The Ball State University Vietnam Moratorium Committee is presenting “Reunite, Remember, Rekindle,”
its 50th Anniversary Reunion and Conference, and the Public is Invited!
The events will honor the history of student activism at
Ball State during the Vietnam era, but just as importantly,
they are aimed at connecting with activists in current student movements.
Ball State University
50th Anniversary Reunion and Conference
The Reunion Mixer and Dinner
will be held
at BSU’s Alumni Center Assembly Hall
on Thursday, October 10
from 6:00-10:30 pm.
The $40 fee includes choice of entreé
and a commemorativet-shirt,
with paid registration due by October 1.
The all-day Conference
on Friday, October 11,
from 9:00 am–5:30 pm
at Pittenger Student Center’s Cardinal Hall,
is free of charge and open to the public.
The Conference will present a full day of panels and speakers.
will present the keynote address at 11:30 am
He is a veteran anti-war activist, journalist, author of 11 books, and continuing peace advocate.
Profiles of lesser-known heroines in the fight for women’s rights
By Kathryn S. Gardiner
Madam C.J. Walker, Self-made Millionaire
In July 1917, a riot erupted in East Saint Louis. White workers responded with violence as factories in the area, especially those with government contracts, hired more and more black laborers. History has recorded the event as one of the worst race riots ever in the United States. White men fired weapons on homes in black neighborhoods, beating and lynching all black individuals they came across. The aggression of the white community resulted in over 40 deaths and nearly 6,000 families driven from their houses.
Responses from African-American leaders and organizations were swift and public. Among them was a gathering of Harlem business leaders, including Madam C.J. Walker, the influential owner of The Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company and believed to be the wealthiest African-American woman in the United States.
Like many women of the era, Sarah suffered from dandruff and hair loss caused by the harsh lye-based soaps used in cleaning clothes and hair.
Madam C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove on Dec. 23, 1867 to Owen and Minerva Breedlove in Louisiana. She was one of six children and the first born after the Emancipation Proclamation granted freedom to enslaved people in the country. By the age of seven, Sarah was an orphan and living with a sister and her husband. Sarah married Moses McWilliam in 1882 at age 14. The marriage was likely a means to escape abuse at the hands of her brother-in-law. With Moses, Sarah gave birth to her only child, a daughter the couple named A’Lelia. Moses died just two years later. Sarah remarried in 1894 but left that husband a few years later.
Both with and between husbands, Sarah was never idle. She and her daughter relocated to St. Louis, Mo., where three of her brothers had settled. Sarah earned a living as a laundress and a cook, making barely a dollar a day. She was determined, however, to earn enough to fund her daughter’s formal education. (She herself had only three months of Sunday school literacy lessons.) A single woman, she sang with the choir at the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church and enjoyed the company of a community of women.
It was within this company that the seed for Sarah’s business would take root. Like many women of the era, Sarah suffered from dandruff and hair loss caused by the harsh lye-based soaps used in cleaning clothes and hair. Most Americans also did not have adequate plumbing, further contributing to health and hygiene issues. Sarah’s brothers worked as barbers and she first studied haircare with them.
In 1904, Sarah attended the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (also known as the World’s Fair) as a commission agent for Annie Malone, an African-American entrepreneur who had founded the Poro Company, distributing haircare products. Malone would become Sarah’s mentor and eventually her primary business rival. Sarah and A’Lelia moved to Denver, Co., in 1905 where Sarah began developing her own hair care products in earnest.
Walker ensured that African-American women were trained in the “Walker System” of hair care and encouraged to become sales agents. Her saleswomen earned a considerable commission and she employed women at all levels of management.
In January of 1906, Sarah married Charles Joseph Walker, who worked in newspaper advertising in St. Louis. It was from this union that Sarah claimed the name Madam C.J. Walker, adopting the “Madam” from the women who pioneered the French cosmetics industry. She began working as an independent hairdresser and cosmetics retailer. Husband Charles was a partner in the business and helped with the marketing while daughter A’Lelia, now in her early 20s, ran the mail-order operation. When A’Lelia and her husband moved to Pittsburgh, a branch of the Madam C.J. Walker operations relocated with her.
Walker’s company would soon cross the country. In addition to its facilities in Pittsburgh, Walker also established a salon in Harlem, which would go on to become a center of black culture. Wherever her company took root, Walker ensured that African-American women were trained in the “Walker System” of hair care and encouraged to become sales agents. Her saleswomen earned a considerable commission and she employed women at all levels of management. Each sales agent wore a distinctive uniform of a white shirt and a black skirt, carrying with her a black satchel as she visited homes all throughout the United States and the Caribbean.
“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South,” she said, speaking in 1912 at the National Negro Business League. “… I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory on my own ground.”
In 1910, Sarah and husband Charles moved to Indianapolis, Ind., where A’Lelia encouraged her mother to establish a factory head. Walker did so, purchasing a home and a factory at 640 North West Street. She and Charles divorced in 1913, but Sarah retained the name Madam C.J. Walker. After all, it was a brand now. Her name and likeness graced the packages of Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower. Walker was savvy in advertising and branding, and she traveled frequently to promote her products.
