Tag Archives: Bill Coleman

February is Black History Month: The Worcester Citizens of Color Honor Roll Monument🇺🇸

By William S. Colman lll

image
Longtime Worcester political and community activist Bill Coleman, seated right, today! Photo: Bill Coleman

20170815_140928[2352]
Adding names to the Honor Roll … pic: B.C.

The Worcester Citizens of Color Honor Roll Monument that is at the intersection of Belmont Street and Lincoln Street, across from the Worcester Police Station, is there to honor the service of Worcester citizens of color, who in 1941, enlisted in the United States Military Services – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines – to fight for our country at the beginning of World War II.

The establishment of this Honor Roll came after our citizen soldiers were not able to march both white and black to Union Station to go off to bootcamp to prepare for serving the United States of America back in the early 1940s. All armed services were segregated, and black soldiers were told they could not march with the white soldiers. That’s just the way it was, and they would have to wait another day or hours after the white soldiers hit march to go off to Union Station.

DSCF6090
Worcester built and erected a new monument a few years ago. The ceremony … pics: Ron O.

The colored citizens of Worcester Honor Roll Momument stood from 1942 until 1958, when it was removed along with other monuments that were in the path of the construction of the Route 290 highway in Worcester.

DSCF6082-1
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

In 1958 it was promised that when Route 290 was completed, all monuments were going to be re-established and put up. All the monuments were – except for the one that honored the Worcester citizens of color. It was told to our black community that it was placed in storage in 1961.

DSCF6069
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

Some in the Worcester community remember seeing it be put into a dumpster and being hauled away, never to be seen again.

Screenshot_2019-07-27-09-39-52[621]
Bill Coleman’s cover story for us – many years ago!♥️♥️♥️

In 1976, I worked in Washington DC as a legislative aide to Mass United States Senator Edward W. Brooke, the first African American elected by popular vote to the United States Senate.

Being from Worcester and on an internship from my studies at Worcester State College, Senator Brooke gave me a letter of introduction and sent me to meet with Worcester city officials and clergy from Worcester’s Black churches to dicuss and report back on the status of the missing monument.

image
Bill and US Senator Brooke

Back in 1976 more than 70 members whose names were on the Honor Roll shared their storis of pride they felt for our communities of color.

There was never much of a rallying cry from the Black church and the community to find the Honor Roll. This was the 1960s, and around the country we had the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, the Women’s Movement and a City that did not see the issues of our Black community as a priority, as shared with me by church and black community leaders.

image
Reaching out to our vets. Pic: BC

I met with the then Worcester City Manager Francis R. McGrath and presented him with my letter of introduction from Senator Brooke requesting a formal investigation into the missing Colored Citizens Honor Roll. The city manager responded that he would look into it and get back to Senator Brooke … . My time as an aide to Senator Brooke ended in 1978, and I returned to Worcester to complete my studies at Worcester State College.

I would meet with World War II Black Veterans who would say to me: What ever happened to the Honor Roll? I would respond that the City of Worcester is still looking for it!

DSCF6060
The ceremony: the NEW monument was designed and built by Worcester Technical High School students

DSCF6084-1
Some of our military veterans lived to see the day when we rebuilt and rededicated the Honor Roll monument!

Through many City Councils and City Managers I would file petitions and speak in Black churches asking for help – over 40 years! – for the re-establishment of the Honor Roll.

It was not until I filed a petition in 2015 that the community and our present day city manager, Edward M. Agustus Jr., took note. Augustus said: I want to help. Along with City Councilor Morris “Moe” Bergman and the support of veterans from across Worcester County the monument was rebuilt – the story was told!

Bill and James Vets Homor Roll 4-28-16(2)-1
Bill and US VETERAN JAMES BOND at a City meeting to rebuild the Honor Roll Monument

DSCF6066
The city celebrated!

Then the Central Mass AFL-CIO committed to funding the project for replacing what was once put up. The AFL-CIO conditioned that the students of Worcester Technical High School be a major part of this project. So, after nearly 60 years of the Colored Citizens of Worcester Honor Roll gone missing, the City of Worcester, on December 7, 2017, unvailed a new Worcester Citizens of Color Honor Roll. The ceremony is availible to see on the city’s video website.

