The very word "union" has almost sacred meanings when one contemplates both the physical and meta-physical usage. True, there are many people who have never unionized themselves to anyone, anywhere, anyway, or any matter; but, some the word Union matters.
Most modern Americans did not have any ancestors who lived, served or died during the Civil War about what mattered to them, including slavery that many pundits imagine was a mere coincidence in human history. We believe it was the bloodiest phase of the Second American Revolution that Frederick Douglass predicted would occur.
For those of us who had known ancestors that not only witnessed and participated in that terrible period which destroyed over 650,000 youthful lives, we are bound and determined to hold onto our functional faith of ancestors who believed in the intervention of a Living Christ on the side of the American Union that by time of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the constitution accepted and viewed people of African heritage as also Americans, though millions objected even the thought such could be.
By the end of 1861, it was clear the war to suppress the rebellion was going to be long and cost tens of thousands young male lives. Most men, women and children whether White, Native American, Black, Colored or combination of colors did not serve in the killing and dying that occurred. The American military archives have excellent records as to who did serve on either side; and it is offensive for anyone to claim such heritage but not bother to identify who or some sort of historical oversight reasoned into existence not joined to faith in the system of patriot records now in archives.
Frederick Douglass campaigned for the rights of African-Americans to fight in a cause leading to the ending of slavery. It was not an easy decision for young men to do so because people do get hurt in warfare.
"MEN OF COLOR, TO ARMS!"
The initial U.S.C.T. and sailor recruitments and enlistments (about 75,000) was a pilot initiative began in July 1862 when President Lincoln informed the cabinet of his intention to issue the Emancipation Proclamation effective January 1, 1863 as a military necessity executive order, ... to diminish rebel capabilities and to recruit more young men with the courage to escape slavery (about 100,000) and fight for liberty of others like:
Our beloved great grandmother believed her liberation was given to her by slave owners pursuant biblical passages about good masters and faithful servants ... not the unseen and unheard activities by young men like her husband and brother-in-law. And so it was and is with the relatively recent civil rights movement though many now claim otherwise.
We knew Lewis Martin's mother as a stern God-fearing, Jesus loving grandmother Sarah in the lives of my cousins, and with an obvious influence on the attitudes of her son and darling wife Rose. She had been born and indoctrinated in the cultural dynamics of educated post-slavery Virginia Black Baptists who had joined their reasoning about being proper persons with faith in Jesus as the Living Christ.
For Sarah's generation in the process of being proper the beginning began with mothers selecting a proper name for their newborn infant, ... "name with a handle to it" per Sojourner Truth. Sarah was a blessed mother in the lineage of Jesus, the name of several relatives in Alabama and Virginia; and the well-known name among educated African-Americans in Virginia of Sarah (Sally) Hemings Wayles, born 1773.
The second step in making Sarah a proper person involved not only wet nursing but nearly constant physical presence of her mother and other soothing spirits being visualized as security, ... in her hierarchy of human needs described in Psychology 101 for college freshman less they imagine infants can be properly nurtured without feeling secure in the arms and care of a mother happy to do so. With Sarah, as it was in the beginning of the faith with motherhood by Mary as mother of Jesus, ... a happy mother induced the pursuit of happiness/goodness.
Coal miners, government employees, mill, railroad workers, and teamsters were unique among African-Americans during first 50 years after 1865 because they had weekly cash pay that wives used to help found and build churches as testaments of their faith and community esteem. It's a touchy issue as to who financed church buildings and maintenance for African-Americans. There were many private White donors, including some rich Jews,... but vast amount of the money was donated by working Black men earning weekly cash wages routinely given to the women they loved (including mothers, sisters, wives and daughters) who dutifully put money in the church building fund.
Few share-croppers ever had a dependable source of cash ... even when promised by share-crop land owners. Many of those African heritage Churches were and still are in the very best of them.
They were critical and essential "mother's clubs" to often replaced and over shadowed by men and methods seeking money.
A lot of jacklegs schemed for purposes other than liberated fathers and mothers seeking entertainment and happiness in challenges and causes of raising up new and better generations.
By the time that World War I veterans below returned to United States in year 1919, ... prosperity gospel preachers had began the performing arts for getting men and women to give them money for building "temples" though Jesus had condemned; but the temple movement grew like wild fire. There were a lot of movements and "shaking going on."
A lot of young men from coastal enclaves of Mardi-Gras celebrants had the audacity of nerve to put on distinguished hair-styles and finger-nails of non-laborers, gowns of Catholic bishops, imitation jewelry of the rich; and proclaim themselves as having a special "calling" over and above traditional uneducated plantation preacher claims, crying and shouting dating back to at least the war movement eras of change 1754-1759 and 1775-1883.
