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Mary Lee Brady, Ph.D.

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Because of our parents, grandparents and other friendly forces living throughout the Second Jubilee Era (1910-1960) we have written a lot about what they saw and heard.  So, what will new writers write about opportunists like Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill who waited during the Third Jubilee Era (1960-2010) ... for the Action Jacksons like Black Republican Arthur Fletcher to quarterback those fabulous affirmative action end-runs and touch-downs that encouraged large Corporations, Institutions and Governments to do business with men like Harold Martin?  In those days of business minded men and women of African heritage, ... a lot of business oriented men such as Harold understood that equal opportunities to compete for contracts was impossible to achieve without government regulation for a "level playing field."

Art Fletcher (on left) and a lot of other business men of African heritage, like Harold Martin, knew and was proud of his emancipation patriots that helped salvage the "wait and watch" ancestors of men like Clarence Thomas ... who had the audacity to recently proclaim that he was an American "who just happened to be born Black."   And, without  any functional roots in centuries of challenges in business, labor, the military or political preventions against Black progress, ... Thomas is free to imagine what other men aspire for him to believe ie the best way to end race as an issue is "not talk about it."

Justice Thomas claims to hold sacred a U.S. Constitution that Harold's lineage helped make holy by blood, sweat and tears, ... in addition to lawyer learning.  Thomas amazingly admits to a favorable opinion of Ayn Rand 's atheist philosophy quite contrary to the Catholic family oriented doctrine he claims to believe in.  But, for those who do believe in our inherited moral worth up from generations of family virtues and values (not a coincidence of birth), ... Harold's heritage and journey through life affords us an opportunity to help gifted and talented youthful writers and artists in the inherited cause espoused by great minds like: William Wilberforce, Frederick Douglass, and Abraham Lincoln. Harold held admiration for believers admired by his father, mother and siblings.  As one of two youngest children of Lewis and Rose Martin, Harold was beneficiary of a lot of love.

Harold Martin, Sr. was all about the propagation of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness expressed in the spiritual being of goodness believed in by his ancestors, ... and not to be reasoned away or deduced as not relevant.  We realize our much beloved cousin Harold (plus his father, mother, grandmother and siblings) did not meet the criteria for most popular characterizations of successful men, ... especially those with a multi-cultural heritage such as Harold Martin!

We try to explore what Harold might have seen and heard in the pursuit of goodness quite unlike cultural deficiencies most script writers like to imagine about otherwise successful men of color (ie. not in control of their emotions).  A check-mate for potential writers is that  neither Harold or any of his ancestors and siblings were ever raisins in the sun.  Since at least year 1865, none were ever needy homeless wandering Black men hoping for luck or handouts such as depicted for popular digestion in movies such as:       

                                   A Raisin in the Sun              

Whether African-Americans like it or not, mass media actors, entertainers and even news pundits very much define who we are in the eyes of the world.  So, the academy award given to Sidney Poitier for his performance as a decent industrious skilled African-American adult male in "Lillies of the Field"  did not portray the real world of skilled men like Harold Martin in 1963.  We best remember the famed screen-play and academy award winning actor Sidney Poitier who, unlike Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett and other artists, ... refused to lend his fame or name to support of the Southern Christian Leadership Movement led by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Gifted and talented though he may have been, ... Poitier lacked the #1 classical virtue: Courage, and perhaps even the Christian faith, hope and love virtues consistently exhibited by Harry Belafonte.  Portraying relative virtues in a stage or screen play is about acting, not functional actions supported by men like Harold Martin who was never honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom as was Poitier on above right.  But, for the hundreds of Harold's  employed men, women and their children for more than 40 years, he was their freedom rock against poverty, ignorance and disease. And let us further add that academy award given decades later to Denzel Washington for portraying a morally corrupt bad police officer in "Training Day" certainly denigrated world mass media youth perceptions of African-American police officers like Harold's brother:

                                            Alphonzo Quinto Lowry Martin 

We want screen and novel writers to know men like police officers Alphonzo Martin and Oliver Mason of Pittsburgh in picture on right providing personal security for President John F.Kennedy did their duty to serve and protect the public ... both the low and high, not  exploit them.  Indeed, a screen-play about real businessmen or cops of color with good backgrounds is not likely to be marketable among movie-makers and financiers.  It ought to matter that real stories about men in pursuit of goodness be told and portrayed for youth to emulate. 

