Thoughts on our past & present
from Brenda Luckett
Thomas Eloby's work is above (courtesy of Ms. Luckett).
He was a nationally-recognized artist from Clarksdale.
Brenda Luckett grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi's civil rights movement, and spent her career as an educator here. She is a co-founder of the North Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and is also on the board of Griot Arts Youth Program.
She shares the history and her own memory of a different figure each day of Black History Month.
We're honored to make this a home for Brenda's blog! All writing here is hers:
Dr. Jimmy Wiley & the North Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
I've shared this before but see no reason to not share it again. I look into the eyes of Dr. Jimmy Wiley and know that there is oh, so, much work to be done. I listen to the 23rd Psalm from Mrs.Thydosia Thomas and her signal of fearless resistance. I see pictures of Dr. Aaron Henry and Mrs. Vera Pigee and am filled with gratitude.I hear the unabashed words of Yvonne McClinton Stanford and Alean Coburn Smith; And, the calm wisdom of Rev. Juan Ray Self and Charles "Chico" White.
We desperately need a Civil Rights Museum here in Coahoma County and will not stop until it becomes a reality. A Website is on the way! An area of Education in the Higher purpose Building is on the way! A tribute to these Civil Rights Leaders and Ancestors is ....on the way! Our Story will be written by US! IT'S ON THE WAY!
Mr. & Mrs. Hicks: World-Famous Hot Tamale Makers
My selection today was a NO BRAINER!! Black History making Business Owners, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Hicks!! World Famous Hot Tamale Makers (though I'm a lover of his creative samachies!)
Mrs. Hicks is a Pioneer Educator, Culinary Queen and mother to us ALL! One of My Best Friends, Gwen, is Mr. Hicks Niece and he just took me in to the family with that Uncle Love that never fails! He tried to teach me how to make the tamales but I just wasn't kitchen coordinated.
BUT, my favorite memory is the Hicks Impromptu parties they would have at the store downtown. Talk about dancing in the cold-cuts section!!! The Hicks, Lawrence and Shirley Fair (That's another Black History Day Highlight) and whoever was lucky enough to get locked in when the store closed would throw a party just because! A Friend told me today we should live that way; If everyone you call, answers the phone, it's cause for celebration!
Mr. and Mrs. Hicks, I celebrate YOU!
Varner Rencher & Rust College
[This one's multimedia! Click the Rust College Alma Mater for an audio soundtrack above.]
My Mother, Aunts, Many Educators, Church and Community Leaders attended Rust College. My earliest memories include dressing up for Commencement on the lawn, going to the A Building to see their names on the wall, eating at a house across the street and listening to college stories. AND going to the World Renowned Rust College A'Capella Choir Concerts every year! (Yes, I remember Miss Natalie Doxey!)
It always took what seemed like forever to get to Rust and I was always amazed that there were people from Clarksdale there, especially Mr. & Mrs. Varner Rencher. He was my mother's coworker and I thought he was the sweetest man on earth (besides my Daddy)! He was responsible for getting me ready to go the basketball games after school when mom picked me up from kindergarten, and he even combed my hair (something my Daddy couldn't do).
He was a man of many accomplishments and always appeared somewhere in my lifetime; as a Jr. High Counselor, writing numerous Letters of Recommendation, at the United Methodist Camp when I sang with the BSU Choir and in my classroom bringing me Rust College Choir tickets. My students started calling him "Mr. Rust"! He touched so many lives in our schools, churches and community!
You know you don't have to go to a College to support a College, and Rust College has given Coahoma County their best and brightest so give back to it! Support the Varner Lamar Rencher, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Fund.
O’ the world is full of colleges
But there’s one that is my own
For it stood for education
When it had to stand alone,
Rust was first to give some learning
Unto those who were set free,
Of all the schools in all the world
Rust is the one for me
College Mine! Mine! Mine!
Rust is Mine! Mine! Mine!
The Alumni and the Students
Are so proud to be called thine,
There is none like you
O’ Royal White and Blue
College Mine! So Divine!
College Mine! Mine! Mine!
I knew her name before I knew her. My Mother would say, "I should have joined the Army like Mable Green..." So when I met Annie Mable Woods Green, I was already a Devoted Fan and Admirer! Her love for Black History was only surpassed by her making of her-story!
She was: One of the first black women in Coahoma County to join the Army; One of the first black women to run for public office (City Commissioner); the first black women to be a member of the VFW Sylvester Badget Post 8590 and the first female to serve as Commander of that Post.
Black History Month: Color Me Brown & stay tuned...
It's February, Yall! All my life I've LOVED February! From the "Color Me Brown" Books proudly presented to Us from the Nuns at Catholic Schools, to the Colored, Black, Afro, African American Documentaries My Parents watched with me, I have always looked forward to Negro History Week and Black History Month. I planned to highlight Black Business Owners in Clarksdale, and I still might; but this past year has been SO daunting! I have to listen to the Spirit and my heart and see which way to go. Oh, so many have left this physical world and joined the Ancestors! AND, My heart is heavy and mind close to turmoil. Yet, I STILL love February, Black History and the "Great Cloud of Witnesses" that have touched my life! Stay...tune...!!!
All text (c) 2021 Brenda Luckett