Black History Month 2020 [The BHM ERA Challenge]

DigitalOp

Member
Nov 16, 2017
7,745
Welcome Everyone to the 2020 Black History Month (Challenge) Thread.


Every year, posters come together to create our annual Black History Month topic in which we share stories and talk about figures of Black History. It gives us time to reflect, learn, and explore the vast amounts of feats and accomplishments of Black People throughout our history who often don't get enough shine or awareness in general.

This year, I figured it would interesting to pose a 'Black History Month Challenge' of some sort!

The Challenge will be to post in this thread daily about any Person, Group, or Event related to Black History. One post a day about something you learned or maybe decided to do more research on out of curiosity.

The idea is that after the month of Feb concludes, with all our participants in the thread, we should have a rather wonderful catalog of Black History that anyone can enjoy and read. 28 Days worth of knowledge from everyone!

I don't really have rules per say but here are some guidelines:

- Of course, please limit our submissions to Black Historical Figures, Groups, or Events (I think it would be self explanatory but you never know)

- Trolling will not be tolerated. Inflammatory remarks made to derail will be reported for action.

- Your post doesn't have to be about Black Americans. There is Black History ALL around the world! It would be incredible if we learned more about Black History that transpired in other countries. This is what Black History Month is all about!

- Duplicate subjects are fine, Different people tend to find different information and more information is never a bad thing!

- Please keep everything factual and accurate (of course)

- There is a lot of tragedy and pain involved in Black History, however there is just as much triumph and success. There is an importance in remembering and talking about the tragic events and the struggle but please also consider to look for inspiring and powerful Black Historic subjects that aren't tied to such events as well.

- Rather than doing a blurb on 'Jim Crow' for example, try to find someone or something that happened during Jim Crow that can be elaborated on. Focus on the human rather than the oppressive policy itself for your subject

- Have Fun, lets turn this into an incredible learning experience and discussion!



I made this thread a little late so forgive me with all the busy timings. I've decided to kick off with 2 blurbs for Feb 1st and 2nd. I will hop on later today to do my 3rd blurb for the month. Feel free to jump right in and begin on the 3rd or if you want to do 2 prior posts, you can as well.

Looking forward to seeing all the posts!!


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Seneca Village







Seneca Village was a community that was founded by free blacks in 1825, until it was seized under 'Eminent Domain' from the Government in 1857, in order for the creation of New York's Central Park. It has been a tale that has been lost in American History until recent efforts have been made to spread the awareness of this community starting with a book that was published in 1992 called 'The Park and the People: A History of Central Park' by Roy Rosenzweig and Elizabeth Blackmar.

It started with a Black American named Andrew Williams who bought 3 lots of land from a white farmer named John Whitehead in 1825. On the same day, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church bought 18 lots as well. By 1832, 24 lots were owned by Black Americans. In 1827, Many Black Americans started moving to Seneca Village after slavery was outlawed in New York. In 1830, Irish began to settle in Seneca Village as they immigrated to New York after the potato famine back in their home country. By 1855, 1/3rd of the community was Irish and the town. By this point in time, 55% of the black residents owned property with 1/5th of them also owning their own residence.

In 1840, New York city elites started the planning of Central Park, as they requested a public place for other city residents to mingle and converse. Inspired by the construction and design of London city parks, their main concern was that Manhattan had run out of space for construction of such a park. It was then they turned their eyes to Seneca Village. They started to refer to the community as "squatters", "vagabonds" and "scoundrels". They claimed the town was full of crime (sound familiar?) and graduated to even harsher terms such as "Nigger Village". By 1853, The City began assessing the land and the majority of residents received an average of 700$ for their property. The residents fought as much as they could to stop the destruction of their town but 'eminent domain' was truly eminent and the city began to enforce tax laws upon the residents and pushing them out with brute force via police. By 1857, All the residents were given final notices of eviction and later by October 1st that year, every single last resident of the Village was removed.

Seneca Village is a stinging reminder of what was lost among Black Americans who thrived against all odds in a cruel societal system. Its a representation of the Black Middle Class that existed before which was often hatefully sabotaged and destroyed as a result of blatant racism that exists within American history. To allow this community to grow without interference would have changed the entire fabric of the Black American community and its placement in New York City.

This event was so buried within history, some even thought it to be urban legend. In 2001, A group called the 'Seneca Village Project' lobbied the city to install a plaque to memorialize the Village. Later, Archeolegists were allowed to dig in 2004, 2005, and mid 2011 later proving that such a community existed and bringing light to an event that every American should be aware of.

