Marion…Marion Stamps

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And so we came together as a community, as we often do, and the press came to watch this community, as they often do. A community no longer defined by boundaries but by time, events and realities common to us all. And we stood and waited, anticipating the arrival of Marion(to those who knew her) and Marion Stamps (to those who did not.)

As a community, we gather together on many occasions. None of us are there all of the time. But, if there was a gathering that struck at the heart of this community, you could anticipate the arrival of Marion…Marion Stamps. If the issues were children, families, education, housing, welfare, warfare, building them up or tearing them down, she was there. Like it or not, invited or not, she was there. And even as a community, like it or not, invited or not, because some did not like it or invite, she represented us. She represented us because the issues that she challenged and championed affected each and every one of us. So, those of us who knew Marion… Marion Stamps knew that she was coming and anticipated her arrival.

Marion had a reputation that preceded her. Even people who did not know Marion but found themselves in her territory anticipated her arrival. They would sit and watch the door, asking, whenever a Black woman entered the room, “Is that her?” But when Marion entered the room, that question answered itself. Never having seen Marion, somehow they knew that it was her.

Marion was a degreed woman. Degreed not only by an institution of higher learning but by time and experience. Whatever you had, Marion had some for you. However you related, Marion could relate to you. If anyone brings credence to the phrase, “I am every woman”, it was Marion… Marion Stamps.

If you had an opportunity to know Marion, then you knew how she felt about “our babies, our Black babies,” no matter what the age, and you began to understand the force that moved Marion. If you knew Marion Stamps, then you knew only the results of that force. A force that moved in, out and about this city, everywhere and everybody. You knew… because you were there. Educators, clergy, press, politicians, Black leaders, white leaders, the infamous and those that would be infamous, you all came. (Forgive us for not mentioning your names but right now the only name that counts is Marion… Marion Stamps.

If you were touched by the force known as Marion Stamps let the challenge be not to remember her because we will not, can not forget Marion. But to take that touch and lead yourselves, your children and your community to a better tomorrow. Marion took nothing with her.

It is still here in the community. On behalf of Marion, the challenge is not to find it but to use it.

Do not let become undone any of her accomplishments. ALUTA CONTINUA… The StruggleContinues.

And as we stood anticipating the arrival of Marion… Marion Stamps for the last time, it was as always, you knew it was her. But be assured that the anticipation is not over. Because the next time we gather together, you can expect a force, a force not much unlike Marion to enter the room because as we all know..THE TORCH NEVER TOUCHES THE GROUND.

“LET’S BE CLEAR ON THAT!”…

“any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind;”

John Donne

1572-1631

Ibid. 17

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations

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