Sunday, September 22, 2013

Anne Braden: A force unreckoned with; and Saturdays' rainy Blues'

    This year's Appalachian Festival popped off with a controversal film, “Anne Braden: Southern Patriot”, which centered on the life of a rebellious, courageous woman, who I now know as, Anne Braden.  The Compton Science room brimmed with students,the majority of them female, eager to learn about the courageous  activist.  Cultural Anthropology Coordinator, Kara Roberts Thomas presented the film in honor of Social Peace and Justice and said “this film is very near and dear to my heart.” Anne Braden was born in Louisville, Kentucky and migrated to Alabama. She was raised in a segregated racist household.  She stated that “the people I loved were just plain wrong.”  Anne rejected her prejudice upbringing and became a member of one of the first anti-racism movements in the South. Anne grew up to become an activist and educator. 

     In 1948, Anne met soul mate Carl Braden who was also an activist. During the early 1950’s Anne met an African-American family (the Wades) that wanted to buy a home in the suburbs.  During those years black folks were prohibited to buy land of their own, so the Bradens bought it for them.  Charlotte and Andrew Wade almost lost their lives during the first week in the house; windows were blown and bombs were thrown into their home.  They were eventually forced to leave the suburban community due to their home being completely blown up. This caused an upheaval once authorities were informed of who purchased the home. Carl and Anne’s house was bombed weeks later. This did not stop Anne from fighting for justice.

     In 1957 she protested against the execution of Willie Mcgee, an African-American man who was falsely accused and convicted of raping Willete Hawkins. Anne and her husband were both jailed, and she said, “I finally got to see what it was like to be on the other side, all my life the police were on my side.”  Anne lived through the horrific years of slavery and the Nazi regime; “you kids have it easy these days, we were tough, we had to fight for everything, “she stated to a group of young scholars.  Civil rights activist Angela Davis, dubbed Anne as a power-house in the Civil Rights movement. Ms. Davis stated,“Anne’s message was never for what black folks should do, it was for what white folks should do," Anne lived to see what she had so passionately worked for become a reality. Unfortunately her husband did not;  he passed away before he got to witness the social equality that he had worked hard to achieve. “I really enjoyed this documentary; I never thought there were white folks that cared about what black people have to endure,” said one student. In 2006 Anne Braden died at the age of 81. Her brave soul still lives amongst and through us all.

     Saturday morning folks rallied to watch different performances, make arts and crafts, and eat food. One station that was quite distinctive from the others was the Arts and Crafts station. People of all ages stood in line to buy customized crafts.  At approximately 2:00 pm little rain drops began to fall; fewer people came and more departed. One young couple sat outside of  Cook Chapel, soaking wet, covering themselves with a thin poncho. “Aint no rain gonna’ stop me from getting my apple butter this year," said the sassy young woman.  Although the rain may have gotten us all wet, it surely did not  stop her from getting her apple butter!

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