Most of us see homeless people on the street and either feel bad for them or shun them, but unless you’ve been in a situation where you had to beg for something it’s hard to imagine how hard it is for someone to have to ask for help. I was forced to do just that one evening in Westwood, CA. I had no money or bus pass and was forced to have to beg for bus fare. Writing this blog and admitting that we fell short of an important goal, to commemorate the passing of a figure who was larger than life, is hard to do.
Today is the first anniversary of Dr. Crosby’s graduation into the land of the ancestors. I had hoped that we could have a proper celebration for the Father of Black History Month, next week, but circumstances have forced me to have to focus on the living, more than the dearly departed.
Dr. Crosby’s widow took ill on November 30, one day after her 89th B-Earth Day, the 1st she’s celebrated in the absence of her husband of 65 years. More than 2 months later Mrs. Crosby is still undergoing the process of recovering from a hard fought battle with COVID and the ravages of her sick bed. As her primary caretaker I’ve had to focus my full attention on her recovery and maintenance of the Crosby homestead.
Mom doesn’t believe in doctors and neither do I, but we’ve had to interact with our share of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals as mom fights to return to her former state of health and activity.
Last year we set out to plan a conference style memorial in honor of Dr. Crosby in honor of the legacy he left us. Anyone who knows the Crosbys knows that reaching out and helping others is something we’ve always done with no strings attached. As we planned to honor Dr. Crosby we began to look at how we could not only preserve the Crosby legacy, but how we could help others do likewise. In part, the event that is now postponed indefinitely, was planned as a benefit to help establish the Crosby Archives as NE Ohio’s best resource for the study of local Black History.
Black History has been under attack since the late 60’s when community activists and Black student organizations demanded Black Studies be taught in every educational institution in America, from K through college.
Dr. Crosby began his career as an educator teaching German & Spanish in predominantly White institutions, but it was not long before he heard the call from the Black community for Black Education. His career in Black Education began and ended in Akron, Ohio. He got his feet wet as an educational coordinator with Akron’s fledgling Community Action Council and ended his career as the founder of, Ida B. Wells Community School, Akron’s 1st African centered charter school.
Over a career spanning 30 years Dr. Crosby participated in founding ground breaking educational programs in East St. Louis, Ill; Kent, Ohio; Seattle, Washington and Akron, Ohio. In each instance the majority of the students were Black inner city youth from the surrounding communities. He pioneered the use of innovative educational materials and delivery systems via closed circuit TV, the Public Broadcasting System and self-published curriculum materials.
Funnily, his most notable accomplishment was the establishment of Black History Month as a worldwide phenomenon reaching well beyond the boundaries of Kent State University, where the 1st Black History Month was celebrated in 1970.
Immediately following the passing of Frederick Douglass his house was turned into a “living museum and monument” enshrining his legacy. Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s Washington, D.C. home has also been preserved as a tribute to his lasting legacy, as the Father of Negro History and Negro History Week. In both cases their homes were preserved, without the assistance of government grants. Their homes were preserved with private donations from individuals just like you and me.
In the case of the Crosby Archives we are seeking to not only preserve his legacy, but also the legacy of members of the Black community all throughout NE Ohio, on and off the Internet. In other words, we want to continue to expand on the legacy of Dr. Crosby by preserving as many documents, photos, works of art, etc., as possible from members of the Black community whose materials would otherwise be tossed in city dumps throughout NE Ohio.
We’re asking everyone in our social networks to begin making donations to the Crosby Archives on FaceBook, via the U.S. mail or PayPal. We can’t do this on our own, we’re going to need your help. We’ve heard from many people who say they would like to help. Here’s one way you can help us preserve and expand on the Crosby legacy.