Dr. Jamye Coleman Williams:
A Passion for Education and Justice

By Alice Bernstein in The Tennessee Tribune
In Boston with Drs. Williams and interview/video team of Alliance of Ethics & Art:  
l-r; Dr. McDonald Williams, Allan Michael, Rachel Bernstein, Alice Bernstein, David Bernstein and Dr. Jamye Williams   Photo by Donna Williams
Dr. Jamye Coleman Williams, educator, activist, and leader in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, is a vibrant, contemporary woman who has fought for equality in education and civil rights 1) as an educator for over 48 years in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); 2) as a civil rights activist in the 1950s-60s; and 3) in the AME Church.
        Writing about Jamye Williams’ life and work, I’ve thought often about this principle, central in Aesthetic Realism, “All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.” I respect the way she is trying to put together the opposites of erudition and passion, bravery and caution, courage and sympathy.

              Dr. Jamye C Williams Harvard Award Presentation
       In her address at Harvard, she expressed pride in having taught the humanities to thousands of students at five Historically Black Colleges and Universities, four of which are AME colleges and being part of their educational experience. She urged the students present, so fortunate in their access to knowledge, to “combat the obstacles to parity in education for African Americans.” When Jamye Williams says “Thank God for the black college,” it is a statement that takes in her whole life, and it is meant!
Read the complete article as published in the Tennessee Tribune.
Eli Siegel's Poem about Martin Luther King Has What
Bob Zellner—& America—Are Hoping For

        Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Eli Siegel
As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King and his courageous opposition to racism and economic injustice, I want people to know a great poem by Eli Siegel, founder of Aesthetic Realism: "Something Else Should Die." It was written on April 4, 1968, a few hours after the news broke that Dr. King had been assassinated, and I believe it expresses what America, and every person in our troubled world, is hoping for:

 Something Else Should Die:
 A Poem with Rhymes

  In April 1865
  Abraham Lincoln died.
  In April 1968
  Martin Luther King died.
  Their purpose was to have us say, some day:
  Injustice died.
The stark facts, stated simply and carefully, make for large emotion. Two men of different races, living in different centuries, are shown to be akin, united in opposition to injustice. And the music of this poem has us feel both men are alive, warm, near. (See link below for Eli Siegel's comment to his poem and the poem itself.)
Abraham Lincoln, as Dr. King himself recognized, wanted the murderous injustice of slavery to end. He considered The Emancipation Proclamation, written in his own handwriting, "the central act of my administration and the great event of the 19th century."
      Martin Luther King is loved for his bravery, sincerity, and enormous energy in fighting for the social and economic rights of people of all races, and against America's vicious, unjust war in Vietnam, saying:
"This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, . . . cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues. . . to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
      He led the Poor People's Campaign to end poverty, and was killed in Memphis after speaking in behalf of the livelihood and dignity of striking sanitation workers.
      What would it mean for injustice to die? I think it would mean every person--world leaders and private citizens--honestly answering this question Mr. Siegel asked, "What does a person deserve by being a person?"--and wanting to be a means of every person getting what he or she deserves. Along with good food, a home, education, and a job that is useful and paid fairly, I believe every person deserves to be seen fairly, ethically, as having feelings as deep and as real as
our own.

     All of us at the Alliance are proud to be a means of preserving history, some of which might never have become known, and of encouraging people everywhere to study Aesthetic Realism's scientific, kind, urgent explanation of the cause and answer to racism. To learn more about our work, visit the links on this page.
                With best regards,
                Alice Bernstein, Director