Your question might just be, “Which one?” Deloris, Helen or Joe? Well, Joe Frazier, ex-heavyweight champ, is dead. We can safely remove him from the equation. I thought the battle was over as a result of the last community meeting at the John W. Stroman/Edisto Drive Community Center, 2020 Sharperson St., Orangeburg.
The date to be remembered is Oct. 15, 2019. It was on this date when Deloris Frazier, chairperson, made a motion during the “new business” segment on the agenda to remove John W. Stroman’s name from the building. The community rejected the motion and several members stood up and expressed their opinions and distaste for the idea. The following individuals joined me in objecting: Matthew Stroman, known to many as the “fruit man,” and former chaplain; Jean Harper, elected secretary at the center; Bishop Donald Oliver, pastor and community activist; John W. Stroman; and Anthony Halmon.
At this time, the only two individuals present who wanted Stroman’s name removed were the Frazier sisters, Helen and Deloris. After their plan failed, Helen Frazier disrupted the meeting and started handing out old information in an attempt to slander my name for the second time in our community meetings. She then approached me in an aggressive manner. She has also stuffed mailboxes in the community with that same information.
The John W. Stroman/Edisto Drive Concerned Citizens have not had a meeting since the date that was announced. For over seven years or better, we, the citizens of the John W. Stroman Center, have met on the third Tuesday of each month and Oliver, since becoming active with the group, has set up a call system to make all active members aware of community activities.
Now here is the dirt in this community by our present chairperson, Deloris Frazier. After the taste of defeat, she decided to call a meeting in the middle of the day on Nov. 13, 2019, unbeknownst to the Concerned Citizens of Edisto Drive, who normally attend our regularly scheduled meetings (every third Tuesday of the month). The only people who really knew about his meeting were members of her dance club. It was at 3:30 in the afternoon on Wednesday, Nov. 13, six days prior to our normal meeting. The main agenda item was to remove Stroman’s name from the building. We have not had a meeting since Oct. 15, 2019. How does a dance group, whose members don’t attend our regular meetings and whose members hold no offices, conduct a meeting of this nature?
I will tell you how. County Administrator Harold M. Young allied with Deloris Frazier to remove Stroman’s name. I attended a meeting in Young’s office on Jan. 30 with the following individuals present: Young, Jeanette Jeffries, Oliver and Deloris Frazier. Young refused to answer the simple question. “What has John W. Stroman done to discredit the city, community or state that his name should be removed off of a county building that was dedicated in his honor?”
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Young nor Frazier had an answer. In fact, Young stated that Deloris Frazier did not have to answer. Hey, Mr. Young, does she have immunity like Donald Trump? Remember, this action she took was as a chairperson of a community group.
My question to Young and Deloris Frazier: “What do you have against Muslims?” It is a known fact that John W. Stroman is a Muslim who has done more in this community than either of you, or most Christians, if the truth be told. So, once again, answer the question: “Why?”
Stroman is a South Carolina State University graduate, civil rights icon, community servant, retired teacher, husband, father, and friend of this city and community. Never forget his leadership in the forefront of the Orangeburg Massacre.
You see, Young and Frazier, Stroman is loved and respected in the Edisto Drive community. “Are you?”
Do you know how hard someone must have worked or sacrificed to have the honor of receiving a plaque or having a building named after them, whether they be black, white, Hispanic or Asian? I can assure you, that person or persons did something to make the world a better place. But here we have in Orangeburg a black county councilwoman and a black administrator trying to destroy the legacy of John W. Stroman.
At a time when we should be recognizing the struggles that black Americans have been through and what we have accomplished, we still continue to be our worst enemies.
The Citizens of Edisto Drive want our sign back on the building.
The Rev. Arnold E. Ray is from Orangeburg.
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