Thursday, July 7, 2022

Professor Joseph Carter Corbin Day: Sesquicentennial Celebration

PROFFESOR JOSEPH CARTER CORBIN DAY SESQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION Dr. Gladys Turner Finney DATE: September 27, 2023 PLACE: Pine Bluff, Arkansas Purpose: To commemorate Professor Joseph Carter Corbin, founder of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Father of Higher Education for African Americans in Arkansas. Community Celebration: Free and open to the public, beginning with a Proclamation and Tribute Ceremony with city and state officials at the original site of the college, 2nd Avenue & Oak Street. Plans include exhibits, speakers, newly released documentary on Professor Corbin, at the Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Library. There will be a reception with panelists reflecting on Dr. Corbin’s contributions to education in Arkansas. ALL ARE WELCOMED. Joseph Carter Corbin (1833-1911) American Educator of African American heritage, Journalist, Mathematician, Scholar, Linguist, Musician. He was born free in Ohio to formerly enslaved parents, William and Susan Corbin, from Virginia. He became one of the most educated men of his day, earning an A.B. degree and two masters degrees from Ohio University at Athens. During Reconstruction following the Civil War, Professor Corbin migrated to Arkansas and in 1872 was elected Arkansas Superintendent of Public Instruction. Recognizing the need for teachers for the 115,000 “freedmen,” he help lay the foundation for a public teacher’s college for “the poorer class” that would become Branch Normal College of the Arkansas industrial University, now the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Branch Normal College, chartered in 1873, is the predecessor of A.M.& N. College, and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Professor Corbin opened Branch Normal College on September 27, 1875 with seven elementary students. During his 27 years tenure as founder and president, he produced the first African Americans in Arkansas with Artium Baccalaureus (A.B.) degrees. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is the second oldest public institution of higher education in the state. It is an 1890 Land Grant HBCU and serves a diverse student population which it prepares for careers that serve the nation. It contributes greatly to the economy of Pine Bluff.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Social Work and Economics

This article was a draft I recently found while going through old papers, a task engaged in during this Pandemic time. The article, “Economics and social work: a neglected relationship” by Alfred N. Page (January, 1977) provides an opportunity for social workers to reflect, and hopefully, consider the relationship of the discipline of economics to the profession of social work. I do think that Professor Page understates the case in that a relationship does exist at present. The problem is that social workers very often choose to ignore the relationship. This causes a disadvantage to the social work profession because the economists are very much aware of the relationship. One problem that Professor Page does not bring out clearly is that social work tends to be an “action” or problem solving direct service profession based upon value theory, while much of economic practice is based upon “empirical theory.” This causes the most common “clash” between the disciplines, with the social work discipline being the loser. Social work loses because economists do have values and these values are more than in pecuniary terms. More often their values are in political terms. Herein lies the real problem! Economists are more often the formulators of social policy than social workers. They do this because economists of nearly every political persuasion are political activists. The discipline allows them to operate from a research and theoretical base to influence business and government. It is significant that in the Carter Administration, Messrs. Bluementahl Treasury), Harold Brown (Defense), Marshall (Labor), Mrs. Krebs (Commerce), Schultze (Council of Economic Advisors), and Schlesinger (Energy) are economists. This trend has been consistent from the Administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt with the exception of the Nixon and Ford years. Professor Page’s contention is that “an inherent relationship between social work and economics” is much stronger than it appears on the surface.” This should have special consideration for social work administrators and social work practitioners. To be effective as policy makers, for example, requires social workers to be cognizant of the laws of economics, particularly in regards to resources. Very often social workers have the reputation of not being attentive to details of economic scarcity. This is further intriguing because social work has a set of values that purport to be the foundation for the profession. Just to deal with the values as summarized by Page (there are others, of course) without dealing with attendant costs and economic public policy, social workers are required to work in a vacuum, or at least try to go down the river in a boat without a paddle. The social work caseworker, for example, may find on occasions, unnecessary advocacy is being performed. This is usually “written off” as having to “buck the system.” Usually what has occurred is that the social worker is running into a conflict with economic policy established at another level because the “values” of the social worker and the client differ from the “values” of the policy maker who in turn is relying on an economic principle. I do believe that Professor page inadvertently misleads in his appraisal of economists John Kenneth Galbraith and Kenneth Boulding when he note that “what social workers do not realize is the work of these authors is not respected by a majority of the economic profession.” On the contrary, Galbraith and Boulding are two of the dominant economists in the American Economic Association, American Economic Review, Omicron Delta Epsilon, (the International) Honor Society in Economics), and the American Economists. Certainly, they are read by all economists and allied professionals. What probably would be correct to say is that Galbraith and Boulding do not represent the majority of current economic thinking among economists, but even this may be contradictory because both hold office in the above mentioned organizations, having been elected by their peers.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Notable University of Arkansas At Pine Bluff Graduates

Wiley A. Branton, Civil Rights Attorney, Danny K. Davis, Congressional Representative, IL-7 District, Amanda Davis, Missionary to Liberia, 1898, Lawrence A. Davis, Sr., Educator, Lawrence A. Davis, Jr., Educator, Jeff Donaldson, Artist, L.C. Greenwood, American Football Player, Dorothy McFadden Hoover, Physicist and Mathematician (NASA), John Gray Lucas, Attorney, James “Jimmy” McKissic, Musician, International Pianist, Samuel Massie, Jr., Chemist, Ray Jean Jordan Montague, Naval Engineer, Charlie Nelms, Educator, Smokie Norful, Gospel Singer and Pianist, Dr. Samuel Koontz, Surgeon-Kidney Transplant Pioneer, Pearlie Sylvester Reed, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, John W. Walker, Civil Rights Attorney, Henry Wilkins, III, Arkansas Legislator, Josetta Wilkins, Educator and Arkansas Legislator, Jean Edwards, Arkansas Legislator, Gerald L. Robinson, Judge, Jefferson County, Arkansas Shirley M. Washington, Mayor, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Opinion and Thoughts About U.S. Reparation for Slavery By Dr. Gladys Turner Finney
Reparation simply is a redress against a past wrong, grievance, injustice. The redress may be an acknowledgement, apology, monetary compensation to the victims, or other socio-economic benefits. The idea of reparation for slavery is not new. It dates back to Emancipation when the “freedmen” expected “forty acres and a mule” to help them make the transition from enslaved people to freedom which never materialized. Had Thaddeus Stevens prevailed there would have been a different outcome. I have a say-so on the matter. I am a descendant of slaves in the United States, the third generation post slavery. It may be controversial, non-scientific but so are other voices. I am “African-American” by DNA, history, and culture. The Grievance as I see it: For 246 years, 1619-1865, the United States engaged in the most barbaric slavery in world history that legalized Africans and their descendants as chattel property. It has failed to fully acknowledge or apologize for its complicity in a crime against humanity. The United States, its “white citizens” prospered from free labor which has never been compensated. My argument is the institution of slavery, Jim Crow, de jure and de facto discrimination, bred institutional-structural racism and some of the resulting consequences affecting present day African-Americans are generational poverty, the wealth gap with “white Americans,” and other disparities. Slavery in the United States created a hybrid people, no longer Africans. These enslaved people were never allowed to assimilate as “Americans,” with resulting effects on self-consciousness as reflected in the research studies of psychologists, Dr. Kenneth B. Clark and Dr. Dr. Mamie Phipps Clark. I do not support the counter arguments against reparation by those who oppose reparation 1. Slavery has no lasting effects on present day descendants of slaves. 2. The issue of reparation is divisive, polarizing: Citizens who were never slave holders should not be forced through the government to compensate descendants who were never slaves. 3. Racism is not responsible for African-Americans to be twice as likely to live below the poverty line than “white Americans.” But “lack of responsibility, sinful/immoral behaviors, they don’t work hard enough, don’t marry, have babies outside of wedlock.” 4. The government would not know who to compensate. There is no historical data base of United States slave descendants. I reject the counter argument and narrative that slavery, and ongoing racism do not affect the economic welfare of “African Americans” as a group. I reject the idea of “blaming the victims.” Or the idea reparation is not necessary because some African-Americans have done exceptional well against the odds. The debt still need to be paid. I partially agree the government would not know who to compensate. My slave ancestors did not come as immigrants through Ellis Island, but in shackles on slave ships. There is no historical data base. Not surprising! My people were considered non- human beings but property. But there is the possibility of extrapolation and census records. How does anyone know how I have been affected or anyone like me who cannot trace their ancestors back to their homeland because they were stripped of their name, identity, their heritage? I do not remember anyone asking or anyone caring. There is a lot of denial in the United States. Denial of racism, Denial of “white privilege.” Expectation when you African- American that the “auto back wheels should catch up with the auto front wheels.” Denial that regardless of education or profession African-Americans make less than their white peers. Denial of how government programs after World War II enabled the development of the “white middle class, such as the GI BILL and FHA which often discriminated against African-Americans. The Redress: 1. Passage of HR 40 for a Federal Commission to explore reparations for descendants of U.S. Slavery is the first step. 2. Acknowledgement and apology for U.S. complicity in the Transatlantic-Atlantic slave trade. 3. An accurate rewriting of history of slavery in the United States and dissemination. And re- education of current day population about slavery and Jim Crow. 4. Collective monetary compensation paid to Historical Black Colleges and Universities, and expanded STEM Programs. On August 11, 2002, I attended the Reparation Rally in Washington, D.C. I applaud the late Congressman John Conyers Jr., Representative Shelia Jackson Lee and others who have continued to work for reparative justice.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Joseph Carter Corbin Memorial Scholarship-The Ohio University Foundation