Recently, a suggestion has been made to add the names of our Black Veterans who were not on the original Honor Roll – to give them the respect they deserve for their service to our Country.

I say YES to this idea!
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

♥️🎵♥️🎶Chaka Khan🇺🇸🇺🇸:

🎶🎶🎶:

VOTE today, Sept. 10! Worcester polls open until 8 p! … + … We forgot to endorse JOE and BILL 🇺🇸🇺🇸!

Wow. How could we have forgotten about Bill Coleman and our very own mayor – Joseph Petty – when we posted our political endorsements yesterday?

This morning we woke up …
IMG_20190910_073920741
… and remembered! pic: R.T.

So:

VOTE FOR JOSEPH PETTY – our mayor and city healer: the politician who brings us all together, a man WHO IS FOR ALL OF US – Woo’s poor city kids, bike riders, school teachers, cops, environmentalists, small biz folks, the Paw Sox and their gentrifier boosters, the comfy, entitled middle class West Siders, the struggling Green Islanders …

The city is doing well on so many levels because we have a mayor that – unlike former Woo mayors Ray Mariano and Jordan Levy – doesn’t suck up all the oxygen in a room. Doesn’t have a big fat mouth like they did. Or a HUGE EGO. Or fight Konnie Luke’s proposals at every turn. Or hold grudges. Or get vindictive. Or stay provincial. Nope. Mayor Joseph Petty, who’s seeking re-election as councilor and mayor, just quietly brings people together – to build a better Worcester. And he’s not bizarrely ambitious like Tim Murray, now screwing the working guy and gal as executive director of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. Nope. Joe wants everyone to WORK TOGETHER. For the benefit of our youth, our homeless folks, our minority WPS students, our city parks …

Joe’s a good person. Thoughtful. Easy to talk with. And he follows through.

VOTE FOR JOSEPH PETTY – CITY COUNCILOR AT LARGE. Mayor in November.

DSCF7447[494]
Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty at Worcester’s WPD Night Out in Main South. file photo: Ron O’Clair

🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

VOTE FOR BILL COLEMAN!!

Yes, we know: This perennial city council candidate promised – like ol’ Gary Rosen – that he wouldn’t run for POLITICAL office again – that he’d hang up his VOTE BILL COLEMAN signs🇺🇸 for good. That he’d be the political elder statesman we hoped he’d become – advising young pols just coming up…

BUT NO…BILL, LIKE LEVY AND MARIANO, LOVES THE LIMELIGHT.

So, what the hell … VOTE FOR BILL COLEMAN, CITY COUNCILOR AT LARGE!

What has the City got to lose? Is D 3 City Councilor George Russell any more intelligent or impressive? What has LONGTIME political everything Gary Rosen done on our City Council these past two years? Not much. Kate Toomey? Loved by the WFD and WPD … but why???? Equally unimpressive.

William (Bill) Coleman IS A GOOD GUY WHO ACTUALLY DOES LOTS OF HANDS ON stuff for WORCESTER’S folks. He was a nutrition teacher for UMass Extension for many years – working with and running classes for our WPS students. And other city kids.

He’s painted American Flags 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 all over Worcester – and the East Coast.

He’s easy to talk with. He tries to help.

He gets involved with city projects, like our Lincoln Square monument to WORCESTER’S Fallen Black Soldiers …

He attends Worcester City Council meetings – often floating GREAT IDEAS. But sometimes there’s little follow through… Bill’s onto the next GRAND WORCESTER IDEA!

Billy knows all the Woo players. They’ve given him the cold shoulder for years! This is WRONG. Bill lives and loves WORCESTER, but our movers and shakers have frozen him out – like they have many Woo minorites through the years. Hopefully, city politics is changing – for the better.

Bill knows Worcester history. He is fascinated by our political past – not depressed like so many of us! He’s an optimist! That is a good thing!!

Here he is, years ago, putting up shelves in my first Woo apartment:
IMG_20190910_103856885
Billy!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 file pic: Rose T.

