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

Jun
19
 
TRIBUTE TO ALL FATHERS
WHO ARE WITH US & FOR THOSE WHO GAVE US THEIR LIFE
AND WHO ARE NOW NO LONGER WITH US

“THE LEGENDARY FATHER” – By Just A Poet
[Note: *The first letter in each stance spells FATHER*]
Fables, stories, tales and myths, and even the oldest of legends,
tell of a strong faithful man, who held the whole world in his hands.
Able, funny, cool and kind, a man unlike any other,
his will moves the mountains high, and his smile brings the sun to shine.
Truthful, trusting, brave and bold, a man to rise above all else,
his love beats that of others, his strength of mind saves those in doubt.
Honest, sincere, strong and warm, he is a cut above all the rest,
his thoughts lead the nations first, his actions make the world seem best.
Eager, happy, nice, and true, he’ll be a wall to all things bad,
his hope is a ray of light, his judgment has made things alright.
Rare to find is such a man, I simply call him, DAD.
“REMEMBERING DAD” – Author Unknown
[TRIBUTE TO FATHERS WHO ARE NO LONGER WITH US]
When I was…..
Four Years Old: “My Daddy can do anything.”
Five Years Old: “My Daddy knows a lot.”
Six Years Old: “My Dad is smarter than your dad.”
Eight Years Old: “My Dad doesn’t know exactly everything.”
Ten Years Old: “In the olden days, when my Dad grew up, things were sure different.”
Twelve Years Old: “Oh, well, naturally, Dad doesn’t know anything about that. He is too old
                                to remember his childhood.”
Fourteen Years Old: “Don’t pay attention to my Dad.  He’s so old-fashioned.”
Twenty-One Years Old: “Him? My LORD, He’s hopelessly out of date.”
Twenty-Five Years Old: “Dad knows about it, but then he should, because he has been
                                          around so long.”
Thirty Years Old: “Maybe we should ask Dad what he thinks.  After all, he’s had a lot of
                               experience.”
Forty Years Old: “I’m not doing a single thing until I talk to Dad.”
Fifty Years Old: “I wonder how Dad would handle it.  He was so wise.”
Fifty-Five Years Old: “I’d give anything if Dad were here now so I could talk this
                                     over with him.  Too bad I didn’t appreciate how smart he
                                     was.  I could have learned a lot from him, if I listened to him
                                     more.  I TRULY MISS YOU, DAD!”
“MY DAD” – By Leah Hendrie
[ANOTHER TRIBUTE TO FATHERS WHO ARE NO LONGER WITH US}
If I could write a story it would be the greatest story ever told,
Of a kind and loving Father who had a heart of gold.
If I could write a million pages, but still be unable to say,
Just how much I love and miss him every single day.
I will remember all he taught me, I’m hurt but won’t be sad,
‘Cause he;ll send me down the answers —
AND he’ll always be my DAD!
“WHAT MAKES A DAD” – Author Unknown
GOD took the strength of a mountain, the majesty of a tree,
The wrath of a summer sun, the calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature, the comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of ages, the power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring, the faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity, the depth of a family in need,
Then GOD combined these qualities, when there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete, and so,
HE CALLED IT… DAD!
“WHAT IS A DAD?” – Author Unknown
A Dad is a person who is loving and kind, and often he knows what you have on your mind.
He’s someone who listens, suggests, and defends –
A Dad can be one of your very best friends!
He’s proud of your triumphs, but when things go wrong,
A Dad can be patient and helpful and strong.
In all that you do, a Dad’s love plays a part —
There’s always a place for him deep in your heart–
And each year that passes, you’re even more glad,
More grateful and proud just to call him your DAD!
Thank You, Dad… For listening and caring, For giving and sharing,
BUT, ESPECIALLY, FOR JUST BEING YOU!
“THE LITTLE CHAP WHO FOLLOWS ME” – Author Unknown
A careful man I ought to be, a little fellow follows me,
I do not dare to go astray, for fear he’ll go the selfsame way.
I cannot once escape his eyes, whate’er he sees me do, he tries;
Like, me, he says, he’s going to be, the little chap that follows me.
He thinks that I am good and fine, believes in every word of mine,
The base in me he must not see, the little chap that follows me.
I must remember as I go, through summer’s fun and winter’s snow,
In building for the years to be, THE LITTLE CHAP THAT FOLLOWS ME!
“THE SILENT HONOR” – By Joseph Jenson
This world has seen many Fathers who have performed many great and noble things.
Strengthened a nation, silenced fears, relieved suffering and changed the course of history.
Yet the most great and noble Father I have known lives within the walls of my own home.
He performs no extraordinary tasks; No miraculous feats;
He just does what is right because it is right.
He needs no adulation, no praise or glory of men.
He just goes about doing good because that is how it makes him feel.
But there are those that see his goodness.  They are his children.
Indeed, they may not always see, but they know,
That this silent honor iw what they will pass on to their children.
They know that true greatness needs no praise.
It is found in the day-to-day living of unwearied goodness –
They have seen their Father give.
Such goodness is a remarkable thing,
Far greater than any glory found in the annals of history.
For one day the child will say: ‘HE IS MY FATHER,’ AND KNOW IT IS AN HONOR!
“FATHERS ARE” – By Loyd C. Taylor
Fathers…
Are faithful, strong and true, providing for our needs;
They give us words of truth, impacting wisdom’s seeds.
Fathers…
Are always there for us, chasing our fears away,
They work hard willingly, sacrificing each day.
Fathers…
Have firm unerring hands, living the words they say,
They are spiritual leaders, showing us the right way.
Fathers…
Are the unsung heroes, refusing any fanfare,
They avoid the limelight, serving is their desire.
Fathers…
Are GOD’s special people, showing His image true,
They love to hear the words, saying: “DAD, I LOVE YOU!”

“WHAT ARE FATHERS MADE OF?” – By Diane Wright
Little boys are made of snails and puppy dog tails,
But Fathers are made of concern and love,
Read to give when the going is rough,
Or be a throwing partner with a baseball and glove.
Fathers are made of compassion too,
Shown in a different way from Mom’s pure heart–
She is emotional and may cry a lot —
Dad just listens with wisdom to impart
Yes, wisdom that comes from ages ago,
Lived through his Father and generations before,
Stories he relates are sure to fix what ails,
Pulling the right story from his wisdom-in-store.
Fathers are strong to stand in defense of family
With GOD, strength imparted to withstand the fight,
Likened to a might ship with GOD at the helm,
Strife is overcome and at the end, there is light.
“Daddy’s little girl” is sugar and spice to small ears,
Special to Dad in tomboyish pranks, frills or lace,
Feminine wiles displayed to win over Daddy’s heart,
Tilting her head with clown-like expressions on her face.
Fathers are the light of our lives along with GOD,
Shining the way in the darkest of nights,
Helping to ready a small life, who, too
Will be called to be a beacon of light to their own before flight!

“A FATHER’S PRAYER” – Author Unknown
May GOD give you the grace of wit and wisdom to understand that rainbows are only the result of Showers, Dust, and Hope…

Let us be thankful to all the Fathers that have given of themselves to their children (and in some cases to other children) – as many times Fathers don’t receive the recognition that they are so worth of.

Natalie R. Fitten

 

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Jun
15
Today (June 15th) marks the birthday of Natalie Leota Henderson Hinderas, an African-American classical pianist, composer and Professor at Temple University in Pennsylvania.
Natalie Hinderas was born in Oberlin, Ohio in 1927, on this date to musically talented parents.  Her father (Adam Hinderas) was a jazz pianist, and her mother (Leota Palmer Hinderas) was a classical pianist, who taught at the well-known Cleveland Institute of Music.
Natalie Hinderas began playing at the early age of three (3) years old, and began receiving formal lessons in both piano and violin at the age of six.  She became a child prodigy, giving her first full-length piano recital at the age of eight years old.
Ms. Hinderas received her BS Degree in Music from Oberlin Conservatory in 1945, and was their youngest student (only eighteen years old).  Shortly thereafter, she did her post-graduate work at the Julliard School of Music and at the Philadelphia Conservatory.  In 1954, she made her Town Hall debut, which resulted in her receiving critical acclaim, and allowed her to tour the United States, Europe, West Indies, Asia and Africa.
In the mid-1950s, Ms. Hinderas signed a contract with NBC to perform in their owned and operated stations across the U.S., performing in recitals, concertos and variety shows.  She was the first African-American to perform a subscription concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1971.  She also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cleveland, Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago Symphony Orchestras.
Throughout her career, she promoted and recorded works by other African-American performers and composers of the time.  She received several awards and degrees, including the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fellowship and an honorary Doctorate Degree from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
Natalie Hinderas was a full professor at Temple University in Pennsylvania, at the time of her death from cancer on July 22, 1987.

Natalie R. Fitten

Jun
07
Today – June 7th, 2011, is the birthday of three well-known artists, as follows:
Gwendolyn Brooks, well-known Poet and Novelistwas born on this date in 1917, in Topeka, Kansas.  When she was only two months old, her family moved to Chicago, Illinois, of which she made her home for the rest of her life.
Ms. Brooks published her first poem in 1930, and continued writing throughout her entire life.  She began winning poetry contests in the 1940s.  Her first book, “A Street in Bronzeville,” (published in 1945) refers to the ‘Defenders’ name for the African-American section of Chicago, Illinois.
Ms. Brooks was the first African-American to receive a Pulitzer Prize for her book, “Annie Allen,” which she wrote in 1949.  In 1976, she become the first African-American woman elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters; and she was appointed ‘Poetry Consultant’ to the Library of Congress in 1985.  Over the years, she received numerous awards, including over 50 honorary doctorates.
With passion, clarity and astounding literary craft, Ms. Brooks’ writings present and explain urban African-American life from the mid to late 20th Century.  As the struggle for racial justice enhanced, she became a more profound political figure, and the most prestigious African-American poet of her generation.
A major figure in American poetry, Ms. Brooks used her personal prestige to support and inspire young Black Writers and to establish publishing institutions that would serve the specific interests of African-Americans.
Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks passed away on December 3, 2000 in Chicago, Illinois.
Below are a few quotes by Gwendolyn Brooks, and her poem, ‘We Real Cool.’  Let’s not forget the contributions of this prolific Literary Artist.
QUOTES BY GWENDOLYN BROOKS
” Don’t let anyone call you a minority if you’re Black or Hispanic, or belong to some other ethnic group.  You’re not less than anybody else.”
“First Fight.  Then fiddle.”
“A writer should get as much education as possible, but just going to school is not enough; if it were, all owners of doctorates would be inspired writers.”
“WE REAL COOL” By Gwendolyn Brooks
We real cool. We left school.
We lurk late.  We strike straight.
We sing sin.  We thin gin.
We jazz June.  We die soon!

