Power Over Adversity
By Tommy L. Johnson
This Book Honor’s God Almighty
Who Guided Me From
To the Eagle’s Crest!
Table of Contents
I. Introduction and Review
A. Historical Overview
B. The Parade of Characters
C. The Battle of Pierre Parish
D. The GSA Gang
E. The B-Cat Nation
F. The Crowder Street Reunion
III. In Memoriam
A. Death Comes to the Jacobses
B. The Last of the God Fathers
And the Mafia Mentality
C. Death Comes to Us All
IV. The Eagle’s Crest
A. You Whipped the Hornet’s Nest
B. The Eagle’s Crest
C. I Came, I Saw, I Conquered
V. Power Over Adversity
A. The Challenge of Adversity,
B. Surviving Adversity: The Hornet’s Nest and Fiery Furnace
C. Self -Preservation and Only the Strong Survive
D . Multicultural, Cognafective, Interactive and Brain Centered Survival Strategies
E. Self-Actualization, Survival and Adversity
F. Devine Providence and At Oneness with God
V. Taps, Flashback and Reveille
Introduction and Review
Confederate soldiers used the term Hornet’s Nest to describe the gunfire they encountered during Civil War Battle of Shiloh. The term has also used to describe the trauma that comes with unexpected adversity. (Microsoft Encarta Dictionary, 1990 and Foote, 1990) According to these authors the following experiences often characterize a Hornet’s Nest experience.
1. The Hornet’s Nest experience is oftentimes unexpected.
2. The Hornet’s Nest generates pain and denial.
3. Living grief that comes with the Hornet’s Nest experience is traumatic and overwhelming.
4. Anybody who wants to survive a Hornet’s Nest must accept the reality of his/her situation.
5. Lessons learned from the Hornet’s Nest can serve as a valuable tool that will allow you to acquire power over adversity.
Volume I of this book was a fictionalized account that focused on what the Hornet’s Nest experience did to the author. Volume II of the book identifies strategies that people may use to survive the Hornet’s Nest. This book uses a fictionalized narrative to argue that godly faith allows you to acquire power over the adversity that comes with The Hornet’s Nest.
Reviewing the Hornet’s Nest
When I completed From the Hornet’s Nest to the Eagle’s Crest: Acquiring Power over Adversity in 2009 I wanted to focus on the theme of acquiring power over adversity. However, the Hornet’s Nest book primarily focused on the Hornet’s Nest experience. However my best friend Robert L. Gilbert suggested that I needed to write a book that described how strategies that God gave me in my effort to acquire power over adversity. Therefore Power over Adversity describes various strategies that I used in overcoming adversity associated with the Hornet’s Nest.
The Parade of Characters
Though the Hornet’s Nest centers on the experiences of Thomas Bernard Jacobs you can say that the story really began with the type of people who were called Old Bloods who founded the Town of Napolville (Nappyville) Louisiana. Carol Bradford a seven generation descendent of the Town’s founder Jean (The Black Lion) Napolien characterized the Old Bloods. “Napolville will always be my Baby.” Carol who never had children would never use the term Nappyville because she never forgave Andrew Jackson and his frontier Army for naming it Nappyville which meant Land of Nappy Headed Niggers. Carol, a nurse, freelance writer and teacher became Napolville’s first female mayor.
After the Civil War a new types of characters came to Napolville. One type was the Traditionals who viewed the town as an ideal American community for African-American ex-slaves who settled there. Austin Johnson IV, who spent his adult life supporting traditional American values, became mayor after Carol Bradford. Johnson who managed the Obama campaign in the Town he officially named Nappyville believes that America represents the best hope for African-Americans.
When whites under Sam Nash who command hated Yankee forces and their nigger allies and railroad man James Ross who wanted to found a white city in the newly created Pierre Parish took control of the Parish after the Civil War they introduced a new type of character to Nappyville. This character called Outlanders or outsiders by the Old Bloods were other Louisianans who lived and worked in Nappyville and Napolville University.
