Sweet Honey in the Rock – Founder

Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

Bernice Johnson Reagon was founder of the group Sweet Honey in the Rock. She was born and raised in southwest Georgia. Music has always been an integral part of her life being the daughter of a Baptist minister. She studied music at Albany State University and concluded education with a Ph.D. from Howard University. During this time Bernice also participated in civil rights activism and became an active member of her local NAACP and SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee).

In 1973 Bernice organized an African American a cappella ensemble of women in Washington, DC. She led the group for 30 years and retired in 2004. The group has built a national and international following of their music. Sweet Honey in the Rock is known for their unapologetic stance for justice and equality.

Sweet Honey in the Rock

What is Sweet Honey in the Rock ?

Sweet Honey in the Rock is a grammy award winning group of African American women who come together to express their musical talent in  a capella songs, unique musical instruments, dance and sign language.  The first time I saw this artistic group perform, I fell in love with the essence of their a capella style and hypnotic rhythm.  You feel as though all the African American music experience is being performed in blends from blues, jazz, rap, reggae and gospel. The group has been producing music for more than 30 years.

Where does the groups name come from?

From Psalm 81:16 comes the promise to a people of being fed by honey out of the rock. Honey – an ancient substance, sweet and nurturing. Rock – an elemental strength, enduring the winds of time. The metaphor of sweet honey in the rock captures completely these African American women whose repertoire is steeped in the sacred music of the Black church, the clarion calls of the civil rights movement, and songs of the struggle for justice everywhere.

Listen and enjoy it is the season.  Next post will reveal biographies of the group founder and members.

Happy Holidays

I’m glad the Christmas holiday is over and the adult holiday (New Year’s Eve) will begin soon but until then I would like to kick off my shoes savor all my hard work in the event of Christmas and all that entails.  Women do a lot to make the season pop.

The McGhees
The McGhees

So, I have taken off my Santa hat, my magic wand is resting in my lap and the stress of the holidays is slowly ebbing into the distance.  In my family, we get together to share a delicious meal, play some games and just enjoy each others company.  I enjoy some members more than others.  Unfortunately, it won’t be long that everyday life will begin with the first work day after the holiday, whether it’s the next day or next week.  Until then, my feet are up, back on my meds on the regular and thinking how to incorporate walking into my plans for a healthy new year.

Happy Holidays!!

Black Infant Mortality Rate ……

Why is infant mortality rate among Blacks in Pittsburgh so high?

Unfortunately, your baby is more likely to die if you are Black and pregnant and live in Pittsburgh.  Yes, the Black infant mortality rate in Pittsburgh is 5 times more likely than whites.
What is the infant mortality rate and why is it important?  Infant mortality rate is defined as the number of infant deathspregnant (one year of age or younger) per 1000 live births.  If the child mortality rate is a true indicator of the health of a country, the new report then puts a serious question on the U.S. healthcare system.  Cuba has a better rating than the US.  Is it because Cuba is a socialist country?  Probably.
Black infant death has been happening for a while and there has been no concern.  The government has tried to solve the problem with a program here and a program there but when its time to cut budgets these are the programs that get cut
Here is excerpt from The New York Times, By Timothy Williams – Published: October 14, 2011
In Pittsburgh, where the unemployment rate is well below the national average, the infant mortality rate for black residents of Allegheny County was 20.7 in 2009, a slight decrease from 21 in 2000 but still worse than the rates in China or Mexico. In the same period the rate among whites in the county decreased to 4 from 5.6 — well below the national average, according to state statistics. Figures for the past two years, which are not yet available, have most likely increased the gap significantly, county health officials said.preemie

Now in 2012, the infant mortality rate is for Blacks is 13.1 double that of whites.  And, it doesn’t matter what your socio-economic background is.  Even affluent black women with college degrees are included in these statistics.  Age isn’t a factor either.  Black mothers across all range of child-bearing years are losing their babies.  Doctors are now pointing the finger at the one thing these women have in common. Race.

The following text is from an online site Roland Martin Reports:
In a 2007 study, researchers in Chicago compared infant birth weights of babies. Low birth weight is a key indicator of infant mortality and a newborn’s health. Infants born to white women had an average birth weight of 7.5 pounds. Infants born to African and Caribbean immigrants new to the United States had an average birth weight of 7.3 pounds. So, the average birth weight of babies in the two groups were nearly identical, but the same study found that babies born to the next generation — the daughters of black immigrants — had dropped to the same average weight as African-American children: about 6.8 pounds, almost a full pound lighter than white babies.
Doctors, at a loss to for a scientific explanation, now believe the everyday stress of being a black woman in a mostly white society is the cause. One researcher said constantly dealing with racism is like revving a car’s engine without easing up on the gas. The stress takes its toll in the lives of unborn children.

Does this mean that Pittsburgh is more racist than any other part of the United States?