Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday.
From New Jersey, to New York to Georgia,
to Virginia, But Barclay Bank Still on My Mind – Part I
Before I deal with the present article, I want to complete the article from last week. It was not long after the Lincoln Place rape victim, that there was another sexually abused incident that took place at St. John’s University in Queens, New York. A young Jamaican American lady was sexually abused by four white students. In some ways it was similar to the Duke University case, except that there was no doubt that this young lady had been abused. I became involved and maintained relationship with the young lady for a long time. I helped morally and financially to restore her to normalcy. St. John’s students were found not guilty. One of the national television stations sent reporters persons to investigate my handling of the money. They thought that I had pocketed the forty thousand dollars that Trump and other money from my fund-raising efforts. When they discovered that everything was above board and accounted for and directed to the appropriate places, they refused to do a story.
Now, to the subject before us, on January 18, 2007, at the refurbished Brooklyn Museum, in a spacious room, graced with pictures of artistic masters, surrounded by the high and the mighty and lesser souls all pressed together, waiting with anxious anticipation, a multitude of cameras hoist above the mulling whispering assemblish, better to record the proceeding, in a semicircle of chairs with the names of Bruce Ratner, David Stern, president of the National Basketball Association, President of the Barclay Bank, Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President, Mayor Bloomberg, Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, Jets basketball players and J-Z, the movers and shakers, who convened us all an historic announcement was made.
The Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC), New Jersey Nets had entered a contract with the Barclay Bank. The bank agreed to pay 300 million dollars for twenty years for the right to use its name in and on the arena. Hence, the Brooklyn Nets, starting its season in the year 2009-2010, will play in an arena named the Barclay Arena. This well kept secret, except for those who were the makers of the agreement, (and the New York Post to whom the information leaked) the announcement was greeted with resounding approval. For the conscious Black community, the announcement was greeted with anger and threats to take action to prevent the contract’s consummation.
The Barclay Bank, founded by two brothers David and Alexander in the 18th century, made its fortune from the slave trade. Thus, the issue of reparation, almost 200 years, and probably beyond, has occupied the thinking of people of African ancestry and every formulation of demand for redress was thrust, like a gauntlet, in the face of people of Black people.
My organization, The Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood Alliance (DBNA) among other things, negotiated to become the lead organization in the arena related programs. I knew nothing about the agreement until the day before, after it had already been leaked to the New York Post. Having been one of the leaders, for more than forty years in the reparation movement, I share the anger and the determination to express my anger and disappointment in an appropriate and constructive way. Unless there is dramatic change, I will have to look upon this name, Barclay, probably every day of my life at least for the next 20 years. The arena is only a few blocks from my church. It is possible, for generations to come, my children and the children of our people will be compelled to gaze upon this name. When I look, I will be forced to reflect on the horrors that my ancestors, perhaps my great great-grandmother and father had to endure. I held many conversations. FCRC wanted discussions. The media wanted interviews. My friends wanted conversations. And I wanted answers. I prayed and thought hard what to do next.
On Friday, January 19, I flew off to Georgia on church business. Saturday and Sunday I was in Richmond Va., for more church business and a visit to a prison. All along the way, Barclay Bank was on my mind. So much so I left my suitcase in the waiting room at Augusta’s airport. Dr. Claudette Rodney is our organizer in Richmond, Va. She was only 15 when she arrived from Guyana and joined my church. I said to her then, “You have to achieve excellence. Everybody I know from Guyana is brilliant, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Dr. Walter Rodney etc., now you have to follow their example.” She became a doctor of Psychology. She moved to Virginia, started a church and became in involved in prison work.
So, Sunday, I found myself going to jail again, this time to meet inmates and conduct religious service. On Monday, January 15, I along with Reverends C. Herbert Oliver, Cheryl Williams, R. K. Smith, were arrested at the Sudanese Mission. We were demanding that the Sudanese government stop the violence in Darfur and assist the people to achieve their human rights and regain their social and economic status. There is one prisoner I was eager to see. Many years before he wrote me, and as is my custom, I responded. He told Dr. Rodney how much he appreciated my letter. He said, of all the ministers he wrote, I was the only one who answered his letter.
Dr. Rodney, Minister Lisa and I, after driving through steady rain and sleet, arrived at a correctional center in Virginia, 15 minutes from Emporia. It was now 5:30 p.m. The prison is a sprawling complex of four main buildings. Three separate buildings, three stories high, housed about 1000 inmates each. Each unit is independently operated. Then there is the support building which is where we entered. This is a maximum security prison which contained the execution chamber.
This conjured up in my mind, the execution of Shaka Sankofa in Huntsville, Texas. I had befriended him. I met with him on the morning that he was executed. That evening, after waiting through the day for final words from the Supreme Court, hoping against hope, that a favorable decision might be rendered. Alas, it was not to be. The state of Texas killed another brother, under very flimsy and suspicious evidence. By the way, President George Bush was the governor at that time. He refused to grant pardon.To be continued
Organizing Meeting on Darfur
each Thursday, noon to two p.m.
at The House of the Lord Church 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
On January 27, 2006, at 2:00 p.m. I will be speaking at
Cotton Temple, 383 Bergen Avenue, Jersey City, New Jersey
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 4 Sundays at 2pm. Website: www.holnj.org