Posts Tagged ‘ Black History ’

Shame on you Jet magazine

bebececeI picked up  a copy of Jet Magazine yesterday, flipped a few pages and before I knew it I was at the end of the magazine. Something was wrong. I knew it felt rather light when I picked it up, but seriously something was wrong.

The magazine is so skimpy now that if you aren’t careful you will miss the four to five pages of actual content. There are more advertisements and subscription cards then there are actual interviews and articles.

Shame on you Jet Magazine! Whatever happened to picking up a Jet Magazine and reading about what is going on in Black America as far as culture, entertainment, news, history, beauty etc. What happened to seeing an eye-catching cover and knowing that you would find a well written story along with tons of other interesting articles? Now the magazine is a thin as a pamphlet. I was shocked when I flipped to read the cover story about BeBe and  CeCe Winan’s  new album Still in the latest issue of Jet and realized that even though the cover story was near the end of the magazine, I only found one item to read before I reached it. Of course there was still the Beauty of the Week and the Black History facts, but where were all of the “other” stories? Why was the cover story the only “meat” of the magazine?”

I do realize that both Jet Magazine and Ebony Magazine are both published by Johnson Publishing Company, but that is no excuse for Ebony Magazine having plenty of content, while Jet Magazine is scarce and skimpy.

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Black Mondays

Black Mondays

The sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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A year after the death of the beloved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the same city where he held protest for equality, injustice was still brewing. But the people of Memphis held steadfast to the dream of Dr. King and decided that they would not be moved. They would stand up for equality and the dream would live on.

In 1969 in the city of Memphis, TN over half the students in the school system were black, so why was the school board all white?

Even after the NAACP got involved the school board that represented a majority of black students remained all white.  The black community’s dismay with the lack of black representation on the school board led to what came to be known as Black Mondays. The participating students and teachers knew that the boycotts were risky and some were torn about a potential outcome,  but they were adamant on seeing a change.  The school boycott campaign began in the fall of 1969 and continued for approximately 5 Mondays.  The first Black Monday took place October 13, 1969 and over sixty thousand black students participated in the boycott by being absent from school that day. Each Monday that followed black students and teachers boycotted by not showing up to teach or attend school.  The current mayor of Memphis, Dr. Willie Herenton, who was then a principal, was the only principal to ally with the Black Mondays protest and walk out of school.

Black Mondays led to other boycotts including those of black employees of St. Francis Hospital, black city workers staying home from work and a boycott of downtown businesses.  The Black Monday Boycotts drew much attention and finally in November of 1969 the boycotts were called to an end by a coalition of black organizations when the Board of Education filed a lawsuit against some parties involved citing contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The lawsuit was dropped, but the point of Black Mondays had been made. The school system receives state and federal funding based on student attendance and with over half the students in the system participating in Black Monday each Monday the impact was hard hitting.

Black Mondays resulted in the addition of two black non-voting members to the Memphis School board and indeed paved the way for future black school board members.  Currently the Memphis City School Board of Commissioners is majority African American. (Memphis City Schools Board of Commissioners)

Link from The Commercial Appeal Black Mondays Signaled a New Day  written by Wendi C. Thomas

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February 28, 2009 at 2pm The Benjamin Hooks Central Library  in Memphis, TN will be hosting a discussion panel to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Black Monday. The panel will include Maxine Smith, Dr. Vasco Smith and Dr. Miriam DeCosta-Willis, all civil rights activists who will share their memories of the historical boycotts.

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Freedom’s Sisters

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The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, TN will be showcasing the Freedom’s Sisters Exhibition from  January 24-April 5, 2009.

The Freedom’s Sisters Exhibition displays 20 African American women who have fought for equality and justice. Included in the exhibit are historical figures such as Harriet Tubman, Coretta Scott King, Fannie Lou Hamer and a host of other great women of color.

The traveling exhibit will also tour six other selected cities after its run at the NCRM of Memphis.

The women chronicled in Freedom’s Sisters are women who fought for freedom and equality. These women are part of our history, our present living and our future. These women were not afraid to dream, they lived life not only for themselves, but for the hope of a brighter future.

More on the Freedom’s Sisters traveling exhibit

President Barack Obama

Barack Obama- Hope for what was seemingly Lost

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Not too long ago the hope of ever seeing a black man become president of the United States of America was sullen… for many there was no hope, even the dreams that some clung on to were tattered and fading. For countless years they had heard of and/or witnessed the discrimination and inequality that for many had become a way of life. These people were strong people, determined people, people who wanted justice, were grateful for their freedom and knew how long and tiresome the fight had been. They knew Rosa’s story, some marched with Martin when he fought the good fight. They believed in Martin’s dream and even though the odds were against them, they knew the fight was worth fighting. Then Martin was taken away from them. It were as if everything good that was ever given to them as a people only lasted for a season and that season was never long enough for the fight to be won.  They dreamed that one day their diminishing hope would return in the form of something real. Barack Obama is that something real.

Upon his nomination for the presidential candidacy many were skeptical. They knew there was something about him, but with years of disappointments logged in their memory banks and the only progression being millimeters instead of leaps and bounds, it wasn’t easy to believe. It was hard to believe that maybe, just maybe their something real was happening. After all, who wanted to believe again when each and every time they believed, their hope was snatched from underneath them? It was hard for those who had fought, lived through the fight or even had the fight instilled in them to believe that someone that looked like them had a chance to become the President of the United States of America. It was unforeseen that in their lifetime someone that looked like them could represent them, could understand their plight and fight for what they believed in.

It took some time, but they began to believe again. They wanted to hear what this man had to say. Not just because he looked like them, but because something about his connection to the people lured them in. Something about how his words felt right made them feel included in his fight.

 They also felt a since of warmth for the notion that he loved someone who looked like them, who connected to them, who could be their mother, sister, aunt or wife.

Their Black Love was admired and respected.

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I stand with those people whose chests are swollen with pride today. I stand with those people who truthfully didn’t foresee a black man becoming president anytime in the foreseeable future. I stand with those people who appreciate Barack Obama’s commitment to the people and admire his dedication to family and to this country.

I stand with those that know the fight continues. 

Congratulations President Barack Obama!

Barack Obama sworn in as President of  The United States of America from CNN.com

MSNBC Special Inauguration Coverage

Inauguration 2009 from the Memphis Commercial Appeal

2009 Presidential Inauguration

BET Inauguration Celebration

Barack Obama- A History in Photos from Rolling Stone Magazine

BGT blog entry on Barack Obama as President of the USA

Barack Obama President of the United States of America

My soul is uplifted

I am overcome with joy

My heart beats a mile a minute & I feel a sense of triumph

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Last night when Barack Obama was announced as the President of the United States of America, for a moment I sat there in sort of a surreal state. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe the words I had just heard, it was just that at that moment there were so many emotions spiraling through my body that I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak or even blink my eyes. I just sat there…dreamy and speechless.

For as long as I can remember African Americans have said “One day there will be a black president”.  As a child growing up I heard adults say it and as I grew older I became a “one day” believer. I believed that one day; hopefully in my lifetime, we would have a black president. I would like to say I knew it would happen, but that would not be completely true. I believed that it would happen, but I never fully gave in to the thought of knowing that it would happen. As time passed many of those who dreamed of that “one day” began to give up hope. Our ancestors had prayed for it, our parents had dreamed of it and we as the new generation had spoke of it…but it was still just “one day”. With hope in their hearts and pleading eyes, we held on to that dream that seemed to be forever coming.

November 4, 2008 Barack Obama became our One Day.

The people of the United States of America desired change. We refused to continue on with the way things were. We knew there had to be a better way, a way that didn’t overlook the little people, a way that considered us all, a way that wanted to help those who needed help and make us all feel that it was “our government.” For too many years to count, many people have felt that they were overlooked. They felt underpaid and overtaxed. Throughout those years of frustration the little people felt overlooked. These Americans felt that there was no government looking out for them. They were only pawns in a jacked up world of money and power and they had neither.

When Barack Obama was nominated for the Democratic Presidential Candidate some were skeptical. Many of the same people who had belief in their hearts that this country could succeed with a non white president became critics and skeptics. Now that the dream was being fulfilled before their eyes, they didn’t know how to accept it. Sometimes when something is only a vision for so long, when it becomes reality the acceptance is fueled with hesitation and fear.

November 4, 2008 is a historic day. I am ecstatic about playing a part in electing our new President. Not just electing a black president, because he is much more than that. He is the change we believed in. He gave us hope when all seemed lost. When things seemed so tragic and dark for the little people Barack Obama came along and said that he wanted to make things right. For that I applaud him as not The Black President but as The President of the United States of America.

Congratulations Barack Obama!

obama_votes_on_election_dayIt took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.

-Barack Obama