Thursday, October 30, 2014

Updated: Funeral services for Call and Post Editor Connie Harper are Saturday, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority to hold ceremony on Friday, NNPA president and former national NAACP executive director Ben Chavis talks one-on-one with Cleveland Urban News.Com on Harper, calls Harper a 50-year Civil Rights advocate who understood the significance of the Black press, Chavis was an assistant to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Connie Harper

By  Kathy Wray Coleman, editor-in-chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper and Newspaper Blog. Tel: 216-659-0473. (Kathy Wray Coleman is a 20-year investigative and political journalist and legal reporter who trained for 17 years under five different editors at the Call and Post Newspaper, Ohio's most prominent Black press)
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CLEVELAND, Ohio- Funeral services for Call and Post Newspaper Assoc. Publisher and Exec. Editor Constance "Connie" Harper are Saturday, Nov 1 at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, 8712 Quincy Avenue, on Cleveland's largely Black east side, a family spokesperson said earlier today. The wake is at 9:30 am and funeral services are at 10:30 am. Arrangements are entrusted to E.F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home. (

Also, Harper's sorority sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Sority Inc will salute their soror  at an Omega Omega Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Service ceremony from 6 pm to 8 pm at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland ,3290 East 126th Street, on Friday, Oct 31. 

The Rev Dr. Jawanza Karriem Colvin, a Morehouse graduate and senior pastor at Olivet who also eulogized political strategist Arnold Pinkney in January, will do the eulogy at the funeral on Saturday. 

Both Harper and Pinkney were active members of Olivet, one of the city's most prestigious religious venues.

Harper, of suburban Cleveland, who would have turned 82 today, died Friday at a Dayton, Ohio hospital after suffering a heart attack on Sunday at the homecoming of her Alma mater, Central State University. She was the Cleveland alumni chapter president of CSU.  
The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr.
National Newspapers Publishers Association Interim President the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr., an assistant to Civil Rights icon the late Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a former executive director of the national NAACP, said in a one-on-one interview earlier today that the more than 200 Black newspapers publishers of the NNPA ( are mourning the loss of Harper as a longtime NNPA affiliate and former officer of the organization of Black newspapers from across the country. (Editor's note: The Call and Post has distributions in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio)

 "During the last 50 years the Civil Rights community has had one of the strongest advocates for Civil Rights for Blacks and others in Connie Harper," said Chavis, who resided in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, from 1989-1993, and served then as the executive director for the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE AT CLEVELAND URBAN NEWS.COM ON THE DEATH OF CONNIE HARPER AND HER LEGACY AS AN ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER, EDITOR, HUMANITARIAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS ADVOCATE

Chavis, 66, who assisted Dr. King when he was 24-years-old and who knew the late former South African President Nelson Mandela personally and once visited his home, said that Harper, a level-headed civil and human rights advocate, and longtime Clevelander with national ties across partisan lines, understood the power and significance of the Black press. 

"Connie Harper epitomized what James Baldwin said to me and that is that 'the pen is mightier than the sword,' and she used that sword in her efforts for freedom, justice and equality, particularly for Black people," said Chavis.

The Civil Rights leader said also that the Call and Post Newspaper, Ohio's oldest and most prominent Black newspaper," must continue on in Harper's name, whom he said worked tirelessly to keep the paper alive with support from internationally renowned boxing promoter Don King, the owner and publisher of the Call and Post since 1998.

"The Call and Post will live on," said Chavis."Connie would have wanted it that way."

Chavis said that he may or may not make the funeral and that a proclamation will me read there on behalf of the NNPA.
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