NAACP and National Association of Black Veterans(NABVETS) Soldiers Home Tribute
This part of the site is dedicated to assembling the documents, proposals, ideas, and plans for activities in the summer of 2005, linking the NAACP and the movement to save the Soldiers Home to their mutual benefit.
We hope to enlist 10,000 Milwaukee citizens in an on-line conversation about saving the Soldiers Home and welcoming the NAACP National Convention Soldiers Home Tribute to support the Save the Soldiers Home Movement.
Cleo Pruitt has written a brilliant proposal for the NAACP’s national leadership to consider entitled “A New Birth of Freedom.” If Cleo’s proposal gets approved, the dedication ceremony will take place sometime between July 9 and July 14.
NewBirthOfFreedomProposal by Cleo C. Pruitt to the NAACP National Leadership
The NAACP’s National Convention in Milwaukee, July 2005, can make a substantial contribution to the renaissance of its host city by sponsoring a tribute to the great multitude of unrecognized minority veterans who “gave the last full measure of devotion” that this nation “shall have a new birth of freedom.” By honoring all those who served, are serving, and are yet to serve, at Milwaukee’s most hallowed but currently neglected grounds, the NAACP can help fulfill the dream that “one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: all men are created equal.’”
The tribute would involve the consecration of a modest monument to Dr. Martin King’s “I Have a Dream” address and a celebration of those Milwaukee students and citizens whose work best illuminates the “great beacon light of hope” and “lets freedom ring.”
Benefit to the Milwaukee Soldiers Home
The event will have special resonance with the most venerable Civil Rights organization of the past century in dramatizing the NAACP’s enormous potential for the next century. In honoring the oft-overlooked contribution of minority veterans, the ceremony would:
- bring national attention to the Milwaukee Soldiers Home District grounds, one of the first three that President Abraham Lincoln designated for soldiers relief following the Civil War.
- help spark an alliance eventuating in a model for adaptive re-use in service to job development, training in skills and citizenship, small business and social enterprise incubators, veterans and moderate income housing.
- offer a “joyous daybreak” for other overlooked veterans of minority communities, who would be invited to participate and offered help in eventually planning their own manner of homage to their communities fallen heroes
- provide an occasion to “transform the jangling discords” of our troubled past into an inspiring experience of the “beautiful symphony of brotherhood,” in a city much in need of inspiring examples of racial and inter-ethnic collaboration and joy.
Benefit to the NAACP
The process of developing and enacting the NAACP Soldiers Home Tribute offers opportunities for the NAACP as well.
- the co-organizers of this event will make concerted efforts to link a local NAACP membership and recruitment drive with the process of discovering students and citizens most creative in contributing to the “unfinished business” of this nation’s promise and demonstrating the continued effectiveness of the NAACP in “hewing hope” from the “mountain of despair” that is currently the shameful state of the Soldiers Home buildings
- the co-creators of this event will aggressively couple the alliance formation process and discovery of students and citizens to be honored with the internet empowerment of the NAACP organization, its members, and the communities it serves (see http://www.bucketworks.org and http://www.bucketworks.org/index.php/MilWiki/HomePage)
- the NAACP Soldiers Home Tribute to minority veterans who gave the “last full measure of devotion” will offer the Convention Delegates a wondrous and inspiring experience.
The pastoral beauty of these sacred grounds, the chapel, the theatre, Old Main’s “Soldiers Castle,” the elegant residential buildings, the library, and postal office that yet remain will offer soulful relief from the convention’s nuts and bolts work, and provide delegates with a great sense of accomplishment and possibility.
Making History and Preserving History
The NAACP Soldiers Home Tribute will be the sound of the freedom bell ringing, all across the land. In drawing national attention to this great resource for spiritual and economic growth, the NAACP will make history in Milwaukee, helping its host city move from a self-image as a racist, working class city to a harmonious, polyglot city of creative working classes.
In honoring Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” address and the students and citizens who will read from it, in sparking the adaptive re-use of the Soldiers Homes Grounds and Buildings, the NAACP will have once more insured that the fallen heroes from all of America’s great communities, “shall not have died in vain,” and that increasingly in this “new nation conceived in liberty,” it can be the case that “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.”
Written by James J Godsil, based on the ideas of Cleo Pruitt
Here is a letter on harnessing wiki power for the Soldiers Home Movement to Sandy Folaron and Cleo Pruitt, two of the 4 Milwaukee women who have made the greatest contribution of our entire city to the Save the Soldiers Home Movement. The other unsung heroes of the cause are Laura Rinaldi and Patricia Lynch.