Billy worked hours that day – so nice to my dog Grace. So enthusiastic for the new InCity Times! He brought the 20 or so shelves and braces, and with his electric drill created a newspaper “morgue” in my spare bedroom.

I never forgot that – and his other favors through the years.

BILL HAS HELPED so many folks in Worcester! He deserves to be elected to city council to serve the City he loves!

VOTE 🇺🇸 WILLIAM COLEMAN III – CITY COUNCILOR AT LARGE!

– Rosalie Tirella

Worcester Community happenings!!

TONIGHT! WORCESTER NAACP meeting!!!

6:30 p.m.
YWCA, Salem Sq. (across from the main library)

Greetings,

Summer break is over for the Worcester NAACP, but the work never stops! Although we suspended our meetings for the month of August, many of our members have been hard at work advancing the cause of social justice and equity.

This month’s agenda will touch upon the work we are doing in the areas of economic development, education, health, energy, unity and honoring our veterans.

Please join us at our next meeting to see what we are doing and how you can make a difference in Worcester. Join the NAACP!

Below is the agenda for the meeting:

Colored Citizens of Worcester Honor Roll monument – Bill Coleman, Member at Large
Report back on progress and community concerns

Faith in Worcester Day of Prayer – Dr. George Yancey, 1st VP, Religious Affairs Chair

Update on Event schedule for Tues., September 27th @ 5:30pm, in front of City Hall

Prostate Cancer Awareness – Dr. Faina Shtern

Presentation to determine our interest in hosting a Prostate Cancer Awareness Event

Worcester Community Labor Coalition – Leonard Cooper, 3rd VP, Economic Development Chair

Report back on the Worcester Jobs Funds (Pre-Apprentice and Apprentice Training Programs) Graduates

TIF Policy – Report Back on efforts to increase the minority/women and low income percentages for Worcester residents hired on permanent jobs

Leadership Training: ESSA (Every Student Suceeds Act), Energy Leadership
Training Summary by attendees (Penny Mikunas, Education Co-Chair, Yvonne Brown, Secretary)

NAACP New England Area Conference Annual Meeting
Friday Sept. 23rd – Sunday Sept. 25th

Finalizing list of interested participants & voting for delegates
Upcoming Worcester NAACP elections

Thank you and hope to see you tonight!

Pat Yancey

**********

And…TODAY!!!

Farmers Market 1-1-1

20160812_130833-1

20160815_190238

******

ON WEDNESDAY! FOR KIDS! FREE!!!

image004

(Tweaked! Again! Sorry!) … Just one question for Worcester’s city council and city manager …

20160712_160710-1
There’s plenty of room on our Common for Worcester’s planned memorial to our city’s fallen African American W W II soldiers. Right here, for instance – the Franklin Street side of City Hall.        pics: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

… Why is Worcester’s planned memorial to our fallen African American W W II soldiers being erected at the Worcester Police Station?

Why not put the statue honoring our Black soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice right where it belongs? On the Worcester Common, along with all the other statues honoring Worcester’s fallen heroes?

There’s a slew of them on our Common –  in the middle of our soon-to-be revitalized downtown! Around and behind Worcester City Hall … they adorn the grass and trees that surround them even as we try (at least on holidays) to adorn them – lay wreaths braided with flowers or pine at their feet. We walk or drive by the stone and iron soldiers if we work in or visit the heart of our city. They make you think … put aside your work, dining, shopping obsessions for a few fleeting seconds to see something greater – a person’s life story, a city’s story, world history. The stone and iron soldiers come alive!

You can even build the new memorial to our Black WW II soldiers next to our John Power WW II monument that stands right outside our City Hall. The monument to our Black WW II heroes –  it was called the “Colored Citizens World War II Honor Roll Memorial” –  was once located in our African American Laurel-Clayton neighborhood but disappeared, along with the neighborhood!, when the interstate highway was built.  John Power is STILL with us – standing guard by Worcester City Hall (see my photo, above). So, truth be told, we will be building a new monument because we lost, destroyed, the old one! How can you “lose” a monument? What does that “loss” say about our city a few decades ago? Back then, how sacred to our city fathers were the memories of these dead African American soldiers – Black men from Laurel-Clayton, from Worcester?

