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Michael Twitty – African-American Food Historian

I have written about Michael Twitty before, and his explorations into African-American slave cuisine, and how it impacted what Americans eat, even today.

He has written a new book about the road he travelled – The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South

Michael now works in Colonial Williamsburg, where the demonstrates not only the cuisine, but the methodology the slaves used to raise and prepare it.

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Posted by on August 2, 2017 in Black History

 

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Baltimore’s confederate Statues

Baltimore, a city in a state that never was part of the Confederacy (not for lack of trying) has 3 confederate monuments. It is a majority black city.

So…the problem I have with Miz Mayor is…WTF is the problem?

It don’t cost $200k to take those down. You call a metal recycling outfit, and they can have the bronze statues for the cost of hauling them away to melt down. Frontloader and Dump truck, a couple of guys with jackhammers take care of the base – cost $3000 if you have to rent the truck. End of story. Alternately keep the base to put something of value to the folks of Baltimore on top of.

Get the feeling that perhaps the reason for Baltimore’s continuing struggles are their lousy leadership?

Mayor Catherine Pugh

Baltimore Mayor Considers Removal Of Confederate Monuments

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is considering the removal of her city’s Confederate monuments, as New Orleans did just days ago.

“The city does want to remove these,” Pugh told the Baltimore Sun. “We will take a closer look at how we go about following in the footsteps of New Orleans.”

Earlier this month, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered a speech that drew widespread attention, explaining why he had ordered the removal of that city’s confederate monuments.

Among Baltimore’s monuments to the Confederacy is a statue of Roger Taney, the Supreme Court chief justice who wrote the infamous Dred Scott decision that said, among other things, that African-Americans could not be citizens. The city also has statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

A statue of Chief Justice Roger Taney in Baltimore, Md.

Pugh suggested one way to get rid of the statues, telling the Sun, “It costs about $200,000 a statute to tear them down. … Maybe we can auction them?”

The previous mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, ordered the placement of interpretive plaques at the monuments. One such plaque, placed at a statue of Lee and Jackson, states:

“These two men became subjects of the Lost Cause movement which portrayed them as Christian soldiers and even as men who opposed slavery. Today current scholarship refutes these claims. These larger-than-life representations of Lee and Jackson helped perpetuate the Lost Cause ideology, which advocated for white supremacy, portrayed slavery as benign and justified secession.”

Carolyn Billups, former president of the Maryland chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, told the Sun, “I find it interesting that Baltimore city has that kind of money to move statues when there are problems with crime and schools. I would think that would be more of a priority.”

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Black History, Stupid Democrat Tricks

 

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The Black History of Memorial Day

Another bit of black history and contribution to America…”forgotten”.

Image result for black civil war soldiers

The black history of Memorial Day has been nearly wiped from public memory — here’s the real story

Union General John Logan is often credited with founding Memorial Day. The commander-in-chief of a Union veterans’ organization called the Grand Army of the Republic, Logan issued a decree establishing what was then named “Decoration Day” on May 5, 1868, declaring it “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

Today, cities across the North and South claim credit for establishing the first Decoration Day—from Macon, Georgia to Richmond, Virginia to Carbondale, Illinois. Yet, a key story of the holiday has been nearly erased from public memory and most official accounts, including that offered by the the Department of Veterans Affairs.

During the spring of 1865, African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina—most of them former slaves—held a series of memorials and rituals to honor unnamed fallen Union soldiers and boldly celebrate the struggle against slavery. One of the largest such events took place on May first of that year but had been largely forgotten until David Blight, a history professor at Yale University, found records at a Harvard archive. In a New York Times article published in 2011, Blight described the scene. While it is difficult to pinpoint the precise birthplace of the holiday, it is fair to say that ceremonies like the following are largely erased from the American narrative of Memorial Day.

During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the city’s Washington Race Course and Jockey Club into an outdoor prison. Union captives were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand.

After the Confederate evacuation of Charleston black workmen went to the site, reburied the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

The symbolic power of this Low Country planter aristocracy’s bastion was not lost on the freedpeople, who then, in cooperation with white missionaries and teachers, staged a parade of 10,000 on the track. A New York Tribune correspondent witnessed the event, describing “a procession of friends and mourners as South Carolina and the United States never saw before.”

The procession was led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing the Union marching song “John Brown’s Body.” Several hundred black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantrymen. Within the cemetery enclosure a black children’s choir sang “We’ll Rally Around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner” and spirituals before a series of black ministers read from the Bible.

After the dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantrymen participating were the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th United States Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite.

This story of Memorial Day, also reported by Victoria M. Massie of Vox, was not merely excluded from the history books but appears to have been actively suppressed. The park where the race course prison camp once stood was eventually named Hampton Park after the Confederate General Wade Hampton who became South Carolina’s governor following the civil war.

In 1966, former President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Waterloo, New York to be the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Then, in 1971, Congress established “Memorial Day” as an official federal holiday to honor all Americans who have fallen in U.S. Wars. In an article published in 2013 on Snopes.com, writer David Mikkelson used these official declarations, as well as the decree issued by Logan, to bolster his argument that African-Americans in Charleston probably should not be credited for establishing the holiday. He further noted that numerous other towns and cities claim to have created the first ceremonies. Yet, Mikkelson’s reasoning fails to account for the systematic and proven appropriation, erasure and distortion of African-American history by presidents, lawmakers, generals and scholars alike. The fact that the role of African-Americans is missing from the official record is precisely the problem. At the very least, the contribution of Black people in Charleston has been erased from the public narrative of Memorial Day and deserves to be recognized.

World War II veteran Howard Zinn argued in 1976 that the holiday has since become an uncritical celebration of war-making. “Memorial Day should be a day for putting flowers on graves and planting trees,” he wrote. “Also, for destroying the weapons of death that endanger us more than they protect us, that waste our resources and threaten our children and grandchildren.”

Yet Memorial Day has other troubling modern-day manifestations. Today, while confederate symbols across the United States are increasingly rejected as racist, civil war reenactors still gather in Charleston for a public ceremony, held shortly after Memorial Day, to honor the confederacy on the anniversary of General Stonewall Jackson’s death in 1863. The ceremony is slated to take place next weekend, even after last summer’s white supremacist massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in nine African-Americans were slaughtered.

Charleston officials have taken some small steps towards recognizing the city’s African-American history. Following a community campaign, the city of Charleston finally held its first formal commemoration of the African-American roots of Memorial Day in 2010, and the following year it established a plaque. Yet, the history of former slaves’ efforts to give the union dead a proper burial is missing from the park’s official history, made available online by the Parks Conservancy.

Dot Scott, president of the Charleston branch of the NAACP, told AlterNet, “Many of the issues we have around race are based on the fact that these stories have not been told. It sends the message that the contributions of African-Americans are not valued and respected.”

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2017 in Black History

 

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Jeff Davis Goes Down (Again) In New Orleans

Taking out the trash, and putting it where it belongs…On the trash-heap of history.

Workers Take Jefferson Davis Statue Off Its Pedestal In New Orleans

More apropos would have been the rope around its neck

Workers in New Orleans dismantled the city’s Jefferson Davis monument early Thursday, removing a prominent statue of the Confederate leader that had stood for more than 100 years.

“This historic moment is an opportunity to join together as one city and redefine our future,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said as he announced that crews had begun removing the statue, the second of four planned removals of four Confederacy-related monuments.

As workers slung a strap around the statue’s waist and lifted it off its pedestal, “at least 100 people cheered from across the street, outnumbering the few dozen protesters, some waving Confederate flags,” member station WWNO’s Laine Kaplan-Levenson reports.

“We would have preferred it to be in the daytime,” monument opponent Malcolm Suber told Kaplan-Levenson, “so everybody could see it in the light of day. But we’ll take this.”

 

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Firestorm at Bethune-Cookman Heats Up Over Commencement Speaker

Not a good idea to invite the devil…

Thinking it is about time for some “regime change” at the College President level.

DeVos Commencement Speech Draws Protests

Fifty thousand signatures on protest petitions. Calls on the president of the university to resign. People on Twitter saying they’re mailing back their degrees.

It’s probably not what the leadership of Bethune-Cookman University was expecting when they announced their speaker for today’s commencement ceremony. But Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seems to bring a unique level of controversy almost everywhere she goes. And that’s especially true when it comes to historically black colleges like Bethune-Cookman.

Earlier this year, DeVos called HBCUs “real pioneers when it comes to school choice,” a remark she was forced to walk back after protests; in fact, these colleges were founded as the only option for students, when other colleges were still legally segregated. Just this week, DeVos found herself clarifying comments by President Trump that seemed to suggest that a key form of funding for HBCUs might be unconstitutional.

In announcing the invitation last week, Bethune-Cookman’s president, Edison O. Jackson, said DeVos’ “mission to empower parents and students resonates with the history and legacy” of Mary McLeod Bethune, the college’s founder.

Trinice McNally holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from BCU. She said that herself and many other alumni “were outraged” both by the invitation and by the allusion to Bethune’s legacy. “It’s a complete insult. There is no comparison.”

