If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. ~Maya Angelou
What’s one thing that has changed for you today, and how can you embrace this change in your life?~Michael D. Gatson
In life you can make your own decisions or let other people make those decisions for you. Being Above The Influence is about staying true to yourself, and not letting people pressure you into being less than you. So be yourself.
“The man who never makes a mistake always takes orders from one who does. No man or woman who tries to pursue an ideal in his or her own way is without enemies.” ~Daisy Lee Gatson Bates
Daisy Lee Gatson Bates (November 11, 1914-November 4, 1999) was an American civil rights activist, publisher, journalist, lecturer who played a leading role in the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957.
Born in 1914 in Huttig Arkansas, Daisy Bates was raised by family friends after losing her mother to a race-related crime. By the 1940s, Mrs. Bates was married to L.C. Bates, living in Little Rock, and working at the couple’s paper, Arkansas State Press, a leading source for news and information about the civil rights movement. Ten years later, Mrs. Bates was elected President of the Arkansas State Conference of NAACP branches, from where she became the spokesperson and advocate for the Little Rock Nine.
In 1952, Daisy Bates was elected president of the Arkansas Conference of NAACP branches. During the Little Rock Integration crisis in 1957, the paper was boycotted by white advertisers. The State Press was unable to maintain itself despite financial support by the NAACP. The last issue was published on October 29, 1959. In 1960, Daisy Bates moved to New York City and wrote her memoir, The Long Shadow of Little Rock. Then Bates moved to Washington, D.C. and worked for the Democratic National Committee. She also served in the administration of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson working on anti-poverty programs. In 1965, she suffered a stroke and returned to Little Rock.
Bates revived the Arkansas State Press in the 1980s after L.C. Bates, her husband, died in 1980. In 1986, , the University of Arkansas Press republished The Long Shadow of Little Rock, which became the first reprinted edition ever to earn an American Book Award. The following year she sold the newspaper, but continued to act as a consultant. Little Rock paid perhaps the ultimate tribute, not only to Bates but to the new era she helped initiate, by opening the Daisy Bates Elementary School and by making the third Monday in February George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day an official state holiday.
Daisy Gatson Bates was the recipient of numerous awards and honors. She was named woman of the year in 1957 by the National Council of Negro Women. The year following her retirement, the Arkansas General Assembly passed a resolution commending her for her outstanding service to the citizens of Arkansas. She was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in May of 1984. She was an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In 2000, the home of Daisy and L.C. Bates was listed as a National Historic Landmark. It is located at 1207 West 28th Street and owned by the Little Rock Christian Ministerial Alliance. Little Rock also has a lasting legacy to the civil rights activist with a street named in her honor in the heart of the city – Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive (formerly 14th Street). In 2012 Filmmaker Sharon La Cruise produced and directed a documentary film about Bates. Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock premiered February 2, 2012 as part of the Independent Lens series on PBS.
Bates died in Little Rock on November 4, 1999.
Mark Pryor, the United States Senator for Arkansas honors Daisy Gatson Bates in his newsletter this month.
Honoring Daisy Lee Gatson Bates
A Woman Who Knew the Meaning of “Do Justly, Love Kindness, and Walk Humbly”
At a time when our society expected women to remain quietly in the background, Mrs. Daisy Bates took center stage in the fight for freedom and equality. In the fall of 1972, when I enrolled in the Little Rock School District, I saw the start of city-wide busing—a change which came about in large part because of the courage of Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine. This experience—among others—shaped my appreciation for the civil rights movement and those like Daisy Bates who fought for liberty for all.
In many ways, I believe that Mrs. Bates lived the words of Micah 6:8, “to do justly, and love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God.” Her courage and conviction not only influenced me, but the lives of countless others in our state and nation. With Daisy Gatson Bates Day and her 100th birthday this year, I’ve introduced a resolution to honor her leadership and help us remember her legacy as true American heroine.
Thank you, Mrs. Bates
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ~Harriet Tubman
Make sure you don’t become a servant to what you’re trying to master ~Michael D. Gatson
I had a conversation with a friend/mentor last night, and I shared that there are a few things I’ve been trying really hard to master lately; one of the things is my dissertation. I have been asked the question several times when are you graduating. I will be graduating when all three of my committee members sign off on my dissertation as complete. I have been working on my dissertation while maintaining a full-time federal career, serving in the military as an officer, and traveling to teach and consult on various topics.
This dissertation is something that I have given a life of its own. Somewhere deep down I have maintained a secret belief that it is too hard, too big to master and true to my own beliefs. It continues to elude me. I have never worked so hard on anything in my life as I have on this. Never disciplined and focused myself as much as I have on this. I admit I have thought about quitting the program and focus on my career 100%. I received my paper from my committee with 346 individual comments. I am not 100% happy about all of the changes, but I am willing to do whatever to finish this goal and have a masterpiece published. I want it with everything in me, and I have been told “if you want it bad enough, it will come to you.” Why is it still so far when it’s so near, when it’s so within reach?
This weekend I had a light bulb moment: I have been giving it too much attention, I have focused on it too hard and too long, I have fantasized and imagined of how hard it must be, and I have blown it so out of proportion. For the first time, I have understood that what you focus on grows, literally. I had to remind myself you know whom you are, and you know how to produce your best work while wearing multiple hats and you know what’s good for you. For me, allowing stress to control or consume me is not how I get things done. This weekend reminded me of the simple things that restore me. This past weekend I was able to take time away from my hectic schedule and just relax. It’s not often that I get the chance to sleep in late, and not respond to calls or emails. I had the opportunity to eat all of my favorite foods, get a massage, attend a Boys II Men concert, and attend church on Sunday.
We all have our own definition of what simplicity is for us. For me, just being myself is the highest definition of simplicity. It’s the point where I have surrendered the need to control everything. It brings me back to the truth that simple truly is beautiful. Simple is not laziness or complacency. Simple is handling everything with grace, its poise, and its class that no one can take from you. Simple oozes confidence all the time.
This journey has not been an easy one, but the pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered there is an opportunity for growth. All growth depends upon activity. One thing I am learning that it is not in my time but in God’s time because his time is always on time. In three, weeks, I will start traveling to present on various topics I am so thankful for the opportunities God has blessed me with and I am going to take time to embrace, enjoy, and be grateful for all of his many blessings.
Every person who has grown to any degree of usefulness, every person who has grown to distinction, almost without exception has been a person who has risen by overcoming obstacles, by removing difficulties, by resolving that when he met discouragement he would not give up. ~Booker T. Washington
Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough…
Sure, there’s the loneliness, coming home to an empty house, the longing, travel expenses. Love is the acceptance of imperfection as part of what you love. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else . Happy Valentines Day! ~Michael D. Gatson