Tag: Civil Rights

Horace Ward:Silent Giant Slayer

By Michael May 3, 2016 Off

Horace Ward died last week. He died and was buried like he lived, without bringing attention to himself.

One hundred and twenty days before I was born Horace Ward received a notice from the University of Georgia Law School denying his application for admission into the law school. In 1950, Georgia’s flagship university had never admitted a black student to study in either its undergraduate or graduate programs. read more

Lonzy Edwards Talented and Faithful

By Michael April 30, 2016 Off

Lonzy Edwards by any measure was talented and faithful. He came to the Macon community in the late 1970s after completing law school at Duke University. When he arrived he was anointed by the State Bar of Georgia to practice law and was ordained by God to practice his faith in the community of humankind. read more

I Am Not Saying Lewis is a Sellout

By Michael February 12, 2016 Off

I am not saying that John Lewis is a sellout, or that John Lewis is an Uncle Tom for “dropping the mic” on Bernie Sanders. Neither am I suggesting that Lewis is a liar as some have strongly intimated over recent comments he has made in support of the Clinton’s involvement in the civil rights movement during the 1960s. However, I do believe that John Lewis does not get to define who was or was not an active participant in the civil rights movement. read more

Harvey Amazon Bestselling Author

By Michael February 7, 2016 Off

Amazon has a new bestselling author. Just added to the list of Amazon bestselling authors is Harold Michael Harvey.

Cascade Publishing House (CPH) is pleased to announce that Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System is the number one bestseller on Amazon in the category of books on discrimination and racism. Additionally, it is the number one bestseller in the categories of law, procedure, litigation and juries. read more

Octavia Vivian: A Tribute

By Michael February 6, 2016 Off

“Hello,” Mrs. Vivian said answering the telephone in a soft, sweet voice full of life.

“May I speak with Dr. Vivian,” I said.

“He is traveling,” the wife of 59 years replied.  “I will have him call you.”


That was four weeks ago and my last conversation with Octavia Vivian.  In the twenty years, we have been neighbors I have had several hundred conversations with her husband, Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian, many in her presence; yet seldom did she interject herself into the conversation.  She would leave us to our intellectual discussions, our intellects free to roam and explore resolutions of war and peace, and full participation in the American dream.  Such was the sweet spirit that was and will always be Octavia Geans Vivian.  Three weeks later we gathered to give her our final goodbyes. read more

Its Official Black Lives Matter Atlanta!

By Michael December 18, 2015 Off

It is official, Black Lives Matter have organized a chapter in Atlanta. The organizational meeting comes one year after activist shut down Interstate 20 in downtown Atlanta in the name of Black Lives Matter. This protest followed the killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer.

The meeting was convened by Mary Hooks, co-Director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG), an organization that advocate for the  LGBTQ  community in the South. It was held at the Big Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on old “Sweet Auburn Avenue.”

Appropriately 300 men, women, children and transgender persons were in attendance. Among the attendees were State Senator Vincent Forte. He is poised to enter the 2017 race for mayor of Atlanta, and prominent criminal defense lawyer Gerald Griggs, Jr.

According to the media advisory announcing the gathering, the Black Lives matter organizational meeting was closed to white people. Hooks, the driving energy during the initial charter meeting, articulated that” Black Lives Matter Atlanta is a group run by Black people that represents the interest of ALL people.”

Reading from the “BlackLivesMatter Principles,” Hooks said: “We are unapologetically Black in our positioning in affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting  the same for others.”

Since last year’s demonstration on Interstate 20, the group has been unofficially active in several demonstrations against police brutality in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Hooks explained that it was time to have a formal organization so those wishing to participate will know “exactly what you are getting into.”

Hooks, who self-identifies with the pronoun “SHE”, then explained that one of the basic tenets of Black lives matter is found in Principle number 7:

“We are committed to embracing and making space for trans brothers and sisters to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflective and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.”

According to Hooks, in recent months “there have been 27 murders of transgender people in the Atlanta area with little interest, thus far, shown by law enforcement and public officials to stem the tide of violence towards this community.

During the meeting the group was divided into several work pods. Each was tasked with developing issues confronting the Black community, and identifying an enemies and friends list.

Conspicuous on the list of issues are: injustices in the criminal justice system, a poor educational system, and neighborhood gentrification.

Three names stood out on the enemies list. They were Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.

The Nation of Islam’s Atlanta Chapter and the Concerned Black Clergy of Atlanta made the friends list.

Although the meeting started a half hour later than announced, it ended on time with the chartered members chanting a poem written by Assata Shakur:

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and protect each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.



