Philando Castile’s Legacy Of Helping His Students Pay For Lunch Lives On

Monique Judge, The Root

Philando Castile was known as a caring man at the St. Paul, Minn., school where he worked as a cafeteria supervisor. He cared so much for the children he served that he often paid for their lunches out of his own pocket when they were unable to, and now, thanks to a local college professor, that generosity will continue through a fund that has been created in Castile’s name.


“No child goes hungry so we ensure that every student has breakfast and also lunch whether they can pay or not,” Stacy Koppen, Nutritional Services Director for St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS), told WCCO. “Lunches just for one elementary student are about $400 a year.”

Before Castile was killed last summer by former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop, he was always ready to help the students who were in need, Koppen told WCCO.

“When a student couldn’t pay for their lunch, a lot of times (Castile) actually paid for their lunch out of his own pocket,” Koppen said.

Inver Hills Community College professor Pam Fergus wants Castile’s generosity and caring for the students to continue.

She told WCCO, “His death changed who I am.”

Fergus normally assigns a service project to the students in her Diversity and Ethics class, but this time she came up with one of her own: Philando Feeds The Children.

The money raised through the fundraiser will be used to help clear lunch debts at J.J. Hill.

As of Thursday night, more than $7,000 had been raised, and Castile’s mother, Valerie, told WCCO and Fergus that she plans to match the full amount raised with her own donation.

Read the full article here.

Read about the importance of reconciliation here.

Read more Breaking News here.

How Does a City Choose to Remember its Past?

Griots: Maria Cunningham and Jordan Davis

Many are unfamiliar with the 1854 abolitionist rescue of Joshua Glover, an African American who escaped slavery and found sanctuary in Wisconsin. On March 11, 1854, Joshua Glover was broken out of Milwaukee’s jail by a large crowd in resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Far fewer know about the horrific racial lynching of George Marshall Clark, a free black man, that happened only seven years later in Milwaukee. On September 8th, 1861, Marshall Clark was lynched by an angry white crowd in the Milwaukee’s Third Ward–after being broken out of the same jail that Joshua Glover was freed from. What was their story, and how have we remembered these two men?

An April 24, 1851 poster warning the “colored people of Boston” about policemen acting as slave catchers.

The Capture and Rescue of Joshua Glover

In 1854, Milwaukee abolitionists defied the law to rescue Joshua Glover. Glover, a former enslaved African American from Missouri, found sanctuary in the State of Wisconsin in 1852, less than ten years before the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War.

From 1830 and 1860, at least 1,000 African Americans would escape southern slavery per year, risking their lives and often leaving loved ones and families. Documenting the narratives of the Underground Railroad, however, is extremely difficult for historians. Due in part to the secrecy of the practice, a limited material record was left by abolitionists and formerly enslaved African Americans able to reach freedom. The rescue of Joshua Glover, however, drew the City of Milwaukee into a national debate over slavery, race, and the rights of African Americans both enslaved and free.

Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, which gave slaveholders a legal right to capture runaway African Americans residing in the North and return them south of the Mason-Dixon line–a law compelling every citizen to aid in their arrest. When Bennami Garland of St. Louis (Glover’s alleged owner) made his case in February, 1854,  he received a court order and a warrant for Glover’s arrest. After learning about Glover’s residence in nearby Racine, Wisconsin, Glover was apprehended and brought to the Milwaukee courthouse and jail originally located at the present-day site of Cathedral Square Park.

Rescue and Freedom

The old Milwaukee County Jail and Courthouse
Historic Photo Collection / Milwaukee Public Library

Gathering at the footsteps of the courthouse, Wisconsin abolitionists and other opponents to the Fugitive Slave Act actively resisted a federal law which they considered to be unconstitutional. While the primary avenue for challenging Glover’s arrest and the Fugitive Slave Act was undertaken by lawyers and judges, the several thousand gathered outside the Milwaukee courthouse and jail would mount a different kind of resistance to Glover’s plight.

On the eve of March 11th, 1854, a crowd of close to 5000 would break into Milwaukee’s jail, rescue the captured Glover, and help him escape to Canada through the Underground Railroad. And while Sherman Booth (Milwaukee’s most prominent abolitionist) would be brought to court for his participation in Glover’s rescue, Glover’s story set in motion a profound change in the political landscape: in 1855, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court became the first and only high legal body to declare the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 unconstitutional–a ruling later overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet what occurred in Wisconsin in 1854 was not entirely unique. Black and white northerners across the nation defied the Fugitive Slave Act in myriad ways, and often at considerable risk and without the support the majority of the populace. Joshua Glover would spend the next 34 years in Canada and freedom until his death in 1888.

