Connect with us

Commentary

COMMENTARY: In Memoriam of My Favorite Person In the World

THE AFRO — Beatrice Portia Robinson Yoes was born April 23, 1917 in Chester, Maryland on the Eastern Shore. She came to Baltimore when she was a little girl with her mother Ada and her sister Elizabeth. Let me give you a sense of how long she lived and what she witnessed in the history of this country. In 1934, when she was 17 President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his official capacity as President of the United States, honored the last living Confederate veterans of the Civil War.

Published

on

By Sean Yoes

Last week in this column I wrote, “An Open Love Letter to Black Women.” The woman who filled my heart with more love than any other person on earth, my Beloved Grandmother Beatrice Yoes, transitioned back home to our Heavenly Father, March 31.

Indeed it was a life well lived (there are hundreds in this city that loved her immensely); in a few weeks she would have been 102 years old and simply stated, she was everything to me.

Beatrice Portia Robinson Yoes was born April 23, 1917 in Chester, Maryland on the Eastern Shore. She came to Baltimore when she was a little girl with her mother Ada and her sister Elizabeth.

Let me give you a sense of how long she lived and what she witnessed in the history of this country. In 1934, when she was 17 President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his official capacity as President of the United States, honored the last living Confederate veterans of the Civil War.

She lived through the end of World War I and all of America’s wars that followed. She lived through the Great Depression and Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement and the Baltimore Riots of 1968 and the Baltimore Uprising of 2015.

She worked for Baltimore City Public Schools for 40 years. She was a faithful servant of her church Ames Memorial United Methodist Church, on the corner of Baker and Carey in West Baltimore for at least 80 years.

And for exactly 53 years and eight months she poured her love into me unconditionally.

She introduced me to comic books when I was a little boy; every weekend I came to her house, she had the latest adventures of Spiderman, Daredevil, Captain America, Luke Cage Hero for Hire, The Avengers, The Black Panther (Marvel Jungle Action) and the rest of the Marvel Universe, waiting for me to devour. Those stories of superhuman adventurers fired my imagination and ignited my desire to be a storyteller. She sent me to the world-famous Peabody Conservatory of Music, which fueled my outsized love of and eclectic appreciation of music. Concurrently, she bought me an electric guitar, which I taught myself to play.

We loved to travel together; she would take me with her to the Methodist Convocation every year in the Pocono Mountains. We took the train from Baltimore to Orlando, Florida and Disney World in the early 1970s. I recently wrote the following about our favorite mode of travel, the train:

The Gateway

When I was a little boy, my Beloved Grandmother would take me with her almost every time she hit the road; traveling with her is one of my favorite memories of my time with my favorite person in the world. And our favorite mode of travel was the train. That’s why to this day when I pass Penn Station in Baltimore, one of America’s original grand old train stations, I often wax nostalgic. Historically, it was Baltimore’s gateway to the rest of the country. Today, I still prefer to travel to New York by train from Penn Station, which I’ve done dozens, maybe hundreds of times over the years. And it never gets old for me. Ultimately, for me Penn Station represents freedom and the promise of adventure. And it conjures beautiful memories of a simpler time and the love of my favorite person in the world.

Up until she was about 99, my Grandmother left the house just about everyday to join her friends at a couple of senior centers around the city. But, during the last couple of years, the Old Girl was finally getting tired and slowing down. I said to her last year that I wanted her to stick around because I had some things I wanted to show her. Thankfully, I was able to publish my book, which I dedicated to her and my mother. She seemed genuinely delighted.

But, ultimately it is an exercise in futility to try to fully capture what this woman meant to me; I cannot.

At the end of the day unconditional love is God’s greatest gift to us. The Creator offers it freely, but we often find ways to obscure it.

When I got here July 1, 1965 God had in place an earthly vessel for the transmission of his unconditional love from Him to me, through her.

I rejoice for her life, I’m encouraged by her spirit as she takes her rest from this earth.

Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and is the author of ‘Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.’

This article originally appeared in The Afro

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Black History

Ambassador Ruth A. Davis Pioneered Diversity in Foreign Service

UC Berkeley Grad Continues to Bring International Economic Empowerment for Women

Published

on

Ambassador Ruth A. Davis (left) is meeting with Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Ambassador Ruth A. Davis was recently named as a distinguished alumna by the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. 

She also has been honored by the U.S. State Department when a conference room at the Foreign Service Institute in Virginia was named in honor of her service as director of the Institute. She was the first African American to serve in that position.

Davis, a graduate of Spelman College received a master’s degree from UC Berkeley in 1968.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, also a graduate of the School of Social Welfare, now chairs the House Appropriations Committee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. She praised Ambassador Davis as “a trailblazing leader and one of the great American diplomats of our time. Over her 40-year career, she had so many ‘firsts’ on her resume: the first Black director of the Foreign Service Institute, the first Black woman Director General of the Foreign Service, and the first Black woman to be named a Career Ambassador, to name just a few.

“She served all over the world, from Kinshasa to Tokyo to Barcelona, where she was consul general, and to Benin, where she served as ambassador,” Lee continued. “ I am so proud of her many accomplishments. She has represented the best of America around the world, and our world is a better place because of her service.”

During Davis’ 40-year career in the Foreign Service, she also served as chief of staff in the Africa Bureau, and as distinguished advisor for international affairs at Howard University. She retired in 2009 as a Career Ambassador, the highest-level rank in Foreign Service.