Farrakhan-Kennedy Unlikely Allies

By Michael October 24, 2015 Off



CASCADE PRESS, ATLANTA, GEORGIA The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Attorney Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. are unlikely allies, but a confluence of history finds them on the same side of a raging war against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

Farrakhan, representative of the Nation of Islam emerged as a leader in his Muslim sect following the assassination of Kennedy’s uncle, President John F. Kennedy nearly 52 years ago. He became a vocal opponent against Malcolm X after Malcolm made disparaging comments about the  death of  President Kennedy.

Five years later Attorney Kennedy’s father, Bobby Kennedy, was killed by an assassin. The entire nation grieved the deaths of both men.

Kennedy recently published a book detailing the emotional trauma his entire family has suffered because of the stoic manner his uncle Teddy Kennedy dealt with the family’s grief.

On Saturday, Kennedy was sitting on a grassy knoll in Grant Park on the east side of Atlanta, Georgia. He was guarded by the Fruit of Islam (the security force of the Nation of Islam) as he awaited his time to speak to a rally demanding truth, transparency and freedom from the CDC. He pulled out his phone, checked his messages and took a couple of pictures of the crowd. He was seated comfortably, looking handsome like his famous dad back in the day when personal freedom was within the grasp of the common citizen. It seems more illusive now in the closing months of the first African American president’s term than it did in the days of Camelot.

Kennedy decided to leave the perch atop the protruding grass mound. He strolled up the hill to a Filipino Taco stand, placed his order and was suddenly surrounded by two Atlanta Police Officers. The FOI quickly asserted their responsibility for the safety of Kennedy, discreetly moving between the officers and Kennedy.

As he walked back to the grassy knoll, we shook hands, looked each other in the eye and chatted.

“What do you hope to achieve,” I asked?

“I hope to get the Attorney General to investigate the CDC. I want the government to prosecute the people who destroyed evidence that proves there is an increased risk of Autism in children who are given the MMR vaccine,” he averred.

“Have you seen the entire report,” I quickly got to the point.

“Yes,” he retorted.

“Do these reports show that the vaccines are harmful to children,” I queried.

“Yes. These are very dangerous vaccines.”

In a previous speech, Kennedy described the effects of these vaccines in this manner: “They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone. This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”

“Why did you reach out to the Nation of Islam,” I asked?

“We reached out to a number of people and they were willing to talk with us,” he replied.

“Locally,” Kennedy advised, “I reached out to Durley [Rev. Gerald Durley].”

Kennedy sauntered back to the grassy knoll, sat legs open, while surrounded by the FOI, he unwrapped his lunch and enjoyed his Filipino Tacos.


Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com.





Amelia: Defender of the Vote

By Michael August 27, 2015 Off

Amelia Boynton Robinson, “Queen Mother” to those close to her, was the perpetual defender of the Negro vote. She transitioned on August 26, 2015, eight days after her 111th birthday.

Amelia learned the importance of voting from her parents George and Annie Platts. Her father was a businessman in Savannah, Georgia. He owned a lumber company, built an eleven room house for his family – which still stands today – and owned one of the few automobiles on the Savannah roadway in the early 1900’s. He would have owned two automobiles, but Amelia’s mother did not want to learn to drive a car, so he bought her a horse and buggy to get around Savannah.

Before Amelia’s family acquired the horse and buggy, her mother would use the public bus to get around town. One day while paying the fare at the front of the bus, the bus driver instructed her to go to the back of the bus in order to board it. She refused. The driver refused to allow her to board at the front entrance of the bus. Amelia’s mom threw the money for the bus fare into the driver’s face, grabbed Amelia’s hand and walked off to their destination.

Amelia’s fighting spirit in the face of an injustice was born.

When she was nine or ten years old, a Savannah judge perturbed Amelia’s mom. Annie Platts pointed her finger in the judge’s face and told him that she would vote him out of office in the next election. A bold and brave promise for a black woman in the early 20th century south.

“When I was a young girl, I would ride in the horse and buggy with my mother as she worked in the community to get black people registered to vote in Savannah, Georgia,” Amelia recalled during an interview at the 2012 National Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

After the votes were counted following that  election, that judge had been voted out of office. Amelia saw the awesome power of the vote.

Upon completion of the high school program offered in Savannah, she enrolled in the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, where she came under the tutelage of Robert Russo Moton and George Washington Carver.

