A few years ago, an arrogant young black male stated to me that schools like my Alma Mater, N.C. A&T State University, a Historically Black College University (“HBCU”) are no longer needed. Often speaking without thinking, the Carnegie Mellon graduate exclaimed in ignorance that blacks outside his family had never done anything for him. Sadly his lack of knowledge on African American History did not allow him to understand that had it not been for people like Rev. J.A. Delaine, Charles Hamilton Houston, Charlotte Brown Hawkins, Clarence Matthews, Phairlever Pearson and many more blacks unrelated to him, he would not have been able to attend Carnegie Mellon.
Troy Hayden and Raeshaun Emerson
The video above also shows that the beat continues with the HBCU. On Christmas morning, Troy Hayden of Winston-Salem, a student assistant for A&T’s Cold Steel drum line arrived in full uniform at the home of six year old Raeshaun Emerson. During that visit which was a Christmas wish, Hayden showed the young drummer how to hold drumsticks and gave him a pair that lights up.
Raeshaun, who already had strapped on a drum he got for Christmas last year, played alongside Hayden. It was the perfect Christmas gift for a boy whose been watching A&T’s drummers since he was 2.
According to Raeshaun mother, Raesha Emerson, Raeshaun often looks up the band online and watches videos of Cold Steel on YouTube.
In October of this year, Raeshaun finally got to see the band and drum line live at Dudley High School’s homecoming parade.
After being contacted by a friend of Raesha Emerson, the 23 year old Hayden drove about 20 minutes from Winston-Salem, N.C. to Greensboro N.C. to fulfill the Christmas surprise.
For Hayden, an industrial systems engineering major at NC. A&T State University, making a child’s Christmas wish come true shows Cold Steel’s greater purpose.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about giving back,” says Hayden, “and I’m glad I was able to do it.”
In this season of Kwanzaa, we should all give back by teaching our history to our children.
Here is a little history as a starter. In 1890, Congress enacted the Second Morrill Act that mandated “a separate college for the colored race.” The Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race (now N.C. A&T) was established as that school in the state of North Carolina. The establishment of the school was ratified on March 9, 1891. By an act of the General Assembly, North Carolina’s legislative branch. Originally operating in Raleigh as an annex to Shaw University, the college made a permanent home in Greensboro with the help of local citizens such as DeWitt Clinton Benbow and Charles H. Moore.
In 1915, state legislators changed the college’s name to the Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina; and in 1967, they elevated it to university status. N.C. A&T became a constituent university of the University of North Carolina in 1972.
In order to stamp out ignorance in our own community and to preserve our place in history, it is important to spread the word on our black history.
We will be sharing that history with you in February which is known as Black History Month. Hope you will join us.
By the way,that arrogant young man’s father graduated from N.C. A&T. N.C. A&T prepared the father for medical school.
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Posted 10 months ago at 7:11 am. Add a comment
Nelson Mandela was a man amongst men for he had a resolve like no other. Madiba kept his eye on the prize during his 27 years in prison. That prize was the cessation of Apartheid in his beloved South Africa.
A peaceful warrior who fought the good fight, Mr. Mandela defined courage. Some battles he lost, but at the end he was triumphant. As he emerged from his tiny prison cell in 1990 he appeared like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
During those 27 years, he continued to lead by example. Refusing to let his captives cripple him emotionally, Madiba stayed involved with the movement. Some might say that he selfishly abandoned his marriage and family in his fight against Apartheid. Others would rightfully argue that he gave his all so that all black South Africans would be treated with the respect and dignity that they deserved as human beings.
Through faith he made his way out of the darkness. No matter what obstacles he faced, he never faltered.
There are some who have criticized the out pouring accolades paid upon him as if he was the second coming. Nothing but a man they exclaim to the highest. Twenty seven years he occupied that tiny prison cell, yet he exhibited no bitterness. The word was not part of his vocabulary. Unity, Respect and Dignity towards mankind was.
I would like to remind those critics that from his tiny prison cell Mr. Mandela inspired the world to embrace the termination of Apartheid. College students protested and demanded divestiture in South Africa. People came from all over the world protesting Apartheid by allowing themselves to be arrested in front of the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. People did more than just wear a hoodie in protest. People came together as one and brought South Africa to its’ knees financially. They also spurred Mandela’s unconditional release from Prison in 1990.
Mr. Mandela inspired descendants of Africa to embrace their roots with pride. Education and water improvement has become special causes for many celebrated Black Americans.
From Prison to President, Madiba never attempted to revenge his lost of liberty and all the consequences that attached.
There has been no other leader in history like him for he truly changed the world. Maybe he’s not the second coming, but close enough for the world truly changed for the better because he was born.
Nelson Mandela has walked the last mile of the way, and will be laid to rest on tomorrow.
As the many dignitaries arrive for his memorial at the 80,000 capacity South Africa stadium, there will be no question about it. Nelson Mandela was more than just a man.
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Posted 10 months, 2 weeks ago at 2:19 pm. Add a comment
Town& Country Library Pavillion
With hot dogs on the grill, and people dressed in shorts and short sleeved shirts in 80 degrees weather, it appeared that the residents surrounding the Town & Country public library were celebrating the Yuletide in July. Not so. Last night the residents gathered for the tree lighting festivities signaling the start of the Yuletide spirit in December. This particular Town & Country community is located in Tampa, Florida.
Davis Elementary School Choir
The Davis Elementary school entertained the crowd with jazzed up Christmas tunes like Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad”. Thanks to the Town & Country Garden Center there were plenty of hotdogs and home baked cookies. The Garden Center sponsored the event which is now in its’ fourth year.
Members of Town & Country Garden Center Preparing Hot dogs
Santa paid the mostly Latino crowd a visit, and brought snowflakes with him. Yes, for the northern transplants there was a snow machine blowing out snowflakes.
There was also a line waiting for Santa upon his arrival. Alexander who was first in line was having nothing to do with the white bearded man dress in red. He did not however refuse the stuff animal Santa gave him. Alexander quickly leaped off Santa’s lap with stuff animal in one hand and his mother’s hand in the other.
It was just a fun night at this family oriented event.
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Posted 10 months, 2 weeks ago at 4:56 pm. Add a comment
As I rounded the corner and made my decent from the top of the hill I saw her sitting on the front porch with her head hanging down. It had been an unusually warm November day. It was so warm I was carrying my coat instead of wearing it. It was the calm before the storm.
We were on the playground for recess when Mrs. Purnell called out for us to line up and return to the classroom. As we came to order, she told us the bad news.
As I walked up into the front yard her head rose and our eyes met. It was then I saw the tears streaming down her high cheekbones. At that moment I knew she had heard the bad news which broke during “As The World Turns”, one of her soap operas.
The news was quite devastating for all of us, but it must have been even more devastating for her and her generation. She was born months before BlackTuesday and grew up during the Great Depression. Her father, who was born in S.C. had come to N.C. to find work that didn’t require him to pick cotton. She would laugh when she would tell us how her father would say that he had picked enough cotton for his children, his children’s children and his children’s children’s children. Therefore, it would be no more cotton picking in the family. He had found work as a laborer on a construction project at Dudley High School. It was her intent to see that her father’s promise was kept. She was a member of the PTA and stressed the importance of education to her children with a belt if they brought home unsatisfactory grades in their subjects and conduct.
The same year she gave birth to her first child, Jackie Robinson had made the major leagues. She and her husband were so elated they named their only son Jackie.
Then came the victory of Brown v. Board of Education. Things were looking bright for our community. The lunch counter sit-ins had initiated in the Gateway City where she was born raised. After the victory in desegregating the lunch counter, she took her children to eat at Woolworth’s Five and Dime in downtown Greensboro.
In August of 1963 she had traveled to Washington D.C. with her older brother and attended the March On Washington. The March On Washington had uplifted the movement from a knockdown that came as a result of the Jackson, Mississippi murder of local NAACP President Medgar Evers, months earlier.
Then came the horrific explosion in September. Four little girls were killed when the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed in Birmingham aka Bombingham , Alabama.
