Last year in December, I was on my way to the bank when I witnessed history in the making. The streets were cordoned off by police and thousands and thousands of people of all races and nationalities were flooding the streets. My bank is on the same block as the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York City. I witnessed thousands who came out to pay respects to the late James Brown, The "Godfather of Soul" music. James Brown's body, had been placed in a gold casket, and was being driven through the streets of New York City to the Apollo Theater in a white, glass-encased horse-drawn carriage. It was a magnificent sight to behold.
I was a lucky witness to history. On Monday, I was a lucky witness to history, again. I was out for a walk, coming over the Madison Ave Bridge which stretches from the Bronx and into Manhattan. I love to walk over the bridge.
Off to one side of the bridge you can see the "House that Ruth Built", Yankee Stadium (now partially obscured by the construction of the new Yankee Stadium). Off to the other side of the bridge, you get a sweeping panoramic vista of New York City and an unobstructed view of the mighty Empire State Building, a truly spectacular sight. As I come off of the bridge I can see across the street, in front of the Chase bank, about 5 police cars blocking off the street and a crowd of onlookers. My first thought was that the bank must have just been robbed and I started to cross the street, wanting to stay out of the way of any potential trouble. But my curiosity got the better of me and I ambled into the crowd to see what was going on. Standing in front of the bank was none other than Congressman Charles B Rangel, (Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means and Chairman of the Board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee).
Congressman Rangel is the principal author of the five billion dollar Federal Empowerment Zone demonstration project to revitalize urban neighborhoods throughout America. At his side was the Honorable Percy E Sutton. (As a lawyer Percy Sutton seized his place in American history by fighting for civil rights with the NAACP and as the council for Malcolm X). Sutton, in the late 60's was The Manhattan Borough President. He co-founded the Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, which purchased WLIB-AM radio, making it the first Black-owned station in New York City.
Sutton was a member of the delegation of leading American business people selected by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown to represent the United States at the G-7 round table meeting on Telecommunications and High Technology. Percy Sutton was also the responsible party for the refurbishing and reopening the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. Congressman Rangel was making a speech and announcing to the world an historic event.
5th Ave at 135th Street was being renamed "Honorable Percy E Sutton Way". A Black Man having a street named after him on prestigious 5th Ave in New York City. Once again I was a lucky witness to history in the making.
Carl Willoughby has worked as a Computer Programmer for the New England Telephone Company, and a Computer Sales Consultant for SEARS. He writes a daily blog about Money, College and whatever's on his mind at: http://www.StudentLoanDebtConsolidationSite.com