The abrasive and intensely loyal Carolyn Brown who Thomas Jacobs called Hornet Queen became Director of Student Services at her Alma Mater Napolville (NAPU) University. Meanwhile Niels Davis who proudly called himself a Jack Nigger because Andrew Jackson freed his ancestor who fought in the Battle of New Orleans retired as a Professor of Statistics and Sociology at Napolville University. The popular and trash taking Davis made the remarks when he retired from NAPU. “Thom Jacobs gave his heart to the JU Kool Kats but he gave his booty to the NAPU Big Cats! Davis now operates his on research consulting firm.
Who will ever forget Marseille Renea Ellis and Sipferia, the Spanish Creole, Matin? Ms. Ellis who got her rival, Carolyn Brown fired Student Financial Services at NAPU experienced the hornet’s nest when her and her family met the Bad Girl they called Hurricane Katrina. Marseille (Selle) who operated a dictatorship during her and days as NAPU’S GSA President left Atlanta and returned to her hometown of Lepton where she teaches in various private schools that exist in the area.
Sipferia left Student Services at NAPU and became Dean of Academic Services at the Shrevetown, Louisiana Branch of South Louisiana University. However, before she left NAPU She got Carolyn Brown her job as student Services Director. Matin or Sip who was one of the few Creoles that Carol Bradford liked hired Thomas Jacobs as a part-time Social Science Teacher at the South Louisiana University Shrevetown, Louisiana Branch. “Thom, I love you dearly but when it comes to Mississippi and Louisiana with me Louisiana always wins!” Matin who led the South Louisiana Bayou Cat Pom Pom Cheerleading Club made these remarks to let Thomas Jacobs known that nothing came between her and her home state of Louisiana.
James Ross and Austin (Sargent GUS) Austin Johnson I introduced outsiders to Nappyville. Ross who owned slaves wanted outsiders to sharecrop his Rosstown Plantation. because he knew that these tenants were posed no threat
to his operations in Pierre Parish. Meanwhile, the Man they called Ole Man Gus who served under Robert G. Shaw and Sam Nash felt that hiring outsiders would boost the educational reputation of his beloved NAPU.
These outsiders made their presence felt at Nappyville and Napolville University during the time of the Hornet’s Nest. Leslie Pearson who was a brother and spiritual advisor to Thomas Jacobs died from complications that resulted from diabetes. Donny Johnson who lived by the motto success is the best form of revenge died from an unexpected heart attack. Claude Winston, a self-employed Mississippi business man who would eventually win the Medal of Honor for his heroism and defiant action at the Battle for Hamburger Hill in Vietnam died from cancer that came from smoking and Agent Orange. Dr. Vern Fulsom who taught students during the Hornet’s Nest continues to publish articles while teaching graduate courses at NAPU. Adul Mohammad and John Gaines Mbete who had enough of NAPU and the Hornet’s Nest returned to their native Africa where they talked about their Hornet’s nest experience in America. Simmie Sims whose humor made him popular with the students of NAPU died of a stroke after he retired as a full professor of Social Work at NAPU. Meanwhile, Leonard and Suzie Barnes a couple Thomas Jacobs called Mr. and Mrs. Civil Rights left NAPU and Louisiana where they returned to their Alma Matter Mississippi Valley University where they set up an outreach ministry that focused on giving spiritual food to the university’s student, faculty and staff.
Thomas Jacobs after working seven years at the City of Napolville Sanitation Department eventually got employed as a part time Social Science teacher at the Shrevetown, Louisiana Branch of South Louisiana University. Though he had not taught college level classes in nearly 30 years he with help from Carolyn Brown and Sipferia Matin Thomas or T. B. is trying to adjust to Twentieth-First Century college level teaching.
Thomas who feels that teaching at South Louisiana Shrevetown Louisiana SLAUS represents God’s idea of the Eagle’s Crest made these remarks in that related to addressing the challenges he encounters at SLAUS. “Dr. Sip, you all I survive South Louisiana U by adhering to this triangle. My heart belongs to the Kool Kats. My Booty belongs to the Big Cats! But the Bayou Cat Nation signs the pay check!” “Thom, babe always recognize who signs your check!” Thomas who prevailed over the NAPU Hornet’s Nest is trying to make sense his travels on the road of the Eagle’s Crest.