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Madam C.J Walker







Madam C.J Walker was born as Sarah Breedlove in 1867. She was a Black female entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist. What drove me to learning a little bit more about her is the title she bestows as the first self-made millionaire while also being the wealthiest at her time of death. Such a title is intriguing with her status as a Black Woman and the time period she lived in. The claim isn't necessarily true, and Walker actually admits that in her own words however her estate was appraised at 600,000$ at the time of her death. That amount would be 8 million dollars if inflated to match today's currency rate so you tell me if she qualifies for the title 🤷🏿‍♂️

She started her life on a plantation in Louisiana, born as free woman under the Emancipation Proclamation despite her family being in captivity. She was one of 6 children. Her parents died when she was younger leaving her to stay with her sister. She married but soon left to St. Louis after her husband died and complications with her abusive brother in law emerged. She and her daughter left to St Louis where her 3 brothers lived. She ended up remarrying however the relationship was toxic and she left to Colorado in 1905. It was here she met Charles Joseph Walker to which her name derives.

In 1903, she took a job with Annie Pope-Turnbo as a sales consultant, selling hair growth products. It was here where she began to go door to door teaching black women how to style and maintain their hair. From this work, she realized their was a national market for hair care and looked to create her own mail-order business in Pittsburgh. She worked and created a company (Madam CJ Walker Manufacturing Company of Indiana) that ended up with majority of key positions mostly being run by women. At the height of her career between 1911 and 1919, Walker had employed thousands of women as sales agents. Walker was also noted to teach women how to budget, become financially independent, and build businesses.

Another noted quality of Madam CJ Walker was her philanthropy. She was known to give to different organizations and was dedicated to helping Black Americans in different capacities. She politicked in order for Black World War 1 Vets to receive their civil rights. She funded Anti-Lynching programs that were headed by the NAACP. Even in her death on May 25th 1919, she left a majority of her wealth to charity, majority of them being educational.

Madam CJ Walker is arguably an example of capitalism done with a purpose. She provided a service that was not offered nor considered to Black Women, while actively using her money to uplift her community around her and her people. Walker represented success in an Era where many Black Americans couldn't see themselves striving and even still to this day still represents a level of foundation that one can build through sheer determination and willpower. Her philanthropy, social activism, and her will to teach and spread knowledge is an example of how much one person is able to change the world around them and their environment. A significant representation of how much change a person with resources can influence. If this writeup isn't enough of a testament, let her words ring instead.

"I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South, From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing. . . . I have built my own factory on my own ground"

"I am in the business world, not for myself alone, but to do all the good I can for the uplift of my race."
 
Dec 6, 2019
565
So, we all know this painting. George Washington Crosses the Delaware River.

What I didn't know, until I was at the National Museum of History and Culture, is that the third man from the left to right, is a black dude.


You gotta look really close!


I knew about Crispus Attucks being a fugitive slave and the first man to die in the American Revolution, but it's interesting to re-think what that war looks like before White America gets their hands on the narrative.

The British were the first to offer slaves freedom for serving in their armies. 20,000 black runaways served with the loyalists. Only 5,000 with the revolutionaries.

Kinda changes my perspective on the 4th of July. The British ended slavery in 1833, while in America, another bloody war was required. What would it have looked like had America remained a British colony? Would a war still have been necessary? Would Britain even have continued the transatlantic trade given its proximity to France and their involvement? IDK...practically every black man who fought in the American Revolution did so for the promise of freedom, which, in either case, was not always fulfilled.

Touched-up version of The Death of Major Peirson prominently features his Ethiopian Regiment.



I gotta get my hands on the Boston King autobiography, now. Since he was sent to Nova Scotia, I've not encountered his name since that would be transatlantic rather than straight up African American.


Blacks fought in the American Revolution as equals to whites, according to historical record. But the blacks who fought on the American side were not granted ANY heroes rewards. It's like they went from equals and it was like "Ok, enough of that shit, time to begin Phase II of post-Bacon's Rebellion distinctions between blacks and whites. By the time the Civil War rolled around and the Emancipation Proclamation encouraged slaves to run away from the South en masse, even when they served in the Union Army, they were mistreated.

More on that later...maybe.

All in all, I would have paid closer fucking attention to colonial American history if I had known about more of this.
 

Mist

Love & Respect
Administrator
Oct 25, 2017
2,964
Wonderful thread idea. I've gone ahead and stuck the thread. I'll be back to contribute later.
 

Slayven

1000% Demon King
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
43,038
Good job Dig, i will attempt to add to it. But to tell you the truth i am not feeling it this year. Was going to keep my head down and hope it passed quick. Just feels extra hollow after so many months of hearing you ain't shit.
 

BAD

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,528
USA
Awesome OP. I also love the challenge.

First I’ll post this ad again because its excellent.



Val Demings - Impeachment Manager, Congresswoman

I’m from Orlando, and used to be in the part that she represents. I’m now in a neighboring district where her husband of 32 years, Jerry Demings, resides as the first black mayor of Orange County, FL. I have had the pleasure of meeting them a few times recently. Congresswoman Demings was Orlando’s first female police chief, having been born and raised here in FL and having dealt with segregated schools. She was excellent and thus held the role for 27 years until she retired from it for her next chapter. She won a seat in Congress in 2016, and was re-elected again. And that’s how we get to now, where she is an Impeachment Manager in the “trial” of Trump. She’s awesome and I’ve met her at events that I was surprised she even went to because they were small gatherings of her fellow Orlando Democrats, but she makes time when she can and it’s pretty inspiring. Glad to see her shining.
 
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ody

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,090
Damn, wasn't aware of the history of Seneca Village. Thanks, Op
 

Pickman

Member
Nov 20, 2017
1,571
Huntington, WV
Robert Smalls stole a Confederate ship he was confined on and gave it to the Union. In the process he saved his fellow slaves' families and then rode through a blockade posing as a Confederate captain with his hat pulled down low (he knew the lantern signals).

He went on to become a member of the US House of Representatives, a shipping company owner, and one of the founders of the public schools movement for the US.

Short bio and story of his escape

Wikipedia Article

His story is one of my favorites of heroism and "fuck you racist assholes" from the history of the Civil War. I really recommend reading everything you can find on him, because he was one hell of a self-made man.

One of my favorite tidbits:
Immediately following the war, Smalls returned to his native Beaufort, where he purchased his former master's house at 511 Prince St, which Union tax authorities had seized in 1863 for refusal to pay taxes.
 
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SigmasonicX

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,659
Robert Smalls stole a Confederate ship he was confined on and gave it to the Union. In the process he saved his fellow slaves' families and then rode through a blockade posing as a Confederate captain with his hat pulled down low (he knew the lantern signals).

He went on to become a member of the US House of Representatives, a shipping company owner, and one of the founders of the public schools movement for the US.

Short bio and story of his escape

Wikipedia Article

His story is one of my favorites of heroism and "fuck you racist assholes" from the history of the Civil War. I really recommend reading everything you can find on him, because he was one hell of a self-made man.
Damn, that would make a great movie or miniseries.

Everything posted so far is interesting.
 

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,993
Gather round kids as Nepenthe has a capoeira story to tell. We're gonna learn about Mestre Besouro of Bahia, probably the most famous capoeirista to ever live.

Born Manoel Henrique Pereira in 1895, he grew up in the years closely following abolition of slavery in Brazil. Naturally laws meant to target and disenfranchise Africans followed; capoeira became a forbidden expression, leaving many practitioners perpetually unemployed and destined for crime.

Despite these roadblocks Besouro learned capoeira in his youth anyway from freed slave and practitioner Tio Alípio. He became a scrappy fighter, hotheaded, confident...until he became outnumbered, at which point he'd flee with a speed and fury that made it look like he was flying, like the besouro (beetle) from which his nickname derived.

He became a notorious figure in the Salvador area in the 1920s. The police there cracked down hard on capoeira, busting up rodas and abusing/jailing anyone unlucky enough to be caught, to say nothing of maintaining the worker exploitation of freed slaves and their kin. Besouro thus turned his martial art towards protecting his town from police abuse and corruption. These altercations were numerous and- even at the time- were subject to folkloric feats.

One such story says Besouro not only laid out a whole swarm of cops without ever being touched, but disarmed them all and personally delivered the weapons to the police station as that extra middle finger. Another says that he was ambushed and actually shot, falling to the ground, but when cops approached the body he sprang up unharmed and hauled it out of there.

African customs and religions such as Yoruba and Candomblé imported through slavery managed to retain a greater foothold in Brazil than in America, and it is said that Besouro engaged in these customs as protection from bodily harm, such as in implanting fava beans under the skin to create a "closed body" impervious to harm.

Alas, Besouro met his end in a cruel ambush at around 24 years old, but his physical feats, bravery, and sense of justice in the face of overwhelming political subjugation has propelled him into the capoeira hall of fame, and he singularly stands as one of many symbols of anti-racism and opposition to white supremacy.

Today, if you ever get to practice capoeira or witness it, you may be lucky enough to hear one of the many songs about his life. Just as well, my group is named CDO- Cordão de Ouro (chain of gold)- which was named as such in honor of another one of Besouro's titles. Just as well there is a Brazilian mystical martial arts movie called Besouro (The Assailant in English) for your viewing pleasure that chronicles not only his life but is one of the few movies out there to include the orixa, Yoruba spirits of protection and nature. It's actually neat as hell.

Happy Black History Month!
 
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Kyuuji

Member
Nov 8, 2017
9,633
Really good thread DigitalOp, very interested to see what people post. In the UK we have our own Black History Month in October so will try to focus on the US side in my readings for this.

