Friends, Students, Faculty Members, and Alumni
We at the Paine Project have taken a hands off approach as we patiently waited and watched to see if Dr. Samuel Sullivan would take the reigns of leadership and guide our beloved Paine College through the turbulent storms that have beset her. We silently were thrilled at the considered and deliberate pace at which he examined, evaluated, diagnosed then acted to surgically remove most of the remaining cancerous cells left over from the King George administration.
But just as he was catching stride, and the patient was showing signs of improvement, we just as soon realized that although the patient’s body was healing the patient is beset with a mental disease. The brain of the College, its Board of Trustees, is sick and in need of therapy. Silas Norman, chairman of the Board of Trustees, is still paying homage to King George. By his decision to terminate Dr. Sullivan, Silas Norman and his gang of Bradley servile sycophants demonstrated that there is major Unfinished Business yet to be undertaken if Paine College is to make a full recovery.
To The Students of Paine College:
Let this be a teachable moment. Henry David Thoreau lectured before the Concord Lyceum in January of 1848 on the subject “On the Relation of the Individual to the State.” Later published as “Civil Disobedience”. Thoreau’s movitavition for penning “Civil Disobedience” was his experience of having spent one night in jail in July of 1846 for refusal to pay his poll tax in protest against slavery and the Mexican War. Although Thoreau’s themes througout the essay are varied its essential meaning can be boiled down to this –
Majority rule is based on physical strength, not right and justice. Individual conscience should rule instead. One should deplore the lack of judgment, moral sense, and conscience in the way men serve the state. A man cannot bow unquestioningly to the state’s authority without disregarding himself. The verbal expression of opposition to authority is meaningless. Only action — what you do about your objection — matters.
On February 1, 1960, at 4:30pm four freshmen students from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an HBCU, sat down at the lunch counter inside the Woolworth store at 132 South Elm Street in Greensboro, North Carolina to protest the refusal of white establishments to serve black patrons. The next day, more than twenty black students joined the protest. This peaceful student protest lead to the establishment of the Student Non-Violent Cordinating Committee, one of the foremost student groups during the 1960’s civil rights movement. These students did something to manifest their protest.
In March of 2012, a group of about 30 Paine College Students lead by then SGA president Jabal Moss, protested the lack of judgment, moral sense, and conscience of the George Bradley administration in the way it treated its most precious resource, its students. They wore black and carried signs demonstrating their protest on the main campus of Paine College. This is your history. These students did something to manifest their protest. Their protest brought attention to the ineptitude of the Bradley administration and eventully lead to his ouster.
Now its your turn to do something to manifest your protest of the firing of a good and decent man, Dr. Samuel Sullivan, as the interim President of Paine College. This is your moment to make your mark on the history of Paine College. Whether you take decisive action, or show yourselves to be a do nothing student body, you will make history. We at the Paine Project say – “Don’t talk about it Be about it.” It’s your future that is at stake.