Daily Update: Sunday, November 15th, 2015

Albert the Great

Today is the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time and the Optional Memorial of Saint Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor (died 1280).

Today’s Saint was born in 1206 in Lauingen an der Donau, Swabia (part of modern Germany), the son of a nobleman. In 1221 or 1223 he became a Dominican, was ordained as a priest, and taught theology in Cologne, Germany and in Paris, France, An influential teacher, preacher, and administrator, he was the teacher of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He introduced Greek and Arabic science and philosophy to medieval Europe, and was known for his wide interest in what became known later as the natural sciences. He wrote and illustrated guides to his observations, and was considered on a par with Aristotle as an authority on these matters. in 1254 he became the Provincial of the Dominican Order, and fulfilled the arduous duties of the office with great care and efficiency. He became Bishop of Regensburg, Germany in 1260, an office from which he resigned after three years. During the exercise of his duties he enhanced his reputation for humility by refusing to ride a horse (in accord with the dictates of the Dominican order), instead walking back and forth across his huge diocese. After his stint as bishop, he spent the remainder of his life partly in retirement in the various houses of his order, yet often preaching throughout southern Germany. In 1270 he preached the eighth Crusade in Austria. Among the last of his labors was the defense of the orthodoxy of his former pupil, Thomas Aquinas, whose death in 1274 grieved Albert. His writings collected in 1899 went to thirty-eight volumes. These displayed his prolific habits and literally encyclopedic knowledge of topics such as logic, theology, botany, geography, astronomy, astrology, mineralogy, chemistry, zoology, physiology, phrenology and others; all of which were the result of logic and observation. Canonized and named a Doctor of the Church in 1931, he is the Patron Saint of philosophers, scientists, and students, of World Youth Day, and of the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Richard was up before I was, and had already eaten the Continental breakfast before I woke up at 8:00 am in our room at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Port Allen, LA. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, then went down to eat the Continental breakfast and to read the Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate. Back to our room, Richard took a nap while I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Third Day of my Christ the King Novena.

We left at 11:00 am, went across the river to Baton Rouge, and went to the PetSmart at Siegen Marketplace to say hello to the cats up for adoption through the glass. We then hung out at the Barnes and Noble in Perkins Rowe (I snagged one of the two comfy chairs), and I continued reading Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger on my Nook. Our New Orleans Pelicans lost their away game with the New York Knicks by the score of 87 to 95; the Pelicans will play their next game at home with the Denver Nuggets on the evening of Tuesday, November 17th, 2015.

At 1:55 pm we saw Suffragette at Perkins Rowe Cinemark; it was a very good film, with some nearly incomprehensible English accents and Helena Bonham Carter. While we watched the movie, our New Orleans Saints lost their away game with the Washington Redskins by the score of 14 to 47. With their bye week next week, our New Orleans Saints will play an away game with the Houston Texans in the early game on Sunday, November 29th, 2015.

We went back to Barnes and Noble for an hour. In both the college football polls (the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll), LSU dropped to #17 from #9, and are lucky (in my opinion) to not have dropped out of the Top 25 ranking altogether. (Ole Miss is ranked at #25.) And our LSU Women’s Basketball beat Louisiana Monroe by the score of 61 to 54 in overtime. Our LSU Women’s Basketball team will next play an away game with Arkansas-Little Rock on the evening of Wednesday, November 18th, 2015.

We then walked to Texas de Brazil for dinner, which was very good, as always. We were back in our room in Port Allen at the Hampton Inn and Suites at 6:45 pm. And when I finish this Daily Update, I will do a bit of reading before going to sleep.

Tomorrow is the Optional Memorial of Saint Margaret of Scotland, Queen (died 1093), the Optional Memorial of Saint Edmund Rich of Abingdon, Bishop (died 1240), and the Optional Memorial of Saint Gertrude, Virgin (died 1302). We will check out of out room and head to Lafayette before arriving home from our vacation. And our LSU Men’s Basketball team will play a home game with Kennesaw State.

