Black History February 15th

shadrach_minkins_for_sale

 

1851 – African American abolitionists invade a Boston courtroom and
rescue a fugitive slave from federal authorities. The fugitive,
Shadrach Minkins was about his job as a waiter in Boston when
United States federal officers showed up at his workplace and
arrested him.  Minkins had escaped from slavery in Virginia
the previous year. An act passed by Congress in 1850, the
Fugitive Slave Law, had just been enacted, allowing slave
holders to enlist the aid of the federal government in
recapturing runaway slaves. The Minkins case is to be an
early test of the new law. Within a few hours of his arrest,
Minkins is brought before a federal commissioner. But as he
is being led from the courtroom, a group of Boston African
Americans overpower the guards and free him. He immediately
disappears and is never seen in Boston again. With the help
of the Underground Railroad, Minkins will travel north through
New Hampshire and Vermont, crossing into Canada six days after
his rescue. Out of reach of the U.S. government, Minkins will
settle in Montreal, marry an Irish woman and raise two children
before his death in 1875.  Minkins’s rescue will come to
symbolize the spirit of resistance to the legal institutions of
the slave system.

Abraham Lincoln and the Negro

lincoln-slavery

1862 – President Lincoln receives the first group of African Americans to confer with a U.S. president on a matter of public policy. He urges African Americans to emigrate to Africa or Central America and is bitterly criticized by northern African Americans.

I wondered when I ran across the above statement how true it was.  But, when you think about it, could there had been a white president elected by the people in 1861 who felt equal to a Black man. Answer is no, I don’t believe President Lincoln was an abolitionist at heart.  As an African born in America, I can tell you I believe even the abolitionist felt superior to Black folks.  White privilege may have been exercised daily in the south but how much better was the north?

Robert_Purvis,_Abolitionist…..

This group of African Americans that Lincoln met were not slaves or former slaves but Washington Black elite.  Yes, even then in 1862 there were the bougie Black class. We hear about the field negro and the house negro but what about the free negro before the end of slavery?  We don’t hear must them or those who would be considedered “good enough” to met with the president.

Lincoln wanted Blacks to colonize in what is known as Panama.  Yes he wanted Blacks to leave the country for Africa or Panama. Lincoln told the Black delegation of 5 Washington elite “you and we are different races” and it was “better for us both . . . to be separated.”  Men like Robert Purvis (bi-racial and rich) and Frederick Douglass denounced it, charging Lincoln with racism and insisting that Blacks should demand rights and equality in the nation of their birth.

 

And the struggle continues …

 

 

November 18th in Black History

Today in Black History – November 18          *

1797 – Abolitionist and orator, Sojourner Truth, is born a
New York slave on the plantation of Johannes
Hardenbergh.  Her given name is Isabelle VanWagener
(some references use the name Isabelle Baumfree).
She will walk away from her last owner one year
prior to being freed by a New York law in 1827, which
proclaimed that all slaves twenty-eight years of age
and over were to be freed.   Several years later, in
response to what she describes as a command from God,
she becomes an itinerant preacher and takes the name
Sojourner Truth.  Among her most memorable appearances
will be at an 1851 women’s rights conference in Akron,
Ohio.  In her famous “Ain’t I a woman?” speech she
forcefully attacks the hypocrisies of organized
religion, white privilege and everything in between.

1900 – Howard Thurman is born in Daytona Beach, Florida. A
theologian who studied at Morehouse with Martin L.
King, Sr., he will found the interracial Church of
Fellowship of All Peoples. The first African American
to hold a full-time faculty position at Boston
University (in 1953), Dr. Thurman will write 22 books
and become widely regarded as one of the greatest
spiritual leaders of the 20th century. He will join the
ancestors on April 10, 1981.

1936 – John Henry Kendricks is born in Detroit, Michigan.  He will
become a prolific songwriter as well as a major rhythm
and blues singer better known as Hank Ballard. He will
perform with his group, The Midnighters, and make the
following songs popular: “There’s A Thrill Upon The Hill”
(Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go), “The Twist”(made famous
later by Chubby Checker), “Finger Poppin’ Time”, “Work with
Me Annie”, “Sexy Ways”, and “Annie Had a Baby”. He will be
enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. He
will join the ancestors on March 2, 2003.

1949 – Jackie Robinson, of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is named the
National League’s Most Valuable Player.

1956 – Harold Warren Moon, professional football player
(Minnesota Vikings, Houston Oilers, and Seattle Seahawks
quarterback), is born in Los Angeles, California. He will
be the first undrafted quarterback and first African
American quarterback to be elected to the Football Hall
of Fame in 2006.

1964 – The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar
Hoover, describes Martin Luther King as a “most
notorious liar”.  This statement is indicative of the
agency head’s dislike of the civil rights leader.

1969 – The National Association of Health Services Executives is
incorporated.  NAHSE’s goal is to elevate the quality of
health-care services rendered to poor and disadvantaged
communities.

1975 – Calvin Murphy of the Houston Rockets, ends the NBA free
throw streak at 58 games.

1977 – Robert Edward Chambliss, a former KKK member, is
convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the
1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in
Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four African American
teenage girls.

1978 – The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is presented to Ambassador
Andrew J. Young “in recognition of the deftness with
which he has handled relations between this nation and
other countries” and “for his major role in raising the
consciousness of American citizens to the significance
in world affairs of the massive African continent.”

1980 – Wally “Famous” Amos’ signature Panama hat and embroidered
shirt are donated to the National Museum of American
History’s Business Americana collection.  It is the
first memorabilia added to the collection by an African
American entrepreneur and recognizes the achievement of
Amos, who built his company from a mom-and-pop
enterprise to a $250 million cookie manufacturing
business.

1983 – “Sweet Honey in the Rock,” a capella singers, perform
their 10th anniversary reunion concert in Washington, DC.

1994 – Bandleader Cab Calloway joins the ancestors in Hockessin,
Delaware, at age 86.

Juneteenth -FREEDOM

juneteenth_art

In the canons of Blacks history in this country is the day Juneteenth. When I hear the word “Juneteenth” I immediately think of Black folks in Texas. The slaves in Texas were late receiving their freedom by 2 years. On June 19, 1865 , Union General Gordon Granger with 2,000 soldiers, read “General Order No. 3” from the balcony of the Aston Villa in Galveston Island, TX.Ashton_Villa_Galveston_Texas

 

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

Former slaves danced in the street of Galveston in celebration of their freedom. Abraham Lincoln emancipation proclamation freeing slaves was to be effective as of January 1, 1863 but it was not honored by southern states until after the civil war.

Kanye West …. A Pleasant Surprise!

west-treekanye singing Blood on the Leaveswest-tree3

I’m not a big fan of hip hop and some of the artist buy I was always a little partial to Kanye West.  He was introduced from a completely different background than most rappers.  I liked that about him and I liked his parents too. Kanye won my heart as I watched him during a celebrity telethon for New Orleans who was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. For a few second he was quiet and said what we were all thinking, “President Bush doesn’t like Black people.”  His co-host was shocked and my heart leaped.  YES, YES!! It needed to be said.  They left Black folks behind to die in the streets and my heart ached. And, I felt soooo bad for Kanye when he lost his mom.  I can’t imagine losing my mother as a young adult especially with the success that Kanye was having.  But, when he grabbed the mic from Taylor Swift was a sign that he was still in a bad place.  As a mother and grandmother I just wanted to hug and hold him because you know he was hurting!

The Lynching Tree
The Lynching Tree

The years after the Taylor Swift incident, I lost my zest for listening to Kanye West music even-though I considered him something special. Here we are at the MTV 2013 Video Music Awards and Kanye West performs a song that reminded you of Billie Holiday’s, Strange Fruit, Blood on the Leaves.  That’s the genius of this young man. He is singing and jumping around and I see in the background a forest or woodsy area and a tree that stands out as strong and very old.  I have seen this picture before it’s the site outside of New Orleans where lynchings took place.  And, the ground beneath the tree is where some of Blacks that were lynched are buried.  WTF!!!  I’m impressed that he knows the photographic work of the British Black artist and filmmaker, Steve McQueen.
steve_Mcqueen

I ran into McQueen’s work surfing the internet and was impressed with his education and latest project.  McQueen is considered an artist, producer, writer and director and has produced a film called “12 Years a Slave” as his latest project. The film is the true story of Solomon Northup who was a free Black man but was sold into slavery and remained a slave for 12 years.

