Thursday, March 31, 2011

March in Black History

Here's what happened in March in Black History:

On March 31 in Black History...
In 1878 - Jack Johnson, boxer was born; Boxer, controversial heavyweight champion (1908-15) and 1st black to hold title; defeated Tommy Burns for crown at age 30; fled to Europe in 1913 after Mann Act conviction; lost title to Jess Willard in Havana, but claimed to have taken a dive; pro record 78-8-12.
In 1901 - Navy Seaman Alphonse Girandy wins Medal of Honor; U.S. Navy Seaman Alphonse Gerandy, serving on the US Petrel, risked his own life to safe crewmen during a fire. His Medal of Horor was presented in 1902.

In 1856 - Henry Ossian Flipper, the first African American graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was born in Thomasville, Georgia. Enduring heavy racism during his schooling, Flipper went on to establish a military career. This was ended however after he was falsely accused of embezzling funds.
In 1980 - Jesse Owens, Gold Medalist, died; Owens four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics, 1936.
In 1960 - Eighteen students suspended by Southern University; Southern Univerisity students rebelled March 31, boycotted classes and requested withdrawal slips. Rebellion collapsed after death of professor from heart attack.
In 1960 - Laurian Rugambwa of Tanzania becomes the first black Roman Catholic Cardinal.
In 1948 - Black Youths Urged to Resit Induction; A. Phillip Randolph told Senate Armed Services Committee that unless segregation and discrimination were banned in draft programs he would urge Black youths to resist induction by civil disobedience.
In 1930 - Nomination of Judge John J. Parker; President Hoover nominated Judge John J. Parker of North Carolina for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The NAACP launched a national campaign against the appointment. Parker was not confirmed by the Senate.
In 1850 - United States Population: 23,191,876. Black population: 3,638,808 (15.7 per cent).
In 1741 - Slave conspiracies and fires cause Hysteria; Succession of suspicious fires and reports of slave conspiracies created hysteria in New York in March and April. Thirty-one slaves and five whites were executed.

More in March...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Black Women Who Rule the Art Scene

Tweet from @blackartdepot - The Most Influential Black Women in the Art World: [Very interesting information and photo gallery] #art #blackgirlsrock
From Faith Ringgold to Betye Saar, from Lorna Simpson to Thelma Golden, these women are having a big impact on the world of art.

Leslie King Hammond
King-Hammond, a foremost authority on African-American art and culture, is graduate dean emeritus of the Maryland Institute College of Art and founding director of MICA's Center for Race and Culture. The center invites scholars, doctoral candidates, artists, critics, musicians, actors and historians to research or create events that focus on the aesthetic dynamics of race and culture in order to break down racial barriers, build bridges of cultural understanding and prepare students for leadership roles in the international art world. 
Valerie Cassel Oliver
Oliver, senior curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, has become a powerful force in contemporary art. She made indelible impressions while co-curating the "2000 Whitney Biennial" and curating the "Double Consciousness" show, which explored the conceptual-art practices of African Americans -- a shout-out to Du Bois' theory that blacks don't need to look at themselves through the eyes of others. Her achievements earned her the coveted 2011 David C. Driskell Prize for original contributions to African-American art.

See the full slideshow here:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Escape From New York

OP-ED COLUMNIST - Escape From New York - Op-Ed -

New York City holds a special place in the collective conscience of Black America.
Not only does it have the highest concentration of blacks -- according to the 2000 Census, there were more blacks living in New York City than in all but four whole states -- much of black intellectual power and cultural capital has been accrued within its borders.
It gave voice to Shirley Chisholm, refuge to Malcolm X, legs to Althea Gibson and opportunity to Jackie Robinson. It was the incubator of the Harlem Renaissance, the proving ground of jazz and the birthplace of hip-hop.
It was a black Mecca and magnet. Was.

Read more here:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2010 Census Results for African-Americans

An article published by USA Today shows that according to 2010 census data, the black population is declining in a growing number of major cities — more evidence that the settlement pattern of African Americans is changing as they disperse to suburbia and warmer parts of the nation.  The decline is due, in part, to three trends:
  • Blacks — many in the middle or upper-middle class — leaving cities for the suburbs.
  • Blacks leaving Northern cities for thriving centers in the South.
  • The aging of the African-American population, whose growth rate has dropped from more than 16% in the 1990s to about 10% since 2000.
The drop also can be partially attributed to a declining black fertility rate and the aging of the black population, says John Logan, director of US 2010 Project at Brown University, which studies trends in American society. 

Read the full article here:

So what is the economic and educational impact for African-Americans?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

20 Inspirational Women from African Diaspora in Europe

 MariĆ©me Jamme
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2011, the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE), recognized 20 Inspirational Women from African Diaspora in Europe.  These women reflect the diversity of Diaspora women and show how well they have infiltrated all sectors of industry: they are engineers, scientists, inventors, bankers, doctors, artists, media personalities, writers, speakers, bankers, politicians and entrepreneurs.  They are are inspiring people in their home countries and in their continent of origin, as mentioned in their profiles. They have physically left the continent but remain emotionally attached. They are conscious of their responsibility towards the development of Africa and are committed to transform the ‘brain drain’ into a ‘brain gain’.
Read the full press release here:

Check out EH post on one of the 20 Inspirational Women recognized,  Salha L Kaitesi's work:
The African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE), is an online forum which aims aim to:
  • Celebrate the success of African Women in Europe
  • Give visibility to African Women who have achieved success but are still unknown
  • Inspire the new generation of African Women and share ideas to fulfil their potential
  • Contribute to Africa rebranding and development by identifying opportunities to transfer the vast amount of knowledge gained in Europe
This forum is open to all women of Africa Diaspora but also to those who have a passion about African development.

For more information about ADIPWE, visit

Chimamanda Adichie
 Stay tuned for upcoming EH post on one of the 20 Inspirational Women, novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of "Half of a Yellow Sun", "That Thing Around My Neck" and much more.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fair Trade, Not Aid for Rwandan Women

"Every time you watch the news and anything about Africa comes on, nine out of ten times it will be about organisations working in Africa that need the aid...I do appreciate that these organisations couldn't function without the aid, but on the other hand there are companies that don't require aid." 
Salha L Kaitesi, Rwandan Entrepreneur

Salha L Kaitesi
The Beauty of Rwanda is all about creating a platform for the Rwandan women to draw income from fair trade, and not aid from donors. Kaitesi speaks passionately about fair trade being a sustainable option for the African continent.
In late 2010 Kaitesi founded the company Beauty of Rwanda which  recently launched Only One Basket.  The idea behind Only One Basket is that buying a single item would help advance trade and better lives of the producers. The trade fair will be taken to Kigali, the Rwandan capital, in May. After Kigali, the aim is to take the crafts to various trade channels. "We plan on having as many "only one basket" events as possible. You never know, we could be in your city soon," Kaitesi said.

"Africa is a rich continent and with the right platform the whole continent is capable of sustaining itself."
Salha L Kaitesi

Kaitesi has been named as one of 20 inspirational women of African Diaspora in Europe 2011 by the organisation African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe. So, what does this well-recognised and inspirational, yet down-to-earth African woman think the future holds for her Rwandan counterparts?
"Rwandan women believe that the sky is the limit. They are committed, hard working individuals. Their strength and contribution to the economy in Rwanda is there for all to see. I cannot help but envision a brighter future for Rwandan women."

Read the full article here:

Read more about Beauty of Rwanda here:

Friday, March 11, 2011

"A Raisin in the Sun" hits Broadway

"All art is ultimately social: that which agitates and that which prepares the mind for slumber..."
Lorraine Hansberry
On March 11 in Black History...

In 1959, Lorraine Hansberry's 'A Raisin in the Sun' premiered on Broadway.  The play ran for 530 performances, becoming the longest running Broadway play written by an African-American. A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, as well as the first play with a black director (Lloyd Richards) on Broadway. With a cast in which all but one are African-Americans, A Raisin in the Sun was considered to be a risky investment, and it took over a year for producer Philip Rose to raise enough money to launch the play. After touring to positive reviews, it premiered on Broadway on March 11, 1959.

Lloyd Richards
In 1960 A Raisin In The Sun was nominated for four Tony Awards:
  • Best Play - Written by Lorraine Hansberry; produced by Philip Rose, David J. Cogan
  • Best Actor in Play - Sidney Poitier
  • Best Actress in a Play - Claudia McNeil
  • Best Direction of a Play - Lloyd Richards

The working title of A Raisin in the Sun was originally ' The Crystal Stair' after a line in a poem by Langston Hughes. The new title was from another Langston Hughes poem, which asked: "What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun, / Or does it explode?"   All experiences in this play echo a lawsuit (Hansberry v. Lee, 311 U.S. 32 (1940)), to which the Hansberry family was a party when they fought to have their day in court because a previous class action about racially motivated restrictive covenants (Burke v. Kleiman, 277 Ill. App. 519 (1934) was similar to the case at hand.  Lorraine reflects upon the litigation in her book To Be Young, Gifted, and Black:

"25 years ago, [my father] spent a small personal fortune, his considerable talents, and many years of his life fighting, in association with NAACP attorneys, Chicago’s ‘restrictive covenants’ in one of this nation's ugliest ghettos. That fight also required our family to occupy disputed property in a hellishly hostile ‘white neighborhood’ in which literally howling mobs surrounded our house… My memories of this ‘correct’ way of fighting white supremacy in America include being spat at, cursed and pummeled in the daily trek to and from school. And I also remember my desperate and courageous mother, patrolling our household all night with a loaded German Luger (pistol), doggedly guarding her four children, while my father fought the respectable part of the battle in the Washington court."

Hansberry noted that "A Raisin in the Sun" introduced details of black life to the overwhelmingly white Broadway audiences, while director Richards observed that it was the first play to which large numbers of blacks were drawn. The New York Times stated that A Raisin in the Sun "changed American theater forever."  

In 1961, a film version of A Raisin in the Sun was released featuring its original Broadway cast of Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, Diana Sands, Ivan Dixon, Louis Gossett, Jr. and John Fiedler. Hansberry wrote the screenplay, and the film was directed by Daniel Petrie. In 1973, the play was turned into a musical, Raisin. It was written by Hansberry's former husband, Robert Nemiroff. It won the 1974 Tony Award for Best musical. In 1989 it was adapted into a made for TV movie starring Danny Glover and Esther Rolle. This production received three Emmy Award nominations.

There has been one Broadway revival in 2004 at the Royale Theatre.  Another made for television film, premiered on February 25, 2008 on ABC. The cast is mostly made up of actors from the 2004 revival, including Sean "Diddy" Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Sanaa Lathan, Sean Patrick Thomas, and John Stamos .This version of the play was directed by Kenny Leon.

"A woman who is willing to be herself and pursue her own potential runs not so much the risk...of loneliness as the challenge of exposure to more interesting men -- and people in general" 
Lorraine Hansberry

After attending a school performance of a play by the Irish playwright Sean O'Casey, Juno and the Paycock (1924), she decided to become a writer. Lorraine Hansberry attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but found college to be uninspiring and left in 1950 to pursue her career as a writer in New York City, where she attended The New School. She worked on the staff of the Black newspaper Freedom under the auspices of Paul Robeson, and also worked with W. E. B. DuBois, whose office was in the same building. A Raisin in the Sun was written at this time, and was a huge success. It was the first play written by an African-American woman to be produced on Broadway. At 29 years, she became the youngest American playwright and only the 5th woman to receive the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. While many of her other writings were published in her lifetime - essays, articles, and the text for the SNCC book The Movement, the only other play given a contemporary production was The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window.
The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window ran for 110 performances on Broadway and closed the night she died. Her ex-husband Robert Nemiroff became the executor for several unfinished manuscripts. He added minor changes to complete the play Les Blancs, which Julius Lester termed her best work, and he adapted many of her writings into the play, To Be Young, Gifted and Black, which was the longest-running Off Broadway play of the 1968-1969 season. It appeared in book form the following year under the title, To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words. She left behind an unfinished novel and several other plays, including The Drinking Gourd and What Use Are Flowers, with a range of content, from slavery to a post apocalyptic future.
"The melody was one that I had known for a very long time."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Think I'll Call It Morning...

I Think I'll Call It Morning

I'm gonna take myself a piece of sunshine
and paint it all over my sky.
Be no rain. Be no rain.
I'm gonna take the song from every bird
and make them sing it just for me.
Be no rain.
And I think I'll call it morning from now on.
Why should I survive on sadness
convince myself I've got to be alone?
Why should I subscribe to this world's
knowing that I've got to live on?

I think I'll call it morning from now on.
I'm gonna take myself a piece of sunshine
and paint it all over my sky.
Be no rain. Be no rain.
I'm gonna take the song from every bird
and make them sing it just for me.
Why should I hang my head?
Why should I let tears fall from my eyes
when I've seen everything that there is to see
and I know that there ain't no sense in crying!
I know that there ain't no sense in crying!
I think I'll call it morning from now on.

Gil Scott-Heron

Gil Scott-Heron (born April 1, 1949) is an American poet, musician, and author known primarily for his late 1960s and early 1970s work as a spoken word soul performer and his collaborative work with musician Brian Jackson. His collaborative efforts with Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues and soul music, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. The music of these albums, most notably Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. Scott-Heron’s recording work is often associated with black militant activism and has received much critical acclaim for one of his most well-known compositions “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. On his influence, Allmusic wrote “Scott-Heron’s unique proto-rap style influenced a generation of hip-hop artists”.

For more about Gil Scott heron, visit his website,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shaw University Bears and Lady Bears take the CIAA Championships

Shaw University's Men's Baskbetball team in Raleigh, NC defeated Livingstone College 72 to 69 to win the CIAA Mens Basketball this past weekend in Charlotte, NC.  Shaw University's Women's Basketball team also defeated Johnson C. Smith 62 to 56 to win the CIAA Women's Basketball Tournament.   Both the Shaw women's and men's basketball teams have been selected to play in the NCAA Division II Basketball Tournament.

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is an athletic conference consisting of thirteen historically African-American institutions of higher education: Bowie State University, Chowan University, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, Livingstone College, St. Augustine's College, St. Paul's College, Shaw University, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University and Winston-Salem State University, all working together to set an overall standard of excellence.

Established in 1912, the CIAA is the nation's oldest black athletic conference, rich in history and heritage. The CIAA is entering its ninety-ninth year of athletic competition in which they will continue to reap success and recognition on the field and on the court. The presence of the CIAA as a premiere member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II, continues to expand throughout the country. Expansion of television broadcasts has resulted in nationwide coverage of football and basketball contests, as well as the annual CIAA Basketball Tournament. Increasing competitiveness in other sports is also leading to recognition of CIAA member schools as athletic powerhouses. The reputation, in conjunction with the academic success of our athletes, is a proud legacy for the CIAA.

The conference is divided into Northern and Southern Divisions in all sports except baseball. The CIAA annually sponsors 16 men's and women's championships. The eight men's championships include football, cross country, indoor track, basketball, golf, tennis, baseball, and track & field. The eight women's champions are bowling, cross country, volleyball, indoor track, basketball, softball, tennis and track & field.


Bowie State
Elizabeth City State
Lincoln (PA)
Saint Paul's
Virginia State
Virginia Union

Fayetteville State
Johnson C. Smith
Saint Augustine's
Winston-Salem State

For more about the CIAA, visit

Monday, March 7, 2011

We Are The World

On March 7 in Black History...

In 1985, "We Are the World" single is released to benefit African famine.   This song and charity single was originally recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa in 1985. It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, and co-produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian for the album We Are the World. With sales in excess of 20 million copies, it is one of the fewer than thirty all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) copies worldwide.  
The first ever single to be certified multi-platinum.  "We Are the World" received a 4× certification by the Recording Industry Association of America and was awarded numerous honors—including three Grammy Awards, one American Music Award and a People's Choice Award—the song was promoted with a critically received music video, a home video, a special edition magazine, a simulcast, and several books, posters and shirts. The promotion and merchandise aided the success of "We Are the World" and raised over $63 million for humanitarian aid in Africa and the US.

Following the devastation caused by the magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, a remake of the song by another all-star cast of singers was recorded on February 1, 2010. Entitled "We Are the World 25 for Haiti", it was released as a single on February 12, 2010, and proceeds from the record will aid survivors in the impoverished country. "We Are the World" has demonstrated that diverse musicians can productively work together, and has further influenced the movement within pop music to create songs that address humane concern.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Blackberry

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is this really a big deal???

Here it seems the LA Clippers made two mistakes right off the bat...well at least according to the article below:

Some incidents are totally a non-issue while other incidents are blatant cases of racism and prejudice. But what about all the incidents that fall in between the extreme ends of the spectrum???
The fact that they planned the event after Black History Month, however, is a non-issue. They were honoring the month with a community service event. There is nothing wrong with it happening outside of February.

The fact that they were targeting disadvantaged youth in honor of Black History Month....well....that falls in between the spectrum as it is clearly more of a cultural education/ sensitivity issue. It could be considered offensive to assume that all black kids are considered disadvantaged youth. But should we make a big deal and boycott the Clippers or accuse them of prejudice??? Of course not.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Celebrating Women's History Month

"Whatever glory belongs to the race...a full share belongs to the womanhood of the race. " 
Mary McLeod Bethune

In honor of Women's History Month, EH Spring Spotlights will focus on contemporary Black women enhancing our culture and making history today.  Check out the tabs for our Spring Spotlights and stay tuned for upcoming posts!

Melody & Drama Spotlights:
Esperenza Spalding and Leslie Ebony


Canvas & Pen Spotlights:
Tia McCollors & Monica Stewart

"The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood. "
Mary McLeod Bethune

Legacy Spotlights:
Camille Cosby and Renee Poussaint

Women's History Month

Before the 1970's, the topic of women's history was largely missing from general public consciousness. To address this situation, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a "Women's History Week" celebration in 1978 and chose the week of March 8 to coincide with International Women's Day.

The celebration was met with positive response, and schools began to host their own Women's History Week programs. In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) co sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a "Women's History Week.". In 1987, the National Women's History Project petitioned Congress to expand the celebration to the entire month of March. Since then, the National Women's History Month Resolution has been approved every year with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.

2011 Theme: Our History is Our Strength

"Our shared history unites families, communities, and nations. Although women's history is intertwined with the history shared with men, several factors - social, religious, economic, and biological - have worked to create a unique sphere of women's history."

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.

For more information about Women's History Month, visit

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