As a boy Harold's wealthy role models included his mother's Aunt Georgla and Uncle  Dudley Fuqua  both a beautiful woman and very industrious husband admired for being a Christian minded benefactor up from Virginia to Pittsburgh ... not make believe of a: "George Jefferson" exemplifying ghetto bred rudeness and sarcasm inconsistent with business success in any culture anywhere in the world.  With stereo-types such  as him, is there any wonder as to why network television studios delayed hiring talented rican-American men to work behind the cameras?   Images matter a lot in formulating human perceptions.

                        African-American Stereotypes

Harold certainly did not fit into the "racial minority" stereotype or allegory propagated by actor academies and generally preferred by movie makers and audience shakers (including many preachers in their make-believe allegories to rationalize Tithes as the best and surest means to generate blessings/wealth).  From birth in 1931 to death in 2011, Harold lived, functioned daily in a multi-cultural world of people and places in times of wonders and woes not given or received by every man or woman in each generation.

The spirit of goodness that was in Harold Martin is now and has always existed since the first generation, for those gifted and talented souls who would seek and have it ... with or without religious hype.  Our issue is that too few writers and artists have sufficient insight about men and women of color in the generation of goodness, ... as compared to popularly proclaimed famous African-American athletes and entertainers  who helped themselves, but relatively few others in the functions of generating long-term goodness.

Though enriching to some, playwrights and screen-writers have been less than helpful in their reasoning about "the least of us"  who do not sing and dance imitations of life or generate the sounds of excellence as perhaps exemplified by the short lifespan of the navy reservist who became a famed music-maker:  John Coltrane (1926-1967) official U.S. Navy image on right   As an African-American young man "Trane" like generations before him did not avoid his generation's challenge to serve in the nation's military and naval forces their family ancestors had joined since at least the Civil War era. 

                                       A Love Supreme

Harold in an interview told niece Darnell Martin that he remembers his mother hugging and saying she loved him.  We can imagine she was the one who indoctrinated him to love God. Mothers almost alone on earth, have that kind of supreme power to mold men's minds.  So, how is the love of  God expressed?  By words from the mouths of preachers and teachers, music that touches the soul and actions that astound and behold us?  Coltrane put to music what few preachers are able to express, and Mother Tubman did what she said God gave her the strength and wisdom to do.

The connection here in our feature story about Harold Martin is that he likely heard his grandmother, mother and father say they believed she acted for a love of God, ... not for pay, play or power.  She certainly did not reason whether or not GOD existed.   And, it was goodness for many ancestors that she had free-will to believe, to be a believer in environments that tried the souls of millions.  We think it is critically important that youth understand their functional "bill payers" like Harriet Ross Tubman who displayed by her actions/deeds a love of God via her courage, faith, hope and love supreme to help others seeking liberty.  She was absolutely courageous, faithful, hopeful and loving to "the least of us."  Harold Martin likely heard his daddy say so many times!   If not, why not?  Is it possible that  he did not know her story?  An "Iron Lady" to be ignored and forgotten by scholars, writers and artists that influence youth mindsets?                   

During the Korean War, Harold Martin enlisted for six years in his father's famous regiment, the 369th of the New York Army National Guard and he expected it would be activated for actions in Korea; but in 1953 President Eisenhower and United Nations negotiated a cease-fire with North Korea (not a peace treaty) and the unit was not activated and deployed. 

It was possibly a disappointment for Harold Martin and his father, ... in part because his brother Alphonzo was already in the army forces deployed to Korea.  Harold indicated in a conversation with us that he never liked being the only brother to not experience extended active military service.  He did not want to be categorized and classified in the league of draft dodgers, or worse: less American than other Americans. 