The Battle of Pierre Parish
Come One! Come All! See the greatest fight in these parts since Yankee, Buffalo and Rebel Soldiers fought each other since the Civil War! Come and see what is billed as the Battle of Pierre Parish. You have the Rosstown Pitt Bull vs. The Napolville University Big Cats! You have the Pride of East Central Louisiana vs. the Notre Dame of Black College football! This battle will decide who will be football King in East Central Louisiana! Thou the schools had met in so-called minor sports like baseball this would be the first time the two football powerhouses would meet on the football gridiron. B
The resourceful Marselle Ellis who planned to return to Lepton five years after Hurricane Katrina saw the Battle of Pierre Parish as a time to reunite members of the GSA Gang. She immediately e-mailed and called all Gang members. She persuaded Thomas to help her in selling t-shirts she had designed for the battle. Meanwhile she talked the Spanish Creole in arranging and staging the after party. Marselle adopted a who cares attitude when she discovered that Dr. Sip had talked her rival Carolyn Brown into cooking food for the after party. “Thom, in spite of the Hick, Da Dame is still a Bad Girl!” On August 29, 2010 exactly5 years after Bad Girl (Hurricane) Katrina had humbled New Orleans and the Gulf Coast the Battle of Pierre Parish kicked off.
The battle itself turned out to be a dogfight as two of Louisiana’s dominant football programs battled over who would rule the football world of east central Louisiana. Shrevetown Liberty Bowl Stadium was filled to the brim as school, class and race insured that the Battle of Pierre Parish would be an intensely physical and emotional affair. The battle turned into a fan rivalry as rowdy Big Cat fans faced off against rebel flag waving beer drinking Pit Bull fans. In order to prevent a race riot the state of Louisiana under Republican Governor Bobby Jindal had state troopers and National Guardsmen on standby.
When the dust was settled the Big Cats defeated the Pit Bulls 20-17. Police and military presence insured that the battle did not turn into an actual war. When the dust was settled fans congratulated each other for good behavior. Though the Battle was an economic boost for Pierre Parish the two schools did not agree to a long term contract. However for the 60,000 fans who saw the battle it was a dogfight between two schools that represented two opposing cultures that dominated life in east central Louisiana. When Battle of Pierre Parish was over it was time for the Ole GSA Gang to catch up on lost time.
Marselle started the party off by announcing that after five years in Atlanta she would be returning back to Lepton. “Child, Hotlanta (Atlanta) is cool but it doesn’t compare with the culture of Creole Louisiana!” Just when Marselle completed her remarks the sound of familiar African voices were heard in the background. “Thom Jacobs and Marselle Ellis Modern Day Warriors!” “Adul what brings you, Dr. Mack and Ronald Here?” “Thomas in spite of our version of the Hornet’s Nest we had to witness the Battle of Pierre Parish.” “MS. Ellis the welcome mat is out for you all in Africa but advise your crime partner to leave his song and dance routine in America because his singing and dancing will have Africans rooting for Tarzan!” Mr. Ronald you mean to tell me that signing and daring in Africa could be hazardous to my health?” “Mr. Jacobs your hornet’s nest won’t compare to the hell you will experience if you try to sing and dance in Africa!” Just as Dr. Mack completed his remarks the crowd heard the sound of a familiar loud mouth voice. “Ain’t no cat is badder than a NAPU Big cat! It’s like I said the NAPU Big Cats is the Beast King in Pierre Parish!” After the stately Dean Harris did her Dancing Dean Routine Dr. Sip and Carolyn Brown made an announcement that startled everybody.
“People Ms. Brown and I have an announcement to make. I have decided to hire Thomas Jacobs as a part time social science instructor at South Louisiana University at Shrevetown. This decision was based on letters of recommendations I received from Ms. Brown, Mayor Johnson, Mayor Bradford and Supervisor James Younger. Mr. Jacobs, In spite of their reservation, your impressive resume convinced my faculty that you would make a good hire. Thomas I will start you all with a Louisiana Culture and an African-American History class. Good luck, Thomas and you better not let me down. “Negro I will be on your tail like ugly is on an ape because if you mess up this opportunity I will put my size seven on your tail!” “That just like a hornet trying to sell a wolf ticket at a house party!” So far as the party was concerned Ms. Brown advice was for the future. Now it was time to reminisce about the Ole GSA Gang.
The GSA Gang
The NAPU Graduate Student Association had its beginnings in 1990 when brothers Adul and Ronald Mohammad along with Army nurse Carol Bradford decided to create a graduate student research organization. The mission of the Organizations was to assist graduate students in addressing research issues impacted their success in graduate school. Leonard Barnes, the late Wilson Palmer and Vern Fulsome agreed to serve as organizational advisors. Sipferia Matin, the newly hired director of Student Services at NAPU agreed advice the organization in student development issues, while Carolyn Brown advised the GSA in matters that related to financial aid. Though, the GSA tried to limit it activities to research related matters it evolved into a clearinghouse in all matters that governed graduate students who attended Napolville University. This especially applied during the time of Thomas Jacobs’ hornet’s nest experience.
When the GSA started in 1990 it strictly addressed research class and testing issues that impacted Graduate students at NAPU. Ronald Muhammad was the first organizational president. His brother Adul was the vice President. It was during the presidency of Adul Mohammad that the GSA morphed into a full pledged student organization at Napolville University. During the 1992 organizational member Adul invited Thomas Jacobs and Marselle Ellis to become organizational members. “Thomas, since you are my research buddy and classmate I want you to be my vice president and Chief Executive Officer. While Adul was offering vice presidency the brash talking Marselle created the office of Publicist. “Guys, I purpose to use the publicist position to promote my purposed Mardi Gras Ball.” “Ms. Ellis how do you purpose to do that when people here do not celebrate Mardi Gras?” “Mr. Jacobs I have partying and modeling experience in Lepton, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. I and my family ran the Lepton Branch of the Krewe of Zulu. Therefore this Mardi Gras proposal is small potatoes for me.” Marselle used her successful Mardi Gras Ball as a stepping stone to creating her own power base in the GSA which she created her own power base.
After a successful stint as Publicist Marselle decided to pull a coup by asking her partner in crime Thomas the Zulu Jacobs to become her vice president! “Thom, I know you want to be president but since you will be interning with Sip you won’t have the time to assume the responsibilities of the office. Therefore I want you to be my vice president. If you decide to take the position I will allow you to chair the GSA Conference on Applied Education. “Marselle, I will take you offer if you support my effort to be president after your tenure is done.
Ronald Mohammad went on the warpath when he founded out that Thomas and Marselle had pulled what he called a coup. Thomas, you and your buddy Ms. Ellis stabbed me in the back! You two pulled off a coup which is what they do in Africa!” The brash Ms. Ellis dismissed the criticism with these remarks. “In leadership, you lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. Carol Bradford who already had a negative opinion of the woman she called MS. Ellis warned that what she called the GSA Gang would be ruled by hybrid creole culture. When the Hornet Queen Carolyn Brown had heard about the Coup she warned her friend Thomas about what she called hat Creole Hussy. “Jacobs, that high yaller wranch is a Creole Hussy who look down on black Indians and black folks!” Marselle casually dismissed this remark by saying that she did not expect better from a hick.
During the Ellis/Jacobs Admimstration the GSA Gang reached the height of its influence. The organization continued its research and testing related activities. Thomas the Zulu Jacobs and Marselle Da Dame Ellis pulled another coup when they staged the 1995 GSA Conference on Applied Education. After successfully pulling off this conference Dr. Fulsome called Marselle and Thomas the Dynamic DOU! Marselle with her brashness and energy and Thomas with his determination, persistence and tunnel vision could do nothing wrong. Thomas bragged that after the 1995 conference the GSA Gang or the Gang was the best graduate student organization in the state. In addition to making its presence felt in the statewide Applied Education Symposium, the GANG Attended the National Applied Education Conference that met in West Memphis, Arkansas. In this Conference the Gang interacted with experts in trying to figure out the meaning and purpose of Applied Education.
While the GSA Gang continued its educational and professional activities the Gang flushed in the social atmosphere provided by the Dynamic Duo. Marselle planned the parties while Thomas promoted and publicized the activities. Summer school students who came to NAPU from All over the country came to parties arranged and sponsored by the GSA. In addition to social activities Marselle used these parties as a fund raising tool for the GSA.
During the Ellis/Jacobs tenure the Gang had the right mix that insured that it could do anything. Marselle supplied the leadership that set organizational goals and purposes. Thomas supplied the people skills that kept various segments of the Gang united. Meanwhile the Mohammad brothers along with selected staff and faculty supplied the advice that enabled Gang to navigate the NAPU bureaucracy.
GSA parties had their share of strange and humorous events during the time of Thomas Jacobs’ hornet’s nest. There was time when the Mohammad brothers tried play a spade game drunk. What made the game more hilarious was when a drunken Ronald told the GSA women of how he would treat them in Africa. “Girls, if you were in Iboland all of you would be my wives!” “Mr. Mohammad You ain’t in Africa! You are in America!” “Thom, his liquor is talking because he has no wives in Africa! Besides, nobody wants him because he has no money!” When Ronald woke up from his hang over he denied ever making these remarks. “That wasn’t me it was my stupid brother!”
After this event was over a drunken Marselle tried to stage a GSA meeting! “Motion seconded and approved!” Everybody including Dancing Harris and a liquored up Wilson Palmer let Marselle conduct her make believe meeting.
Who could forget the time when the Dancing Dean Harris embarrassed Thomas the Zulu Jacobs on the dance floor. “Dean, I did not know you had that in you.” “The Dancing Dean who was a Dacing Girl at her alma mater Georgia State University told an embarrassed Thomas that she was the Grand Dame! Marselle and Adul poured salt on T. B.’s wound by advising him to giving up his dancing career! “Thom, you are a scholar and a Modern Day Warrior but you need to hang up you dancing shoes!” “Adul don’t be so hard on a brother!” “Child, I’m your partner through thick and thin but your dancing career has got to end!” When this party ended little did anybody know that the GSA Gang had reached the peak of its influence.
When the Jacobs’ Admimstration ended in 1996 members of the GSA Gang began to go their separate ways. The Mohammad brothers used the organization as a tool to achieve the doctorate in Applied Education. Marselle who would continue her partying ways moved to achieve her doctorate in Applied Education. Carolyn Brown who nearly came to blows with Marselle disassociated herself From the GSA. “Jacobs, I still see you as a friend but I will have nothing to do with the GSA as long as that Creole Wanch is running things!” Carol Bradford who had no love for Ms. Ellis abandoned the GSA during the Ellis Admimstration. “Thom, your constitution looks good but it will be null and void under the tenure of MS. Ellis because it’s her way or the highway. Since I have no love for hybrid Creole culture I’m relinquishing my GSA membership. I have better things to do with my life than to be ruled by a Creole!”
It seemed that Sipferia Matin was the only Gang member who benefited professionally from the GSA Gang. When she left NAPU to become Dean of Academic Services she had fund memories of running the GSA as what she called the Chairman of the Broad. “My experience as Chairman of the Board was a blast because it enabled me to learn the academic side of student admimstration. Besides the parties, trips and conferences were fun. I hope that what I learned as Chairman of the Board for the GSA Gang will benefit me at SLAUS. She would need those skills as she along with the Hornet Queen vowed to initiate Thomas the Zulu Jacobs in the Bayou Cat Nation.
The B-Cat Nation
Thomas Jacobs was startled and surprised when Carolyn Brown and Sipferia Matin got him a job teaching social science and history courses at South Louisiana University Shrevetown Branch. He felt that South Louisiana University which had braches in New Orleans, Lepton and Shrevetown did not hire outsiders. “Mr. Jacobs whether you know it or not SLAUS hires outsiders to teach on its faculty. Besides, since it is the community college branch of the South Louisiana System it hires quite a few NAPU graduates. You have an advantage because Dr. Matin graduated from South Louisiana at New Orleans.” Leslie Pearson and Jack Grier who graduated from South Louisiana at Lepton supported the Hornet Queen arguments with these words of advice. “Thomas South Louisiana has a caste system but you can survive there if you stay out of the nigger/creole mess. Besides, they will like you because of your historical knowledge. Donny Johnson, who was an All American linebacker at South Louisiana Lepton wanted to talk to Thomas about the employment challenge he would face at SLAUS however he died before the conservation took place. As soon as Thomas reported to work Dr. Matin allowed her buddy Carolyn to act as an enforcer in matters that related to employment as SLAUS.
“Mr. Jacobs we caught hell in getting you this job therefore Matin has given me the responsibility of preparing you for the job. I will help you in documenting and recording your grades. Dr. Matin will be monitoring you teaching so you better get it right from day one!” “Carolyn, you are talking to somebody who has had community college teaching Experience!” “Look-a-here Jacobs I don’t care what type of experience you had you will have to be able to take criticism if you are to survive as SLAUS!” Hell, I know you can teach history but you have to be to record and document what you teach.
Documentation and recording grades turned out to be a challenge for the man they called Mr. Jacobs. Carolyn and Thomas addressed this by detailing Thomas’ teaching ways and methodology through his syballus As soon as that challenge was addressed Thomas was informed by Dr. Matin that if he did not get glasses his employment at the University will end. “Mr. Jacobs, I you don’t get your glasses your employment here will end.” Minster Pearson addressed this issue directly paying for his glasses. “Thomas, I don’t mind during this for you because you are like a brother to me. Besides you will do well at the B-Cat Nation if you don’t get yourself in that Negro/creole mess.
“Thomas’ next challenge came inform of a student named Rashad Mohmand who was from Jordan. This challenge involved changing grades after the school year had ended. “Mr. Jacobs, if you were Jordanian you would be my big brother!” When Dr. Matin found out what Thomas had done she consulted with MS. Brown about the matter.
“Mr. I figured you would not follow my advice about not changing that student’s grade.” “Ms. Brown, instructors change grades here all the time!” “Jacobs don’t give me the crap! You let those Arab student talked you into his grade because of the food he gave you at the SLAUS International Students Day Celebration! If you had listened to me you never would have gotten yourself into this mess! “Carolyn, I listen to you all the time!” “Jacobs your smart mouth and hard head may have costed you your job! When, Thomas told Austin and Mary Crowder about this issue they invited him to their newly acquired home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “Thom, you will be the first member of the Our Ole Gang to see The new family house, Besides Austin’s parents want to meet the man they call Mr. Jacobs.”
After, the Colorado trip Thomas was informed that Dr. Matin would not terminate his teaching job. “Mr. Jacob I have decided to keep you as an instructor because you are knowledgeable in your field and you care about you students but you must adhere to these stipulations if you want to continue to work here. Ms. Brown will assist you with your grade book, syballus and signing out procedures. My student worker will help you in recording daily attendance. You will submit to me you daily attendance records.”
“After being informed of Dr. Matin’s decision Carolyn Brown had this advice for a rather humbled Thomas. “Mr. Jacobs what you did could have cost you your job! However Dr. Matin was impressed by the way you teach you students. Everybody at SLAUS is impressed by your history and social science knowledge. “Carolyn thanks for being my friend.” “Mr. Jacobs, I know you view me as judgmental and self-righteous but if I was not your friend I would not have stuck my neck out in getting you this job.” “Carolyn, if I felt you did not know what you were during when it came to helping me at SLAUS then we would not be having this conservation.” Matin’s and Carolyn’s oversight enabled Thomas to finally master the grading/signing out process SLAUS.
Thomas knew this was achieved when Matin gave him an informal job evaluation. “Thomas, in spite of your sensitive and hard headed nature I knew that sooner or later you would learn the process. Besides, Ms. Brown a good help to you. “Thomas began to feel some form of security when Matin who he called the B-Cat Queen talked trash to him about the upcoming Battle of the Bayou between South Louisiana and NAPU University. “Mr. Jacobs! Since you are form Mississippi you have no say in a Louisiana matter. Besides, you can’t say nothing because you’re Jackson University Kool Kats is a door mat for our Louisiana teams!” “Queen for now on me will plead the Fifth Amendment right.” “Thomas Jacobs, think twice before you try to talk trash to Da Bayou Cat Queen!” As soon as the informal evaluation was completed Thomas’ partner in crime Marselle invited him to the annual Battle of the Bayou which was staged on Thanksgiving Day which turned out to be her birthday. “Thomas, I want you and Sip to represent the GSA Gang for my B-Day bash!”