Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dr. John L. Cashin, An American Hero~Correction

John L. Cashin Jr. during his bid for elective office in 1970. Credit Wesley Swift

Noted Civil Rights Activist and founder of the National Democratic Party of Alabama, Dr. John Cashin died on Monday in Washington D.C. A memorial service will be held at First Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, AL. Date and Time to be announced.
Huntsville dentist John Cashin contemplated a third-party that would allow blacks to align with the Democratic Party in presidential elections while providing an alternative at the state and local levels.
Cashin, whose grandfather was one of the first black lawyers in the state, was born and raised in Huntsville. He was educated at Fisk University, a historically black institution in Nashville, Tennessee, and after returning from military service in Europe in 1954, he joined his father's dental practice, which he eventually took over himself. He also became active in politics, particularly with the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC), a black political league formed by the national party in an effort to bring newly registered blacks into the Democratic ranks.
Excerpt from The agitator's daughter: a memoir of four generations of one extraordinary African American family by his daughter, Georgetown University Law Professor Sheryll Cashin
During Reconstruction, Herschel V. Cashin was a radical republican legislator who championed black political enfranchisement throughout the South. His grandson, Dr. John L. Cashin, Jr., inherited that passion for social justice and formed an independent Democratic party to counter George Wallace's Dixiecrats, electing more blacks to office than in any Southern state. His "uppity" ways attracted many enemies. Twice the private plane Cashin owned and piloted was sabotaged. His dental office and boyhood home were taken by eminent domain. The IRS pursued him, as did the FBI. Ultimately his passions would lead to ruin and leave his daughter, Sheryll, wondering why he would risk so much.

Thank goodness. Because of Dr. Cashin the NDPA was able to get hundreds of African American local and state of officials elected.
The author grew up across the street from my parents' home in Huntsville, Alabama. This is a tremendously insightful book about her parents and her extended family, as well as the social revolution of which her parents were leaders. This book makes me think -- and cry.

RIP Dr Cashin, may you find the peace in Heaven that eluded you on Earth. You made this world a better place for present and future generations.


Jim Bains said...

I worked with Dr Cashin on the NDPA as a member of the Executive Committee and editor of the Eagle Eye, the party's newspaper. I joined the party because I felt the NDPA was the most important force in the fight to bring freedom and democracy to the benighted state of Alabama. Under John's leadership the NDPA lived up to and exceeded my hopes.

During my years with the NDPA, I found John to be a leader with that rare combination of high ideals and pragmatic analysis, fierce determination and a profound sense of humor.

The State of Alabama and the nation owe Dr Cashin a debt that can only be repaid by those of us left carrying on his work. The Struggle continues...

We miss you John.

Redeye said...

Dear John Bains,

Thank you for sharing your memories of the man you call John but I've known all of my life as Dr. Cashin. I admired him and his wife so much. Their legacy truly exemplified the premise of
"whom much is given much is required". They could have sat back,had a comfortable life, gone along to get along. Thank God they weren't selfish human beings and they fought for equal rights, civil rights and human rights for all mankind.

The Cashin's continue to inspire me to Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!

The struggle continues.

Lynne said...

I also knew the Cashin family and worked (as child slave labor) at the NDPA. I received a request from his son that everyone wear white and black on his birthday (April 16 2011) to celebrate his life and death. Please RSVP and pass on the Facebook event:

Jim Bains said...

I'll wear white & black on April 16th and pass on the Facebook invite. Thanks for the info.
Please join us at the rally in Birmingham April 4th. I know John would have been there if possible.
For information: Free Radicals: