Saturday, February 18, 2012

Black Children Getting High!

High on Education and Selfsufficiency and Community Involvement  that is.


Philliber Research Associates    Evaluation of the Kansas City CDF Freedom Schools Initiative

See also (Marion Wright Edelman Started the Childrens Defense Fund in the early 1970's )

The USS Mason - A WWII Destroyer Escort with an African American Crew

USS Mason, a WWII warship manned by a predominantly black crew that served as a role model for the integration of U.S. Navy ships

USS Mason (DE-529)  Evarts-class destroyer escort USS Mason (DE-529)
Launched November 17, 1943 at Boston Navy Yard's Pier 6. The ship wasn't commissioned until March, 1944.

 "Negro sailors of the U.S.S. Mason (DE 529) commissioned at Boston Navy Yard on 20 Mar. 1944 proudly look over their ship which is the first to have a predominately Negro crew." March 20, 1944. 80-G-218861.

This photograph depicts three African American sailors standing in front of the U. S. S. Mason, on which all the enlisted personnel were African American, at the Boston Navy Yard.

During World War II, racial restriction and segregation were facts of life in the U.S. military. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority of African Americans participated wholeheartedly in the fight against the Axis powers. Their participation aimed at victory over fascism abroad and also over racism at home.

USS Mason (DE-529), 1944-1947

USS Mason (DE-529), an Evarts-class destroyer escort, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named Mason, though DE-529 was the only one specifically named for Ensign Newton Henry Mason. The USS Mason was one of two US Navy ships with largely African-American crews in World War II. The other was the USS PC-1264, a submarine chaser.[1] These two ships were manned with African Americans as the result of a letter sent to President Roosevelt by the NAACP in mid-December 1941.

The USS Mason was commanded by Carlton Skinner. Her keel was laid down in the Boston Navy Yard, on 14 October 1943. She was launched on 17 November 1943, sponsored by Mrs. David Mason, the mother of Ensign Mason, and commissioned on 20 March 1944, with Lt. Commander William M. Blackford, USNR, in command.

Following a shakedown cruise off Bermuda, the Mason departed from Charleston, South Carolina, on 14 June, escorting a convoy bound for Europe, arriving at Horta Harbor, Azores, on 6 July. She got underway from Belfast, Northern Ireland, headed for the East Coast on 26 July, arriving at Boston Harbor on 2 August for convoy duty off the harbor through August.

On 2 September, she arrived at New York City to steam on 19 September in the screen for convoy NY.119. The Mason reached Falmouth, Cornwall, with part of the convoy 18 October, and she returned to New York from Plymouth, England, and the Azores on 22 November.

On October 18th, Mason supported Convoy NY-119 in a severe North Atlantic storm. [2] The ship suffered and self-repaired critical structural damage and still rescued ships from the convoy. The crew of Mason was not awarded a letter of commendation until 1994 for meritorious service during this action. [3][4]

Mason joined TF 64 at Norfolk, Virginia, on 17 December. Two days later she sailed in convoy for Europe, passing by Gibraltar on 4 January 1945 to be relieved of escort duties. Continuing to Algeria, she entered Oran on 5 January for the formation of TG 60.11.

The escort ship cleared Oran 7 January. Four days later the Mason made radar contact with a surface target. She rang up full speed with all battle stations manned to attack the presumptive submarine, rammed, and dropped depth charges. Unable to regain contact, the ship returned to the contact point, where searchlight revealed the target—a wooden derelict about 100 by 50 feet. The Mason then steamed to Bermuda for repairs, entering St. George's Harbor on 19 January. Five days later she reached the New York Navy Yard.
On 12 February Mason departed Norfolk in convoy for the Mediterranean Sea, arriving off Gibraltar on 28 February. She cleared Oran 8 March to guard a convoy to Bermuda and Chesapeake Bay before returning to New York 24 March. After sonar exercises off New London, Connecticut, and fighter-director training with naval aircraft from Quonset Point, Rhode Island, she steamed from Norfolk 10 April with another convoy to Europe, leaving the convoy at Gibraltar 28 April. The Mason was two days out of Oran en route to the East Coast when the end of World War II in Europe was announced on the eighth of May.

The Mason arrived at New York on 23 May for operations along the East Coast into July. From 28 July to 18 August she served as a school ship for the Naval Training Center, Miami, Florida. On 20 August she arrived at New London to be outfitted for long-range underwater signal testing in the Bermuda area into September. The Mason departed from Bermuda on 8 September for Charleston, S.C., arriving there two days later.

The Mason was decommissioned on 12 October, was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 November 1945, and was sold and delivered to New Jersey, on 18 March 1947 for scrapping.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

QUILOMBISMO - History, and the African Diaspora - Commentary

It's time to give our roots lots of TLC 

The author of "QUILOMBISMO An Afro-Brazilian Political Alternative" expresses the need of Brazilian Black people to win back their memory of Africa. Then goes on to say that the same goes for people of African descent on the continent and throughout the Americas. Indeed we have our work cut out for us. This article is just one of many that accentuates the need for Africans on the continent and throughout the diaspora to to get in touch with our African roots and stop wandering around the world as if we haven't got a history that is every bit as consequential as any other. The fact is we must take possession of our own legacy and relate our story from the point of view and the facts surrounding the lives of our ancestors. The first step on the road to this happening will be for us as Africans to fully embrace and acknowledge our ancestry. Whatever admixtures we may have by race or by place we are still Africans and nothing is going to change that. The very strength of our DNA insures that we shall not be mistaken for anything else. 
 Contrary to what's been drummed into far too many of us - that's a good thing.
Once we get beyond such obstacles we can begin the work of exploring our past with the same healthy curiosity that all offspring have about their forebearers, while simultaneously creating systems to ensure that our own progeny can keep and build on our efforts. We don't have to start from scratch either because those kindred souls named at the end of this following excerpt have already begun to dig, as well as organize systems for the study of and the preservation of our history. We do have to keep up the effort though and we must get the full attention of our youth, at this point in time I'd say their lives depend on it. Our young people need to see us extoll the exploits of our heroes and mentors as well as our kings and conquerors  of which there have actually been many, in recent and ancient history. if they never hear about them then it's easy to assume that they never existed. Our situation of living in eurocentric cultures or euro-colonialized cultures has placed us in a position where African history and culture is a subject, that not only has not been taught but even worse has been treated as a source of shame, something to be shunned. As Malcolm X so eloquently pointed out  if you hate the root then you gotta hate the tree.  It's time for our roots to get lots of TLC.                                                                                     Web Prospector

The following is an excerpt from an article in 
The Journal of Black Studies 
edited by
ABDIAS DO NASCIMENTO State University of New York. 

An Afro-Brazilian
Political Alternative 
"I want to begin this text emphasizing the urgent need of the Brazilian Black people to win back their memory, which has been systematically assaulted by Brazilian Western-inspired structures of domination for almost 500 years. A similar pro- cess holds true with the history of Africans on the Continent and their descendants scattered through all the Americas. The memory of Afro-Brazilians, very much to the contrary of what is said by conventional historians of limited vision and superficial understanding, does not begin with the slave traffic or the dawn of chattel slavery of Africans in the fifteenth century. In my country, the ruling class always, and particu- larly after the so-called abolition of slavery (1888), has developed and refined myriad techniques of preventing Black 
Brazilians from being able to identify and actively assume their ethnic, historical and cultural roots, thus cutting them off from the trunk of their African family tree. Except in terms of recent expansionist interests of the industrial elite, Brazil as a traditional norm has always ignored the African continent. It turned its back on Africa as soon as the slaver elite found itself no longer able to scorn the prohibition of commerce in African flesh imposed by Britain around 1850. A massive immigration of Europeans occurred a few years later, and the ruling elite emphasized its intentions and its actions in the sense of wrenching out of the mind and heart of slaves' descendants any image of Africa as a positive memory of nation, of motherland, of native home. Never in our educational system was there taught a discipline revealing any appreciation or respect for the cultures, arts, languages, political or economic systems, or religions of Africa. And physical contact of Afro-Brazilians with their brothers in the continent and the diaspora was always prevented or made difficult, among other methods, by the denial of economic means permitting Black people to move and travel outside the country. But none of these hindrances had the power of obliterating completely, from our spirit and memory, the living presence of Mother Africa. And even in the existential hell we are subjected to now, this rejection of Africa on the part of tle domindnt classes has functioned as a notably positive factor, helping to maintain the Black nation as a community above and beyond difficulties in time and space.
Diversified as are the strategies and devices arrayed against Black people's memory, they have recently undergone serious erosion and irreparable discrediting. This is due largely to the dedication and competence of a few Africans preoccupied with the secular destitution the Black race has suffered at the hands of European and Euro-American' capitalist civilization. This group of Africans, simultaneously scholars, scientists, philosophers, and creators of literature and art, includes persons from the African continent and diaspora. To mention only a few of their names: Cheikh Anta Diop, of Senegal; Chancellor Williams, Shawna Maglangbayan Moore, Haki Madhubuti, Molefi K. Asante and Maulana Ron Karenga of the United States; George G. M. James and Ivan Van Sertima of Guyana; Yosef Ben-Jochannan of Ethiopia; Theophile Obenga, of Congo Brazzaville; Wole Soyinka Ola Balogun and Wande Abimbola of Nigeria; these figure among the many who are actively producing works fundamental to the contemporary and coming development of Africa. In different fields, with diverse perspectives, the energies of these eminent Africans channel themselves toward the exorcism of the falsities, distortions and negations that Europeans for so long have been weaving around Africa, with the purpose of obscuring or erasing our memory of the wisdom, scientific and philosoph- ical knowledge and realizations of the peoples of Black African origin. Black Brazilian memory is only a part and particle in this gigantic project of reconstruction of a larger past to which all Afro-Brazilians are connected. To redeem this past is to have a consequent responsibility in the destinies and futures of the Black African nation worldwide, still preserving our quality as edifiers and genuine citizens of Brazil." 

Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964 - klan Murders

Schwerner Chaney Goodman Sacificed their lives.

May 2, 1964 · Meadville, Mississippi
Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore were killed by Klansmen who believed the two were part of a plot to arm blacks in the area. (There was no such plot.) Their bodies were found during a massive search for the missing civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner.

I Wish I Knew How It Feels To Be Free (Live) - Nina Simone

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free" composed by jazz pianist and educator Dr. Billy Taylor. Although penned in 1954, the piece did not enjoy popularity until the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and throughout the decade of the 1960s. The title expresses one of the fundamental themes of the Movement: the wish to live free in America with dignity. A vocal rendition sung by Nina Simone brought attention to the piece, during her 1967 RCA Records album release of Silk and Soul.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (History, Facts, Bad Blood, Bad Science) —

People might think that this can't happen today but one should remember that this outrage was just halted 40 years ago. One can only wonder how long it would have continued if reporter Jean Heller had not brought it to light or if it would have finally been covered up to this day. This begs the question, what else should we know? It's a sad state of affairs when it is so difficult to have confidence in what is supposed to be our own democratic government.

The Tuskegee Institute, located in Macon County Alabama, was opened in 1881 by Booker T. Washington. It was founded as the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers and   became America’s leading Black agricultural and industrial school.
Between the years 1932 and 1972, the United States Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, conducted a study on the effects syphilis has on the human body. The study was meant to determine the different ways that the disease effected blacks as opposed to whites. It was thought that syphilis did more damage to the white race’s neurological system while mainly affecting the cardiovascular system of the black race. The plan was to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in poor, rural black men. The team of doctors and researchers recruited 600 poor and uneducated black men from the Macon County area. Three hundred and ninety nine of these men already had syphilis, and the other two hundred and one did not.
 To entice the men into participating in their study, the researchers offered them free medical care, hot meals, and free burial insurance. The doctors withheld from the men the fact that they were suffering from syphilis and instead told them that they were being treated for “bad blood.” The term “bad blood” was a local term used to describe several illnesses. The Surgeon General of the United States also participated in enticing the men to continue in the study by sending them certificates of appreciation.
The real reason for the study had to be kept from the patients to ensure their cooperation.   Since the men were mostly uneducated sharecroppers, they were easy to manipulate.   The true nature of the experiment had nothing to do with treating or curing the disease. The Public Health Service doctors sent letters out to the men saying, “Last Chance for Special Free Treatment.” This was to coax the men into coming in for painful spinal taps.

Watch this interview on Democracry Now
The Dark History of Medical Experimentation from the Nazis to Tuskegee to Puerto Rico

  Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (History, Facts, Bad Blood, Bad Science) —

 Black History Month 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949)

H. T. Burleigh (1866-1949) [biography]

Image: Harry Thacker Burleigh
[Harry Thacker Burleigh, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right], 1927. Prints and Photographs Reading Room, Library of Congress.
Although his name is relatively unknown, Harry Thacker Burleigh (named Henry after his father) played a significant role in the development of American art song, having composed over two hundred works in the genre. He was the first African-American composer acclaimed for his concert songs as well as for his adaptations of African-American spirituals. In addition, Burleigh was an accomplished baritone, a meticulous editor, and a charter member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, on 2 December 1866, Burleigh received his first music training from his mother. After discovering Burleigh's musical talent, Elizabeth Russell, a bank messenger who was his mother's employer, gave the youth a job as a doorman at the musicales she hosted in her home. This afforded Burleigh the opportunity to hear guest performers such as Teresa Carreño and Italo Campanini. Although he had no formal training, his talent as a singer led to employment as a soloist in several Erie churches and synagogues. In 1892, at the age of twenty-six, Burleigh received a scholarship (with some intervention in his behalf from Mrs. Frances MacDowell, mother of famed American composer Edward MacDowell) to the National Conservatory of Music in New York where he studied with Christian Fritsch, Rubin Goldmark, John White, and Max Spicker.
The years Burleigh spent at the Conservatory greatly influenced his career, mostly due to his association and friendship with Antonín Dvorák, the Conservatory's director. After spending countless hours recalling and performing the African-American spirituals and plantation songs he had learned from his maternal grandfather for Dvorák, Burleigh was encouraged by the elder composer to preserve these melodies in his own compositions. In turn, Dvorák's use of the spirituals "Goin' Home" and "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in his Symphony no. 9 in E minor ("From the New World") was probably influenced by his sessions with Burleigh. In addition, Burleigh served as copyist for Dvorák, a task that prepared him for his future responsibilities as a music editor.
In 1894, Burleigh auditioned for the post of soloist at St. George's Episcopal Church of New York. To the consternation of the congregation, which objected because Burleigh was black, he was given the position. However, through his talent and dedication (he held the appointment for over fifty years, missing only one performance during his tenure), Burleigh won the hearts and the respect of the entire church community.
Personally and professionally, the next several years were productive ones for Burleigh. In 1898, he married poet Louise Alston; a son, Alston, was born the following year. That same year, G. Schirmer published his first three songs. In 1900, Burleigh was the first African-American chosen as soloist at Temple Emanu-El, a New York synagogue, and by 1911 he was working as an editor for music publisher G. Ricordi. His success was enhanced through the publication of several of his compositions, including "Ethiopia Saluting the Colors" (1915), a collection entitled Jubilee Songs of the USA (1916), and his arrangement of "Deep River" (1917), for which he is best remembered.
The widespread success of his setting of Deep River(1917) inspired the publication of nearly a dozen more spirituals the same year. The settings appeared in multiple versions upon publication, including vocal solos in a variety of keys and choral arrangements prepared by Burleigh and others for mixed chorus, men's chorus, and women's chorus. As his spiritual arrangements become increasingly popular with concert soloists, a tradition of concluding concerts with a set of spirituals was established.
Burleigh's achievement in solo vocal writing is best represented by his original song cycles, Saracen Songs (1914), Passionale (1915), and Five Songs of Laurence Hope (1915), considered by many to be his finest work. His instrumental output includes the unpublished Six Plantation Melodies for violin and piano (1901), From the Southland for piano (1910), and Southland Sketches for violin and piano (1916).
Burleigh died at age 82 on 12 September 1949. Over 2,000 mourners attended the funeral of the man who had successfully combined the melodies of his own heritage with those of serious art music. Burleigh's compositions and arrangements of African-American spirituals transported the music of the "colored folk" from their plantation and minstrel settings onto the concert stage, where they have been enjoyed and appreciated by people of all races.

The Little Rock Nine

Pop Staples was inspired to write this song while watching the treatment of the Little Rock Nine.

Daisy Bates to NAACP Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins on the treatment of the Little Rock Nine, December 17, 1957. Typed letter. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (112.00.00) Courtesy of the NAACP

 Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine

Daisy Bates, publisher of The Arkansas State Press and president of the Arkansas State Conference of NAACP Branches, led the NAACP’s campaign to desegregate the public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. Thurgood Marshall served as chief counsel. The school board agreed to begin the process with Central High School, approving the admission of nine black teenagers. The decision outraged many white citizens, including Arkansas governor Orval Faubus, who ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High School. When the black students tried repeatedly to enter, they were turned away by the guardsmen and an angry white mob.  President Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock to force Governor Faubus to uphold the Supreme Court’s ruling and ensure the protection of black students. On September 25, 1957, federal troops safely escorted the students into Central High School.  In the midst of the crisis, Daisy Bates wrote this letter to Roy Wilkins to report on the students’ progress.