Bro. Landis often mentions his best earthly friend, Juanita. They both worked at the particular HBCU mentioned elsewhere on the previous page.
Well, on the 4th of July holiday weekend of 2016, he put together an off-hand tribute to her. The Olympics were upcoming and the athletes were
training at their state-of-the-art track & field complex. Yes, little old Prairie View A&M University has a track & field complex of Olympics quality.
Through the decades PV has had its own share of athletes to compete and win medals in the Olympics. Since the Olympics was on his mind, he made
a tribute featuring the two fastest Olympic women runners of all time. Even though he intended to show it to the staff at the library, he never got
around to it and a year later, on August 24, 2017, both he and Juanita retired at the same time. Up until now, nobody else - including Juanita - has
seen the video except his brothers. Now, it is your turn. You may be familiar with the name of one of the two athletes, Flo Jo, but you may not know
Darling Wilma. Do you know how Flo Jo got her nickname? Her name is Florence Griffith Joyner and most people thought Flo Jo was short for that.
WRONG!!! Actually, Flo Jo was known for her extravagantly beautiful track outfits which she designed herself. She also had extremely lo-o-o-ng
fingernails. She was never seen in the same outfit twice and her fingernails were always gloriously painted exquisitely and differently every day.
Hence, she always glowed in public and quickly became known as Florescent Joyner, and that is where her nickname came from. You will briefly
see her fingernails in the following video tribute Bro. Landis created. Do not blink, but it is the scene where she could not control her emotions
and nearly lost it when the Star-Spangled Banner was being played honoring her for winning the first of her many Gold Medals. "Do not blink"
because Bro. Landis only shows the instant she begins to lose control.
Regarding Wilma, her childhood was riddled with ailments. She was born pre-mature and was the -- get this -- she was the twentieth of twenty-two
children. She had polio as a child and because of Jim Crow, for years she and her mother had to travel fifty miles weekly (100 miles round-trip) to the
ONLY BLACK HOSPITAL in the county in Tennessee for her treatment. That was their routine until one day she was finally able to walk... at the
age of twelve.
A few short years after Ms. Wilma Rudolph was born, Bro. Landis and his two younger brothers were also born. They and their parents were living at
an HBCU campus, Benedict College in South Carolina, before moving to another Black college, Prairie View College in Texas. The Jones brothers were
born at a Black hospital. During those dark days of Jim Crow in Columbia, South Carolina, it was the only hospital available for Black people. One of
Bro. Landis' two older brothers also died there. Bro. Landis was the third of five sons, and when Earl, Jr. died, Bro. Landis became the oldest of three
living brothers. He went from being the youngest, to the middle child, and finally, the oldest. The three surviving Jones brothers are stairsteps.
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The 1988 Olympics was the Olympiad that Flo Jo dominated just as Wilma had done twenty-eight years, earlier. Bro. Landis dubbed it, "The Games of
Flo Jo." They had both won more Gold Medals in a single Olympiad than any other athlete in history. Ms. Rudolph was an Olympics commentator that
year for the official Olympic broadcast network, NBC. During one of the banters between Jane Pauley and Wilma, Bro. Landis remembers Jane
marveling at how fast Flo Jo was and asked Wilma how she would have fared in that same race. Her answer was that the training techniques and even
the quality of the track field, itself, had improved so much since her day that even though she had the world record in 1960, that "today in 1988, she
would have come in fifth in Flo Jo's race."
Darling Wilma was a "Tigerbelle." She went to a Black college, Tennessee State University, and for about twenty years -- 1950 to 1970 -- the Black
women track stars, the Tigerbelles, were known as "The Fastest Women On Earth." TV was too new to broadcast the 1956 Olympics, so, the film clip
you will see in Bro. Landis' homemade music video was from the USA Olympics archives. It was only four years later, when "Darling" Wilma (the world
fell in love with her making her the darling of that Olympics) that the Olympics was broadcast "live" because videotaping had not yet been invented
and because communication satellites had not yet been lunched into space. Gracious, man had not yet gone into space. Needless to say, Black people all
across America were proud of her. Her name was the one on everybody's lips, not the other Gold Medal winner champion at that same Olympics,
Cassius Clay who, nearly five-years later, changed his name to Muhammad Ali. He was from nearby Kentucky, so, both he and Wilma were friends
before and after the Olympics. Jim Crow was alive and well, so, when she came back to the United States, there were victory parades for her in every
city she toured. However, that almost did not happen. She refused to participate in the scheduled two sets of victory parades -- one set for White
people and one set for Colored. The organizers bowed down to her wishes and allowed race mixing in the crowds. So, yes, she was part of The Civil
Rights Movement, too. Muhammad Ali was not the only protester, but, his name is the one most people remember from those days... except for old folks
like Bro. Landis.
Darling Wilma & Flo Jo Tribute
BONUS Video Giving Example Of Juanita's Being A Phenomenal Woman
Juanita escaped Liberia during their fourteen-year run of wars. It left the country devastated and in its wake was Liberia's first female President who was
forced into the task of the beginning process of cleaning up the mess left behind much in the tradition of Reconstruction in America right after the Civil War.
The wars lasted so long in Liberia that there is at least one whole generation who has had no schooling whatsoever. That generation is totally illiterate. Even
Juanita's mother never learned to read despite being a diplomat's wife.
Before retirement in 2017, both she and Bro. Landis worked at the Prairie View A&M University Library. And, seeing as how Liberia had no libraries at all
after the Liberian wars, she got the notion to create one in memory of her late father who used to work for the President of Liberia when Franklin Roosevelt
was President of the United States during World War II. Those Heads of State met often to discuss bringing Liberia to the 20th Century. Juanita's father died
when she was a todler, so, she does not remember him at all. Worse, before the war, Juanita's family owned a rubber plantation which supplied practically all
the rubber for Goodyear and Firestone in America. However, the war changed all that for during the war, Juanita's mother was forced to leave their family
compound with nothing but the clothes on her back as the soldiers proceeded to torch the place. As a result, all was lost, including all Juanita's father's
contributions to the Administration. To keep his memory alive, she decided to build a Memorial Library in his name and even had an audience with Liberia's
first female President in Liberia's equivalent of the White House. She is briefly shown winning the Nobel Peace Prize in the following video. Juanita met
with her in hopes Madame President could help her. Yes, Juanita is a go-getter. She somehow figured out how to meet with the President. Bro. Landis came
up with the idea of putting the library in the middle of a village to be created by the name of Walkerville patterned after how he grew up in an HBCU campus
village environment which he thought was the ideal environment in which to grow up. He created a website for her for that purpose and also created a
promotional video, this bonus video:
As Juanita says on her website home page...
"Walkerville does not exist... Yet! Right now, it is just overgrown trees,
thorns, thistles, bushes, shrubs, weeds, sticks, twigs, and rocks galore on
my family's former Walker Rubber Plantation. But, open your eyes and you
will see Walkerville. Building that campus of Walkerville is my way of
helping to free Liberia's children from illiteracy.
One day, I would like to do a Google search on illiteracy and discover that
my website was so spectacular in reversing the illiteracy problem in Liberia,
that Walkerville will be prominently displayed in the top position of Google's
search engine results page.
Meanwhile, the best I can do is do a pretend search - in this case, a Bro.
Landis search engine search - on African towns which will stop illiteracy in
And, here are those results which were put together by my co-founder, Bro.
Landis of Prairie View Bible Students in Prairie View, Texas. If I could have,
I would have blushed when I first saw how he depicted me in the
description box - so, kindly smile as you view this:"
In case you missed it, the last words the choir sang were...
'To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love'
I cannot help free Liberia's children from illiteracy alone, you cannot stop
illiteracy alone - however, the job will get done by the can't lose team of...
WE - You, me and, most of all, HE"
Back To Bro. Landis' Bible Study Some Lagacies of Jim Crow and More