If people have articles in general they'd recommend for others to read as well as part of BHM would be good to also see.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,541
For a focus more local to me, I want to open by posting about Leimert Park. That's a historically Black neighborhood in Los Angeles, going on three and four generations. It has a strong culture of local patronage of Black businesses, arts, and public spaces and fora.

While the neighborhood was originally planned with the use of racist housing covenants, after Shelley v. Kraemer ruled those legally unenforceable more of the Black population of Los Angeles began to move into homes in the neighborhood. That did not mean that those moves were met with acceptance - there are numerous cases of extreme vandalism and lawsuits against previous homeowners who sold to new, Black owners. However, as court cases increasingly decided against the legality of such lawsuits, Leimert Park began more and more to be established as a center for black Angeleno professionals. The community established Black-owned art galleries and won the Los Angeles Unified School District's approval of a magnet school in 1978, which was the first magnet in a black neighborhood in LA. Performance venues and arts collaboratives followed in the 80s and 90s. By 2013, Leimert Park had become, by demographic proportion, the blackest neighborhood in Los Angeles.

Today, Leimert Park is facing increased pressure from property speculators and other forces of white gentrification, the same as many other neighborhoods in LA. But it continues to be a major center of Black culture for the city and county- in fact, the 2020 Los Angeles Black History Month Festival will be held on the Leimert Park Village Artwalk on February 16th.
 

Takyon

Member
Nov 8, 2017
2,650
I'd like to talk a little bit about Thomas Sankara, the revolutionary leader and first president of Burkina Faso. Basically, he came to power and created one of the best anti-imperialist, nation-building projects I've ever seen.

- nationalized mineral wealth
- land reform
- rejected the control of global monetary institutions like the IMF and pushed for odius debt reduction
- constructed a ton of new schools and other infrastructure
- created a health program that vaccinated 2.5 million children against deadly diseases like meningitis
- empowered women to serve in government and banned practices such as FGM and forced marriages

Sadly, the Sankara was assassinated only after 4 years in power. Pretty much all of these policies were overturned by the next leader. Still, I've lately been reading about the ways in which the global neo-colonialism and capitalism of late 20th century have fucked with Africa, Asia and South America. While he was alive, Sankara was basically proving all the preconceived notions about "development" wrong and did so with the popular support of his country. I think that the stuff he did can still be held as model today for people around the world who want to change their country for the better.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sankara
 

D i Z

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,279
Where X marks the spot.

Biography

Daniel Hale Williams was one of the first physicians to perform open-heart surgery in the United States and founded a hospital with an interracial staff.
Who Was Daniel Hale Williams?
Daniel Hale Williams pursued a pioneering career in medicine. An African American doctor, in 1893, Williams opened Provident Hospital, the first medical facility to have an interracial staff. He was also one of the first physicians to successfully complete pericardial surgery on a patient. Williams later became chief surgeon of the Freedmen’s Hospital.

Early Life
Daniel Hale Williams III was born on January 18, 1856, in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, to Sarah Price Williams and Daniel Hale Williams II. The couple had several children, with the elder Daniel H. Williams inheriting a barber business. He also worked with the Equal Rights League, a black civil rights organization active during the Reconstruction era.
More in the above link.
 

fuchsdh

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,866
If you're a NYC resident, you should take a trip to Brooklyn and go to Weeksville. It's a community center built around a few remaining houses on what used to be Hunterfly Road in Weeksville, a free black community that grew up in the period between emancipation in New York and the Civil War. Weeksville was part of a concerted effort by free blacks to cultivate land and thus gain political power.

The neglect of Crown Heights and Ocean Hill after World War II probably is the only reason these buildings survived. Weeksville was eventually rediscovered in the 60s, and since then the houses have been restored as part of the Weeksville Heritage Center, and it's a New York City Landmark.

The place has weird hours but they're open every Saturday during BHM. If you're not a history person (shame on you) they usually have workshops and contemporary art exhibits as well.
 

Yasuke

Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,368
Good job Dig, i will attempt to add to it. But to tell you the truth i am not feeling it this year. Was going to keep my head down and hope it passed quick. Just feels extra hollow after so many months of hearing you ain't shit.
I’m going through it too. Became estranged from my own pops a few days ago cause he didn’t see what was so wrong with telling his eight year old grandson he has “nappy, badly-textured hair”. It turned into a huge shouting match about his being a Trump supporter and how I was wasting my time trying to make people accept my dreadlocks and my sons fro.

I wanna contribute to this, cause it’s a great idea and I’ve already learned a bit from the thread, and I could use some hope that my pops is a part of a dying world.
 

