learning as much from the groups of students and adults who visited the museum as he hoped they learned from the exhibits and the stories of Africans, the Middle Passage, African-American heroes, Wisconsin's African-American pioneers and of Dr. Cameron himself, the only known American to survive a lynching. An average of 25,000 people--black, white, brown, all hues--from this country and abroad visited the museum annually and learned about the need for and importance of racial understanding and respect.
My husband spent every Thursday there helping out, conducting tours and learning. We both attended educational meetings, academic lectures, Juneteenth celebrations, documentary screenings and many other events during the ensuing years. We also made modest monetary contributions, as did others. But sporadic donations wasn't enough.
As reported in Wednesday's Journal-Sentinel, the museum closed on Thursday, at least temporarily. My husband spent that last day helping to dismantle, pack up and prepare the exhibits for a move to a storage area UWM is providing.
We feel like a hole has been ripped in our lives. Like a dear friend has died. That's how we felt when Dr. Cameron died a little more than two years ago at age 92. That was 76 years after a hot August night in 1930 when two of 16-year-old James Cameron's acquaintances were hanged from a tree near the courthouse in Marion, Indiana, in retaliation for the shooting death of a town resident, and a noose had also been placed around Cameron's neck. It was a crime Cameron vowed he had nothing to do with. Years later he moved to Milwaukee and in 1988 founded the museum in the basement of his home as a memorial to lynching victims, and as an institution for race-relations enlightenment. The museum was more than a monument to what had happened to Cameron. It was unique, a community treasure. It offered an opportunity to explore the racial perceptions people of all ethnicities hold, and to advance healing and reconciliation.
The museum was always a hand-to-mouth operation. A major benefactor, Marty Stein, died just a few months before Dr. Cameron's passing and the museum never regained even the shaky financial footing it had previously had. It wasn't for the lack of heroic efforts of at least three people: Reggie Jackson, who coordinated and educated the griots for the past few years and took over as board of directors' chair late last year; Cory Joe Biddle, the director from August 2005 to last October, and Bethany Criss, who assumed Biddle's duties when Biddle resigned. Each shouldered the duties almost single-handedly, doing yeoman's work, devoting countless hours, writing grants, searching for funding and struggling to keep the doors open. But it was more than a one-person job. It takes the dedication of a community to keep the spirit, mission and day-to-day operation of such an institution going. It also takes funding. A reliable, ongoing source of funding like an endowment provides. And it needs the oversight, commitment and active participation of motivated directors who can and will use their connections to support and enable such a vital element of the community to thrive.
The community of which I speak isn't just Milwaukee's north side around 4th Street and North Avenue where Cameron moved the museum to in 1994. It isn't just the city of Milwaukee or the greater Milwaukee area. It is the community of humankind, people from all over Wisconsin, from other states and from other countries for whom Cameron established the museum and who visited it, and who will visit it again if the community will rally and rescue it just as Dr. Cameron himself was saved from the noose on that August night 78 years ago.
If that happens, then the sign on I-43 won't have to be taken down and can again direct visitors to the museum.
Divine Mercy Parish Festival
695 College Ave., South Milwaukee
Meet Deb, a dreamer of a dog who loves to watch the world from the comfort of cool tile on hot summer days! This sweetheart Cocker Spaniel is just 6 years old and is one of the 1,200 dogs rescued from Puppy Haven Kennels and brought to WHS. She is experiencing new things everyday - the feel of grass beneath her feet, squeaky toys, ear scratches, a name of her own and the pride of wearing a brand new collar! Deb will be a devoted, loving companion to a family or person who can help her build her confidence with positive reinforcement and encouragement. Check out Deb's profile page at WHS!
Would you like to improve your health by walking and help reduce poverty at the same time? If you answered "yes" you are in luck because the St. Vincent de Paul Society will be holding their First Annual FRIENDS OF THE POOR --WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES walk.
The walk is being held on Saturday, Sept. 27th and starts at the St. Francis Seminary at 3257 S Lake Drive, St. Francis. Registration begins at 9 am and the walk begins at 11 am. The entire community is invited to attend and to walk in this event. If you would like to be involved but aren't up for the walk you can volunteer. 100% of the proceeds raised will benefit low-income people, the homeless and individuals and families dealing with a crisis. You will also help raise awareness of the challenges faced by the nations poor.
There are things no one told me when we decided to have kids. One of these things is how difficult it can be to say no.
Here is some sports news you might have missed amid all the drama surrounding the Brett Favre controversy: The University of Wisconsin--Madison women's track team leads the nation with 13 student-athletes on the USTFCCCA all-academic team.
