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Southern California Edison Celebrates The Achievements of Black Inventors

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Southern California Edison (SCE) joins the nation in celebrating the history of Black achievers at its 5th Annual Black History Celebration luncheon.  The event took place at SCE's Customer Technology Application Center (CTAC) in Irwindale, CA with Beverly White as the emcee and John W. Mack as the keynote speaker.

"It is with great honor that SCE makes a special tribute to four inventors who have had a lasting impact on science, technology and our industry.  We are thankful for Clayton Webb, Joseph Jackson, Keith E. Gipson and the late Peter J. Hutchinson," said Cecil House, vice president, safety, SCE.

The Black History Celebration is organized by SCE employees to promote cultural and ethnic diversity through educational and development programs. SCE's CTAC is a 47,000 square foot facility that provides energy efficiency seminars, technology demonstrations and special events for residential and business customers.

Pictured L to R: John Mack, president, Los Angeles Police Commission; Keith E. Gipson, inventor; Beverly White, anchorwoman, KNBC 4; Clayton Webb, inventor; Joseph Jackson, inventor; and Cecil House, vice president, safety, Southern California Edison

Loma Linda Florist Serves Up Valentines Year Round

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By Chris Levister


By definition Thad Mosely is a florist. But to his many loyal customers he is a Christian servant whose spectacular floral creations of celebration, comfort, and romance are nothing short of ministry.

Valentine's Day was days away. While most florists labored in pressure cooker havens of designers, roses, greenery, bows and phones ringing off the hook, Mosely was a picture of calm outside the sanctuary of Loma Linda University Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

With Associate Dean Fred Kasischke, DMin. looking on florist Thad Mosely finishes one of his floral creations for the School of Dentistry's Dedication Service at Loma Linda University Church.
"I'm applying gold leaf paint to this greenery. It gives the flowers that dazzling effect."

Mosely had under an hour to ribbon and place his two huge not Valentine red but gold and purple creations on pedestals in the sanctuary for the start of the School of Dentistry's Dedication Service. "His creations are works of art," says Associate Dean Fred Kasischke, DMin.

If you think Mosely was worried about missing out on the industry's biggest cash haul, think again. Last minute lovers and suitors couldn't drop in and grab a Valentine bouquet on the run.  At Thad's Premier Floral and Gifts there are no walk-ins and no walls, telephone orders only at (909) 799-1185. When orders reached a ceiling the phone came off the hook.

"The Valentine bouquets are declarations of love, always fresh, meticulously trimmed and personally arranged by me. My customers have come to expect only the best."

Mosely, a Seventh-Day Adventist, says he has chosen to live his life in a way that brings honor to his family, profession, community and God. "I am a servant and sometimes that means choosing service and quality over profits."

He recalls one Valentine's Day when everyone in his Loma Linda shop hadn't slept for days. There were blossoms to order, vases to prep, bows to tie, and non-stop calls from frantic last minute cupids.

"Bouquets were flying out the door. We sold everything in the house and then some," he said. That night the reality of owning a small business hit home.

"After paying the floral wholesalers, suppliers and overtime to my workers, I made $50.00 in profit. I looked down at my greenery stained clothes, my eyes were bloodshot, my hands were raw - I called my mother and cried like a baby. I knew I had to make a choice between big profits or dedicating my professional life to the service of humanity."

Mosely closed his shop after many years in favor of a telephone-only business. Although he can create single bouquets, he prefers custom weddings, sympathy, church services and special events. His gourmet floral and gift baskets are legendary.

"His work is extraordinary," says Karen Hansberger, M.D., former mayor of Loma Linda and member of the University Church. Mosely's unique creations of exotic and traditional flowers wowed guests at Hansberger's 2005 wedding and adorn her home during the Christmas holidays. "His designs instill a deep sense of love, warmth, and celebration."

Mosely has been dabbling in catering, event planning and floristry since childhood. For several years he worked in the University Library, his unique designs for staff events drew raves and soon led to a scholarship with the nationally recognized Teleflora Company. That led to advanced training in wedding and sympathy work and study with the owners of the world renown Phil Rulloda's School of Floral Design located in Anaheim. 

He takes pride in lecturing members of the local Scottish community on cultural floristry utilizing traditional flower emblems. "Most people associate the Scots with plaids. Each family known as a clan has their own plaid but they also have their own flower emblem." Mosely is also studying flowers indigenous to Africa. He says floral arrangements reflecting the African wedding tradition of ‘jumping the broom' demonstrate the powerful language and history of flowers.

"The red rose is all for love. The yellow rose which in the 17th century represented jealousy today means peace. Pink is all about happiness."   

Mosely says he is disappointed by the lack of business clients from the local African-American community. He says despite years of marketing and charitable giving he is all but overlooked by the areas many Black churches and minority civic organizations.

"It breaks my heart. I'm a Black man. My creations are unique and highly lauded, yet among my own people I am largely the ‘go to for a deal florist'," said Mosely.

He recalls once during a floral setup he was approached by a group of African-American women. "They wanted to know more about my designs. I was under pressure to finish the project. I asked them to wait 5 minutes. They quickly became impatient and walked away vowing to buy flowers from Conroy's, a chain florist."

Mosely provides weekly service to a local Spanish and an Indonesian church and has created elaborate arrangements for the NAACP's annual Pioneer Dinner and the coveted yearly Booker T. Washington luncheon held at the Mission Inn.

"His arrangements are spectacular one-of-a-kind creations. Thad is a dependable and kind servant," said the organizer for both events, Cheryl Brown, publisher of the Black Voice News. 

Mosely who daily prepares hot meals for three local needy families says his desire to partner with Black churches and minority organizations is driven by his endeavor to reflect God's mercy and compassion - not profits. "Yes I have to pay the bills. But in the end my rewards spring from serving. It's beautiful!"

Performance Riverside to present Letters to Harriet Tubman

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Performance Riverside will be presenting Letters to Harriet Tubman on February 24, 2007 at 2pm, as part of the Children's Series in affiliation with the Orange County Performing Arts Center Arts Teach Program

Patti Hensley
Journey back to 1902 and sit for a while on the porch with a famous American heroine, Harriet Tubman, as she tells about the exciting adventures of her life. We meet her at age 80 - but she takes us back to the days of the Civil War and its aftermath, when she led the "Underground Railroad" that helped slaves find freedom in the North. In this two-character play, Harriet is joined by a guitar-playing neighbor. Letters to Harriet Tubman is interspersed with lively Civil War songs and African-American spirituals; including "Go Down Moses," "Steal Away," and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

The Landis Performing Arts Center is located on Riverside City College at 4800 Magnolia Avenue.  Reserve seats are now on sale for $19, $15, $11, and $8 per ticket, and can be purchased through the Landis Box Office at 951-222-8100..  Group rates are available.  School groups may get tickets at a special rate on Thursday, February 22 and Friday February 23 at 9:30 and 11am.  More information about Performance Riverside is available at www.performanceriverside.org

The Home of the Dora Nelson Museum

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By Cheryl Brown
The Black Voice News

The founder, funder and heartbeat of the Dora Nelson Museum located in Perris, CA are George and Mabel Kearney. The museum was born out of Mrs. Kearney's guilt. She coveted two beautiful Victorian screen doors on the Nelson home when she came to Perris. The house was falling apart and Mrs. Kearney offered to tear it down. Once it was gone, she found out it was the first Black Church in Perris. Mrs. Kearney was horrified, to her the church was everything; and  not to be destroyed.  After a trip to Washington, D.C. in the 1970's for the unveiling of the National Council of Negro Women's Museum she vowed to return home and somehow, someway honor Nelson.  Using her Social Security check and a few donations she worked toward her goal.