“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South,” she said, speaking in 1912 at an annual gathering of the National Negro Business League. “From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory on my own ground.” The following year she would attend the event as keynote speaker.
By 1917—the year of the horrific riots in East St. Louis—her company had several thousand sales agents and would claim to have trained 20,000 women in the “Walker System.” Harlem business leaders responded to the violence with a visit to the White House, brandishing a petition in support of anti-lynching legislation. Walker also served on the committee that organized the Negro Silent Protest Parade that walked through New York City streets.
“This is the greatest country under the sun,” she said to her agents, “but we must not let our love of country, our patriotic loyalty, cause us to abate one whit in our protest against wrong and injustice.
“We should protest until the American sense of justice is so aroused that such affairs of the East St. Louis riots be forever impossible.”
Walker addressed the violence later that year at a gathering of the Madam C.J. Walker Hair Culturists Union of America in Philadelphia, a gathering which may have been the first national meeting of businesswomen. “This is the greatest country under the sun,” she said to her agents, “but we must not let our love of country, our patriotic loyalty, cause us to abate one whit in our protest against wrong and injustice. We should protest until the American sense of justice is so aroused that such affairs of the East St. Louis riots be forever impossible.”
As her business grew, so did Walker’s activism. Just in Indianapolis, she raised funds to establish the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and contributed money to the Flanner House and Bethel African American Methodist Episcopal Church.
At the time of her death in 1919 due to a cerebral hemorrhage, Walker was touted as a millionaire. However, according to her obituary in The New York Times, “she said herself two years ago  that she was not yet a millionaire but hoped to be sometime.” In 1919, the average American’s annual salary was $750. Instructions in her will bequeathed nearly two-thirds of her estate’s future profits to charity. A’Lelia took over the company and ran it until her death in 1931 from the same affliction which claimed her mother.
The original home of Madam C.J. Walker’s Manufacturing Company is now The Madam Walker Theatre Center.
Madam C.J. Walker’s name was known all throughout the United States and the Caribbean, far beyond her death and even to this day. While she was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, many remembrances remain in Indianapolis, the city she chose for her company headquarters. Her personal papers have been preserved at the Indiana Historical Society and a container of Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower remains in the permanent collection at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The original home of Madam C.J. Walker’s Manufacturing Company is now The Madam Walker Theatre Center.
Before her own young passing, A’Lelia wrote a biography of her mother titled On Her Own Ground. This text is the basis for an upcoming Netflix series about Madam C.J. Walker starring Octavia Spencer.
Choose a Meeting to Observe
Observers do not speak in meetings
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.
Only takes a few seconds!
Take notes and report to Observer Corp Leader
If you can attend a government meeting, please take notes and report on it for the rest of us.
Democracy is not a spectator sport
Unless you’re taking notes for the League of Women Voters!
Making Democracy Work!
RSVP by sending an email to Julie Mason through any of the register now links above.
Policing and the Politics of Reform
Nan Barber, Convenor League of Women Voters of Muncie/Delaware County introduces Dr. Max Felker-Kantor, author of Policing Los Angeles and visiting Associate Professor at Ball State University History Department
Policing Los Angeles, Race, Resistance and the Rise of the LAPD, by Dr. Max Felker-Kantor
Dr. Felker-Kantor presenting information on the early days of Los Angeles, and the reasons for his interest in studying the subject.
Coalition Against Police Abuse, CAPA
CAPA was a citizens coalition which followed police cars at night in order to serve as witnesses for those who were pulled over by them.
LWV of Muncie/Delaware County presented
Prison Reform : The Carceral State
Saturday, April 20th, 2019 at the Kennedy Library
About 25 Muncie residents turned out to hear speaker Max Felker-Kantor, Ph.D. He is a visiting Assistant Professor of History at Ball State University and author of Policing Los Angeles.
Dr. Felker-Kantor explained his research into the path which led to the Rodney King riots, and the course taken by officials to attempt to remedy the situation. According to his research, the community is stuck in a cycle of lack of oversight of the police department, which has been tasked with policing itself, and riots from citizens affected by that lack of oversight.
He began with a brief history of the culture of Los Angeles, which was nearly 100% white in its early days. There were many immigrants in Los Angeles, but those immigrants were also white. When a large number of black citizens moved into L. A., the police were tasked with enforcing segregation. When segregation ended, the police still upheld the cultural norms of white culture over those of minority cultures. Defining “good citizens” by the standards of white culture caused a friction between the police and any minority culture which behaved within the law but outside of those cultural norms.
An “Us vs. Them” attitude evolved in the L. A. police department which sometimes resulted in pitting officers against community. This attitude explains why simply hiring officers within a neighborhood to police that same neighborhood was not an effective solution to issues like police brutality and harassment.