Mist

Love & Respect
Administrator
Oct 25, 2017
2,964
I’m going through it too. Became estranged from my own pops a few days ago cause he didn’t see what was so wrong with telling his eight year old grandson he has “nappy, badly-textured hair”. It turned into a huge shouting match about his being a Trump supporter and how I was wasting my time trying to make people accept my dreadlocks and my sons fro.

I wanna contribute to this, cause it’s a great idea and I’ve already learned a bit from the thread, and I could use some hope that my pops is a part of a dying world.
I'm sorry you had to go through that, and your son. That's horrible.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,407

Before there was Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin.
Most people think of Rosa Parks as the first person to refuse to give up their seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. There were actually several women who came before her; one of whom was Claudette Colvin.

It was March 2, 1955, when the fifteen-year-old schoolgirl refused to move to the back of the bus, nine months before Rosa Parks’ stand that launched the Montgomery bus boycott. Claudette had been studying Black leaders like Harriet Tubman in her segregated school, those conversations had led to discussions around the current day Jim Crow laws they were all experiencing. When the bus driver ordered Claudette to get up, she refused, “It felt like Sojourner Truth was on one side pushing me down, and Harriet Tubman was on the other side of me pushing me down. I couldn’t get up.”

Claudette Colvin’s stand didn’t stop there. Arrested and thrown in jail, she was one of four women who challenged the segregation law in court. If Browder v. Gayle became the court case that successfully overturned bus segregation laws in both Montgomery and Alabama, why has Claudette’s story been largely forgotten? At the time, the NAACP and other Black organizations felt Rosa Parks made a better icon for the movement than a teenager. As an adult with the right look, Rosa Parks was also the secretary of the NAACP, and was both well-known and respected – people would associate her with the middle class and that would attract support for the cause. But the struggle to end segregation was often fought by young people, more than half of which were women.

Martin Luther King Jr. improvised the most iconic part of his “I Have a Dream Speech.”
On Wednesday, August 28, 1963, 250,000 Americans united at the Lincoln Memorial for the final speech of the March on Washington. As Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the podium, he eventually pushed his notes aside.

The night before the march, Dr. King began working on his speech with a small group of advisers in the lobby of the Willard Hotel. The original speech was more political and less historic, according to Clarence B. Jones, and it did not include any reference to dreams. After delivering the now famous line, “we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream,” Dr. King transformed his speech into a sermon.

Onstage near Dr. King, singer Mahalia Jackson reportedly kept saying, “Tell ‘em about the dream, Martin,” and while no one will know if he heard her, it could likely have been the inspiration he needed. Dr. King then continued, “Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream….” And then the famous Baptist preacher preached on, adding repetition and outlining the specifics of his dream. And while this improvised speech given on that hot August day in 1963 was not considered a universal success immediately, it is now recognized as one of the greatest speeches in American history. For more information on the 1963 March on Washington.

One in four cowboys were Black, despite the stories told in popular books and movies.
In fact, it's believed that the real “Lone Ranger” was inspired by an African American man named Bass Reeves. Reeves had been born a slave but escaped West during the Civil War where he lived in what was then known as Indian Territory. He eventually became a Deputy U.S. Marshal, was a master of disguise, an expert marksman, had a Native American companion, and rode a silver horse. His story was not unique however.

In the 19[SUP]th[/SUP] century, the Wild West drew enslaved Blacks with the hope of freedom and wages. When the Civil War ended, freedmen came West with the hope of a better life where the demand for skilled labor was high. These African Americans made up at least a quarter of the legendary cowboys who lived dangerous lives facing weather, rattlesnakes, and outlaws while they slept under the stars driving cattle herds to market.

While there was little formal segregation in frontier towns and a great deal of personal freedom, Black cowboys were often expected to do more of the work and the roughest jobs compared to their white counterparts. Loyalty did develop between the cowboys on a drive, but the Black cowboys were typically responsible for breaking the horses and being the first ones to cross flooded streams during cattle drives. In fact, it is believed that the term “cowboy” originated as a derogatory term used to describe Black “cowhands.”
 

Monkey DTT

Avenger
Oct 28, 2017
2,940
USA West Virginia
I'm sorry I just found this thread but





Jerry Lawson might be one of the most important people in the gaming industry that isn't recongised for his accomplishments. The Twitter thread and article are better summing up than I can but without him most of what we consider a video game console wouldnt exist. He created so many things we take for granted like playable ROMs that could be inserted into the machine.

His console "Fairchild channel F" actually came out before the Atari 2600 with early joysticks and a dedicated cpu. It's just so forward thinking I'm upset I just found out about this.