In 1927 she earned a degree from Tuskegee. She moved to Americus, Georgia, home of the future 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, who was only two years old at that time. She taught school in Americus for six months in the segregated school system. As a young woman, Amelia had a very feisty spirit and when asked by her principal if she had any comments to make regarding the administration of the school, she spoke up. The principal had never heard a sharp critique of his administrative abilities and could not abide Amelia’s stinging assessment of his bothersome nature and the lack of school materials. He promptly fired her. She obtained another teaching position in Georgia, but again found herself out of work three months later.

Then, through a Tuskegee connection, she received a call from the U S Department of Agriculture. They were developing an extension agency in Alabama modeled after the traveling school that had been put together by Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver at Tuskegee. This job landed her in Selma, Alabama where she teamed up with a Tuskegee classmate, Samuel W. Boynton, who was already working for the Department of Agriculture.

Amelia and Boynton would later marry and become a powerful force in Dallas County, Alabama; chiefly because of their efforts in registering black people in the county to vote. Boynton, who went by the initials SW, started a real estate company and the two of them would help black people to acquire land so that they could meet the requirement for registering to vote. SW was often hounded by whites in the county because of his independent wealth and political activities of his quick witted wife. One day a group of white men came to his office prepared to beat him into submission, Amelia grabbed a  stick and ran them out of their office.

For two decades Amelia and SW fought the political battles for the local black community; then in the early 1960’s the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee – the student arm of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference – came to town. They were put to work on voter registration. Tensions began to mount in Selma. There were clashes with the local sheriff’s department. Progress was slow until Amelia got the ear of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

She told King how her mother, in the early days of the “roaring twenties,” had taught a valuable lesson to an old Savannah judge through the power of voter registration. King committed some of SCLC’s resources to Selma. They set up an office and manned it on a rotational basis with men like Hosea Williams, Andrew Young, and C. T. Vivian.

According to C. T. Vivian, “When we were assigned to an office, we had to stay there until your relief came. If your relief had been waylaid because they had been arrested in a protest somewhere else, you had to stay there. Martin would not allow us to leave our post unattended.”

So the Boynton home became a home away from home for the SCLC members who were assigned to Selma. Amelia would cook meals and have them over. The skeleton of what would become the 1965 Voting Rights Act was drafted on her dining room table.

Fifty years ago, this past March, Amelia was left for dead on the Edmund Pettis Bridge. She had been a marked woman by Sheriff Jim Clark, who ordered his officers and others whom he deputized, to beat marchers who attempted to leave Selma and take their case for voters rights to the State Capitol in Montgomery. Seeing an unresponsive Amelia on the bridge, Clark first ordered her to be placed in a ambulance for transport to the hospital, then directed the undertaker to take possession of her body. Suddenly, Amelia began to breathe again. And she did not stop breathing until 50 years and five months later.

Eight years ago when Jim Clark died, Amelia summoned her friend, former Tuskegee Chief of Police, Leon Frazier and asked him to take her to pay her respects to Clark.

“I asked her why did she wanted to go to Jim Clark’s funeral,” Frazier said a few hours after receiving word that “Queen Mother” had transitioned. “She said she wanted the world to know that she did not hate Jim Clark for the meanness he had shown to her. So I took her to Elba, Alabama along with Mrs. Harriett, her caregiver. We were the only dark faces in the church.”

Amelia’s life, conceived through the love of her parents ended in love.

“Her last years were all about love,” Frazier said. “Love was the message she spoke to people everywhere she went. She especially wanted the children to be loved.”


Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com





http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/civil-rights-activist-amelia-boynton-robinson-dies-104-33331218 read more

Justice in the Round

By Michael March 15, 2015 Off

Justice in the Round, what is it, what does it look like and how can it be obtained? These are the sub-themes of the 155 page book I recently authored. The book, Justice in the Round debuts 4 April 2015, on the 47th Anniversary of the Assassination of  Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The pages of Justice in the Round spilled out onto the streets of Ferguson, Missouri last week. The last two paragraphs in Justice in the Round accurately and prophetically warn of events like the mass demonstration held in front of the Ferguson Police Department. This demonstration ended in gunfire. The presumption is the gunfire came from members of the public. The gunfire seriously wounded two Ferguson police officers.

As I closed out this book of essays on the American jury system, a system that has caused American citizens to take to the street in mass protest, I wrote:

“Rushing headlong into the 21st century, America will either live out her creed of Justice for all, as rooted in the written words of her 18th century founders, or there will be modern day rebellions, and correspondingly, the streets will be devoid of peace and occupied by militias, survivalists, ethnic gangs, nationalized state guard units, and millennial patriots, each seeking their perspective of what law and order, freedom and justice, civil rights and human decency is in the streets of America.”

