Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears
in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday.
THIS TIME IT’S FIFTY, FIVE AND
A CAR - Part III
And Now the FuneralIt had already begun to rain when I arrived
at Gracie Mansion. It was World’s Aids Day Breakfast sponsored
by Mayor Bloomberg. I made it on time 8:00 a.m. Few people were as punctual,
leaving me time to browse and muse. As I munched on small pieces of
fruit on a stick, (all the food stuff were bite size) I read through
the book of New York Mayors.
When I reached Mayor Dinkins, my fingers stopped. My mind was suddenly
flooded with memories. I wondered when we would have another Black mayor.
I reflected on how Dinkins was defeated. I found myself getting angry.
Quickly I turned the page. I decided I would mingle with the people
and greet the mayor on the way out. “That was a strong statement,”
I said to the mayor. “I am trying to say and do the right thing.
We’re going to have a full and fair investigation,” he said.
The rain had ceased as I walked to my car. I arrived at the monthly
African American and Elected Officials Meeting in time to make my announcement
on Darfur. More than twenty years ago we had started the organization
to support the mayor candidacy of Dinkins. Dr. Gardner Taylor, former
pastor of Concord Baptist Church of Brooklyn, Al Vann, then assemblyman,
and I were co-chairpersons. After Dinkins’ election we structured
the organization, developed a constitution and bylaws and I was elected
the first Chairperson. Rev. Joe Parker, pastor of Wayside Baptist Church,
is now the Chairperson.
It was 4:00 p.m. when I met Rev. Sharpton and Councilman Barron in Manhattan.
We decided we would arrive at the funeral together. As always when we
are together it conjures up memories of many struggles especially against
police brutality - Stewart, Zongo, Bumpers, Funches, Parker, Dorismond,
Evans, Bailey, Smalls, Louima, Miller, Diallo, Bias, Reese, Stansbury
and the beat goes on.
When we arrived at the Community Baptist Church, the rain was pouring
down as if Mother Nature was angry that we were funeralizing a twenty-three-year-old
young man killed by the police. We joined the Guzman and Benefield families
and walked together into the church. (The Bell and Paultre families
came later). Across the street, iron horses kept the crowd and media,
all covered by umbrellas and plastic bags, at a distance. I marveled
that multitudes stood in the rain waiting, chanting, angry but disciplined.
There were wall-to-wall people as we entered the church. We stopped
to view the body. People were pausing, passing and sobbing at the casket
– and moving on. In some symbolic way, it is the stuff of life.
We are staggered and bloodied by “the whips and scorn of time
and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes.” But, “We
We waited in the office of Bishop Lester Williams, the pastor. In the
interim, we reminisced on other churches and places we had been in.
A photo of Rev. Sharpton - protruding stomach and hanging curls had
been taken years before with Bishop Williams, was past around for our
viewing. The dramatic change in Rev. Sharpton’s appearance represented
a deeper change in his maturity and world view. His image has undergone
Bishop Williams came in with instructions. He reported that people were
everywhere. The family had arrived; the last was Nicole. We were joined
by Rev. A R. Bernard, pastor of Christian Cultural Center.
Outside, around the church, then into the church we walked. Down the
aisle ahead of the family Bishop Williams commenced the recitation of
Scripture that we have heard so often, “The Lord is my Shepherd
. . . ” “We brought nothing into the world and we will carry
nothing out . . . ”
We took our place in the pulpit. I surveyed the sanctuary. People were
squeezed into every seat, lined around the walls and down the aisles.
The program was tight and un-customarily brief. Scripture was read,
the 23 Psalm and the St. Johns 15 chapter 1-4 verses. I offered the
invocation “Oh Lord . . . bless the bereaved family. Grant that
this be the last unjustified death inflicted by the people we pay to
protect us.” When I had finished, Congressman Charlie Rangel,
City Controller, William Thompson and Rev. Floyd Flake, pastor of Allen
Cathedral, were marched to the pulpit. (Oddly enough, they were never
recognized). Three speakers followed. Rev. Sharpton was first. He made
reference to the biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who
were put into a fiery furnace because of their disobedience to the King’s
command. When the King dispatched an aide to ascertain the state of
things in the furnace, it was discovered there was a fourth person in
the furnace who looked like the Son of God. Rev. Sharpton said he didn’t
know anything about a fourth person that the police were looking for
but he did know about the forth person that was in the fiery furnace.
This reference provoked deafening applause and verbal responses inside
the church and outside where a loud speaker had been set up.
State Senate Malcolm Smith was next. Tearfully, he apologized that he
had not done enough to prevent the death of Sean. (Someone said, “Apologize
for yourself, we have done all we could do to fight police brutality.”)
Congressman Meeks followed, he said, the killing of Sean wasn’t
a black or a white problem it was an American problem and he was going
to lower the American flag over Washington, D. C. A youthful trio, named
Inheritance, provided the music. Bishop Williams did the eulogy. His
message of justice and hope were movingly delivered. Weeping and mourning
punctuated the ceremony.
Ahead of the coffin and the family, back down the aisle we walked into
the driving rain outside. Beneath umbrellas, surrounding the hearse,
we waited until the coffin was placed inside the black coach of sorrow.
Then we returned inside the church. People still filled the sanctuary.
They were still there, including the family, when we departed.
As we walked to the car, people were still crowded behind the iron horses.
They let out resounding expressions of appreciation and admiration.
The flickering lights of cameras interspersed the crowd. We drove away
with the shouts of “No justice, No peace,” ringing through
To be continued
12-5-06 SAVE THE PEOPLE OF DARFUR
Human Rights’ Day Prayer & Rally
December 11, 2006
Where: Assemble for Prayer:
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
East 42nd Street & 1st Avenue NYC
Save Darfur Rally:
Noon – 2:00 p.m.
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza 47th Street & 2nd Avenue, NYC
Attention Clergy: participate in Sabbath on Sudan II. . .in your religious
ceremonies on December 8, 9 & 10 we ask that you include reference
For further information call l (718) 596-1991or our see website: www.holnj.org
The Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry is featured in The Daily Challenge’s
Wednesday and Weekend Edition. Reverend Daughtry, known as the “People’s
Pastor,” is the National Presiding Minister of the House of the
Lord Churches (HOLC). He also pastors the Brooklyn Church. A
prolific writer, his books include “No Monopoly on Suffering,
Blacks and Jews in Crown Heights,” “My Beloved Community,”
“Effectual Prayer,” and “Tupac, Letters to a Son.”
HOLC has a weekly broadcast which airs on WWRL 1600 on Sunday from 10:30am-11:00am.
He is also on BCAT the 2nd and 4th Sundays at 2pm. Website: www.holnj.org