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Still Scrappy After All These Years

Scrappy with Chuck

The year was 1967 and the Vietnam War was in full swing. It was the beginning of the wonder years, and I was attending Lincoln Jr. High School. It was a new school for me. As a matter of fact, it was a new school for all seventh graders who were called greenies by the eighth and ninth graders. The color green was not to be part of our wardrobe. If a seventh grader wore green, they would suffer the consequences of being embarrassed by the upper classmen. Today, I guess they would call it bullying. Somehow we got through it.

We had something called freedom of choice, but in reality, segregated schools were still in existence. As a result, all my classmates and teachers were black like me.

It was Mrs. Dalton’s science class that I took noticed of a boy named Rachon Fulton. He sat in front of Gregory Baldwin whom I had known since the first grade. Gregory lived up the street from me. Gregory and Rachon became good friends and eventually I was introduced to him. They both sat in the next column of seats. Rachon sat beside me to my left.

Rachon was a smart kid. We teamed together in a science project. We dissected a fish. I didn’t know much about him except that he went by the name of Scrappy.

Scrappy’s absence was noticed in the eighth grade. Gregory now known by the name Butterball thanks to Scrappy stayed in touch with him. Butterball told me that he was attending a different junior high school. Gillespie was the name of the school. Butterball and I would find ourselves attending Gillespie in the ninth grade.

Scrappy was not much of an athlete, but he was the starting quarterback on the football team. Both he and his cousin, Donald “Duck” Wright were quite popular and they dated the head cheerleaders. It turned out that Coach Raymond Johnson, the boys P.E. teacher as well as the football and basketball coach was their cousin by marriage. Needless to say, they both started on the basketball team. Chances are, had they not been related to Coach Johnson, they probably still would have started. Gillespie was a small school in comparison to Lincoln where they would have been penalized for their lack of athleticism. The boys were big fish in a little pond at Gillespie.

The peach fuzz boys made a fashion statement by rocking their white turtle necks with an orange alpaca, Vneck pullover sweater and green workmans’ khakis from Blumenthals. To complete their cool assemble, they wore Chuck Taylors with tube socks. It was the wonder years, and Duck and Scrappy were the mighty Warriors of Gillespie Park junior high school.

After the ninth grade, Scrappy joined his mother who had remarried ,in Iowa City Iowa. Scrappy returned to Greensboro in the eleventh grade. It was 1971, and to comply with the 1954 Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education, we were now in the first year of force busing. Scrappy lived with his maternal grandmother who lived in Smith High School district. Because he was coming in from another state, Scrappy was sent to Grimsley where Butterball and I were bused.

Scrappy graduated from Grimsley in 1973 and entered NC Central that fall. Scrappy would eventually drop out and join the Navy. After the Navy, Scrappy attended NC A&T where he received his degree in biology.

Scrappy and I would reconnect in Washington D.C. at Howard University. Scrappy was attending dental school and I was in law school. I learned of Scrappy’s presence through a classmate who had gone over to have some dental work done. Scrappy sent his contact information to me through Jake. I called him to catch up. During our conversation I mentioned that I suspected that now he was grown man and in professional school he no longer wanted to be called Scrappy. In reply, he said “I’m still Scrappy”. Indeed he was. We stayed in touch even after graduation. One day Scrappy came to my office and told me he was going back into the Navy. We hugged and I didn’t see him or hear from him. I had no idea as to what happened to him until I received a phone call informing me of his untimely death at the age of 58.

Scrappy and Crystal

To prepare this Blog, I had the opportunity to talk to Crystal Nightpipe, the love of his life.
I learned from Crystal that Scrappy had unselfishly practiced Dentistry on an Indian reservation in South Dakota. Like Scrappy’s mother, Ms. Nightpipe was an educator and had navigated her way to becoming a middle school principal on the reservation in Mission South Dakota. Scrappy often volunteered his services at her school.

Money and material wealth was not an interest of Scrappy. Doing a good deed for his fellow citizen was on the top of his list. He enjoyed camping and family fun during the Holidays.

As a child, Scrappy always wanted a dog. Scrappy made that possible when he adopted a puppy he named Chuck. Chuck predeceded Scrappy in death. In addition to paling around with Chuck, he enjoyed camping and family fun during the Holidays.

In addition to Crystal, he also left behind his mother, Mrs. Jean Turner of Iowa City; uncle, Mr. Alvin Lewis; Mrs. Georgia Wright and family, Greensboro, N.C., Mr. Roy Lewis and family, Mr. Ray Lewis and family, all of North Carolina; and many other relatives in North Carolina and friends and patients everywhere he lived and worked for he knew no strangers.

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    Posted 7 months, 4 weeks ago.

