Revolutionary Paideia Person of the Month

The Revolutionary Paideia November 2011 Person of the Month: Melvin Parker, III

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia selects an individual who embodies the “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” spirit that founded this site.  In order to be selected to be a Person of the Month or Person of the Year by Revolutionary Paideia, an individual, widely known or little known, has to have and/or is making a significant contribution to humankind.  Although Revolutionary Paideia has selected well-known individuals for the Person of the Month and Person of the Year, a solemn commitment is made to honoring people who do extraordinary things but receive little to no acclaim.  The person who has been selected for the Revolutionary Paideia November 2011 Person of the Month is Melvin Parker, III.

Melvin Parker, III is a Georgia educator and counselor who works at Alcovy High School in Covington, Georgia.  Melvin has been an educator and counselor for over five years at Alcovy High School.  Mr. Parker has a serious interest in ameliorating the educational experiences and outcomes of all students, especially disadvantaged Black male students.  Extensive empirical research has evinced that Black male students at all levels of the educational pipeline academically underperform all of their peers.

From Mr. Parker’s interactions with students considered “at-risk,” and who were constantly being referred to him by administrators to develop plan of actions because of disciplinary problems, he developed an idea to construct The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club at Alcovy High School.  The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club is an organization focused on improving the behavior, academic achievement, social skills, life skills, professionalism, and potential for career success of “at-risk” male students at Alcovy High School.  Many Black male students are a part of The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club.  The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club is in its second year of existence.  This organization is an important intervention in helping at-risk male students move from a path that can lead them into serious trouble to a pipeline of career success.  Melvin is excited about the early success of the organization and looks forward to the future growth of the organization.  He has thoroughly enjoyed making a notable difference in the lives of the students he leads in this organization.

Through The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club, Mr. Parker is able to afford these young Black males an opportunity to listen to various motivational speakers, participate in sundry educational projects, go on engaging field trips, receive individual and group assistance with academic work, and much more.  On Wednesdays, students who are members of The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club have to wear dress shirts, dress pants, and ties to school for the entire school day.  This is vital in their understanding of professionalism and in their efforts to enter the workforce or college prepared to be young professionals.

Mr. Parker’s true commitment to improving the educational experiences and outcomes of Black male students throughout the educational pipeline is also reflected in his doctoral work at Northcentral University.  Melvin is a doctoral student in Northcentral University’s doctoral degree program in Exceptional Children (Special Education).  The focus of Mr. Parker’s doctoral dissertation is to find ways to better identify and serve Black male college student-athletes who have learning disabilities.  Melvin has exposed a significant gap in the published research with his work in this area of research.  His research will prove to enhance the educational experiences and outcomes of Black male college student-athletes.  At Alcovy High School, he serves as Assistant Head Track & Field Coach.  His coaching experience is, of course, giving him valuable insights for his doctoral dissertation work.

Melvin earned his master’s degree from Troy University in Post-Secondary Education with a concentration in Psychology.  He graduated with honors from Troy University with an undergraduate degree in Psychology.  Mr. Parker volunteers actively for various charitable organizations and causes.

It is with great pleasure to name a deserving man like Melvin Parker, III as The Revolutionary Paideia November 2011 Person of the Month.  Melvin, continue to do the awesome work you’re doing, and Revolutionary Paideia wants you to know that the things you’re doing are not going unnoticed. Congratulations, Melvin Parker, III!

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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The Revolutionary Paideia October 2011 Person of the Month: Tony La Russa

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia recognizes one person who embodies the “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” spirit that founded this site.  Tony La Russa, the Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, has been selected as the Revolutionary Paideia October 2011 Person of the Month.  Under the great leadership of Tony La Russa, the St. Louis Cardinals won the 2011 World Series.  At no point in the season was this team considered to be the favorites to win the World Series.  For many baseball fans, they found it would be difficult for the St. Louis Cardinals to even make the playoffs.  Indeed, it was a challenge for the Cardinals to make the playoffs but they did.  Although much of the credit will go to the players, and the players are well-deserving of much of the credit for winning the World Series, of course, the significant role Tony La Russa played in helping the team to achieve victory in the World Series should not be overlooked.  Without the excellent managing of the pitching staff and the batting lineups throughout the regular season and World Series, the Cardinals would not have even had an opportunity to win the World Series.

Tony La Russa is the only Major League Baseball (MLB) Manager to retire after winning a World Series.  More people, however, need to learn how to stop doing the great things they do while they are still great at doing them.  One of the best times to stop doing what you have been doing for so long is when you’re at your greatest at what you are doing.  Don’t wait until you become horrible at what you do before you stop doing it.

