Mrs. Mitchell: great fighter for freedomAmerica has lost a...

the Forum

July 13, 1992

Mrs. Mitchell: great fighter for freedom

America has lost a great freedom fighter. Juanita Jackson Mitchell passed away on July 7.

Mrs. Mitchell, who from as early as her high school days had begun rebelling against racial caste, was very much a part of the struggle against Jim Crow.

The light-complexioned Juanita and some of her friends enjoyed attacking American apartheid by putting on turbans and going to downtown Baltimore to some of the finest department stores that barred African-Americans. There they would speak French and, as expected, were welcomed as foreigners.

Mrs. Mitchell, with the support of about 200 other youths, founded the City-Wide Young People's Forum in 1931. The forum was much more than an organization of concerned young adults; it was a consciousness-raising vehicle, a movement for liberty and an inspiration to activism.

Juanita directed the NAACP's first voter registration campaign in 1942. She became the first female African-American admitted to the practice of law in Maryland and used her legal talents to desegregate every institution in the state.

She once said, "I believe that our way to a firm foundation in the economic, intellectual and social fields of America does not lie through radicalism or physical rebellion."

She believed first in God. "We must fight -- yes! But our arms must be those which I believe the Christ, who has been acclaimed the leader of all ages, would use."

We mourn the loss of Juanita Jackson Mitchell, but we can rejoice in knowing that she is in heaven with another Maryland freedom fighter, Harriet Ross Tubman.

Grason Eckel


Enough proof?

And so it is revealed, from one of the last bastions of male dominance, power and control, that once again women are not valued at the nth level of humanity.

The recent disclosure of the preponderance of "actual and attempted rape or sexual assault" in the military (July 1) is most disturbing, but not surprising. Estimates that "60,000 of the 1.2 million female veterans may have been raped or assaulted," and that "12.1 million of the 96 million women in America . .. have been victims of rape at least once in their lifetime," quoted from multiple government studies, is outrageous.

Do we actually need millions of dollars spent to study the phenomenon of male-perpetrated sexual violence toward women in this country? Is anyone really shocked at the figures considered "conservative" by Sen. Alan Cranston, chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee? It has been well-documented in countless studies and written about by our leading sociologists and psychologists; reported locally and nationally to be so pervasive as to threaten the primal safety of females of any age, and grossly witnessed in the horrific images portrayed in our media and in our daily lives. Yet, time and time again, women and little girls (and little boys) are not believed and left unprotected for continued sexual harassment, assault and abuse.

When will the time come for the outrage to be voiced by all people who consider themselves human? In this country, one thing is very clear: Women and children have little value and no voice that is heard by a male-dominated society. When will it be enough? What other statistics and estimates are necessary? What other horror stories must be told? Why is it that the same military that discharges homosexuals without incident, can protect and create a system of acceptance for men who commit the worst denigration of female soldiers? The perpetrators of these crimes are no less criminal than the civilian rapists given a life sentence for their assaults. To settle for dishonorable discharge as the outcome for these crime is to perpetuate the continuance of the "good old boy" mentality that somehow believes that dominance over females is the measure of a man.

Please, if you haven't, write your local, state and federal representatives and give voice to the outrage that must be felt and expressed in order to demand significant change.

Jean E. Cooper


Youth beware

In response to the "Bias against youth" claim and complaint by Shawn Blair (Forum, June 24), he has no one to blame except his contemporaries. Since the youth of today are completely unaware that they owe any consideration to those they would have trust them with their rental accommodations, they must suffer the backlash. It is only logical that the property owners must protect their investments.

Blanche K. Coda


Orioles numb to fan adulation and their 'gift from God'

This letter is an old complaint from a new complainer.

On June 28, I took my 11-year-old son to the Orioles store at the Inner Harbor to purchase some special stationary. He and his father were going to their first Orioles day game on July 1, and my son was certain that he would get some autographs after the game.

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