Nikki Giovanni, Poet, Lecturer, and Educator was born on this date in 1943.  She was named, Yvonne Cornelia Giovanni, Jr., in Knoxville, Tennessee – after her mother.  Shortly after her birth, her family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she was raised.  During the time that she was a toddler, her sister began calling her, ‘Nikki,’ and she has been known by that name ever since.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s, Nikki Giovanni became a well-known poet, as well as a Civil Rights Activist, as most, if not all of her poetry was centered around Black Awareness/Civil Rights issues.

In the summer of 1968 she published her first book of poems, titled, “Black Feeling Black Talk,” and by the end of 1968 she published her second volume of poems, titled, “Black Judgement.”  Throughout the 1970’s she published several works, such as: “Spin a Soft Black Song” (For Children); “My House”; and “Those Who Ride the Night Winds.” 

In 1987, Nikki Giovanni began teaching at Virginia Tech, which evolved into a University Distinguished Professorship.  During her tenure there, she published several new books, including, “Racism 101” (1994), which has been popular among many college students.

In 1995, Ms. Giovanni was diagnosed with lung cancer and given only six months to live.  Due to her undying fight, she obtained a second opinion from doctors in her home town of Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as successful surgery, as the cancer did not spread.  This encounter with cancer only revitalized her, as she entered another period of high productivity, whereby publishing seven (7) books between 1996 and 2002.  Of these, three – “Love Poems” (1997); “Blues: For All The Changes” (1999); and “Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea” (2002) – won NAACP Image Awards, of which she is the proudest.

Currently, as when she started her career, she is a ‘Poet of the People,’ drawing extremely large audiences to her lectures and readings.  She has received dozens of honors and awards, including twenty-two honorary doctorates.  Ms. Giovanni continues to speak the truth as she sees it, and she constantly celebrates Black People and Black Culture.

Below are a few of her quotes and her poem, “Quilts.”  Let’s share the continued works of this prestigious Literary Artist!

QUOTES BY NIKKI GIOVANNI
“A lot of people refuse to do things because they don’t want to go naked, don’t want to go without guarantee.  But that’s what’s got to happen.  You go naked until you die.”

“There’s two people in the world that are not likeable: A master and a slave.”

“Everything will change.  The only question is growing up or decaying.

“QUILTS” By Nikki Giovanni
Like a fading piece of cloth, I am a failure.
No longer do I cover tables filled with food and laughter.
My seams are frayed, my hems falling;
My strength no longer able to hold the hot and cold.
I wish for those first days when just woven I would keep water from seeping through,
Repelled stains with the tightness of my weave,
Dazzled in the sunlight with my reflection.
I grow old though pleased with my memories.
The tasks I can no longer complete are balanced by the love of the tasks gone past.
I offer no apology, on this plea:
When I am frayed and strained and drizzle at the end,
Please someone cut a square and put me in a quilt, that I might keep some child warm,
And some old person with no one else to talk to will hear my whisper, and cuddle near.

Prince – also known as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,” and back to Prince again, was born on this date in 1958, in Minneapolis Minnesota.  Prince is a Singer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist, Arranger, Composer, Record Producer, and Actor.

Prince began his musical career at the young age of 17 years old, as he signed a recording contract with Warner Brothers with the assistance of businessman – Owen Husney.  Soon thereafter, he left Minneapolis, Minnesota, and moved to California, where his career has continued to soar from that time.  Prince’s music is in the R&B, Rock, Funk and New Wave genres.

Throughout his career, Prince has produced ten (10) Platinum Albums, and 40 Top Singles.  He founded/established his own recording studio nad record label, including writing, self-producing, and playing most or all of the instruments on his recordings.  He has also been a Talent Promoter for Sheila E., Carmen Electra, The Time and Vanity 6, and has written songs for Chaka Khan, The Bangles, Sinead O’Connor, and many other artists.

Prince has earned 33 Grammy Nominations, winning seven (7) Grammy Awards.  Two of his albums were awarded the “Grammy Hall of Fame Award,” — “1999” and “Purple Rain.”  Additionally, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.

Below are a few quotes made by Prince.

QUOTES BY PRINCE
“You can always negotiate a record contract.  You go in and say, ‘You know, I think my next project will be a country-and-western album.”

“Cool means being able to hang out with yourself.  All you have to ask yourself is, ‘Is there anybody I’m afraid of? Is there anybody who if I walked into a room and saw, I’d get nervous?’  If not, then you’re cool!”

CONTINUE TO ACKNOWLEDGE OUR GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS!

[Sources:  Internet and The Book: “African-American Lives,” By Henry Louis Gates, Jr. & Evelyn Brooks- Higgenbotham – 2004]

NATALIE R. FITTEN

May
30
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY!
Because it is Memorial Day – I thought I’d take a moment to pay tribute to some of our ancestors who fought the struggle for us.  Below you will find quotes made by some of our brothers and sisters (some still living) that have fought the fight for us today!!
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
[Muhammad Ali, Longtime Boxing Champion]
“Fear is a disease that eats away at logic and makes man inhuman.”
[Marian Anderson, Opera Singer – 1897-1993]
“If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we die.”
[Maya Angelou, Author and Poet]
“A wise person speaks carefully and with truth, for every word that passes between one’s teeth is meant for something.”  [Molefi K. Asante, Educator]
“We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we direct them toward good ends.”
[Mary McLeod Bethune, Civil Rights Activist & Educator – 1875-1955]
“Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater.”  [George Washington Carver, Inventor – 1864-1943]
“When our thoughts which bring actions – are filled with hate against anyone, Negro or White, we are in a living hell, that is as real as hell will ever be.”
[George Washington Carver, Inventor – 1864-1943
“When you educate a man you educate an individual, but when you educate a woman, you educate a nation.”  [Johnetta B. Cole, Educator]
“Had it not been for slavery, the death penalty would have likely been abolished in America.  Slavery became a haven for the death penalty.”
[Angela Davis, Professor, Civil Rights Activist & Former Black Panther Party Member]
“Racism is a much more clandestine, much more hidden kind of phenomenon, but at the same time it’s perhaps far more terrible than it’s ever been.”
[Angela Davis, Professor, Civil Rights Activist & Former Black Panther Party Member]
“Racism, in the first place, is a weapon used by the wealthy to increase the profits they bring in by paying Black workers less for their work.”
[Angela Davis, Professor, Civil Rights Activist &  Former Black Panther Party Member]
“What I think is different today is the lack of political connection between the Black middle class and the increasing numbers of Black people whom are more impoverished than ever before.”  [Angela Davis, Professor, Civil Rights Activist & Former Black Panther Party Member]
“Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change — it can not only move us, it makes us move.”  [Ossie Davis, Actor & Civil Rights Activist – 1917-2005]
“The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within – Strength, Courage, and Dignity.”  [Ruby Dee, Actress & Civil Rights Activist]
“The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.”
[Ruby Dee, Actress & Civil Rights Activist]
“A little learning, indeed, may be a dangerous thing, but the want of learning is a calamity to any people.”  [Frederick Douglass, Abolitionist – 1817-1895]
“Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing the ground.”  [Frederick Douglass, Abolitionist – 1817-1895]
“To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.”  [W.E.B DuBois, Educator, Author, Sociologist & Civil Rights Leader – 1868-1963]
“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season.  It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year.  It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow.  Today is the seed-time, now are the hours of work and tomorrow comes the harvest and playtime.”
[W.E.B. Dubois, Educator, Author, Sociologist & Civil Rights Leader – 1868-1963]
“Parents have become so convinced educators know what is best for children that they forget that they themselves are really the experts.”
[Marian Wright Edelmen, Children’s Defense Fund Official]
“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.  Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”
[Ella Fitzgerald, Singer – 1918-1996]
“We also learn that this country and the Western world have no monopoly of goodness and truth and scholarship.  We begin to appreciate the ingredients that are indispensable to making a better world.  In a life of learning that is, perhaps, the greatest lesson of all.”  [John Hope Franklin, Historian – 1915-2009]
“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the by-paths and untrodden depths of wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.”
[John Hope Franklin, Historian – 1915-2009]
“We’ve got to work to save our children and do it with full respect for the fact that if we do not, no one else is going to do it.”  [Dorothy I. Height, Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement & Former President of the National Council of Negro Women]
“At the heart of all that civilization has meant and developed is “community” — The mutually cooperative and voluntary venture of man to assume a semblance of responsibility for his brother.”
[Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Minister & Civil Rights Leader – 1929-1968]
“I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture fort heir minds, and dignity, quality, and freedom for their spirits.  I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, other-centered men can build up.”
[Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Minister & Civil Rights Leader -1929-1968]
“The time is always right to do what is right.”
[Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Minister & Civil Rights Leader – 1929-1968]
“Schooling is what happens inside the wall of the school, some of which is educational.  Education happens everywhere, and it happens from the moment a child is born – some say before – until it dies.”  [Dr. Sara Lawrence Lightfoot, Professor of Education at Harvard University]
“If the 1st Amendment means anything, it means that the State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.”  [Thurgood Marshall, Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court – 1908-1993]
“I think what motivates people is not great hate, but great love for other people.”
[Huey P. Newton, Civil Rights Activist & Co-Founder of the Black Panther Party – 1942-1989]
“The revolution has always been in the hands of the young.  the young always inherit the revolution.”
[Huey P. Newton, Civil Rights Activist & Co-Founder of the Black Panther Party – 1942-1989]
“Black Power is giving power to people who have not had power to determine their destiny.”  [Huey P. Newton, Civil Rights Activist & Co-Founder of the Black Panther Party – 1942-1989]
“They came down on us because we had a grassroots, real people’s revolution, complete with the programs, complete with the unity, complete with the working coalitions, where we crossed racial lines.”  [Bobby Seale, Civil Rights Activist, Author & Co-Founder of the Black Panther Party]

‘You don’t fight racism with racism.  The best way to fight racism is with solidarity.”
“Bobby Seale, Civil Rights Activist, Author & Co-Founder of the Black Panther Party]

