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Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Sadness

Just learned of this today….

Ronald Takaki, pioneering scholar of race relations, dies at 70

BERKELEY — Ronald Takaki, a professor emeritus of ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and prolific scholar of U.S. race relations who taught UC’s first black history course, died at his home in Berkeley on Tuesday (May 26). He was 70.

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Anxious Black Woman has a great post up:

The same year Anderson performed at the Lincoln Memorial, indeed the same month, Billie Holiday recorded for the first time her signature song, Strange Fruit, a song about lynching, which she had called her “personal protest” song.

Both performances are etched in our national conscious, and the black female voice, as cultural studies scholar Farah Jasmine Griffin wrote, “is one of its founding sounds, and the singing black woman is one of its founding spectacles. But because it develops alongside and not fully within the nation, it maintains a critique for space and protest.”

Go read it all – it’s great. Oh – and it’s a Special Lurker Friday Edition post, so leave ABW a comment.

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Black History Month

I hope to mark Black History Month with a post a day.

Black History Month (also known as African American History Month) began in 1926 as Negro History Week – the second week in February. Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Harvard Ph.D. and the son of former slaves, was dismayed that blacks were not represented in the history books he studied. Woodson established The Association of Negro Life and History (now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History). The Association was dedicated to writing black people into history; the second week in February was chosen for Negro History Week because that week marked the births of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Woodson’s best known book is The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

“When you control a man’s (sic) thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”

Some say “Why Black History Month?” I say, why not?

Stay tuned.

Some sites to visit:

Black History at history.com

African American History Timeline

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Happy Birthday

You know it doesn’t
make much sense
There ought to be a law against
Anyone who takes offense
At a day in your celebration
‘Cause we all know in our minds
That there ought to be a time
That we can set aside
To show just how much we love you
And I’m sure you will agree
It couldn’t fit more perfectly
Than to have a world
party on the day you
came to be

[Chorus:]
Happy birthday to ya
Happy birthday to ya
Happy birthday to ya
[Repeat]

I just never understood
How a man who died for good
Could not have a day that would
Be set aside for his recognition
Because it should never be
Just because some cannot see
The dream as clear as he
That they should make it
become an illusion
And we all know everything
That he stood for time will bring
For in peace our hearts will sing
Thanks to Martin Luther King Jr.

[Chorus:]
Happy birthday to ya
Happy birthday to ya
[ Find more Lyrics at http://www.mp3lyrics.org/fs ]
Happy birthday to ya
(Repeat)

Bridge
Why has there never been a holiday
Where peace is celebrated
all throughout the world

The time is overdue
For people like me and you
You know the way to truth
Is love and unity to
all God’s children
It should be a great event
And the whole day should be spent
In full remembrance
Of those who lived and
died for the oneness
of
all people
So let us all beging
We know that love can win
Let it out don’t hold it in
Sing it loud as you can

[Chorus x4:]
Happy birthday to ya
Happy birthday to ya
Happy birthday to ya

[Background Stevie]
Happy birthday Ooh yeah
Happy birthday,
To you yea

We know the key to unity of all
People
Is in the dream that you had so
Long ago
That lives in all of the hearts
Of people
That believe in unity
We’ll make the dream become
A reality
I know we will
Because our hearts tell us so….

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Deconstructing the Myths of “The First Thanksgiving”
logo

What is it about the story of “The First Thanksgiving” that makes it essential to be taught in virtually every grade from preschool through high school? What is it about the story that is so seductive? Why has it become an annual elementary school tradition to hold Thanksgiving pageants, with young children dressing up in paper-bag costumes and feather-duster headdresses and marching around the schoolyard? Why is it seen as necessary for fake “pilgrims” and fake “Indians” (portrayed by real children, many of whom are Indian) to sit down every year to a fake feast, acting out fake scenarios and reciting fake dialogue about friendship? And why do teachers all over the country continue (for the most part, unknowingly) to perpetuate this myth year after year after year?

Is it because as Americans we have a deep need to believe that the soil we live on and the country on which it is based was founded on integrity and cooperation? This belief would help contradict any feelings of guilt that could haunt us when we look at our role in more recent history in dealing with other indigenous peoples in other countries. If we dare to give up the “myth” we may have to take responsibility for our actions both concerning indigenous peoples of this land as well as those brought to this land in violation of everything that makes us human. The realization of these truths untold might crumble the foundation of what many believe is a true democracy. As good people, can we be strong enough to learn the truths of our collective past? Can we learn from our mistakes? This would be our hope.

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I love it that I can write that heading.

5 November 2008

Senator Barack Obama,
Chicago

Dear Senator Obama,

We join people in your country and around the world in congratulating you on becoming the President-Elect of the United States. Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place.

We note and applaud your commitment to supporting the cause of peace and security around the world. We trust that you will also make it the mission of your Presidency to combat the scourge of poverty and disease everywhere.

We wish you strength and fortitude in the challenging days and years that lie ahead. We are sure you will ultimately achieve your dream making the United States of America a full partner in a community of nations committed to peace and prosperity for all.

Sincerely,

N R Mandela

h/t Monica at TransGriot

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Rest in peace, Mama Africa

Miriam Makeba dies at 76

”I’m not a political singer,” she insisted in an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper earlier this year. ”I don’t know what the word means. People think I consciously decided to tell the world what was happening in South Africa. No! I was singing about my life, and in South Africa we always sang about what was happening to us — especially the things that hurt us.”

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