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Rebellions

Posted by on 10:18 am in News | 0 comments

Rebellions

In the wake of the black history “remarks” about the abolitionist Frederick Douglass that we were treated to at the start of this Black History Month, we were reminded that not all black people have accepted their lot and meekly submitted to enslavement and whatever brutal treatment came with it. Frederick Douglass himself broke bad and beat the tar out of a “slave breaker” named Mr. Covey, who never tried to whip him again. Douglass was 16. When he was 25 he faced down a mob of white supremacist terrorists—because that’s what they...

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I Am Free

Posted by on 10:08 am in Civil War, News | 0 comments

I Am Free

Oney Judge was born around 1773 on Mount Vernon, the Virginia plantation of the most celebrated hero of the American Revolution: George Washington. She was the daughter of Betty, a black seamstress (enslaved), and Andrew Judge, a white tailor (an indentured servant). We have no images of the girl, but she was described as having a light complexion. Oney spent her early years in the slave quarters on the plantation until age ten, when she was moved into the main house to served as a playmate to one of the granddaughters of Washington’s wife...

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A Dress Rehearsal in the Motor City

Posted by on 10:02 am in Civil Rights, News | 0 comments

A Dress Rehearsal in the Motor City

In June 1963, King stood before 25,000 people at Cobo Hallin Detroit, his voice ringing out in the convention center, saying the words that would become written into American history for all time.“I have a dream this afternoon.” His appearance at Cobo Hall came at the end of a day that began with The Walk to Freedom, a civil rights march in Detroit that would draw some 125,000 people and be the largest of its kind until it was eclipsed, two months later, by the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. What’s observable right away is...

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A Bold Stroke for Freedom

Posted by on 9:50 am in Civil Rights, News | 0 comments

A Bold Stroke for Freedom

A story buried in the Philadelphia abolitionist William Still’s Underground Railroad a comprehensive record kept of the escapes from slavery of African Americans tells the stunning story of a married couple Barnaby and Mary Elizabeth Grigby, Frank Wanzer, and Emily Foster. All 20-something, and described in Still’s narrative as being intelligent and attractive, they had no intention of living their lives out in slavery. So they took horses and a carriage and on Christmas Eve 1855 drove themselves, along with two other fugitive men on...

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Lorraine Hansberry

Posted by on 1:12 pm in Back Story, News | 0 comments

Lorraine Hansberry

Remembering Lorraine Hansberry January 12, 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of one of America’s great playwrights, Lorraine Hansberry. She is best known as the author of A Raisin In the Sun, which opened on Broadway on March 11, 1959, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. On the surface, the play tells the story of a family living on the South Side of Chicago that is faced with the difficult decision of how to spend $10,000 in life insurance. Underpinning the dilemma is a battle royale between materialism, idealism, and a...

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Oregon Black Pioneers

Posted by on 1:12 pm in History Keeping, News | 0 comments

Oregon Black Pioneers

Preserving Oregon’s African-American History  Since 1993 the Oregon Black Pioneers, an all volunteer non-profit organization based in Salem, Oregon, has been committed to preserving African-American history and culture in the state. OBP’s goal is to educate Oregonians and others about African-Americans contributions to Oregon’s history; to tell the stories of these pioneers through presentations, exhibits, and books; and to partner with school districts and historical organizations statewide. Several years ago the organization developed...

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American Artists

Posted by on 10:52 pm in History Keeping, News | 0 comments

American Artists

Above: Rashid Johnson. The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood), 2008. Lambda print, Ed. 2/5, 69 x 55 1/2 in. Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection. Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA Art school at Rutgers was just 45 minutes away from New York City by train, and it was the 1980s with a cast of artists showing at museums and galleries and populating art magazines that still consisted mostly of white men, with some white women artists, such as Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, and Jenny Holzer, and a scant few...

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Portraits from a Revolt

Posted by on 5:10 pm in Back Story, News | 0 comments

Portraits from a Revolt

On July 2, 1839, Sengbe Pieh, better known as Joseph Cinqué, and some 50 or more fellow Africans killed the captain and three of the crew of the Spanish schooner La Amistad. The plan was to turn the vessel around and go back to Africa, from where they had been kidnapped and enslaved. They entrusted the Spanish navigator, Don Pedro Montez, whose life they spared, with steering the ship. He steered it along the North American coast off Montauk Point on Long. The Africans—Mende from Sierre Leone—surrendered the ship to the U.S. Navy only...

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The First “March on Washington”

Posted by on 4:21 pm in Back Story, News | 0 comments

The First “March on Washington”

At 74, A. (Asa) Philip Randolph (1889-1979), the founder and president of the powerful union the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, approached the planning of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with the full knowledge of the impact it would have. More than two decades earlier, in 1941, Randolph had threatened President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a similar peaceful demonstration, “A Call to Negro America to March on Washington for Jobs and Equal Participation in National Defense.” Despite an all-out effort by President Roosevelt...

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Activists Among Us: Memories of the March on Washington

Posted by on 3:38 pm in History Keeping, News | 0 comments

Activists Among Us: Memories of the March on Washington

With the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington just a week away, it’s a good time to think about the folks who dedicated and sometimes sacrificed their lives to the civil rights movement. Too often, though, we remember those individuals who have become icons, MLK, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, a few names come easily to mind. We dig deeper: A. Philip Randolph, Medgar Evers, Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth—there are many more, of course, all key players, (almost all since passed on)....

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