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Virtual Hall Of Fame

Image “Abel Meeropol watches as his sons, Robert and Michael, play with a train set” courtesy of Robert Meeropol.

Nominated by Roger Cunningham, who writes: “Not only did he write Billie Holiday’s classic song STRANGE FRUIT, which plays a major role in the Holiday’s death and the ravages of the War on Drugs, but he adopted the orphaned children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg!”

New York Times obituary

Significance of “Strange Fruit.”

Read the poem.

Listen to story on NPR.

 

 

 

Miriam Colon, 1962 (Public domain)

from Roger Cunningham

Founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, Miriam is an icon in the Hispanic Community, and especially in the Bronx.  In the mid-70s, I worked with Miriam and was the front man for her summer tours throughout the 5 boroughs and especially in the Bronx.  It was the time of the Bronx is Burning and Fort Apache, the Bronx, and being a red-haired, blue-eyed boy from the farm walking down these mean streets promoting Spanish Language Free Street Theatre was an experience.

Miriam Colon went on to build the first Puerto Rican Theatre on Broadway by renovating a Firehouse on West 47th Street and 8th Avenue.  I was active in securing corporate contributions.

For more information, see Miriam’s obituary from the NY Times which notes that she

“worked on the New York stage from the beginning of her career and, in 1967, founded the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, with the goal of bringing free bilingual theater to all parts of the city. In 1993 she received an Obie Award for lifetime achievement in Off Broadway theater. In 2015 President Barack Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts.”

“Ms. Colón was a vocal advocate of both funding for the arts and personal self-reliance, as she explained in a 1992 article in The New York Times about overcoming her troupe’s financial difficulties (including a New York State cut in financing) that year.

“I’m not saying the government shouldn’t support us,” she was quoted as saying. “They should. We are just as entitled to that money as the people who build roads.

“But we must not count on it. Through no fault of our own, it can vanish.”

Abraham Maslow – public domain (WikiMedia)

Nominated by Roger Cunningham:

Well, to begin, there are NO psychologists on the Hall of Fame! I suppose William James would be an appropriate add, being that he is considered the first American Psychologist.

However, I choose Abraham Maslow, as the founder of the Third Force in Psychology, the Humanist Movement and later Transpersonal Psychology. Maslow was born in Brooklyn, NY and taught at Brooklyn College before going to Brandeis.

Abraham Maslow developed the theory of human motivation now known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. A psychologist, Maslow noted that some human needs were more powerful than others. He divided those needs into five general categories, from most urgent to most advanced: physiological, safety, belonging/love, esteem, and self-actualization.

He later added to the top of the Heirarchy, Transpersonal, our relationship with our Higher Power. psychology that studies transcendent, or spiritual dimensions of humanity.

Transpersonal Psychology is interested to explore extreme wellness or optimal well-being. It is interested in those cases of persons who have often or perhaps permanently expanded their “normal sense of identity” to include the supra- or trans-personal, the Self of all selves, the One underlying the Many. Transpersonal Psychology explicitly acknowledges and makes use of the profound spiritual psychologies of the Great Traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, mystic Christianity, Judaism and Muslim Sufism). This allows us to include all cultures in our teaching of psychology and human services.

This was inclusive of Maslow first published his theory in the 1940s, and amended in the 1960s and it became a widely accepted notion in the fields of psychology and anthropology. Maslow was a professor at Brandeis University from 1951 until 1969; his major texts included Motivation and Personality (1954) and Toward a Psychology of Being (1962).

Nominated by Scott Voth.

“Sí, se puede
(Spanish for “Yes, one can”)

Cesar Chavez help found the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers union, UFW) in 1962.

He grew up poor – his family owned a grocery store and a ranch, but lost it all in the Great Depression.  They moved to California and became migrate farm workers.  He never made it to high school, but dropped out to work in the fields full time, picking beans, cherries, corn, and grapes.

In 1966, he helped organize the California grape pickers strike, leading the UFW march to Sacramento to protest wages and working conditions.  The strike lasted five years.  Americans were encouraged to boycott California grapes.

He led a number of other boycotts and strikes to gain higher wages for workers.  He would sometimes fast during the strike to express his deep solidarity with the workers.  He was deeply spiritual, committed to nonviolence and a champion of civil rights.

The following video further explains my respect for Cesar Chavez and shows why he should be nominated to the BCC Virtual Hall of Fame:

 

 

cc licensed image "Sacagewea" by flicker user J. Stephen Conn

cc-licensed image “Sacagawea” by Flickr user J. Stephen Conn

Originally nominated to the Hall of Fame of Great Americans, but not elected, Sacagawea was an Indian woman guide for the Lewis and Clark Expedition whose “courage and tact in dealing with unfriendly Indians” saved the expedition from disaster.

She was from the Shoshoni tribe, and lived in Idaho until she was captured at age 10 by a roving band of Hidatsa Indians and taken to North Dakota and eventually sold to a French-Canadian fur trader named Toussaint Charbonneau.  Lewis and Clark hired Charbonneau as a guide, but made it clear that they wanted Sacagawea to assist as a translator and negotiator.  Sacagawea had just given birth to a son, Jean Baptiste, and she carried him in a papoose on the long journey to the Oregon coast.  Her knowledge of the terrain was invaluable to the success of the expedition.

“Clark was so taken with Sacajawea, and so concerned about her welfare at the hands of the abusive and wife-beating Charbonneau, that he proposed taking the infant boy to St. Louis to be raised in safety. For her efforts in making the expedition successful, Lewis & Clark named a river “Sacajawea” in her honor.”

Many monuments have been erected to honor Sacagawea, and it is wonderful that she was nominated to be in the Hall of Great American, but I wonder why she was not ultimately elected.  Was it because she was a native American?  Was it because she was a woman?

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