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    HBCU Student Delivers A Very Special Chistmas For Raeshaun Emerson

    A few years ago, an arrogant young black male stated to me that schools like my Alma Mater, N.C. A&T State University, a Historically Black College University (“HBCU”) are no longer needed. Often speaking without thinking, the Carnegie Mellon graduate exclaimed in ignorance that blacks outside his family had never done anything for him. Sadly his lack of knowledge on African American History did not allow him to understand that had it not been for people like Rev. J.A. Delaine, Charles Hamilton Houston, Charlotte Brown Hawkins, Clarence Matthews, Phairlever Pearson and many more blacks unrelated to him, he would not have been able to attend Carnegie Mellon.

    Troy Hayden and Raeshaun Emerson

    The video above also shows that the beat continues with the HBCU. On Christmas morning, Troy Hayden of Winston-Salem, a student assistant for A&T’s Cold Steel drum line arrived in full uniform at the home of six year old Raeshaun Emerson. During that visit which was a Christmas wish, Hayden showed the young drummer how to hold drumsticks and gave him a pair that lights up.

    Raeshaun, who already had strapped on a drum he got for Christmas last year, played alongside Hayden. It was the perfect Christmas gift for a boy whose been watching A&T’s drummers since he was 2.

    According to Raeshaun mother, Raesha Emerson, Raeshaun often looks up the band online and watches videos of Cold Steel on YouTube.

    In October of this year, Raeshaun finally got to see the band and drum line live at Dudley High School’s homecoming parade.

    After being contacted by a friend of Raesha Emerson, the 23 year old Hayden drove about 20 minutes from Winston-Salem, N.C. to Greensboro N.C. to fulfill the Christmas surprise.

    For Hayden, an industrial systems engineering major at NC. A&T State University, making a child’s Christmas wish come true shows Cold Steel’s greater purpose.

    “At the end of the day, it’s all about giving back,” says Hayden, “and I’m glad I was able to do it.”
    In this season of Kwanzaa, we should all give back by teaching our history to our children.

    Here is a little history as a starter. In 1890, Congress enacted the Second Morrill Act that mandated “a separate college for the colored race.” The Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race (now N.C. A&T) was established as that school in the state of North Carolina. The establishment of the school was ratified on March 9, 1891. By an act of the General Assembly, North Carolina’s legislative branch. Originally operating in Raleigh as an annex to Shaw University, the college made a permanent home in Greensboro with the help of local citizens such as DeWitt Clinton Benbow and Charles H. Moore.

    In 1915, state legislators changed the college’s name to the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina; and in 1967, they elevated it to university status. N.C. A&T became a constituent university of the University of North Carolina in 1972.

    In order to stamp out ignorance in our own community and to preserve our place in history, it is important to spread the word on our black history.

    We will be sharing that history with you in February which is known as Black History Month. Hope you will join us.

    By the way,that arrogant young man’s father graduated from N.C. A&T. N.C. A&T prepared the father for medical school.

    Aggie Pride!!!!!

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      Posted 7 months, 4 weeks ago.

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      Mandela: More Than Just A Man

      Nelson Mandela

      Nelson Mandela was a man amongst men for he had a resolve like no other. Madiba kept his eye on the prize during his 27 years in prison. That prize was the cessation of Apartheid in his beloved South Africa.

      A peaceful warrior who fought the good fight, Mr. Mandela defined courage. Some battles he lost, but at the end he was triumphant. As he emerged from his tiny prison cell in 1990 he appeared like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

      During those 27 years, he continued to lead by example. Refusing to let his captives cripple him emotionally, Madiba stayed involved with the movement. Some might say that he selfishly abandoned his marriage and family in his fight against Apartheid. Others would rightfully argue that he gave his all so that all black South Africans would be treated with the respect and dignity that they deserved as human beings.

      Through faith he made his way out of the darkness. No matter what obstacles he faced, he never faltered.

      There are some who have criticized the out pouring accolades paid upon him as if he was the second coming. Nothing but a man they exclaim to the highest. Twenty seven years he occupied that tiny prison cell, yet he exhibited no bitterness. The word was not part of his vocabulary. Unity, Respect and Dignity towards mankind was.

      I would like to remind those critics that from his tiny prison cell Mr. Mandela inspired the world to embrace the termination of Apartheid. College students protested and demanded divestiture in South Africa. People came from all over the world protesting Apartheid by allowing themselves to be arrested in front of the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. People did more than just wear a hoodie in protest. People came together as one and brought South Africa to its’ knees financially. They also spurred Mandela’s unconditional release from Prison in 1990.

      Mr. Mandela inspired descendants of Africa to embrace their roots with pride. Education and water improvement has become special causes for many celebrated Black Americans.

      From Prison to President, Madiba never attempted to revenge his lost of liberty and all the consequences that attached.

