Thursday, February 3, 2011

Black History Month - Where is the Change?

The Breaking of Fredrick Douglass

When Frederick was about sixteen, he was placed under the control of Edward Covey, a small farmer reputed to have the ability to break a slave’s spirit.  Frederick was whipped repeatedly, and very nearly was “broken” in spirit until one day he fought back – defensively, not striking Covey, because that would likely have gotten him severely punished, possibly killed – but by simply fending off the farmer’s attack.  The contest lasted about two hours, when Covey called it off, and he never attempted to beat Frederick again.

Jared Ball and Ishmael Reed (discuss) Reed's book
Obama, Jim Crow Media and the Return of the Ni**er Breakers  (Click here to listen or download)

We can use more open discussions of this kind, since mass media does seem to have an agenda that doesn't include the improvement of our condition. While Mr. Reed and Mr. Ball are not always on the same page, in my opinion, they are both looking toward similar endings. Hopefully we will be able to get more input from the listening audience in discussions of this kind. Better yet, I hope this will stimulate more of us to participate in similar discussions of our own. 

Black History Month 2011

See Ex-slave narratives

A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History & Culture

traces the graphic art made by Emory Douglas while he worked as minister of culture for the Black Panther Party from 1967 until its discontinuation in the early 1980s. Douglas's powerful visuals helped define the trademark visual style of the group's newspapers, posters, and pamphlets.

Click on each individual poster for an enlarged view and commentary.

Marion Anderson
 In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused permission for Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall. Their race-driven refusal placed Anderson into the spotlight of the international community on a level usually only found by high profile celebrities and politicians. With the aid of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, in 1939 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. to a crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions.

Click here to see A short film about the life and career of singer Marian Anderson up through 1950.