Initially, accounts of the gunfire indicated that the law enforcement officials believed the gunfire was directed at police officers. But over the weekend, law enforcement personnel disclosed the possibility that someone in the crowd of protesters may have been the target of the gunman or gunmen.

Protest in America just got a bit more dangerous. In the past, violent reaction against protest was at the hands of law enforcement. It was the police pitted against the aggrieved citizen group demanding regress for their grievances. Voicing one’s opposition to government action has been the American way. The framers of the Constitution guaranteed as much in their very First Amendment to the Constitution.

If it is true that the gunmen involved in the shooting of the two Ferguson police officers last week were aiming for members in the crowd of protesters the rights of every American to peacefully assemble have been chilled by this type of militia action. Now protesters have to be concerned not only about being gassed and billy clubbed by the police from their front perimeter, but also being pelted by gunshots from their rear flank.

Given this scenario, the last paragraph in Justice in the Round is more potent than when I wrote it: “And those Americans left lying in the streets will say, Nomen iustitiam, iustitiam in circuitu, which is to say, my name is Justice – Justice in the Round.


Harold Michael Harvey, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com


Selma Emotionally Moving

By Michael March 9, 2015 Off

Selma, emotionally moving!

Fifty years later, Selma is as emotionally moving, as that Bloody Sunday many years ago. I was twelve years of age back then. I had survived a decade of the Jim Crow south on a farm in central Georgia. My family was a few years removed from the farm. Yet city life did not bring about much change in the way the ruling society related to us.

The decade of the 1960s began with riots in Watts, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, a prince of a black liberation fighter named Malcolm X, a tireless advocate for “black lives matter,” Medgar Evers, a Tuskegee Institute student named Sammy Younge and three little girls with bright futures in Birmingham, Alabama.

Then, came news of the murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson in Marion, Alabama, as a result of mob violence, led by the local law enforcement department. Jackson’s death coupled with threats to James Orange and Rev. C. T. Vivian sent out a bleak prospect that things would ever get any better.

Suddenly, a news flash reported policemen on horseback with cattle prods had beaten a group of peaceful protestors on a bridge named in honor of a Confederate General. Tears streamed down my twelve year- old cheeks as I cried out to God, “Will things ever get any better. Oh God, will we ever be free!”

Fifty years later, I had to come to honor the blood shed that day, to bear witness to both the shame of Selma and the triumph of Selma; in short, to finally wipe the tears from my twelve year-old eyes.

Near the spot where John Lewis laid bleeding and thought that he “was going to die,” I came upon the Brown sisters: Gail Delaney, Robin Thomas, Felicia Powell and Renee Brown from Ferguson, Missouri. They had made the trek to honor Michael Brown (no relation), and to drum up support for their city’s efforts to remove the police chief and district attorney.

Gail Delaney summed up the problem in Ferguson as being a lack of communication with what is happening in the world outside their community. “There was no information about this event,” she said. “We just found out about it two weeks ago. More people from Ferguson wanted to come but they did not have enough time to plan,” she said.

Near the spot, where Hosea Williams laid bleeding from a cattle prod to the head, I encountered three young ladies studying at Tuskegee University. They came to honor the past as they looked toward their futures.

Not far from the spot, where Amelia Boynton-Robinson was given up for dead, I met the young people of UNITE. They are spearheading a petition at change.org to remove the name of Edmund Pettus from the bridge that leads from Selma to Montgomery. They are black, white, Latino, bright and filled with the promises of tomorrow’s suns.

A little distance from this spot, I met three Japanese Americans carrying signs which read: “Yellow Pearls Support Black Power!” Ryan, the group’s spokesman told me, they came to show their support to black people because of the rich tradition of support the two groups had in the 1970s.

Then near the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., kneeled to pray following Bloody Sunday. The spot where he had received a message from God. A message that said the troopers had laid a trap for the marchers at the bottom of the bridge. The spot where he had decided to turn around, I encountered a fellow journalist who had stopped speaking to me eight months ago.

We had fallen out because he disagreed with my analysis of the results in last year’s Georgia Democratic Primary for U. S. Senate. We met in the middle of the bridge. We shook hands. We hugged. I told him I regretted all offensive things that I had said during our public disagreement on Facebook. He said, “No problem. It’s forgotten. It’s a beautiful day.”

Selma, emotionally moving is an understatement.There in the middle of the bridge from Selma to Montgomery, where much blood was shared so that he and I could work as journalists, we found forgiveness and redemption.


Harold Michael Harvey, JD, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” and “Justice in the Round: Essays on the American Jury System,” available at Amazon and at haroldmichaelharvey.com. He can be contacted at hmharvey@haroldmichaelharvey.com