historic

On Green Dolphin Street

On Green Dolphin Street by Miles Davis is one of my favorite classical jazz songs. It reminds me of Christmas, Thanksgiving, my mom’s hugs, my dad’s white beans and rice, and my brothers jokes….all rolled into one feeling. I listen to it when I need to find my center, and my happy place. It’s one of those songs that always reminds me of who I am, and where I come from.

Origanally composed by Bronislaw Kaper in 1947, On Green Dolphin Street was composed for a feature film by the same name. Miles Davis transformed it into a jazz standard and made it the classic is today. Enjoy ūü§ó  

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#BHM Fact: John Hanson

(Via: http://www.Blacksummit.org¬†¬†)¬†John Hanson was the First President of the United States! 1781-1782 A.D.??? George Washington was really the 8th President of the United States! George Washington was not the first President of the United States. In fact, the first President of the United States was one John Hanson. Don’t go checking the encyclopedia for this guy’s name – he is one of those great men that are lost to history. If you’re extremely lucky, you may actually find a brief mention of his name. The new country was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The Articles of Confederation. This document was actually proposed on June 11, 1776, but not agreed upon by Congress until November 15, 1777. Maryland refused to sign this document until Virginia and New York ceded their western lands (Maryland was afraid that these states would gain too much power in the new government from such large amounts of land). Once the signing took place in 1781, a President was needed to run the country.¬†Finish reading the full article at: ¬†http://www.blacksummit.org/profiles/blogs/first-black-president-john

John Hanson, the first President of the USA
John Hanson, the first President of the USA

Rachel.

While scrolling through Facebook the other day, I stumbled upon a gem of an article that was posted by a Facebook friend. The article is about Trayvon Martin’s best friend Rachel Jeantel, and the ridicule she faced during her time on the stand. I won’t say much just because this whole case is super touchy, but this piece definitely cosigned on my feelings of compassion for her. Check it out, and remember that before we judge, we should always remember that we only know some much about folks.

¬†‚ÄúBut Trayvon was one of the few guys, okay, and this is what, I mean, this ripped, tore my heart apart.¬†¬†She said he was one of the few guys that never made fun of me, about the way I dressed, about the way I talked, about my hair, about my complexion, you know, about my weight.¬† And she said, so we communicated, because Rachel was, she was pretty much an introvert and so for her to be a 19-year-old young lady‚Ķ‚ÄĚ (via http://www.verysmartbrothas.com)

Read the rest here: http://verysmartbrothas.com/rachel-trayvon-and-the-saddest-thing-ive-ever-read/Rachel_Jeantel_rtr_img-400x259

Steely Dan – Deacon Blues

I’ve always listened to Steely Dan…I love those guys. Yea, yea < insert lame ass Steely Dan jokes here> But, anybody who loves GOOD music, regardless of their preferred genre, can appreciate some Steely Dan and ¬†the great stories they tell through their music.

One of my favorites it Deacon Blues.¬†This song refers to The Wake Forest “Demon Deacons,” whose football team struggled for much of the ’70s, winning just 7 games from 1972-1975. At the same time, the University Of Alabama was a football powerhouse, winning the National Championship in 1973 and losing just one game in each of their next two seasons under the direction of their famous coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Alabama is known as “The Crimson Tide”:

“They got a name for the winners in the world
And I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide…
Call me Deacon Blues“.

When asked about the line, “They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, they call me Deacon Blues,” Donald Fagen told¬†Rolling Stone¬†magazine: “Walter and I had been working on that song at a house in Malibu. I played him that line, and he said, ‘You mean it’s like, ‘They call these cracker a–holes this grandiose name like the Crimson Tide, and I’m this loser, so they call me this other grandiose name, Deacon Blues?’ and I said ‘Yeah!’ He said, ‘Cool, let’s finish it.'”

Excerpt from: The Warmth of Other Suns

So i’m reading this book my dad got me for Christmas titled The Warmth of  Other Suns written by Isabel Wilkerson. The novel tells the true stories of three black Americans (with no ties to one another) and their journeys from the South to the North during the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. This movement, known as the Great Migration, had thousands, maybe even millions of participants…including my own father. I mean, some of you probably have family members who were apart of this exodus as well…you just never bothered to ask or they never bothered to tell you.

Now, to truly understand the most powerful, unorganized yet perfectly executed migration in American history, we must understand what black people were seeking refuge from in the first place. This excerpt from The Warmth of Other Suns is the most perfect way to explain the dilemmas that colored people during the Jim Crow era had to deal with… everyday.

From: The Warmth of Other Suns

Chapter: The Stirrings of Discontent; pg. 44

“These are the facts of their lives:

There were days when whites could go to the amusement park and a day when blacks could go, if they were permitted at all. there were white elevators and colored elevators (meaning the freight elevators in back); white train platforms. There were white ambulances and colored ambulances to ferry the sick, and white hearses and colored hearses for those who didn’t survive whatever was wrong with them.

There were white waiting rooms and colored waiting rooms in any conceivable place where a person might have to wait for something, from the bus depot to the doctor’s office. A total of four restrooms had to be constructed and maintianed at significant expense in any public establishment that bothered to provide any for colored people: one for white men, one for white women, one for colored men, and one for colored women. In 1958, a new bus station went up in Jacksonville, Flordia, with two of everything, including two segregated cocktail lounges, “lest the races brush elbows over a martini,” The Wall Street Journal reported. The president of Southeastern Greyhound told the Journal, “It frequently costs fifty percent more to build a terminal with segregated facilities. But most southern businessmen didn’t dare complain about the extra cost. ”

There was a colored window at the post office in Pensacola, Florida, and there were white and colored telephone booths in Oklahoma. White and colored went to separate windows to get their license plates in Indianola, Mississippi, and two separate tellers to make their deposits at the First National Bank of Atlanta. There were taxicabs for colored people and taxicabs for whites in Jacksonville, Birmingham, Atlanta, and all of Mississippi.

Throughout the South, the conventional rules of the road did not apply when a colored motorist was behind the wheel. If he reached an intersection first, he had to let the white motorist go ahead of him. He could not pass a white motorist on the road no matter how slowly the white motorist was going and had to take extreme caution to avoid an accident because he would likely be blamed no matter who was at fault. In everyday interactions, a black person could not contradict a white person or speak unless spoken to first. A black person could not be the first to offer to shake a white person’s hand. A handshake could occur only if a white person so gestured, leaving many people having never shaken hands with a person of the other race. The consequences for the slightest misstep were swift and brutal. Two whites beat a black tenant farmer in Louise, Mississippi, in 1948, wrote historian James C. Cobb, because the man “asked for a receipt after paying his water bill.”

It was against the law for a colored and a white person to play checkers together in Birmingham. White and colored gamblers had to place their bet at separate windows and sit in separate aisles at racetracks in Arkansas. There were white parking spots and colored parking spots in Atlanta. In some courthouses in North Carolina, there was a white Bible and a black Bible to swear to tell the truth on.”  (The Warmth of  Other Suns)

What a petty society to live in. I am so happy I can pass a white guy on the road if he’s driving too damn slow… appreciate your freedoms please and remember there are people out there today who want to take them away from us…and this warning isn’t just for black folks, but all people of color. Stay woke.