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Bea may have come to Baltimore in obscurity. But she was just too smart

 and too hard working not to be noticed. Even more

 revealing were the twinkling in her eye.

 

 

Funeral Remarks for Bea Baddy

By Lt. Governor Townsend 

October 9, 2001

I don't know if Bea Gaddy loved movies -- but I'm sure she didn't need them.

Her life, after all, was far more dramatic and touched by human emotion than anything the imagination could put on screen. Still, when I think of Bea, I can't help thinking about the movie, It's a Wonderful Life. One line in particular seems like it was written for Bea. Let me read it -- corrected for gender -- "Strange, isn't it? Each woman's life touches so many other lives, and when she isn't around, she leaves an awful hole."

Today we are all living in that awful hole. Our Bea is gone.

Bea Gaddy's story is the stuff of legend. A poor and hungry child in North Carolina. She moved to Baltimore. What she found was not a wonderful life. Instead she found more poverty, more hunger and more cold. But she also found a city worthy of her gifted spirit.

Baltimore was the perfect home for a woman whose heart brimmed with compassion. It was the perfect home for a woman of courage, grace, and substance. It was the perfect home for a woman of grit and unbending determination. It was, quite simply, the perfect home for Bea Gaddy.

Bea may have come to Baltimore in obscurity. But she was just too smart and too hard working not to be noticed. Even more revealing were the twinkling in her eye. -- and the flickering flame in her soul. This was the flame of hope -- and it could not be extinguished. Not only could it not be extinguished. in time, Bea used it to light hope and dignity in countless others.

I have absolutely no doubt that there are people alive today who would not be alive without Bea.

As the world now knows, she fed the hungry, sheltered the homeless, consoled the lonely, and inspired us all. She also understood that hunger and poverty are the great civil rights issues of our time -- and we must not fail to solve them. My father liked to quote Albert Camus, the writer and humanitarian who said, "There will always be poor children, but if we don't help, who will?" Of course, Bea Gaddy answer to that question was, "I will." Bea quite simply did God's work -- and did it better than anyone is likely to do it again for a long, long time.

So we cry for Bea's absence. But we also cry for ourselves. The woman who was stronger than despair. Stronger than fear. Stronger even than the great moral wrong of poverty in the midst of plenty. Has left us. For that we mourn. What hasn't left us is the blessing of Bea Gaddy's life and work. For that we do not mourn -- we celebrate. because out of her wonderful and remarkable life has come joy, inspiration, and love to each of ours. This was Bea's gift. her life touched our lives. today, with both tears and love, we hold this gift to our hearts -- knowing that like her memory -- it will endure in us forever. 

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 28 July 2008

 

 

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