Parks Stearns, Kenny Winfree, Reverend K.M. Williams, Matt Taylor, and two wonderful boys from the audience brought joy to singing "Roll the Union On!" at the Labor and Civil Rights Songfest February 26 at the Communications Workers of America Local 6215 hall in Dallas.
There were several important advancements made at the event:
Although Kenny Winfree and Matt Taylor clearly brought the house down with their closing act, all of the performers were outstanding. J.D. Thompson rode the Greyhound for 7 hours to come from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to sing. Thompson was a key organizer of the Oklahoam Laborfest that inspired our North Texas activities. Reverend K.M. Williams, a steward at Local 6215, brought in two of the little-known civil rights songs that developed during the great American struggles of the 1960s. Johnnie Welch, Civil Rights Chair at UAW Local 848 in Grand Prairie, brought Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King's favorite song, "Precious Lord," then added her original version of the standard "Amazing Grace."
Tunde Obazee was a terrific hit. He brought both African and American civil rights culture to the event with his own compositions, "Stand Up for Your Rights" and "Redemption Song." He had everybody on their feet clapping and wiggling to his reggae beat!
The lynchpin for the entire event came in the center when Reverend L. Charles Stovall delivered his original explanation of "Why Labor and Civil Rights Belong Together." Reverend Stovall is hoping to find time to produce a written version of his talk for posting here.
Judy Bryant and Leah Witherspoon ran the door and door prizes. Terrific food was provided by Kym Grant, Rosemarie Rieger, Helen Rieger, and Anika Rieger. Charles Whitaker and Dr. George Green did the hard decorating work. This ambitious project would not have even been attempted without Gerardo Contreras who does the hard logistical work for just about everything in the civil rights and labor movements.