DEVOTED CRCDS FRIEND, JEAN BARTLETT, PASSES AWAY

Ms. Jean Bartlett, devoted friend of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School and wife of former CRCDS president Rev. Gene E. Bartlett, passed away suddenly on Friday, March 27th at the age of 97.

Jean was a presence at CRCDS for over 50 years, first arriving on the Hill with her late husband in 1960. In addition to the invaluable contributions she made to the CRCDS community and its students during her husband’s tenure, Jean was a faithful presence at all CRCDS gatherings, so much so that no gathering was complete unless Jean was there. Her life, grace and spirit are intertwined with the school and its long legacy and we continue to thank God for the gift of her life and friendship.

A memorial service for Jean will be held on April 18th at 10:00 a.m. at Lake Avenue Baptist Church, Rochester, New York.

Gifts in Jean’s memory may be made to the Bartlett Scholarship Fund at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School or the Refugee Outreach Program at Lake Avenue Baptist Church. To donate to the Bartlett Scholarship Fund, click here or contact Lisa Bors at 585-340-9647 or lbors@crcds.edu. To donate to the Refugee Outreach Program, contact the Outreach Coordinator at 585-458-5765, ext. 304.

Please join us in our prayers for the Bartlett family and in our prayers of thanksgiving for the life of Jean Bartlett.

DR. MARVIN A. MCMICKLE'S Reflections on Fraternity Life in America and the incident in Oklahoma

Following is an essay by Dr. Marvin A. McMickle, President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, published on March 11th in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle's Unite Rochester blog.

I am a proud Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity which is one of the four major African American college fraternities in this country. The others are Alpha Phi Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, and Phi Beta Sigma. There are also four major black sororities; Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta (my wife’s sorority), Sigma Gamma Rho, and Zeta Phi Beta. All of these organizations of African American college educated men and women were formed between 1906 and 1925. Those were the years that the historian Rayford Logan referred to as “the nadir” or the darkest and most dangerous years to be Black in America. Those were the years when lynch-mob justice against black men and women was a common occurrence. The singer Billie Holiday referred to lynchings in her famous song Strange Fruit where she talked about black bodies hanging from trees. The link between black Greek letter organizations and the cruelty of lynch mob justice came rushing to my mind when I heard the chant being invoked by members of a white fraternity at the University of Oklahoma. They seemed to rejoice over the fact that there would never be a n…….in their fraternity. They went on to sing, “You can hang them from a tree, but they’ll never sign with me. There will never be a n………in SAE.” In point of fact, the primary reason for the existence of my fraternity that was founded in 1911 on the campus of the University of Indiana is that some whites on that campus had the same sentiment if not the same song. African Americans were not allowed to pledge or join any of the white fraternities or sororities on that campus. Alpha Phi Alpha was the first black fraternity to be founded in 1906 on the campus of Cornell University where the very same policy prevailed; whites only! The recent events at the University of Oklahoma are a reminder of how systemic and far reaching racism, segregation, and discrimination have been in this country. It has not been a story that was .limited to sharecroppers, domestic workers, and Pullman porters. The story reached to kill off the American Dream that lived within those men and women even if it was never to be true for them and for their generation. Surely, they thought, if they could work hard enough to get their children accepted to a first-rate college or university the cycle of racism could be broken. Then their children arrive on the campuses of America’s premier places of higher education only to find the “Whites Only” signs hanging on the doors and in the hearts of so many of their classmates, teachers, and administrators. Members of black fraternities and sororities exist today because of the policies that stand behind that chant from Oklahoma. We decided that since there would never be a n…….in their fraternities, we would form our own. We are proud members of our Greek letter organizations. Our friendships and networks last throughout our lives. We seek each other out when our jobs move us from one town to another. I will always boast and brag about Kappa Alpha Psi, and I will always celebrate the unique contributions that members of black Greek letter organizations have made to this country. To list the men and women who have belonged to these fraternities and sororities would be to list a Who’s Who of many of the leading figures in African American history.

To view or comment on this essay online, please click here:
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/unite/2015/03/12/some-reflections-on-fraternity-life-in-america/70209956/

Dr. Gail Ricciuti on Sabbatical

RICCIUTI-150x150Dr. Gail Ricciuti, Associate Professor of Homiletics, is on sabbatical beginning with the Spring 2015 term. While away, she will be working on her book that looks at what preachers stand to learn about the creative/interpretive process from visual artists. Dr. Ricciuti has also been invited to write three articles for the forthcoming Common English Bible (CEB) Women’s Bible, to be published in 2016. On March 8th, she spoke to the Adult Forum of the Downtown United Presbyterian Church in Rochester NY on the topic "Co-Creators with God."

CRCDS Board of Trustees Chair Bishop Jack M. McKelvey and CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle on the decision not to indict in the death of Eric Garner

In the wake of the grand jury decision to not indict the police officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner in New York City, Chair of the CRCDS Board of Trustees Bishop Jack M. McKelvey and CRCDS President Dr. Marvin A. McMickle shared their thoughts with the Rochester, NY Democrat and Chronicle.

Bishop McKelvey’s letter to the editor is available online through the link provided below. For your convenience, the actual text is provided as well.

Dr. McMickle’s editorial was taken from his most recent Unite Rochester blog posting. The link to Dr. McMickle’s piece is available below along with the complete text.
FROM BISHOP JACK M. MCKELVEY

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/letters/2014/12/06/letter-garner-case-shows-video-evidence-issue/19967697/
In the wake of the grand jury decision regarding the Eric Garner case in New York City, one could raise the question as to why we need expensive police cameras in order to get justice. What more do we need than a video of action taken by police, a medical examiner's report and the verbal sounds of the victim saying "I can't breathe" to have the situation taken before a jury of the perpetrators peers? Does it not seem obvious that the issue is not video evidence, but rather how we come to decisions which allow the courts of law to act and justice to be done?
JACK M. McKELVEY
ROCHESTER
The writer is a retired Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester.

FROM PRESIDENT MARVIN A. MCMICKLE
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/unite/2014/12/03/here-we-go-again/19862537/
Here We Go Again

In his book, The Souls of Black Folk, written in 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois said "The problem of the twentieth century will be the problem of the color line." As it happens, the problem of the color line has followed us into the 21st century with a pattern of white police officers using deadly force against unarmed black males in cities across the United States.
While the nation is still reeling from the decision in Ferguson, Missouri not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, we have now heard that another white police officer in New York City will not be indicted in the death of Eric Garner.
The New York City Medical Examiner did an autopsy on his body and concluded that his death was "a homicide" caused by the use of an illegal choke hold that was banned by the New York City Police Department in 1993! This death played out on national TV for all the world to see. Eric Garner was unarmed. Eric Garner was suspected of selling loose cigarettes. Six police officers were involved in his take-down, and all six police officers doubtlessly heard Eric Garner say 11 times "I can't breathe."
No doubt some people will blame Eric Garner for this death, because they will say he was resisting arrest. Others will say he was guilty of selling loose cigarettes and not paying taxes. All of these issues could have been resolved if there had been an indictment that would have been followed by a trial where guilt or innocence could have been determined. Instead, the pattern continues of the death of unarmed black males being killed as a result of excessive force being used by white police officers.
For many black people, the words of Du Bois still seem relevant: The American problem is the problem of the color line. In the same book, Du Bois talked about his own feeling of "double consciousness" in which he felt the conflicts and limitations of being "an American and a Negro." That is the feeling that is spreading across black communities in this country with this string of deaths that are not even resulting in an indictment, much less a conviction.

We are, as always, grateful for the efforts of Bishop McKelvey and Dr. McMickle to elevate and inform public discourse, particularly on such a vitally important justice issue.