Baltimore Celebrates Local Educator Charlie Dugger

For decades, Charlie Dugger has been educating youth from an African-centered perspective and organizing cultural events such as the annual Marcus Garvey Day Parade. The community came together to honor Dugger at the Real News Network’s Studio 4

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Story Transcript

EDDIE CONWAY: Thank you for joining us for this special celebration of educator, mentor and activist, Mr. Charlie Dugger. For decades, Charlie Dugger has been teaching Baltimore youth from an African-centered perspective and organized cultural events such as the Marcus Garvey parade. The community came together to celebrate Charlie Dugger right here at The Real News Network in our Studio 4.

SINGER: Well, African violet, ain’t you through dreaming yet? With all your roots so deep, how come you’re still asleep? Afro-American, I tell you once again, try to remember my dears. We’re only strangers here.

LOLA JENKINS: I pledge allegiance to my people, the African race. The original man and woman of the earth. And the founders of civilization. I pledge to study and discipline myself, mentally, physically, economically and spiritually. I pledge to live my life standing tall. I pledge to live my life standing tall. For people on their knees are not respected. If I am challenged, if we are challenged, we must say that we will not surrender our position nor our dignity. But instead, I will endure. But instead, we will endure. But instead, we must endure. Until the final, until the final, until the final victory is won. Asante sana.

JOYCE BROOKS: 40 some years ago, he didn’t end up being my first English teacher at Forest Park. And I couldn’t figure out how in the world did this teacher know my first and last name and he wasn’t even teaching me. So, I had to find out all of the history, but along with finding out all the other history, I ended up being in his social justice class because I wanted to find out the real mystery of who Mr. Dugger was and how he ended up knowing every last one of the students that entered into Forest Park’s first and last name.

And he wasn’t even some of our teachers. But he made it his business to know every student that entered Forest Park. The slogan said “Enter to learn, go forth to serve.” And not just that, I’ve been doing service work from the education that Mr. Dugger taught me for years and I continue to be a beacon in our community.

Not only that, him being my English teacher, I ended up being his niece’s and nephew’s teachers in Head Start and preschool. CBA, Alan, Biya Dugger, where are you? They’re not here? But I ended up being his nephew and niece’s teachers in preschool. I love you, Mr. Dugger.

CHARLIE DUGGER: Thank you, kindly. Thank you.

DORINDA TOLSON: Thank you so much, Mr. Dugger, for your service and dedication to the Baltimore City Schools. Your classroom at Forest Park High School during my tenure from 1971 to 1973 will be forever etched in my mind and soul. The poster of Malcolm X, the three Olympians, listening to the Malcolm X speeches on the scratchy album you played for us, thank you for giving me a social conscience and a moral guideline. Always referring to your students as Mister and Miss. Thank you for being a positive black male role model that taught us to embrace who we are and where we came from. Much success and many blessings to you and your family in your next chapter in life. Thank you for richly enhancing mine. Denise Dasher and the Foresters.

BROTHER UDUNO: Those of you who are young enough to be 71 and younger, may I have the permission to continue to speak? Thank you. Some of us do things with order, some of us are still striving get out of order. Is that okay?

But when I came to this part of the country, August the 15th, 1975, I knew that Brother Dugger was doing a program through the pipeline on the honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey. And so, since I came out of the evergreen division number 50 of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Community Leagues of the World, in Seattle, Washington, where Queen Mother Sarah Lynch and others. And as I prepared to take my seat, Baltimore, I wouldn’t miss this for nothing in the world because this man here and the other men and women who worked with this man, this man is what I call a “no entitlement, courtesy, integrity, work, love, truth, peace and justice.” You have heard from Brother Tarek Uduno or Uduno Tarek and I’m thinking many of you here who are educators, the first and foremost educators of our parents. And as I came to you, I will leave you with let’s say one God.

Come on, let’s say it. One God. One aim. One destiny. Africa for the Africans. Those at home. And those abroad. May your noble ancestors continue to speak to you and may we learn how to listen and follow almighty God. Thank you.

JOHN WESLEY: Charlie and I go back. I’m from the Delta, Mississippi. And Fannie Lou Hamer 00:08:42] is my godmother. When I came here, I first met Charlie when I was at WEAA and Charlie taught me about Juneteenth. And I like to just tell you, my brother, I never forgot what you told me. And a few years back, I was on a contract with Coors Brewing Company and I got them to give $25,000 to the Black community in Denver to redo Juneteenth.

CHARLIE DUGGER: Beautiful. Beautiful.

JOHN WESLEY: That’s from you. Thank you, sir.

CHARLIE DUGGER: Thank you, Brother John.

LOCY LUMUMBA: We are Njia Ya Tayari, we are a pan-African nationalist martial arts academy. We try to teach young brothers and sisters the way that we call the way of African liberation and our goal is to raise soldiers for our liberation. We want to present Dugger, someone I’ve known back to the ’60s. Our families were into Catholicism together. When I met him, he was altar boy. So, we go back that far. And he’s my elder. When I came home from the war, one of the first people who I come across who was into liberation at the Timbuktu Center on Everson Avenue, some of you may remember that, was Charlie Dugger.

He is what we were taught to be, a long distance struggler. A lot of integrity. And he has exhibit the qualities and the values that we speak most of in the martial arts: his perseverance, his caring, his character, his ability to give of himself. Curtis Mayfield would sing that everybody’s praying and everybody’s saying. But when it’s time to do, everybody’s laying. Charlie is not a layer or a procrastinator, he’s a worker. And he’s a leader and he’s an elder.

And I do not know why a lot of young people coming into the movement do not sit him down to get his wisdom and his guidance. So, with much respect and not to hold up the affair, I want to present Brother Dugger with a honorary black belt for his long endurance and he still has 30 years left.

So, he is my elder and with much honor, respect, I’d like to tie this belt around his waist. Understand, Brother Charlie, that for as long as any organization that I’m a part of that gives anything, you never have to pay. You are honored guest at all times. You are an honored black belt. So, that comes with you ever needing soldiers, you call. We come.

CHARLIE DUGGER: The quieter we can be just for a couple of minutes to let us know how we can move among our people. Because people like me have believed that we still can reclaim our people. So, here’s the tune. Can you hold it, Brooke?

Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a love that’s flowing deep and wide. Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a love that’s flowing deep and wide.