Posts Tagged ‘courtland bivens III’
People often ask how I got my name. This true story will shed some insight. I was thinking about this article, written in 2003, when I started working to launch the site. To get it I got a free trial of HighBeam Research. I was able to cancel it immediately with no problem apparently. Though it says anonymous the writer of this article was Regina Lynch-Hudson “The Write Publicist”. She happens to be the wife of my namesake.
Westside Gazette | January 29, 2003 | Anonymous
We’re all connected, on average, by half a dozen interpersonal avenues – a numinous network popularized by the phrase “six degrees of separation.” In this interwoven web of friends, neighbors, colleagues, and kin – what impression do you leave behind?
When 26-year-old Courtland Warren left Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend Atlanta’s 11th Annual Trumpet Awards – he sensed he’d been invited to the famed event that heralds the accomplishments of great African Americans for some divine purpose. Little did he suspect that he’d meet 51-year old Courtland Bivens III, the childhood idol that his father so admired and respected from afar that he named his first born son after him.
When Alan Warren was growing up in Midland, Texas he hung out with a boy named Mark Bivens. Mark’s older brother Courtland was Captain of Midland High’s basketball team and a National Merit Scholar who left Midland to attend the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point. When Courtland returned to Midland he was sporting a flashy 1973 red Firebird TransAm with custom wheels and shiny chrome side pipe headers, attracting all the girls, and donned in the distinguished uniform of a 2nd Lieutenant – all the emblems of male status. Though quiet in demeanor, his attainments seemed to announce, “Hey, you can fulfill your dreams and live boldly as a “Black” man in this richest nation in the world.” Young Alan (whom Courtland didn’t know existed) and all of the neighborhood lads were in awe!
“I’d heard about him long before I ever saw him because his brother Mark gave us weekly updates,” reflected Alan. “Negroes didn’t go to West Point; and his car was so shiny you coulda’ put jelly on the hood and sopped it off with a biscuit. I was 16 the first time I spotted him – and I felt the most incredible sense of pride. I never said more to him than ‘hello’; but, I knew right then and there that if I ever had a son he would be named Courtland.”
Courtland Bivens III went on to Fort Hood, Texas – later becoming an aerospace engineer for NASA, authoring dozens of government papers, obtaining patents on aeronautical equipment, supervising scores of engineers and test pilots – ultimately retiring in Atlanta, Georgia. Yet, he never knew that Alan Warren was so wowed three decades earlier that he’d named his son after him. That was until a miraculously fated meeting on Monday, January 6,2003 at the invitation-only Trumpet Awards.
Both men were dressed in tuxedos in the World Congress Center ballroom filled with celebrities, dignitaries, and national icons. Spike Lee. Pam Grier. Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Ruby Dee. Ossie Davis. Dick Gregory. Andrew Young. Maynard Jackson. Johnnie Cochran.
Magic and serendipity prevailed when former Atlantan Carl Nelson, a roving socialite attending the Trumpet Awards from New York, met the younger Courtland. Glancing at the regal name on the business card he responded,” I only know one other Courtland.” Stunned, young Courtland asked, “Would this man be from Midland’? Carl replied,” I don’t know where this Courtland is from, but he will definitely be here tonight accompanying his wife, a publicist and dear friend of mine.” The young man then told Carl a story he’d heard all his life – how his father had come to name him Courtland.
“My name has been so important to me because I did not grow up with my dad. He and my mom divorced when I was 5 years old. In my quest to understand more of who I am, I sought my father’s insight; and thus came this constant reminder of my father’s childhood idol, a certain Courtland Bivens.” Courtland Warren said that being named after a scholar and a gentleman that his father esteemed provided the motivational underpinnings for him to strive high – landing a full academic scholarship to Oklahoma State University.
Carl ushered Courtland through a sea of white tablecloths amid a star-studded crowd of nameless faces – strong, confident, vibrant identities role models in our culture. “Courtland let me introduce you to Courtland,” said Carl. When the younger Courtland asked the older if he was from Midland – and if he had played basketball chills shot up the older Courtland’s spine. The remarkable story of Courtland Warren unfolded. He quickly reached into his pocket, pulling out his cell phone, and dialed his father in Oklahoma City. “Dad, you’re not going to believe this – I am looking into the eyes of my namesake!
Alan Warren was numb. He asked to speak to the older Courtland. The laughter, clinking of crystal and finery of the ballroom were transported back to a time and place in a modest West Texas oil town.
To a tee Alan Warren described for Courtland the house he lived in as a kid on 1315 E. Parker Street. “You lived in the nicest house in the Negro section, a two story brick house on the North side of town with a double carport.” Alan said that his own dwelling amongst the sandy lots of Midland’s Southside paled in comparison. Alan rattled off the names of the local guys in the Black middle-class community who looked up to Courtland. Haywood Jones. Ricky Johnson. “Ducky” Floyd. “Stilt” Jackson.
What a lasting imprint he had emblazoned in the memories of his homeboys!
The two Courtlands embraced. They were generations apart, but oh so close. They made plans to stay in touch. Young Courtland, an ambitious inspirational speaker, hears the calling of his inner trumpet. It is calling him to Atlanta. He will move in the Spring. Courtland III will be waiting. Courtland Warren hopes to also meet 23-year old Courtland Bivens IV, Courtland III’s son in San Jose.
Now there are five.
Responsible “Black” males must make themselves more visible. More importantly, they should persistently seek out young people to mentor, encourage and motivate. Black America’s youth longs for role models who breed hope and shape positive conceptions of their futures. For more information: The Write Publicist Co. 770.717.7020