“I was free, but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom.  I was a stranger in a strange land.”  [Harriet Tubman, Abolitionist – 1820-1913]
“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”
[Alice Walker, Writer]
“I got my start by giving myself a start.”  [Madam C.J. Walker, Inventor of Hair Products & First African-American Female Millionaire – 1867-1919]
“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity.  But I made it!  Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come.  Get up and make them!”
[Madam C.J. Walker, Inventor of Hair Products & First African-American Female Millionaire – 1867-1919]
“Great men cultivate love… Only little men cherish a spirit of hatred.”
[Booker T. Washington, Abolitionist & Educator – 1856-1915]
“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
[Booker T. Washington, Abolitionist & Educator – 1856-1915]
“There must always be a remedy for wrong and injustice – if we can only know how to find it.”  [Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Anti-Lynching Activist & Journalist – 1862-1931]
“The ultimate function of education is to secure the survival of a people.”
[Dr. Amos Wilson, Professor, Author & Civil Rights Activist – 1941-1995]
“No Black person has ever been taught to think like ‘White Folks.’  If you thought like Whites, you would want your own nations, to control your own neighborhoods, to control your own economy, to have your own military to control the resources in your ground.  Blacks come out of these schools and universities to be highly educated servants, slaves not in control of their own destiny.  You would want to remove them from power.”  [Dr. Amos Wilson, Professor, Author & Civil Rights Activist – 1941-1995]
“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a  negiligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”  [Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History, Educator & Historian – 1875-1950]
“As another has well said, to handicap a student by teaching him that his Black face is a curse and  that hsi struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching.”  [Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History, Educator & Historian – 1875-1950]
“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”  [Malcolm X, Former Nation of Islam Leader & Civil Rights Leader – 1925-1965]
“You can’t separate peace from freedom, because no one can be at peace unless he has freedom.”  [Malcolm X, Former Nation of Islam Leader & Civil Rights Leader – 1925-1965]
“Without education, you are not going anywhere in this world.”
[Malcolm X, Former Nation of Islam Leader & Civil Rights Leader – 1925-1965]
READ, PONDER & ENJOY!!!!!
THE STRUGGLE STILL EXISTS – AND WE MUST CONTINUE THE FIGHT!!!
SOURCES: Various Internet Sites

Natalie R. Fitten

May
27

“UNTIL THE LION LEARNS TO SPEAK, THE TALE OF THE HUNT WILL ALWAYS GLORFY THE HUNTER.”
[AFRICAN PROVERB]

“DEFENSE” – By Elma Stuckley (1907-1988)
De fence they keep on talking ’bout must gonna’ be powerful strong.
Done taken all them soldier boys, must gonna’ be powerful long.
Done ask us all to help with it and I can’t figger why
Unless that it’s gonna’ be a fence that’s mighty high.
De forest we been savin’ will be split up for de rails.
We got to make it strong they say and hammer it with nails.
They say de enemy is awful, say he likely to commence
For to messin’ with the country if he break in through de fence
If he ever charge at me just like he ain’t got no sense,
I ain’t gonna’ stant there like er’ fool, one of us gonna’ jump de fence.
“WHEN I KNOW THE POWER OF MY HAND”
By Lance Jeffers (1919-1985)
I do not know the power of my hand.  I do not know the power of my black hand.
I sit slumped in the conviction that I am powerless,
     tolerate ceilings that make me bend.
My godly mind stoops, my ambition is crippled; I do not know the power of my hand.
I see my children stunted, my young men slaughtered,
I do not know the might power of my hand.
I see the power over my life and death in another man’s hands, and sometimes
I shake my woolly head and wonder:
      LORD have mercy!  What would it be like… to be free?
But when I know the mighty power of my black hand
I will snatch freedom from the tyrant’s mouth,
Know the first taste of freedom on my eager tongue,
Sing the miracle of freedom with all the force of my lungs,
Christen my black land with exuberant creatins,
Stand independent in the hall of nations,
Root submission and dependence from the soil of my soul, and
Pitch the monument of slavery from my back, when
I KNOW THE MIGHTY POWER OF MY HAND!
“WHEN I THINK ABOUT MYSELF” – By Maya Angelou
When I think about myself, I almost laugh myself to death,
My life has been one great big joke, a dance that’s walked, a song that’s spoke,
I laugh so hard I almost choke when I think about myself.
Sixty years in these folks’ world; The child I works for calls me girl
I say “Yes ma’am” for working’s sake.  Too proud to bend, too poor to break,
I laugh until my stomach ache, when I think about myself.
My folks can make me split my side, I laughed so hard I nearly died,
The tales they tell, sound just like lying, they grow the fruit, but they eat the rind,
I laugh until I st art to crying, when I think about my folks.
“CUSTOMS & CULTURE? – By Ted Joans (1928-2003)
perhaps what beans & potatoes means to me is what
cornflakes and yogurt mean to you
maybe the machines tell your insides something similar
to what the drums inspire in me
do you really believe cold weather is invigorating as the sunshine
is fine everyday everyway for me all the time
if you really think your way is right and fine
then why do you pass laws against mine?
“GOD’S TROMBONE” – By Sarah Webster Fabio (1928-1979)
Yesterday, I heard a blind man sound a new note in a hot blast on an old theme–
That of GOD’s Trombone which you defined so well in idiom, form, texture, harmony.
“Lift every voice and sing/till earth and heaven ring,” you urged on the strength of
Spirit that comes with voices raised in unison and affirmation of the GOD-in-man.
A thing of beauty your people gave to the world, those lost souls who were newly
Awakening to the glory and the mystique of their ways and to the
Prismatic splendor of their blues-tinged days.

“BLACK PEOPLE: THIS IS OUR DESTINY” – By Amiri Baraka
The road runs straight with no turning, the circle runs complete as it is in the
storm of peace, the all embraced embracing in the circle complete turning road
straight like a burning straight with the circle complete as in a peaceful storm,
the elements, the niggers’ voices harmonized with creation on a peak in the
Holy Black man’s eyes that we rise, whose race is only direction up, where we go to
meet the realization of makers knowing who we are and the war in our hearts,
but the purity of the Holy world that we long for, knowing how to live, and what life is,
and who GOD is, and the many revolutions we must spin through in our seven
adventures in the endlessness of all existing feeling, all existing forms of life, the gases,
the plants, the ghost minerals, the spirits, the souls, the light in the stillness,
where the storm, the glow, the nothing in GOD is complete except there is nothing to be
incomplete, the pulse and change of rhythm a playing re-understood now by one of the
1st race, the primitives of the first men who evolve again to civilize the world.

“IN THE INNER CITY” – By Lucille Clifton (1936-2010)
in the inner city or like we call it – home
we think a lot about uptown and the silent nights
and the houses straight as dead men and the pastel lights
and we hang on to our no place happy to be alive
and in the inner city or like we call it – home

“LAST NOTE TO MY GIRLS” – By Lucille Clifton (1936-2010)
my girls, my girls, my almost me, mellowed in a brown bag
held tight and straining at the top like a good lunch
until the bag turned weak and wet and burst in our honeymoon rooms.
we wiped the mess and dressed you in our name and here you are
my girls, my girls, forty quick fingers reaching for the door.
i command you to be good runners to go with grace
go well in the dark and make for higher ground
my dearest girls, my girls, my more than me.

“MALCOLM X – AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY” – By Larry Neal (1937-1981)
I am the Seventh Son of the son who was also the Seventh.
I have drunk deep of the waters of my ancestors,
Have traveled the soul’s journey toward cosmic harmony – the Seventh Son.
Have walked slick avenues and seen grown men, fall, to die,
in a blue doom of death and ancestral agony;
Have seen old men glide, shadowless, feet barely touching the pavements.
I sprang out of Midwestern plains the break Michigan landscape,
The black blues of Kansas City, these kiss-me-nights;
Out of the bleak Michigan landscape wearing the slave name Malcolm Little.
Saw a brief vision in Lansing when I was seven,
And in my momma’s womb heard the beast of death;
A landscape on which white robed figures ride, and my
Garvey father silhouetted against the night-fire,
Gun in hand, form outlined against a panorama of violence.
Out of the Midwestern bleakness, I sprang, pushed eastward, past shack on
Country nigger shack, across the wilderness of North America.
I Hustler.  I Pimp.  I unfilfilled black man bursting with destiny.
New York City Slim called me Big Red, and there was no escape,
       colse nights of the smell of death.
Pimp.  Hustler.  The day fills these rooms.  I’m talking about New York, Harlem.
Talking about neon madness. Talking about ghetto eyes and nights;
Talking about death protruding across the room; Talking about Small’s Paradise.
Talking about cigarette butts, and rooms smelly with white sex-flesh,
And dank sheets, and being on the run.
Talking about cocaine illusions.  Talking about selling and stealing.
Talking about these New York cops who smell of blood and money.
I am Big Red, Tiger, Vicious, Big Red, Bad Nigger, will kill.
But there is rhythm here – it’s own special substance:
I hear Billie sing, no Good Man, and dig Prez, wearing the Zoot suit of life,
The Porkpie hat tilted at the correct angle;
Through the Harlem smoke of beer and whiskey,
I understand the mystery of the Signifying Monkey;
In a blue haze of inspiration I reach for the totality of being.
I am at the center of a swirl of events.  War and death. Rhythm.
Hot women.  I think life in a commodity bargained for across the bar in Small’s.
I perceive the ecohoes of Bird and there is a gnawing the maw of my emotions.
And then there is jail.  America is the world’s greatest jailer,
And we are all in jails – Holy spirits contained like magnificient birds of wonder.
I now understand my father urged on by the ghost of Garvey, and
I see a small brown man standing in a corner.
The cell.  Cold.  Dank.  The light around him vibrates.  (Am I crazy?)
But to understand is to submit to a more perfect will, a more perfect order.
To understand is to surrender the imperfect self for a more perfect self.
ALLAH formed man, I follow and shake within the very depty of my
Most interesting being; And I bear witness to the Message of ALLAH
And I bear witness; ALL PRAISE IS DUE ALLAH.
Spring 1967

“BLACK ETHICS” – By Sterling D. Plumpp

not a new thing but an excavated gem
lost in centuries of self-separations.
will make a man strong, ready to die for his woman/child/country/
which is obscured in doubt.
the priceless dynamo called human love
that makes a man, a man,
and moves him to self-pride.

“HALF BLACK, HALF BLACKER” – By Sterling D. Plumpp
i went down to malcolmland, me come back a man.
me returned with blackness drippin’ from my every breath.
i went down to malcolmland unprepared, but him gave me a grass sack
him told me to stuff-in all the blackness i could him told me to run as fas as me could
back to blackpeople, back to blackpeople, so me wouldn’t lose all my goodies.
i went down to malcolmland, me come back a man.
me left my knees & lifted my eyes eastward & me ran, me ran….
malcolm say god black love black man black heaven black heaven here me made black
but me hadta’ run back thru fire with a sack of blackness on my shoulders.
me think i all black, sometimes me think i half black, others cause me
may lose some blackness tryin’ to bring it to blackpeople.
i go down to malcolmland – me come back a man.
me black when me think about malcolm, medgar, martin,
fred, bobbies, mark, lumumba….
me lose some blackness when me don’t do nothin’
ain’t me black?  ain’t me black?
when i am in malcolmland me know me be blacker….