      There has been no other leader in history like him for he truly changed the world. Maybe he’s not the second coming, but close enough for the world truly changed for the better because he was born.

      Nelson Mandela has walked the last mile of the way, and will be laid to rest on tomorrow.

      As the many dignitaries arrive for his memorial at the 80,000 capacity South Africa stadium, there will be no question about it. Nelson Mandela was more than just a man.

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        Posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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        Christmas Tree Lighting Town & Country Style

        Town& Country Library Pavillion

        With hot dogs on the grill, and people dressed in shorts and short sleeved shirts in 80 degrees weather, it appeared that the residents surrounding the Town & Country public library were celebrating the Yuletide in July. Not so. Last night the residents gathered for the tree lighting festivities signaling the start of the Yuletide spirit in December. This particular Town & Country community is located in Tampa, Florida.

        Davis Elementary School Choir

        The Davis Elementary school entertained the crowd with jazzed up Christmas tunes like Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad”. Thanks to the Town & Country Garden Center there were plenty of hotdogs and home baked cookies. The Garden Center sponsored the event which is now in its’ fourth year.

        Members of Town & Country Garden Center Preparing Hot dogs

        Santa paid the mostly Latino crowd a visit, and brought snowflakes with him. Yes, for the northern transplants there was a snow machine blowing out snowflakes.

        There was also a line waiting for Santa upon his arrival. Alexander who was first in line was having nothing to do with the white bearded man dress in red. He did not however refuse the stuff animal Santa gave him. Alexander quickly leaped off Santa’s lap with stuff animal in one hand and his mother’s hand in the other.

        It was just a fun night at this family oriented event.

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          Posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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          A Great Day In Harlem: Photo Member Marian McPartland Dies At 95

          (L-R) Marian McPartland, Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk

          Grammy award winner Marian McPartland died last at her Long Island home. She was 95. Born Marian Turner, she was a musical prodigy at the age of three. She studied classical music and the violin, in addition to the piano.

          Marian pursued classical studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She developed a love for American jazz and musicians such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Mary Lou Williams, and many others.

          In 1938, Marian left Guildhall to join Billy Mayerl’s Claviers, a four-piano vaudeville act. Performing under the stage name of Marian Page, the group toured throughout Europe during World War II, entertaining Allied troops.

          McPartland met and began performing with Chicago cornetist Jimmy McPartland in 1944 while touring with the USO. The couple soon married, playing at their own military base wedding in Germany. After the war, they moved to Chicago to be near Jimmy’s family. In 1949, the McPartlands settled in Manhattan.

          Marian started her own trio which enjoyed a long residency at a New York City jazz club, the Hickory House, during 1952–1960. She also played at The Embers and appeared as a regular on NBC’s Judge for Yourself quiz program.

          In 1958 a black and white group portrait of 57 notable jazz musicians, including McPartland, was photographed in front of a Brownstone in Harlem, New York City. Art Kane, a freelance photographer working for Esquire magazine, took the photo, which was called, “A Great Day in Harlem”, and it became an iconic view of NY’s Jazz scene at the time. As of Marian McPartland’s 95th birthday on March 20, 2013, she was one of only four of the 57 musicians who participated who was still living. Along with McPartland, other jazz notables featured in the photograph are Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, and saxophonist Benny Golson, who, like McPartland, is among the few still alive as of June 2013. The photo above shows McPartland in that iconic photo next to Mary Lou Williams and Thelonious Monk.

          After many years of recording for labels such as Capitol, Savoy, Argo, Sesac, Time, and Dot, in 1969 she founded her own record label, Halcyon Records, before having a long association with the Concord Jazz label.

          In 1964, Marian McPartland launched a new venture on WBAI-FM (New York City), conducting a weekly radio program that featured recordings and interviews with guests. Pacifica Radio’s West Coast stations also carried this series, which paved the way for Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, a National Public Radio series that began on 4 June 1978. It was the longest-running cultural program on NPR as well as one of the longest-running jazz programs ever produced on public radio. The program featured McPartland at the keyboard with guest performers, usually pianists, but also singers, guitarists, other musicians, and even the non-musician Studs Terkel.

          In 2004, Marian was awarded a Grammy , a Trustees’ Lifetime Achievement Award, for her work as an educator, writer, and host of NPR Radio’s long-running Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. A master at adapting to her guest’s musical styles and having a well-known affinity for beautiful and harmonically-rich ballads, Marian also recorded many tunes of her own. Her compositions included “Ambiance,” “There’ll Be Other Times,” “With You In Mind,” “Twilight World,” and “In the Days of Our Love.”

          Just before her 90th birthday, she composed and performed a symphonic piece, A Portrait of Rachel Carson, to mark the centennial of the environmental pioneer.

          McPartland was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours.

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            Posted 1 year ago.

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