Edit: Fairchild channel F is the coolest name. But for real I forgot to wish y'all a happy black history month. ^_^
 
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Oct 27, 2017
15,807
Seattle
A Controversy came up last year due to some environmental groups calling themselves 'Red Line Tacoma'. It was a Environmentalist Group opposing Methanol plants here in the area. Several groups stepped up and requested that this group change its name as the phrase 'Red Lining' was rooted in racist real estate practices here in Tacoma and Hilltop and across the United States. I had never heard the term before, and it definitely opened my eyes to the level of racism in this country.

Our local mass transit company also changed the name of the 'Red Line' for their train line name.



Red Lining was an effort by mortgage lenders to only sell to white people for many neighborhoods, In the Tacoma area, this happened in the 30ss:

 
Oct 27, 2017
2,541
Gonna post another piece of Black Los Angeles history. Instead of a neighborhood, this one is about a person - Biddy Mason.

Mason was born into slavery in either Mississippi or Georgia in 1818. She traveled to California as part of a Mormon wagon train in 1851, but was purposefully not told of her rights in what had been established as a (newly recognized) free state. In 1856, Mason relayed fears of family separation and a forced move to Texas to two free black men, who successfully invaded the slaveholder's hideout together with local sheriffs and others to serve legal notice. Although California was a "free" state, there was a great deal of legalized discrimination, including laws prohibiting black people from testifying against white people. This made it difficult to prosecute slaveholders. However, in 1860, after a failed court appearance by her former slaveholder, Mason and her family were recognized by the state of California as free citizens.

Mason and her family then moved to Los Angeles, working as a midwife. She was one of the first black women to own property in LA and became known as a philanthropist, establishing schools, a traveler's aid center, and LA's first Black church, the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles. Mason donated the land for the church's construction. Established in 1872, the church building stood on the site that Mason donated until a new structure was built for it in 1968.

The present-day Biddy Mason Memorial park stands on a stretch of downtown Los Angeles, near Mason's former home on Spring Street.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,008
Houston
https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/syracuse-football-1960s-race-civil-rights
In the late 1960s, a group of student-athletes sacrificed their college and future pro careers by speaking out against a system of racial discrimination on the Syracuse University football team. They came to be called the “Syracuse 8.” Their demands included a desire for better medical care, stronger academic support for African-American student-athletes, a fair system for making the starting team and racial integration of the coaching staff. Met largely with resistance at the time, 36 years later, in 2006, the university recognized the Syracuse 8 with the Chancellor’s Medal for Courage
 

Kreed

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,122
Willie O’Ree broke the NHL’s color barrier in 1958 when he was signed to the Boston Bruins amid the U.S.’s battle with Jim Crow. Nzingha Prescod is an American foil fencer who became the first African-American woman to win an individual medal at the world championships. The two met in Washington, D.C. where they talked about their historic journeys as part of “CBS This Morning’s” Trailblazers series in celebration of Black History Month.
A native of Fredericton, New Brunswick, O’Ree shattered the NHL's color barrier with the Boston Bruins in 1958, amid the birth of the Civil Rights movement and the struggle to end Jim Crow. Although he had to deal with racist taunts by fans and some opponents, he was welcomed by teammates and management.

His debut came two years after losing an eye to a slap shot — a secret he kept for more than two decades. O’Ree played just 45 NHL games and ended up toiling 22 seasons in the minors, spending most of his last 15 in Southern California and playing into his 40s.
 

TalonJH

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,072
Louisville, KY
I'll try to do a couple of local Kentucky and Louisville, Ky stories.

First post is about the Free Black communities in Louisville.

Between 1830 and 1860, the free black population exploded from about 232 to around 2,000. A growth of 726 percent. Louisville became the largest concentration of free Blacks in Kentucky and in the upper South—west of Baltimore. Most were young and female. Most were desperately poor, with the of owning and operating businesses blocked by laws enacted to prevent competition with whites and their employment opportunities limited to labor and domestic service. Still, work was plentiful and a handful of more fortunate free blacks worked as clerks, musicians, teachers, teamsters, blacksmiths, barbers and on the steamboats that plied the river.
Three individuals emerged as the principal architects of black Louisville. One, Shelton Morris, founded the first black business in Louisville in 1832, a barbershop and bathhouse under the old Galt House. Another, Washington Spradling, speculated in real estate and, by the 1860s, became the first African American in Kentucky worth more than $100,000(a little over 3 million dollars after inflation) . Together, as brothers-in-law, Spradling and Morris once owned much of the eastern Russell Area in the 1830s. Yet another, Eliza Curtis Hundley Tevis, became the only significant free black land-owner in the surrounding county when she purchased the land that developed into the Newburg/Petersburg community. By the 1850s, through their leadership and institution-building efforts, there were eight independent black churches in Louisville, most of which also sponsored small schools, in or near the old downtown area.
 