“A BEGINNING FOR NEW BEGINNINGS” – By Angela Jackson
And some where distantly there is an answer
as surely as this breath half hangs befo’ my face
And some where there is a move meant.  As certain as the wind arrives
and departs from me.  And always.
There is the struggling to be and constantly our voices rise.
In silent straining to be free…
And some where there is an answer.  A How.  That I can feel and be felt in.
And live within a Reason and a Way.  And some time there is a Morning.
The rise of an Other Day. (But the Fight is in the wading.  Waiting out this night.
The Fight is in the living thru til mornings rise closed and secure in u.)  But this time.
Our eyes cannot see.  And the night lends no helping hand.
The waters of this land are freezing.  Still.  I.  And We.  Struggle.  And we float.
Children.  Together (U. Me. She. And Us. And Him.)
Together.  Children.  We learn How to swim.

“A POEM FOR LANGSTON HUGHES” – By Lenard D. Moore
You Langston, you black man who is waiting for our tomorrows
not to be underground and lost to oblivion,
Whose Afrikan eyes have sealed like a vault, whose metaphors live on,
Whose poems tremble the world like a great earthquake,
Whose spirit lift heads, young and old, whose books will always be read…
You who were not afraid to seek revolution/ a revolution of liberation —
You were not afraid to retrace the Nile, to show how stable your memory,
How untimid your voice for your people, how brilliant you were.
You Langston, you black man who is waiting for our tomorrows
not to be underground and lost to oblivion,
Whose sentient words have brought salvation, have led brothers and sisters
To cast words upon page after page….
Creating piercing poems and treasure their heritage.
Oh, you black man insisted on electrifying the world
When others sought to cage you like a bird.
Always it is the rhythm of your words, jazz rhythm,
Stroking freedom in ears, burning in minds,
So Deep.  So Deep.

“MILLION MAN MARCH POEM” – By Maya Angelou
The night has been long, the wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark, and the walls have been steep.
Under a dead blue sky on a d istant beach,
I was dragged by my braids just beyond your reach.
Your hands were tied, your mouth was bound, you couldn’t een call my name.
You were helpless and so was I,
But unfortunately throughout history you’ve worn a badge of shame.
I say, the night has been long, the wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark and the walls have been steep.
But today, voices of old spirit sound, speak to us in words profound,
Across the years, across the centuries, across the oceans, and across the seas.
They say, draw near to one oanother, Save Your Race.
You have been paid for in a distant place,
The old ones remind us that slavery’s chains
Have paid for our freedom again and again.
The night has been long, the pit has been deep,
The night has been dark, and the walls have been steep.
The hells we have lived through and live through still,
Have sharpened our senses and toughened our will.  The night has been long.
This morning I look through your anguish right down to your soul.
I know that with each other we can make ourselves whole.
I look through the posture and past your disguise,
And see your love for family in your big brown eyes.
I say, Clap Your Hands, and let’s come together in this meeting ground,
I say, Clap Your Hands, and let’s deal with each other with love,
I say, Clap Your Hands, and let us get from the low road of indifference,
Clap Hands, let us come together and reveal our hearts,
Let us come together and revise our spirits,
Let us come together and cleanse our souls.
Clap Hands, let’s leave the preening and stop impostering our history.
Clap Hands, call the spirits back from the ledge,
Clap Hands, let us invite joy in our conversation,
Courtesy in our bedrooms, Gentleness into our kitchens, Care into our nursery.
The ancestosrs remind us, despite the history of pain
WE ARE A GOING-ON PEOPLE WHO WILL RISE AGAIN.
AND STILL WE RISE.

SOURCES:
Website: http://www.poemhunter.com
Book: “Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African-American Poetry”
Edited by Jerry W. Ward

Natalie R. Fitten

May
23

“Until the Lion Tells His Own Story, The Tale of the

Hunter Will Always Glorify the Hunter” [African Proverb]

OUR HISTORY THROUGH POETRY – PART I

 The following poems are just the beginning of a series of poems that I will be posting that reflect on ‘Our Story’ through poetry.  Hope you enjoy!

“THE CREATION” By James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)

And GOD stepped out on space, and he looked around and said,

‘I’m lonely – I’ll make me a world.’

And far as the eye of GOD could see darkness covered everything,

Blacker than a hundred midnights down in a cypress swamp.

Then GOD smiled, and the light broke, and the darkness rolled up on one side,

And the light stood shining on the other, and GOD said: ‘THAT’S GOOD!”

Then GOD reached out and took the light in His hands,

And GOD rolled the light around in his hands until He made a sun;

And He set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.

And the light that was left from making the sun GOD gathered it up in a shining ball

And flung it against the darkness, spangling the night with the moon and stars.

Then down between the darkness and the light He hurled the world;

And GOD said: ‘THAT’S GOOD!”

Then GOD Himself steeped down – and the sun was on His right hand,

And the moon was on His left; the stars were clustered about His head,

And the earth was under His feet.

And God walked, and where he trod His footsteps hollowed the valleys out

And bulged the mountains up.

Then He stopped and looked and saw that the earth was hot and barren.

So GOD stepped over to the edge of the world and He spat out the seven seas—

He batted His eyes, and the lightnings flashed – He clapped His hands and the thunders rolled—

And the waters above the earth came down, the cooling waters came down.

Then the green grass sprouted, and the little red flowers blossomed,

The pine tree pointed His finger to the sky, and the oak spread out His arms,

The lakes cuddled down in the hollows of the ground; and the rivers ran down to the sea;

And GOD smiled again, and the rainbow appeared, and curled itself around His shoulder.

Then GOD raised His arm and He waved His hand over the sea and over the land,

And He said: “Bring forth!  Bring forth!”

And quicker than GOD could drop His hands, fishes and fowls and beasts and birds

Swam the rivers and the seas, roamed the forests and the woods,

 And split the air with their wings, and GOD said: “THAT’S GOOD!”

Then god walked around, and GOD looked around on all that He had made.

He looked at His sun, and He looked at His moon, and He looked as His little stars;

He looked at His world with all its living things, and GOD said: “I’M LONELY STILL.”

Then GOD sat down – on the side of a hill where He could think;

By a deep, wide river He sat down; with His head in His hands,

GOD thought and thought, ‘till He thought: “I’LL MAKE ME A MAN!”

Up from the bed of the river GOD scooped the clay;

And by the bank of the river He kneeled him down;

And there the Great GOD ALMIGHTY who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,

Who rounded the earth in the middle of His hand, This Great GOD,

Like a mammy bending over her baby, kneeled down in the dust

Toiling over a lump of clay till He shaped it in His own image;

Then into it He blew the breath of life,

And man became a living soul.

AMEN.  AMEN.

OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM

“LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING” By James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938)

Lift every voice and sing till earth and heaven ring, ring with the harmonies of liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise high as the listening skies; Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod, felt in the days when hope unborn had died;

Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet come to the place for which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears had been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last, where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

GOD of our weary years, GOD of our silent tears,

Thou who has brought us this far on the way;

Thou who has by Thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our GOD, where we met Thee,

Lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee,

Showed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,

True to Our GOD, True to Our Native Land!

“ADVICE TO THE GIRLS” By Frances Ellen Walters Harper (1825-1911)

Nay, do not blush!

I only heard you had a mind to marry;

I thought I’d speak a friendly word,

So just won’t moment tarry.

Wed not a man whose merit lies in things of outward show,

In raven hair or flashing eyes, that pleases your fancy so.

But marry one who’s good and kind, and free from all pretence;

Who, if without a gifted mind, at least has common sense.

“ODE TO ETHIOPIA” By Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)

O MOTHER RACE! 

To Thee I bring this pledge of faith unwavering, this tribute to Thy glory.

I know the pangs which thou didst feel, when slavery crushed thee with its heel,

       With Thy dear blood all gory.

Sad days were those –Ah – sad indeed!

But through the land the fruitful seed of better times was growing.

The plant of freedom upward spring, and spread is leaves so fresh and young—

       Its blossoms now are blowing.

On every hand in this fair land, proud Europe’s swarthy children stand beside their fairer neighbor;

The forests flee before their stroke, their hammers ring, their forges smoke – they stir in honest labor.

They tread the fields where honor calls; their voices sound through senate halls in majesty and power.

To right they cling; the hymns they sink up to the skies in beauty ring; and bolder grow each hour.

Be proud, my Race in mind and soul; Thy name is writ in Glory’s scroll in characters of fire.

High ‘mid the clouds of fame’s bright sky thy banner’s blazoned folds now fly, and truth

      Shall lift them higher.

Thou hast the right to noble pride, whose spotless robes were purified by blood’s severe baptism.

Upon thy brow the cross was laid, and labor’s painful sweat-beads made a consecrating chrism.

No other race, or white or black, when bound as thou wert, to the rack, so seldom stopped to grieving;

No other race, when free again, forgot the past and proved them men so noble in forgiving.

Go on and up! Our souls and eyes shall follow the continuous rise; our ears shall list thy story

From bards who from thy root shall spring, and proudly tune their lyres to sing of ETHIIOPIA’S GLORY.

“IF WE MUST DIE” By Claude McKay (1889-1948)

If we must die, let it not be like hogs, hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,

Where round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, making their mock at our accursed lot.

If we must die, let us nobly die, so that our precious blood may not be shed in vain;

Then even the monsters we defy shall be constrained to honor us though dead!

O Kinsmen! We must meet the common foe! Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,

And for their thousand blows deal one death blow!  What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack, pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

“THE WHITE HOUSE” By Claude McKay (1889-1948)

Your door is shut against my tightened face, and I am sharp as steel with discontent;

But I possess the courage and the grace to bear my anger proudly and unbent.

The pavement slabs burn loose beneath my feet, a chafing savage, down to the decent street;

And passion rends my vitals as I pass, where boldly shines your shuttered door of glass.

Oh, I must search for wisdom every hour, deep in my wrathful bosom sore and raw.

And find in it the superhuman power to hold me to the letter of your law!

Oh, I must keep my heart inviolate against the potent poison of your hate.

“STRONG MEN” By Sterling A. Brown (1901-1989)

They dragged you from your homeland; they chained you in coffles,

They huddled you in spoon-fashion in filthy hatches, they sold you to give a few gentleman ease.

They broke you in like oxen, they scourged you, they branded you,

They made your women breeders, they swelled your numbers with bastards….

They taught you the religion they disgraced.

You sang:

Keep a-inchin’ along lak a po’ inch worm…

You sang:

Bye and bye I’m gonna’ lay down dis heaby load…

You sang:

Walk togedder, chillen, Dontcha’ git weary…

   The strong men keep a-comin’ on; The strong men git stronger.

They point with pride to the roads you built for them, they ride in comfort over the rails you laid for them.

They put hammers in your hands and said – Drive so much before sundown.

You sang:

Ain’t no hammah in dis lan’, strikes lak mine, bebby, strikes lak mine.

They cooped you in their kitchens, they penned you in their factories,

They gave you the jobs that they were too good for,

They tried to guarantee happiness to themselves by shunting dirt and misery to you.

You sang:

Me an’ muh baby gonna’ shine, shine; Me an’ muh baby gonna’ shine.

   The strong men keep a-comin’ on; The strong men git stronger.

They bought off some of your leaders, You stumbled, as blind men will…

They coaxed you, unwontedly soft-voiced… You followed a way.  Than laughed as usual.

    The strong men keep a-comin on’ – Gittin’ Stronger…

What, from the slums where they have hemmed you,

What, from the tiny huts they could not keep from you –

What reaches them making ill-at-ease, fearful?

Today they shout prohibition at you: “Thou shalt not this;” Thou shall not that”

“Reserved for Whites Only.”  You Laugh.

One thing they cannot prohibit –

THE STRONG MEN…. COMING ON.

THE STRONG MEN GITTIN’ STRONGER.

STRONG MEN….  STRONGER….

“THE NEGRO SPEAKS OF RIVERS” By Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

I’ve known rivers:

I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.  I build my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.  I heard the singing of the Mississippi when

Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

“MOTHER TO SON” By Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

Well son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor – Bare.

But all the time I’se been a-climbin’ on, and reachin’ landin’s, and turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark where there ain’t no light.  So boy, don’t you turn back.

Don’t you set down on the steps ‘cause you find it’s kinder hard, don’t you fall now—

For I’se still goin’, honey, I’se still climbin’, and life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

“MALCOLM X” By Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)

Original.  Ragged-Round.  Rich-Robust.

He had the hawk-man’s eyes.  We gasped.  We saw the maleness.

The maleness raking out and making guttural the air and pushing us to walls.

And in a soft and fundamental hour, a sorcery devout and vertical beguiled the world.

He opened us – who was a key – who was a man.

“KOJO – ‘I AM A BLACK’” By Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000)

According to my teachers, I am now an African-American. They call me out of my name.

BLACK is an open umbrella.  I am Black and A Black forever.  I am one of The Blacks.

We are Here, We are There.  We occur in Brazil, in Nigeria, Ghana, in Botswana, Tanzania, in Kenya,

In Russia, Australia, in Haiti, Soweto, in Grenada, in Cuba, in Panama, Libya, in England, and Italy, France.

We are graces in any places.  I am Black and A Black forever.  I am other than Hyphenation.

I say, proudly, MY PEOPLE!  I say, proudly, OUR PEOPLE!

Our People do not disdain to eat yams or melons or grits or to put peanut butter in stew.

I am Kojo.  In West Afrika Kojo means Unconquerable.

My parents named me the seventh day from my birth in Black Spirit, Black Faith, Black Communion.

I am Kojo.  I am A Black.  And I Capitalize my Name.  Do not call me out of my name!

May
13

Recently, I have come across a vast array of information indicating that we as a people, are continuing to destroy one another, no matter the age.  We as a people, must stop this ‘Willie Lynch Syndrome,’ and learn to practice the ways of our ancestors.  To that end, I would like to share with you a tremendous amount of information relative to ‘Our Story,’ relating to Our Heroes and Heroines.

SOME OF OUR HEROES (MEN)

‘Sankofa: 400 Years Can Never Triumph Over 6,000 years of Our History!’

A Black Father has Four (4) Responsibilities: To Populate & Educate and To Protect and Defend

 

George Washington did not ASK for Freedom – He took it.

President Harry Truman did not ASK for Peace – He fought for it.

President Abraham Lincoln did not ASK for Equality – He gave everything for it.

Our Babies need similar Heroes: Heroes who did NOT ASK for FREEDOM, PEACE, OR EQUALITY – BRAVE AND STRONG HEROES WHO ACTIVELY EXERCISED THEIR GOD-GIVEN CIVIL AND NATURAL RIGHTS!

The Power of One: N’ga Jim from (N’gola (aka The Congo) – The Most Powerful One-Man Army – Leader of Stono Rebellion – 9/9/1739 – Killing 25 Slave Owners and burning 7 Plantations.

Response:

  • South Carolina was so afraid that for 10 years they STOPPED importing slaves from Africa!!!
  • Later they imported slaves from areas other than the Congo-Angolan area.

Toussaint L’Overture & Dessalines (5/20/1743 – 4/8/1703)

  • Leaders of the Haitian Revolution (1791 to 1803)
  • Killed 60,000 of Napoleon’s troops and 25,000 civilians

The French Involvement

  • They destroyed Napoleon’s Army, making him cry
  • France was forced to sell Louisiana (1803); doubling the size of the United States
  • Toussaint was later betrayed and executed by the untrustworthy French (who still owe Haiti money today), after formally being invited as a victorious Head of State to sign Peace Treaties.

Denmark Vessey – Originally from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands (1767 – 7/2/1822)

 

  • Planned the largest rebellion in the United States of America: Over 9,000 Black people ready to take over the State of South Carolina
  • Inspired by the Haitian Revolution during 1791 – was a ‘Freeman’ and an AME Preacher

The Plan

  • Slaves and Free Blacks must slay their owners and seize the City of Charleston, South Carolina.

Nat Turner (10/2/1800 – 11/11/1831

  • Leader of Nat Turner’s Rebellion in Virginia in 1831 that resulted in 60 deaths.  Inspired by ‘David Walker’s Appeal’ (9/28/1828): A call on all slaves to kill every slave owner.
  • 2/12/1831 – Solar Eclipse was a sign from GOD to carry out a Rebellion.
  • Description of Nat Turner: 5′ 7″, 150 to 160 pounds, flat nose, yellow skin, brisk walker, and immersed in the Bible.

3-Finger Jack – Originally from The Kongo (1780s)

  • Jamaican Hero, 6′ 7″ tall: Covered such a wide territory that he was thought to be omnipresent.
  • Leader of over 60 men and women.  Completely feared by the British who posted a massive reward.
  • Burned plantations killing the British and their sympathizers or supporters.

Religion:

  • Blessed by Obi-Yah men (Meaning: Men of GOD from the Ashante-Hebrew).
  • Carried his Obiang-bag and Ram’s horn containing medicine, guidance and protection.
  • ObiYah made Jack invincible to whites: Killed b y Quashie, later called “Wutless John.
  • Religions like ‘ObiYah’ and ‘VieuxDieux’ strike the Fear of GOD into the hearts of the wicked.
  • Through the effective use of propaganda and lies, Whites have convinced Blacks, even to this day, to be afraid of the Memories, Faces and Science of their LOVING AFRICAN FORE-PARENTS.

PHARAOHS & PRESIDENTS: Akhenaten, Abraham Lincoln, Vicente Guerrero and Nyahnga

Akhenaten (1300 BC) – “The King of Peace”

  • Preached Gospel of Peace 1,000 years before CHRIST: First World Leader to introduce MONOTHEISM.
  • 2,000 years before the Prophet Mohammad he taught the doctrine of the ONE-GOD.
  • Sigmund Freud claims Moses learnt the worship of the ONE-GOD from Akhenaten himself.

Abraham Lincoln (2/12/1809) – 16th President – 3rd Black President

  • Won the Civil war and wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing fellow Blacks.
  • The book, “Black People and Their Place in History,” shows 5 Black Presidents who Passed As Whites – Abraham Lincoln was one of them.
  • Physical Description of Abraham Lincoln – Nicknamed “Abraham Africanus the First”
  • Law Partner, Hernon says, “Lincoln has very dark skin, coarse hair and his mom might be Ethiopian.”

Vicente Guerrero – 8/10/1782 – 2/14/1831 – The President of Mexico – Quote: “My Motherland is First!!!!”

  • Liberated Mexico by defeating Spain on 9/25/1829 – President Guerrero freed all Mexican slaves.
  • The Mexican State of Guerrero and the town of ‘Guerrero Negro’ in California are named in his honor.

Lord Nyahnga of Gabon – GOD’s Gift to Mexican Liberation, Mexican National Hero

  • In 1570 Lord Nyahnga, a royal Afrikan, exercised his Freedom.
  • Destroyed his slave owners and Build the town of Yanga in Veracruz Mexico.

BLACK MOORS – Ruled Europe for over 700 Years (710- 1492) ; Pietro Nino, Abubakari, MansaMusa, etc.

  • Established  17 universities and mandatory education; Built Europe’s first education system.
  • 99% of Europeans were illiterate; Only in Moorish Spain did you find female doctors, lawyers, etc.
  • Took Europe from the ignorance of the Dark Ages into the Renaissance through science and education.
  • Introduced the importance of Bathing: Before t he Moors, Europeans bathed only three times a year!!

**America and the MOORS: Never believed in flat-earth; Gave Algebra & Arabic Numerals (0, 1, 2, 3) to Europe**

  • Abubakari (1311 A.D.) – Sails to America with 2,000 ships 181 years before Christopher Columbus.
  • Columbus, reported finding West African metal goods among the Native Americans.
  • Pietro Nino, was the Chief Navigator (Leader) on Columbus’ First Voyage to the Americas.

GRAND MASTER TEACHERS: HONORABLE TEACHERS OF BLACK POWER, BLACK LOVE & BLACK FAMILY

The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey: Founder of the UNIA – the largest Black Organization in the History of the  Americas

  • Taught Black Responsibility, Black Love and Black Pride.  Back to Africa Movement.  1st Case of FBI.

Dr. Ivan Sertima (Historian & Linguist) – Authored “They Came Before Columbus” and “African Presence in Asia”

  • Technology: Haya People of Tanzania and Uganda were using semi-conductor technology to produce steel over 2,000 years ahead of Europe’s ‘Industrial Revolution.’
  • Accurately teaches that Blacks are the original people of Every Continent on Earth, including Asia.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad – Authored “Message to the Blackman” and “Theology of Time”

  • Taught the Scientific Fact that there was interbreeding between the Caucasian and the ‘non-human’ neanderthals, decades before U.S. scientists confirmed his teachings, through Genetics in May 2010.
  • Taught Brothers Malcolm X and Khalil Muhammad; Taught, simply, that the ‘Black man is GOD.”

Dr. Malachi Z. York – Authored over 360 books with topics from science and language to religion.  Built Tama-Re

  • Famed and imprisoned by the U.S. Government, who immediately destroyed the Black City, Tama-Re.

Cheikh AnteDiop – Physicist, Anthropologist, Muslim and Historian – Wrote the book, “The African Origins of Civilization”

  • Used Genetics proving that Ancient Egyptian people and civilization originated from Black Nubians.

Professor Ahmed Baba of Songhai (1627 A.D.) – Taught his people to love Science and Wrote over 60 Books

  • The Ahmed Baba Institute Public Library in Timbuktu named in his honor;  He taught at Sankore University.
  • Baba credited his learning to ALLAH and maintained his modesty.

Historical Background – Songhai – (1340 to 1541 A.D.)

  • Songhai Empire ruled about 2/3 of West Africa (3 Times the size of France)
  • Songhai collapsed in 1591 A.D., its libraries were burnt and scholars were arrested by the invaders.