                Jackie Robinson and Paul Robeson

A fact worth knowing is that if the allies had proceeded with the invasion of Japan in 1945 rather dropping atomic bombs, it is likely that not only Jackie Robinson but also the Martin brothers (Album and Emmett) would have been in harms way and possible casualties during the first weeks' invasion casualty estimates of more than a million young men. Harold Martin and his brother Alphonzo would certainly have seen and heard their two older brothers express sentiments about such matters of then and now, including offspring born and bred after the war ended.  

            Operation Downfall

Let youth be certain to understand the generation of family oriented working men and women like Lewis Martin and Blanche Mary Wharton Rangel not only loved Jackie Robinson as representative of their values but also as a functional model for offspring like Alphonzo Martin and Charles Bernard Rangel born in year 1930, same age as Harold Martin).  Harold and his daddy knew very well that opponents to racial desegregation and integration in America dating back to at least the 1925 Army study citing Black male inferiority, ... were consistently citing Paul Robeson and others as examples that youth like the Martin brothers were unable and even unwilling to fight for America against the "fascists, communists or any other threat against liberty." 

Such comments by many news and media experts often quoting scholarly racist studies infuriated men like Jackie Robinson, ... compelled in 1949 to give testimony that African-American young men like Alphonzo and Harold were loyal Americans.  It was in this atmosphere of politically charged rhetoric that President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1948 was compelled to issue Executive Order #9981.  The order was not about human rights, equal rights or civil rights but rather American self-interests in the looming hot and cold wars during the next 50 years, ... with mathematically calculated minimal five million youth armed and trained for deployment in the event of war with the Soviet Union (20 million young men under arms).

Men like Lewis Martin very much believed military service and even casualties on "Pork Chop Hill" was a price worth paying to anchor first-class American citizenship ... that none had (including affluent artists, athletes and entertainers of color living mostly in Canada, England and France).  Many writers and actors in integrated America may not fully understand the game that was played, but Harold certainly was intelligent enough to understand "hard-balls" being thrown against racial desegregation in and out of the armed forces. 

 Harold Martin and his brothers were part of the game whether they enjoyed it or not, ... with a father who insisted they all had to play to the best of their abilities. Obviously, had thousands of such young men refused to serve there would have been no reasoning by Chief Justice Earl Warren, a former Governor and Commander-In-Chief of the California National Guard, ... for a favorable 1954 Supreme Court decision in "Brown versus Topeka Board of Education."   

                    African-Americans In The Korean War

Harold became a brilliant watch-maker and manufacturer, and lived twice as long as Coltrane; and by contrast ... exemplified visions of excellence in learning and doing what is helpful and useful to others.  We think a longer enduring story can be found in the functional goodness pursued and lived by Harold Martin,Sr.(above left) born in Generation #65 by parents, older siblings, aunts, cousins and grand-parents up from a past that mattered in the course of goodness  that believers believe was was born, raised, crucified and resurrected as the spirit generating  it among those who choose to believe. 

We knew Harold from childhood years, and believe he (and his wife Barbara Holmes Martin) were industrious functional methodical non-denominational believers throughout his adult life.  Harold was born in the same generation as Coltrane and Martin Luther King but differed in the great symphony of his life was not recorded music or brilliant sermons to inspire and enlighten.  Rather, in his quiet determined way he shined a bright light for sighted believers to see goodness.  It can now be said that he may have even been a bit "superstitious" constantly embracing offspring of his departed  siblings as though they were one in and with him.  Yes, he loved them all and his beliefs inspired him to always want them  close.  And they will remain so long as he is remembered by stories seen and heard in the functional body and spirit of their faith. 

We all gathered at Harold and Barbara's New Jersey home several years ago to not admire something they had architected into existence but more so to meet and greet the growing family and friends of their offspring and siblings: generations at best.  Again, Harold typically said, "it's all about connections."

                Rags to Riches or Virtues to Values?

