Tags James Weldon Johnson
Tag: James Weldon Johnson
Wanda Sabir opens the door to the abundance of February with the gifts of Black History Month, observations on today’s Jim Crow, stories and people we may not know about like Adam David Miller (A.D.) and young Amanda Gorman, who’s poem, “The Hill We Climb,” breathed hope and vitality into a weary country at the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris.
It is said that Mark Twain once quipped that “history does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” One cannot escape comparisons with 1968, and with widespread civil unrest, troops in the streets, warring abroad and a rabidly reactionary Republican president seeking re-election while executing his own Southern Strategy replete with dog-whistle appeals to “law and order,” such comparisons are not without merit.
This poem is water It is palm wine to the ancestors Ones with heads up, lips parted Utterance stuck in throat It is fresh water with peppermint It is nommo Words into flesh Blackness Melanin A magic hue Sun kissed by time
With words that come from my heart, I’d like to tell you of myself, in hopes people may see and know that there are folks with soul and with heart all over. I am 46 years old. My mom was Cherokee and German, my Dad was Irish American and we lived in Dalton, Georgia. I am the youngest of nine kids. We lived in what is called Newtown. My mom and Dad were seen the same as a Black person with a fair-skinned person. I grew up as the only non-black American on my street till mom passed on Sept. 21, 1981.
Though pioneering journalist Richard Durham (1917-1984) made Chicago his home, Professor Sonja D. Williams’s “Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio and Freedom” (2015) offers a portrait of a man who was not contained by geography – spatial or otherwise. Williams will be in town this weekend to share the Durham story at the African American Museum and Library, 659 14th St., Oakland, Saturday, March 11, 2-4 p.m.
Happy Black History Month. Knowledge is power, something Black people from Frederick Douglass to Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks to Kamala Harris have never taken for granted. If white people would kill a Black person for teaching someone to read, not to mention knowing how to read – enough said! The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s organization, has chosen the theme: “Crisis in Education” for 2017.
Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (“Isis Papers”) made her transition Jan. 2, 2016. She was 80. The psychiatrist who challenged white supremacists on what she called “The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy)” to look at their own melanin deficiency for what it is, “envy,” stirred and continues to stir the waters. She always stated theoretically that “Black lives matter,” way before the #blm movement.
The thrill isn’t gone, but certainly without BB King (Sept. 16, 1925-May 14, 2015) singing it, living it, being an example of it, well – the world without him and his faithful Lucille will not be quite the same any longer. Good times? Well, they are on “pause” presently. And then there is Michael Lange, our Malcolm X. Michael made his transition May 20. Michael’s Memorial Celebration is Saturday, May 30, 12 noon, at St. Columba Catholic Church.
The house was packed for the San Francisco NAACP Freedom Fund Gala, “We Shall Not Be Moved Until Justice Rolls Down Like a Mighty Stream,” at the Union Square Hilton on Saturday, Nov. 9, when Tavis Smiley, named one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” by TIME magazine, broadcaster, author of 16 books, publisher, advocate and philanthropist, took the mic. Beginning with excerpts from his introduction by San Francisco NAACP President Dr. Amos C. Brown, here is Tavis’ provocative and profoundly moving address:
For true self-determination, we must each play our part. If you are not a member of the NAACP, consider becoming one. If you are already a member, resolve to serve as a volunteer, if not an officer or committee member. Attend a meeting and bring a friend or family member. Not a joiner? Donate to fund initiatives. Do your part to support an organization that has sustained us and defended us for so long.
We want to call the names of those who made their transition in January and offer condolences to their loved ones who have yet to cross that bridge. I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that Ave Montague is gone.
Lord, help us work for that day when Black will not be asked to get in back, when Brown can stick around, when Yellow will be mellow, when the Red man can get ahead, man; and when White will embrace what is right.