Not very sacred at all.

Hell! There’s room for a tank or a couple of Jeeps to the right of the John Power statue. There John stands as the hip students walk by to get to their recently built dorms on Franklin Street …

20160712_160646(1)-1

Soldier Power doesnt look hip at all! He looks like your average WW II grunt – ditch digger, mucking around in stinking trenches with penecillin pills, canned spam in his knap sack  –  but a KILLER too. Make no mistake! See the rifle slung over Power’s right shoulder and the long dagger in his left hand? He’s clutching the dagger ready for the fight – hand to hand combat – to the death probably. How can any city deprive a Black soldier, who fought the same fight, the honor we’ve bestowed on John Power? Power’s helmet is on askew cuz he’s in battle. He looks Irish – and a little cockey. Why can’t we humanize our dead African American soldiers this lovingly?

Why can’t Worcester’s Black community have the same thing? A touching yet tough depiction of men in war in stone?

Why stick our Black soldiers at the bottom of Bell Hill, at the Worcester police station, in the middle of a 20-way intersection, surrounded by ugly concrete (we’re talking the police station, too!) – a place where few will visit, stop to honor these men, think about them? A place where drug dealers, robbers, rapists and killers are flung?

Yes, the police station is a stone’s throw from the old Laurel-Clayton neighborhood, razed and replaced by the Plumley Village low-income public housing complex, home to many people of color – Blacks, included. Why not – I’m certain residents would be honored -put the monument there? It would be back at its real home. Placed before the entrance way to the buildings and high rise, lots of folks would stop and pay their respects.

Or is that the point? The intention (maybe subconscious) of Worcester City Leaders? To keep the monument to our fallen Black WW II Soldiers out of the public eye –  especially out of reach of the African American community?

And something else…to stop it from being a focal point, a symbol, a place for Blacks to gather, to remember, to rally, to teach … to protest. So often people come to their city or town common to express views, speech-ify … Protest! It’s been happening as long as there have been places where people chose to live together. A kind of gathering at the communal fire place! In America we’ve been doing it ever since our forefathers and mothers sailed into Plymouth Rock!

It’s happening still. All over. Especially with Black Lives Matter and, before that, Occupy Wall Street. It’s happening in Worcester. Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus has come down brutally hard on the BLM movement/rallies here, just as his predecessor City Manager I HATE ALL POOR RESIDENTS Mike O’Brien was hard with Occupy Wall Street protesters – refusing to meet with them, making sure they were off THEIR Worcester Common!

Would city leaders want a Black Lives Matter march to end at the “Colored Citizens World War II Honor Roll Memorial” on the Worcester Common? Would they want to see anyone give witness to pain, anger, racial discrimination in Worcester, “a city on the move”? Would they want a large crowd of folks agitating for change? In the middle of downtown?

Nope.

Is this what John Power died for?

*******

(P.S. Don’t let this happen, Bill Coleman and James Bonds!)

Worcester makes progress on Honor Roll of WW II Vets of Color

Bill and James Vets Homor Roll 4-28-16(2)-1
James Bonds and Bill Coleman at the WW II Vets of Color Honor Roll meeting. Make it happen, people! photo submitted.

By Gordon Davis
 
Actions speak louder than words and good actions have good effects. The City of Worcester, organized labor, the Department of Transportation and the Worcester Public Schools have acted in a good and anti-racist manner. They and other are cooperating to ensure the restoration of the “Honor Roll of Colored Veterans.”

The Honor Roll was a monument listing of the Black veterans who were in the military during World War II. It was removed by the State during the 1950s and seemingly lost forever.

Other ethnic and racial communities rightly have monuments. Recently, some in the Worcester Irish community honored the Easter Uprising by the Irish Republican Army against British rule in 1916. This was done at the Hibernian Cross at Worcester City Hall.

The efforts to replace the Black vets Honor Roll has been led by James Bond, a commander of a Veteran of Foreign Wars post and by Bill Coleman, a long time Worcester community activist and city booster.
 
In the Black community there is some anxiety about whether the Honor Roll would be replaced. It was only a week or so ago that a Worcester City Councilor Konnie Lukes attacked Bill Coleman for bothering the Worcester City Council with his petitions. City Councilor Michael T. Gaffney has made it his misguided mission to close a Black-run social agency among his other actions that some say are racist.

To be fair this project was approved unanimously, including votes by Councillors Lukes and Gaffney.

Councilor Morris “Moe” Bergman has worked on the planning and supported the project. He also supported the placement of a plaque honoring Worcester’s first Black City Councilor – Charles Scott.

The City of Worcester will help pay for the new Honor Roll, as well as allow it to be placed on a triangular plot near the Worcester Police Station. The land is on Belmont Street. 

This is sort of a disappointment, as the original proposal was to put the Honor Roll at Worcester City Hall where it could be more easily seen.
 
Students from Worcester Technical High School will donate labor and build the Honor Roll.

The Central Mass. Labor Council, headed by Joseph Carlson, will help pay for the monument and donate the materials. The Department of Transportation will also contribute to the funding.
 
Hopefully, this will be a good sign for race relations in Worcester, which have suffered several hits in recent years. The City forced former Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone out of her job … the political retaliations against Blacklives Matter … and the intransigence regarding Worcester police accountability have left a bad taste and ill feelings for many.

I am thankful for the efforts of Messrs. Bonds and Coleman. I am thankful for the support of the City of Worcester, the State, organized labor and our techical high school students. I know that all are sincere and generous and working for a better society.

The next test for us is harder: There are real problems that have disparately bad impacts on the Black community and other communities of color or communities of low-income.

The replacement of the Honor Roll is a good thing in and of itself. Is it also a harbinger of better race relations.

Gordy parked in Yum Yums! … Worcester’s Lost Colored Soldiers Honor Roll

S7001572
James Bonds is spearheading the effort!

By Gordon Davis

The Worester City Council voted Tuesday night to restore or replace the Honor Roll of Colored Soldiers from Worcester who served in World War II. The vote was 11-0.

In 1943, when the Honor Roll was erected, the United States Armed forces were segregated. The so called “colored” soldiers (dark-skinned soldiers) were organized into separate units from the white soldiers.  Latino soldiers were assigned units based on how light or dark their skin color was. Asian soldiers also were in separate units.

The Worcester Honor Roll was located in the Laurel Clayton section of Worcester, a neighborhood that was home to a large Black population. The neighborhood was displaced first by the building of Interstate 290 and later by the building of Plumley Village.
 
The people who lived in the Laurel Clayton neighborhood still keep in touch with each other. They used to have reunions, but the get-togethers occur less often, as the residents have aged.

Interstate 290 destroyed many neighborhoods in Worcester – including the large Jewish neighborhood around Water Street.

The restoration of the Honor Roll of Colored soldiers is important to the Black community of Worester, as the soldiers not only fought for their country against Fascism, but for their race in the constant struggle to prove equality and to gain acceptance.

Still, today the Honor Roll is a symbol of this struggle for justice and equality.

Idella Hazard, a Worcester resident whose family goes back to at least the Civil War, said at the City Council meeting that the City has accommodated the Italian community in the Shrewsbury Street area by preserving and moving – several times – the statue of Christopher Columbus. Ms. Hazard implied that not to restore the Honor Roll would be disparate treatment of Worcester’s Black community.
 
The VFW of mostly Black veterans led the process to get the Honor Roll restored. Mr. James Bonds, the VFW leader, spoke for the group at the Worcester City Council meeting. Mr. Bonds said it was an important issue for him and the Post.  Members who have long-time roots in the city like Jack Toney and others were a force.

S7001574
Community activist and Worcester booster Bill Coleman played an important role in putting the issue on the city council’s radar!

Mr. Bill Coleman played a major part as well in the publicity he gained for the restoration. The story appeared in more than 30 newspapers and on NPR.