Oral histories about men and machine matters is not enough even though entertaining such as the tale about fabled "John Henry" in an era when dynamic young men of brown, black and tan colors labored in building railroads north to south, and east to the Mississippi River (not beyond wherein railroad laborers were mostly Irish and Chinese immigrants.)   There are millions of stories still to be professionally researched, written and performed on screen about functional goodness of African heritage young men and women in the functions of: construction, fishing, logging, manufacture, military, milling, mining, transportation, waste disposal and other endeavors requiring courage, competence, faith and "sweat." 

Harold's heritage, and that of his wife, included: African Background, East Asian Background and European Background ancestry that made him as pure an American as one could possibly be during several generations of traceable DNA sequences:

        Robinson Generations    Wilkerson Generations   Lowry Generations

DNA evidence has consistently confirmed that many if not most African-American have never been monolithic (even their ancestral roots in Africa) or even the same skin color, albeit the common cause and experiences among them has been uniquely spiritual ... not unlike the glue that defines Jew from Gentile in the pursuit of goodness.  Indeed Harold Martin did not simply use but was an Extrusion Process we want new generations of youth to know and understand about the pursuit of goodness.  We cite Harold Martin's story as a functional (non-pretentious) life in pursuit of goodness lived pursuant an exemplary philosophy seen and heard by him during more than eight (8) decades:  1930-1939; 1940-1949; 1950-1959; 1960-1969; 1970-1979; 1980-1989; 1990-1999; 2000-2009; and final years 2010-2011

He was not a "baby-boomer" but loved his baby sister Zyra born during the great war years 1939-1946 when color and race mattered most to most people all over the world; ... and guys like Harold's brother-in-law Marvin Williams had to overcome the Hollywood induced legacy of Willie Best and prove that men of his color could read blueprints, not just music to dance and sing by.  Images mattered then and now more than words, but not many if any legitimate men of Willie's color mourned his passing away in year 1962 after characterizing "the least of us" as nothing more than "lazy and stupid" in eighty Hollywood movies that mattered a lot, especially in Nazi Germany Propaganda.  

Movies featuring buffoonery by men like Willie Best, Richard Pryor and a lot of other actors and entertainers have had a far greater influence on attitudes of men like Mitt Romney who occasionally espouse contempt for African-American poor of property and purse, ... not unlike what was seen and heard by Harold Martin's father and mother during first five decades of 20th century.  And, if writers and actors think novels and movies do not greatly influence societal values and views, ... they are in the wrong business. 

Harold did not inherit financial wealth to begin his business but inherited a great sense of moral worth, and earned a great fortune in pursuit of goodness.  He did not do so by enslaving or exploiting; and he avoided the temptations to outsource his manufacture operations for cheaper offshore labor to earn greater profits.  We think it important that people who knew and loved him, ... to also understand that Harold avoided the opportunities to establish manufacturing facilities inside prisons and sources of cheap labor.  The life he lived is a shining example of type stories we believe "the least of us" youth should see and hear from writers and artists in pursuit of understanding and acting out the functional spirit of goodness that spans multiple generations of human life.

We believe it profited Harold to help those he knew and was connected  as brothers and sisters in the faith of his father and father's fathers. Harold was generated by at least three generations of functional believers. Without ever saying so, he consistently connected superior reasoning about business and money to his faith that helping himself by helping others was the essence of living good.  It was an amazing achievement the world has come to admire in legendary businessmen like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet for doing what many men and women of great wealth never achieve:  ... joining superior reasoning to proclaimed faith.  In Harold's own words:

                                            "It's all about connections" 

So who, how, when and where did Harold first and foremost successfully connect?  The man lived through five (5) wars directly affecting his family and friends, beginning with World War II enlistments of his two older brothers who became lawyers up from the Tuskegee experiment to determine if men of African heritage had "the right stuff": 

Album Buster Lowry Martin, born abt 1923  

Lewis Emmet Lowry Martin, born abt 1924    

Harold was certainly blessed to have a family with a lot of lawyers he could believe and trust to answer his questions on matters of ethics and law critical to business success.  His brothers as a matter of choice; ... and the story brings to our mind another gifted, talented and determined legitimate businessman of color Reginald Lewis and cause of accumulated wealth known to us.  The big difference between Harold and Reggie is that Harold's great earnings included uplifting a lot more "least of us."  Born ten years apart, Harold and Reggie had very much in common values about men of character and superior abilities such as exemplified by the Tuskegee Airmen.  Reggie had fraternal brotherly advisors like the famed Lee Archer who had "the right stuff" in military service and the business world of big money. 