The Capture and Murder of Marshall Clark

The lynching of George Marshall Clark (his full name) was one of sixteen lynchings in Wisconsin history. Clark was the only African American to have been lynched in the state and the only lynching to happen in the city of Milwaukee. George Marshall Clark, who went by Marshall Clark, was 22 years old and an apprentice barber under his father George H. Clark. His father was a leading figure in the black community and was described as a “very respectable man.”

1860 census showing James Shelton and Marshall Clark (


The trouble began the evening of Friday, September 6th, 1861 Marshall Clark and his friend James Shelton were walking in downtown Milwaukee escorting two white women. Shelton, 28, was a waiter at a nearby ice cream establishment. He was described as a man with “a quiet, orderly disposition” who “hardly ever drinks anything.” Clark and Shelton lived together near 5th and State.

Two Irishmen, Dabney Carney and John Brady, seeing the young men with the women made a remark about white women with “damned niggers” to which the men took offense. A fight began between the four men ending when Shelton pulled a knife and stabbed Carney in the abdomen and slashed Brady. Clark and Shelton ran but were later captured and placed in the county jail. Dabney Carney died from his wounds on Saturday evening. Before Carney died, he identified Shelton as the man who had stabbed him.

Capture and Murder

News about Carney’s death spread fast and the city’s Irish population set out for revenge. A fire alarm sounded as a signal and within an hour, a mob had gathered and headed for the jail.

Police Chief William Beck and two other patrolmen tried to disperse the crowd but were unsuccessful. The Chief was received a blow to the head which knocked him unconscious. Seeing what happened to the Chief, the jailer, William Kendrick, locked the main door to the cells. The mob grabbed some heavy timber and after eighteen barges, was able to break down the iron door.

Illustration of the event published in the April 3rd, 1893 edition of the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel

Clark and Shelton were housed at the back of the jail in a room next to two adjoining cells. When Shelton heard the crowd coming, he slipped into one of the adjoining cells, closed the door, and hid leaving Clark alone with the crowd. The violent crowd beat and dragged Clark out of the cell and into the street.

The mob dragged Clark down toward Engine Company No. 9 near the Milwaukee River pausing once under a gas light to make sure they had the right person. Despite Clark’s pleas that he was not Shelton and had nothing to do with the murder, the mob convinced they had the right man, dragged the victim into the firehouse where they conducted a “fair and lawful trial”. Shortly after, the mob re-emerged from the firehouse with Clark, who had a rope around his neck. When the crowd reached Buffalo St., they found a pile driver that would suit their needs. The end of the rope was secured to the top and at 2:30 A.M. Marshall Clark was shoved off the ladder and left to swing. His body was not removed for another two hours.

Despite Milwaukee being an abolitionist stronghold, during the early 1800s, the black community experienced an ever growing hostility from the city’s ethnic groups, particularly the Irish.   One year earlier, on exactly the same date and time that Clark was lynched, Milwaukee’s Irish community lost a large portion of their community in one of the worst marine wrecks to occur in the Great Lakes. The Lady Elgin, a steamer ship on its way back from a Democratic rally in Chicago, was hit by the schooner Augusta of Oswego and sank off the coast of Hubbard Woods. Over 300 passengers lost their lives and many bodies were never recovered. The majority of the ship’s passengers were members or family members of the  Irish Union Guard of Milwaukee’s Third Ward. The Irish population felt this loss acutely as many of its most prominent citizens were gone all at once. The death of Dabney Carney was the spark that inflamed the already agitated community.


James Shelton, who had escaped the jail and fled the city, was captured in Waukesha and rearrested the following Tuesday. He was returned to Milwaukee for trial. Shelton’s trial lasted nine days and the jury returned a verdict of not-guilty claiming Shelton had acted in self-defense. After the trail, Shelton was snuck out of town and established residence in Chicago.

The State of Wisconsin charged six men with the lynching of Marshall Clark. They were John McCormick, Patt McLaughlin, Dennis Delury, John Devine, James O’Brien, and a man named Nichols. When the trial began on November 14, 1861, Nichols had fled the city. After three days of testimony, the case was turned over to the jurors. After two and a half days of deliberation, they were unable to reach a final verdict. The trial for the only lynching in Milwaukee history resulted in a “hung jury”.

