Her Name was Cynthia Diane Morris

By Leslye Joy Allen                                                                                                     Historian, Educator, Theatre and Jazz Advocate & Consultant, Ph.D. Candidate

Copyright © 2013 by Leslye Joy Allen.  All Rights Reserved.

Back in August of 2013, I spoke with my friend Erich McMillan-McCall whose theatre organization Project1Voice was preparing to do a live streaming of a staged reading of the Christina Ham play “Four Little Girls” from the Kennedy Center.  September 15, 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of that tragic day in 1963 when a bomb planted by White racist terrorists killed four young Black girls at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.  One of them was a young girl recorded in most articles, essays, and books as “Cynthia Wesley.”  Yet, she was born Cynthia Diane Morris.

After recognizing Cynthia’s academic talents, Cynthia’s mother, Mrs. Estelle Morris, allowed her young daughter to live with a childless and affluent Black couple named Claude and Gertrude Wesley in order to give her daughter access to a better school and, perhaps, a more financially stable future.  The Wesley family was well-known throughout Birmingham’s Black community for their generosity, warmth, and a deep love of children.  Yet, the generous and kind-hearted Wesley family, who could not have biological children, never legally adopted Cynthia.  For more information about this, please revisit my previous blog titled “Thoughts on the Eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Sixteenth Street Church Bombing.”  This blog discussed the wonderful tradition in Black communities where people took in and cared for children when they needed assistance. This particular blog also contains a hyperlink to a copy of Cynthia Diane Morris’ amended death record.

Cynthia’s brother Fate Morris wants to set the historical record straight.  The commemorative statues and the U. S. Congressional Gold Medal of Honor awarded in May 2013 posthumously to the four girls who lost their lives in that church bombing all read with the names: Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Denise McNair, and Cynthia Wesley.  Federal, state and city officials in Birmingham and elsewhere have tepidly acknowledged Fate Morris as Cynthia Morris’ brother, yet they have done so with little regard for his feelings about how her name appears in public records.  I need not pontificate about this matter.  However, if you will take the time to review my previous blogs from late August to September 2013 you will know that this is a sensitive subject.  I also encourage you to listen (when you have time to sit at length) to the lengthy Blog Talk conversation I had with host Preston Washington on Lesley Gist’s Radio Show “Gist of Freedom” program back in September.  Once you hear our long conversation, along with the testimony of Fate Morris, you will know why getting the historical record straight is important.  (“Related Material – a Blog Talk Radio Interview and an important new CNN article 9-14-2013”)

The state of Alabama amended his sister’s death records to reflect her real birth name.  Yet, there seems to be a genuine reluctance in some quarters to even acknowledge Mr. Fate Morris and other members of his family as the family members of Cynthia Diane Morris (aka Cynthia Wesley).  Fate Morris was a young boy when he lost his sister.  His present mission does not appear to be an attempt to deny what the Wesley family did for his sister or how much they loved her, but rather to get some peace by making sure that historians, scholars, journalists and the general public know his late sister’s real birth name.  What he needs most is closure and a genuine acknowledgement of his feelings and those of his family members.  Yet, it is hard to get closure or peace when the written records barely acknowledge that Cynthia Morris was your sister.

So, please take a moment to read and sign Mr. Fate Morris’ petition at the hyperlink below: Cynthia Morris – NOT Cynthia Wesley – Issue Proclamation.

Peace.

Leslye Joy Allen is a perpetual and proud supporter of the good work of Clean Green Nation.  Visit the website to learn more about it: Gregory at Clean Green Nation!

Copyright © 2013 by Leslye Joy Allen.  All Rights Reserved.
Creative Commons License This Blog was written by Leslye Joy Allen and is protected by U. S. Copyright Law and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.  Any partial or total reference to this blog, or any total or partial excerpt of this blog must contain a direct reference to this hyperlink: http://leslyejoyallen.com with Leslye Joy Allen clearly and visibly stated as the author.
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Robocall Revenge!

By Leslye Joy Allen                                                                                                     Historian, Educator, Theatre and Jazz Advocate & Consultant, Ph.D. Candidate

Copyright © 2013 by Leslye Joy Allen.  All Rights Reserved.