Monkey DTT

Avenger
Oct 28, 2017
2,940
USA West Virginia
Ernie Barnes was famous for his paintings and artworks but he actually was a professional football player before he became an artist. What I love about how art style is just how real it feels even with the stylized look. His "beauty of the ghetto" exhibition from 1972 to 1979 was particularly striking.

“I am providing a pictorial background for an understanding into the aesthetics of Black America. It is not a plea to people to continue to live there (in the ghetto) but for those who feel trapped, it is…a challenge of how beautiful life can be.”





 

Volimar

volunteer forum janitor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,153
Not sure if this qualifies but it just came up on my twitter feed and i think it's an important reminder.


Trayvon Martin should have turned 25 today.
 

fuchsdh

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,866
Ernie Barnes was famous for his paintings and artworks but he actually was a professional football player before he became an artist. What I love about how art style is just how real it feels even with the stylized look. His "beauty of the ghetto" exhibition from 1972 to 1979 was particularly striking.

“I am providing a pictorial background for an understanding into the aesthetics of Black America. It is not a plea to people to continue to live there (in the ghetto) but for those who feel trapped, it is…a challenge of how beautiful life can be.”





These kind of feel like classic WPA art, if the artists hung out with Dali and did acid. Really cool dynamism to the figures. Thanks for sharing.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,930
United Kingdom
My submission is a book recommendation by Akala, who doesn't get much recognition here on Era.



A searing modern polemic and Sunday Times bestseller from the BAFTA and MOBO award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala.

From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers - race and class have shaped Akala's life and outlook. In this unique book he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.

Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives will speak directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain's racialised empire.
 

Aizō

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
8,371
ほぼ真ん中の方
I'm currently reading How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, and I honestly believe it should be required reading. It's not just full of information that any progressive should know already. It's part memoir about the author coming to terms with his own internalized racism (that he was praised for by the black community), and his thought processes are often profound. I love it. Anyway, he's a great figure, and his story of starting out thinking he wasn't smart enough and not behaving well in his youth to ending up a PhD is inspiring.
 

Monkey DTT

Avenger
Oct 28, 2017
2,940
USA West Virginia
Trying to keep this a daily thing because of the challenge and it's just been nice to learn.





Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner was the inventor of the sanatary belt. Before her inventory came along women were using rags during their periods, this design was a massive game changer that ultimately didn't get utilized until 30 years after she came up with the idea. The company who would go on to produce her product had rejected her purely because it was created by an African American.

“One day I was contacted by a company that expressed an interest in marketing my idea. I was so jubilant,” she said. “I saw houses, cars, and everything about to come my way.” A company rep drove to Kenner’s house in Washington to meet with their prospective client. “Sorry to say, when they found out I was black, their interest dropped. The representative went back to New York and informed me the company was no longer interested.”

She also had invented a bathroom tissue holder and a back washer that mounted onto shower or bathtub walls, all while being a full-time florist in the D.C. area and Kenner holds the most patents for any African American woman in history. She didn't earn the money she should have it bit she worked for the love of inventing.

She's probably one of the coolest inventors their are, she fell in love with the craft as a child and made that a focus for the rest of her life. And on terms of what she invented she actively made the world a cleaner, healthier place. And even after 30 years of rejection she continued to push through her revolutary ideas.

 

Mist

Love & Respect
Administrator
Oct 25, 2017
2,964
I wanted to share a book that touched me deeply; 'Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"' by Zora Neale Hurtston. It is based on her interviews in 1927 with Cudjoe Lewis (born Oluale Kossola), the last presumed living survivor of the Atlantic slave trade between Africa and America.

The book was published posthumously, partly because it was written in vernacular, which some people at the time felt was playing into stereotypes. But the vernacular that he spoke in his part of his story and the story of people like him. I'm so happy she didn't budge on her values against whitewashing him, and that the book was eventually published. I felt so honoured to read his story. I cried with him, smiled at what happiness he managed to find, and felt in awe of his courage and will to survive.

I strongly recommend the book, but here's an article about him:

Some excerpts:
Roughly 60 years after the abolition of slavery, anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston made an incredible connection: She located the last surviving captive of the last slave ship to bring Africans to the United States.
Most poignantly, Lewis’ narrative provides a first-hand account of the disorienting trauma of slavery. After being abducted from his home, Lewis was forced onto a ship with strangers. The abductees spent several months together during the treacherous passage to the United States, but were then separated in Alabama to go to different plantations.
“We very sorry to be parted from one ’nother,” Lewis told Hurston. “We seventy days cross de water from de Affica soil, and now dey part us from one ’nother. Derefore we cry. Our grief so heavy look lak we cain stand it. I think maybe I die in my sleep when I dream about my mama.”
Lewis expected to receive compensation for being kidnapped and forced into slavery, and was angry to discover that emancipation didn’t come with the promise of “forty acres and a mule,” or any other kind of reparations. Frustrated by the refusal of the government to provide him with land to live on after stealing him away from his homeland, he and a group of 31 other freepeople saved up money to buy land near Mobile, which they called Africatown.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,152
Bruce Smith is one of my favorite animators of all time, so imagine my joy seeing him interviewed on one of my favorite podcast/shows, DoubleToasted.



