Friday, February 17, 2023
We had our Morning Lifeline Prayer and Affirmations at 7-8am.
I later attended the funeral of Abraham "Abe" Snyder.
Below what I later posted via Facebook:
Abraham “Abe” Snyder joined the Ancestors
Sunrise: December 15, 1936 Sunset: February 3, 2023
As it is recorded, Abraham (Abe nickname) was born December 15, 1936. He made his transition February 3, 2023. I attended the wake on Friday 2/17 from 9am-10am and the funeral of Abe. He and I were great friends. I will miss him very much. In my remarks, I referenced how we met, when we met. But first I quoted four lines from the poem, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray,
“What are the worst of woes that wait on age? What stamps the wrinkle deepest in the brow, To view loved ones blotted from life’s page And to be alone as I am now.”
I was introduced to Abe by Cenie Williams. Cenie was President of the National Black Social Workers. Abe Snyder was a founding member, I immediately was attracted to him; he had a winsome personality. He exuded a lot of energy and was very humorous. Through all of our struggles he always maintained a sense of humor.
When Ed Koch became Mayor, he immediately appointed Blanche Bernstein as Director of Social Services. The Black Social workers disliked her very much, so Abe asked me and the Black United Front to join him and the Black social workers in calling for her resignation. We were successful.
He, along with Cenie Williams were also in the battle to keep Sydenham Hospital in Harlem open. Mayor Koch was closing municipal hospitals. We vowed to keep Sydenham open. The need for medical services was overwhelming. So we took over the hospital. Four of us went inside and stayed for a couple of weeks, I think and there was tremendous support on the outside. The four persons were Cenie Williams, which meant Abe Snyder played a major role, Reverend Timothy Mitchell of Ebenezer Baptist Church and Diane Lacey, who is now Pastor of Gethsemane Presbyterian in Brooklyn. She was at the funeral also. We were eventually removed from the hospital with a promise of a meeting with Hugh Carey, New York Governor at the time. We were promised sufficient medical service would be provided for the community.
We organized one of the largest marches and rallies in New York’s history. We, BUF leadership, met with Abe, Cenie, Rev. Calvin Butts met. We discussed having a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. The Brooklyn contingent would meet on the Brooklyn side. The Manhattan contingent would meet us on the other side of the bridge. Together we would form a massive gathering and encircle City Hall, then march up to the door where I, Abe, Cenie, Rev. Butts, (I think Ossie Davis who had joined the march) would place 10 demands. Christian religious leaders would immediately recognize the act. Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic Priest, around 1517 nailed a 95-page thesis on the door of Wittenberg Castle church which set the stage for a break with the Roman Catholic Church by some clergy and so commenced the Protestant movement.
Abe was a brilliant strategist. He had a keen sense of timing. He never sought the spotlight. He reminded me of Jitu Weusi in Brooklyn. They were great organizers, creative thinkers, institution builders and they were profoundly race conscious. It was around 1968 when Abe put forth the idea of having an African-American Day Parade (AADP). He pointed out that practically every ethnic group in New York had a special day that they highlighted in a parade. Someone suggested that it be Downtown Manhattan. But Abe insisted that it be brought to Harlem. He wanted to put on display our creative genius and the beauty of our people. He wanted to do this for the people in Harlem. So, it was an act of uniting people of African Ancestry across the country and indeed including the African continent.
Brother Abe loved the community and he loved his African heritage and was always proud to demonstrate it. I was always excited and proud when the third Sunday in September rolled around. That was the day chosen for the African-American Day Parade. I had made a tradition of gathering primarily Black men to march in the parade. I was always met personally by Abe, who as Chairman was scurrying around doing a thousand things. When we arrived, he sought us out with a great big smile, tight embrace, exhilarating joy and vibrant excitement. Then, I was given the sash and led to the front of the line as an honored guest.
I will miss him very much. I will miss the humor, the genius, the love, the good times even in our struggle for freedom. He will never be forgotten.
After my remarks, I returned to my seat between Congressman Charlie Rangel, the lion of Harlem. I said of him, “he is the personification of what a Congressperson should be.” The thought came to me as I sat down and I whispered it to Yusuf Hasan who is now Chairman of AADP, “Why don’t we make 110th St & Frederick Douglass Blvd the place where the parade starts – Abe Snyder’s Blvd or Way, at least until the street where the parade ends?” Yusuf nodded in agreement. We will see if we can get it done.
In any event, Abe Snyder has put his footprint on the sands of time. And whatever the future holds, he will be remembered forever.
So long old friend, “and may bands of angels sing you to your rest”.
Congressman Charlie Rangel and myself attending Abe Snyder's funeral.