Natjames1's Blog
Information for Our People of Color!!



We got off the Titanic first.
We can scare male bosses with mysterious gynelogical disorder excuses.
Taxis stop for us.
We don’t look like a frog in a blender when dancing.
No fashion faux pas we make could ever rival the Speedo.
We don’t have to pass gas to amuse ourselves.
If we forget to shave, no one has to know.
We can congratulate our teammate without ever touching her rear end.
We never have to reach  down ever so often to make sure our privates are still there.
We have the ability to dress ourselves.
We can talk to the opposite sex without have to picture them naked.
If we marry someone 20 years younger, we are aware that we will look like an idiot.
We will never regret piercing our ears.
There are times when chocolate really can solve all of your problems.
We can make comments  about how silly men are in their presence because they are not listening anyway!

Just sharing something sent to me by a Sister Friend/Aunt!


I thought it might be necessary for ALL OF US (PEOPLE OF COLOR) to read, re-read, remember, and NEVER FORGET, the following speech/letter given by Willie Lynch, a slave owner whom over 300 years ago devised a plan to keep Black people divided and in conflict with one another.

“I greet you here on the bank of the James RIver in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and twelve.  First, I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the colony of Virginia for bringing me here.  I am here to help you sole some of your problems with slaves.  Your invitation reached me in my modest plantation in the West Indies where I have experimented with some of the newest and  still the oldest methods for control of slaves.  Ancient Rome would envy us if my program is implemented.  As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious King James, whose Bible we cherish, I saw enough to know that our problem is not unique.  While Rome used cords and wood as crosses for standing human bodies along the old highways in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasion.

“I caught a whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree a couple of miles back.  You are losing valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away, your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, you suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed.  Gentlemen…You know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate.  I am not here to enumerate your problems, I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them.

“In my bag, I have a fool-proof method for controlling your slaves.  I guarantee every one of you that if installed it will control the salves for at least three hundred years.  My method  is simple, any ember of your family or any OVERSEER can use it.

“I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves, and I take these differences and make them bigger.  I use FEAR, DISTRUST, and ENVY for control purposes.  These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies, and it will work throughout the South.  Take this simple list of differences and think  about them.  On the top of my list is “AGE” but it is only there because it starts with an “A”.  The second is “COLOR” or shade; there is INTELLIGENCE, SIZE, SEX, SIZE OF PLANTATION, ATTITUDE of owner, whether the slave s live in the valley, on a hill, east, west, north, south, have fine or coarse hair, or is tall or short.  Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action – but before that, I shall assure you that DISTRUST IS STRONGER THAN TRUST, AND ENVY IS STRONGER THAN ADULATION, RESPECT OR ADMIRATION.

“The Black slaves, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

“Don’t forget you must pitch the old Black VS the young Black males, and the young Black male against the old Black male.  You must use the dark-skinned slaves VS. the light-skinned slaves.  You must use the female VS the male and the male VS the female.  You must always have your servants and OVERSEERS distrust all Blacks but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us.  They must love, respect, and trust only us.

“Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control – use them.  Never  miss an opportunity.  My plan is guaranteed, and the good thing about this plan is that if used intensely for one year the slave will remain perpetually distrustful.”

When I look at this letter, along with all of the other historical events that have plagued and oppressed us as a race, I am well-reminded that the tragic death of Trayvon Martin  is part of a much larger plan.  We must emphatically seek justice for Trayvon Martin and his family as well as for all of us, and seek in such a way that it puts an irrepairable dent in some of the overarching dilemmas and prejudices impacting us all!

Love & Peace,
Natalie R. Fitten




With the overall state of the American and the continuous decline in OUR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR — we continue to have this tradition of ‘BLACK FRIDAY”!  Why? Because since the 19th Century Americans have been making corporations rich!!  And now, most of us are broke!!!

Do you really know the true history of this so-called ‘BLACK FRIDAY’?

As early as the 19th Century, Americans have viewed Thanksgiving as the traditional start to the Christmas holiday shopping season.  Specifically, department stores executed this marketing initiative, hosting parades to launch the beginning of the first wave of Christmas ads, which began with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, ever since 1924.  The holiday shopping spree became so important to retailers that during the ‘Great Depression’ they appealed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, to move Thanksgiving up a week earlier, in order to stretch the holiday shopping season.  However, few observed it and the change resulted in little economic boost, if any.

Originally, the term, ‘Black Friday,’ was utilized to explain something totally different – the September 24, 1864 stock-market panic, which was set off by the plunging gold prices.  Newspapers  in Philadelphia re-appropriated  the phrase in the late 1960s, describing the overwhelming rush of crowds in stores.  It’s justification followed tying it to accounting balance sheets where ‘black’ ink was represented (and still is) as profits.  The term stuck and spread like wild-fire, and by the 1990s ‘Black Friday’ because an unofficial retail holiday nationally, and since 2002 has been the season’s biggest shopping day each year.


Currently, the national unemployment rate has been reported to be at 9%.  However, for People of Color it’s over 16%, probably more like 30% (especially when you take into consideration those who have exhausted all Unemployment Benefits).  And – this is all due to the bail out of Corporate America.  But, I ask you – have you ever been bailed out?!  Do you really have that money to continue to make Corporate America rich–er!!

If you must – shop at small businesses within your own community, especially those businesses that are owned and operated by People of Color — BETTER YET, GIVE THAT MONEY TO THOSE DISENFRANCHISED PEOPLE OF COLOR IN YOUR COMMUNITY – WHO REALLY NEED IT!!!




We, of the African-American community in the United States, have encountered another unfortunate great loss, where our work is still not finished.

Due to the great loss of REV. FRED SHUTTLESWORTH, I feel compelled to share information about his undying work.

African-American Baptist Pastor and the central leader of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was one of the pioneering figures of the Civil Rights era.  He founded the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) in 1956, and joined with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to protest segregation in Birmingham in 1963.

Born in Montgomery County, Alabama on March 18, 1922, Rev. Shuttlesworth was raised near Birmingham in rural Oxmoor, Jefferson County by his tough-minded mother, Alberta Robinson Shuttlesworth Webb.  Due to his mother’s strength he developed a combative demeanor that prepared him for civil  rights leadership in Alabama.  During World War II, he worked as a truck driver at Brookley Air Force Base in Mobile, and then, after experiencing a ministerial calling, he enrolled in the now-defunct Cedar Grove Bible College in Mobile, and Selma University.  He graduated from Selma University in 1951, and then attended Alabama State College, graduating from there in 1952.  Also in 1952, he became the Pastor of Selma’s First Baptist Church.  In early 1953, took over as Pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church in north Birmingham.

Rev. Shuttlesworth became active in voter registration efforts of the NAACP  and in Civic League attempts to clean up saloons in Birmingham.  He also supported the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955.  In response to an Alabama Circuit Court injunction against the NAACP, Rev. Shuttlesworth founded the ACMHR in June of 1956.  He and his organization spearheaded civil rights agitation in Birmingham beginning with calls to integrate the Birmingham Police Department.  In December 1956, right after the victory of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rev. Shuttlesworth attempted to desegregate the Birmingham Transit Company.  After he announced plans to lead Black rides in a protest on Christmas Day (1956), White segregationists bombed his home.  Rev. Shuttlesworth survived the explosion unharmed, which convinced him and his followers that God had miraculously saved him “to lead the fight” against segregation.

Rev. Shuttlesworth’s earliest civil rights efforts in Birmingham made possible a political comeback by the notorious, hateful arch-segregationist Eugene T. “Bull” Connor, who promised voters that he would personally stop civil rights activists like Rev. Shuttlesworth from achieving their goals.  In 1957, Connor was elected Commissioner of Public Safety, which was the beginning of a six-year battle between the two men, resulting in forces pulling the South apart in the era of “massive resistance.”

During this same year, Rev. Shuttlesworth helped ministers and Civil Rights Leaders, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), which became one of the most important Civil Rights organizations in the South during the 1960s.   He also served as one of the original officers of the SCLC.  He made national news in September 1957, when he was severely beaten while attempting to enroll two of his daughters in the all-White Phillips High School.  However, this incident was overshadowed by the then volatile events surrounding the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, known to many of us as the ‘Little Rock Nine.’

Seeking to integrate Birmingham in all aspects, Rev. Shuttlesworth became one of the most profound and determined Civil Rights Leaders of the era.  His persistence consistently angered and agitated “Bull” Connor, who used both the police and fire departments to scare local African-Americans away from the ACMHR’s well-established weekly meetings.  Connor conspired with other white segregationists in two bombings of Bethel Baptist Church, neither of which resulted in any fatalities.

Rev. Shuttlesworth’s continued defiance of Connor and the danger of challenging segregation became legendary as he took his place with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph Abernathy as the “Big Three” of the movement.  Rev. Shuttlesworth often boasted that he “tried to get killed in Birmingham,” causing detractors to question his sanity on various occasions.  He traveled the country often, and in Greensboro, North Carolina, in February 1960, he witnessed the first student sit-in, a tactic he credited to Dr. King, and brought back to students in Birmingham’s Miles College.  In 1961 he protected Freedom Riders at his home after they were beaten by White mobs af the Birmingham Bus Terminal.

In early 1963, Rev. Shuttlesworth and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. collaborated, and both of their organizations launched historic demonstrations in Birmingham.  Building on Rev. Shuttlesworth’s seven (7) years of effort, and planned with the assistance of ACMHR members, the Birmingham demonstrations began in April and ended on May 10, 1963, with city businesses agreeing to begin desegregating downtown department stores.  As the events unfolded, national and international news outlets covered the incidents of marches that included more than 2,000 youth protestors, many of whom were arrested and who filled Birmingham jails.  These demonstrations resulted in President John F. Kennedy introducing into Congress the legislation that became the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  This was the law that was supposed to end segregation in public accommodations throughout the United States, and along with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, formed the legislative achievements of the Civil Rights Movement.  When meeting with Dr. King, Rev. Shuttlesworth and others, the day the Civil Rights bill was introduced, President Kennedy stated, “But for Birmingham, we would not be here today.”

After the early to mid-1960s, Rev. Shuttlesworth moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and became the Pastor of the Greater New Light Baptist Church.  However, his civil rights activities continued both locally and nationally, and he kept in close contact with the Birmingham African-American community.  Working with Birmingham’s First Black Mayor, Richard Arrington, Rev. Shuttlesworth helped bring to fruition the establishment of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Museum, where a statue of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth greets thousands of visitors every year.

In 1989, Rev. Shuttlesworth established the Shuttlesworth Housing Foundation, which has assisted hundreds of low-income Cincinnati families in purchasing their first homes.   In 1999, Andrew M. Manis, Author, published a biography of Rev. Shuttlesworth, titled, “A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.”

For a short period in 1004, he served as President of the SCLC.  Rev. Shuttlesworth retired as the Pastor of the Greater New Light Baptist Church in 2006, at the age of 84.   In 2007, he suffered a stroke, causing him to move back to Birmingham in February 2008 for needed rehabilitation.  During the summer of 2007, the city honored him with a four-day tribute and renamed its airport – the “Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.”

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, after turbulent fighting for Civil Rights and racial injustices, including surviving beatings and bombings in Alabama by notorious White segregationists/Ku Klux Klan, he passed away at Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, yesterday, October 5, 2011.  He is survived by his wife, Sephire Bailey Shuttlesworth, four daughters, a son, a stepdaughter, and a host of other close relatives.


“Doctor, the Lord knew I lived in a hard town, so he gave me a hard head.”  [Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, after being treat for wounds encountered by White segregationists and Ku Klux Klan in 1957.]

“We wanted confrontation, nonviolent confrontation, to see if it would work… Not just for Birmingham – for the nation.  We were trying to launch a systematic wholehearted battle against segregation, which would set the pace for the nation.”  [Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth]

“I went to jail 30 or 40 times, not for fighting or stealing or drugs…. I went to jail for a good thing, trying to make a difference.”  [Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth told grade school students in 1997]

“The best thing we can do is be a servant of God.  It does good to stand up and serve others.”  [Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth during his final sermon at Greater New Light Baptist Church – Cincinnati, Ohio in 2006]

“We’re telling ol’ Bull Connor right here tonight that we’re on the march and we’re not going to stop marching until we get our rights.”  [Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth speaking to his followers]

“I made the movement.  I made the challenge.  Birmingham was the citadel of segregation, and the people wanted to march.”  [Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth]

“When God made Bull Connor, one of the real negative forces in this country, He was sure to make Fred Shuttlesworth.”  [Rev. Joseph Lowery, Minister and Civil Rights Activist]

“Fred didn’t invite us to come to Birmingham.  He told us we had to come.”  [Andrew Young]

“Without Fred Shuttlesworth laying the groundwork, the demonstrations in Birmingham would not have been as successful …. Birmingham led to Selma, and those two became the basis of the Civil Rights struggle…. Mr. Shuttlesworth had no equal in terms of courage and putting his life in the line of fire to battle segregation.”  [Andrew M. Manis, Author – “A Fire You Can’t Put Out….”]

“He was the first Black man I knew who was totally unafraid of white folks.”  [Alabama’s First Black Federal Judge, U.W. Clemon]

“The most courageous Civil RIghts Fighter in the South.’ [Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.]





One of the most eloquent and blunt leaders of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, was born on this date (October 6th) in 1917 – FANNIE LOU HAMER!

Born Fannie Lou Townsend in Montgomery County, Mississippi, she was the youngest of twenty (20) children in a family of sharecroppers.  She began chopping and picking cotton as a child on a plantation in the Mississippi Delta.  She lived and worked there until 1962, when she was fired because she attempted to register to vote.   She and her family were also forced to move from the plantation.  In 1963, Mrs. Hamer did register to vote and committed herself  to civil rights activism.

She began working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), organizing voter registration campaigns in the Mississippi Delta.  In 1964, White members of the Democratic Party in Mississippi continued the tradition of refusing to accept Black in their delegation to the national party convention.  Hamer and others formed the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP).  The MFDP sent 68 delegates to the national convention to challenge White Democrats for their right to represent Mississippi.

Mrs. Hamer recounted for the convention the harassment that she and other Blacks experienced when trying to register to vote in Mississippi in a nationally televised interview about her experiences with police brutality.  (White Police Officers severely beat Mrs. Hamer during her struggles for voting rights.)   Democratic Party officials offered Black Mississippians two (2) convention seats.  Mrs. Hamer and the MFDP rejected the offer, and went home to do more organizing.  This MFDP challenge resulted in President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Additionally, the MFDP received a pledge from the Democratic Party not to send any delegate to the 1968 national convention who had been chosen through racially discriminatory means.

From 1968 to 1971, Fannie Lou Hammer was a member of the Democratic National Committee for Mississippi.  Her 1970 lawsuit, Hamer vs. Sunflower County,demanded school desegregation.  She ran unsuccessfully for the Mississippi State Senate in 1971, however, she successfully became a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1972.

Fannie Lou Hamer lectured extensively  and was a powerful speaker.  She became known for her signature statement: “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”   Her singing voice lent another power to the Civil Rights era.

Mrs. Hamer brought a Head Start Program to  her local community, to form a local Pig Bank Cooperative in 1968 with the help of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), and later found the Freedom Farms Cooperative in 1969, which helped poor families raise food and livestock.  She helped found the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971, speaking for inclusion of racial issues in the feminist agenda.  In 1972, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring her national and state activism.

Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer received several awards and honors including: Honorary Degrees of Doctorate of Humanities from Tougaloo College and Shaw University; Honorary Degrees from Columbia College and Howard University.  She was honored with the National Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award, the Paul Robeson Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and the Mary Terrell Award from Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.  Delta Sigma Theta also made Mrs. Hamer an honorary member of their sorority.

Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer died of Breast Cancer at the age of 59, on March 14, 1977.  She is buried in her hometown of Ruleville, Mississippi.  Her tombstone reads, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Mrs. Hamer was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.  The United States Post Office in Ruleville, Mississippi was named in her honor in February, 1995, thanks to Congressman Bennie Thompson.

Other commemorative efforts honoring Fannie Lou Hamer and her determined struggle for civil rights include:

* Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Garden – Ruleville, Mississippi

* Fannie Lou Hamer Statue (Still in-progress) – Ruleville, Mississippi

* Fannie Lou Hamer Cultural Learning Center – Ruleville, Mississippi

* Fannie Lou Hamer – Institute – Ruleville, Mississippi

* Fannie Lou Hamer  Cancer Foundation – Ruleville, Mississippi (Also in-progress)

A Civil Rights Curriculum was developed in 2006 by Giles R. Wright of the New Jersey Historical Commission – New Jersey State Department, under the leadership of Former Secretary of State, Regena Thomas.  It’s titled, “A Civil Rights Turning Point: Fannie Lou Hamer in Atlantic City, 1964.”  This curriculum consists of a VHS/DVD Documentary and a Teacher’s Guide.  It has been distributed to every public Elementary, Middle and High School in the state of New Jersey.

Additionally, in the state of New Jersey, is the Civil Rights Garden, in Atlantic City.  It consists of eleven (11) columns, and Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, shares column ten along with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Joachim Prinz.  The inscription at this column reads, “All this on account we want to register, to become first class citizens, and if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America.  Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?”  (A statement made by Mrs. Hamer during one of her speeches while fighting for voting rights.)


“I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”  [Fannie Lou Hamer]

“Nobody is free until everybody’s free.” [Fannie Lou Hamer]

“People have to get together and work together.  I’m tired of the kind of oppression that White people have inflicted on us and are still trying to inflict.”  [Fannie Lou Hamer]

“To support whatever is right, and to bring in justice where we’ve had so much injustice.”  [Fannie Lou Hamer]

“We serve God by serving our fellow man; kids are suffering from malnutrition.  People are going to the fields hungry.  If you are a Christian, we are tired of being mistreated.”  [Fannie Lou Hamer]

“Do you mean to tell me that your position is more important than four hundred thousand Black people’s lives? ….. How – if you lose this job of Vice President because you do what is right, because if you help the MFDP, everything will be all right.  God will take care of you.  But if you take it this way, why, you will never be able to do any good for civil rights, for poor people, for peace, or any of these things you talk about.  Senator Humphrey, I’m go ing to pray to Jesus for you.”  [Fannie Lou Hamer speaking to then, Senator Hubert Humphrey, who brought a compromise offer to the MFDP Delegates, which was rejected.]

“I’m amazed at how she put fear in the hearts of people like Lyndon B. Johnson.  [June Johnson]

“Fannie Lou Hamer made me realize that we’re nothing unless we can hold this system accountable, and the way we hold this system accountable is to vote, and to take an active note to determine who are leaders are!”  [Constance Slaughter-Harvey]

We must continue to look back and acknowledge our brothers and sisters who fought the hard battle, so we can move aggressively in their footsteps – AS THE FIGHT AND THE STRUGGLE STILL CONTINUES IN 2011!!



I recently came across this most talented Professor, Actor, Author, Composer and Writer, Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell.  Below are the lyrics to one of her songs, that really expresses a spiritual message to me and I’d just like to share it with you.

“WE ARE” (By Dr. Ysaye M. Barnwell)

For each child that’s born a morning star rises,
And sings to the universe who we are.

We are our grandmother’s prayers.
We are our grandfather’s dreamings.
We are the breath of our ancestors.
We are the Spirit of GOD.

We are …
Mothers of Courage
Fathers of Time
Daughters of dust
Sons of great visions.

We are …
Sisters of Mercy
Brothers of Love
Lovers of Life and
The Builders of Nations.

We are Seekers of Truth
Keepers of Faith
Makers of Peace and
The Wisdom of Ages.

We are our grandmother’s prayers.
We are our grandfather’s dreamings.
We are the breath of our ancestors.
We ar the Spirit of GOD.


I hope you enjoy and share it with others.

Natalie R. Fitten


Rita Dove was born on this day (August 28th) in 1952, in Akron, Ohio.  She is a well-renowned Poet and Author.  Ms. Dove was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress in 1993, making her the youngest person, and the first African-American to receive this highest official honor in American Letters.  She held this position until 1995.  In 1999 she was re-appointed Special Consultant in Poetry (1999-2000), the Library of Congress’s bicentennial year; and in 2004 Virginia Governor Mark Warner appointed her as a Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a post she served for two years.

Her poetry has won her many awards, and it exemplifies African-American life throughout our history.  Please read below a few of her critically acclaimed, and magnificent works, and pass them on.

Don’t lower your eyes or stare straight ahead to where you think you ought to be going.
Don’t mutter, ‘Oh no,’ ‘not another one,’ ‘get a job,’ ‘fly a kite,’ ‘go bury a bone.’
With her old-fashioned sandals, with her leaden skirts, with her stained cheeks and whiskers, and heaped up trinkets, she has risen among us in blunt reproach.
She has fitted her hair under a hand-me-down cap, and spruced it up with feathers and stars,
Slung over one shoulder she bears
The rainbowed layers of charity and murmurs, ‘All of you, even the least of you.’
Don’t cross to the other side of the square, don’t think another item to fit on a tourist’s agenda.
Consider her drenched gaze, her shining brow.
She who brought many back into the streets, and will not retire politely to the potter’s field.
Having assumed the thick skin of this town, it’s gritted exhaust, it’s sun-scorched and blear,
She rests in her weathered plumage – big-boned, resolute.
Don’t think you can ever forget her.  Don’t even try.  She’s not going to budge.
No choice but to grant her space, crown her with the sky,

Billie Holiday’s burned voice had as many shadows as lights,
A mournful candelabra against a sleek piano,
The gardenia her signature under that ruined face.
(Now you’re cooking, drummer to bass, magic spoon, magic needle.
Take all day if you have to with your mirror and bracelet of song.)
Fact is, the invention of women under siege has been to sharpen love in the service of myth.

How she sat there, the time right inside a place so wrong it was ready.
That trim name with its dream of a bench to rest on.  Her sensible coat.
Doing nothing was the doing:  The clean flame of her gaze carved by a camera flash.

Back when the earth was new and heaven just a whisper,
Back when names of things hadn’t had time to stick;
Back when the smallest breezes melted summer into autumn,
When all the poplars quivered sweetly in rank and file…
The world called, and I answered.  Each glance ignited a gaze.
I caught my breath and called that life, swooned between spoonfuls of lemon sorbet.
I was pirouette and flourish, I was filigree and flame
How could I count my blessings when I didn’t know their names?
Back when everything was still to come, luck leaked out everywhere.

Natalie R. Fitten




“YOU ARE A STAR” – By Gwen O’Neal
Each one of us have our own uniqueness.
A completeness that makes us who we are.
A Star that twinkles, giving off it’s own light.
So, then, why do we fight, we try with all our might to out do the other sistah
When we reach out to embrace there is a trace of resentment.
So much quarreling, the cycle is whirling, faster and faster, round and round.
But the sound is a whisper.  We whisper and we talk behind each others’ back,
‘Cause we lack the courage to face ourselves.
Wouldn’t it be a whole lot clearer to turn and face the woman in the mirror?
When you look in her eyes, you’ll see her cries.
Learn to love her, yearn to embrace her.
Let GOD heal the girl and set her free,
Gradually you’ll see the woman emerge,
As you stand on the verge of your breakthrough.
My GOD, a Star, how beautiful we are twinkling together in unity.
If scrutiny tries to intervene, don’t make a scene —

My worth is unmentionable; you cannot put a price on me —
Portuguese and Black sister with GOD’s love to proclaim.
Light skinned sista with light colored eyes —
Oh Yes, we come in different colors, and shapes, and sizes.
A very proud Black woman, a true artifact of class.
You couldn’t rate me with a dirty coin.
A dime piece?!!! PLEASE, I will surely pass!
I love and fear GOD, there’s no shame in my game.
Won’t for a second, ignoring a man calling me ‘baby,’ ‘ma,’ or ‘shorty…’
My mother already gave me a name.
You can’t determine my being a woman from the wiggle in my behind,
But do it by how I respect people whether they’re crippled, crazy or blind.
For JESUS is love and He surely loves you and me,
And for that I love myself…

Women, make men comprehend,
Women, make men comprehend,
Women, make men comprehend
That each sister has a Harriet Tubman
Prepared to seek a place where men
Do not abuse their Queens,
A place that erects Jewels of Respect.
Women, make men comprehend,
Women, make men comprehend,
Women, make men comprehend
That each sister has a Shirley Chisholm
Prepared to shake and make every state understand that liberation
Must not become a membership card only given to men.
Women, make men comprehend,
Women, make men comprehend,
Women, make men comprehend
That each sister has a Dr. Mae C. Jemison
Entering a NASA shuttlecraft that ascends to a time
Where gender mistreatment ends.
Women, make men comprehend, Women, make men comprehend,

“BOOK OF LIFE” – By Eazy
Listen to the words they speak, Hatred comes from their teaching,
Wickedness came from their greed, Slavery came from their fear,
Am I to follow their path?  Am I to teach my youth their ways?
I think not – Empowering my mind with knowledge,
Surrendering my heart to wisdom from peace,
To re-teach the seeds of the love that we had stolen from us,
The joy which we carried is still deeply buried within us,
My youth want to see my days because
I give them the same as my Father gave me,

“EQUALITY” – By Maya Angelou
You declare you see me dimly through a glass that will not shine,
Though I stand before you boldly, trim in rank and making time.
You do own to hear me faintly as a whisper out of range,
While my drums beat out the message and the rhythms never change.
You announce my ways are wanton, that I fly from man to man,
But if I’m just a shadow to you, could you ever understand?
We have lived a painful history, we know the shameful past,
But I keep on marching forward, and you keep on coming last.
Take the blinders from your vision, take the padding from your ears,
And confess you’ve heard me crying, and admit you’ve seen my tears.
Hear the tempo so compelling, hear the blood throb through my veins,
Yes, my drums are beating nightly, and the rhythms never change.

“HAVE FAITH IN SELF” – By Marcus Garvey (1887-1940)
Today I made myself in life anew, by going to that royal fount of truth,
And searching for the secret of the few whose goal in life and aim is joy forsooth,
I found at last the friend and counselor that taught me all that I in life should know;
It is the soul, the soverign chancellor, the guide and keeper of the good you sow.
I am advised – “Go ye, have faith in self, and seek once more the guide that lives in you,”
Much better than the world of sordid pelp, Alas!  I found the counsel to be true.
Aha! I know right now that I shall see the good in life, and be a better man;
I will, by thought and deed pull all to me, in saving others, yea, every one.
Go down and search yourself awhile in part, and tell me all of what you see and hear;
Isn’t there something pulling at your heart? Tell me the truth and have ye then no fear!
There is a voice that speaks to man, within, it is the Soul that longs for you to know
There is no need for you to grope in sin,



1941 to 1998

Kwame Ture, also known to many as Stokely Carmichael was born on June 29th, 1941 (this date), in Port of Spain, Trinidad.  He moved to the United States in 1952, and attended high school in New York City.  He attended the well known HBCU – Howard University, graduating with a B.A. Degree in Philosophy, and in 1961 became a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
Ture/Carmichael became a member of the Freedom Riders also in 1961/  After receiving training in non-violent techniques, Black and White volunteers sat next to each other on buses as they travelled through the Deep South.  Consequently, local police refused to protect these passengers which resulted in them being severly beaten and injured by white mobs in several southern cities.  In Jackson, Mississippi, Ture/Carmichael was arrested and jailed for 49 days in Parchman Penitiary.  He also worked on the Freedom Summer Project, and became the Chairman of SNCC in 1966.
On June 5, 1966, James Meredith started a one-man solitary ‘March Against Fear,’ from Memphis to Jackson, to protest racism.  Shortly after starting his march he was shot by a sniper.  When news traveled, other civil rights campaigners/activists (including Kwame Ture/Stokley Carmichael, Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Floyd McKissick) decided to continue the march in John Meredith’s name.  When marchers arrived in Greenwood, Mississippi, Ture/Carmichael and some of the other marchers were arrested by the local police.  This was the 27th time that Ture/Carmichael was arrested; and on the day he was released (June 16th, 1966), he gave his infamous Black Power speech.   In this speech, he called for, “Black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, and to build a sense of community.”  He also advocated that African-Americans should establish and direct their own organizations, and urged a complete rejection of the values of American society.
In 1967, Ture/Carmichael collaborated with Charles V. Hamilton to write the book, “Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America.”  Leaders of various civil rights groups such as the NAACP and the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), rejected Carmichael’s ideas and accused him of ‘Black’ racism.
During these years in the mid- 1960’s, Carmichael adopted the slogan, “Black is Beautiful,” which developed a mood of Black pride and a rejection of white values of style and appearance.  This included adopting Afro hairstyles and African forms of dress.  (It was also during this time that the late James Brown made the infamous song, “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud,” which was extremely popular in Black communities across the United States.)  Additionally, Ture/Carmichael began to criticize Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his ideology of nonviolence.  He eventually joined the Black Panther Party, and became their ‘Honorary Prime Minister.’
In the late 1960’s conflict arose between the Black Panther Party and Carmichael/Ture, as he did not agree with them as it related to allowing white supporters to assist in the movement.  Consequently, he was removed from the Black Panther Party.
When Ture/Carmichael denounced United States involvement in the Vietnam War, his passport was confiscated and held for ten (10) months.  When it was returned to him, he moved with his wife, Miriam Makeba (South African Singer and Activist) to Guinea, where he later wrote the book, titled, “Stokely Speaks: Black Power Back to Pan-Africanism.”
Stokely Carmichael, who adopted the name Kwame Ture also foudned the ‘All-African People’s Revolutionary Party,’ and worked as an aide to Guinea’s Prime Minister, Sekou Toure.  After the death of the Prime Minister in 1984, Ture/Carmichael was arrested by the new military regime and charged with trying to overthrow the government.  However, he was released after spending three (3) days in jail.
Unlike some of his peers, who emerged from the Civil Rights Movement, Carmichael’s passions and beliefs always remained strong.  He continued to support a revolution as the answer to the serious problems of racism and unfairness, as he countinued answering his phone by stating, “Ready for the Revolution,” until his death.  He fought this fight until his death from prostrate canscer on November 15, 1998 in Conaky, Guinea.
Civil Rights Leader, Jesse Jackson gave a speach celebrating Carmichael’s life, stating:“He was one of our generation who was determined to give his life to transforming America and Africa.  He was committed to ending racial apartheid in our country.  He helped to bring these walls down.”
In 2002, Educator and Scholar, Molefi Kete Asante listed Stokeley Carmichael on his list of ‘100 Greates African-Americans.’
In 2007, the publication of the previously secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents revealed that Ture/Carmichael had been tracked by the CIA as part of their surveillance of Black Activists abroad, which began in 1968 and contined for several years.
Kwame Ture truly fought the fight, the struggle for our people!  And — this struggle still continues!!  We the people must continue to fight this fight!!!!
Below are a few quotes made by the sorely missed Kwame Ture also known as Stokely Carmichael:
“A man is born free.”
“An organization which claims to be working for the needs of a community – as SNCC does – must work to provide that community with a position of strength from which to make its voice heard.  This is the significance of Black Power beyond the slogan.”
“Capitalism is a stupid system, a backward system.”
“I also know that while I am Black I am a human being, and therefore, I have the right to go into any public place.  White people didn’t know that.  Every time I tried to go into a place they stopped me.”
“It is a call for Black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community.  It is a call for Black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations.”
“Seems to me that the institutions that function in this country are clearly racist, and that they’re built upon racism.”
“The first need of a free people is to define their own terms.”
“We are Revolutionaries.”
“We were aware of the fact that death walks hand in hand with struggle.”


‘All Alone – in the house’
All Alone – I’m going to school,
No one to watch me
To see that I do right or
Get the problem right.
All Alone – No one to care for me,
Love me!
All Alone – Being scared,
Wanting to cry –
But no one to hear.
All Alone!
So I cry from the fear of
Being scared and lonely
‘Cuz I’m feeling like
There is no one there to hear me,
Feel me, Talk to me, Help me,
Hear my cry, My Fear, of being
Wanting to cry – But I stop and think,
      ALL ALONE!
Who Am I?  Who Am I?
A Young Black Beautiful Woman!
Who Am I?
The girl with the mouth!
Who Am I?
The one that backs it all up!
Who Am I?
A girl with all the attitude —
The one that people say,
You know, you need to fix that!
Who Am I?
A girl that likes that girl right over there!
That’s right, Yes, a girl
A Black Powerful Girl,
Special, Smart, Beautiful,
Loving, Caring, Giving!
Who Am I?
The one that takes no stuff!
Who Am I?
The one that stands up for what I believe in!
Who Am I?
I’m that girl that you see and wonder,
Wonder and wonder about —
But not just that —
I’m Helpful, Respectful,
Caring, and All That
That’s Me!
WHO I AM!!!!!