‘Honor Your Father” march and speaker center on support

‘Honor Your Father” march and speaker center on support
June 18
00:00 2015

In photo above: The marchers line up to follow behind the hearse, representing the loss of valuable lives. (Submitted photo)

By Felecia Piggott-Long, Ph.D
For The Chronicle

“Black Lives Matter!” “Red Lives Matter!” “White Lives Matter!” “All Lives Matter!” “All People Matter!” “All Women Matter, All Men Matter, All Fathers Matter!” “All Mothers Matter!” “All Children Matter!” “All Churches Matter!” “Our Community Matters!” “All Babies Matter!”

These calls and responses continued in this fashion as Ben Piggott, center supervisor of the Carl Russell Recreation Center, led the participants in the fourth annual “Honor Your Father Unity March.” More than 60 followers marched from the nearby Solid Rock Baptist Church parking lot, where they met for prayer and solidarity. Piggott hugged each marcher one by one and thanked them for being involved.

They marched behind a black hearse driven by H.E. Alberto W. Lorenzo, world director of the United Nations of Indians. The group claimed much attention as they advanced down Carver School Road on the afternoon of Sunday, June 7. Neighbors and their children came outside of their houses. Cars pulled over to make room for the group and to ask questions about the march. Community volunteers greeted the marchers with bottled water as they entered the recreation center.

The group was comprised of supporters from various churches, fraternities, sororities and community organizations.

They ended up at the Carl Russell Recreation Center for the annual “Honor Your Father 2015” gathering, where Dr. Lenwood G. Davis, retired Winston-Salem State University history professor, served as the keynote speaker. Several fathers were honored for their mentoring efforts: Davis, Coach Brian Leak, Coach Andrew Williams, Leroy Richardson Jr., and Ben Piggott, who was honored by his nieces Reynita McMillan and Asha Piggott.
When Davis walked to the front of the room, some of his former students from WSSU cheered for him.

“I want to thank Mr. Piggott for inviting me here today. He and I are working on a book about the life and times of four early Prince Hall Masons, and it should be out by the end of the year,” Davis said.

Davis discussed the value of the extended family system that was passed down from the African continent and was brought to the United States.
“If the father were sold to another plantation, it has always been important to have an authority figure in the home, whether it was a father, a grandmother, uncle or grandfather. Someone had to raise the child in the slave cabin,” Davis said.

Davis focused on three men of historical significance as fathers and leaders: Joseph Charles Price, the founder of Livingstone College; James E. Shepard, founder of North Carolina Central University, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Davis is the father of one daughter, and although he and her mother divorced, he made it a priority to include his daughter I his life.
“A father needs to support his child by going to games, concerts, recitals. Children need to know they have support. My wife and I divorced, but when my daughter was inducted into the National Honor Society, I flew out to Oregon, although I could only stay a few hours. I was teaching at Ohio State. I wanted to be with her,” Davis said. “One year, her mother went to England to stay for two weeks. I stayed in the hotel to take care of my daughter and made sure she did her homework.”

Davis also brought his daughter to live in Winston-Salem while her mother completed her dissertation. He resigned from the University of Delaware even though he took a large cut in his salary.

“It was the right thing to do. I did not want to have to look back and say that I wish I had been there for her. I did not want to have to regret my decision. I did all I could do for my daughter. I have no regrets,” Davis said. “As a father, you should do all that you can to support that child. Support them financially and spiritually. Reinforce the ideals, the family structure. The extended family concept is African. There must always be an authority figure in the household.”

Sophomore Dion Brinson Jr., who will attend Carver High School in the fall, delivered a spoken-word piece called “Our Dad.”
Minister Effinguan Muhammad of Nation of Islam Mosque #56 informed the audience about the upcoming celebration for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.

Nakida McDaniels, lead organizer on the staff of Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods (NBN), spoke to the audience about gaining access to resources for their communities through the NBN.

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