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International Civil Rights Walk Of Fame

by Ricky Ricardo (writer), Los Angeles, April 08, 2008

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A large crowd was in attendance for the Community Day at the African American Museum of Art to celebrate the opening of the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame Exhibit.

International Civil Rights Walk of Fame

            Los Angeles-A phenomenal event was held for a phenomenal exhibit featuring some phenomenal talent.

            A special Community Day presented by Macy’s took place on April 6, from 2:00-6:00PM to celebrate the opening of the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame Exhibit sponsored by Macy’s. The final stop of the traveling exhibit will be at the Museum of African American Art, 4005 Crenshaw Blvd., Macy’s Baldwin Hills, Level Three until Saturday, April 12. R&B music from the 60’s and 70’s greeted people arriving for the event.

            Sandra Lewis-Cooper, Macy’s Diversity Development Co-coordinator served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the afternoon. Berlinda Fontenot-Jamerson, President of the Board, Museum of African American Art welcomed all in attendance, and invited everyone to re-visit the museum to enjoy on-going as well as future exhibits.

            Speaking of phenomenal talent-the West Angeles Angelic Choir directed by Kim Barton performed “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” Holy Spirit Flow Thru Me,” “Make A Joyful Noise To The Lord,” and concluded with “He Got The Whole World In His Hands.” The choir received a standing ovation.

            Sandra Robbie and Sylvia Mendez spoke about the Mendez  v. Westminster case. This was the landmark desegregation case of 1946. The case successfully ended de jure segregation in California and set a precedent for the better-known Brown v. Board of Education seven years later; and paved the way for integration and the American Civil Rights movement. Sylvia Mendez played an instrumental role in the above mentioned case. She is a retired nurse and she travels and gives lectures to educate others on the historic contributions made by her parents and the co-plaintiffs to the desegregation effort in the United States. In 1998, a few years before Mendez’s mother Felicitas died, the district of Santa Ana, California honored the Mendez family by naming a new school the “Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School”, after Sylvia Mendez parents. On April 14, 2007, the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a stamp commemorating the Mendez v. Westminster case. Sandra Robbie wrote and produced the documentary Mendez v. Westminster: For all the Children/Para Todos Los Ninos, which debuted on KOCE-TV in Orange County on September 24, 2002 as part of their Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. The documentary, which also aired on PBS, won an Emmy Award as well as a Golden Mike Award. There is a bill-AB531 currently in the California Assembly which will help bridge history by having the Mendez v. Westminster case taught in Public Schools in the year 2011.

            The Kidz @ 43rd Place entertained the crowd with a phenomenal performance art/spoken word show entitled “Walk In The Path.”  The group paid homage to leading African Americans in history, entertainment. Sports, politics etc.  Damaris Bernard-Smith is the Program Director/Producer along with Jacinta Guillenne-Dixon, Children’s Director.

            The Rainbow Music Ensemble consisted of students who were also members of The Kidz @ 43rd Place. This group played a phenomenal set of classical music. My hat goes off to the music teachers and parents who were beaming with delight seeing the talent displayed by these young students.

            Miss Carli from the Khocolate Keepsakes Children’s Literacy Museum captivated the audience with storytelling. Young kids were able to showcase their artistic talents at the Coloring Corner. The finish art work was put on display in the Museum.

            The International Civil Walk of Fame Exhibit pays tribute to individuals who sacrificed and struggled to make equality a reality. The exhibit features shoes donated by a selection of past and present inductees into the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc.’s International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. The shoes of the leaders represent the miles we have come, as well as the importance of walking for the cause.

            Since 2004, the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc., an Atlanta based non-profit organization, has recognized civil rights leaders throughout the country and abroad. The exhibit was created and designed by Xernona Clayton, Founder, President/CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc.

            Macy’s Inc., a founding sponsor of the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame, is honored to travel the exhibit nationally for the first time, making Los Angeles its final destination. The exhibit is part of a permanent collection at the Trumpet Awards Foundation, Inc. in Atlanta, GA.

            For the past 30 years, The Museum of African American Art (MAAA) has been a secret gem tucked behind the sales floor on level three of Macy’s Baldwin Hills. The museum was started in 1976 with the goal of increasing public awareness and support of African-American Art. The MAAA is the only museum of its kind west of the Mississippi River. It receives no federal funds and runs solely on the support of Macy’s, donations, from members and sales from the gift shop. In addition to housing exhibits, The MAAA is also home to a permanent collection of works by palmer C. Hayden, one of the most important artists of the Harlem Renaissance. Please visit http://www.maaa-la.com for information on upcoming exhibits and events.

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About the Writer

Ricky Ricardo is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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