A Community Remembers?

The Joshua Glover historical marker at Cathedral Square Park.

In 2001, the Wisconsin Historical Society installed a historical marker commemorating the rescue of Joshua Glover in Cathedral Square Park. In 2005, a mural of Glover’s rescue and escape was installed downtown on Fond Du Lac Avenue under the I-43 overpass, a former route of the Underground Railroad. Both the rescue of Joshua Glover and the racial lynching of Marshall Clark had a dramatic impact on the city and Milwaukee’s emerging African American community—yet only one is commemorated. How does a society select what events are commemorated? Should we only remember stories that support our sense of interracial cooperation or progressive values, or should we also commemorate the horrific events of racial trauma that complicate our uplifting stories of the past? As a city, we have chosen to remember Joshua Glover. Should we remember Clark?



Jordan Davis serves as the Public Programming Administrative Assistant for America’s Black Holocaust Museum. Mr. Davis is a Distinguished Graduate Student Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Master of Sustainable Peacebuilding program. His research interests center on public and local history, heritage resource management, and the museology of Africa and the African Diaspora.

Maria Cunningham is an active volunteer with America’s Black Holocaust Museum as serves as Vice-President of the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation. Ms. Cunningham works as a Rare Books Librarian, and led the project to digitize the self-published pamphlets of Dr. James Cameron. She also created and manages a traveling exhibit about Dr. Cameron’s life and writings for the museum.

Sources 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

Baker, H. Robert. The Rescue of Joshua Glover: A Fugitive Slave, the Constitution, and the Coming of the Civil War. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006.

Foner, Eric. “What the Fugitive Slave Act Teaches Us About How States Can Resist Oppressive Federal Power.” The Nation, February 8, 2017. Retrieved from:

Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad. New
York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2016.

Kammen, Carol. On Doing Local History, Third Edition, Pages 50-55. Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, 2014.

“Hung to a Pile Driver.” Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, 2 Apr. 1893, p. 24. Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers, Accessed 3 Jan. 2017.

National Park Service. “Joshua Glover Rescue Site.” NPS program Network to Freedom. Retrieved from:

Vollmar, William J. “The Negro in a Midwest Frontier City, Milwaukee: 1835-1870.” Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School, Marquette University, Pages 65 to 72. Accessed November 14, 2016, from




“Always In Season” Film on Lynching and Restoration to Screen in Milwaukee

A scene from the film showing the annual lynching re-enactment at Moore's Ford Bridge in Georgia.

For almost a century, tens of thousands of men, women, and children attended the lynchings of more than 4,000 African Americans that often included torture, mutilation and photography. This form of racial violence occurred in every state across the U.S. but four, and for reasons as arbitrary as sheer boredom. Lynchings were at times highly organized and akin to the sport of hunting, and blacks were “always in season.”

Independent filmmaker Jacqueline (Jackie) Olive produced and directed "Always in Season" as a part of her transmedia project about lynching – its healing and prevention.

Independent filmmaker Jacqueline (Jackie) Olive produced and directed “Always in Season” as a part of her transmedia project about lynching – its healing and prevention.

Always in Season is a film with Danny Glover by ABHM friend and colleague Jacqueline Olive (producer/director). It will be shown on PBS (public television) channels around the country in early 2017.

Always in Season will be the centerpiece of ABHM’s 2017 Founder’s Day Gathering for Racial Repair and Reconciliation on February 25, 2017. Director Jackie Olive and representatives of the communities featured in the film  will show the movie and answer audience questions in a talkback. Then they and local activists doing similar work will meet with participants in small breakout groups to dialogue about the issues raised by their healing community projects to commemorate lynchings. For more info about this event, contact

Why is it important to talk about lynching today?

Always in Season is a transmedia documentary project that ties the facts of lynching to the present with a feature film that encourages viewers to consider where their own family stories intersect with this difficult chapter in American history. With intimate stories of relatives of the perpetrators, victims, and others–along with the collection of photographs spectators took with the victims called Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in AmericaAlways in Season shows how lynching still impacts Americans and follows the efforts of descendants and others in four communities who are seeking justice and healing as they work to acknowledge the victims, repair the damage, and reconcile.