Frank Mingo is another story worth knowing in understanding the pioneer achievements by men like Harold Martin who Frank always insisted were "on top of the heap" consumers like us valued and wanted to know about, ... like the plastic  bags made for firms like McDonald's patronized by millions who want to feel connected to men like Harold Martin.  Frank attended for a short while but did not graduate with former Virginia State University classmate Reggie Lewis.  Mingo was an art major and rebel at heart; and somewhat distinguished himself by wearing a beret and draping his trench-coat over the shoulders rather than standard wearing by other folks on campus.  Thousands of gifted and talented students like them demonstrated in shirt and tie, ... prior to the 1963 march on Washington by the Southern Christian Leadership Movement to end racial discrimination and segregation. 

They certainly knew and admired the well-known football team quarterback and student leader at A&T University: Jesse Burns Robinson Jackson. And, their common cause movements in the early 1960s continued in the times and places of 1980s era Chicago and New York City, ... where men like Harold Martin pioneered a functional private enterprise movement to own and operate legitimate and useful businesses.  True, there were some so-called Black owned enterprises like funeral homes, soft-drink bottlers, recording studios, distributors, leasing and rental firms, bars and restaurants, insurance and loan agencies retail outlets, etc. in the "Big Apple" ... but not much in the way of modern industrial enterprises such as Harold Martin created.

We want actors to know Harold and a lot of men his color and kind of believer lived in pursuit of goodness. Indeed, Harold successfully connected superior reasoning of a gifted child with inherited faith to believe.  We dare to think that as a believer he rationalized his: (1) family relationships, (2) learning to labor, (3) enlightenment in his father and mother's faith, (4) education to be literate, (5) military selective service obligations, (6) training to be detailed and exacting, (7) legitimate business & finance capabilities,  enterprise initiatives, and (8) helping others (the least of us).  And,   

                        Harold Did It His Way

Harold saw and heard a lot in his lifetime ranging from: functional love of his siblings and cousins; gardening and gathering coal for home consumption and feeding family livestock; being faithful to God, home and country; studying to be a good public schools student; learning and mastering a marketable skill; aspirations for self-employment; and generating and sustaining a family born of love for each other in the spirit of who else but Christ?  It's a very touchy subject, and offensive to many, such as polygamists who believe otherwise.

But, so far as we could observe, he was not a bible quoting, Sunday morning church going and singing kind of achiever-believer.  But, rather was in our view a model Christian functionary we want gifted and talented youth to know about ... as a functional supplement to their readings of the Bible as Literature   We want them to know more about generations of functional goodness connecting past, present and future.  In a spiritual sense of human existence, we can argue that Harold Martin, Sr. spanned the past, present and future of many souls. 

Harold was a very successful businessman but his story would be of far less significance without connections to stories of inspirational women and men like his businessman grandfather Lee Lowry (right). Harold Martin was born, nurtured, inspired, motivated, educated and indoctrinated to be what he became including a loving husband to Barbara Holmes a public school teacher by profession, daughter and grand-daughter of Methodist ministers in the functional good news such as: liberty, nutrition, education and training.  

Harold is perhaps to be best remembered as a very functional believer raised by  believer parents and grand-mother Sarah Robinson

... with identifiable roots in Bedford County, Virginia that integrated Martin, Lowry, and Wilkerson ancestry of African, European and Native American origin; thus making Harold about as pure American as one could be during his lifetime. 

His grandmother (Sarah Robinson on left) was a coal miner's daughter and taken to the new state of Idaho where a lot of African-American coal miner families lived and worked. 