Several years passed and her hard work paid off. The Dora Nelson Museum is a reality. Mrs. Kearney doesn't have to feel guilty anymore.

Dora Nelson was born enslaved on February 2, 1852 in Georgia. In the early 1900s, she was invited by her brother-in-law to come take care of her sister-in-law, Mary Ann Nelson who was very ill.  After emancipation Dora Nelson moved to Evanston, Indiana but when she was called on she moved to California.

The actual story begins with the old house that had the most beautiful Victorian doors Mrs. Kearney had ever seen, the problem was the rest of the building needed to be torn down. The city had red tagged it for demolition. The Kearney's had 11 children and went to the former owner of the house  and offered to tear the building down for $25.  She knew they would not turn her down for such a ridiculous amount of money. Her motive was to get the doors. "I would do anything to have those screen doors," she said. It wasn't until after the building was gone that Phyllis Hughes, a newspaper reporter, asked at a Human Relation's Committee meeting, who on earth tore down that old house. That was the first Black Church in Perris, she informed them. "I was taught church was everything, it was sacred. I felt bad. I was indebited to the Black community," said Kearney. And then she found out the house belonged to her mother's best friend.

When Dora Nelson came to Perris there was not a Black church, they were allowed to attend the Congregational Church in town but they were not allowed to join so they began the First Baptist Church. By 1924 Nelson's  house had become too crowded and it was a hot summer day in August of 1924 when the growing congregation met under the Chinaberry tree to formalized the church with Rev. A.F Seaton from Ontario Baptist Church, Ontario, CA and Rev. Cooper, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Riverside, CA.

A visit to the Museum takes you back to the past and those doors she wanted so bad. One survived and is in the museum along with a plethora of old fashioned turn of the century items. The museum is located at 316 E. 7th Street, Perris, CA.

Click HERE to view pictures.

First Non-Indian Landowner in San Jacinto was Former Slave

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By Cheryl Brown
The Black Voice News

California has a history steeped in Black people who were formerly enslaved, freed, and during and after slavery expanded to the West Coast.  The mountains were formidable barriers to travel and many came by sea.  Those who came  into Southern Calif. by land came through the Cajon Pass.

James Hamilton (1823-1897), part African American, was the first non-Indian settler in the Cahuilla (Anza) Valley area, arriving about 1873. His ranch was at the eastern edge of the valley. Bible-toting “Uncle Jim” was highly respected and loved. His sons and grandsons continued as cattlemen in the Anza and Garner valley country. -- Photo, property of Dolores Arnatz
One of these people was James Hamilton.  Born in 1822, he was the first resident who wasn't a native Indian to live in the Anza  area.  The year he arrived was 1873, just 12 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

According to the "San Jacintos" by John F. W. Robinson and Bruce Risher, Hamilton was sometimes called "Uncle Jim" or "Nigger Jim" even the downgrade rode to Anza was known as "Nigger Jim" Grade.  After traveling west from Ohio with an 1847 Mormon wagon train, he lived with Sioux Indians and in the early 1850s he arrived in San Bernardino.
Hamilton School named in honor of James Hamilton
He tried to homestead a claim on Mexican land and because the claim was not valid he moved on to Vail Lake, an area close to Temecula.  There he and his children were again unsuccessful in staking a claim.  His third try was a charm.  He successfully obtained 160 acres located in the area of present day Anza.  Even by today's standards he and his sons built a sizable ranch.

Hamilton and his sons, Joe, Henry, and Frank suffered discrimination living in the area.  In 1897 two years before his own death, his son Frank, who was a lawman, was murdered.

The family remained in the area.  Several sections of the land homesteaded by Hamilton included the area of Kenworthy, Cahuilla Valley and Anza Valley.  Lincoln the last of the Hamilton cowboys died in 1976.  

Hamilton Creek
Today Hamilton's presence is still obvious in the naming of Hamilton Creek and Hamilton School and the Hamilton Museum.

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BVN National News Wire