Descendants of lynching victims and perpetrators work together for repair and healing at the memorial in downtown Duluth MN. This plaza acknowledges the lynching of three young black men there.

Descendants of lynching victims and perpetrators work together for repair and healing at the memorial in downtown Duluth MN. This plaza acknowledges the lynching of three young black men there.

These stories demonstrate the impact of past and current racial terrorism on our country today.

Ever wonder about the choices you’d make if you lived during this time in history?

Always in Season Island uses an immersive, role-playing virtual world environment to give users an experiential look at the choices and circumstances that brought 10,000 men, women and children out in Marion, Indiana to watch the 1930 lynching of Abe Smith, Thomas Shipp, and the 16-year old who narrowly escaped, James Cameron. Not only will this interactive 3D environment give visitors insights into the multiple perspectives of many of the people involved in the events in Marion, but they can also learn how their actions can contribute to or prevent racism and violence in a safe, facilitated virtual world space. To learn more about Always in Season Island, click here.

To fund the completion of  this project or to find out more, click here.

To read more Breaking News, click here.

Bernice King’s Perception of Dr. King’s Vision of Peace for Our World

By Bernice A. King,

(. . .) He reminded us that “the choice today is no longer between violence and nonviolence; it is between nonviolence or nonexistence.” Therefore, we are celebrating the 2014 King Holiday Observance with the theme, Remember! Celebrate! Act! King’s Legacy of Peace for Our World. This theme also pays homage to the fact that, this year, we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of both my father receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, as well as the enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.images With the theme of peace in mind, we launched our five-year “Choose Nonviolence” campaign.

As part of the campaign, our goal is to expose, encourage, educate, engage and empower one million current, emerging and next-generation leaders to embrace Dr. King’s leadership philosophy. This will be done through social media, dialogues, summits, marketing campaigns and a global leadership initiative. images-1On the national holiday today, The King Center is calling for a moratorium on violence. Specifically, we are asking that there be no shots fired — no shooting off at the mouth with our tongue, no shooting off physically with our fists and no shooting off of any type of gun! Just for one day — on the King Holiday — in recognition of my father, and as TIME magazine has said, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, let us honor the memory of one of the world’s most highly regarded nonviolent proponents of peace on his holiday, with no shots fired. Instead, we ask that people engage in something positive and uplifting in service to humanity. (. . .)


Bernice King

Choosing nonviolence does not mean that one will never get angry or become upset with others, including the ones we love. One day my dad and brothers were riding their bicycles, and I decided to follow them into the street on my tricycle. My father was very upset, but he remained disciplined and didn’t let his emotions take him too far, which is an important part of embracing nonviolence.

I shared this story about my father to remind us that as human beings we will fall short from time to time. We will get angry, feel hurt, or say something we wish we hadn’t. It’s okay.The important thing to remember is that we must remain disciplined in how far we take that anger or hurt, and that it is presented in an appropriate and nonviolent manner.

Read the full article.

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Sanford decision to move Trayvon Martin memorial causes uproar in black community

From the

Trayvon Martin memorial

Trayvon Martin memorial

The decision to move a memorial to slain Miami teen Trayvon Martin was accompanied by a brief statement emailed to the media Monday.

“In an effort to protect and preserve the remaining Trayvon Martin curbside memorial items, and after communicating with representatives of Trayvon Martin’s family,” the statement read, “Sanford City Manager, Norton Bonaparte announced that the curbside memorial site items placed outside the entrance of the Retreat at Twin Lakes Subdivision in Sanford have been taken to the Sanford Museum as of 2:30 pm today by city staff. All the items retrieved have been carefully handled and inventoried.”

However, representatives for Martin’s family, and leaders of Sanford’s African-American community, say key parts of that statement are not true.

Natalie Jackson, an attorney for Martin’s parents, say the family was not consulted. And Francis Oliver, who runs the black history museum in Sanford’s Goldsboro neighborhood, says the city initially asked to move the memorial there — even though Martin was killed in a mixed-race neighborhood in the city, across from an elementary school.

According to Oliver, the Retreat at Twin Lakes homeowner’s association had been pushing to have the makeshift memorial, comprised of a cross, surrounded by cards, stuffed animals and flowers moved, almost from the moment she and other members of Sanford’s black community began to erect it. “They have been calling the city, they have been calling lawyers and different people,” Oliver told TheGrio.

Read more of the story here.