We think her story is critical in trying to understand how goodness came into existence among many (not all) living African-Americans (especially those dynamic souls with the surname of Robinson) 

Harold and his siblings were baptized to be what we regard as believers in daily life of loving and helping others in addition to themselves.  It is our understanding that Sarah Robinson (we believe to have been related to a lot of Robinson offspring during and up from slavery) had a great influence in shaping the spiritual values of her son Lewis and his children.  We are indeed fascinated by Robinson trails and tales, not because of the famed ones like Jackie Robinson, Jesse Robinson Jackson and Michelle Robinson Obama; but rather their common characteristics of courage, faith and determination along with apparent athletic superiorities in comparison with average men and women.  Even if a literature search does not reveal their relationships in the flesh, ... believers have seen and heard the spirit that binds and drives them.

  Rose Alice Wilkerson Lowry Martin        Emma Louise Lowry Martin

Harold did not talk about his faith, ... but he fully lived it; avoiding the Social Darwinism (survival of the fittest) entrapments of many super-rich Americans his ancestors saw and heard very well as human beings abused, enslaved and exploited by others, both Christian and non-Christian of African, Native-American and European heritage. In many respects, Harold Martin held firm to his beliefs that "helping the least of us" was a mandate in the inherited faith of his father and mother, not withstanding faiths and functions of others near and far. 

Harold used his wealth and power to help uplift, ... not criticize and deny others as unworthy in the body and spirit of goodness.  We believe his story is important and consistent with our theme issues and questions as to how goodness comes into existence.  Is it inspired, motivated, educated or self generated?  Who and how do we define goodness that believers believe began with birth of a gifted child whose philosophy of life generated what for who, when and where.

                                                       Relative Liberty

Harold's liberty to achieve was that of a gifted child born, nurtured, inspired, motivated, educated and employed in the good news of enlightened and enterprising minds that helped "the least of us."  His story is that of many thousands of gifted and talented believers during many generations of life, liberty and pursuit of goodness/happiness, we dare not allow to be denigrated by movie and television actors to make mass audiences laugh at and about "the least of us."  Harold Martin earned his wealth the old fashioned and traditional way; by working for it via long hours and many thousands of days learning and laboring (including real sweat labor) to achieve success, ... mining for goodness above ground. 

He was his father's son, not an award winning entertainer or profiteering preacher (pretending or seeking to be someone else or a source of salvation).  His life was truly connected to the grindstone of human progress. Due to the dangers and relative toil and stamina, coal miners have always been paid above pay scales available in American mills and factories, ... making such work attractive to men like Harold's father Lewis Robinson Marshall Martin, born abt 1895 able to secure apprenticeships under experienced miners and gain required state licensing (mining papers).  Getting their papers was all about mine owners, supervisors, bosses and fellow miners trusting an apprenticed miner "having the right stuff to do the right thing."  Coal mines were never conducive to hiring men with unpredictable behaviors in the stress and strain miners endure.  Consequently, coal miners whether Black or White were always paid better than factory line and mill workers who endured a different type stress and strain.  

While the majority of "Pittsburghers" did not live in the city proper, just about everyone had at least one relative living there though unlike characterizations by playwright August Wilson (on right). Wilson did not know about the silent majority of African-American working family men like Harold's father. 

In fact, guys like Lewis Martin, were not fenced in Fences (Play) and devoted their energies and passions to organizing and sponsoring baseball teams, leagues and associations for youth to have and enjoy along with forever young men like Lewis Martin,

... who loved organized baseball as a testament in their faith about means and methods of raising boys to men that respect and like one another getting on and up in the games of life. 

The story cannot be told too many times for youth to understand that in years 1947-1948 in metro-regions like Pittsburgh, communities with working men like Lewis Martin almost religiously helped fill stadiums when Jack Roosevelt Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers visited town.

Indeed, any communities in the region without a men's baseball team was not a community in traditional definitions and understandings, ... attesting as to why ghetto induced polygamy and matriarchy conditions are not conducive to community living.  Boys like Harold Martin and his brothers were motivated by their fathers to respect and admire (not envy or dislike) outstanding White and Black amateur league players like Stan Musial and Ken Griffey, sons of wire mill workers in nearby Donora, Pennsylvania.  

                                      Life Is A Ballgame

Harold's father understood organized baseball was and is more than a boys' game.  In fact, any working neighborhood or town without functional churches, baseball fields, umpires and teams for boys and adults was not a respected community, ... and many mill workers and miners of color and cause would not hesitate to say so about welfare projects that lacked working men.

                              Baseball Reference on PA pro players

                        African-American Communities

It was all about connections in the coal mining (energy) industry to gain opportunities to learn and perform jobs below ground that relatively few African-American young men qualified to do, unless sponsored and trained by an older man, normally a caring relative.  In the first half of the 20th century, virtually all Western Pennsylvania coal miners, Black and White, were products of generations of coal miners from places like Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama, Italy, Yugoslavia, Wales, and Belgium. 

In fact, tens of thousands of African-American young and middle-aged men of courage, faith and stamina had a heritage of coal mining dating back to early 18th century Virginia and the generation of Thomas Jefferson who was born in year 1743 C.E.  

                           African-American Coal Miners

Born in Virginia, ... Harold's father had a lot in common with miners like William Atkins who also settled in a nearly mining town and supported a large family that included a wife, relatives and offspring from Virginia in addition to active church membership and sponsorships. Harold gained a critical lesson from his father Lewis Martin: care about and help those unable to help themselves.  Lewis as a coal miner was able to work and earn cash money and company store credit during the terrible economic depression years that literally lasted from year 1929 until the entry of America into World War II mass production of war materials.  And, he had a lot of friends and relatives in Virginia and Pennsylvania who needed him to lend a helping hand up and out of plights of living without jobs and income. 

Lewis opened his heart and home to those who came in from the cold winds of economic joblessness. Like many or perhaps even most coal miners raised up in agricultural environments, Lewis and his wife Rose supplemented their needs by country gardening of fruits and vegetables, and raising chickens and hogs for family consumption.  It was common for African-American men, young and old, living in the Pittsburgh Region, outside the confines of urban limitations and regulations to embrace integration of disciplines such as growing food and organized sponsorships of baseball.      

                           Brownsville, Pennsylvania

Harold was detailed, observant and meticulous his entire life ranging from birth and experiences as a coal miner's son living in Grindstone, Pennsylvania where he spent most of his boyhood years that included living in a Coal Company owned house and shopping at the Coal Company owned store.  He and older siblings attended public schools wherein there were relatively few students of African-American heritage. 

They were fortunate to attend a very good high school that though small with only a few hundred students, ... most were sons and daughters of mine owners, engineers, supervisors and other experts in the world of technology that mattered to men who mine and manufacture.  In the truth in learning cycle of life, Harold and his siblings were functionally integrated into a culture of profit minded people who make materials into matters in pursuit of goodness that is helpful and useful.  Working men referred to them as:

                                                    The Great Scots 

After his father was severely injured in the mines, the family moved to New York and he was exposed to living as a teen-ager in the Bronx motivated to be a business enlightened New Yorker; and, he worked every day until the eve of his passing away in New Jersey at 81 years of age.  His father's experiences had a great impact on him in determinations to become self-employed.  As a son to Lewis Martin and team-mate to his brother Alphonzo, young Harold learned and labored daily to perform mundane physically demanding chores inclusive of: feeding and watering his families pigs and chickens in addition to attending school Monday through Friday, and after-school collecting and carrying loose coal along the railroad tracks for home consumption.

                                 Perryopolis, PA.

For leisure, the boys joined local sandlot baseball teams; and during hunting and fishing seasons tried their skills in pursuit of rabbits, pheasant and fish. Indeed, duty called them at an early age (at least by first-grade) and they did exactly as their older brothers  Album and Lewis Emmett had done before.  The generation of pursuits of goodness/happiness among boys as they muscle up to become men (even with the boy Jesus) has always been energy demanding at home and on "the fields of dreams." 

Harold was always humble and deferring to his  older brother and alter ego Alphonzo Quinto Lowry Martin. They were the best of friends and one cannot functionally tell the story of one without intimate details about the other, such as attitudes and behavior about family matters. Though perhaps denied, both had attributes of photo static memories; and, is best illustrated by Harold's early study, mastering and employment as a watch-maker before establishing his own business. 

