GAINESVILLE, FL — Dr. Mrs. Gloria Irene Williams Norman Clark passed away peacefully at home on April 3, 2019. Gloria will be sadly missed by her husband, “Lean on Me” Eastside High School Principal, Dr. Joe Clark, her children, step-children, grandchildren, brothers, and countless relatives and friends.
Gloria was born on the 11th of September 1944 in North Carolina. She attended elementary, junior high and high school in Dunn, North Carolina, where she lived with her mother, brothers, cousins, grandparents, great aunts and uncles. Gloria was the only girl in her immediate family, so her uncles took her anywhere she needed to go. Her grandmother took her to church every Sunday.
Her grandmother was also a missionary, so she would take Gloria on her visits to the poor and shut-in, instilling in Gloria her life-long commitment to service. Gloria’s childhood summers were spent with extended family throughout the state.
Gloria enjoyed school. She graduated high school at 16 and worked at an elementary school as a teacher’s aide until she was 17, when she then spent a year of study at North Carolina Central College. That year, she met her first husband, Rufus Norman, Jr. and married and moved with him to Brooklyn, New York. Soon after they welcomed their first-born daughter, Cheryl.
An early Civil Rights volunteer and “Women’s “Libber,” Gloria continued working with children at Jamaica Daycare Center in Queens, New York where, together with her husband, they purchased her first house.
They had two more daughters, Victoria and Judith, before moving to New Jersey, where she would live most of her adult life.
While raising her three daughters, Gloria returned to college. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Montclair State College and was a member of Phi Delta Kappa. She next earned a Master of Art Degree from Jersey City State College, where she was initiated into Delta Pi Epsilon. Gloria taught in private schools and public schools, later serving as a high school administrator.
Gloria continued her education, earning enough graduate credits from summer courses at University of California-Davis to put her at Ph.D status.
During her tenure at Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, she met her second husband, Dr. Joe Clark. Both retired from their careers in education and relocated to Gainesville, Florida, a community she has proudly called home for the past twenty years.
Even in her retirement, Gloria remained active in the lives of her children and grandchildren and her Gainesville community. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, the Grand Female Protective Society Lodge # 1, and Greater Fort Clark Missionary Baptist Church.
Gloria brought her bright smile and keen humor, her most reliable sense of commitment, her lioness-like courage, her innovative creativity, and her unwavering perfectionism to all she did, as a home-maker, care-taker, garden-creator, community server, patron of the arts, mother-mentor, and compassionate friend.
Gloria was pre-deceased by her mother, Shirley Mae Gilmore and stepfather, Charlie Gilmore, Jr. and countless other relatives and friends who were instrumental to her life.
She is survived by her husband, Dr. Joe Clark; brothers, Willis McKoy and Johnnie (Mary) McKoy; daughters Cheryl E. Norman, Victoria D. Norman Brown, and Judith I. Norman; stepchildren Joetta (Ronald) Clark Diggs, Joe (Jearl) Clark Jr., Hazel (Shane) Clark Mac; and grandchildren Umar Alim, Carla, Jasmine, and Jason Lee, Satchel and Cole Brown, Joe Clark, III, Jonetta Diggs, and Hazel Mac. All who knew her were loved and prayed for by her and will miss her. Gloria passed happily at home on April 3, 2019.
A celebration of Gloria’s life will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019 beginning with a wake at 10:30 a.m. and funeral services at 12 noon at Williams Thomas Funeral Home, 823 NW 143rd Street, Newberry, Fl 32669. Those who so desire may make donations in memory of Gloria to Female Protective Lodge #1 or Greater Fort Clarke Missionary Baptist Church. Visit the Gloria Clark tribute page at https://www.williamsthomasfuneralhome.com/m/obituaries/Gloria-Clark-8/Memories.
IN MEMORIAM: Cheryl Hickmon: National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dies
NNPA NEWSWIRE — THE BURTON WIRE — Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s death which reads as follows, in part: “It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.
By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor
The nation is mourning the passing of Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority. Hickmon was elected president of the organization dedicated to sisterhood, scholarship and service November 21, 2021 at the 55th national convention held in Atlanta, GA.
Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s death which reads as follows:
“It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.
President Hickmon was a devoted member of Delta Sigma Theta since 1982 and served in various capacities at the chapter, region, and national level before being elected National President. She is remembered not only for her role as a leader but for being a colleague, friend, and most of all, sister.
The entire sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated mourns the loss of President Hickmon. During this difficult time, we ask that you respect her family’s privacy and keep them in your prayers.”
Hickmon’s bio reads, “Cheryl lives her life by the motto … ‘Don’t measure life by the number of breaths you take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.’” She was 60.
Parents Raise the Alarm About Violence in Schools, Say Their Votes Depends on Improvement
NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
A new poll revealed that parents continue to express “legitimate concerns” about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources.
Alarmingly, the poll released by the National Parents Union found that 59 percent of parents are very or extremely concerned about how schools are teaching race and diversity.