Tony La Russa has been a MLB Manager for well over 30 seasons.  He has won three World Series as a MLB Manager.  He revolutionized the use of the closing pitcher (“the closer”).  La Russa should be applauded for his tremendous accomplishments and commitment to excellence for well over 30 seasons in MLB.

For those of us who love MLB, we can appreciate watching Tony La Russa manage his teams like no other Manager has been able to do.  What has really been amazing about his success with the St. Louis Cardinals is his team has never been considered the best team in MLB.  However, he has led the St. Louis Cardinals to two World Championships.

The St. Louis Cardinals will have a difficult time replacing Tony La Russa.  True baseball fans will miss him.  Without question, Tony La Russa provided us with a positive example of how to be a successful MLB Manager and how to do it with class.

It is with great pleasure to name Tony La Russa the Revolutionary Paideia October 2011 Person of the Month.

Best wishes!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Revolutionary Paideia January 2011 Person of the Month: Kelley Williams-Bolar

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia selects a person who “unsettles, unnerves, and unhouses” us in meaningful and positive ways. Kelley Williams-Bolar has been selected as The Revolutionary Paideia January 2011 Person of the Month. She is a Black mother who was sentenced to 10 days in jail and two years of probation in Ohio for sending her children to a school district that they supposedly did not live in. This woman is a heroine! She refused to allow her children to stay trapped in a failing school district. She was not willing to allow her children to continue to be victimized by egregiously underfunded schools and by serious educational inequities. Kelley Williams-Bolar was not simply willing to sit back and complain like many other people about social and educational inequities—she went out and attempted to create the change that she wanted to see. Many timorous and comfortable Americans can learn from the great example of Williams-Bolar. This woman is not a criminal—she’s a heroine.

One of the great promises of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) was to provide all students with educational equity. Unfortunately, many Black students are still in schools that are really not any better than those Black students were situated in during Jim Crow. Conservatives, liberals, and moderates should all be in the business of championing true educational equity for all students. One of the best ways to continue to progress America towards its optimal greatness is to ensure that all students have access to a truly quality education. Kelley Williams-Bolar saw that there was a school district available that could offer her children a quality education, and she resolved that she was going to give her children access to schools that can truly educate them. If this means that this woman should be considered a “criminal,” then we need more “criminals.”

I want to applaud Williams-Bolar for having the courage to do what it took to give her children the best education possible.

Governor John Kasich, I like you very much but I want you to pardon this woman.

It is my pleasure to name Kelley Williams-Bolar as The Revolutionary Paideia January 2011 Person of the Month.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Revolutionary Paideia December 2010 Person of the Month: Michael Vick

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia selects one person who embodies the “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” spirit that founded this blog. In life, we all make mistakes and we will always make mistakes as long as we live. When we make mistakes, we have to learn from them and recover from those mistakes better than ever. Michael Vick, the former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons and current quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, has learned from his mistakes and has a truly powerful comeback success story. Michael Vick went to prison and served his time for dog fighting. Since he has been released from prison for dog fighting, he has worked with animal rights groups and has educated young children about the importance of treating animals properly, drawing from the lessons of his own experiences. Michael Vick has not allowed his past mistakes to keep him from being a successful quarterback in the National Football League (NFL).

Although the NFL will probably award the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award to Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, because he has a better team record, what Michael Vick has been able to accomplish is certainly more impressive than what Brady has done. Michael Vick is the most exciting player in the league and makes people, even those who are not Eagles fans, want to see him play. For those who questioned whether Michael Vick could ever be a good pocket-passer, he has surpassed those expectations. Vick is making all of his haters look stupid.

For those who refuse to give Michael Vick a chance to redeem himself, I find people like you to be simply ignorant. What if people never gave you a chance to redeem yourself after the many mistakes you have made? I bet you would be very unhappy about that.

I am tremendously proud of what Michael Vick has been able to accomplish this year. He has had to combat great criticism and pressures, but this negativity has not stopped Vick from being the most electrifying player in the NFL. Vick serves an example for all people who have made serious mistakes that you can come back better than ever from those mistakes if you would only give yourself the chance. Some people want Vick to crawl into a hole and never come back, but I’m glad that he has enough inner strength to not succumb to their hateful desires.

Although I have forgiven the Atlanta Falcons and Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, for how unjustly they treated Michael Vick, I refuse to ever support the Falcons. I know that being from Georgia I should support the Falcons but I cannot bring myself to support an organization that exploited a man like Vick when the going got tough. The organization simply threw him under the bus. I cheer against the Falcons in every game that they play. I do this in honor of Michael Vick. I was so happy to see the Falcons lose at home against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. I know Vick had to smile wherever he was when the Falcons lost to the Saints (#WhoDat).

