Archives for the month of: May, 2020

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Long before SCLC, SNCC or Freedom Summer, there was Esau Jenkins on Johns Island, SC.

He spoke at Mother Emmanuel A.M.E. in 1962.

We The People were introduced to Esau at the old Highlander Folk School, where he was a living legend.

In the earliest days, he operated a Citizenship School from inside a beat-up, yellow school bus which doubled as a rural peddler’s store on wheels.

That bus was a transport for remote island people and became a mobile classroom for political education back in the day when “Literacy Tests” were used to keep Black citizens from registering to vote.

Septima Clark joined him and so did Bernice Robinson, running Voter Registration classes inside Bernice’s home beauty salon.

Our Democracy is just as much in peril today as it was back in the 1950’s when Esau began “The Work”. Right now there are literally thousands of people who are volunteering weeks and months to a movement that goes much deeper than just getting someone elected to a political office. Every event flowing from the murder of George Floyd is evidence of this.

Esau, Septima and Bernice got everyone to tap into a bottomless well of courage, intelligence, practicality and commonality. 

Everyone “taught” each other. They practiced the art of talking out community problems and testing out solutions.  A rickety school bus became a co-op, became a health clinic, became a gas & grocery station, became a credit union.  The evolution never stopped. And it is not stopping now in 2020.

North, South, East and West, there are Hot Spots all over the USA with a load of this tradition still percolating in their regional and cultural DNA.  Time to tap into it. Watch it explode like a God Bless America Geyser all across the nation. Electrifying and Edifying.

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