Revs. Butts and Mason: “Real Heroes”
By Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
Dr. Calvin O. Butts hoisted the pulpit at the historical Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA and unveiled his own greatness. He noted that I had probably been his most vocal critic, but even Dr. Butts may have been aware of my motive. I only sought for him to reach his own potential. History requires that he, at the very least, meet the legacy of Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
Dr. Butts was also probably unaware that Leola W. Maddox was following in the footsteps of Rosa Parks who had refused to honor white supremacy on an intrastate municipal bus in Montgomery AL on December 1, 1955. Rosa Parks was arrested, booked and photographed. This act of defiance started the Civil Rights Movement.
Once the Civil Rights Movement found its wheels, Rosa Parks was thrown under the bus. She had to leave her home in Montgomery, AL and find employment elsewhere. She initially sought assistance in Detroit, MI. She was faced with unwanted signs while other Blacks were enjoying economic opportunities in the “Motor City.”
Speaking from the grave, Booker T. Washington was beckoning Rosa Parks to come to Hampton Institute in Hampton, VA, where she found employment as a waitress. She had to live on tips. Washington was a proponent of “self-help.” His philosophy included:
Brains, property and character for the Negro will settle the question of civil rights. The best cause to pursue in regard to the civil rights bill in the South is to let it alone and it will settle itself.
John Conyers called Mrs. Parks back to Detroit, MI to assist him in his bid for Congress. It worked. When asked about her admiration for Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. and Malcolm X, she stated her admiration for Dr. King and her love for Malcolm X, a Garveyite. Politically, Parks was neither a Democrat nor a Republican. She was independent.
Leola W. Maddox was raised in Meriwether County, GA by Julia Weaver, a God-fearing grandmother. Leola became a Christian in Talbot County, GA. In Harlem, she joined a church in Harlem. Joseph McDuffie, a student at Columbia University Business School introduced her to this Harlem church. It was before she met Dr. Butts.
When Leola made her transition, neither the church in Harlem nor the church in Talbot County opened its doors to her. I was willing to give the Georgia preacher One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) to officiate over the homegoing services. Leola was the victim. I was the target. The offer was left on the table.
Both Dr. Butts and Dr. Mason knocked on my door absent solicitation. The homegoing services would happen at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, a day before the assassination of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., on April 4, 1968. They paid all of their own expenses, including travel, lodgings and food.
Any support would be greatly appreciated, to defray a due balance. Checks or money orders should be made payable to “Alton H. Maddox, Jr.” and sent to:
Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
P.O. Box 35
Bronx, NY 10471