Since her retirement, Ambassador Davis has served as the chair (and a founding member) of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC), an organization devoted to promoting women’s economic empowerment by creating an international network of businesswomen.

She also chairs the selection committee for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship at Howard University’s Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center, where she helps to oversee the annual selection process. Finally, as vice president of the Association of Black American Ambassadors, she participates in activities involving the recruitment, preparation, hiring, retention, mentoring and promotion of minority Foreign Service employees.

Gay Plair Cobb, former Regional Administrator of the Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor in the Atlanta, and San Francisco offices, was Ambassador Davis’ roommate at UC Berkeley. Cobb said, “Ruth always exhibited outstanding leadership and a determined commitment to fairness, equal opportunity and activism, which we engaged in on a regular basis.”

Davis has received the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award, Arnold L. Raphel Memorial Award and Equal Employment Opportunity Award; the Secretary of State’s Achievement Award (including from Gen. Colin Powell); the Director General’s Foreign Service Cup; two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards; and Honorary Doctor of Laws from Middlebury and Spelman Colleges.

A native of Atlanta, Davis was recently named to the Economist’s 2015 Global Diversity List as one of the Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life and is the recipient of the American Foreign Service Association’s Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award.

 

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

Continue Reading

Business

City Must Pay Contractors, Businesses, Non-Profits Promptly

By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

Published

on

Sheng Thao

I have introduced legislation to restore the City of Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance and it will be heard at 1:30 p.m. by the City Council on October 19 because local contractors and local businesses need to be compensated in a timely manner for work they do on behalf of the City.

It’s unacceptable that the city is using the COVID-19 pandemic to delay payment to these local non-profit organizations.  By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, then-Interim City Administrator, Steven Falk issued an Emergency Order suspending parts of the City’s codes to give the City the flexibility to navigate the uncertain times.  Few would have guessed then that the world would still be navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic nearly 18 months later. One of the ordinances suspended by the Emergency Order was the Prompt Payment Ordinance.

Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance requires the City to compensate local businesses and contractors executing City grants or contracts within 20 days of receiving an invoice.  This allows local organizations providing services on behalf of the City of Oakland to be compensated in a timely manner and builds trust between these organizations and the city.  Local contractors and businesses provide a diverse set of services to the City, covering areas ranging from trash removal and paving to public safety.

Almost 18 months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance is still suspended.  Even as City staff have adjusted to working remotely and the City has adjusted to operating during the pandemic, there is no requirement that the City compensate its contractors or local businesses in a timely manner.

Oaklanders can comment at the meeting by joining the Zoom meeting via this link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88527652491 or calling 1-669-900-6833 and using the Meeting ID 885 2765 2491 and raising their hand during the public comment period at the beginning of the Council meeting.

 

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

Continue Reading

Commentary

ILWU Profile: Marcus McDade, Working on Oakland’s Waterfront

Oakland’s longshore and dock workers are the frontline essential workers for economic pandemic relief and supply-chain restoration.

Published

on

ILWU member Marcus McDade

“I was born and grew up in North Oakland and attended Washington Elementary and Claremont Jr. High School, then Oakland Tech and graduated from Berkley High. I work for ILWU, Local 10 and have been a longshoreman for 22 years.  

“Before becoming a longshoreman, I worked small, part-time jobs including as a coach for after-school youth program football, basketball and baseball for Oakland Parks and Recreation. 

“A buddy called me one morning and said that the longshoremen were hiring and to get down to Jack London Square, fill out a postcard and send it in before 5 p.m. At the time, I wasn’t sure exactly what a longshoreman did, but I knew it was a good-paying job with benefits. 

“When I arrived at Jack London, there was a line wrapped around the corner. My buddy kept saying it was a good job, so I put in for it.  It was 1999, and my name was picked from the lottery. The rest is history. 

“This is a great job. It takes care of my family, my kids and me. I started off as a dock man, unidentified with no benefits, then identified and went straight to B-man and then A-man where I still am today.” 

“I like the fact that you can start at the bottom (unidentified) and be promoted to the top as A-Man. I’ve completed numerous skill trainings that allow me to work various waterfront jobs for good pay, including but not limited to operating top picks, calamars, cranes, and transtainers. 

“Not only are the pay and benefits great, I also love the flexibility. I pick up my jobs from the Hall and if a job is available and in alignment with my number, I can choose it because I’m trained in so many skilled jobs on the waterfront.

“Currently, I have a nephew who works on the Oakland waterfront.  I’m proud I was able to help my nephew have an opportunity as a longshoreman. He is a B-man and loves his job. Working on the waterfront as a longshoreman can involve strenuous physical labor, so it is not for everyone.

“Howard Terminal is on designated port land, and it provides more work for our industry and helps the whole port run more efficiently while keeping idling and parked cargo trucks off West Oakland streets. 

“The Oakland A’s should not have a ballpark there. The A’s move to Howard Terminal with thousands of fans will affect the future of the longshore workers, truckers, residents, and businesses. It’ll be far too congested down here and unsafe for the thousands of fans and residents who would be crossing rail lines and 24/7 cargo truck traffic.

“Make no mistake: I want the A’s to stay in Oakland. I’m a huge fan. I grew up in Oakland and in the same neighborhood as Ricky Henderson and his family. However, it would be best if the A’s found a way to continue playing at the Coliseum. 

“Longshoremen are essential American workers that keep America supplied with goods.”

 

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending