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International / National Board of Directors

Art Rocker

Art Rocker National Chairman, CEO and Founder Pensacola, FL

 

 

Civil and Human rights activists, Investment Banker, Businessman, Presiding Bishop of North America, Rev. Dr., Arthur ‘Art” Rocker, Sr. is the Chairman and Founder of Operation People for Peace, Inc.

 

OPFP serves on the United Nations (UN) Council in the area of Civic and Society. Over the past 5 years Rocker has fed over 20,000 people all over the Gulf coast region via disaster-relief programs with his OPFP organization. OPFP is an international organization with 7 offices in the United States and one international office in New Delhi, India. In the latest development of his extension to New Delhi, Rocker was appointed Presiding Bishop of Bethesda Biblical Institute of North America. Art Rocker believes all of his movement and direction has been orchestrated by men and women that have molded his life, and all inspired by the Holy Spirit.

 

Mr. Rocker was born in Atlanta, Georgia to Reverend Samuel William Rocker, Sr. and Mrs. Reba Craft-Rocker into a home of eleven other siblings. From eight years old until eighteen years old, Rocker was entrusted to and raised by Rev. Dr. William Holmes Borders, pastor of Wheat Street Baptist Church. Mrs. Rocker believed that Dr. Borders could mentor the young Arthur, while helping to mold him to find his greatest potential. With a membership of over 5,000 people during the 1960’s, Borders and his wife, Julie Pate Borders, welcomed Rocker into their home and church to live and work with them. Rocker was taught to have faith in God by the Borders family and was shown examples of strategic development for systemic leadership and was able to experience a change through faith at an early age. Rev. Borders demonstrated his faith in daily preparation of personal goals through reading scripture. This set a solid foundation for Rocker in nurturing, character development, organizing, serving, and leadership ability throughout his life.

 

Borders accomplished goals through hands-on and visual contact, assigning Arthur tasks to complete at his home. Rocker planted flowers, fed the squirrels, and was given the in-home task of cleaning while Mrs. Borders taught Rocker skills such as sewing, knitting, table etiquette, flower arrangement, and interior decorating. She also gave him the leadership position to speak at all of the Vacation Bible School programs every summer in the church.

 

Rocker learned a life lesson at a very early age while with Border as he was driving; Rocker noticed how Rev. Borders was picking up people at the bus stops to carry them into downtown Atlanta. He would start his home, and while driving to his church, pick people up and take them to work in downtown Atlanta for no charge for the services. Most of these people were poor maids and shift workers; therefore, they could save a little money not having to use the public transpiration system that day. Rocker was taught to share at an early age as well, to make room for others in the car, and service those in need.  Borders taught Rocker while working in the home to be vigilant and watchful, and to have a sharp eye for white people who constantly drove by Borders’ home to holler horrible things such as, “Nigger Preacher, we are going to kill you” as they would throw bricks from their cars because Borders was a strong Civil Rights activist. Border taught young Rocker that one shouldn’t hate ignorant people, but instead watch them closely, never being confrontational with the ignorant or violent.  However, Rocker did learn at an early age not to fear any man, but fear only God.

 

Young Rocker would closely listen and learn from conversation as he sat at the feet of Borders while Borders spoke to local, national, and international leadership. There were meetings with church leaders, meetings with US Senators, meetings with iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall, Dr. King, Governors, College Presidents, and meetings to orchestrate leadership for the National Baptist Convention in Atlanta, Macon, Louisiana, and Florida.

 

Borders would often read his jokes to Rocker from his sermon notes; this taught Rocker to be humorous and light hearted. Borders taught Rocker early on in life to “listen to what I say, son, and have patience” always reassuring Rocker with his comments by saying things such as, “Boy, you are somebody, but you must learn to listen to God’s words.” This helped Rocker develop the ability to be savvy in business and to organize the abilities of others. Border would teach Rocker to use faith by making him walk on the roof to straighten out the Church’s cross that would sometimes tilt. Even at 1,500 feet from the ground, Borders would talk to Rocker and tell him,  “This is faith.”

 

Rev. Borders was an economical and religious pastor and mentor to the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King would come constantly to listen to the word of God being spread on Sundays at Wheat Street Baptist Church. Dr. King, Jr., even commented on these occasions in his notes and memoirs.

 

At the age of sixteen, Rocker became the President of the Democratic Party Youth Chapter, at the Butler Street YMCA in Atlanta, Ga. After graduating from L.J. Price High School, Rocker enlisted in the U.S. Army and served for three years, with a special interest in seeing and traveling through Europe; however, did not have a desire to go to Vietnam. Rocker fought having to be sent into Vietnam’s combat because his parents already had two sons fighting in Vietnam, along with so many friends that were fighting, and giving their lives during this time.

 

After his three years of military service, Rocker attended Massey Business College, studying Accounting and Business Math. In 1969, Rocker attended Carver Bible Institute and was ordained as a Minister of the Gospel at the age of twenty-five and evangelized along side Rev. Dr. William Holmes Borders. In the early 70s, Rocker served as Assistant Pastor under his father, the late Rev. Samuel William Rocker, Sr. at both White Rock Baptist Church and a short stint at Sylvester Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga.

 

After enrolling at Albany State University in Albany, Ga., Rocker became extremely active in the Civil Rights community with legendary Attorney C. B. King, the Sherrods family, Hank and Mary Young, and was the chief organizer for Attorney M. Wiggins, the first liberal Mayor of Albany. Due to Rocker’s rising popularity and aggression in Civil Rights leadership, he was falsely arrested, along with his friend Matthew Lavelle, and accused of robbing a local grocery store. In reality, the young men were not even near the store. It was Attorney M. Wiggins who got him released from the false charges made by policemen in Albany.

 

While Rocker was at ASU, he became the chief organizer for the Shirley Chisholm Campaign, which was under the leadership of Lonnie King, Executive Director for the Atlanta NAACP. Jimmy Carter, then a Presidiential candidate, even commented on the organization, saying, “they organized very well, but from henceforth this group has made even myself more vigilant in concern with the Democratic cacsus.”

 

Rocker majored in accounting at ASU, and went on to receive his Series 63, 7, and 24 investment banking licenses from the Investment Training Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. These certifications allowed Rocker to obtain a position as a Investment Banker Advisor and Supervisor. At this time, he was among less than twenty African-Americans in the United States with these licenses. Rocker is also one of the founders of the National Association of Security Professionals (NASP), along with the late former Mayor from Atlanta, Maynard Jackson, and also partnered with Travis Bell, the first Black American to have a seat on the NYSE. (New York Stock Exchange) With strong leadership and guidance, this orgnization was responsible for the hiring of over one-thousand African Americans and women in the United States Secuities Industry in a period of only three years.  Prior to the organizing of NASP, there were less than one hundred minority members of the security firms in the early 1990s.

 

In continuing education, Rocker has received honorary Doctorates of Theology and Doctorates of Divinity from various institutions such as the Faith Bible College in Milton, Florida, AP Clay Bible Institute in New Orleans, Louisiana, and  Bethesda Biblical Institution in New Delhi, India which is affiliated with Salt Lake Bible College (USA) in which he received a Bachelor of Theology, Master of Divinity, Episcopal License for the office of the Bishop, Consecrations-Instrument for Bishop, and a honorary  Doctor of Divinity.

 

The late Dr. Benjamin Mays and Dr. Hugh Gloster, who both served as presidents of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, mentored Rocker. Both trained Rocker by effective guidance and counseling. Rocker then worked under the leadership of Dr. Warren R. Cochrane, the General Secretary of the Butler Street YMCA, Chairman of the Community Foundation and key organizer of the Negro Voter League in Atlanta, Georgia. Rocker was the assistant to the Executive Director for the Community Foundation under Cochrane’s leadership all because Rocker took an active role in the area of Fair Housing. Rocker was featured a full-page article by Tom Walker of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution Sunday Edition calling Rocker the “Caveat Emperor” concerning the block-bustering of real estate in Atlanta-Dekalb county. Rocker organized “Fair Housing” which was over the terms and agreements of white and black realtor and realty properties and who should live on which properties. With these efforts, Rocker was able to form a close relationship with then Senator Max Cleland, who later became Secretary of Veteran Affairs and Secretary of the State of Georgia.  Rocker also had the opportunity to meet and discuss with Senator Jimmy Carter, who also had concerns of block-bustering real estate in Georgia. He later became President of the United States, and still met with Rocker to encourage him to carry out his mission.

 

Rocker worked as a key organizer under Charles Reid, Executive Director of the National Conference of Black Mayors. Rocker served as a sponsor and fundraiser for many events in various American cities under the leadership of Charles Reid. Rocker befriend James Baldwin, and was able to be with Baldwin on his tour of Georgia when he traveled from France. Rocker was advocate of the Arts, particularly of Bennie Andrews, a world-renowned artist who also had grown and flourished under the leadership of Warren R. Cochrane.

 

Rocker also worked with civil-rights leader Reverend Hosea Williams, who at the time was President of Atlanta SCLC. Here, Rocker worked with the ‘Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry’ project for three years and raised funds to support the project while also serving as the key mentor of the Hosea Williams Company while it opened and established Industrial Chemical Companies in Atlanta, Georgia.  He served as a consultant in many of the National Presidential Election Campaigns and was also a co-chairman of National Presidential Campaign. He was the chief fundraiser for many Governors, U.S. Senators, State Representatives, Congressmen and Congresswomen, Mayors, councilman, and commissioners.

 

Rocker worked as a Real Estate agent at a Grand Bahamas Development in America, selling land in the Grand Bahamian Islands for over two years. He served as a broker-owner for industrial chemical products and sold to cities all over America. He was a pivotal force in Banjul, Gambia when establishing availibility of hair products for African women in the mid 1980s.  He worked closely with the Vice President of Gambia, Assan Musa Camarra, under the leadership of  President Dawda K. Jawara. Vice President Camarra, who had negotiated with Rocker to bring the Gamibian and the American black communities together in the importation and exportation of hair products and other commodities that would have produced millions of dollars for the economy. Vice President Camara fled because of the growing hostile enviroment that later created a new party in the Gambia.

 

Additionally, Rocker served as an Investment Banker at Stuart-James Investments of Denver, Colorado as a Senior Branch Manager and then transisitioned into Vice President  of the Regional Institution Accounts for Portfolio Management Consultants (PMC) in Denver, Colorado. He served as one of the managers of City of Detroit, Michigan and the auditor of Portfolio Investments for the City of Atlanta, where he managed and audited over 3.5 billion dollars in total.

 

From 1985 to 2012, Rocker worked in several business ventures, but always remained active in the community by organizing fundraising and donation events.  He served faithfully under the Leadership of Julian Bond, President of the Atlanta Branch NAACP, as a Board of Directors Member and a lifetime member of the NAACP. He was awarded a lifetime membership of SCLC doing the tenure of Dr. Joseph Lowery.  He worked closely with Coretta Scott King as a fundraiser for three years in Atlanta for the annual MLK Commencement Ceremony. Rocker also prizes himself on being the single-largest financial contributor for Congressman John Lewis’s first, and ultimately successful, Congressional bid in Atlanta. Rocker worked closely Mrs. Lillian Lewis, Lewis’s wife, and considered her a personal confidant and friend for several years. Because of the fundraising efforts for the Lewis family, Rocker was called by New York to raise money for the late Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who was facing a $2,500.00 deficit.  Rocker single-handily raised over $300,000.00 for her campaign within three months before the primary election, giving her the calling card to win the election.

