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The House of the Lord Church where Black Political Power was Born and Nurtured Part One Hundred Thirteen

Traveling & Thinking out Loud with the People's Pastor Saturday, January 27, 2024

The House of the Lord Church Health Fair

There were two important events at our church, the House of the Lord Church on Saturday January 27th 2024. The first event was a Health Fair. The Health Fair was sponsored by the House of the Lord Church and Choose Healthy Life. Choose Healthy Life is in cooperation with the Health Committee of our church. Through this funding for our health committee gives us the resources to secure a navigator.

The Health Navigator job includes making information available and assessing social and medical services and guiding through the medical service labyrinth. Persons from disadvantaged or low-income communities, research reveals that persons from the said communities are not in touch with all of the benefits and services that are available to them. Also, even where the persons might be aware of and even made an initial contact often times there is no follow through because of other domestic crisis or challenges.  


Our health concerns date back to 1984 when I became a vegan which means health and wellness consciousness and particular attention to health issues. I immediately commenced sharing with all who were around me to the importance of being concerned about our health. I began then to organize our church and across the years we have continued with various committees and programs related to health.  


There were tables throughout the Fellowship Hall that highlighted health issues. It was well attended. There were different services: screenings, blood pressure monitoring and testing. Health books were available and doctors on call. Another Health Fair is scheduled for Saturday, February 24, 2024 all are invited to attend.  


Funeral of Viola Plummer  

In the evening, starting at 5pm, the funeral of Viola Plummer was scheduled to begin. The actual funeral ceremony really commenced more like 5:45pm. The people started coming in droves around 4:30pm, by the time 5pm rolled around the Fellowship Hall downstairs was already filled to capacity. What was impressive were those who were physically challenged. They were rolled in the church in wheelchairs.

The elderly were in great numbers and there were many who were challenged with physical mobility.

By the time the actual funeral started the church, upstairs in our sanctuary including the balcony had about 600 peopleand downstairs in the Fellowship Hall another 200, and people had begun to line up outside the church there were no seats inside. And they waited for hours while seats were vacated and that they could replace them. The funeral lasted for about 4 hours. It finished around 10pm although the viewing was still going on, way after 10pm. It was a profound tribute to Sis. Viola Plummer, called the Matriarch of the Movement. Speakers included local and national activists, revolutionaries, elected officials, clergy and community organizers as well as representatives from foreign countries including Ambassadors from Zimbabwe and Cuba.

 Members of the D-12 Movement were in charge: Omowale Clay, Attorney Roger Ware, Collette Pean and Viola's sister, Latifah were in charge of the proceedings. Viola's family, dressed in white, were there in great numbers.

We were proud and honored to host the ceremony and the organizing related to the ceremony. My wife, Dr. Karen Daughtry, Pastor in her welcoming remarks after the opening by the drummers, Neil Clarke and one other drummer. She recounted the history of Movers and Shakers who had visited the church and/or been funeralized from the church including: Winnie Mandela; Dr. Betty Shabazz; Rosa Parks;Maria Neto, First Lady of Angola, Joshua Nkomo, Godfather of the Southern African movement; Community Activist Sonny Carson, ceremony of Jitu Weusi, Kwame Ture and others. So it was fitting that Viola be funeralized here. She was a frequent visitor for various reasons and programs. She was dearly loved, admired and appreciated by the entire membership and especially my wife and me. We felt a special bond with her. I have been knowing her since the 70s. I cannot think of any important issue related to people of African Ancestry in which we did not address in some way.  


We did not always agree, but sometimes that is a positive rather than a negative. It has been said that if two persons agree on everything one becomes unnecessary. I have been able to work with people from practically every national background, creed, race. As long as we are in agreement regarding our ultimate goal we can work together. There is a Bible verse that says, “Iron sharpens Iron.” I interpret that to mean, strong minds passionately believe in their objectives; meeting other minds equally committed to their objectives can be a positive challenging experience which helps mental growth and expansion.  