South Milwaukee's very own Irish folk band, the Garlic Mustard Pickers, is busy with private performances this month, but band members are inviting friends and fans to attend a couple of gigs they've got lined up for September.
You can catch them on September 19 (Friday) at Riverkeeper Bash 2008, with Friends of Milwaukee Rivers. Admission is a “cover” donation to FMR.
The “Bash” will be at:
Performance Yacht Services
520 S Water St, Milwaukee
The next day, Saturday, September 20, they will perform at:
There is a ton of news to report this week.
First on the list: Nativity of the Lord Parish is holding their annual outdoor Mass and Picnic on Sunday, Aug. 24th at Sheridan Park. The mass starts at 10:30 am with the picnic to follow. This is always fun for the whole family and a great way to meet some of your neighbors. Father Phil asked me to extend an invitation to anyone who is interested. Are you new to the area or interested in reconnecting with a parish? This would be a great opportunity to meet some great people and learn about NOTL parish.
Did you know that, from your computer, you can email most people with a cell phone number and the email you send appears as a text message on the recipient's phone? This method is, in my opinion, so much easier than trying to squint and type messages directly from a cell phone. (I feel old as I type this!)
Here's a list of all the email formats for cell phone numbers. You just need to know the cell phone company your recipient uses.
Virgin Mobile: firstname.lastname@example.org
US Cellular: email@example.com
Cellular One: firstname.lastname@example.org
Simply, this list is for people who:
- are not completely comfortable using the text messaging feature on their cell phone.
(Me ... sometimes)
- like email more than text messaging.
(Me ... definitely)
- want to send a message to someone - but may not necessarily want to disturb them with a phone call.
(For example: Pick up a pizza - I'm starving, Quit ignoring the phone and come home now!, or You may want to end your meeting soon because we just won the lottery.)
- want to save money on cell phone plans that charge for each text message you send.
- think fingers were not meant to type messages on small phones.
(Me ... again, do I show signs of my age?)
If you are a good republican (conservative) you believe that global warming is a farce, and that there is no scientific evidence to support the claims that the worlds warming has much to do with humans producing carbon gasses.
If you are a good democrat (liberal) you believe that humans, in their industrialization of the earth over the last however many years, are contributing greatly to the accelerated warming of the earth. Here is where the tricky part comes in…. they are both right, and they are both wrong.Yea, I said it…. The OTHER side can actually be right about something. The facts are out there, you just have to be open minded enough to go get them. And not form a partisan source. And by that I mean from actual scientific studies.
A lot of times people fall in to political alignment and just go along with what the others in that party believe, and it doesn’t matter what evidence is out there to support otherwise. They will pick up on something that is either said mistakenly from the other side and key in on that or take it out of context and redistribute it as fact.The earth IS warming. Any debate on that fact is basically non existent. The debate is… Why is it warming?, What is causing it? Is the warming even significant? The fact is, we are still coming out of the last ice age. Therefore by definition, the earth is warming up. It is also true that Mars is also coming out an ice age and it too is experiencing global warming…. Yes, global warming is occurring there without humans.In fact there are studies that suggest that global warming is happening across our solar system. On the other side of the coin, you have to ask yourself “Why are all these scientist saying that we are causing global warming?” Well the answer is both simple and complicated.
My boyfriend and I usually go to Applebee's for a pre-movie snack when we go see a movie. I remember the first time going there that there was no sign out front, and although I knew where it was, I almost passed up the driveway. That's because it's not marked and there are trees right at that corner, so if you aren't paying attention coming from our side of town and turning south on 13th street from Rawson, you really can't see the restaurant before it's time to turn into the parking lot. We had a little laugh at that the first time we almost missed it.
Here's a funny story...The Senior Sleuths couldn't find it either! My mom's group of friends, which I've written about before and dubbed the Senior Sleuths, had a collective senior moment when they wanted to go there for lunch last week after seeing a movie and they drove right by it! Part of the problem was that they really didn't know if it was at Rawson Avenue or College Avenue, and part of the problem is that there is no sign out front! As my mom was telling the story, I couldn't stop laughing! Imagine the confusion inside the car with several ladies all pointing in different directions and trying to tell the poor confused driver where to go! Of course, this could have gotten dangerous because then they were doing u-turns and starting and stopping. In the end, they went to a different restaurant and I'm sure they ended up a little upset at themselves. Mom, forgive me, I just had to write about it!