IMHOTEP (3000 B.C.) – Known to be “Joseph” son of Israel who was sold to Egypt

  • 1st Multi-Genius in History – First Father of Medicine, 2,000 years before Hippocrates.
  • World’s First Doctor, Engineer and Architect to be known by name.
  • Built the World’s 1st Medical School in Memphis Egypt, called Asklepion.
  • Wrote the World’s 1st Treaties on Medicine and wrote ‘Edwin Smith Papyrus, containing over 90 anatomical observations, 48 injuries, ailments and cures.
  • Worshipped in Greece and Rome as Asklepios in the form of a Black African.
  • Able to raise some of the recently dead through the medical use of snake venom.
  • Able to perform surgery to treat gallstones, tuberculosis, appendicitis, arthritis and over 200 other illnesses.
  • Understood the blood’s circulation system and vital organs 4,000 years before European scholars did.

Note: **FYI – Hippocrates is considered the European Father of Medicine – Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath: “I will do no harm…”**

**BONUS**

NEGA HAILE SELASSIE I (7/23/1892 – Crowned King of Kings.

 

SOME OF OUR HEROINES (WOMEN)

A Mother, A Baby needs one,

A Boy’s “First Love” is one,

A Man can and will have only one,

A Girl is expected to someday become one,

A Woman loves you more than you love yourself,

A Mother is the closest thing we have to GOD on Earth,

Black Woman, Mother of Creation, Queen of My Universe, I Thank You.

The Divine Black Mothers: Dr. Merit Ptah (2700 B.C.) & Dr. Peses-Het (2100 B.C.) Healer and Teacher

  • Dr. Merit Ptah – World’s First Mother of Medicine: Chief Physician and Scientist; World’s First Known Female Physician and First Woman named in the History of Science.
  • Dr. Peses-Het – Known as ‘Lady Overseer,’ Head Physician and Supervisor of Physicians – She graduated surgeons, midwives, maternal doctors and gynecologists at Sais Medical School.
  • Sais Women’s Medical School – Students used the Kahun Papyrus – which gave detailed instructions on performing surgery and treating women’s illnesses.  Medical knowledge was used to poison enemies or to heal friends.  Graduating students, stated, “I have come from the School of Medicine at Heliopolis (the ancient Egyptian capital), and have studied at the Women’s School at Sais where the Divine Mothers taught me how to cure diseases.”

Queen N’zinga – 1583 to 12/1663 – From Present Day N’gola (Angola)

  • Brilliant military strategist, charismatic leader and true warrior.
  • Notorious in war for personally leading her troops into battle.
  • Adopted Christianity to further seal a peace treaty with the Portuguese; the dishonest Portuguese later broke the terms of the treaty.
  • Made alliances with enemies (Dutch) against other enemies (Portuguese)

Harriet Tubman – 1800’s

  • At 13 years old, prevented another slave from being beaten.
  • The overseer in response fractured her skull; it took months to heal.
  • Escaped & Returned to rescue her siblings and her parents – Benjamin Ross and Harriet Green.
  • Always carried a gu n to shoot enemies or anyone who turned back.
  • Rescued at least 200 slaves; Had a bounty over her head of $40,000.00 – In 1853, $40,000 is equivalent to $1,023.005.68 in today;s times.  That is over a MILLION DOLLAR REWARD!!!!
  • During the Civil War she was a nurse, scout and spy for the USA in South Carolina.
  • Raised money for Black schools, women’s rights, the elderly and homes for the needy.
  • Quote: “I freed three hundred slaves; but, I could have freed thousands more, if only they knew they were slaves.”

Yaah Asantewaa – 1850 – 10/17/1921 – Queen Mother of the Asante (Ghana)

  • Leader of the “Golden Stool War” – Ashanti rebellion against British Colonialism in 1900; Victorious in battle.
  • Leader of over 5,000 Asante Warriors; Killed over a thousand British and their allies.
  • The Ashanti defeated the British and maintained independence.
  • The Ashanti were never COLONIZED.
  • Quote: “Is it true that the bravery of the Ashanti is no more?… I shall call upon my fellow women.  We will fight the white man.  We will fight till the last of us falls on the battlefields!!!”

Madam C.J. Walker – 12/23/1867 to 5/25/1919

  • Guinness Book of Records: First Female of any race to become a millionaire on her own.
  • Founded Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company for hair products and cosmetics.
  • Philanthropist: Left 2/3 of her money to schools and charities.

Nanny of the Maroons (1680s to 1730s) – Ashanti-Born Leader and ObiYah Woman Priest

  • The British lived to regret the day  they put Nanny on the slave boat.
  • Military Genius: Master in the art of Guerilla Warfare.
  • Killed hundreds of British soldiers; Terrorized the wicked British slave owners.
  • Almost every slave rebellion involved African Spiritual practices.
  • ObiYah made Nanny invincible to whites; She was able to catch bullets with her hands.
  • Religions like ObiYah and VieuxDieux strike the Fear of God into the wicked.
  • Through the effective use of Propaganda and lies, Whites have convinced Blacks, even to this day, to be afraid of the Religions of their LOVING AFRICAN FORE-PARENTS.

Dr. Angela Davis – 1/26/1944 to Present

  • Leader, Professor, Feminist, Socialist and Communist.
  • Twice a candidate for Vice President of the USA on the Communist Ticket.
  • Active in the Civil Rights Movement and former member of the Original Black Panther Party.
  • Founder of “Critical Resistance” – Working to abolish the prison-industrial complex.
  • On 8/18/1970 – was accused as an accomplice to conspiracy, kidnapping and murder.
  • Dr. Davis became the third woman to be on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List.
  • Fled to California, but was captured in New York City; In 1972 she was found not guilty.
  • Moved to Cuba with Freedom Fighters – Huey Newton and Stokely Carmichael.
  • Targeted by the United States under COINTELPRO

*Note: COINTELPRO is short for Counter Intelligence Program (1956 and 1971) – A series of secret and often illegal projects conducted by the United States to disrupt political organizations and activism.*

Hat-Shep-Sut – 1458 B.C. – “GOD’s Wife” – “The Architect”

  • One of the most successful Pharaohs; Foster-Mother to Moses from the Bible.
  • One of the most prolific builders in Egypt: Reigned for 22 years; later Pharaohs attempted to claim some of her projects as theirs.
  • Made a legendary journey to the land of “Punt” (possibly Israel).

Candace of Meroe (332 B.C.) – Queen of Nubia (Egypt, Somalia, Ethiopia and Yemen)

  • Military tactician – Drove ‘Alexander the Great Devil’ away from Nubia in 332 BC
  • A scared Alexander retreated and ran north to invade Upper Egypt instead.
  • Rode standing on top of a Black War Elephant.

Empress Makeda (960 B.C.) – Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia, Somalia, Egypt and Yemen)

  • The Exquisitely Black Queen: Mother of King Solomon’s son, Menelik.
  • Menelik later visited his father in Jerusalem and returned with the ‘Ark of Covenant’ to Ethiopia, where it remains this day.
  • In Islamic tradition, she is called, ‘Balqis.’
  • Ethiopians regard themselves to be ‘GOD’s chosen people.’

**BONUS**

Zenobia (240 – 274) – Black Queen who Ruled Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Egypt

  • Defeated Rome: The Brave; Claims descended from the African Queen Cleopatra.
  • Described to be beautiful and intelligent with a dark complexion, pearly white teeth, and bright black eyes; Known for being more beautiful than Cleopatra.
  • Fluent in Egyptian, Arabic, Greek and Aramaic Languages.

*Note: Aramaic is a Semitic Language belonging to the Afro-Asiatic language family.  It is the native language spoken by the Virgin Mary and YAHSHUA (JESUS).  YAHSHUA spent the first years of his life in AFRICA.  [Matthew 2:13-14]

To Parents & Elders of the Black Community:  We must continuously Educate Our Children/Youth through Our Story to be Brave, Pro-Active, Non-Violent towards one another and Intelligent!!

(These are just a few of our Heroes and Heroines – There are thousands more!)

Information obtained from the Black Home School Academy and Race and History.com.

Natalie R. Fitten

 

 

Apr
24

DID YOU KNOW? (This is a long, but informative post.)

Our history in Cleveland, Ohio is practically as old as the city itself.  George Peake, a substantially wealthy man, inventor of the hand mill for grinding grain, native of Maryland, and former resident of Pennsylvania, was the first African-American to settle in Cleveland, Ohio, along with his wife and two (2) sons, in April of 1809.  Throughout most of the 19th century, the social and economic status of African-Americans were superior to that of those in other northern cities.  By the late 1840s, the public schools were integrated and segregation in restaurants, theaters and hotels were almost non-existence.  African-American Clevelanders suffered less employment discrimination than in other cities.  Although many were forced to work as unskilled laborers or domestic workers, almost 1/3 of the Black population were skilled workers, and many had accumulated substantial wealth.  For example, Alfred Greenbrier was well-known for raising horses and cattle; and Madison Tilley employed 100 Black men in his excavating business.  John Brown, a barber, became the city’s wealthiest African-American through real estate investment, and was valued at $40,000 at the time of his death in 1869 (which was quite a sizeable amount of money for that time, especially for a Black man).  Cleveland was founded by New Englanders who favored reform, thus, making it a center for abolitionism before the Civil War.  The city’s White leadership seemed sympathetic to civil rights issues and initiatives during the decade following the Civil war.  However, Black Leaders were not totally satisfied.  Individuals like John Brown and John Malvin often assisted escaped slaves, and by the end of the Civil War many African-American Clevelanders had served in the Black Military Units in the Union Army.  Black leaders fought for integration rather than the development of separate Black institutions in the 19th century – which in my opinion, may have been the cause for the slow development of various African-American businesses and/or organizations.  The City’s first permanent African-American newspaper, ‘The Cleveland Gazette,’ was not published until 1883.  Even the establishment of our Black churches moved slower than in other cities.  For instance, St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church was the first Black church in the city, founded in 1830, however the second Black church was not established until 1864, Mt. Zion Congregational Church.

From 1890 to 1915, the beginnings of mass migration from the south vitally increased Cleveland’s African-American population.  By World War I, approximately 10,000 African-Americans lived in the city, and the majority of them settled in the Central Avenue area district, between the Cuyahoga River and East 40th Street.  During this period, this area was also home to poor immigrant Italians and Jews, but the African-American population was more concentrated.  It was at this time that serious issues began to negatively impact Black Clevelanders.  [HERE WE GO!]  The forced exclusion of African-Americans from restaurants and theaters began to run rapid.  By 1915, the city’s YWCA refused to accept Black females into their membership.  Hospitals and health planning agencies excluded Black Physicians, and separated African-American patients in separate wards in City Hospital.  Cleveland became a major manufacturing center between 1870 and 1915, however few African-Americans were able to participate in the industry.  Blacks were excluded from being hired to work in the steel mills and foundries that became one of the main sources of the city’s economy.  As a result, by 1910, only about 10% of African-American men worked in skilled trades, while the number of service workers doubled.

Increasing prejudice and discrimination forced Black Clevelanders to rely on their own resources, which began with the growth of African-American churches.  Three (3) churches were founded between 1865 and 1890, and a dozen more were established within the next 25 years.  Baptists increased more than other denominations, and by 1915 Antioch Baptist Church emerged as Cleveland’s largest African-American church.  Black Fraternal Orders also increased, and in 1896 the ‘Cleveland Home for Aged Colored People’ was established (now known as ‘Eliza Bryant Center/Village’).  With assistance from Caucasian funders or philanthropists, Jane Edna Hunger, an African-American Social Worker, established the Phillis Wheatley Association in 1911, a residential, job-training and recreation center for young Black females.  African-Americans acquired the right to vote in Ohio in 1870, and most voted Republican until t he 1930s.  The first African-American Clevelander to hold a political office was John Patterson Green, elected Justice of the Pease in 1873.  He served in the State Legislature in the 1880s and in 1891 became the first African-American in the north to be elected to the State Senate, which resulted in more racial tension by the Caucasian community.  After 1900, increasing racial prejudice made it difficult for African-Americans to win election in the State Legislature, preempting a new group of Black politicians to build a political base in the Central Avenue area.  In 1915, Thomas W. Fleming became the first African-American to win election to the Cleveland City Council.

Between 1915 and 1930, industrial demands and a decline in immigration from abroad during World War I created greater opportunities for Black labor, and a large amount of African-Americans came from the south to Cleveland and other northern cities after 1916.  By 1930, there were 72,000 African-Americans living in Cleveland.  The Central Avenue area consolidated and expanded eastward, as Whites moved out to suburban areas.  Increasing discrimination and/or racial injustice, as well as violence kept even middle-class African-Americans within the Central-Woodland area.  Restaurants began to overcharge Blacks and refuse them service; Theaters excluded Blacks or segregated them into the balcony areas; and amusement parks such as Euclid Beach Park were mainly for ‘Whites” only.  Discrimination began to affect the public schools also.  The growth of the African-American community had resulted in segregation in some of the schools; however, a new policy allowing White students to transfer out of predominantly Black schools created an influx in segregation.  In the 1920s and 1930s, school administrators often altered the curriculum in Black schools from Liberal Arts centered to Manual Training centered.  Nevertheless, the African-American community continued to increase in the 1920s to obtain newly available industrial jobs.  Most of which were unskilled labor, but some Blacks were able to advance to semi-skilled and skilled positions.  Most African-American businesses, however, remained small, such as grocery stores, restaurants, and small retail outlets.  Two (2) successful Black-owned funeral homes emerged early in the century: The House of Wills, in 1904, founded by L. Walter Wills, Sr.; and E.F. Boyd Funeral Home in 1906, founded by Elmer F. Boyd and Lewis Dean, which still exists today.  Although employment for African-Americans had somewhat improved, sever discriminatory issues still existed in the 1920s, specifically in clerical work and in unionized skilled trades.

Prior to World War I, Cleveland’s most prominent African-American Leaders had been integrationists, who fought against discrimination, but, unfortunately, they also objected to Blacks creating their own secular institutions.  However, after the war, a new elite group, led by Thomas Fleming, Jane Edna Hunter, and Businessman, Herbert Chauncey emerged.  This group did not favor agitation against civil rights; they accepted the necessity of separate Black institutions, and favored the development of a “group economy,” based on the current population of the African-American community.  By the mid-1920s, a younger group of Black leaders emerged.  Attorney Harry E. Davis and Dr. Charles Garvin tried to alleviate the issues that had divided African-American leaders in the past.  They strongly believed in racial pride and racial solidarity, but not at the expense of equal rights for African-American Clevelanders.  The post-war era led to many changes in local institutions.  The increase in the African-American population resulted in problems that Black Churches were not able to effectively address.  The Negro Welfare Association, established in 1917, as an affiliate of the National Urban League assisted Blacks new to Cleveland in finding jobs and housing.  The Phillis Wheatley Association expanded, constructing a 9-story building (pictured above) in 1928.  The Cleveland Branch of the NAACP led by various Black leaders increased their membership to 1,600 in 1922.  They also fought tirelessly against the continuous racial injustice that existed in the city, executing lawsuits against restaurants and theaters that excluded Blacks, or intervened behind the scenes to get White businessmen to cease discriminatory practices.  The Future Outlook League, founded in 1935 by John O. Holly, was the first local African-American organization in the city to successfully utilize boycotting methods in fighting against some of these racial injustices.

The Great Depression temporarily reversed most of this progress.  Whites and Blacks alike were devastate by the economic collapse.  However, as it is evident in today’s times, African-Americans suffered much higher unemployment rates at an earlier stage and many Black businesses went bankrupt.  After 1933, the New Deal Relief program helped reduce Black unemployment substantially, but segregated public housing contributed to overcrowding, often demolishing more units than were built.  Even though discrimination in many public accommodations continued to exist, African-Americans were able to augment their political influence.  In 1927, 3 Blacks were elected to City Council, and for the next 8 years, they represented a balance of power on a council equally divided between Republicans and Democrats.  As a result, Harry E. Davis, was elected to Cleveland’s Civil Service  Commission, and Mary Brown Martin was elected to the Cleveland Board of Education – making them the first African-Americans to hold such positions in the city.  Discrimination and segregation also reduced significantly at City Hospital.  Nationally, the New Deal Relief politics convinced African-Americans to change from Republican to the Democratic party after 1932.  After World War II, President Harry Truman’s strong civil rights program solidified Black support for the Democrats.

In 1945, the Cleveland Community Relations Board was established, developing a national reputation for promoting improvement in race relations.  In 1946, Cleveland enacted a municipal civil rights law that revoked the license of any business that discriminated against African-Americans.  This liberal atmosphere during this period led to a gradual decline in racial discrimination/injustice against Blacks in public accommodations in the late 1940s and 1950s.  Additionally, Cleveland’s African-American population increased from 85,000 in  1940 to 251,000 in 1960.  By the early 1960s Blacks made up over 30% of the city’s population, and increased its political representation.  In 1947, Harry E. Davis was elected to the State Senate; and in 1949 Attorney Jean M. Capers became the first Black woman elected to the City Council.  By the mid-1960s, the number of African-Americans serving on City Council increased to 10; in 1968 Louis Stokes was elected to the House of Representatives; and in 1977 Attorney Jean M. Capers became a Municipal Judge for Cleveland.

Despite these achievements, serious problems continued to plague the African-American community.  As the White population increased in suburban areas, the Black population expanded east and northeast of the Central-Woodland areas, particularly into the Hough and Glenville areas.  Expansion, however did not lead to more integrated neighborhoods or provide better housing for most Blacks.  “Blockbusting” techniques by realtors led to “panic” selling by Whites in the Hough area in the 1950s – once a neighborhood became all Black, landlords would subdivide the structures into smaller apartments and excessively raise rents.  The result, by 1960, created crowded and deteriorating housing stock.  At the same time, segregation continued in the schools, as school officials routinely assigned African-American children to predominantly Black schools, and did not fund these schools properly.

During the early and mid-1960s, some middle-class African-American families were able to move out of the Glenville and Hough Areas into the Mt. Pleasant and Lee-Harvard areas, resulting in Whites moving further out into rural suburban areas.  In 1964 interracial violence occurred when Blacks protested the construction of three (3) new schools, as perpetuating segregation patterns.  Frustration over the inability to effect changes in housing and education, exacerbated by the rise in unemployment that existed from the late 1950s, finally resulted in the Hough Riots for 4 days in 1966 and the Glenville shootout involving Cleveland Police and Black Nationalists in 1968.  (It must be emphasized here that during the mid to late 1960s, riots occurred in major cities across the country due to continuous racial injustices and discriminatory practices being implored against African-Americans.)  Even though these riots occurred in Cleveland, it did not destroy the spirit of racial pride, as in 1967, Carl B. Stokes, lifelong Cleveland resident was elected as Mayor, and it is recorded in our history that he was the First Black Mayor of a major American city.  Since then African-Americans have continued to be the most influential group in Cleveland’s City Council.

Cleveland’s African-American population stabilized in the 1970s and 1980s.  Although deteriorated housing stock expanded into East Cleveland, fair housing programs and laws made it possible for a few more middle-class Blacks to have greater choice of residency – moving into suburban areas like Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, and Warrensville Heights.  The most significant obstacles of African-American Clevelanders remained in the area of economics.  The movement of Black women into white-collar positions after 1970 was more counterbalanced by the growing unemployment or underemployment of Black men, as good-paying industrial jobs declined or moved into the suburbs.  At the same time, the declining of city tax base undercut funding for public schools, making it more difficult for African-American children to obtain the necessary skills demanded in the post-industrial society.  For many African-American Clevelanders in the 20th Century, economic and educational progress had not kept pace with improvements in the political realm.

Despite certain major achievements, now that we’re well into the 21st Century, are we going backwards or what??!!

[This is just a brief summary of Our History in Cleveland, Ohio – there is much more – and it’s coming!]

Source: Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

Natalie R. Fitten, Writer

Nov
12

The following are a series of quotes and a few poems on various topics, from some of our Brothers and Sisters (past and present), who at some time or another, have been involved in the struggle for equality, justice, and civil rights.  These quotes/poems reflect some of the most profound aspects of the African-American human experience.  Perhaps we can learn from some of these and pass them on to our youth for the greater good.

Information received from the book: “African-American Wisdom,” Edited by Reginald McKnight

Our Roots:

“For Africa to me…. is more than a glorious fact.  It is a historical truth.  No man can know where he is going unless he knows exactly where he has been and exactly how he arrived at his present place.”  Maya Angelou – 1972

“For I am my mother’s daughter, and the drums of Africa still beat in my heart.  They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth.”  Mary McLeod Bethune – 1941

“Even the most incorrigible maverick has to be born somewhere.  He may leave the group that produced him — he may be forced to — but nothing will efface his origins, the marks of which he carries with him everywhere.  James Baldwin

Knowledge, Maturity and Education:

“Herein lies the tragedy of the age: Not that men are poor — All men know something of poverty; not that men are wicked — who is good?  Not that men are ignorant — what is truth?  But that men know so little of men.”  W.E.B. DuBois – 1903

“We real cool. We left school.  We lurk late.  We strike straight.  We sing sin.  We thin gin.  We Jazz June.  We die soon.”  Poem Titled, “We Real Cool” – Gwendolyn Brooks – 1960

“Now if you go to libraries… and read, suddenly you are closer to being liberated that you ever can be.  It is only an education that liberates you.  Education helps one cease being intimidated by strange situations.  Once you have it in your mind, you can go anywhere… Read.  Find that there is nothing that is not human, that if a human being can do the worst thing, it means too that a human being can do the greatest.  He or she can actually dare to dream a great dream!  And really create a masterpiece.  If a human being did it, then obviously I have that capability of doing it.  And so do you.  Maya Angelou – 1981

Politics, Power and Justice:

“The dark world is going to submit to its present treatment just as long as it must, and not one moment longer.”  W.E.B. DuBois – 1920

“Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny.”  Malcolm X – 1963

“Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time:  The need for man to overcome oppression and violence.  Men must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.  The foundation of such a method is love.”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – 1963

“Let the Afro-American depend on no party, but on himself for his salvation.  Let him continue to educate, character, and above all, put money in his purse.  When he has a dollar in his pocket, and many more in the bank, he can move from injustice and oppression and no one to say him nay.  When he has money, and plenty of it, parties and races will become his servants.”  Ida B. Wells – 1892

“Politics in the United States … is a beautiful fraud that has been imposed on the people for years, whose practitioners exchange gilded promise for the most valuable thing their victims own, their votes.”  Rep. Shirley Chisholm

Blackness and Black Unity:

“Say it Loud: I’m Black and I’m Proud.”  James Brown – 1968

“Negro blood is sure powerful — because just one drop of black blood makes you a colored man.  One drop – you are a Negro!… Black is powerful.”  Langston Hughes – 1953

“Anything I have learned of any consequence, I have learned from Black people.  I have never been bored by any Black person, ever.”  Toni Morrison

“What our girls and women have a right to demand from our best men is that they cease to imitate the artificial standards of other people and create a race standard of their own.”  Fannie Barrier Williams

Courage:

“The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Let a new earth rise.  Let another world be born.  Let a bloody peace be written in the sky.  Let a second generation full of courage issue forth; Let a people loving freedom come to growth.”  Poem Titled, “For My People” – Margaret Walker – 1942

“I learned a history not then written in books, but one passed from generation to generation on the steps of moonlit porches and beside dying fires in one-room houses — A history of great grand-parents out of slavery, and of the days following slavery; of those who lived still not free, yet who would not let their spirits be enslaved.”  Mildred D. Taylor

Equality and Justice:

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension, but the presence of justice and brotherhood.”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The potential for strength, endurance, courage, inventiveness, and creativity exists in every human being GOD created.  If it doesn’t appear, it’s because somebody has trifled with it.  It you don’t see these things in young Black men and women today to the extent you ought to … it’s because they’ve been unduly trifled with.”  Michelle Wallace – 1981

“As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.”  Marian Anderson – 1957

“The majority of men do not usually act in accord with reason, but follow social pressures, inherited customs, and long-established, often subconscious, patterns of action.  Consequently, race prejudice in America will linger long and may even increase.  It is the duty of the Black race to maintain its cultural advance, not for itself alone, but for the emancipation of mankind, the realization of democracy, and the progress of civilization.”  W.E.B. DuBois – 1944

“The time has come, and is really long past, that our women should not have to go in the front line for freedom and justice for us.  It is time now that we men stand up and be counted for the liberation of our people in America… in the world.”  Minister Louis Farrakhan

Our Youth:

“The situation of our youth is not mysterious.  Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.  They must, they have no other models … They are imitating our immortality, our disrespect for the pain of others.”  James Baldwin – 1961

“Do not let yourself be overwhelmed!  If you are wise, strong enough to survive the threatening atmosphere of the streets, then channel that same energy into thriving in the same atmosphere at your school.”  Bill Cosby – 1993

“Always know that there is unlimited power in a developed mind and a disciplined spirit.  If your mind can conceive it and your heart can believe it, you can achieve it.  Suffering breeds character; character breeds faith, and in the end, faith will prevail.  Armed with this knowledge and a faith in GOD, you can turn minuses into pluses; you can turn stumbling blocks into stepping-stones.  It is tough, but your trials will serve to make you strong.  Though your enemies will try to break your spirit, you are not the hole in the donut, my son; you are the gold in the ghetto.  Keep polishing, keep shining that gold, and you will be light in the darkness and heat in cold places.  But what’s more, you will be a man with integrity, my son.”  Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. – 1993

Conflict, Trouble and Violence:

“Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deep-seated that it is invisible because it is normal.”  Rep. Shirley Chisholm

“Such a wave of hate is being planted up deeper in this world.  The devil is the busiest thing I know.”  J. California Cooper

“Racism is easy to see, hard to prove, impossible to deny.”  Anonymous

It is so ironic, that most of these quotes/poems were made so long ago!  Some of us weren’t even born.  The problem that continues to rest on my heart, is that some of these problems still exist in 2010!

I have elected to post another poem, that speaks so eloquently to the struggle and fight that we are continuously confronted with in our communities.  Please read it and share.

The Black Family Pledge – By Maya Angelou

BECAUSE  we have forgotten our ancestors, our children no longer give us honor. Because we have lost the path our ancestors cleared kneeling in perilous underground, our children cannot find their way.  Because we have banished the GOD of our ancestors, our children cannot pray.  Because the old wails of our ancestors have faded beyond our hearing, our children cannot hear us crying.  Because we have abandoned our wisdom of mothering and fathering, our befuddled children give birth to children they neither want nor understand.  Because we have forgotten how to love, the adversary is within our gates, and holds us up to the mirror of the world shouting, “REGARD THE LOVELESS.”

Therefore, we pledge to bind ourselves together to one another, to embrace the lowliest, to keep company with our loneliest, to educate our illiterate, to feed our starving, to clothe our ragged, to do all good things, knowing that we are more than keepers of our Brothers and Sisters.

WE ARE OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS!

IN HONOR of those who toiled and implored GOD with golden tongues, and in gratitude to the same GOD who brought us out of hopeless desolation, we make this pledge!

Until the next time — Stay Blessed!!!

Natalie R. Fitten

Nov
11

This post is basically, for all our females.

In May 2010, well-renown Entrepreneur, Actress, Rapper, Singer, Producer, and just one powerful Black Woman – Queen Latifah, published her new book, titled, “Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom.”  I just completed reading this book; and I must say, it is a must-read for all females, from high school-aged through the age of 40 and older.

Queen Latifah has written this book as if she is talking to the reader personally, as she speaks to the reader in a ‘real-life’ format, holding no punches, and leaving no stones unturned.  She eloquently describes the many emotions that we, as women, experience, based on her own life experiences.  She talks about the struggles in her life, from the divorce of her parents, to living in the New Jersey Projects, to the most tragic death of her brother, to her successful career in th entertainment industry.

Queen Latifah emphasizes that we, as women must possess spirituality in our lives, as she explains that she would not be as successful as she is without her relationship with GOD.  She emphasizes the need for family, whether biologically or adopted.  She encourages women everywhere that no matter their size, shape, color, total physical appearance or economic status – we all are Queens.  Thus, we must explore and show the ‘Queen’ that is in all of us.  She speaks to the fact that we all have or will make mistakes, but it’s okay, because it’s all about living and learning, in other words – it’s called ‘LIFE.’  She further says that we can achieve our dreams, no matter what they are, and must not be discouraged.  She encourages us to attempt to step out of our own comfort zone sometimes, and try out new things, for the sake of living life to the fullest.  Queen Latifah captures all of these issues through the chapter titles of this book: “Success,” “Beauty,” “Money,” “Love,” “Fear,” “Loss,” “Strength,” and “Joy.”  Throughout all of these chapters, she emphasizes the problems that many of us as women experience, and gives sound advice on how to overcome some of these issues, no matter our economic status.  She ends her book by stating, “Celebrate.  Make every moment count.  Walk tall.  Wear your crown with pride.”

Again, I recommend that all females read this book, as it is a most positive tool for those of us that experience low self-esteem sometimes, when life throws those negative turns, and ‘to getting on that road to self-empowerment.’

A Little About Queen Latifah:

For some of our younger readers that may not know that much about Queen Latifah, I though I’d give a brief overview about this magnificent and most successful entertainer.

Queen Latifah, also known by her birth name, Dana Owens, was born on May 18, 1970 in Newark, New Jersey.  When she was eight years old, a Muslim cousin nicknamed her ‘Latifah,’ which means delicate and sensitive in Arabic.  As her career flourished she chose to use this name as her stage name.  Queen Latifah does it all, as she is a Rapper, Singer, Actress, Entrepreneur, Model and more.  In her junior year of high school, she formed the rap group, ‘Ladies Fresh,’ who later changed their name to the ‘Flavor Unit.’  In 1988, she became a solo artist, cutting her first demo record, titled, “Princess of the Posse.”  It is from this demo, that Queen Latifah’s career began, as Tommy Boy Music signed her on, and in that same year she issued her first single, “Wrath of My Madness.” She continued to excel in the Rap/Hip-Hop and R&B industries, as she has continued to perform her music in all of these genres since her teens.  She is known to many people as the “Queen of Rap.”  In 1991, she founded her own company – ‘Flavor Unit Management Company, where she also produces music for other artists. 

In television, Queen Latifah had the starring role of ‘Khadijah James,’ in the sitcom, “Living Single, where she also wrote and performed the theme music for this show, which aired from 1993-1998.  She had recurring roles from 1991-1992 in the NBC sitcom, “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” starring Will Smith.  She also made a guest role appearance as herself in the sitcom, “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” in 1993.  From 1999-2001, she had her own talk show, called “The Queen Latifah Show.”

Some of the films she has appeared in – many as leading roles, have included: “House Party 2” (1991); “Set It Off” (1996); “Living Out Loud” (1998); “Bone Collector” (1999); “Chicago” (2002); “Bringing Down the House” (2003); “Barbershop 2: Back in the Business” (2004); “Beauty Shop” (2005); “Last Holiday” (2006); “Life Support” (2007); “Hair Spray” (2007); ‘The Secret Life of Bees” (2008); and most recently, “Just Wright” (2010).  Queen Latifah’s work in film, music and television have earned her a Golden Globe Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Image Awards, a Grammy Award, six additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy Award nomination, an Academy Award nomination, and she is recognized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Queen Latifah is a celebrity spokesperson for CoverGirl cosmetics, Curation Ladies Underwear, Pizza Hut and Jenny Craig.  She represents her own line of cosmetics for Women of Color, called the “CoverGirl Queen Collection.”  She has also launched her own line of perfume, called “Queen.”

What a powerful woman!!!  It ‘s important that we all establish and maintain our ‘Queendom,’ and wear our crowns with pride and dignity.  —- Check out the book. It’s available online at amazon.com, and in most neighborhood libraries.

Source of information for the Bio of Queen Latifah was: Wikipedia.com and Biography.com

Until the next time — Stay Blessed!!!

Natalie R. Fitten