Archive | June, 2012

Celebration Week – Father’s Day and Juneteenth

Posted on 18 June 2012 by The Florida Star Online

This Ohio father is continuing to celebrate Father’s Day, two years after his wife delivered six, as shown above. But have you wondered about the origin of Father’s Day? On July 19, 1910 the governor of the state of Washington proclaimed the nation’s first “Father’s Day.” It was not until 1972, 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official. TContinue Reading

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Brunswick Senior Foreclosure “Scandal”

Posted on 18 June 2012 by The Florida Star Online

Written by: Arthia Nixon
Photo by: Angela Favors-Morrell 

Raymond and Mary Harris in front of their dream home prior to it being foreclosed.

(BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA) Gardening, beach walks, dinner plans, health checks and looking forward to spending holidays with the grandkids – these are the things senior years are made of. However, for many area seniors, the security of living out their years surrounded by the things they worked their youth to achieve is becoming more and more farfetched as many are finding themselves using their retirement funds to restart life as their homes are being foreclosed on. Some call it circumstance but others are calling it an ugly scheme to remove black seniors from property rightfully owed to them since post-emancipation days. And still there are others who feel that it is a part of SunTrust Bank’s discrimination case that was exposed earlier this year in which 20,000 African-American and Latinos were allegedly charged more on loans based on their race.

One couple caught in the crossfire is Mary and Raymond Harris. Pictured standing in front of what was their dream home on Oak Grove Island, the 70-something year-old heart patients are reduced to living in an apartment. They’ve sought emotional refuge in the Neighbor to Neighbor outreach group which has become an advocate to prevent foreclosures and evictions of people in similar situations. TContinue Reading

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New Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church Again Celebrates a Mortgage Burning

Posted on 09 June 2012 by The Florida Star Online


In 1919 a small church was organized as Palmer Grove Baptist and after several name changes and locations, in 1978 moved to 1824 Prospect Street, Jacksonville. Lining up with its new address, the church became prospective, changed its name to New Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church and relished in its growth in membership while continuing its achievements. Under the leadership of its deacons, officers and members, the church paid off the mortgage in 1983.

With no debt, in 1984, the Reverend Joe Calhoun became their pastor and the church was able to purchase all of the land surrounding their existing church. With this acquisition, a decision was made to construct a new building to accommodate the growth in membership. In 1997, the present building went under construction and on May 17, 1998 they were able to move into their new sanctuary. The Rev. Landon Williams of The Greater Macedonia Baptist Church was the guest speaker.

The challenge was again met and on March 18, 2012 the last mortgage check was written and the church was again, mortgage free. A pre-mortgage burning service was held on May 17, with Rev. E. L. Griffin of Shalom Missionary Baptist Church presiding and on Friday, May 18, their Service of Thanksgiving was held with a theme, “To God Be the Glory,” with Rev. Johnny L. Johnson of Philadelphia Baptist Church delivering the word.

On Sunday morning, May 20, Pastor Emeritus Joe Calhoun delivered the sermon with Rev. W. L. Phillips presiding. The congregation and guest returned that afternoon at 4:00 p.m. The Rev. Landon Williams again gave the sermon, and Pastor Emeritus Calhoun stood between chairman of the Deacon Board Robert Jackson and Brother Lawrence Starling, chairman of Finance & Trustee to light the fire, and burn the mortgage. And the church joyfully said: “Amen!”

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Trial To Triumph: Brunswick’s Baker Brothers

Posted on 09 June 2012 by The Florida Star Online

Written by: Arthia Nixon
Photo by: Luke Engram, MME

“ I could see my God working through him, because before I talked to him, I was outside his office telling my mother, ‘ There is no way we can pay for this. I don’t even know why we came all the way up here just to get denied!” God showed me that if you just put your trust in him he’ll make a way. I was blessed to have received the $80,000 Oprah Winfrey Scholarship. All I have to do is maintain a 3.0 and I’ll keep it. That scholarship will pay a big chunk of my school’s cost and take a big load off my mother’s back. Shout out to Oprah!” – Akeem Baker, left with brother Rafeal.

When you first meet brothers Akeem and Rafeal Baker, there is an instant attraction. Both are young, intelligent, witty and charming black men who are excited about life and eager to put their best foot forward. Despite the fact that they are now legally adults, they end their sentences during their interview with me respectfully with “yes ma’am” or “beg your pardon ma’am?”, evidence that southern hospitality and good old fashioned manners from mom still reigns in some households. However, if you’re lucky to engage in conversation with them, one might wonder how it’s possible that the two 18 year-olds are not twins. TContinue Reading

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