PETITION TO REINSTATE H. L. McGILL
Mosaic Templars Cultural Center Director Terminated for the Second Time by a
Deputy Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage
NAACP and Citizen Groups Petition Governor Mike Beebe To Reinstate H. L. McGill
For a second time in less than a year, H.L. McGill an African American male and Director of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center has been terminated under dubious claims. McGill was terminated by Martha Miller, a white female and Deputy Director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Miller is a long-time friend of Governor Mike Beebe and ex-wife of Morril Harriman, Governor Beebe’s Chief of Staff. Ms. Miller was appointed by Governor Beebe and had been on the job for three months when she presented McGill a letter of termination. A review of documents that McGill shared with a group of concern citizens clearly show that the firing was without merit.
Since McGill’s departure, Ms. Miller has denied the use of the facility to community groups including the Islamic Center for Human Excellence, the NAACP and has cancelled the next scheduled Mosaic Templar’s exhibit by Ed Dwight, a renowned African American Sculptor. The exhibit is titled “Inauguration of History and Hope - Inaugural Sculpture Scene of President Barack Obama”. The termination of Mr. McGill is an assertive effort on behalf of the Arkansas Heritage Department to prevent community organizations access and space needed to provide important community programing for the Arkansas African American community. During Mr. McGill’s short tenure he was actively attempting to open the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center to community organizations, which we believe was a strong motivation behind his termination.
The Mosaic Templars of America (MTA) was established in 1883 by two ex-slaves, John Bush and Chester Keats. The Mosaic Templars was chartered as a fraternal organization to provide insurance and other social services denied to black people during the era of segregation. By 1900, Mosaic Templars industries grew to include an insurance company, a building and loan association, a publishing company, a business college, a nursing school and a hospital. At its peak, MTA had over 200,000 members located in 26 states and seven (7) countries. At the time, MTA was one of the largest Black organizations in the world. Construction of the Mosaic Templars National Headquarters Building (NHQB) was completed in 1913 and housed Mosaic Templars offices as well as other businesses. Booker T. Washington did the dedication speech in 1913 for the new Mosaic Templars of America Building.
The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center now sits on the foundation site of the original Mosaic Templars National Headquarters Building. A group of citizens, made up primarily of African Americans, saved the building from the wrecking ball. The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center (MTCC) was founded as the Mosaic Templars of America Center for African American Culture and Business Enterprise under Arkansas Legislative Act 1176 of 2001. The Center is to interpret Arkansas's African American history through exhibits, oral history interviews, public forums, and educational programming. The mission of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is to collect, preserve, interpret and celebrate Arkansas's African American history, culture, and community from 1870 to the present, and to inform and educate the public about African American's achievements - especially in business, politics, and the arts.
After Last year’s termination, Governor Beebe reinstated H.L. McGill after the Governor met with several concerned citizens. Governor Beebe instructed Lamar Davis, an African American and Governor Beebe’s Deputy Chief of Staff, to meet with Mr. McGill. A review of documents presented to Mr. Davis by Mr. McGill revealed that the first termination was without merit and both concluded it was a clear injustice. Therefore, Governor Beebe reinstated Mr. McGill as Director of Mosaic Templars Cultural Center at the request of Mr. Davis.
Recently, Dale Charles, President of the Arkansas State NAACP with other community leaders met with Governor Mike Beebe and his staff to discuss the second termination of Mr. McGill. At that meeting, Governor Beebe rejected the groups’ request to provide H.L. McGill due process and to reinstate him. Governor Beebe’s refusal to meet the demands of the community goes against the will of the people to reinstate Mr. McGill. Many African Americans in the State are beginning to believe that due to the recent redistricting lawsuit against Governor Mike Beebe (by soon to be former Senator Jack Crumbly) and the issue of due process for H.L. McGill, this calls into question Governor Beebe’s commitment to civil rights and conjures up the horrible memory of Jim Crow in which Arkansas continues to struggle against.
By signing this petition you will be joining hundreds of individuals around the State of Arkansas and the nation asking that Mr. H.L. McGill be reinstated by Governor Mike Beebe as the Director of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.
President of Arkansas State NAACP
Telephone: (501) 376-2227