 

Rocker established “Our Sausage”, a package of one-dozen precooked sausage biscuits with a logo of his mother and father adorned on the label. Marketed all over the United States and in over ten-thousand grocery stores within one year, (Kroger’s, Wayfield Foods, Pathmark’s, Winn-Dixie, Wal-mart) Rocker sold the establishment within two years.

 

In Florida, Rocker then established eight K-9th grade private schools in a period of four years and had over 250 employees serving over 1,500 Florida students. All schools were later turned over to various churches in the community. Rocker then developed contracts with school districts in Florida for various after-school tutoring programs for elementary school-aged comprehensive reading students. In Florida alone, this program tutored over 1,700 students. In Georgia, this program serviced over 2,000 children and earned an 85% pass rate by the State of Georgia testing. In this program, he had over 430 employees for a period of three years.

 

In 2008, Rocker began his tenure as the President of the Pensacola Chapter of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and within three months, organized the largest HIV Health Care Fair the Pensacola area had ever seen. With various examinations and assistance from many local organizations, the fair became the largest in the Pensacola/Escambia County area with over 2,000 people in attendance. Using the Heath Fair as a blueprint for others to come, within six months, the entire state of Florida was organized with new and successful SCLC branches. Rocker served on the Board of Directors for the National SCLC.  Rocker served as the National Convention Chairman of the National SCLC for several conventions. He twice served as Senior Special Assistant to the National Chairman of SCLC, founded by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico’s 2010 British Petroleum Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill, Rocker founded Operation People for Peace, Inc. (OPFP) in 2010 with inspiration from Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr, and Rev. Dr. Byron Clay, Interim President of the National SCLC. OPFP then developed a Board of Directors and National Leadership positions. Kenneth Feinberg (appointed by President Barack Obama) commissioned Art Rocker to collect claims and be an advocate for the voiceless, underserved, and underrepresented throughout the Gulf Coast for GCCF.  Since the establishment of OPFP, it has grown to an international organization with reach to over 500,000 people. Rocker’s efforts totaled over 17,000 claimants in the Gulf Coast who needed assistance for compensation due to hardship endured because of the oil spill. Rocker developed additional mentoring skills for OPFP from actor, comedian, and human rights activist, Dick Gregory. Gregory realized that in order to have a movement in the Black Community against BP’s disastrous mistake, they must work on behalf of Black women, the “backbone of black communities.” Rocker and Gregory together encouraged the development of women in the Gulf Coast Region by providing the leadership of Dr. E. Faye Williams who served as Chairman of the NCBW (National Congress of Black Women). OPFP has been a force and also a servant for the people of the Gulf Coast by serving over 100,000 pounds of food during disasters and in various times of need.

 

Rocker organized hundreds of Blacks to merge with many major environmental groups against the Alaskan Pipeline in Washington DC. He attended the DC rally with over 10,000 people and marched around the White House. OPFP organized Blacks from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Rocker brought the largest number ever of Blacks to Washington DC for environmental rallies. The pipeline protest was first time that so many Blacks had rallied for environmental issues. Art Rocker and Dick Gregory were keynote speakers during the protests, delivering their messages in the park in front of the White House.

 

Rocker later organized an opportunity in 2013 for over 4,000 people to hear a message from Magic Johnson in Pensacola, Florida. This was the largest free to the public event for African-Americans to hear a message of inspiration and triumph over tragedy since Booker T. Washington spoke in the Pensacola area in 1912 to an audience of 2,000. Rocker worked diligently in partnership with the School District, community organizations, and businesses for the success of this event under OPFP.

 

Rocker played a pivotal role in representing the alarming number of Black men who were incarcerated in Dozier Reform schools in Marianna, Florida and surrounding areas from 1941 up to 1975.  Rocker led the fight in demanding compensation for this group who were utilized as slaves.  Rocker learned from various sources that these men were picked up in poor Black communities and imprisoned in Dozier Reform Schools, some being as young as 11 years old at the time. Florida Governor Rick Scott invited OPFP to a State hearing concerning the Dozier Reform schools. Scott was then able to listen to how the “Back Dozier Boys” were enslaved on farmland that provided for the surrounding community and property owners then sold the foods all over the state of Florida with no compensation or “reformation” provided to these hard working youth.