It is my pleasure to name Michael Vick The Revolutionary Paideia December 2010 Person of the Month. Revolutionary Paideia encourages Vick to continue to achieve at the highest level even in the face of great hate.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Revolutionary Paideia November 2010 Person of the Month: Bishop Paul L. Fortson

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia selects a person who embodies the “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” spirit that founded this blog. The choice this month was too simple. When you think about the month of November as a time to reflect on who and what you have to be thankful for, one of the most important people who I have to be thankful for is my pastor, Bishop Paul L. Fortson. This man is the epitome of what a holy and righteous man of  God is and should be. His love for helping hurting people “unsettles, unnerves, and unhouses” us and lets us know that it is not about our own selfish interests, but it’s about a spirit of compassion for loving and giving to others. In a time when we have questions about the salvation and leadership of certain clergymen, Bishop Fortson is one man we don’t have any questions about. His leadership is simply impeccable. At some churches, the preachers don’t have time to talk to you and even pray for you personally. Bishop Fortson always takes time to pray for you and talk to you.

While many saved and unsaved people criticize preachers about always wanting money, Bishop Fortson is not interested in getting your money. He is interested in how to get you into Heaven and into showing you how you can live a victorious and prosperous life in this present world. Soul winning is Bishop’s top priority—not money! This is why the Lord has blessed him so richly and thoroughly.

I very much appreciate Bishop’s prayers and love. Even while I’m about 15 hours away from him, he’s always praying for me. I appreciate that so deeply. Some preachers are “so deep” that you cannot talk to them, but this is not true about Bishop. He’s a person you can talk to like anyone else. He’s going to tell you what the bible says and what God spoke to him about your life, so don’t get mad when he tells you just like it is. When he tells you just like it is, he does it with love. You should appreciate his candor. We have enough preachers today who are not transparent, but we can be thankful that Bishop Paul L. Fortson is one preacher who is not going to hide anything from you.

This man of God has fed the homeless and given them shelter. We need more selfless people like him in the world. We also need more selfless preachers like him.

When it comes to how he teaches and preaches, he is going to tell you what God said without sugarcoating it. He teaches the bible in a way that adds nothing to it and takes nothing from it.

I could really go on and on about this great man of God, but time and space will not allow me. One day, I’m going to write a book about Bishop Fortson so that it will be a blessing to his members and to the world. The world needs to hear about and learn from this great man of God.

I encourage you to visit Bishop Paul L. Fortson and his lovely wife, Evangelist Carolyn C. Fortson, at Paradise Church of God in Christ at 4234 Hendrix Drive in Forest Park, Georgia. You can email me at antoniomdaniels@gmail.com for information about times and days of church services, and/or you can leave a comment on this blog for more information about church services and directions.

Again, it is with great pleasure that I name Bishop Paul L. Fortson as The Revolutionary Paideia November 2010 Person of the Month. Bishop, thank you for your love, service, commitment, leadership, and example. Revolutionary Paideia highly endorses Bishop Paul L. Fortson. God bless Bishop Paul L. Fortson, Evangelist Carolyn C. Fortson, and family!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month: Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry

Each month, Revolutionary Paideia awards a Person of the Month to someone embodying the unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing spirit that founded this blog. By winning the Person of the Month, an individual is not precluded from winning the Person of the Year award. It is with great pleasure that Revolutionary Paideia names Tyler Perry as The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month. Tyler Perry’s willingness to tackle taboo topics in the African-American community has unsettled, unnerved, and unhoused many African-Americans who have wished to bury serious discourses about issues like homosexuality that too often make many Blacks very uncomfortable. Revolutionary Paideia is proud of Tyler Perry for going public about being molested as a child by both men and a woman. I believe many Black men will now gain the courage to speak about how they have been victimized by people who have molested them as a result of Tyler Perry speaking out on this issue. America needs to engage more with serious discussions about molestation, especially African-Americans. African-Americans often want to push the issue of molestation under the rug because of the shame attached to it.

Tyler Perry has a truly moving and uniquely American story. His story is one that proves that if you are willing to fight against great challenges in your life, no matter how disquieting they may be, you can be successful in America. This Black man has been tremendously successful in a White-dominated Hollywood. People told Tyler that his style of films would never make it in Hollywood because they are too deeply connected to the Black Church and to religion in general. His critics could not have been more wrong. This year he is the second highest earner in Hollywood.

One thing that I appreciate most about Tyler Perry is his unwillingness to compromise his personal relationship with God for Hollywood’s money. Today, he has been so successful with his television show, plays, and films. In all that he has done, he has never allowed himself to get bigger than the God who put him in the position he is in today. He allows the African-American presence to be depicted in such a positive and comprehensive way in Hollywood than was previously available.

