Bea Gaddy
Every year I feature Bea Gaddy because she is such a great woman and around this time of year is the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless and poor which she started.

Although known as the Mother Teresa of Baltimore, Bea Gaddy is originally from Wake Forest, North Carolina. Born in 1933, she and her family suffered from the strains of the Great Depression and domestic violence. Her alcoholic father would toss her and her brother out of the house consistently, leaving them to scrounge for food in garbage bins behind various grocery stores, and her mother lived in fear of being beaten.

Bea Gaddy couldn’t really escape her bleak reality until she married her first husband simply so she could leave home. Gaddy remarked that he was “good but without means or dreams” and though this man was a way out, it also became a trap for worse living. They moved up to New York City where they lived on welfare and move monthly because they could not make rent payments. Sadly, Gaddy’s husband was killed by an acquaintance and this left her in a further dark situation. Once, she simply abandoned an apartment because she knew the sheriff was going to throw her out and cast her belongings onto the street.

By her mid-twenties, Gaddy had already been married twice and was a single mom to her five kids. She came to Baltimore through finding a longtime friend from North Carolina who lived there. Working countless jobs to keep her children fed, she would come across Bernard Potts, a local attorney and business and wait in his office to warm up in the chilly weather. Potts saw potential in Gaddy and wanted her to finish her high school education so she could get a college degree and do more for herself, which she did. She enrolled at Catonsville Community College taking in mental health classes and finished up with a Bachelors of Arts in Human Services from Antioch University.

In the 1980s, Bea Gaddy used the pain she endured all her life and the recent successes to help those around her. Though she was very poor still, she would try to feed her neighbors as well as her own family. She started with simply asking store owners for leftover food and due to the overwhelming success, she started to use a garbage can to collect food from local vendors. Things truly took a turn for the better when Bea Gaddy used fifty cents she found to buy a lottery ticket that turned out to be be a winner for $290. She used this money to feed 39 of her neighbors, which started her emergency relief work in Baltimore.

Bea Gaddy chose to help the homeless and poor because of her own personal experiences of the feelings of humiliation and self-worthlessness that accompanies poverty and homelessness. “Hunger was my constant childhood companion,” she remarked. In 1981, Bea Gaddy opened the Patterson Park Emergency Food Center, which feeds between 50-150 people and since 1981, over 100,000 families have been fed.

The most outstanding event that Bea Gaddy would be remembered for is her Thanksgiving dinners. Just like her other works, the Thanksgiving Dinners rely on donations and volunteers and once was carried out in her home. Once it got bigger, the event had to be moved to Dunbar Middle School. It still continues to this very day.

Besides creating the Emergency Food Center and the yearly Thanksgiving dinners, Bea Gaddy also was involved in running a furniture bank, renovating and refurbishing abandoned row homes, running summer youth programs and was a vocal supporter of voter education. Shortly before her death, Bea Gaddy became an ordained minister so that she could marry and bury the poor at no cost to them. Her home, which ran all these operations, worked under the name of the “Bea Gaddy Center for Women and Children”.

Bea Gaddy has done so much to aid the people of Baltimore , even far more than the people who run it. She is a stunning person, simply who selflessly gave. If you want to read more about Bea Gaddy’s story, click here. If you would like to visit or donate to the Bea Gaddy Center, click here. Here is her listing in the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame.

Straight Line Stitch
Yay, SLS! It’s always great to feature Straight Line Stitch, a metal band that I first learned about on Afro-Punk. Although Straight Line Stitch has been around since 2000, we’re mainly focusing on SLS since lead vocalist Alexis Brown, which is around 2003.

I really like this band, it’s perhaps one of the only other metal band that I have taken a strong liking to, besides Blindside. There’s a Black female lead vocalist, their sound doesn’t hinge on that as a gimmick and their music videos are fantastic.

Check out the video, “Black Veil”. I love the headbanging, the braids Alexis wears just adds a fiery look to it all.

The first video that I saw them in was “Conversion”, I really like the video, especially the imagery of the child watching the television and the dynamic with the riot officer.

An older video that I have recently seen, “What You Do To Me” which is very good, I highly recommend you see it.

If you want to see more SLS:

Straight Line Stitch Facebook (/straightlinestitch)
Straight Line Stitch Twitter (@SLSBand1)
Straight Line Stitch MySpace (/straightlinestitch)

Zen Writer
November is National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. Through Tumblr I have learned of a text editor called Zen Writer. It allows the writer to be immersed in a creative world filled with simple, soothing backgrounds, gentle music and even the sound of the typed letters can be customized. Check out the sample below:

Using it myself, I found it to be very relaxing and easy to write creative works on because the customizable atmosphere that can fit pretty much any writer. There’s no annoying squiggle lines of spell check (it’s a button on the side), the fonts are engaging and all that is presented is a blank slate with a stunning background.

Check it out for yourself here

Welp, that’s all the Black Witch for this week. Next week is Ask Black Witch, get your questions sent in using the “Contact Me” page or ABW Submission Forum on the side of the site. Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!