For a good while now I have been citing the poem by Lord Byron, "What is the worst of woes that wait on age? What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow? To view each loved one blotted from life’s page. And to be alone on earth as I am now." In the last several weeks the poem has become even more relevant. Never before have I been informed or attended the funeral of relatives, friends and comrades transitioning.
Minister Michael "Seed"Amon-ra
Consider on December 30th, we funeralized Minister Michael Amon-ra in Inwood, NY. I called him Seed. I ordained him. He became my chief of staff when I headed the Black United Front. But he was more than a Chief of Staff, he was my trusted advisor, constant companion at home and abroad and chief protector of my family and me. I will write more about him later.
(In the photo: Rev. Dr. Karen Daughtry, Charles Barron (behind Reverend), Rev. Herbert Daughtry Sr., Min. Michael on our way to City Hall rally)
On the same day, that we memorialized Michael, my cousin Tena Jefferson was memorialized in Florida. Even more grievous was that I could not attend her memorial service for she lived in Florida. I could not attend the two memorial services. See family connection in my latest book The Passing of the Giants Vol I, Chapter 5- Family and Friends - My first cousin, her full name was Alberta Bernice Franklin, we called her Bert. It is an interesting story of growing up in a racist segregated South and the dominance of complexion color. Bert was very light-skinned, my brothers and I were brown. My grandmother always called Bert "Her Golden Child". Link to The Passing of Giants book: https://a.co/d/bnsaNl9
An interesting story of life in the South during the 30s and 40s. How some black families related to the color question among us.
James Hampton, Brooklyn, NY
James Hampton was funeralized Jan 5, 2024 in Brooklyn, NY. He was a distant relative 95 years old. We grew up in Savannah Georgia. We played marbles together. My brother Bob was the city championship in Augusta, Georgia. He was very active in the Masons. In fact, there was portion in the funeral for a Masonic ritual.
Dr. John Flateau
John was funeralized January 10th in Brooklyn, NY. John was a member of our church, the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn but more he was a political consultant and confidant of Assemblyman Al Vann. Additionally he was the political guru to most if not all of the black candidates and elected officials in Brooklyn and those who had aspirations to become elected to an office. He was chief of staff for Mayor David Dinkins. As I stated he was a member of our church and we enjoyed not only a great Pastor-parishioner relationship, but also a great friendship and he was my advisor too. In fact, I married him and his wife Lorraine 47 years ago.He was funeralized in Brooklyn.
He was funeralized January 14, 2024 in Brooklyn and was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. He was highly regarded and admired by members of said organizations and by all who were apart of the liberation struggle. I had heard of Sekou before his many years of incarceration. His reputation was that he was a committed courageous freedom fighter. During his incarceration we communicated on occasion with him and the parole board authorities. And from the day he came home we became fast friends. We enjoyed mutual respect and appreciation.
(In the photo: Sekou Odinga, myself and Sunidata Acoli at the International African Arts Festival July 1-4,2023)
On January 15, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Viola Plummer made her transition. She will be funeralized in Jamaica, Queens. Viola has been called the matriarch of the movement. She was the Founding Chair of the D-12 Movement. She was the chief of staff for Councilwoman Inez Barron. For as long as I can remember being in the struggle for most of those years, in fact in trying to remember because maybe for all of those years she was on the scene. Sometimes we agreed, sometimes we disagreed but we were always united on our love for people of Aa and struggle for freedom. I always admired her, she was fearless, articulate, persuasive, loyal and political theorist and movement strategist. She was formidable. We all who have been in this battle will miss her very much. Whatever the sound of battle was she was there - marching, demonstrating on the boycott with fire in her eyes and fury in her voice.
In the photo: Myself and Viola at the International African Arts Festival July 1-4,2023)
In addition if that were not enough there were a couple of people close to me who they with the consent of their relatives decided to pull the plug or to end their lives. One on the 1/11 and then another on 1/16. The risk of being repetitious I cannot overemphasize the passing of these giants of the human spirit. The courage of those who decided to end it all. It has been unprecedented. Never have I witnessed such a sad affair.
It’s a reminder to me at 93 my time is nearing although I plan to be here as long as Moses 120 years but if God should call me from the battlefield 120 mins away or 120 hours or 120 days or 120 months I will be ready for the call.
To all of my relatives, friends, comrades, I say to you stay ready. You never know the hour or the day when it's time for you to make your transition.
So I say to those who have made their transition
May bands of angels sing you to your rest; and may you say with the Apostle Paul," I fought a good fight, I've finished my course, I've kept the faith." And may you hear the God of your faith say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."
See my latest book: The Passing of Giants of the Human Spirit book: https://a.co/d/bnsaNl9