What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?

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A CARROT.

 

I mean, I like legit laughed. And I’ll be honest and say that I’m kinda laughing now.
That wasn’t at ALL what I was expecting.
‘Cause yannow. ORANGE.
Parrots repeat things (like, perhaps maybe things they heard on Fox News?).
But no. CARROT.

Issa good joke, guys.
More importantly, it was a good way to start a workday because
AS USUAL, the rest of y’all are off and I’m at work.
Damn y’all and y’all’s fake holidays. What do you mean, “President’s Day”?
WE AIN’T EVEN GOT A PRESIDENT.

 

But that’s fine. EVERYTHING IS FINE.

 

Since we ain’t got no president, I’ll just talk about this former President of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP: Daisy Lee Gatson Bates, American civil rights activist, publisher, journalist, and lecturer who played a leading role in the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957.

 

Daisy Lee Gatson Bates was born on November 11, 1914. She grew up in southern Arkansas in the small sawmill town of Huttig. Her biological mother was raped, then murdered by 3 local white men. After the murder of her mother, Daisy was handed off to Gatson’s close friends, Orlee and Susie Smith. She never saw her biological father after that. Her adoptive father, Orlee Smith, told her that the killers were never found due to the lack of devotion to the case from the police. Orlee Smith died when Bates was a teenager, leaving her with some advice on his deathbed “If you hate, make it count for something. Hate the humiliations we are living under in the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the soul of every black man and woman. Hate the insults hurled at us by white scum—and then try to do something about it, or your hate won’t spell a thing”

 

Daisy met Lucius Christopher Bates when she was 13. They started dating when she was 25 and after a few months they married and moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. After their move to Little Rock, the Bateses decided to act on a dream of theirs, the ownership of a newspaper. They leased a printing plant that belonged to a church publication and inaugurated the Arkansas State Press, a weekly statewide newspaper. The first issue appeared on May 9, 1941. The Arkansas State Press was primarily concerned with advocacy journalism and was modeled off other African-American publications of the era, such as the Chicago Defender and The Crisis. Stories about civil rights often ran on the front page with the rest of the paper mainly filled with other stories that spotlighted achievements of black Arkansans. The paper became an avid voice for civil rights even before a nationally recognized movement had emerged. Daisy Bates was later recognized as co-publisher of the paper.

 

Mrs. Daisy Bates immediately joined the local branch of the NAACP upon moving to Little Rock, and was elected President of the Arkansas Conference of Branches in 1952. She remained active and a member of the National NAACP Board for the next twenty years.  In an interview she explains her history with the organization and that all her “dreams were tied with this organization”. In the same interview when asked what she and the organization were focused on changing, Bates responded “the whole darned system”. However, it was after the Brown v. Board of Education decision that she began to focus mostly on education. Bates’ childhood included the attendance to Huttig’s segregated public schools, where she learned firsthand the poor conditions to which black students were exposed. Bates and her husband used their newspaper to publicize violations of the Supreme Court’s desegregation rulings.

 

The plan for desegregating the schools of Little Rock was to be implemented in three phases, starting first with the senior and junior high schools, and then only after the successful integration of senior and junior schools would the elementary schools be integrated. After two years and still no progress, a suit was filed against the Little Rock School District in 1956. The court ordered the School Board to integrate the schools as of September 1957. Realizing her intense involvement and dedication to education and school integration, Daisy was the chosen agent. After the nine black students were selected to attend Central High Mrs. Bates would be with them every step of the way. Her home, not far from Central High, became the organizing and strategy center for nine African American students selected to desegregate the school in 1957. Bates walked into the schools daily with the children for an entire school year (1957-58). She received numerous death threats and she and her husband were forced to close The Arkansas State Press, because white advertisers began to boycott to punish the paper for supporting desegregation.

 

She was named Woman of the Year by the National Council of Negro Women in 1957. Along with the Little Rock Nine, Bates received the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP’s highest award, in 1958. Bates later wrote about her struggles in a memoir titled The Long Shadow of Little Rock, published in 1962. The introduction was written by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. And in 1987, the Daisy Bates Elementary School was dedicated in Little Rock, and the state named the third Monday in February George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day.

 

Daisy Lee Gatson Bates died of a heart attack in Little Rock on November 4, 1999. She was the first African American to rest “In State” in the Arkansas State Capitol Building.  The Congressional Gold Medal was posthumously awarded to her by President Bill Clinton, and a documentary entitled “Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock” aired on PBS in February of 2012.

 

SO BASICALLY WHAT I’M SAYIN’ IS THAT SINCE WE DON’T HAVE A PRESIDENT, I’M OFFICIALLY CALLING TODAY DAISY GATSON BATES DAY.

 

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