On November 22, 1963 at approximately 12:30 PM Central Standard Time, the cloud from the Birmingham atrocity mushroomed as a result of another unthinkable atrocity in Dallas, Texas. That cloud loomed heavily on all America. The storm had commenced with the pull of a trigger and its’ crippling blow caught America off guard. President John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States had been assassinated as he was preparing his run for a second term. Civil Rights legislation was on his second term agenda.
Walter Cronkite’s demeanor as he announced the confirmation of the President’s violent demise said it all. See video above.
The black community had endured a lot of heinous crimes at the hands of racist, and we were raised to expect it. However, no one thought it possible that someone(s) would assassinate the President of the U.S. The shooting of the President in broad daylight next to his wife and before the media shook the core of this nation. Adding to the violence of 1963 was the murdering of Lee Harvey Oswald on live television by Jack Ruby. Oswald was President Kennedy’s alleged lone assailant.
Froth with conspiracy theories, America has never been the same. Gun violence has unapologetically proliferated in our nation. This epidemic far too often embraces our children.
Twenty four years later, I would experience another warm November. Ten days before the 24th anniversary of the assassination we would funeralize her. She did not live to see the election of Barack Obama. Instead she would endure the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy. She was my mother.
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Posted 11 months ago at 10:21 pm. Add a comment
(L-R) Marian McPartland, Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk
Grammy award winner Marian McPartland died last at her Long Island home. She was 95. Born Marian Turner, she was a musical prodigy at the age of three. She studied classical music and the violin, in addition to the piano.
Marian pursued classical studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She developed a love for American jazz and musicians such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Mary Lou Williams, and many others.
In 1938, Marian left Guildhall to join Billy Mayerl’s Claviers, a four-piano vaudeville act. Performing under the stage name of Marian Page, the group toured throughout Europe during World War II, entertaining Allied troops.
McPartland met and began performing with Chicago cornetist Jimmy McPartland in 1944 while touring with the USO. The couple soon married, playing at their own military base wedding in Germany. After the war, they moved to Chicago to be near Jimmy’s family. In 1949, the McPartlands settled in Manhattan.
Marian started her own trio which enjoyed a long residency at a New York City jazz club, the Hickory House, during 1952–1960. She also played at The Embers and appeared as a regular on NBC’s Judge for Yourself quiz program.
In 1958 a black and white group portrait of 57 notable jazz musicians, including McPartland, was photographed in front of a Brownstone in Harlem, New York City. Art Kane, a freelance photographer working for Esquire magazine, took the photo, which was called, “A Great Day in Harlem”, and it became an iconic view of NY’s Jazz scene at the time. As of Marian McPartland’s 95th birthday on March 20, 2013, she was one of only four of the 57 musicians who participated who was still living. Along with McPartland, other jazz notables featured in the photograph are Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, and saxophonist Benny Golson, who, like McPartland, is among the few still alive as of June 2013. The photo above shows McPartland in that iconic photo next to Mary Lou Williams and Thelonious Monk.
After many years of recording for labels such as Capitol, Savoy, Argo, Sesac, Time, and Dot, in 1969 she founded her own record label, Halcyon Records, before having a long association with the Concord Jazz label.
In 1964, Marian McPartland launched a new venture on WBAI-FM (New York City), conducting a weekly radio program that featured recordings and interviews with guests. Pacifica Radio’s West Coast stations also carried this series, which paved the way for Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, a National Public Radio series that began on 4 June 1978. It was the longest-running cultural program on NPR as well as one of the longest-running jazz programs ever produced on public radio. The program featured McPartland at the keyboard with guest performers, usually pianists, but also singers, guitarists, other musicians, and even the non-musician Studs Terkel.
In 2004, Marian was awarded a Grammy , a Trustees’ Lifetime Achievement Award, for her work as an educator, writer, and host of NPR Radio’s long-running Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. A master at adapting to her guest’s musical styles and having a well-known affinity for beautiful and harmonically-rich ballads, Marian also recorded many tunes of her own. Her compositions included “Ambiance,” “There’ll Be Other Times,” “With You In Mind,” “Twilight World,” and “In the Days of Our Love.”
Just before her 90th birthday, she composed and performed a symphonic piece, A Portrait of Rachel Carson, to mark the centennial of the environmental pioneer.
McPartland was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours.
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Posted 1 year, 2 months ago at 10:23 am. Add a comment