Poor Peoples Campaign

Poor Peoples Campaign

Poor Peoples6 19 1968a 1

Poor Peoples Campaign

Members from various Baha’i communities gather to participate in
the Poor Peoples Campaign held in the Nations Capital 12 May – 24 June, 1968.

19 June 1968.  Baha’is stand ready to participate in the Poor Peoples Campaign held on the grounds of the Washington Monument.
(L/R)  Barry Simms, Mary Jane Austin, William Twitty, Oleatha DeVane, Fred Myers, Gordon Boardman, James Sturdivant, Steve Sewell.


“The Poor People’s Campaign, or Poor People’s March on Washington, was a 1968 effort to gain economic justice for poor people in the United States. It was organized by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and carried out under the leadership of Ralph Abernathy in the wake of King’s assassination. The campaign demanded economic and human rights for poor Americans of diverse backgrounds. After presenting an organized set of demands to Congress and executive agencies, participants set up a 3,000-person protest camp on the Washington Mall, where they stayed for six weeks in the spring of 1968.”  ~Wikipedia

Baha’i Participation

The 1960s saw massive changes taking place in American society due to a series of high-level assignations – US President, John F. Kennedy (22 Nov 1963), Minister Malcom X (21 Feb 1965), US Senator, Robert Kennedy (5 June 1968) – the nationwide Civil Rights Movement, and the heightened resistance to the US led war in Vietnam, among others. Throughout the country Baha’is struggled in concerted effort to demonstrate the principles of the faith during the ensuing social chaos, and the Poor Peoples Campaign along with many other events provided many excellent opportunities.


Barry Simms, Mary Jane Austin, Oleatha DeVane, and Fred Myers are members of Baha’i communities located in various Maryland suburbs close-in to the Nations Capital. William Twitty, Gordon Boardman, James Sturdivant, Steve Sewell, and Terry Randolph (photographer) are members of the Washington DC Baha’i community. One side note relates to how the banner was constructed. Several people participated in its construction and Oleatha Devane designed and painted the lettering. However during the process it became apparent that there was not enough canvas to complete the banner. To everyone’s dismay, additional canvas had to be purchased, painted, and then attached to complete the work.

Dharumbir Takan Baha’i Family

Dharumbir Takan Baha’i Family

Feast of Mashiyyat, 26 Sep 2003

Home of Dharumbir and Vishwanee Takan

Bain Boeuf, Pereybere, Mauritius

Taken Family
pexels photo 198842

Mauritius Trip Report

The Baha’i travel-teaching and community consolidation effort took place over a 30-day period from 1-30 Sept 2003. Click on above image to access full report.

September 26, 2003
Feast of Mashiyyat
Home of Dharumbir and Vishwanee Takan,
Bain Boeuf, Pereybere, Mauritius

Feast began with prayers. The national Baha’i newsletter was read, with portions translated into English by Ruksha. The topic of Baha’i youth participation arose and I was able to relate the story of ‘Dancing Bear’, a youth in the Washington, DC community, who, by his manner and commitment to social change, unwittingly, prepared the DC Baha’i community for the advent of the 1960s social revolution.

There was discussion of plans for Africa’s 50th year Jubilee celebration, and of Ruksha’s six-month pioneer experience to Cape Town, South Africa as participant in a special youth project. Feast adjourned with prayers at 2145.

Photographs were taken, along with explanation for my documentation of Baha’i events.

Those in attendance:
(10) Raja Takah
(9) Dharumbir Takah
(8) Terry Randolph
(7) Na’il Randolph
(6) Claude Carver
(5) Aniella Carver
(4) Catherine Carver
(3) Cathy Carver
(2) Vishwanee Takah
(1) Ruksha Takah (secretary)

The Takah home is a hub of Baha’i activities in the area. Na’il and I were kindly transported to Feast by Claude Calver in the company of his family.

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Baha’i Conference Panama 1967

Baha’i Conference Panama 1967

Baha’i Intercontinental Conference (7-10 October 1967: Panama Hilton Hotel, Panama City, Panama). La fe Baha’i, Conferencia Intercontinental, Cuidad de Panama, Republica de Panama, Octubre 7-10, 1967.

Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum is standing in the middle of the group.  On her right is fellow Hand of the Cause, Ugo Giachery.

Names are sought for others in the photograph.

Access Temple site page here:
Temple Site & Int’l Conference, 1967


Baha’i Tea Event

Baha’i Tea Event

Bahai Tea Washington DC

Baha’i Tea Event

A regular featured event at the Washington DC Baha’i Center was the “Baha’i Tea”, usually around 2:00 PM on a specified Sunday afternoon. Its purpose was to provide a suitable venue to receive those invited to meet the guest speaker, usually a person of note from the greater Washington community, and provide means for them to socialize with members of the faith. In this way, both the invited speaker and guests were able to learn about the Baha’i Faith.

On this occasion (ca. 1966), an early afternoon ‘Baha’i Tea’ was prepared and hosted by Baha’i community member, Tehmenia Parsons (front row, 2nd from left).