Here is a site that shows important news regarding the US Olympic Team's Track and Field events:
Three weeks ago
My 4-year old sits on couch and we talk. The subject of babies comes up. Realizing that my son has never been in close proximity of a very pregnant woman and that we've never had this discussion, I explain to him that babies come from a mommy's tummy. He just looks at me. I repeat myself. I tell him that when he was a baby, he was in my tummy. Again he just looks at me. He remains quiet. He then turns his head and stares at the TV playing cartoons.
He waits one minute - then two minutes - and then finally asks, "Mommy - did you EAT ME?"
Two weeks ago
My 4-year old gets a haircut. At the store, for every child haircut, kids received free Hannah Montana posters. Well to the disgust of my 7 year old son who does not like Hannah Montana, my little one asks for a poster. When we arrive home, my 4-year old walks up to me, shows me his new Hannah Montana poster, and tells me that if I am real good and if I clean up my room, then he will give me his poster.
Currently, I'm the proud owner of a Hannah Montana poster.
My 4-year old sees the classroom of his new school. It's form and fee day and the 4K teacher has her room decorated to greet her new young students. My son walks in the room and says hi to his first real teacher. He looks around. He sees the pictures on the walls. He stares at all the toys. Then his eyes open wide when he sees his own name taped to a desk.
My son sits at his new desk and he smiles. "This is my room", he whispers.
10 minutes later
My 4-year old's head is buried in my chest and he's crying. As we walk out the doors of the school, my son cries - not because he wants to go - but because he wants to stay. My son's arms are wrapped around my neck, not because he wants me to continue hugging him, but because in reality he wants to be somewhere else.
At this point, I realize that I'm hugging him tighter!
So I've learned - after these events during the last few weeks (and for that matter during the last months and years) - that as I delight in my youngest son's day-to-day events, he continues to walk ahead - that for every laugh he gives me, I will FOREVER MOURN his growth. And most importantly, I've learned that every time I clean my room, I will think of a Hannah Montana poster - the reward from my son - my reward for being good.
August 27 - 31, 2008 Wow, 105 years ago this American motorcycle company opened it's doors for business. 16 years ago I proudly accepted a position at this phenomonal company. People from all over the world will be here this week to celebrate a hobby, a way of life, a history and philosophy that has no comparison.
There is so much to do during the Anniversary Celebration, even if you aren't a rider, not a HOG member, and haven't bought a ticket to the Summerfest grounds. Check out the activities at: http://www.harley-davidson.com/wcm/Content/Pages/Events/105th_Coverage/schedule.jsp?locale=en_US . I hope that all my readers get a chance to participate, even if a wave to a passing motorist is all that you do.
Are you looking for a special someone who is quiet and considerate? Someone who will give you his utmost attention but won't be overly demanding?
Hardly seems possible, but it's been six years. Six years since the first of what has become an annual neighborhood picnic. We held the sixth one last weekend in our usual spot in the park just off Parkway Drive. And just about everything was picture perfect – the weather, the neighbors, the food. Although we had a great turnout, if anything was lacking, it was the neighbors who couldn’t or didn’t make it.
An interesting sight in the park that day was the diversity. Of course, it’s well known how diverse the ancestry of our picnickers is – Irish, Polish, Swedish, German, Armenian, and more. Added to that was the pleasure of meeting the kids – well, one is 18, so hardly a kid – of African-American neighbors up the street, and seeing two families whose kids came to play on the nearby playground equipment. The parents of two of the kids were Hispanic and, from the sound of it, spoke little to no English. And it appeared that from the attire of the mother of two other kids that they were Muslim.
With tens of thousands of motorcycles in the area this week, the chance for accidents climbs. It is hard to see a cyclist on the road, in your mirrors, and to judge how far away they are when they are coming towards you. Please please please be extra careful on the road, watch for their headlights and give them extra room when moving in traffic with them.
Since I work at H-D and have a motorcycle license (although I don't ride anymore), I am very aware and always watchful. But most drivers don't think about smaller vehicles sharing the road with them, and don't train themselves to see that smaller sillouette on the street. It's very easy to overlook one coming at you and pulling out in front of them and really not realize they are there. Every rider will tell you their stories when it has happened to them. I remember being in my car years ago waiting to turn onto Howell Ave and waiting for a motorcycle to go by before I turned but the truck behind me didn't see the cyclist, assumed I was moving to turn, and rear-ended me! So in that case, he didn't see the biker, and didn't see me in front of him either!
So today I want to take a break from pointing fingers at the Elephants and the Donkeys and talk about a much more simple idea of how to handle one of our biggest issues in our country.
What if we just put aside our right-left "Team loyalty" for a minute and think about what is the right thing to do.