From the Director
This has been a big year for the Alliance of Ethics & Art (AEA), and we enthusiastically thank everyone who participated in and encouraged our events and oral history project. Thank you for enabling thousands of people to meet the knowledge that can end racism: Aesthetic Realism. In our travels we presented, free to the public, "The People of Clarendon County"--A Play by Ossie Davis, & the Answer to Racism! at
Tulane University Law School in New Orleans
North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh
(January and June)
Elmont Memorial Library in Elmont, NY.
We are grateful for a grant from Puffin Foundation to explore how African Americans and Jews worked together for Civil Rights.
At the left we see the beloved
Fannie Lou Hamer in Mississippi having her blood pressure taken by a white doctor who came from NYC to serve the cause of justice.
Many interviews were videotaped for the oral history project, "The Force of Ethics in Civil Rights," in North Carolina, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Florida, New Jersey, Georgia, and New York. In North Carolina they included James E. Mills, the first African American mayor of Scotland Neck; Dr. John Mitchell Johnson, owner of Hamlin Drug Company in Raleigh, the oldest black-owned pharmacy in the state (est. 1907) and perhaps the country; Eugenia Ijames, who, in 1968 was the only black child in the first grade of Wakelon Elementary School in Zebulon, thus integrating the school.
- as published in the El Paso Times, the Birmingham Times, and many other papers:
Thousands of people came to Washington from around the country on Wednesday, August 28, 1963, to march with Dr. Martin Luther King for jobs and freedom. Among them was an African American man named Archie Waters, a journalist who had come from Brooklyn.
Link to the story.
Standing Room Only!
On Sunday, February 19, we presented "The People of Clarendon County"
--A Play by Ossie Davis, & the Answer to Racism! to over 430 people, as the opening event of the Southeast Regional Black Male Summit in Columbia, South Carolina. Click here for the flyer.
We were invited by the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs and the Brotherhood of Achievers Determined to Make a Difference (BADD), with a grant from the SC Humanities Council and support by SC African American Heritage Commission and University of South Carolina-African American Studies Department. The summit's urgent theme was Closing the Achievement Gap: Cutting the Pipeline to Prison and, in many ways, it was a tribute to the power of education to change people's lives. The audience of students, educators, parents, mentors, and community leaders, heard diverse speakers tell what they learned from the education Aesthetic Realism that strengthened their love for knowledge and enabled them to see people different from themselves with greater justice and kindness.
Tulane Law School Honors Civil Rights & the Answer to Racism
(New Orleans, LA) One of the great civil rights lawsuits in American history took center stage in March in a special event at Tulane University Law School (TLS) in New Orleans: “The People of Clarendon County”—A Play by Ossie Davis, & the Answer to Racism! In his welcome, Dean David Meyer said Tulane Law School was privileged to host this event, and he thanked the Black Law Students Association and Alternative Dispute Resolution Law Society for sponsoring it.
Law Professor Edward Sherman introduced the speakers by saying this was a “very important event, presenting the interconnection between politics, ethics, art, and law, based on Aesthetic Realism,” with the focus on racism and “what we can do in terms of our own thought processes and education within our society to deal with it.” The play was stirringly performed by Tulane and Loyola students: Erin Sanders, Victor Jones, Erica Zacharie, and W.B. Whitted, with musical accompaniment by soloist, Ebonee Davis.
Speaking with Ms. Bernstein on the answer to racism, were Dr. Jaime R. Torres, founder of Latinos for National Health Insurance; Allan Michael, the first African American maritime captain in the New York harbor; and Dr. Arnold Perey, anthropologist and teacher educator on the faculty of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. Elementary school educator, Monique Michael (born in Haiti), gave an interactive first grade science lesson on diversity in birds and humans, illustrating the Aesthetic Realism Teaching Method’s power to bring out every child’s true intelligence and kindness.
The Clarendon County / Answer to Racism event, now in its fourth year, has traveled across the country to schools, libraries, universities, and museums— free to the public—including in the US Congressional Auditorium in Washington, DC. In each city, unsung heroes of civil rights in the community are introduced, showing history as alive!
The Tulane audience gratefully acknowledged the important work of: Nolan Rollins, President & CEO of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans; Lorenzo DuFau, World War II veteran whose courage inspired the film "Proud"; Eddie Ponds, of Ponchatoula, publisher of The Drum newspaper, now celebrating 25 years of preserving history and current contributions of African Americans.
From Baton Rouge: Keith Beauchamp, filmmaker of The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, whose TV series, The Injustice Files, is opening opportunities for justice in 100 civil rights murder cases; two women, Dr. Roberta Tyson and Mrs. Inez Anderson, who worked with their late husbands, Dr. Bertrand Tyson and Dr. Dupuy Anderson, for the cause of Civil Rights.
And the little known civil rights activism of TLS Professor Edward Sherman (shown left) was brought to light, including his role in the 1964 legal action which integrated restaurants in Juarez overnight!; how in 1965, he and his wife, Alice Sherman, joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s school integration efforts, teaching in a Freedom School in Crawfordsville, Georgia; and how, as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School, Ed published an article arguing the case for northern attorneys having to be allowed temporary admission to represent blacks in civil rights cases in the South where black defendants couldn't otherwise get a lawyer.
What audiences nationwide have expressed in comments following these events was confirmed at Tulane: the message of Aesthetic Realism “My gratitude is immeasurable,” Alice Bernstein said, “as all humanity's will be, to Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism, for the knowledge that can finally defeat the filth and poison of racism and replace them with true respect and kindness!” This message resonates with people of all ages, and makes for new, wide, more just thinking about people different from oneself.
The event ended with a celebratory reception.