“Many Black parents are worried that schools are being harsher on students of color compared to white students,” researchers noted in the poll.
The National Parents Union counts as a network of parent organizations and grassroots activists committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the United States.
Conducted from November 19 to November 23, the survey included 1,233 parents who also count as registered voters.
Researchers found that 84 percent of parents are concerned about how schools address the threat of violence, and 59 percent identified increased bullying or violence in school as a significant issue.
About 52 percent said student mental health after coping with the pandemic is a significant issue, as well.
“Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.
“Now, it is incumbent on schools to do something about these issues, especially given the federal funds available. It’s not rocket science. Rather than repaint a football field, first, make sure that there are enough counselors to help students cope with mental health issues,” Rodrigues asserted.
The poll also asked the parents who responded that they were concerned about the threat of violence, which worries them the most.
The top three most pressing concerns remain:
- 44 percent: schools not having enough counselors, psychologists, or social workers to work with students
- 42 percent: schools not having resources to keep weapons out of schools
- 39 percent: schools not having school resource officers or police accessible on campus
- 59 percent of parents are extremely or very concerned about how schools are teaching about race and diversity; Among Black parents, 69 percent share this sentiment, which drops slightly to 67 percent among Hispanic parents.
Of the overall number of parents who are at least somewhat concerned (79 percent):
- 48 percent say what concerns them the most is schools are not teaching accurate information about the issue of race.
- 42 percent are most concerned about schools pushing a progressive agenda onto students
- 56 percent of GOP parents who are concerned say this is their top concern
- 32 percent are most concerned that schools aren’t focused on the issue enough
- 46 percent of Black parents who are concerned say this is their top concern
- 78 percent of parents are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues
- Nearly half (46 percent) of Black parents who said they are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues are worried that schools are harsher on students of color compared to white students
- 38 percent of parents trust Democrats to do a better job of handling education; 31 percent trust Republicans; 14 percent trust both equally; 11 percent trust neither
Among parents who identify as Independents, 28 percent trust Republicans and 20 percent trust Democrats.
“These findings underscore the importance of the very thing we have been imploring school leaders across the country to do – listen to the parents in your community,” Rodrigues stated.
“It also reinforces the need for those running for office to take the concerns of parents very seriously or risk losing elections.”
COMMENTARY: Telling Our Family Stories Keeps Black History Alive
We grew up hearing family stories about life in the Carolinas from our parents and grandparents. My sister, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, has written her first children’s book, Rex and the Band, inspired by one of our favorite stories our grandma used to tell about my dad, Dr. Rex Fortune, who is now a retired public school superintendent.
Let’s Talk Black Education
By Dr. Margaret Fortune, President/CEO Fortune School
When we were kids, my dad would take us to football games at the University of Southern California (USC). I didn’t care much for football, but I loved it when we’d stay after the game to hear the USC marching band play. His love for marching bands is why we have a drumline at the public charter school I founded and named after my parents — Rex and Margaret Fortune Early College High School.
We grew up hearing family stories about life in the Carolinas from our parents and grandparents. My sister, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, has written her first children’s book, Rex and the Band, inspired by one of ourfavorite stories our grandma used to tell about my dad, Dr. Rex Fortune, who is now a retired public school superintendent.
As the story goes, one day back in 1947, my grandma sent little Rex to the corner store to get some eggs so she could bake a cake. My dad bought the eggs and put them in his pockets. On the walk home, he encountered a marching band high-steppin’ down the dusty road to his mother’s house. Little Rex got so excited that he followed the band, beating on his legs like drums all the way home and, yes, breaking all the eggs.
“Rex and the Band” explores a day in the life of Rex, a spirited young boy who dreams of one day playing in a high-energy marching band like the ones he enjoys watching with his father during North Carolina A&T football games.
Reading my sister’s beautifully illustrated book, I cried tears of joy. Telling our family stories is such an important way for African Americans to keep our history alive. Griots, or storytellers, are the reason why we know the truths that we do know about our family history and ancestors.
I believe all of us can think back to when our grandparents would tell us stories about our ancestors who may have passed on before we were born. It was their way of making sure our stories were not only told but preserved.
The Black press has been the clearinghouse for many stories that have impacted the Black community over time. My sister published her first poem in Ebony Jr. as an elementary school student and then in high school she interned at the Sacramento Observer newspaper.
Gwen founded Cocoa Kids Books to publish books like “Rex and the Band” that encourage Black children to dream, aspire for more, and soar because they see themselves reflected in stories that are engaging, authentic, uplifting, and inspiring. I’m so proud of my big sis! You can buy Gwen’s book at https://store.bookbaby.com/book/rex-and-the-band.
Dr. Margaret Fortune is the president/CEO of Fortune School, a system of nine, K-12 public charter schools with over 2,300 students focused on closing the Black achievement gap by preparing students for college.
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