The Joseph Carter Corbin Memorial Scholarship at Ohio University was established to honor the life and work of Dr. Joseph Carter Corbin, a distinguished alumnus of Ohio University during the mid 19th century, born in Chillicothe, Ohio to former enslaved parents. Dr. Corbin is the founder of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the father of higher education for African-Americans in Arkansas. He was the first African-American to be elected Superintendent of Education in the state of Arkansas during the Reconstruction Period. The scholarship, established by Dr. Gladys Turner Finney in 2015, will assist students in the College of Arts and Sciences. A tax-deductible donation may be given on line at: Click on 'give now.' There is a button that says 'I want to support.' Scroll down to 'College of Arts and Sciences. Click 'Select Fund Designation.' Scroll down to Joseph Carter Corbin Scholarship. By Mail: The Ohio University Foundation, P. O. Box 869, Athens, Ohio 45401-9917 (Joseph Carter Corbin Scholarship in check memo). More information Joseph Carter Corbin:http//

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Stolen Congressional Election (1888 Plumerville, Arkansas) Leads to Unsolved Murder of John Middleton Clayton

Political violence, suppression of African-American vote to gain/retain political office and power has long roots in U.S. History. Kenneth C. Barnes describes political violence as "the illegal use of force to keep or increase one's power." Case in point, the Election of 1888 in Plumerville, Conway County, Arkansas. Armed, masked white men intimidated voters and "stole at gunpoint the Plumerville ballot box, which contained the majority of the county's Black Republicians vote." John Middleton Clayton, a Republican politician/legislator from Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), who had migrated to the state from Pennsylvania during Reconstruction ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives against incumbent, Clifton R. Breckinridge, a Democrat. Clayton lost the electon by a narrow margin, contested the election and went to Plumerville to investigate. On the evening of January 29, 1889 he was was assassinated at a local boarding house. After state and federal investigations, Clayton was declared the winner of the election. John Middleton Clayton was the brother of Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator, Powell Clayton. He represented Jefferson County Arkansas from 1871-1873 in the Arkansas House of Representatives and State Senate. He also held the position of sheriff in Jefferson County. He was a contemorary of Joseph Carter Corbin, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, elected in 1872 and President of the Board of Trustees of Arkansas Industrial University, now the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. They were members of the same political party. Some sources suggest they were friends. John Middleton Clayton served on the first Board of Trustees of Arkansas Industrial University when it was charted in 1871. Senator John Middleton Clayton authored the bill in the Arkansas Senate (1873) that authorized the Arkansas Industrial University to establish Branch Normal College under the care and management of the Board of Trustees. Joseph Carter Corbin opened Branch Normal College, now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, on September 27, 1875 in Pine Bluff with seven students. Sources: Who Killed John Clayton? by Kenneth Barnes Encyclopedia of Arkansas Wikipedia Joseph Carter Corbin, Educator Extroardinaire by Gladys Turner Finney

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Oral History Project Midwives of Lincoln County, Arkansas

By Gladys Turner Finney

Mary Hill, Grady
Mamie Freeman, Grady
Ellie York, Yorktown
Carrie Berry, delivered Ora Dean White Donaldson
Mary Whitfield
Hester Collins, delivered Gladys Turner Finney
Mrs. Lewis