The Honorable Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
OUR BRIEF SUMMATION OF OUR LIFELONG CIVIL RIGHTS HISTORY:
At 17 years of age, Bob and Jenny met the loves of their lives (each other) as freshmen in college. Within their classes, they were studying the tragedy of apartheid in South Africa, as they were concurrently studying the soon and coming Voting Rights Act of 1964. Outside of class, they were members of Jr. NAACP, and Jenny unsuccessfully attempted to start a college campus chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). (She had personally been taught her first piano lessons by beloved, departed Bayard Rustin, and a short time later she had personally volunteered for our beloved, departed Dr. James Farmer, Jr. at CORE.)
Bob and Jenny’s successes were, however, marching in solidarity…..from marching together shoulder-to-shoulder in the sympathy march for Selma (from Eastlake Park to the Arizona Capital, to marching with Senor Cesar Chavez, protesting under his guiding wing at a sit-in at the Capital and at the fields, to the ultimate march, in attending beloved and unsurpassed President Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Inauguration.
Solely because of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jenny chose her vocation, and attended Seminary.
As the journey continues in solidarity to serve our neighbors with struggles toward freedom and equality, towards ending segregation and oppression, Bob and Jenny welcome you to march alongside us. (Please also read Our Histories/Biographies at the top of the page.)
January 21, 2011 Honorees for Brother Martin: Bob Ramsey and Jenny Norton
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., award, presented annually in recognition of the principals and the vision of Dr. King, is designed to honor those who lead by their service to others and to quote Dr. King “…recognize that he who is the greatest among you shall be your servant…”
Executive Director for ASU Gammage
Assistant Vice President for Cultural Affairs
Reprint of Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan’s Hurricane, used by permission. Copyright © 1975 by Ram’s Horn Music; renewed 2003 by Ram’s Horn Music———————————————————————
Following the tortured death of George Floyd, during our 2020 Summer’s Juneteenth field activism and debrief retreat, our Ramsey Social Justice Foundation team created a mission for Black/Indigenous (BIPOC) Reparations – The Feminine.
Launching officially with scalable activism, our reparations have been dedicated initially to the municipal areas of Tempe, Phoenix, Tulsa, and New York City, focused on the feminine.
Friends of the Foundation, of the Cause, we invite you to ask Jenny about joining. There will be a need for nothing other than your words, your own memories and personal stories to evoke the need for reparations, your memories about the tragedy of beloved Emmett Till, the exegetical song of Billie Holiday, the long frightening ride of Rosa Parks, the work on the streets and in the fields of family friends, Bayard Rustin, Dick Gregory, James Farmer, Cesar Chavez, Brother Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (who is the singular, only reason that Jenny became a seminarian), Dolores Fuentes, Dorie Ladner, our capable historical guide Dr. Ricco Wright, and Fellowship of Reconciliation scholar Mr. David Ragland. In return, we promise you just two things: sacrifice and joy. We invite you to write: Jenny@ramseysocialjusticefoundation.org
Author/Scribe Ben Rollins informs us about the historical injustice of our Black and POC musicians and songwriters, writing:
“The world owes an enormous debt to the magnificent black musicians whose soul and sounds provided the wellspring for so much of what has become American Music. From medicine shows and cake walks, from minstrelsy to the blues, from jazz to hip hop, from rock and roll to doo-wop, from gospel music to soul, it’s almost impossible to imagine what the world’s music would sound like without their talent and influence. America has a long history of undervaluing and underpaying black creators, especially as far as recorded music is concerned. I’m not sure these wrongs can be easily righted, but there is a simple fix going forward. Record companies can acknowledge the onerous contracts to which black singers, songwriters and performers were signed and reassess how those artists are paid. From Blind Lemon Jefferson to John Coltrane and all the way back again, there’s a great injustice that should be rectified.”
– Ben Rollins
David Ragland, of Truth Telling Project and The Fellowship of Reconciliation, lifts his voice in support of long overdue “land acknowledgment by the northeast farmers of color”. Quoting Potawatomi Nation’s author Robin Wall Kimmerer, David continues, “In the settler mind, land was property, real estate, capital, or natural resources. But to our people, it was everything: identity, the connection to our ancestors,” and Mr. Ragland voices the injustice, saying to us: “they see the acknowledgment as a prayer and the land connected to our ancestors.”
Director Steve Higgins, Executive Director, The Bob Dylan Center; Director/Member Emeritus Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice teaches us:
“Tulsa has taken some steps to address school and street names connected to KKK members. Tate Brady was a city father and KKK leader whose name is pervasive here. The burgeoning arts district was known as the Brady District until a few years ago when the city began reckoning with the issue. Now, the century-old Brady Theater is the Tulsa Theater. The district is the Tulsa Arts District. And, most importantly to me, the Bob Dylan Center will be located on Reconciliation Way (instead of Brady Street).”
Tribal Leader, Consultant, Commentator Jefferson JL Begay, quietly voices, “I will be burning cedar tonight and will say a prayer, for this honor to our mother and father:”
Two grants, eponymously named for the founders of Navajo Mountain High School, Stella Rose Drake and Harold Navajo Drake will become part of our Indigenous reparations, benefiting outstanding hardworking worthy students/scholars whose ancestors’ devastating history of being kidnapped, boarded, and tormented in “Indian Schools” can never be changed, but whose education will guarantee their futures will never be as bleak.
Quiet Quaker Bob Ramsey, Founder/Director of The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation and eighth-generation abolitionist, voiced the success of our reparations in honoring Señora Lupe Esquer, co-founder of Tempe’s center, as he says, “While hearing First Lady Michelle Obama tell all of us that one morning, she woke up in a house built by slaves, my heart was pierced. Plus, I identified. I live in a wonderful college town, settled and built by our Mexican-American community, their ancestors, our Latino brothers and sisters, whose glorious history of creating our Tempe, sadly, has been becoming invisible. It’s time. Our community center for the underrepresented will now honor la Señora Lupe Esquer, most-loved and departed activista, friend and neighbor of La Victoria and Escalante neighborhoods, as our Tempe Community Action Program/Agency will become The Esquer and Ramsey Center.” Excerpted, with deepest love to you, and for our Reparations Cause, dear Good Friends:
“TCAA’s main location on Apache Boulevard in Tempe was initially named the Norton and Ramsey Center in honor of long-time volunteers and activists Jenny Norton, whose mother helped found TCAA along with Lupe, and her husband Bob Ramsey. The renamed Esquer and Ramsey Center honors TCAA’s true history and its origins.
“With this new dedication to my mother’s dear friend Lupe, my pride only swells. I am beyond grateful that the TCAA and the City of Tempe have enabled this moment for Lupe Esquer,” Jenny Norton said.”
Our City of Tempe is the pioneer of municipally funding Human Services for our citizens, first, within our Nation’s long history of providing funding care. We salute Tempe.
Following the center’s renaming, an African-American staff member’s hiring has been funded to oversee issue of racial equity at the Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS) homeless shelter in Phoenix; also two annual indigenous high school scholarships have been endowed at the Navajo Mountain High School, named for Stella and Harold Begay Blake; plus, a pre-school scholarship in Tempe has been established in the name of Navajo Codetalker George Kirk; a scholar-in-residence David Ragland has been funded at the Black Wall Street Gallery of Tulsa and New York City; a feminine youth entrepreneur funding has been established in the name of Madame Walker; a Black-space farm has received start-up funds in Jefferson County, New York; pending is a Black musicians reparations “prize” named for civil rights musical recording artist Mavis Staples.
NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM – #KingDay2020 is Monday, Jan. 20, join a celebration! Performances, family-friendly activities, and all sorts of entertainment. ✊?Lorraine Motel, Memphis.
How Black Lives Matter Began: Meet the Women Whose Hashtag Turned Into a Global Movement
Ms Dorie Ann Ladner – A Week Of Commemoration in Jackson (June 2013):
(photos pending, Dorie at the Woolworth counter)
From Hattiesburg, Mississippi, born on June 28, 1942, Ms. Dorie Ladner earned her B.A. degree from Tougaloo College, and in 1975, she earned a master’s degree in social work (MSW) from the Howard University School of Social Work.
Ms. Dorie played a key role in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi ever since, as a high school student, she joined the NAACP Youth Council in Hattiesburg where she met NAACP state president Medgar Evers. In 1961, she became engaged with the Freedom Riders. She joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and was arrested in 1962 trying to integrate the Woolworth lunch counter in downtown Jackson.
She was expelled from Jackson State University for her support of the Tougaloo Nine. She and her sister Joyce Ladner were invited to enroll at Tougaloo College.
Dorie was jailed for picketing in the 1962 Jackson, Mississippi boycotts: Just before Christmas of 1962, after months of discussions and a false start the previous year, a vigorous boycott had finally been launched against downtown merchants in Jackson. Initially, young people carried the spirit of the movement. Dorie and Joyce Ladner were heavily involved. At a time when bail money was unpredictable and most Mississippi-born students were afraid of reprisals against their parents, Dorie was among the first to go to jail for picketing.
In 1964, she became a key organizer in the Freedom Summer Project. She became the first woman to head a COFO Council of Federated Organizations project in 1964. She served as the SNCC project director in Natchez, Mississippi (1964-1966).
Ms. Ladner lives in Washington, D.C. where she is frequently invited to speak on panels and interviewed for documentary film projects. Our Foundation welcomes you to view the American Experience PBS documentary on Freedom Summer.
ALICIA GARZA Photo Pending
Presented to Jenny by Phoenix Union High School lifelong colleague and community activist, Ms. Patty Howell Heck, who is an unsurpassed educator with a specialty in literacy. Ms. Patty received, within the Oval Office, one of the “Thousand Points of Light,” for her service.
“Meanwhile, far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are drivin’ around”*
Copy Pending: Selma Sympathy March:
Reprint of Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan’s Dirt Road Blues, used by permission. Copyright © 1997 by Special Rider Music.
Serving as field organizers and voter deputy registrars, fighting ardently for the Voting Rights Act of 1964, Bob and Jenny have, lifelong, actively served to facilitate all to be able to exercise their right to vote.
Our social justice Foundation joyfully supports a student Commitment to Action through CGI University to raise awareness of, and rally toward, voter registration of the marginalized within the southern United States, as well as to train field organizers to enfranchise our street neighbors, our homeless with the right to vote..
The Honorable Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Honorable Mandela created the very foundation of ending oppression, and of bringing about justice and freedom to his people, our beloved neighbors, and we thank him with our deepest loving thanks.
Among the most glorious and educational listening moments ever for Jenny was when Bob read aloud the wonderful, late Paul Robeson’s underlined passages within Mr. Robeson’s own personal copy of the great Paul Laurence Dunbar’s “Lyrics of Lowly Life”.
The underlined passages were about the sad time that our hero Frederick Douglass went Home to Our Lord. One passage revealed that “A hush is over all the teeming lists”.
Bob was holding in his hands Paul Robeson’s personal copy of the “Lyrics of Lowly Life” because of the beautiful work of Ms. Heather at Honey & Wax. The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation welcomes you to learn more here: