A retired Hyde Park teacher Monday embraced the movement led by Spencer Leak, Sr., president/CEO of the Leak and Sons Funeral Homes, and Rabbi Capers Funnye, to bus African Americans to the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, Illinois, in an effort to teach them about how Jews have worked with Blacks during the Civil Rights Era.
Organizers of the bus trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, 9603 Woods Drive, have named the event to the museum on Saturday, February 4, the “Healing Trip.”
The bus ride is sponsored by businessman Leak, who was a driver for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and who knew many of the Jewish people who worked with him.
The Leak and Sons Funeral Homes is sponsoring the cost of the bus ride, which is $18, or free to those with a Chicago Public Library card. Visit your local public library branch for a “Kids Museum Passport,” which will cover the cost of four people for general admission to the museum, including viewing the movie, “The Green Book.”
The movie is an adaptation of a book written in the 1930s by Black postal worker Victor Green, as a travel and survival guide for African Americans traveling to the segregated South from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Charter Bus Services will board passengers for the museum trip from the Greater Bethlehem Healing Temple, 12 S. Oakley Blvd., at 9 a.m. on February 4, and at 10 a.m. the same day from the Leak and Sons Funeral Homes, 7838 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
In an interview with Reverend Dr. Paul Jakes, pastor of the New Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church, and Alice Kacherian Trent, an Armenian who was married to a Jew, she applauded the Jewish/Black educational museum trip, designed to help stop the spike in alleged anti-Semitic lies being spewed by Kanye “Ye” West and his cohorts.
“The purpose of the trip is to bring peace and healing to America because the words of a particular rapper (West) and a sports athlete (Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving) had many people very unsettled,” said Jakes. He said those who knew Dr. King and others “had worked so hard to foster peace among the community.”
Jakes said Skokie is just one wing of their mission to heal the misunderstanding between some Blacks about the Jewish participation with Blacks during the Civil Rights Era.
“We plan to also go to Washington, D.C., with African Americans and Jews to an African American Civil Rights museum and the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
“That is a part of our effort to help bring healing among the masses,” Jakes said. “This is in keeping with Dr. King’s dream of both Blacks and whites, Jews and Gentiles, embracing brotherhood.”
Jakes has been working with Leak and Rabbi Funnye, an African American rabbi, to dispel the many untruths West has been publicly saying, while associating with people like white supremacist Nick Fuentes, who said people “should stop dissing the Nazis” and lift up Adolf Hitler.
Last November, West brought Fuentes to dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. There, he praised the Nazis and Hitler. Referring to the Nazis, West said, “They did a lot of good things. We’ve got to stop dissing the Nazis all of the time.”
During the Holocaust Era, it is said that six million Jewish men, women and children were murdered by the Nazi regime, which held that Germans were “racially superior” and that Jews, were “inferior” and were in the way of their German racial community. Besides Jews, the Germans also killed Gypsies, those with disabilities, Poles, Russians, communists, socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals.
The purpose of the bus trip is to “foster healing, and provide information and education to the masses on the teamwork with the Jewish and the African American communities,” said Jakes. The trip, he added, “is to help eliminate anti-Semitism and racism in both the Jewish and the African American communities.”
“I hope that African Americans will pass the information on to the younger generations so they can understand that Jews are not our enemies and that there has been great history working together, seeking a more excellent way of both communities,” Jakes said.
“There is a great myth that Blacks and Jews can’t work together and some Jews were married to Jews,” said Jakes. Trent said, “I married a Jew. My parents were there for the slaughter of the Armenians because we were Christians. My father saw his dad get shot. They came to the door and they shot him. That’s pretty sad.”
“You know what happened to the Armenians with the Turks,” Trent said referring to the Armenian genocide and the annihilation of ethnic Armenian Christian people who lived in the Ottoman Empire from spring of 1915 through the autumn of 1916 and where at least 664,000 were murdered and possibly as many as 1.2 million. “They tried to annihilate us,” Trent said.
“I just don’t understand this racism,” said Trent who is now a widow. “I don’t understand Kanye and his anti-Semitic rhetoric. Who does he think he is? It’s important for everyone to get along. What business is it who you pray to? I just don’t understand this racism,” she said. “What gives them the right to even think they (racists) are better than anybody else? We are all from the same human race.”
“You have to educate people including what happened to the Armenians,” Trent said embracing the mission of Leak and his supporters for the bus ride to the Skokie Holocaust Museum.