Our Parting Quote this Sunday evening comes to us from Reverend T. J. Jemison, American civil rights pioneer. Born as Theodore Judson Jemison in 1918 in Selma, Alabama, his father was the pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church. He came from a family of prominent ministers and strong churchgoing women. He attended local segregated public schools. Jemison earned a bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University, a historically black college in the state capital of Montgomery. He earned a divinity degree at Virginia Union University in the capital city of Richmond, Virginia, to prepare for the ministry. He later did graduate study at New York University in New York City. In 1949 Jemison was first called as a minister by Mt. Zion First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. There he worked chiefly on internal church matters, overseeing construction and continued fundraising of a new church building. At the time, his father was serving as President of the National Baptist Convention, the association of African-American Baptist churches established in 1895. Within a few years, Jemison became involved in an early civil rights action. In 1950, the city had ended black-owned buses, requiring all residents to use its monopoly system, which enforced segregated seating. It was racially segregated by law; in practice, black citizens had to sit at the back half of the bus or stand, even if seats in the front “white” section were empty. Making up 80 percent of the passengers on the system, African Americans were fed up with standing on buses while “white” seats remained empty, particularly after the company had raised fares from ten to fifteen cents in January 1953. Reverend Jemison took up the issue with the Baton Rouge City Council; he testified on February 11, 1953 against the fare increase and asked for an end of the practice of reserving so many seats for whites. The city council met that demand, without abolishing segregation per se. They passed Ordinance 222, which established a first come-first served system: it allowed black passengers to board the bus from the back and take any empty seats available, while white passengers boarded from the front. In actuality though, the white drivers largely ignored the ordinance and continued to pressure blacks to sit in the rear of the buses. When bus drivers harassed those black passengers who sought to sit in empty seats reserved for whites, Jemison tested the law on June 13th, 1953, when he sat in a front seat of a bus. The next day the bus company suspended two bus drivers for not complying with the city ordinance. The drivers’ union responded by striking for four days. That strike ended on June 18, 1953 when state Attorney General Fred S. LeBlanc declared the city ordinance unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated the state’s compulsory segregation laws. Reverend Jemison then set up a free-ride network, coordinated by the churches, to compensate for the lack of public transit. This was its signature action for the boycott, which was also adopted for later use. a precedent-setting event in the history of the modern American civil rights movement. With most of the black bus riders refusing to ride, by the third day the buses were almost entirely empty. The boycott lasted eight days, until Reverend Jemison called it off after successful negotiations between black leaders and the city council. The following day, the city council passed an ordinance under which the first-come, first-served, seating system of back-to-front and front-to-back was reinstated. In addition, they set aside the first two seats on any bus for white passengers and the back bench for black passengers, while allowing anyone to sit on any of the rows in the middle. To comply with state segregation laws, blacks and whites were prohibited from sitting next to each other within this arrangement. Jemison’s model of boycotting in Baton Rouge was adopted in 1955 by organizers of the year-long Montgomery bus boycott. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote that Jemison’s “painstaking description of the Baton Rouge experience proved invaluable.” While a number of boycotters wanted to continue the action to attack segregation directly, the majority approved the compromise, as the goal had been to end the bus situation. Reverend Jemison was elected as president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., the largest black religious organization, in 1982 and served until 1994. His best-known achievement of his tenure as president of the National Baptist Convention was the construction of the Baptist World Center in Nashville, Tennessee, a headquarters for the Convention. He publicly opposed the nomination of Clarence Thomas, a conservative African American as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. He also objected to American intervention in the Gulf War. Toward the end of his term as convention president, Jemison faced criticism because of his support for the boxer Mike Tyson, who was convicted in a rape case against a black woman. He was strongly criticized both by church members and observers. Approaching the end of his tenure (a result of term limits), Jemison selected Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson as his successor, but Richardson was defeated by Dr. Henry Lyons at the 1994 convention. Jemison filed a lawsuit in attempt to overrun the result. Eventually, through the appeals process, the election of Dr. Lyons was upheld. Jemison individually, as well as a co-plaintiff and their counsel, was ordered to pay $150,000 in punitive damages. By a later court order, Jemison and his co-plaintiff were required to pay the other side’s attorney fees. The court found that Jemison had concocted evidence to justify the suit. On June 19th, 20th, and 21st, 2003, the 50th anniversary of the bus boycott and its participants were honored with a community forum and three days of events; organizers were Marc Sternberg, a 30-year-old resident, Southern University, Louisiana State University, and major organizations. In 2007 Mt. Zion First Baptist Church established the annual T. J. Jemison Race Relations Award in his honor. It was first awarded that year to Jesse Bankston, a long-term Democratic politician in Baton Rouge. Upon his death at the age of ninety-five, Reverend Jemison’s body lay in repose at the Louisiana State Capitol on November 22nd, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy (died 2013): “When we started we didn’t start to end segregation on buses, we just started to get seats.”

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