LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Odessa has a rich cultural history

This the week in my old hometown of Odessa, the will be be a very unique historical, cultural, musical Event socket square. Dozens of people more the past year have has been work together on a Citywide Effort this will be honor and recognize a of america first already “Doo Wow” singing groups of the early 60s —- from Odessa very own THE VELVET. This Effort will be have as his thrust: elements of due acknowledgement and correct acknowledgement of lost apathy (decades from), and then a collage Party of Community Unity As never before.

This everything started with a song I past at to listen on The Tap boon Hour on SiriusXM in September 2020. In his introduction, Tap Told of “a fantastic singing band this has been a of the initiators of the “Doo Wow” gender —- made at the top of a 8th to note English teacher, and 4 students of his school. They had various shots this made the national music graphics —- same a #1 hit ‘Lana’ in Japan in August 1961 —- with their the biggest hit in the WE being ‘This evening’ Could Be The Night’. All saluting of the West Texas town of Odessa —- ladies and Gentlemen, THE VELVET!

Good, yet ID understood this popular old song sometimes more the years, I had Nope idea these guys were everything of Odessa. Neither did the vast majority of Odessans…. same return in the Velvet’ Hey daytime in the early 60s. You see, everything five singers lived on The South side, the Black Community on the other side the railway tracks. And except for work Related trips and casual purchases companies, people of Color pretty one a lot just stayed on “their” side of town. This has been before my time —- I has been only 11 year and I knew very little on life on the South side.

But being a short story writer, I has been plot with the possibilities of writing a story on this nationally famous singing band of my old trample lands. A lot to research, innumerable call calls, numerous personal interviews and contacts have everything since evolved in a book at be published this to fall —- at be called: ROAD To RECONCILIATION… And BEYOND Unlikely Friends Become Brothers . To the time I has been Do my to research, I had the opportunity of Meet To mark Prince, the low singer of The Velvet. To mark has been a of of them survivor members of the band, and lived in ft. The pain. How practice. How providential! He and I rapidly became close friends, and our which ensues relationship amended each of our Lives. To mark enlightened me on things I knew not of —- with my growth at the top in my secured, happy world more on my side of town. The good Lord had given me a New call… and I knew this.

The way To mark manipulated the inequalities, the prejudices, the the injustices of his Young teenager years in Odessa just soufflé me a way. In my ignoring and naivete, I has been embarrassed and ashamed for myself and in some manners for the way he has been treaty in our fair town. He Told me this he replaced discrimination with acceptance, bitterness with forgiveness, and to hate with to like. To mark Told me his Parents taught him right —- at To allow Nope bedroom in his heart for to hate. What a story for this daytime and age for our Split ground! Oh, this peoples of all nation, all language and tribe could have understood this elderly black brother to share his story with me. This to have to be Told in my book.

So, this Saturday, June 18 years old, at 2 p.m. in the Blackshear Hall, the will be be a program at honor the long forgotten, Again important legacy of THE VELVET! The will be be the of the mayor Proclamation of “Velvet Day”, a unveiling of a Historical Marker pen dedicated at the Velvet outside the school where this everything began, a hour long program of Velvet story/music, and special music guests of Hawaii and Nashville… and a MANUFACTURE A NEW FRIEND TODAY Reception Next the program and After. Our objective is confront the cynical narrative of division, bigotry, hate towards those of a different tint of skin this has imbued then a lot of our society today… and In place to celebrate together the unifying, exuberant music of The VELVET, and KISS the biblical exhortation at to like our neighbor as ourselves…. grateful we are everything equal in the seen of God, our Maker.

Charles Norman

Cleburne