I’m excited to see that Kanye’s genius is kicking ass and I am impressed with educating those who don’t know.  I am going to have to rethink Kanye and take him more seriously.

It’s Not OK Russell…

Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons

I can’t believe my first ever Black female hero, Harriet Tubman, was defamed by Russell Simmons. Harriet Tubman is a big hero of the African’s history in American slavery. We need to tell their story not so we won’t forget but for everyone to remember. I love Russell Simmons’ work and his commentaries on certain subjects like “Don Lemon” so I’m befuddled by the Harriet Tubman sex tape.  WTF??!?  Are we turning into a Black society that takes sacred historical figures and use them for song and comedy?  I hope not.  Does he know what this woman has done to earn her place history?

The state of Maryland offered a $12,000.00
Slave Owners offered reward

Harriet Tubman was born a slave in Dorchester County, MD in 1820.  . Her master rented her out at various times of her young life starting at the age of 5 years old. At the age of 12 years old she was hit in the head with a by a white overseer for refusing to assist in tying up a man who had attempted to escape.  Since this incident Harriet suffered black outs that happened unexpectedly for the rest of her life.  In December 1860, she made her last rescue trip to Maryland, bringing seven people to Canada. In the ten years she worked as a “conductor” on the Railroad, Harriet managed to rescue over 300 people. She had made 19 trips and never lost a passenger on the way. She also rescued her elderly parents and got them to Canada. So, I’m truly befuddled as to why someone would think it was a good idea to do a derogatory comedy skit about an awesome heroine.

Harriet Tubman on the left.
Harriet Tubman on the left. 1887

Simmons’ apologized for his indiscretion.  I say thanks for the apology but I got one eye on you now!

The Portrayal of Young Black Men And Boys

Young Black Men and Boys Behaving Badly

I remember when my nephew was in second grade at a public elementary school he got into trouble with his teacher for balling his hands at his side after she took something off him.  They, the principal and teacher took this as a threat.  Why??   I didn’t get it then and I don’t get it now.  Can you believe that a school system would have a hearing into the actions of a second grader?  For little white 7 year old Johnny it would’ve been a call home stating that Johnny is having a bad day but for my young Black 7 year old skinny nephew it was a suspension followed by a hearing at the board of education where he will probably be moved to another school because it would be more cost effective to move the child than the teacher.  When this Black man, who was the principal said those words concerning “cost effective” I knew the system was rigged against my nephew being successful.

accdent-scene

Unfortunately, young Black boys are not treated like the Johnnys in the world.  Young Black boys and men are portrayed in the main media as criminals, victims and predators. Even Black folks become afraid of our young men and boys because of how they are perceived negatively in the media.  When you hear the police chief refer to someone as a menace to society, you become fearful of such folks because then anyone can could get hurt including yourself.  Below is a picture of young Black man who has done a bad, bad thing.  The sentencing is what horrified me.   I can’t see a young Black man receiving a sentence like his without one of the charges being homicide.

Pittsburgh PA
Pittsburgh PA

PITTSBURGH (KDKA)

Pittsburgh Post Gazette — The Homewood man accused of leading police on a high-speed chase that seriously injured two Pittsburgh police officers was in court today for his sentencing.

In June, a jury returned a mixed verdict in the trial of Sean Wright. The 22-year-old was found guilty of attempted homicide and assault charges for running over two detectives during the 15 mile pursuit. However, he faced the same charges for injuries to five other officers, but was acquitted on the attempted criminal homicide charges. But he was found guilty of aggravated assault.

Today in court, Wright was sentenced to 50 to 100 years in prison.  I haven’t heard those type of sentences since the era of the south using imprisonment of Blacks as a way to gain a slavery hold on the prisoners.