National Black United Front

One of my memorable experiences and I cite it often was organizing the NBUF. We the Gang of Four: Al Vann, Jitu Weusi, Sam Pinn, myself as we were called knew that if we were going to organize a NBUF as we had done locally in New York. It would mean organizing new leadership. We held the veterans of the movement in high esteem; but because of the FBI COINTELPRO many of the organizations had been victimized by the FBI. They caused discord among the organizations. Hence, there were wounds and scars inflicted on one another as a result of the FBI’s activities.  


So, when we organized a National Convention in Brooklyn, over 1000 delegates and five foreign countries were in attendance. After a weekend of passionate debate many of the groups and individuals said they would not come back. But we did hammer out a tentative constitution and temporary officers. I was voted Chairman; Teacher and Organizer Jitu Weusi from Brooklyn, NY; Ron Herndon from Portland, OR was Treasurer; Florence Walker from Philadelphia was Secretary. I was charged with the responsibility of taking the Constitution to four sections of the country for debate and coming back the following for ratification.


After the convention Jitu and I understood that if we were going to have a NBUF we would have to reach the people who were dissatisfied and indicated they would not be back. We identified the people and where they lived. My wife and I got in the car and for three weeks drove up and down the country looking for the dissidents. We went from Brooklyn to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia all the way to Georgia. We drove back Northwest across the mountains of West Virginia, stopped in Charleston, WV on to Detroit and Chicago.   

All along the way as we met with the participants our approach was to hear them out, agree where we could agree and vowed to work together when we disagreed. I would emphasize, there was nowhere else for them to go, coming out of the Black Power, Black Panther, Black Liberation movements with their ideologies and love of their people. There was nowhere else to go but what we were organizing in the National Black United Front. The following year they all came back and we ratified the Constitution I was voted Chairman and remained Chairman until I resigned years later. When I did resign there were persuasive appeals for me to remain Chairman. 


So I had been toughened in the fiery furnace to address those who disagreed with me. As I have stated, as long as we could agree on the love of our people and share our goal, which was freedom, we could work together. How we got there was really the debate that took place. I found out often people would argue about objectives not about the goal. The objective may be a number of strategic or tactical actions done in order to reach the goal, hence I found that most of the arguing were about objectives and tactics and not about the goal.  


Sister Viola was fiercely passionate. There was fire in her eyes when she argued her point and when she spoke publicly. She was slow, methodical, deliberate but very strong in her presentation. She was courageous, fearless in putting her body on the line. She strategized and lived many of the demonstrations and boycotts in the city and nation. She was an institution builder she saw the need to gain ownership or possess something lasting for our people. Thus, she along with others created Sista’s Place. It became famous for the place of artistic expressions as well as revolutionary planning and organizing.

Like all great leaders of African Ancestry she was concerned about the people of African Ancestry in the Diaspora, that is wherever they were Europe, Caribbean, Asian, US, South America wherever. She was a great friend of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and also Fidel Castro of Cuba, evidenced by the attendance of the Ambassadors of those countries.

We participated in many many marches, demonstrations, boycotts, forums in support of South Africa and the Southern African Liberation Movement, Cuba, etc. D-12 was a Non-Government Organization (NGO) at the UN. This gave them access to personalities and activities at the UN while keeping them abreast of what was going on in the world. One of the memorable activities in which she was engaged was an attempt to free Sankofa in Texas to at least postpone the date of execution. He had been accused of taking the life of murder. He was sentenced to be executed by the state of Texas. There was much organization going to save him. Sis. Viola and the D-12 people were among the leaders across the country in an attempt to save him. They fundraised and circulated extensively material related to his case. But to no avail. Alas, Sankofa was executed. We were all there for his funeral and I remember I cited in my speech D-12 for their consistent commitment to the saving of Sankofa.  


So we honor, an honor well deserved and we bid her farewell not goodbye. It is our firm conviction that we will see each other again, along with innumerable others who fought for the freedom for their people in particular, but for a better world. "Well done thy good and faithful servant," I believe I hear God saying to her as God has said to many others.  

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