 

Rocker has played a central role in national and international non-profit organizations and politics throughout his career. He served on the Atlanta Counsel for International Visitors for three years. Rocker also served on the Board of Directors of Metro Atlanta OIC under Leon Sullivan. Rocker worked with Mortimer Cox in Atlanta, Georgia with the Atlanta Urban League Board of Directors. He served as Vice Chairman of City of Atlanta transitional team for Mayor Maynard Jackson, and on the transition team for Governor Charles Crist of Florida. In recognition of his service, Rocker has received numerous awards including: The Good Brother Award from the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.; he was a keynote speaker and recipient of the HWPL World Alliance of Religious Leaders 2014 Humanitarian Award in Seoul, Korea in front of an audience of over 300,000 people; he was a keynote speaker and received an awarded from the World Confluence of Humanity, Power & Spirituality Appreciation for Service to Humanity Award in Kolkata, India in 2015; the Chairman’s Award in the area of Civil Rights and Humanity Award from the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA); numerous awards from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Atlanta, Georgia; National awards from Ben Chavis, the National President of NAACP; many recognitions from Stuart-James Investments Company. Rocker has received various proclamations, accommodations, and Congressional recognitions from Government officials including State Representatives, Mayors, Members of Congress, and Governors. He recieved the Outstanding Business Award from the Atlanta Jewish Center. Additionally, Rocker has been named Senior Fellow of the James Madison Institute. Rocker was placed into the United States Library of Congress as a part of History Makers, a civil-rights and human rights archiving of his October 26, 2012 interview. Rocker was selected and recognized for his work for the National NAACP 2015 History Makers for Black History Month. Rocker was recently appointed to become the President of Bethesda Bible Institute of North America, an off Campus Religious institution Headquartered in New Delhi, India providing degrees in the area of religion to various religious groups in North America.

 

Rocker is involved in a radio talk show called the “Art and Jessica Talk Show” on 106.9 FM and AM 87.5 in Pensacola, Florida. This talk show brought many celebrities and dignitaries to a listening audience inside Pensacola, Florida. Art Rocker prides himself for participation in the Opal Winifrey Network’s “Legends Who Paved the Way of 14 Civil Rights Leaders”  which aired on January 18, 2015. This documentory shows footage of Dick Gregory being honored, shows his incarceration while boycotting the BP Spill, and shows him being arrested in Washington DC in front of Ken Feinberg’s office. Rocker has appeared on local, national, and international TV networks such as CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, Gannett, NPR, and numerous other talk Radio Shows. He has been featured in articles in the Gannett News, Cox News, National Black Newspaper Association, AP, Reuters, UPI, independent newspapers and journals. His honors include keynote speaking and traveling all over the United States and beyond, including Europe, Asia, and Africa for various events.

Rocker is a now a contributing member of Hillcrest Baptist Church which is lead by Senior Pastor Jim Locke in Pensacola, FL. Rocker is the father of four children, and has one grandchild. Mr. Rocker is married to his lovely bride, Dr. Jessica Rocker, who specializes in American History. They now reside in the Gulf Coast region of Florida.

 

Charles Smith

Charles Smith Board Member and National Vice Chairman  Palmetto, FL

Jessica Donahue

Jessica Rocker Board Member and Senior Vice President  Pensacola, FL

Jessica Rocker, wife of Art Rocker, has dedicated her life to serving in the area of human rights, particularly, women’s rights. Jessica is passionate in her concern for the health, wellness and sustainability of women and children. Not only has Jessica assisted her husband in organizing and serving for the last 3 years, she has prepared thousand’s of meals for women and children. Additionally, Mrs. Rocker has a intense desire to work with women and children to identify predisposed health needs.

 

Monica Greenwood (not pictured) Board Member