Celebration of the 120th anniversary of Father John Dorsey’s Ordination

By Ralph E. Moore, Jr.

Charles Dorsey, Jr. directed the Legal Aid Bureau in Maryland for many years, providing legal assistance and advice to the poor, unable to afford lawyers on their own. In April 1995, he died. The Bureau’s building, near City Hall, is named after him. His son is Charles Dorsey, III, a Maryland Circuit Court judge in Baltimore. 

The Dorsey Family of Baltimore (including attorney William ‘Bill’ Dorsey) will be holding two days of events (on June 25 and June 26). The events will be held to honor the second African-American priest who was ordained in the United States 120 years ago. They are very proud of Father John Henry ‘Harry’ Dorsey, SSJ, someone who was not a well-known member of the Josephite religious order. In a congregation founded in 1893 to work with Black Catholics when White religious leaders would not, Dorsey suffered discrimination, criticism, and ostracism but he kept the faith. According to Nate Tinner in a Nov. 28, 2020 article in the online newsletter he co-founded, “Black Catholic Messenger,” “He was exiled thereafter to St Monica’s, a run-down parish in Baltimore. Dorsey would be murdered by a schoolchild’s ex-convict father, succumbing to blunt force trauma complications in 1926.” This was how Father Dorsey’s groundbreaking and heartbreaking life was ended.

Black Catholic History is African American History and American History at the same time.

The public is invited to the Dorsey family events at the Oblate Sisters of Providence Motherhouse on June 25 and the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen on June 26.

Motown Mania vs. Beatlemania

I’ve seen the Temptations, The Jackson Five, Gladys Knight, Ashford and Simpson, Richard Pryor, and Stevie Wonder at the Civic Center (now the Royal Farms Arena) years ago, of course. Paul McCartney, (formerly member of the Beatles), giving his first Baltimore City musical appearance in 48 years recently can’t quite thrill me as it seems to do for others. I’m hooked on Motown royalty. In fact, when I was in high school, we had Martha Reeves and the Vandellas for one concert and Junior Walker and the All-Stars for another in the school auditorium. Motown acts were relatively easier and a lot less expensive to book, I am told. Now Motown was the music back in the day, it became “the soundtrack of our lives.” Visit the Motown Museum on Michigan Avenue in Detroit, if you are ever in the area.

All-Black Group says  ‘Climb Every Mountain’

The first all-Black climbing team to reach the top of Mount Everest in Nepal, located in South Asia and the tallest mountain in the world, succeeded last month. 29,000 feet up into the sky, they made their way up by training and bonding as a group to make the point to the world that Blacks can do anything if they try. And they also wanted to encourage and inspire more African Americans to accept the challenges of the great outdoors. 

As part of their 50-day journey, they left their base camp on May 2 and reached the top, ten days later. Only 10,000 climbers have made it to the top of Mount Everest previously and of that number, only 10 were Black. The climbers, called the Full Circle Everest Team, were comprised of Expedition Leader Phil Henderson, Rosemary Saal, Manoah Ainuu, Fred Campbell, Adina Scott, Evan Green, James “KG” Kagambi, Desmond “Dom” Mullins, Abby Dione, Eddie Taylor, and Thomas Moore. A group of 12 Sherpa guides, who are indigenous to the Himalayan region, also joined the team. 

Seven members, Ainuu, Taylor, Saal, Mullins, Moore, Kagami, and Green, successfully climbed the highest mountain on earth. What a tremendous achievement for them, the rest of the team and the African-American community!

Fred Campbell, whom I met when he was a little boy, is the son of Marvin and dearly departed Mary Campbell and his stepmom is Cecilia Carter.

 He is a Mathematician by trade but he is quite an outdoorsman too. He was the climbing leader and he said, “I am climbing Mount Everest as a chance to help others dream big…”

Marvin Campbell, an attorney with Synchrony Financial, said recently, “Fred has always loved the outdoors. He was born in Alaska and spent the first few years of his life surrounded by beautiful mountains and wilderness.  I am very proud of Fred, who continues to live his life full of the passions that make him happy.”

Perhaps we’ll be able to get an interview with Fred Campbell in time for next week’s edition of the AFRO.

That is all for now.

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