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Senate Floor: HON. HERMAN M. HOLLOWAY, SR.

  • Joe Biden
    Person
Unknown

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Madam President, Martin Luther King once called to our Nation to "forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right." I rise today to honor a man who answered that call, a true leader who served as a public official in my State for more than 30 years, and who will always serve, to all who knew him and to those who will learn of him, as a model of character, principle, and dedication to doing right. 5

Joe Biden

Very Positive
The Honorable Herman M. Holloway, Sr., died yesterday at the age of 72; his death was a great public loss for all Delawareans, and a great personal loss for those of us who were lucky enough to know him as a friend. 6

Joe Biden

Very Positive
But I do not want to speak today about what we have lost, but of what we gained by the life of Herman Holloway, a noble life, a life truly well lived. 7

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Herman M. Holloway, Sr., was born in Wilmington, DE, on February 2, 1922; he attended Howard High School, in the days when it was the only high school in the State open to black students; the second-rate text books came from the waste baskets of the white schools, but the first- rate teachers and role models came, it seemed, from the hand of God. 8

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Young Herman Holloway was also blessed with a father, of whom he spoke often throughout his life, who taught his son to believe in himself, and in his capacity to achieve, despite the obstacles that lay before him. 9

Joe Biden

Unknown
In his youth, Herman Holloway was known as "knockout" for his skill as a boxer, and as "kool" for his ball-handling skills as a basketball guard. 10

Joe Biden

Unknown
He was, in fact, captain of the Howard basketball team, and also a well-regarded scholastic football player. 11

Joe Biden

Very Positive
After a year at Hampton Institute in Virginia -- which he financed by working in a school office -- and jobs running a bar and grill, coordinating activities for the Boy Scouts, and as a city police officer. Herman Holloway took up politics, one of the two routes he saw for black Americans of his time to pursue successful careers. 12

Joe Biden

Leans Negative
The other was the ministry, and I have no doubt, had Herman Holloway chosen the pulpit over politics, that I would still be speaking today in celebration and in gratitude for his contributions to my State. 13

Joe Biden

Unknown
In November 1963, a day after President John Kennedy was assassinated, Herman Holloway was elected to serve in the Delaware State House of Representatives. 14

Joe Biden

Unknown
The next year, in 1964, Herman Holloway was elected to the State senate, the first and only African-American to serve in that body. 16

Joe Biden

Unknown
I do not know when it happened exactly, but it didn't take too long, for Herman M. Holloway, Sr., to become known as, simply, the Senator, and he has been so known ever since. 17

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Through 30 years of service, the Senator remained, with probably just one peer in Louis Redding, Delaware's great champion in the fight against discrimination. 18

Joe Biden

Unknown
Despite the boxing nickname of his youth, the Senator did not resort always to the knockout punch; he also showed why he was called kool. 19

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Intelligence, thoughtfulness, careful study and brilliant oratory -- these were the most frequently unleashed weapons in the Senator's arsenal. 20

Joe Biden

Very Positive
He never wavered in his belief that the power of conviction, the power of having right on your side, is the greatest force of all. 21

Joe Biden

Leans Positive
He fought for fair housing, beginning in his first legislative term in 1963, when his fellow Democrats in the House were, to say the least, reluctant to deal with the issue. 22

Joe Biden

Neutral
They needed his support on another piece of legislation, so to try to pressure them, when their bill came to a vote, he stood, this freshman member with the burden of a State's entire black population on his shoulders, and answered in his resonant, dignified voice, "present." As the former president of our State NAACP Chapter, Littleton Mitchell, said of Herman Holloway, "He had the guts." While arguing for that fair housing law back in 1963, the Senator spoke, as he so often would, to the conscience of his fellow legislators and his fellow citizens. 23

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Again, his own words provide the best illustration: 24

Joe Biden

Slightly Positive
For 30 years, Senator Holloway's constant effort and steady application of good will and education helped lead Delaware out of the darkness of segregation and discrimination. 27

Joe Biden

Very Positive
His powerful voice seemed to rise from his heart, for he cared deeply and sincerely for the people of our State, especially those who most desperately needed a voice for their needs and concerns, African- Americans, children, the elderly, families living in poverty, the disabled, the sick -- all of those who had to struggle for a chance to reach toward the promise of their lives. 28

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Senator Holloway gave them one of the most eloquent voices ever heard in Delaware. His legislative accomplishments are far too numerous to list, but: from that fair housing fight that he did finally win, to enactment of the Martin Luther King Holiday, to increasing black voter participation. From better social services for the poor, to increased educational opportunities for disabled children, to heightened sensitivity to the needs of the elderly -- the record stands as a living legacy of a quiet, patient warrior for right. 29

Joe Biden

Very Positive
The Senator was a leader by the level of his dedication and the effectiveness of his efforts, but above all, he was a leader by the example of his character. He was, in the best and most meaningful sense, a truly distinguished gentleman. 30

Joe Biden

Neutral
In a lifetime of making history -- serving during the most troubled time of racial tension, becoming the first African-American both to serve in the State senate and to be elected to a leadership position within that body, for all his history-making roles, Herman Holloway always kept his vision on the future, his eye on the prize. 31

Joe Biden

Very Positive
He was a trailblazer whose main purpose was not his own journey, but to clear a path for those who would walk with him and for those who would follow him. 32

Joe Biden

Very Positive
More personally, Madam President, I, like many in my State, will always cherish Herman Holloway's friendship as one of the greatest blessings I have known. 33

Joe Biden

Very Positive
As friends and admirers, we join in extending our sympathies to the Senator's wife, Ethel, and to their five children, and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom the Senator cherished so deeply. 34

Joe Biden

Very Positive
We extend our sympathies to his brother and three sisters, with gratitude to the entire family for sharing Senator Holloway with us so generously. 35

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Abraham Lincoln was recalled in a poem as a mighty tree, which when it falls, "leaves a lonesome place against the sky." The lonesome place left by Senator Herman Holloway's death will never be filled, but the strength of his life's roots and the worth of the seeds of understanding and compassion he sowed in all of us, will sustain us, and lead us to the best part of ourselves and to the best in each other -- always. 36