Although there are many people who do not like Perry’s style, he has refused to change his style to pacify his detractors. I have heard some horrible criticism waged against him. Spike Lee has been one of most unfair critics, but Spike Lee is just hating on Perry because he has never experienced the level of success, including financial success, that Perry has experienced. Spike Lee simply needs to step his game up. Tyler Perry’s films help to reveal some truths about Black people that Spike Lee has not been willing to explore in his work. Therefore, Mr. Spike Lee, we need Tyler Perry to do what you lack the testicular fortitude to do.

Again, it is a pleasure to name Tyler Perry as The Revolutionary Paideia October 2010 Person of the Month. Revolutionary Paideia proudly endorses Tyler Perry and his excellent body of work.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

The Revolutionary Paideia September 2010 Person of the Month: Renaldo Cortez Blocker

It is with great pleasure that I name Renaldo Cortez Blocker as The Revolutionary Paideia September 2010 Person of the Month. Renaldo’s commitment to mentoring Black males across the country is noteworthy. Revolutionary Paideia is certainly committed to improving the outcomes and experiences of Black males across the nation. As you know, a person living or dead, is given The Revolutionary Paideia Person of the Month based on his or her embodiment of the spirit of “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” that gave birth to the creation of Revolutionary Paideia. Mr. Blocker’s unwavering commitment to ameliorating Black male student achievement is a commitment shared by Revolutionary Paideia, and this acknowledgement of his noble work is a small token of appreciation.

Renaldo also embodies the spirit of “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” that founded this blog by his ability to turnaround failing programs, activities, and organizations. I have had the great fortune to work with him on a number of projects and programs, and have found his work to be exceptional. He has changed the lives of so many people and constantly makes efforts to help others to experience success. He is a devoted servant to the community and disadvantaged populations.

Mr. Blocker is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Industrial and Systems Engineering and is a Graduate Engineering Research Scholars (GERS) Fellow. Renaldo also earned a master’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a proud alum of Albany State University, where he completed his undergraduate degree with honors in Computer Science. Go Rams! Renaldo earned a master’s degree in Computer Science at San Francisco State University as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Bridge to the Doctorate LS-AMP Fellow. He has served as a Teaching Assistant at Albany State University and currently serves as one at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dominant research interest focuses on ensuring patient safety during cardiac surgery in the operating room (OR), specifically concentrating on intraoperative handoffs. I could list more things about his academic record, but this article would not do it justice given my time limitations.

As the Undergraduate Advisor of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Renaldo, an active and exemplary member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., has done a tremendously job with helping to improve the academic, professional, social, and personal development of each one of his advisees. You can see his commitment to excellence reflected in his advisees. Although I could list numerous things that make Renaldo such a great Undergraduate Advisor for the Beta Omicron Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., one of the foremost things that has stood out to me is he leads his advisees by example. He is the epitome of what a good Kappa man should be, and his advisees learn from his great example. Mr. Blocker’s advisees are proud of him and he is proud of them.

One thing many people don’t know about Renaldo is he is not someone you want to make mad. Although he is abnormally skinny (LOL!), his bite is much powerful than his physical frame would suggest. Renaldo is one tough man! As a fearless warrior myself, this is something that I can really appreciate about him.

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the city of Madison, Wisconsin, Black men do not always unite behind one another. In fact, there are some Black men at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the city of Madison, Wisconsin who would rather undermine one another than support their fellow Black men. Mr. Blocker is certainly a man of great character and committed to the success of all Black men and will never attempt to undermine anyone. He always sees the best in everyone—something that I admire about him.

Although Renaldo is not my biological brother, I consider us to be closer than most biological brothers. We consider ourselves REAL BROTHERS. Renaldo knows what true brotherhood is. Unquestionably, he is one of my two best friends.

Now, if you don’t think Renaldo is a strong person, I just have to tell you that you are so wrong. He has to deal with me all the time—you have to be extremely strong to do that.  I appreciate his unwavering support and loyalty. He is one my greatest supporters, which is not an easy thing to be, considering I am perceived by some to be such a controversial and radical person. Renaldo never allows any negative comments, attacks on my record, lies, and distortions about me to sway his support of me. He does what he can to protect my character and record—although he knows I don’t care what a hater has to say about me anyway. (I’m brushing my shoulders off right now too—LOL!)

Renaldo, your great work has not gone unnoticed.  You are a REAL ACHIEVER! You never have had to fabricate your record or make it seem like you have accomplished more than you actually have like some people do—your stellar record precedes you and speaks for itself. This is why it is not a problem for Revolutionary Paideia to endorse you and name you The Revolutionary Paideia September 2010 Person of the Month! I know my large readership will approve of my choice. Congratulations and keep up the great work!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison