Tribute to Mrs. Earlean Lindsey: A True Community Hero, Pride of the West Side of Chicagoby Representative Danny K. Davis
Posted on 2014-01-15
DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to
a dear friend and colleague who passed away a few days ago.
Trying to describe Earlean Lindsey for me is not very easy. She was not quite old enough to have been my mother, although she was ``mother like.'' She was like a big sister. She and Nola Bright would look after me at conferences and conventions, make sure that I ate lunch, had some milk, and did not drink too much alcohol.
I got to know her family, her children, and grandchildren. I want to thank them for inviting me to participate in her funeral services. They know that Earlean and I were confidants; we were like family.
She was my boss for about 15 years during a period when I worked formally as executive director of the Westside Health Planning Organization. She was the board chairman. She was my running buddy and traveling companion. We went all over the United States of America helping to organize and implement program concepts and initiatives of the war on poverty, which grew out of the civil rights movement--the marches, the demonstrations, the Johnson era.
She was with Ernie and Gloria Jenkins, Ma Fletcher, Reverend Carter, Bertram Mims, Leahmon Reed, Hats Adams, John Harris, Joseph Rosen, Warner Saunders, and others when we organized the Westside Association for Community Action.
Earlean was steeped in her church, her family. She believed in God and in education. Earlean was the education leader for what in the mid- seventies and eighties we called District 8 and District 9 in Chicago. In a way, she was responsible for a Black West Side resident being appointed to the Chicago Board of Education.
Earlean was one of several Black women on the West Side that we called our leaders, women like Illinois Daggett; Rachael Ridley; Beatrice Ward; Ida Mae ``Ma'' Fletcher; Mary Alice ``Ma'' Henry; Nancy Jefferson, who headed the Midwest Community Council; Julia Fairfax; Brenetta Howell Barrett; Gloria Pughsley; Belle Whaley; Rose Marie Love; Rosie Lee Betts; Lucy Jean Lewis; Vivian Stewart Tyler; Reverend Janice Sharpe; Reverend Helen Cooper; Martha Marshall; Commissioner Earlean Collins; Congresswoman Cardiss Collins; Alderwomen Deborah Graham and Emma Mitts; Representative Camille Lilly; Viola Thomas; Senator Patricia Van Pelt; Commissioner Barbara McGowan; Commissioner Iola McGowan; Mrs. Lillian Drummond; Mrs. Juanita Rutues; Mrs. Lucinda Ware; Mrs. Irene Norwood; Representative Annazette Collins; Mrs. Vera Davis; Mrs. Mamie Bone; Mrs. Devera Beverly; Mrs. Artensia Randolph; Senator Kimberly Lightford; Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarborough; Mayor Edwina Perkins of Maywood, Illinois; Ms. Barbara Minor; Mrs. Gus Cunningham; and countless other women who have provided leadership and have been actively involved in the struggle for self-direction, community improvement, and self-determination.
Earlean went to city hall, the State House, and the White House. Through her interactions she walked with kings and queens but never lost the common touch.
Earlean's two main issues were health care and education. She was a founding member of the Mile Square Health Center and the National Association of Community Health Centers.
I remember a meeting we were having at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, and as people introduced themselves or were introduced, they would always be introduced as ``doctor'' or they would say John Smith, MSW, or Joy Jones, FACHA.
When it came Earlean's time, she said that I am Mrs. Earlean Lindsey, CSTA. There were a group of medical students present. One of them raised their hand and said, could I ask Mrs. Lindsey a question? Earlean said, gladly. She said, can you tell me what your degree stands for, CSTA? I have never heard of that one. Earlean said, common sense, talent, and ambition.
That is who Earlean was and that is what Earlean has always been-- strong, talented, compassionate, outspoken, bossy, sensitive, caring, tireless, fearless. Long live the life and long live the legacy of Earlean Lindsey. If she was here right now, I am sure she would join with Representative Jim McGovern and say, don't cut SNAP.
Earlean, may you rest in peace.