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The J-Team Chats with the Palmers

Alice and Buzz PalmerHave you ever read a book where the main characters changed the story in a heartbeat? The sub-character’s views of the main characters changes , the plot changes , even themselves. Now imagine changing the world. Scary right ? You’ve got one shot to make history , and when you take that opportunity , everything is different. Similar to the main character , society’s views of you changes as well. That opportunity only comes to a few people in this world ;  we call them legends. But , in order to change the world , you need to expect the unexpected. There will be trials and downfalls. Only the legends overcome those downfalls and change the world for the greater good. Dr. Alice Palmer , and Home-grown Ambassador Palmer are exactly that ; legends.

Dr. Alice Palmer and Home-grown Ambassador Palmer , has achieved many in their lifetime. Born June 20th , 1939 , in Indianapolis , Dr.Palmer was always influenced by her family , and determination to make a change in her world. She graduated highschool at the age of 16 ,   which then followed to several degrees in English and Sociology in 1965 at Indiana University . She later pursued to get her masters degree from Roosevelt University and her Ph.D from Northwestern University.

She remembers her childhood friend , “Wally”, who knew he wanted to be a journalist since  he was a child. Mrs.Palmer attended Shortridge Elementary School in Indianapolis , the teachers there cared about their students , which made a huge impact on her life. Growing up , sports was a very big deal in Indianapolis , especially basketball. She recalls on the time where she attended a school basketball game , and they had to sit in a certain spot just to watch the game ; and if their team won , they would  had to run. Since schools were still segregated , things would get pretty crazy after games. Since African Americans couldn’t celebrate on the streets like the others , they were sent to a nearby park and made it their home. In the end ,It gave her the love and desire for education and politics.

In her adult years , she became elected for Illinois State Senator. It happened when the community in South Shore of Chicago came to her and Mr.Palmer’s residence, and after the death of Senator Richard Newhouse in 1991.  She then took the position after Mr. Palmer commented , “ You can’t win ! “  She was up day and night making sure she won her spot as senator. Palmer served until 1996 after giving up her position to President Obama, who was an up-and-coming community activist at the time.

Shortly after serving as senator, she continued her lifelong commitment to education as a professor at the University of Illinois .She’s currently on the national advisory board for the 38 million member at AARP .  Even throughout her political life, Dr.Palmer is a fantastic mother and friend , while being an inspiration to all. When asked about her advice to youth about growing up and demanding what you want , she always tells young people  , “Read , read , read and think. “

The story doesn’t stop with Dr.Palmer. Home-grown Ambassador  Palmer is also a legend. Edward “Buzz” Palmer is a retired police officer and civic activist. And happens to be the father of my boss Mr. David Robinson.  He played a huge role in the civil rights movement which I don’t think is talked about enough.

On May 13th 1936. Edward Palmer was born. He grew up in Englewood Chicago. As for college he attended Malcolm X and Chicago State University. After college Palmer served in the US Air Force as an elite intelligence officer stationed in Germany and the Philippines. Then by the sixties he became a police officer back home in Chicago. Then soon after that he created the nationally known African-American Patrolman’s League. Sports was also a major part of his life. In 1960’s he fenced in the Philippines and Germany. In Germany, he fenced on an all white team and even met the president of the World’s Fencing League. When he was younger, a bullying experience is what drove him to his passion for sports . Although he described himself as an amatuer, a neighboorhood friend called  Tank “ taught him how to box to defend himself from the bully who was tormenting him.  William “Willy “ Parker , taught him how to box more. Both of the Palmers have achieved many accomplishments in their lifetimes and they don’t think any of their work went to waste. Along with Dr. Palmer , Home-grown Ambassador Palmer agrees that youth should always,   “ Read , read , read and think. “

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