Like a great watch, Harold accurately measured time to be meaningful and helpful to himself and others including his business associates, employees, children, cousins, siblings, nieces and nephews.  It is clear that he always had time for family interests and even unexpected visits. He mastered knowledge, skills and technologies of the plastics extrusion processes that emerged in the 1960s as an opportunity for industry visionaries. 

                               Sons of Coal Miners

When  Interviewed at his New Jersey home as to why father Lewis Martin entire family relocated from Pennsylvania to New York, he responded "he had to move: the local union refused to concur in his application to the Company and State of Pennsylvania for disability payments."   It was indeed the dark-side of American organized labor history wherein White laborers often opposed union standard wages and benefits being paid to Black laborers, ... referring to them as "scabs."  

In the prior century many White laborers and organizers like Samuel Gompers scorned Black workingmen with far worst descriptions such as "animals, monkeys, coons and the traditional N words." Not ironically, a large percentage of White coal miners in Pennsylvania and West Virginia were post-World War I immigrants (like Rick Santorum's grandfather) recruited and welcomed by labor organizers who routinely rejected men like Lewis Martin and Luther Atkins.

On the other hand, there were young businessmen like  Temple J Lee, born 1907  who not only provided contract transport for the coal mine companies but  also had a network of recruitment connections with African-American coal miners stretching from Birmingham, Alabama to Buffalo, New York.  There were many thousands available and qualified to work, and when White laborers threatened or refused to work, mine owners and bosses like Lucius W. Robinson and many other coal executives hired them with standard wages and benefits including housing and company store credit.

                                                             Strikebreaker

We should not ignore that many immigrants indoctrinated their sons and grandsons with their views and values commonly heard over modern media exchanges, especially talk radio. Fred Honsberger descended from a Swiss immigrant in 1881 is perhaps an excellent  example of this indoctrination realty facing men and women up from slavery in America. 

Exactly like Russ Limbaugh and others using the proven format for increasing listener audiences, ... Fred propagated race based beliefs for upwards of three hours per day about touch-button topics like scabs, strikebreakers, quotas and affirmative action for undeserving African-Americans who who seek to take away something of value from deserving Americans like his ancestors.  He never spoke about success by African-Americans like Harold Martin in his routine lampoons against Jesse Jackson urging business enterprise creations. 

 

                        Glopak Corporation 

founded by Harold Martin in year 1966 afforded him a functional opportunity to help hundreds of employees help their thousands of family members in the functions of life, liberty and pursuit of goodness/happiness.  We would add that while his personal wealth was at least equal to that of men like Mitt Romney, the great difference is that we have seen and heard the multitudes who directly benefited from his gifted mind and character. 

Unlike Romney who earned his fortune by hostile takeovers and sales of companies other men had developed, ... Harold generated wealth the old fashioned way of manufacture and ownership of real property used in helping others.  He became a leading American manufacturer in the plastic extrusion industry by investing in the research, resourcing, planning, programming and budgeting for the emerging market in post-WWII America. In fact, as a functional believer he was able to grasp the concept and master the capabilities to buy and manufacture tiny balls of resins into plastic products useful and helpful to humanity; and use the profits to hire and help families birth and raise up offspring in a new and better generation.

                                Plastics Extrusion Industry-History

We make this observation for youth to understand that young men like Harold Martin heard and saw how many people, Black and White, earned a lot of money by denigrating "the least of us," and called it good.  Like many of us in his generation, the humiliation during World War II of programs like Amos & Andy produced and directed about African-Americans in radio, television and screen productions cannot be removed from minds that remembered the Tuskegee Airmen  such as below who served as a reminder that men characterizing "Brother Andy and Lawyer Calhoun" were the same color but not the kind of young men fighting and dying to be respected.  

Perhaps the real fault is to be found in absence of their enlightenment about the past, including first and second half of 20th century most existing Black actors and screen-writers were born into. 

We do not begrudge them for not knowing what scholars have not researched and published about characteristics beyond South Central Los Angeles, Harlem and Georgia cotton fields.  

 

 

 

 

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