AIDS Quilt Returns to Washington


AIDS quilt

AIDS quilt

The AIDS Memorial Quilt has returned to Washington, D.C., for the first time in 16 years, marking the 25th anniversary of The NAMES Project and thirty years in the struggle to stop the spread of HIV and AIDSaround the world.

Every morning volunteers take on the laborious process of unfolding the panels of the quilt on the National Mall and then packing them up in the evening, a process that can only be described as a labor of love.

The quilt has over 94,000 names of AIDS sufferers on it and has been seen by over 18 million people worldwide.  Through tours and special events, the quilt has raised over $4 million for direct services for people living with AIDS.

For the quilt’s creators, this patch of green lawn in the heart of the nation’s capital holds special significance — the quilt was first displayed there in October of 1987 during the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, a time when many felt the federal government was turning its back on the AIDS epidemic.

The quilt is the brainchild of San Francisco gay-rights activist Cleve Jones, who in 1987, helped found The NAMES Project. Today, the quilt consists of 48,000 panels and takes up 1.3 million square feet, making it impossible to view in its entirety at any one time. If a visitor were to spend one minute to view each panel, it would take over 33 days to see the entire quilt.

Claxton Dekle – Prosperous Farmer, Husband & Father of Two

By Dr. Fran Kaplan from information provided by Richard L. Byrd, great-great-nephew of Claxton Dekle

When he was lynched, Uncle Clax (1893 – 1917) was 24 years old. He and his wife Huddie had a 14 month old daughter, Myrtle,  and Huddie was pregnant with their daughter Joe Britt, whom Claxton would not live to see born.

Claxton Dekle (pronounced Dee-cul) was part of a family that, by 1917, had obtained the American dream of their times: 40 acres and a mule. They owned a sizeable amount of land in Emanuel (now Candler) County Georgia.

Plowing with a mule. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Plowing with a mule. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The circumstances leading to Uncle Clax’s murder began when his father, Henry Dekle, decided the family needed another mule to plow their growing acreage. He sent Clax to buy one from a white farmer nearby.

Uncle Clax went into Metter, Georgia and bought the mule. Upon returning home, however, the family discovered that the mule was blind. They sent Clax back to either get another mule or get the family’s money back. But the farmer would neither take the mule back or return the money, even though he knew  the mule was blind when he sold it. An argument ensued. According to reports, the farmer hurled “nigger” insults and attacked Uncle Clax. In turn, Clax defended himself at a time when it was death to insult or question the word of a white man–let alone cause him physical harm.

The Atlantic Constitution newspaper, not known for unbiased reporting of stories about people of color, reported that when Clax began to get the better of the white farmer, two white bystanders came to his aid. Nonetheless, Clax killed the white farmer, and Clax returned home and told what had happened, according to the story handed down in his family,

Meantime a mob formed. They captured and executed Uncle Clax.  As was  customary at the time, he was not given a trial, just immediately executed–the typical punishment for killing a white person, whether the killing was done in self-defense, as an accident, or with malice aforethought.

As Clax hung from a tree, the enraged mob riddled his body with bullets. When his great-great-nephew asked his cousin what happened next, she clasped her hands and held her head down. “They told me they drug him through Metter [for all to see]. . . . After they drug him for so long, it was one white man that told them [the mob] if they didn’t untie that man from that [buggy] and give him back to his people—because he was already dead—that he would start shooting. So they finally untied him and gave him to his people. . . . While they were having the funeral, those white people went to the grave and they meant to kill the whole family. They were hidden in the woods. And this other white man that made them untie [Clax] went to the church and told [the Dekle family], ‘Don’t y’all go to the cemetery because they plan to kill all of y’all.’”

The family heeded the warning and took the necessary precautions, scouting the area and waiting until the following morning to bury Uncle Clax. To save the family from further harm, Granddaddy Henry and his brother, Uncle Benjamin Dekle, changed the family’s name to Uncle Benjamin’s wife’s maiden name and left the area (as so many blacks did when their lives were in jeopardy). They knew they would receive no protection from their local authorities, who were often supportive of or even directly involved in the murder-by-lynching of blacks. Even though they were tax-paying US citizens, black people were on their own; they had no rights or protection by local governments and had little-to-no recourse at the state and federal levels. 

In the end, the hard-working and proud Dekle family was forced to abandon their property, leaving behind decades of hard work and prosperity, simply because their lives were not as important as the man’s whose skin tone lacked pigmentation.