Check out some of Bruce's animation reel from when he was a lead animator at Disney Feature back in the day:







 
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Urban Scholar

Member
Oct 30, 2017
4,685
Miami, FL
My bad for not posting in here more often yall

So here's some Black history from here in Miami. This is via:




Dana A. Dorsey, better known as D.A. Dorsey, was a Georgia man who came to Miami to work as a carpenter on Flagler’s railroad. He saw a need among fellow workers for housing, so he got into Miami’s favorite pastime — real estate. Dorsey purchased land in Overtown and redeveloped it into affordable housing.

Through years of development, reinvestment and entrepreneurship, Dorsey became Miami’s first black millionaire. Dorsey held property in Dade and Broward counties, Cuba and the Bahamas. He built the Dorsey Hotel, the first black-owned hotel in the city, and founded the first black bank. Dorsey even bought and sold present-day Fisher Island.

Dorsey also left a philanthropic legacy in the community. Dorsey sold land to establish Miami’s first park for blacks, and donated land for the city’s first library for blacks and the site of Dorsey High School, which is now D.A. Dorsey Technical College. Today, the D. A. Dorsey house at 250 NW 9th Street is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and is owned by The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida.

Black business has been a Miami staple
 
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Oct 27, 2017
2,541
Today's post is about Leah Gilliam. Maybe someone more directly relevant to ResetEra, at least for those of us who are interested in the direct intersection of contemporary art and games. Gilliam began lecturing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee before completing her MFA there in 1993, then immediately became the visiting artist in video at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1996, she then became a professor at Bard, where she remained as a teacher until 2007.

Gilliam's work challenges the production and coding of knowledge, often mixing technological media. One of her best known installations, at the Whitney Museum of American Art as part of the "BitStreams" show (2001), featured Super-8 movie trailers displayed on Macs from the early 90s. Another installation, "Agenda for a Landscape" re-presented images from the Sojourner Mars rover intercut with digitally altered images of the Hudson River Valley, emphasizing how much mediation there is in our view of Martian landscapes by comparison with seeing a more familiar one through a robotic eye. Damn that's cool.

Look at this installation - I would love to go back in time and hang out in it.
 

Geoff

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
6,967
Hello

Coming in to suggest an (American) book I read that won the UK's biggest literary prize a few years ago but I haven't seen it mentioned much on here.



It's a semi-humorous novel about a black man in modern day LA who decides to take another black man as a slave and who also advocates for and tries to implement other pre-civil rights racist policies like segregation in schools and on buses.

Why he does this isn't really spelled out and it's left to the reader to interpret the message of the book but without wanting to give anything away, my take is that it's comment on how the superficial nature of modern America's antiracist reforms does more harm than good because it purports to level the playing field, without actually doing so, which is the worst of all worlds. Black people don't get to benefit from the level playing field but they also don't get the unity and the right to complain that comes with not having it either.

Or at least that was my interpretation as a white man living in the UK anyway. Could be complete bollocks.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,008
Houston
was looking for something local and found a small story about a half black half Asian woman spend very little money to defeat a racist in a election here

Ms. Clark is the program director of the Texas Southern University Direct Recruitment Committee, which assists minority college students. She spent only $10,000 on the citywide race and is not well known in the city. Comment Sets Off Controversy

Mr. Westmoreland, a 16-year veteran of the Council, had been expected to win re-election easily until his remark made him the center of a bitter political controversy.

The furor began Oct. 28 when The Houston Chronicle reported that Mr. Westmoreland had suggested that Houston's main airport be renamed ''Nigger International'' to appease Council members who were trying to rename it for Representative Mickey Leland, who died in a plane crash in Ethiopia last August.
 

skillzilla81

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,936
I'm currently reading How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, and I honestly believe it should be required reading. It's not just full of information that any progressive should know already. It's part memoir about the author coming to terms with his own internalized racism (that he was praised for by the black community), and his thought processes are often profound. I love it. Anyway, he's a great figure, and his story of starting out thinking he wasn't smart enough and not behaving well in his youth to ending up a PhD is inspiring.
He was here in Colorado to talk. I'd read both of his books already, but it was great hearing him speak. My favorite anti-racist writer right now.

I recommend Stamped from the Beginning as well. It's a ridiculously extensive and thorough examination of the roots of racism in America.