York Town Square

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Angelou family pledge sends York gathering on its way


Mary Preston pins a corsage on Ray Crenshaw’s receives a corsage for ‘A Black History Tribute’ at Union Lutheran Church. The Orchid Club of Deborah Chapter No. 26, Order of the Eastern star honored Crenshaw and Voni B. Grives for their community work. Also of interest: Check out these stories and photos about black history in York County.

Two senior statesmen in York — Voni B. Grimes and Ray Crenshaw — received accolades Sunday at an Eastern Star tribute.
Grimes, a black man, was involved in the founding of Access-York, the York County Parks System, the Cyber Center and, in one of his most remarkable achievements, served as governor in this region’s largely white Lions district.
Crenshaw was the first black mayoral candidate, has served on the York City Council and the city school board, headed the NAACP and has been a leader at Crispus Attucks for more than 30 years.
Yet speakers at the tribute lamented that few young people at the Voni B. Grimes gym or Crispus Attucks Center would know about the accomplishments of these two community leaders… .

In fact, one speaker said young people refer to the Voni B. Grimes gym as the “College Ave,” losing the reference to its namesake.
It’s regrettable, but not surprising, that these leaders would not be known. And this lack of understanding of our past is not limited to the black community.
Those gathered vowed to remember their great leaders near the program’s end by reciting Maya Angelou’s “Black Family Reunion Pledge,” which follows:
Leader: Because we have forgotten our ancestors, our children no longer give us honor.
Response: Because we have lost the path our ancestors have cleared, kneeling in perilous undergrowth, our children cannot find their way.
Leader: Because we have banished the God of our ancestors, our children cannot pray.
Response: Because the old wails of our ancestors have faded beyond our hearing, our children cannot hear us crying.
Leader: Because we have abandoned our wisdom of mothering and fathering, our befuddled children give birth to children they neither want nor understand.
Response: Because we have forgotten how to live, the adversary is within our gates, and holds up the mirror of the world, shouting, “Regard the Loveless.‿
All: THEREFORE, we pledge
To BIND ourselves again to one another
To EMBRACE the lowliest
To KEEP COMPANY with our loneliest
To EDUCATE our illiterate
To FEED our starving
To CLOTHE our ragged
To DO ALL GOOD THINGS, knowing that we are more than keepers of our brothers and sisters.