Member, League of Women Voters of Muncie/Delaware County
Policing Los Angeles author, Max Felker-Kantor, Ph.D.
The solution suggested by Professor Felker-Kantor was a complex and nuanced society-wide reformation. Most importantly, we need a police department that answers to a citizen commission in order to be held accountable for corruption, abuse, and harassment policies.
Other issues include a shift in media coverage that better represents reality, as opposed to sensationalism, and a shift in the majority culture’s use of the police department to force minority cultures to behave within the majority culture’s norms.
The McCone Commission
After the Frye brothers and their mother were arrested by police, rumors spread that a pregnant woman was kicked by police and the neighborhood, fed up with other incidents of police brutality, struck out against the L.A. police. The McCone Commission was tasked with understanding what caused the worst riot in L.A. history, until Rodney King, and suggesting a path forward to resolving the issues.
Calls for L.A. Chief of police Daryl Gates to step down
During the Rodney King riots protestors demanded that Chief Gates finally step down, after years of supplying his own employment evaluations.
Folks mingling before the presentation
Revive Civility: Our Democracy Depends on It…
A LEAGUE DISCUSSION ACROSS THE NATION
In today’s political climate and culture, it may feel like civility is becoming the exception instead of the rule. As the debate on issues becomes more strident, it becomes harder to identify common ground and shared solutions.
As a trusted, nonpartisan organization, the League’s collective voice has the potential to “cut through the noise.” However, how our message on issues is delivered can have as much impact as the message itself. As we know, relationships are critical. Trust-building and team-work are essential because people must come together to fix problems and create compromises on issues. There must be mutual respect between participants to enhance strong dialogue.
Civil discourse, debating (not arguing), and listening to the other side are critical to building trust. The League has opened a national discussion to promote civil discourse.
Civil discourse is discourse that supports, rather than undermines, the societal good. It demands that democratic participants respect each other, even when that respect is hard to give or to earn.
SEE MORE DETAILS ON
LWVwise.org — Civil Discourse Space
On March 4th, Pearce Godwin
~ a moderate conservative and Executive Director of the National Conversation Project, joined the LWV civility call to address participants’ hopes for engaging conservatives. Godwin is also author of the brief “Field Playbook on Engaging Conservatives.”
On April 9th, Ted Celeste
Democrat, former Ohio State Representative and NICD Director of State Programs, and Tom Niehaus, Republican, former President of the Ohio Senate and Next Gen Facilitator join the conversation to share their experience of working
across the legislative aisle and training policy makers through a workshop called “Building Trust through Civil Discourse.”
On May 14th, Liz Joyner
from Village Square will join the video call to continue the conversation about Welcoming Conservatives.
Joe Anderson, NAACP President Muncie Branch, Left
Julie Mason, LWV of Muncie/Delaware Observer Corp Leader
George Foley, NAACP Vice President Muncie Branch, Right
Rallying for the Hate Crime Bill
May 18 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Steps of Muncie City Hall
The NAACP Muncie Branch will have a Hate Crime Bill Rally from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. on the steps of City Hall on High Street. This is a State Initiative and every NAACP branch in the state of Indiana will have a Rally in their city at the same date and time.
State Rep. Sue Errington will speak along with our Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler about the new Hate Crime Bill. Please come out and support and help us Rally.
The Indiana State Conference, including all of the units therein, is advocating for the amendment of the Hate Crime Bill that was signed into law in 2019.
The amendment must be comprehensive and include the classes that are in the 2019 law but also must include the omitted classes of gender, gender identity, age and sex.
The Governor and Indiana General Assembly especially our respective local legislators.
Voter Services Report
The LWV-Muncie Delaware County arranged with MITS to run a shuttle to the driver’s license branch on May 3rd for people to get their voter identification in time for the primary. Teresa Basey distributed the flyers to government offices, local libraries, and social service agencies.
Green New Deal Town Hall meetings will occur all over the country, beginning this month.
The nearest one to Muncie will be in Indianapolis:
Sat, June 1 at 2:30pm
3769 Commercial Drive (west side of Indy, in Speedway)
Host Contact Info: Ron Mitchell, 317-641-3341, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE GREEN NEW DEAL
You probably have heard about the Green New Deal (GND) but if you are like me, you do not know what exactly it means? Wikipedia defines the Green New Deal as a proposed stimulus program that aims to address climate change and economic inequality.
Groups and individuals across the country are doing teach-ins, town halls, and other programs to help us understand the GND’s potential. Locally, Muncie Resists is hosting a program on April 27 (see flyer). There will also be a program in Indianapolis in June.
Indianapolis: Green New Deal Town Hall
June 01, 2019, 2:30 – 4:30 PM
International Marketplace• 3769 Commercial Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46214
Host contact info: Ron Mitchell, email@example.com, (317) 641-3341
Purpose: To inform, motivate, and bring about actions to save our planet and species within a very short time. Join us at this Town Hall to hear leaders in our community share about how the Green New Deal is the biggest opportunity of our lifetime to invest in the American people, and what that looks like for us.