BCU did not immediately respond to requests for comment from NPR. They have been active on social media, posting a picture of empty cardboard boxes on Twitter with the hashtag “#Deception?” presumably referring to the petition drive; and posting a video on Facebook Live.

On the same day that they announced DeVos, May 1, the university released a second announcement in response to the widespread blowback. This time, President Jackson invoked academic freedom. “I am of the belief that it does not benefit our students to suppress voices that we disagree with, or to limit students to only those perspectives that are broadly sanctioned by a specific community.

Protests of speakers, particularly conservative speakers, have raged lately on campuses from the University of California, Berkeley to Middlebury College in Vermont. They have sometimes turned violent, and sparked a heated debate about free speech and modes of dissent. DeVos, meanwhile, often encounters protesters and is the first education secretary to receive security protection from the U.S. Marshals Service.

Commencement speakers, though, are more commonly chosen for celebration and uplift than for provocative messages.

 

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American Gods, Meet Mr. Nancy…On a Slave Ship

New series on Starz – at least episode 2 looks to be a heck of a watch…

‘American Gods’ Delivers a Powerful Black Lives Matter Message

Actor Orlando Jones—aka Mr. Nancy—opens up about the rousing speech his character delivers aboard a slave ship in the second episode of Starz’s thrilling new series.

It begins on a slave ship, in the cramped, fire-lit hull where stolen men sit chained by the hundreds. One man, face beaded with sweat and desperation, cries out to African spider god Anansi, the trickster: “These strange men have tied my hands,” he quivers. “…Help me from this place and I will sing to you all my life.”

The god appears, anachronistically dapper in a fresh-pressed purple suit and fedora. He laughs. Anansi, or Mr. Nancy as he’s called in America—one of the old-world mythological gods competing for worship in the fantastical universe of Starz’s American Gods—agrees to help. But first, he tells a story.

“Once upon a time, a man got fucked,” he begins. “Now how is that for a story? ‘Cause that the story of black people in America.”

He grins impishly at the men’s blank expressions, then remembers: “Shit!” he says. “You all don’t know you black yet. You think you just people. Let me be the first to tell you that you are all black. The moment these Dutch motherfuckers set foot here and decided that they white and you all get to be black—and that’s the nice name they call you? Let me paint a picture of what’s waiting for you on the shore…”

He stalks the room cavalierly, describing the life that awaits his believers in America. “You all get to be slaves,” he says. “Split up, sold off and worked to death. The lucky ones get Sunday off to sleep, fuck and make more slaves, and all for what? For cotton. Indigo. For a fucking purple shirt.”

There is a silver lining, he says: “The tobacco your grandkids are gonna farm for free is gonna give a shitload of these white motherfuckers cancer.”

Abject terror starts to fill the room. Mr. Nancy sneers. “And I ain’t even started yet,” he says. “A hundred years later, you’re fucked. A hundred years after that? Fucked. A hundred years after you get free, you still getting fucked on the job and shot at by police.” He points his finger like a gun and pulls an invisible trigger. “You are staring down the barrel of 300 years of subjugation, racist bullshit, and heart disease.”

The man who prayed to Anansi begins heaving, furious. “Angry is good,” Mr. Nancy says, pleased. “Angry gets shit done.” He unveils a daring proposal for the men: exact revenge on their captors by burning the ship down, taking their own lives along with it.

Frantically, the men break free of their chains and set fire to the ship, trading their lives to watch their captors burn. A small, purple-hued spider, meanwhile, floats safely out to shore on a piece of driftwood.

And this, we learn, is the story of how the trickster Mr. Nancy came to America.

American Gods, Starz’s brutal, brilliant adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2001 fantasy novel, opens each episode with a vignette like Mr. Nancy’s, telling stories of the bloodshed and sacrifices made by immigrants from around the world when coming to America.

Of course, Mr. Nancy (played mesmerizingly by Sleepy Hollow star Orlando Jones) and the hundreds of thousands of Africans sold and transported to America over the course of 300 years were not immigrants. They were stolen; they did not come by choice. That’s an important distinction—one that swaths of America including public figures (ahem, Ben Carson) would still rather forget.

Mr. Nancy’s thundering speech, then, is an essential reminder: it paints a current-day portrait of slavery’s legacy for black America, explicitly linking it to everyday forms of oppression like poverty, racial profiling, and police brutality. It’s a call to remember the shameful parts of America’s past, and to understand their living impact today.

 The Video – 

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2017 in Black History, BlackLivesMatter

 

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Internet Myths And Slavery

White supremacists and confederacy apologists continually try and introduce false narratives about slavery. Not much different than Holocaust deniers. Here is an interesting video debunking some of those myths.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2017 in Black History

 

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