African American History, Civil Rights, Poetic Tributes and Black History Icons, Famous Black African Americans, Inspirational Poems & Civil Rights Inspirations & Motivational Poems & Quotes

Tributes to Black History Icons & Illustrious Figures

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Poetic Tributes to Black History Icons, Inspirational & Motivational Poems & Quotes

The great Lebanese poet, Khalil Gibran said 'The lights from stars that were extinguished ages ago still reach us. So it is with great men and great women who died centuries ago but they still reach us with the radiances of their personalities'. For certain, these rare iconic Human and Civil Rights luminaries will continue to reach us for centuries to come.

All great men and women seem to share an implacable ethos, the guiding belief, 'that each man's life must be nailed to a cross, either in thought or action'. Their motto, the immortal words of the great Irish born British author and statesman, George Bernard Shaw, 'Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid , brilliant torch that I've got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as bright as possible before passing it on to future generations'. 'Truth' is their hero. With hearts that bleed at every injury to humanity-with hearts that throb with joy at every triumph of truth. They are truly, 'Keepers of the Flame'.

Who is Thomas J. Gardner, Jr.?

Thomas J. Gardner, Jr., frequently referred as 'The Birmingham Civil Rights Poet' has paid poetic tribute to some of the most illustrious icons of the 20th Century. Gardner's first tribute was to his uncle, Dr. A.G. Gaston, dubbed Entreprenuer of the 20th Century by Earl Graves of Black Enterprise Magazine. Internationally renowned, his poems are displayed in 'bas' relief sculpture in some of the most venerable Civil Rights Institutes in the United States. The Rev. Dr. Clyde Carter, the Michael Angelo of Birmingham, Al., sculpted each masterpiece with inimitable style. Included is the tribute to 'Birmingham's Four Little Girls' inducted into Birmingham's Gallery of Distinguished Citizens by Secretary of State, Dr.Condoleezza Rice, with a tribute entitiled 'The Roses'. Many have asked Mr. Gardner what inspired him to immortalize thes icons in poetic verse and his invariable reply is 'I merely held the pen, God wrote these poems'. Renowned sketch artist Rev. Roosevelt Williams  was commissioned by Gardner to illustrate the images of each subject and scene, which he captured with such artistry and realism that he evoked the mere soul of each personality.

Why Poetry?

Plato said 'Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history'. The great English poet Coleridge said 'Poetry is the blossom and the fragrance of all human thought, all human knowledge, passions, emotions and language'. Shelly told them 'That poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, and if ever war, greed and strife are one day to be no more it won't be because of legislators, but because the poets conspire to mold the sorry scheme of things nearer to the heart's desire'.

Gardner believes that poetry does not merely lift a drooping spirit or rekindle hope but is a resource guide to moral and spiritual value—patriotic and aesthetic values as well. The number one moral challege facing this nation is making sure we instill the right values in our children.

Dickens literary and dramatic poetry did more to liberalize and soften the harsh laws in England that all the progressive legislation in parliament. The Father of American Dramatic Theatre, James A. Hearns' dramatic poetry did more to end slavery than all the abolitionist speeches and sermons combined. Orson Wells said it quite succinctly, 'A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet'.

Not only is Mr. Gardner a talented poet, but his enthusiasm for education and passion for history has lead him to motivational speaking at universities, civic and fraternal organizations and churches. For speaking engagements please contact us at A graduate of Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., with a B.A. in Psychology, he is presently a partner with Smith and Gaston Funeral Services, Inc. in Birmingham, Al. A speaker and theatricalist, yet he comes bearing the banner of entreprenuership and economic development. Gardner says 'I have no excuse but to be entreprenuerial and enterprising for I had the ultimate role model'. Gardner is a multi-product manufacturer who has sponsored seminars in business start-up basics specializing in marketing and management.

Gardner and his wife Terri, manage and operate Inspiration Unlimited, home based in Birmingham, Alabama since 1996 and are essentially in the 'inspiration business'. Some people believe that 'a child is a vase to be filled', however, we believe 'a child is a fire to be lit'. The Gardners offer products that will inspire young minds to admire and emulate greatness. Please Visit Our Store to view our line of products, place an order or make special requests.

You are as young as your faith and as old as your doubt; you are as young as your self confidence and as old as your fear; you are as young as your hope and as old as your despair'. Remember, 'when we die all that we have will be left to others; all that we are we take with us and will be ours forever.


Dedication to Rosa Parks Library & Museum
Unveiling & Tribute to Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth



On December 1, 2001 Troy State University in conjunction with the city of Montgomery erected a palacial Library and Museum on the very corner where Mrs. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, commemorating a momentous time in history. Originally the site had been designated to be a parking lot but because of the visionary insight of Alumni and Administration of Troy State University its historic significance was realized. This venerable institution is one of the top five most frequented Museums in the United States. It features a realistic rendition of the actual experiences during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Tour is a surreal reenactment of the harrowing experiences of that violent era and makes one feel that he is treading on hallowed ground.
Unveiling and Tribute to Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth 'Keepers of the Flame' was a poetic tribute and surprise unveiling at the Scrushy Center in Birmingham to the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, patriot of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. The great actor and actress Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee were guest speakers at this premier tribute. Rev. Shuttlesworth's former church, Bethel Baptist, Rev. Thomas Wilder Jr. pastor, sponsored the gala affair. This 'bas' relief sculpture is now prominently displayed at The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.


Induction Ceremony


Induction Ceremony
The great Bengali Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore called the Taj Mahal , considered one of the most well preserved and architecturally sound buildings in the world, 'A teardrop upon the cheek of time'. On Sunday morning, September 15, 1963 four little girls went to Sunday School and never came home again. Their death from the bombing at Sixteen Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama is another 'teardrop upon the cheek of time'.

On Saturday, October 21, 2005 Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, a native of Birmingham, performed the ceremony of inducting Birmingham's Four Little Girls into the Gallery of Distinguished Citizens. Gardner was commissioned by the City of Birmingham to write a poem which he entitled 'The Roses'. Gardner, who knew the girls personally said their deaths in a way resulted in the salvation of a nation. We all agreed that this poem is poetic justice.

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tributes to courageous Civil Rights leaders and Illustrious Historic icons.

African American History, Civil Rights, Poetic Tributes and Black History Icons, Famous Black African Americans,
Inspirational Poems & Civil Rights Inspirations & Motivational Poems & Quotes

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