Rather, the post World War I era of change included many preachers who could read, memorize and quote bible verses as "the word of God", .... but also sing, smell and look good doing it. Many women loved them, even the ones like Father Divine and Daddy Grace.
Harold Martin was very proud of moral worth inherited from his father Lewis Marshall Martin, ... who was conscripted as a soldier during World War I and served honorably in the 369th Infantry Regiment.
Though the Regiment was denigrated to non-combatant hard labor construction for White American forces; it eventually served with great honors as a distinguished combat unit in the French Army, ... integrated with men born and raised in Africa, America and Europe.
And, the French government valued their virtues of courage more than skin color. All of this occurred several years before African-American entertainers were popularly acclaimed in France, but it was all connected to French values of excellence in men like my uncles who also crossed waters, like their esteemed ancestor, ... by faith alone, in service to a future America with writers ignorant of their stories because few have researched and written.
Yes, William Lee crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Eve helping row the boat with George Washington. Common characteristics of his descendents include adventurous callings.
Does a name have a significant meaning? Who chooses the names for newborns and why? We know that in the worst cultural dynamics of matriarchy we have seen and heard, mothers choose names without meanings or linkage to anyone but themselves, ... but in cultures generated by functional memories of the past names chosen are a better indicator of linkages seen and heard.
The Lees are such an example as multiple branches of African-American users of the surname Lee have for consecutive generations since the life of William Lee, born abt 1756 have chosen to name their children such as William Lee, born 1876 in memory of him because of inherited knowledge.
While we do not have the details on lives of all the young men bearing the name William Lee there is sufficient data available to make assumptions that Lee family peculiar attachment to horses is a heritage worth remembering. We do not know all descendents of William and his brother Frank, but we dare to note there were and are many near and far, including Africa.
These memories include the fact that William Lee was not only a revolutionary war soldier and body-guard to George Washington but also a horseback riding mail carrier for Washington before, during and after the war. Indeed, a name matters.
His great-grandson Thomas Findley Lee was born not far from Mount Vernon, and lived among many relatives who knew the name William Lee mattered, and that his grandmother Rose Lee and mother Nancy Lee Banister were undocumented alien daughters of the American Revolution.
Born in Ohio, William lived and worked as a U.S. military postal soldier and saw President Woodrow Wilson during his visit to Paris in 1919 following the end of World War I in November 1918. Believe it or not, it was not until the influx of African, African American and African-Caribbean troops into Europe during World War I that European populace had an ample opportunity to observe that such men were not the heathen beings consistently described for a century by American literary giants. In fact, the post-war near-naked dancing in Paris by Josephine Baker was designed by her sponsors for appeal to mostly American audiences of artists and writers living in post-war France, mostly the left bank of Paris with atmospheres affording dreams, free-love and low rents. Like the fabled Harlem Renaissance, the 1920s Paris follies vanished as other matters emerged.
Perhaps, the most valued and virtuous attribute exhibited by men like like Ralph Percy Lee and others was not simply that of courage under fire; but, rather the universal attributes of music appreciation and abilities exhibited in matters French artists acclaimed as a lot more than sounds of inferiority. Two sons of Thomas Finley Lee, Percy and William, were conscripted to serve in France during World War I. Percy, like his father Thomas, was also a very accomplished musician and after the great war to save democracy, he returned to the United States for career employment traveling with Barnum and Bailey circus as a trombone player.
William Lee (right) made the first air-mail flight from the Pittsburgh Post Office before his military conscription, worked in Paris processing mail for U.S. service personnel during the war and then returned for another 30 years honorable service handling U.S. mail livery services via the railways. His father, Thomas Lee, had owned and operated a livery business in Ohio delivering all sorts of crates, coal and even mailed packages during the mule train years, ... before Ohio's Public Utility Commissions in year 1911, (instigated by growing Ku Klux Klan agitations) restricted motorized vehicle licensed competition by African-Americans such as Thomas Finley Lee.
William Henry Lee proved useful in helping his brother Frederick Douglass Lee, born 1908, sons Edward Harry Lee, Thomas lee, James Robert Lee, William Lee and others gain entry into the U.S. postal system that included National Railway Mail Service ... wherein postal workers were often required to bear firearms in protection of the mails including monies and securities entrusted to their care. The construction, maintenance and operation of railways (north, south, east and west) dating back to the Civil War expansion of rail use, ... consistently afforded many opportunities for Black and Mulatto men to earn cash money on a regular basis.
William Henry Lee above was dead when his four surviving brothers below gathered for a family photograph taken by their beloved sister Nancy Lee. The youngest brother Frederick Douglass Lee served in the U.S. Army during World War II and returned to Pittsburgh for a postal department job waiting him thanks to the counseling and support of his older brother William above. I believe the brothers would agree and encourage telling new generations about their causes, skills and heritage in patriotism, faith, hope and love: less offspring be ignorant and sorely judge them on the more common literary analysis describing African-Americans ie. slave, freemen, skin colors and incomes. They would certainly agree that if descendents do not know and tell their stories, who will? Pulpits? Professors? Fiction-novel writers? Ante-bellum romantics?
Our faith that goodness exists allows us to imagine that at various times and places in the past there were Hemings, Lee, Lowry, Martin and Robinson offspring who viewed one another with curiosity as to cause and purpose beyond the ever present societal values on race and skin color. We want to believe they had the strength of character, like Harold Martin, to join their reasoning to faith in the future for "goodness sake" inclusive of public and private enterprises and services helpful in the causes up from our past into hopeful futures.
Dr. E.B.W. Dubois, a self-described mulatto and an early pioneer in scholarly writings had no illusions about the color bars and classifications of superiority and inferiority in America and abroad during last two decades of 19th century and first two in 20th century. His scholarly mind and academic privileges allowed him to go and tell what he had "seen and heard" as a believer and scholar that helped organize the Fisk Jubilee Singers to spread the good news among White believers who did not know most descendents of most ex-slaves were desirous and worthy of being fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
It was the kind of gospel music heard by extended families of brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that embraced it to help drown out the very bad news propagated in year 1915 to millions of White Americans (and many Europeans like Benito Mussolini Adolph Hitler) by the infamous movie and later box-office successes like "Gone With The Wind" and the equally anti-Black male movie "The Color Purple." Movie patrons saw and heard about the bombs being dropped on defenseless Ethiopian peasants by Italian invaders determined to colonize them by proclaiming their young men to be savage heathens ... and then killing hundreds of thousands.
Killing of young men by young men anywhere is reflective of societal generated attitudes about both: the killers and the killed. Repetitive portrayals of certain men as threats to goodness has not only fueled racism but also sexism to help birth and sustain characterizations through degenerations of ignorance, poverty and disease ... never a blessing to America though many famed writers believed so ie. "To Kill A Mocking Bird." Dr. Dubois saw it happen.
Dubois had labored long and hard to gain a doctorate degree, and correctly perceived the color bar as it existed and was applied among Blacks, Native Americans, Mulattos and Whites including Jews, Italians and other immigrants into the dominant culture of caste, color and class. Dubois reasoned that movements based on color, such as espoused by Marcus Garvey, could not succeed. He believed in functional realties embracing matters such as Christianity, desegregation and integration that functional American family oriented men like Lewis Martin and the Lee brothers had demonstrated they were willing to die for!
They were not all the same color, nor same characteristic kinds as great numbers flocked to Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association headquartered in the New York City great metro region.
Garvey's movement proved that like the Lott Carey Baptist movement a hundred years earlier, African-Americans are not and have never been monolithic in their attitudes about Africa or America.
Young men like Edgar Frog Kyle Atkins, born abt 1898 had flocked to the region during the war conscription years 1917-1919 to avoid military service; and had no desire or intention of being recruited by or wearing a uniform for Marcus Garvey or anyone else or any cause any where at any time. Their heroes were rebellious guys like Jack Johnson, not so-called "West Indians" seeking to embrace and lead them to glory. Garvey's proclamations such as "Africa for the Africans" did very much appeal to aspiring young preachers like Elijah (Poole) Mohammed and the father of Malcolm (Little) X. Men however admired Garvey for his courage to seek change.
Veterans like Lewis Martin were inspired and even motivated to seek and endure hard work for mainly one reason: love and respect of wives greatly inspired by preachers' daughters like Mary Church Terrell (right). God, home and country, ... not unlike the inspirations and motivations of the best White veterans like the heroic Alvin York of Tennessee. Men do not go down into coal mines because they love the dark; but rather even during the 17th and 18th century years of chattel slavery in Virginia, the enslaved and free men ventured to do so for cash money they could give to loved ones in the light of Christ.
There is no evidence that many, if any, Black veterans of World War I embraced Garvey's dogma or imagined glory. It is worth remembering that only a minority of minorities and majorities in any society have ever worn combatant uniforms, ... with the high-mark being World-War II when uniformed military and naval forces of United States included approximately 1.1 million of the estimated 11 million African-American citizens. Few, if any, ever volunteered for "glory" but rather for the historic centuries old "norms" of adventure, pay and psychological benefits of demonstrating their courage and abilities to perform in competition with other men, friend and foe. Black men were not different than White men, just treated differently by ante-bellum bigots. Most were conscripts and did their duties as God gave them the strength to persevere "serving their country."
Any human being who has ever struggled to learn and master musical sounds and instruments anywhere in the world will likely agree that such talents are a gift. And, World War I African-American musicians, like Ralph Percy Lee, born 1896 helped spread the good news of innovative musical sounds and compositions. http://redhotjazz.com/hellfighters.html
With upwards of two years (1917-1919) living in places like Paris, African-American musicians organized into military bands had time and opportunities to play their instruments entertaining huge crowds of listeners seeking new sounds and performances in music.
Their presence was followed during years 1920-1940 by a lot of entertainers like Josephine Baker and others taking advantage of opportunities.
President Woodrow Wilson, born in Stanton, Virginia and a former Governor of New Jersey, believed in racial segregation and accepted post-Civil War forms of it in America and abroad (including colonialism) during peacetime and war. He did not live long enough to see racism progress to an ultimate solution in Fascist dominated Europe wherein many 19th century "great thinkers" reasoned who was inferior and superior for 20th century tribulations exemplified by the Jewish Holocaust. Wilson was not anti-Semite but certainly was against federal laws to find and punish men who lynched and otherwise terrorized African-Americans.
For the Lee brothers, Lewis Martin and thousands of other men such as Virginia born Robinson possible cousin Luther Robinson, born abt 1878 ... they rejected being defined on the basis of skin color and hair grades rather than virtues and values attributed to other American young men fighting and dying in France to save the world for democracy. Later as the famed Bill (Bojangles) Robinson, ... Luther refused to characterize Black men as inferior human beings in Hollywood movie roles. Indeed, movie producers, directors and actors in the first three decades of the 20th century created a new industry that could help enhance or denigrate mass population attitudes and behaviors toward certain populations. He and Lewis Martin were certainly what some aspiring young pre-World War II writers living in places like Sugar Hill would describe as:
It is herein that we hope scholars will not perpetuate false beliefs that literary writers of Genteel backgrounds, such as Langston Hughes captured the faith, hope and love of men like Lewis Martin. Indeed, Harold Martin's father was a renaissance man in the rebirth that mattered most to African-American families. Except for men like him that generated sons to excel and serve in America, ... there would not have been any "Negro" rights victories paving the way for historic executive orders, voting-rights and civil-rights laws passed by Congress during the era 1940-1970. Ignoring him and his kind of men in the decades long right versus wrong struggles is akin to excluding World War I in writing about the so-called African-American Renaissance of the 1920s with productions like:
This experience in France allowed Lewis Martin (born in racially segregated Virginia) to pass on a moral lesson that not all people of European heritage were racist as was existing in the U.S. Armed forces prior to its officially mandated integration during the Korean War era in which is his brother Alphonzo Lowry Martin honorably served. In the early 1950s, with his brother Alphonzo serving in Korea and mindful of his selective service obligations, Harold enlisted in his father's old regiment as a reservist in the Army National Guard and six year military obligation subject to activation and deployment for war.
Harold had a life-long friend in the regiment, Robert Gerome Jackson Thomas, a law enforcement officer who became his brother-in-law. Harold and his siblings were offspring of a man who had demonstrated the virtues of courage under fire in France and the coal mines of Pennsylvania; faith in God; and hopes for a better future for his family. And, Harold's father and mother Rose Alice Wilkerson Lowry love for their children included indoctrinating them with the values of physical labor and education.
For scholars and writers, we dare argue that Harold Martin was generated by at least three generations in and up from Virginia in the pursuit of goodness/happiness in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. In many ways, he emerged and lived his life as a believer in philosophical teachings by both Jesus and Booker T. Washington that men like his father Lewis Marshall Martin Lewis Robinson Marshall Martin and grandmother Sarah Robinson so much admired. He also admired courageous men that mattered such as: Mohammed Ali who epitomized admired values like determination, physical endurance and mental toughness to achieve success.
Perhaps one of the lesser known aspects of his business achievements was the foresight and abilities to invest, acquire and organize waste disposal facilities in the New Jersey Meadowlands among other ventures such as a proposed investment opportunity with Mohammed Ali to manufacture perfume. The business prospects did not materialize but the two champions in pursuit of goodness viewed each other as brothers. It was therein when we learned Harold's father loved boxing so much that he kept a set of gloves in his kitchen to teach his kids pugalist arts
He was always able to grasp the most minute details as a logistician in the movement of waste materials from New York City and other metro hubs for disposal in the stringently regulated Meadowlands; but, is also remembered as a business owner therein who cared to initiate and sponsor transportation for distant urban resident employees to and from work opportunities. Indeed, he truly used his wealth and power to help "the least of us."Though caring and giving, Harold Martin, Sr. avoided public broadcast proclamations about goodness pursuits such as The Trumpet Awards to inform the public about African-American achievements, but Harold heard the trumpet sound loud and clear to be helpful and useful to others including employees, siblings and their offspring who loved him. We are inclined to believe he also likely avoided public exposure to avoid potential standard movie and television ghetto-centric characterizations of his success as a businessman of African-American heritage moving on and up to financial success in the New York metro area.
For genealogists to possibly consider critical, we perceived Harold as a great man of American wealth with African (Robinson-Martin Generations) Cherokee (Wilkerson Generations) and European (Lowry Generations) ancestry in his veins. And, his ancestors included (Emancipation Patriots). He epitomizes objectives of our website to emphasize that America as we know it is the product of Africans, Europeans and Native-Americans, ... not literary digest with exclusions of realties seen and heard by African and Native Americans.
The mass media in first half of the 20th century drew upon characterizations and images depicted in the second half of the 19th century intended to entertain White audiences by denigrating Blacks as objects of disdain and humor. Indeed, immigrants and sons of immigrants, such as Al Jolson, found such to be not only profitable for sound and stage performances but also did not think such to be harmful. And, there were many Black entertainers who did the same, then and now when one considers New Orleans Mardi Gras antics in the ante-bellum Latin-Catholic traditions of a annual day to demonstrate for Christ: gracious superiors and unchained happy inferiors (savages) not seeking HIM.
Harold Martin's story internalizes the moral philosophy that freed and uplifted the color and kind of people we ought to care about even in the face of folks like Clarence Thomas, ... a man of apparent Georgia's sea-island Goolah heritage (possible descendents of the hard-working Krugabah fishermen along coastal villages of modern day Liberia) whose ancestors obviously were not emancipation patriots. The heritage of Clarence Thomas as a man of reasoning not joined to the faith of men like Harold Martin, ... by ideology and actions gives evidence to our contention that African-Americans are not now and have never been monolithic even during American Revolution, Civil War, World Wars I, II and certainly not the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle-East.
In fact, during the non-violent rebellions at home in mystical places of hatred and love like Alabama-Georgia and abroad in places like Ghana and finally South Africa, ... most of "the least of us" did exactly as Thomas and his fabled hard-working grand-father did, nothing but "wait on the Lord." Indeed, we are inclined to believe that between years 1860 and 1910, ... sufficient numbers of gifted and talented youth were born, nurtured, inspired, motivated, educated and sent forth by their Lord to help in the uplift of men, women and children in waiting. The realties confronting youth like Booker Taliaferro Washington reflected both generations and degenerations induced by centuries before the Civil War that in 1965 ended chattel slavery in the United States; and paved the way to end it in Brazil in 1985 for the similar numbers of souls of African heritage enslaved there. The census numbers in 1860 told the stories as to what Christian minded believers had seen and heard about "the least of us" both legally enslaved and free in a rainbow of colors: Black, Brown, Red, White and Yellow.
Fact 1 Liberty for the four million enslaved souls was not free. It had cost forty-three thousand young male lives of African-American young men among the 650,000 dead due to combat and disease. In addition the added costs of dispersals by over 100,000 young men who escaped slavery to join Union forces negated their early return and availability in most post-war locations from which they escaped. Many of the defeated Confederate veterans from same locations had vowed and carried out terrorist revenge against known former runaways and/or Union veterans such as: Ellis Kile/Kyle, born abt 1845
Fact 2 Prior to 1865 passage of the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution all slaves were legal property without rights to establishment and sustainment of paternal family units as the fundamental baseline for community formation, attitudes and behaviors such as achieved by Ceasar Generations
Fact 3 The 1880 census reflected that many ex-slaves were striving for family formation norms including names and faith held in common such as: Robinson Generations that generated so much that have been useful and helpful in HIS holy name cited daily by millions of "the least of us."
Fact 4 The 1910 census confirms that many offspring of slaves had prioritized education (including mechanical training) and religion in the culture that had advocated it as the best course for uplifting the new freemen (including Native Americans such as those sent to HBCU institutions like Hampton).
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