After listening to nearly 100 robocalls over the past three weeks emanating from an assortment of imbeciles who have no better sense than to believe that they are fit to run for public office in my hometown of Atlanta, I had my own “Have-A-Laugh-Friday” on one of my social media pages.  Just one of the things I do occasionally to break the tension.  Now, this does not mean that I will be posting or blogging something funny every Friday, or that I or anyone else needs to wait for Friday to laugh.  And this is also not done to harm the good reputations of the many wonderful members of the City Council who love Atlanta and do really great work—people like Ceasar Mitchell and Keisha Lance Bottoms who are accessible the whole year, have a great staff that responds to you (and not just at election time.)

Now, this is not a political endorsement.  I do not publicly endorse political candidates.  My mention of those two people is my personal observation of them over several years.  Vote for the candidate that best represents your interests, but I am rambling.  Back to the matter at hand—these insufferable robocalls.

For the past three weeks every time I got ready to raise my fork to my mouth, the phone rang.  Typically, I did not recognize the number on the Caller ID, so I let it go to voicemail.  Then before I could swallow my food, I would see the light blinking on my telephone that indicated that I had a message.  I would ignore these blinking lights save for the fact that it might be important.  I also had little choice but to turn off the ringers on all of my telephones, that is if I planned to eat or get any work done.  Now, when I listened to these messages, they all tended to sound something like this:

“Hello, I am ______________________, and I am a father with two children.  I am running for the school board because our children are our future.”

Or

“Hello, I am ________________________, and I am supporting _____________________ , for Atlanta City Council.  Atlanta can do better than the current….”

You are damn right Atlanta can do better which is why I have to seriously consider whether or not I am voting for you or for any candidate that believes that a barrage of phone calls is going to earn any potential voter’s trust, to say nothing of their vote.  Exactly who told these candidates that a torrent of pre-recorded robocalls that always occur around meals or when I am writing or doing research would send me or anyone else to the polls?

I do not think these political candidates are that out of touch—I do think some of them are dumb, dumb as cat s**t, dumb as a stump, dumb as a box of rocks, and as vacant as a white wall.  Some of them probably qualify as doofus—Go look up “doofus.”  It is now in the dictionary, and I am sure at least a few of these candidates have helped the authorities at Merriam-Webster refine its definition.

Now I could not ever imagine not voting.  Too many of my people fought and died for me to have that privilege.  I have to say that when I do go to vote on November 5, I really wish the voting machine had an option to write-in candidates whose names ARE NOT on the ballot.  If that option was available, I might just write in the name “Daffy Duck,” or “Porky Pig,” for at least one of the offices.  Hey, I might as well vote for someone that I could actually have for dinner—literally!

Now I know this blog will be obsolete very soon because November 5, 2013 is almost upon us.  Very soon, a few of these candidates will hold public office in Atlanta.  They will create laws about zoning and be responsible for formulating policies that determine the education of your children, our children.  God help us all!

So here is my suggestion.  I know a few people who make it a habit to call their elected officials on a regular basis, but too many of us do not make that effort.  We complain in every day conversations about something that needs fixing in city government, but soon we move on to another topic.  Yet, this is an opportunity to give them tit-for-tat.  Call these representatives when there is a street sign pointing the wrong way.  Call them to complain about a pothole in the street.  Hell, call them if you have got a hangnail and you just want to complain about how it stings every time you put your hand in dishwater.  They have no qualms about calling you with pre-recorded asinine messages that repeat the same horse manure; and worse, they do not seem to know or care how annoying it is.  Return the favor and maybe some of them will do the jobs our tax money pays them to do!

Peace!

Leslye Joy Allen is a perpetual and proud supporter of the good work of Clean Green Nation.  Visit the website to learn more about it: Gregory at Clean Green Nation!

Copyright © 2013 by Leslye Joy Allen.  All Rights Reserved.
Creative Commons License This Blog was written by Leslye Joy Allen and is protected by U. S. Copyright Law and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.  Any partial or total reference to this blog, or any total or partial excerpt of this blog must contain a direct reference to this hyperlink: http://leslyejoyallen.com with Leslye Joy Allen clearly stated as the author.