Sunday, April 09, 2006

Don't Know Much About History

Over the email transom comes this news release:

HARRISBURG - State Senators LeAnna M. Washington(D-Phila.) and Shirley M. Kitchen (D-Phila.) have introduced legislation to rename the North Office Building in the Capitol Complex after C. Delores Tucker, the civil and women's rights pioneer and Pennsylvania political icon.

Under their proposal, the building would be named the "Secretary C. Delores Tucker Office Building."

"Dr. Tucker's legacy to the citizens of Pennsylvania is one of vision, hope, courage and love for all humanity," Washington said. "The renaming of North Office Building in Harrisburg in her honor would insure that the extraordinary gifts she has given to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will serve as a living testament to her good works and endure beyond the millenniums."

The release notes that Tucker, who died in October, 2005, was the first African-American woman to serve as Secretary of State in Pennsylvania.

What it doesn't mention is that Tucker was fired by her boss, Gov. Milton Shapp, in 1977 after it was disclosed (by Bill Ecenbarger in The Inquirer) that she was spending much of her time in the job making political speeches, some of them written by state employees. She pulled in $65,000 for that speechifying, the equivalent of $223,000 in today's dollars.

My motto is De mortuis nil nisi bonum (A Latin proverb that translates: Speak no ill of the dead), so I'll just say that the authors of this legislation are either trying to ignore history or rewrite it.


Blogger Rep. Mark B. Cohen said...

What you say about the sad ending of C. Delores Tucker's career as Secretary of the Commonwealth is true.

But the remaining years of her life, from 1977 through 2005, were years of vigorous national leadership in the field of civil rights.

Just as Jimmy Carter (and Herbert Hoover) submerged bad memories of their term as President, so C. Delores Tucker submerged bad memories of the end of her term as Sceretary of the Commonwealth.

That being said, she was probably the longest serving Secretary of the Commonwealth in Pennsylvania history. And her early leadership for voter registration by mail eventually led the legislature to become one of the early backers of it: it was signed into law in 1976.

A state which can continue to honor the notoriously corrupt Boises Penrose with a statue in front of the capital (I once tried to get it taken down) can find some appropriate way to honor C. Delores Tucker. She did a lot of good from others as she rose from neighborhood leadership of the NAACP (in my district) to the leadership of national civil rights-oriented organizations.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! He seems to know a lot about history. He must be doing some serious reading.

5:51 PM  

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