The restoration will cost about $20,000. It was suggested that it be placed at Worcester City Hall. I would like it to be erected next to the bronze GI statute on the Franklin Street side of City Hall. Placement there would give both memorials additional meaning.

This is important to Worcester’s Black community. I know it is important to City Councilor King. It may be important to other Worcester city councilors, as well.  Maybe the 11 to 0 council vote is a sign of less racism from city government – maybe not.

But I am happy that the memorial is being given a new life.

From Worcester city council candidate Bill Coleman!

Bill Coleman Announces Non-Stop 24 hour Voter Registration Effort

IN AN EFFORT TO ENERGIZE THE ELECTION TURNOUT FOR THE SEPTEMBER 8TH PRELIMINARY ELECTION …

… AT LARGE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE WILLIAM S. COLEMAN III (BILL COLEMAN)
HAS BEEN REGISTERING PEOPLE TO VOTE SINCE HE BEGAN HIS CAMPAIGN FOR THE CITY COUNCIL.

MR. COLEMAN WILL CONTINUE HIS EFFORTS TO REGISTER PEOPLE TO VOTE ON A NONSTOP  24 HOUR BASIS UNTIL THIS WEDNESDAY AUGUST 19, 8 PM

THIS IS WHEN VOTER REGISTRATION CLOSES FOR THE SEPTEMBER 8TH  PRELIMINARY ELECTION IN THE CITY OF WORCESTER.

Mr. Coleman’s will travel around Worcester and help people fill out their voter registration forms and bring their completed forms to City Hall before the deadline.

Mr. Coleman is also providing a copy of a sample of the September Preliminary Election Ballot.

Mr. Coleman has voter registration forms in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Russian.

Call Mr. Coleman at 508 826 1307 and upon request he will deliver voter registration forms to businesses, Churches, neighborhood centers, apartment buildings and Crime Watch Groups.

The main focus is going to be coffee shops, diners, parks, shopping centers and the Worcester Bus Terminal.

With the upcoming Voter Registration Deadline fast approaching City Hall will be open until 8 PM this Wednesday for people to register to vote or to change their address.

You can also go to the Election Commission Office on the Second Floor of City Hall, to fill out an absentee ballot application and you can vote at City Hall that day for the September 8th  Preliminary Election.

If you are not sure of your voter status or to check to see if your voter location has moved, and to find out more about absentee ballot voting or voter registration, contact the Election Commission Office at Worcester City Hall, by calling 508-799-1134.

Contact:

William S. Coleman III (Bill Coleman)

508- 826-1307 (Talk or Text)

Billcoleman333@gmail.com

Worcester City Councilor at Large Candidate Bill Coleman …

IMG-20110727-01508

… sent me this photo today. It was taken five years ago by Billy, who is also a great Worcester community activist!

Cheers to Gus (owner) and all the terrific customers and staffers at his BEAUTIFUL Pickle Barrel Restaurant and Deli on 305 Pleasant St., in the heart of the BEAUTIFUL Piedmont neighborhood!

Thanks for the gift, Billy!

VOTE William “Bill” Coleman for Worcester City Council this fall!

EAT AT THE PICKLE! Read InCity Times!        – R. Tirella

Did you know???

By Bill Coleman, Worcester community activist

You cannot bring cell phones, cameras, tablets, pagers or any electronic devices into the Courthouse in downtown Worcester, north Main Street???

If you do, you will be directed to the Worcester County Sheriff’s office across the street where they will hold your gadgets for $1 per item!

So if you have to go to court, leave your stuff at home or hidden in your vehicle.

The Courthouse is a public building and the public is welcome to visit. There is a display in the entrance: African Americans and the Massachusetts Judicial System – from slavery to busing into the 1970s. The exhibit also showcases the Black Lawyer and Massachusetts history.

On the issue of school desegregation, Massachusetts had laws that supported separating students by race. In 1850, the law was challenged and the law was changed. Sadly, the law was revisited in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the city of Boston was found in violation of laws that banned discrimination in its public schools.

This exibit at the Worcester Courthouse has been up for more than a year. Please find the time to visit our history! The Courthouse is open 7 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday.