Sunday, November 20, 2005
Shem Hotep ("I go in peace")
The "Black (Negro) Wall Street" was the name given to Greenwood Avenue of North Tulsa, Oklahoma during the early 1900’s. Because of strict segregation, Blacks were only allowed to shop, spend, and live in a 35 square block area called the Greenwood district. The "circulation of Black dollars" only in the Black community produced a tremendously prosperous Black business district that was admired and envied by the whole country. Oklahoma boasted of more All-Black towns and communities than any other state in the land, and these communities opened their arms to freed slaves from all across the country. Remarkably, at one time, there were over 30 African-American newspapers in Oklahoma. Since African Americans could neither live among Whites as equals nor patronize White businesses in Tulsa, Blacks had to develop a completely separate business district and community, which soon became prosperous and legendary.
George Washington Carver, Jr. 1865-1943, Mary McLeod Bethune
1875-1955, Percy Julian 1899-1975, and W.E.B. DuBois 1868-1963.
Black dollars invested in the Black community also produced self-pride, self-sufficiency, and self-determination. The business district, beginning at the intersection of Greenwood Avenue and Archer Street, became so successful and vibrant that Booker T. Washington during his visit bestowed the moniker: "Negro Wall Street." By 1921, Tulsa’s African-American population of 11,000 had its own bus line, two high schools, one hospital, two newspapers, two theaters, three drug stores, four hotels, a public library, and thirteen churches. In addition, there were over 150 two and three story brick commercial buildings that housed clothing and grocery stores, cafes, rooming houses, nightclubs, and a large number of professional offices including doctors, lawyers, and dentists. Tulsa’s progressive African American community boasted some of the cities most elegant brick homes; well furnished with china, fine linens, beautiful furniture, and grand pianos. Mary Elizabeth Parrish from Rochester, New York wrote: "In the residential section there were homes of beauty and splendor which would please the most critical eye." Well known African American personalities often visited the Greenwood district including: educators Mary McCloud Bethune W.E.B. Dubois, scientist George Washington Carver, opera singer Marian Anderson, and noted Chicago chemist Percy Julian.
On May 31, 1921, the successful
Black Greenwood district was completely destroyed by one of the worse race riots in U.S. history.
A 19 year old Black male accidentally stumbled on a jerky elevator and bumped the17-year-old White elevator operator who screamed. The frightened young fellow was seen running from the elevator by a group of Whites and by late afternoon the "Tulsa Tribune" reported that the girl had been raped. Despite the girl’s denial of any wrongdoing, the boy was arrested and a large mob of 2000 White men came to the jail to lynch the prisoner. About 75 armed African Americans came to the jail to offer assistance to the sheriff to protect the prisoner. The sheriff not only refused the assistance but also deputized the White mob to disarm the Blacks. With a defenseless Black community before them, the White mob advanced to the Greenwood district where they first looted and then burned all Black businesses, homes, and churches. Any Black resisters were shot and thrown into the fires. When the National Guard arrived, they assisted the others by arresting all Black men, women, and children, and herding them into detention centers at the Baseball Park and Convention Hall. As many as 4,000 Blacks were held under armed guard in detention.
The "Chicago Tribute" Newspaper reported that Whites also used private airplanes to drop kerosene and dynamite on Black homes. By the next morning the entire Greenwood district was reduced to ashes and not one White was even accused of any wrong doing, much less arrested.
The race riot of Tulsa, Oklahoma was not an isolated event in American history. On May 28, 1917 a White mob in East St. Louis, Illinois of over l3, 000, ravaged African American stores, homes, and churches. Eyewitnesses reported that over 100 Blacks were gunned down as they left their burning homes including a small Black child who was shot and thrown back into the burning building to die. Seven white police officers charged with murder by the Illinois Attorney General were collectively fined $150. During the "Red Summer" of 1919, over 25 race riots were recorded (white mobs attacking black neighborhoods).In the 1919 race riot at Elaine, Arkansas, White mobs killed over 200 African Americans and burned their homes and businesses. Federal troops arrested hundreds of Blacks trying to protect their possessions and forcibly held them in basements of the city’s public schools. Twelve Blacks were indicted (no Whites) and convicted of inciting violence and sentenced to die. The NAACP persuaded the U.S. Supreme Count for the first time in history to reverse a racially biased southern court. Director John Singleton exposed the horror of the Rosewood, Florida massacre of 1922 in his film entitled "Rosewood". A White mob burned down the entire town and tried to kill all of its Black inhabitants. In April 1994, the Florida legislature passed the "Rosewood Bill", which awarded $150,000 to each of the riot’s nine eligible Black survivors.
Posted by Sawaad Amen Ra at 5:59 PM
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Shem Hotep ("I go in peace")
A LETTER TO MY BROTHERS
Black men of the universe, I want to direct some positive thoughts your way. You have survived some of the most inhumane treatment ever put upon a human being. You were born in a world where you were the by-product of a system that didn't give you a chance to flourish. We all want the chance to be all that we can be. Black men you have taken a tremendous beating at the hands of a system that has never encouraged unity between you and your black women.
We waited many years for the end of slavery to have freedom of choice and now that we have that, we have another problem. Black men have now become the NEW slave owners as black women have waited just as long as men for this chance at freedom. A large percentage of black women now have to answer to a new present day slave owner. As men, where is our collective memories? Haven't we read about this relationship before? Let us all revisit the scene of the crime and see if there are any similarities. I am not suggesting that your treatment of your woman is exactly like that of the white man's treatment of our ancestors. I am saying that either we are all free or we are not.
THE SLAVE OWNER
The SLAVE OWNER could come and go as he saw fit no questions about it. The SLAVE OWNER wanted to know exactly where everyone was at every moment. The SLAVE OWNER could demand a meal at any time. The SLAVE OWNER could demand sex at any time. The SLAVE OWNER always put himself first. The SLAVE OWNER thinks that it is his god given right to control everything.
THIS LIST COULD GO ON AND ON BUT LET ME STOP RIGHT HERE. NOW THAT WE HAVE REVISITED THE RULES OF THE PLANTATION OWNER LETS DO A COMPARISON AND REEVALUATE WHY THESE THINGS ARE KEEPING THE MENTAL SHACKLES ON OUR BLACK WOMEN.
THE BLACK MAN
The BLACK MAN can come and go as he sees fit no questions about it. The BLACK MAN wants to know exactly where everyone is at every moment. The BLACK MAN can demand a meal at any time. The BLACK MAN can demand sex at any time. The BLACK MAN always put himself first. The BLACK MAN thinks that it is his god given right to control everything.
BLACK MEN stop acting like the slave owners that your ancestors died trying to get away from. Treat your woman the way you would the way you would like to be treated. She is not a slave and should be able to come and go just like you do, no questions asked. Stop asking where she's going, either you trust her or you don't. Don't spend your life with someone you don't trust. BLACK men make your woman happy by sharing in the cooking etc. If you don't like to cook what makes you think she likes to? If you don't know how, there is no better time than right now to learn.
Where is her freedom of choice brothers? Don't get mad at the comparison, we all want to be free.I am just the messenger bringing an overdue letter from my Creator. If you disagree with the concept of women's freedom you are not free. Freedom starts in the mind and then to the rest of you. Your plantation may come with nice amenities but it is still a plantation. You my brother should be seeking freedom for all. You should not be so accepting of being the king where you live but nothing everywhere else. Your woman is not fooled by your show of force. It only confirms what she already knew. You like things just the way they are and have no interest in her freedom from her present day master. Give your woman a break from a job you obviously don't want Black man remember your woman has a demanding life whether she's at home or at work. She needs to know that her home is a place to relax and get comfortable. DON'T demand sex from your woman, love is something that should be given not taken. BLACK man, you need to put your woman and children first. Their well being should come first; you should live for their happiness.
My brothers you have no GOD given right to wreck havoc on any female. Females made your birth a reality. If you have to allude to some bible verse to maintain some point of view, you have failed in getting the respect you need. Stop using the bible a ring and some papers from a courthouse to enforce your will. You are acting just like the slave owners. We are not Europeans so why do you swear by their papers?
If you need papers to keep your house in order, where did you learn that?
Your use of scripture seems to be so isolated and only serve to enslave.
Lead your precious Black woman and make her proud to say
"THAT'S MY BLACK MAN".
Your children and your woman are a gift from the CREATOR and should be cherished as such. This is an opportunity and not an obligation. Our Black sisters have had a rough time over the last four hundred and some odd years. Let's take it upon ourselves to end THEIR enslavement to us. For some of the Brothers in the struggle, the struggle starts at home. Our home should be an example to the world, demonstrating the peace love and freedom we so often talk about.
BLACK BROTHERS, I LOVE YOU ALL AND TRUST THAT YOU WILL MAKE AN EFFORT TO DO THE RIGHT THING. WE DON'T WANT TO BE ACCUSED OF PRACTICING BEHAVIOR THAT WE CLAIM WE HATE, GOOD LUCK FROM YOUR BROTHER.
Thanks for reading A LETTER TO MY BROTHERS. I Hope you were able to find something here to hang on to. It is my hope that all of mankind will see you as I do. If you like to stay in touch Please Email me at Nubianrace1960@Hotmail.com.
Hotep, Your Brother.
Posted by Sawaad Amen Ra at 1:06 PM
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Shem Hotep ("I go in peace")
Social (and Entertainment)
R. Kelly's Got "Half On A Baby": But Is He Sending the Wrong Message?
Last Saturday afternoon, while suffering through a moderate case of writer's block, I decided to busy myself with the most mindless, anti-thought provoking activity I could think of. So - while washing a trillion loads of laundry and listening to the radio a old R. Kelly's song came on "Half on a Baby"
I'm no die hard R. Kelly fan. So, as I began to listen in - I mean really listen - I heard Kelly's astute declarations that he has "….half on a baby and all I need is your body next to me..." But, in the immortal words of Mr. Kelly himself - wait a minute, On to my point. Still, there's a lot more to this concept than his sperm hooking' up with some woman's egg, biologically speaking. I know, 'ain’t anything' wrong with a little bump and grind, but let's think about this for a minute.
As adults, most of us have the ability to hum along with R. Kelly's lyrics, and place no significance on them whatsoever. However - what about our black youth, who are easily influenced by almost anything having to do with, sex, and whose minds aren't as discerning?
This baby-making' stuff sounds cute, and it's a documented fact that most teens tend to get 'caught up' in the fairy tale aspect of having a child -- and lyrics like "Half on a Baby" conveniently assist them in overlooking the magnitude of the real deal. I don't know about ya'll, but the thought of some gum-smacking, starry-eyed, hormonal adolescent buying into this ".I got half on a baby.." jive certainly gives me the chills. First of all, these lyrics glamorize the very subject we're trying to get our black youths to take seriously. In the age of AIDS, other STD's, and teenage pregnancies, the lyrics breeze right past the notion of sexual responsibility. Unless I missed it, I didn't hear R. Kelly singing about going half on some condoms.
Secondly, I'm growing a tad weary of all these 'let's-make-a-baby' songs; they just flat out send the wrong message. "Half on a Baby’s lyrics are cute, and even a little catchy, granted ("…like a hotel room, girl, I'm checking' into you.”), but they also romanticize the notorious 'baby's momma/daddy' phenomenon, which regrettably, seems to have become quite hip. Marriage and parenting are serious issues, people. The challenge of creating and maintaining solid black families is even more serious. In the "Half on a Baby" video, R. Kelly's got a fortress of a home, I'm assuming a good job (the castle is decorated, with creepy-looking oversized furniture, if I may add), and he's definitely got his half on a baby, but, well -- can we get half on some matrimony? Half on some premarital counseling, even? Nope. Not even half on a ring, which sounds pretty cheap, but it would at least be the right idea. Impressionable black teens (and even some of us grown folk - hello) need to understand that having "half on a baby" physically, even financially, is simply not enough. Teenagers have no concept of the time, energy, and responsibilities that go along with having and raising a child. R. Kelly may have "half on a cute little boy or girl" - but do the young ladies realize that he sure 'ain’t got "half" on some very whole, complete labor pains? And we should be asking the young fellas - do you have "half" on the other commitments that go along with raising a child? I mean, over and above the sperm donation? Do you have half on the number of times somebody has got to get up and feed Junior at 3AM? Do you also have half on clothing expenses? Medical insurance? Art lessons and ballet and football? College tuition? Someone has got to remind our teens to look past the moment, and help them focus on the bigger picture when it comes to having sex and having babies. There's more to it than the over-publicized frolic between the sheets. Our teens need to realize that it 'ain’t as easy or as cute as it looks, and in regards to R. Kelly's song - as it sounds. So, I'm all for helping these youngsters gets half on some common sense. My suggestion for them: Get both halves of a college education, first. Save you’re "half" on a baby for much, much later.
Thanks for reading R. Kelly's Got "Half on a Baby" I Hope you were able to find something here to hang on to. If you like to stay in touch Please Email me at Nubianrace1960@Hotmail.com.
Hotep, Your Brother.
Posted by Sawaad Amen Ra at 8:02 PM