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AfriGeneas Schools, Organizations, Churches and Institutions Forum

Dr. Mary Harden Umolu: Herbert Pope's niece
In Response To: Research Results? ()

Dr Mary Umolu - a summum bonum

By Jean H Charles
New York, October 3, 2007: Aristotle, in his book on Ethics has described the summum bonum person has someone who has achieved the highest command of individual, social and spiritual virtues. Dr. Mary Umolu who passed away on September 25 2007 in New York has achieved that distinction.

I came in contact with Dr Umolu during the eighties, when Wilson Desir, the late Haitian Consul in New York, a Haitian Spartacus, and I, as well as many others were advocating against the military regimes that followed the departure of the Duvaliers. Dr Umolu opened the door of the radio station of Medgars Evers College for the Haitians to rally and to encourage their compatriots to support the struggle at home for the advent of true democracy.

|I found out later, that Dr Umolu was opening the doors for the people from Biafra, Nigeria, from Kosovo, from Greece, from the South of the United States; indeed she was giving a voice to all the voiceless of this world in order to create a more perfect universe where all the children of God would receive the benefits of education, of self determination and of personal growth.

Dr Umolu was the product of a Southern and of a Caribbean heritage (Jamaica); born in Virginia she came to New York at an early age. She studied at Brooklyn College and at Union University in Cincinnati where she received her doctorate. To introduce herself to the world, she went to Haiti, where she taught English, and she went to Nigeria, where she constructed the Eastern Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation, espousing the Biafra cause for self-governance.

A Professor at Medgar Evers College since 1972, Professor Umolu became the mother of not only the College, but she became the mother of all the people of Brooklyn. She transformed the radio station of the college into a major community radio that introduced calypso music, Creole cadence and reggae sounds to the whole Northeast of the United States.

Credit should be given to the President of the College, Dr Edison O. Jackson who provided to Dr Omulu with all the space (sometimes more) and the resources to serve all the constituencies that she kept adopting in the wide circle of " huddled masses yearning to breath free".

Dr Omulu, always in her African attire, was a lover of jazz music, of the sounds of drums and of story telling. She personified the soul of Africa, distilling the sweet taste of the motherland to all the children of the world, white or black.
At the viewing ceremony, the President of the College, upon the demand of her students, has agreed to recommend the naming of the Department of Communication in the name of Dr Omulu.

My request has the signature of a larger impact for a wider audience. I travel often to Atlanta to participate to the parent involvement sessions at Morehouse College, where my son is attending as a junior student. I have found Morehouse College a perfect institution for the upbringing of a young black man. Akin to City College that, a century ago, took in the Jews that could not attend Harvard College and transform them into the captains of industries all over the world, I dream of a Medgar Evers College transforming itself into a Morehouse of the North, strengthening the scholarship and the character of the black students from the South, and from Jamaica, from Haiti and from Trinidad, from Africa and from Guyana.

Dr Omulu would be satisfied in her grave with that vision. She will be cherished in the motherland by the natives and by the returnees, in particular by all those who now speak with authority because she has opened the door to teach them how to speak.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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