The Alliance of Ethics & Art (AEA) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.— We are grateful to join with others in the fight against racism, and to seek solutions based on principles of Aesthetic Realism, the education founded by philosopher Eli Siegel:
(1) Every person's deepest desire is to like the world on an honest or accurate basis. This desire is the source of education and all the arts and sciences. (2) The greatest danger of people is to have contempt — "the addition to self through the lessening of something else."
All human injustice is caused by contempt — from a child's sarcastic "put down," to lying, bullying, economic exploitation, voter suppression, war. These principles when studied make it possible for racism to end. — Alice Bernstein
A South Carolina Story about Hope
Our hearts go out to everyone in South Carolina enduring the terrible flooding and continuing rains, and we hope that all in need of assistance are receiving it — or will very soon. I've been trying to reach people by phone to say how much they mean to me and offer any encouragement I can. The Alliance has made many friends in South Carolina in the past 15 years — including unsung pioneers interviewed for "The Force of Ethics in Civil Rights" oral history project, and others in relation to our free educational performance event, "The People of Clarendon County" — A Play by Ossie Davis, & the Answer to Racism.
I want everyone to know what I'm so grateful I learned from Aesthetic Realism, that our hope to like reality — even under difficult circumstances — and to do all we honestly can to like reality, is our deepest desire and the most sensible way to take care of ourselves.
A Poem by Eli Siegel
A poem which I care for is "Somewhere Along the Line," by Eli Siegel, from his series of "Hope Poems." In it, the world as known and unknown, logical and confusing, is given musical form that is graceful and matter-of-fact, true and comforting at once.
Somewhere Along the Line
by Eli Siegel
As we look in any direction,
We don't know, but there may be some good thing
Somewhere along the line.
And now I'd like to tell you about something truly hopeful — a "good thing"— that happened in South Carolina in these recent days.
Bishop Frederick C. James & Prosperity's
When I finally reached Bishop Frederick C. James (now 93) in Columbia, I was relieved to hear that he and his wife are faring well. Then I gingerly asked how his dear, unfinished Rosenwald School building in Prosperity, SC had fared. Before I tell his answer, I'll first give some history.
This school was one of 5,000 built in the South in the 1920s-30s to provide quality education to black children which the racist Jim Crow laws deprived them of. These schools were the vision of
Jewish businessman Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932), encouraged by educator and former slave Booker T. Washington, and built to improve the lives of black Americans, and would educate hundreds of thousands of children.
Julius Rosenwald (left) and Booker T. Washington (right)
Frederick James attended the Prosperity Rosenwald school from 1st to 10th grade (1927-37), and his treasured education led to a life as a distinguished theologian and advocate for education, human and civil rights for people of all faiths and ethnicities — in the US and beyond. He marched with Dr. King, opposed the racist apartheid system in South Africa — and attended the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as that country's first black president.
For 30 years he has dedicated himself to restoring and preserving the dilapidated building shown at the top of this page — originally one of the most beautiful of Rosenwald schools — so it may be a center of education, culture, and economic uplift for the entire community in the 21st century. (Photo of the partially restored building, above right, is by Jimmy Wayne.) The Alliance was proud to partner with the Bishop in his decades-long effort to raise funds by applying for a grant in his behalf, which would enable us to come to SC and produce our Clarendon County/ Answer to Racism event as a fundraiser for the school.
(story continues, top of column 2)
"The People of Clarendon County"—
A Play by Ossie Davis & the Answer to Racism!
presented in the nation's capital.
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