Statement by Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, President, Detroit Branch NAACP
DETROIT (October 18, 2019) – From the words of Congressman Elijah Cummings “From my own life experience, I can attest that we have come a long way toward universal justice in this country, but we are not there yet.” The nation has lost one of its foremost stalwarts for freedom and justice. For over fifty years, Cummings has been a voice for those often overlooked and most assuredly underrepresented.
The son of sharecroppers, he went on to Howard University and then to the University of Maryland School of Law. His passion for civil and human rights was fueled with intensity by a mother who witnessed blacks being denied the right to vote. At age 92, while on her death bed, she told him, “Don’t you dare let them take our votes away from us.” Congressman Cummings has been a voice and a fierce advocate to make certain that our votes would not be taken away. He served in the city of Baltimore as the first African American Speaker Pro-Tempore in the Maryland House of Delegates. He fought for the poor and championed the need for affordable health insurance and pharmaceutical drugs. This speaks to the very character of this gentle but forceful orator for justice. He called for justice in the death of Freddie Gray. He stood up for those in Flint, Michigan, where the water system had been poisoned due to the obvious failure and mismanagement in our own state government. Elijah Cummings even called for the resignation of former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in a public hearing that he chaired on Capitol Hill. As Chairman of the House Oversight Committee he challenged those in the Trump Administration to be held accountable for their policies on immigration, foreign affairs and election interference. He stood in the gap to guarantee checks and balances on elected officials at the highest levels of our national government. He indeed was one who battled for the very soul of our democracy.
As Pastor of
Fellowship Chapel in Detroit, it was our pleasure in 2016 to have this civil
rights icon to serve as the keynote speaker to celebrate the 50th
anniversary of our church at its golden anniversary banquet. He spoke
powerfully about the least of these and the promise of a nation to respect all
of its people. All of his accolades reflect a great statesman and political
leader. Yet the most memorable reflection of Cummings to many was his humility and kindness. This he extended
to all people regardless of station or vocation. He was the same from the
streets to the suites. He played no favorites, but he loved everyone with
favor. Perhaps it lies in the words from his father who said, “The true test of a man is not what he does
for himself but what he does to help others.” Certainly, if anyone is now ‘dancing
with the angels’,
as he said of those
who stand up for democracy
and freedom, it surely must be
Elijah E. Cummings. Let us hope and pray that the angels can keep in step with
such a noble master of the dance.
Click here, Press Statement — In Memory of Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, to download the full statement.
The following press statement was issued by Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony.
DETROIT – On June 1, 2009, President
Barack Obama said, “I also recognize the
importance of a viable auto industry to the well being of families
and communities across
our industrial Midwest
and across the United States. In the midst of a deep recession
and financial crisis the collapse of these companies would have been
devastating for countless Americans and done enormous damage to our economy
beyond the auto industry. It was also clear that if GM and Chrysler remade and
retooled themselves for the 21st century, it would be good for
American workers, good for American manufacturing, and good for America’s economy.”
In short, the president indicated, “Our goal is to get GM back on its feet, take a hands-off approach and get out quickly.” As a result, this commitment, following an initial investment of $15 billion dollars and an additional investment of $30 billion dollars in General Motors, an investment that entitled American taxpayers to the ownership of 60% of the new GM. This was done because of the tremendous sacrifices made by American workers and their families across this nation. Well, General Motors today is back on its feet as of August 1, 2019. CNBC indicates the company reported revenues of $36.1 billion. Shares of GM rose more than 7% over that last 12 months and are up more than 21% since the beginning of the year. The original estimation of revenues was $35.98 billion vs. an achieved $36.1 billion. This is an indication of a company that is doing well and is in a position to support, encourage and invest in the workers who have enabled it to achieve these goals.
Click here, The Laborers Are Worthy of Their Hire, to read the press statement in its entirety.
DETROIT (July 30, 2019) – A reporter asked me the other day in preparing for the Democratic Candidates Forum, what do black people want? It is not the first time I’ve been asked such a transparent question. Black and brown people are Americans, even though many don’t want to recognize that fact. We didn’t fall out of the sky like manna from heaven. Black folks, originally brought here on slave ships, have fought for and earned every right and privilege America has to offer. We are not some American aberration, nor are we a figment of American imagination. Quite frankly, we want the same damn thing that every other American wants.
Please click here to read the statement in its entirety — Official Press Statement — What Do Black Want … I Mean Really?!
Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony issued the
following press statement regarding the passing of Judge Damon Keith
DETROIT (April 28, 2019) – The civil rights
community has lost a giant among those who have consistently fought to hold
fast to the rein of justice and equity for all people. This is particularly
true in the cause of Black Freedom and social justice. Judge Damon Keith for a half century has led
in this cause. An icon in the civil rights community, he has rendered
uncompromising decisions from punishing illegal government wiretapping, and the
racial motivation of building a wall of segregation around the City of Pontiac.
He would certainly
be a thorn in the judicial side of this current administration and its treacherous
policies of family separation and deportation. He was an early opponent in the
judicial process to expose secret deportations and government abuse of its authority. Judge Keith will long be remembered for his
work off the bench with the NAACP. He was an early organizer and supporter of
the largest sit-down Dinner in the nation, the Annual Fight For Freedom Fund
Dinner of the Detroit Branch.
He was a great supporter an advocate for the City of Detroit and for African American political empowerment. Judge Keith represents an era of bold and courageous judicial principles. These principles helped guide precedents for those too cautious to be just and sometimes too afraid to stand alone! In the words of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, “I have the gavel and I am not afraid to use it!” Judge Keith used the judicial gavel to open doors and knock down barriers.
will long be remembered as a true follower and believer in the works and
direction of the great attorney an civil rights lawyer Charles Hamilton Houston,
who said, “A lawyer is either a social engineer or he is a parasite on society.”
Thank you Judge Keith for being a social engineer. We have a spoiler alert! Look out heaven,
here comes the Judge!!
The Detroit Branch NAACP is the largest branch in the Association. For more information, please call (313) 871-2087.