Back Row: (l/r) Lucille Webster, unknown guest (man, glasses), Green Glen, Jr.,  William Twitty, Katherine Larson (eyes closed), unknown man (partly hidden), Grace Chavis (white hat), Rosemary K. Brown (partly hidden, glasses), Theodies Washington (partly hidden, glasses).

Middle Row: (l/r) Gypsy Goines? (white blouse), Constance and Alfred Beckley, Sarah Pereira, Farkhundih Tawfiq, Inez Cooper, Antoinette Washington (white hat), Marjorie Ingram (Inez Cooper’s daughter), Steven Sewell, and unknown person (with cake).

Front Row: (l/r) unknown guest, Tahmineh Parsons, ‘Guest of Honor’, Betty Atkins, Joy Haxon (kneeling), and Riva Morales.


Tahmineh Irani Parsons – WBC, from a long line of noted Baha’i family members (the Irani’s).  Buried beside her husband at Arlington National Cemetery.  His is the only graved at ANC marked by a Baha’i symbol, a successful project undertaken by his wife, Tahmineh. 
Lucille Webster – WBC, IBP, former employee at the US Department of State.  Her signed name can be found in the Guestbook of various Baha’i communities in several countries.
Green Glen – WBC, employed by the Maryland Youth Facility (challenged youth).
William Twitty – WBC.
Katherine Larson – WBC, Ballet dancer, Washington National Ballet.
Grace L. Chavis – WBC (recent member, 1968).
Rosemary K. Brown (neé Closson), BY, WBC, Howard University student.  Later married David Closson, former Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa.  After marrying, they pioneered on the home-front to the state of New Jersey.
Theodies Washington – WBC, LSA (intermittent).
Constance and Alfred Beckley – WBC
Sarah Martin Pereira – WBC, LSA. [1] 
Farkhundih Tawfiq – WBC, BNC, IBP, Washington Baha’i Center caretaker, and served at the Baha’i National Center. [2] 
Inez Cooper – WBC, one time member of the LSA, wife of a well-respected Washington DC police detective.
Antoinette K. Washington – WBC, BY, involved in various Baha’i projects.
Marjorie Ingram – WBC (Inez Cooper’s daughter).
Steven Sewell – WBC, LSA, and imitator of the Lorton Inmate Baha’i Teaching Project, at the time (ca. 1968) known as “prison teaching”, i.e. teaching the Baha’i Faith to prison inmates. [3] Additional information can be acquired about this project from the Washington Baha’i Archives.
Guest of Honor – Name/position not known. Research required (Washington Baha’i Archives).
Betty Atkins – Member of the Baha’i community in Falls Church, Virginia.
Joy Haxon – WBC. [4] 
Riva Morales – Member of the Baha’i community in Silver Springs, Maryland.



WBC – Member, Washington DC Baha’i Community
LSA – Member (past or present) of Local Spiritual Assembly, the Baha’i community’s administrative body.
BY – Baha’i Youth
BNC – Baha’i National Center
IBP – International Baha’i Pioneer


[1] Sarah Martin Pereira held several prominent Baha’i positions:  LSA member, Washington DC Baha’i community; member, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States; member, the Baha’i Auxiliary Board; member, Continental Board of Counselors for North America.  She would carry out various assignments for the Universal House of Justice, one of which was as its representative to the election of the National Spiritual of the Baha’is of Haiti.  Unforeseen, was the death of Haiti’s leader, François Duvalier* (14 April 1907 – 21 April 1971).  The election of the NSA was in process as the funeral procession passed below, and security forces (possibly the infamous Tonton Macoute) arrived to investigate this Baha’i event.  Satisfied that no threat existed, they departed without incident.  Sarah Pereira was also a Professor of Romance Languages at the District of Columbia Teachers College (DCTC).  She married a Portuguese man, and the union produce a son, Carlos.  He would achieve a Phd in physics from (?), and later conducted research to verify certain theories propounded by Albert Einstein.  Sarah is a product of the well-known and regarded Martin family, educators and early Baha’is in Chicago, IL, and where several institutions of learning bare the Martin family name.  Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, placed a framed photograph of the Martin family on the wall of the Mansion at Baji as an example of a true Baha’i family.

[2] During one of my visits to Macau (ca. 1973) I met her two daughters at the engagement party for Hebert Lee (originally from Canada) and his future wife, she having served several years at the Baha’i World Centre, Haifa, Israel.

[3] The Lorton Reformatory, operated by the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, was a prison built in 1910 for the District of Columbia in an area now known as Laurel Hill, Virginia. It closed in 2001.

[4] Joy Haxon was a person blessed with deep spiritual insight.  She was also knowledgeable about forces impacting human nature.  As a child she showed promise in this area, demonstrating similar characteristics as those of her maternal grandmother who wanted to help develop joy’s potential.  However her mother intervened to negate the effort, fearing the effects it might have on her daughter’s life.

*As a medical student in the United States, François Duvalier, for a short time, resided with a Baha’i family (further research required to fix exact reference).

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