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Image Ownership: Public Domain ~ 'The Break of Dawn'

11 April 2014

What Can We Do To Stem The Tide of Suicides Among Our Young?

Just read on the Grio website that this beautiful young lady decided it was no longer worth it to continue on this journey.  Whatever her struggles , she had a wonderful website  For

Her efforts to counter the rampant colorism consuming us as a society and provide enlightenment and tools to young women with deep brown and ebony hues were sorely needed.  Bountiful blessings to her and I must believe that her soul is at peace.

Karyn Washington's mission statement pretty much says it all: 

Welcome to an online "inspiration destination". FBG was created to celebrate the beauty of dark skin while combating colorism and promoting self love! FBG was created to celebrate darker shades of brown- to encourage those struggling with accepting having a darker skin complexion to love and embrace the skin they are in. However, women of all shades may take away from FBG the universal and essential message of self love and acceptance.

Karyn Washington ~ Sunset:  April 8, 2014 

As a retired mental health practitioner and advocate for accessible services and outreach especially for our young folks; it grieves me that we are losing them.  Lee Thompson Young  and Erica Kennedy are a few who come to mind as we ponder and regret this most recent known suicide of Karyn Washington. There are many more  known only to family, friends and acquaintances. I will continue to provide links to articles about this issue for right now ....I can truly say that I'm at a loss for words.

'Karyn Washington Death Puts Suicide, Mental Health Back in the Spotlight'  ~ Terrie Williams
Karyn Washington:  'A Reminder to Love Yourself First'

02 April 2014

U.N. Climate Panel Issues Dire Warning of Threat to Global Food Supply, Calls for Action & Adaption | Democracy Now!

I was struck by the urgency and data provided to support global warming and the daunting impact this has on the world's food supply featured on Democracy Now hosted by Amy Goodman.  The panel consisted of Professor Michael Oppenheimer, Saleemul Huq and Tim Gore. They are three of many 'town criers' on this subject which somehow meets incredible resistance.  The U.S. has a rather stellar history of droughts and continues to suffer this phenomena as cited in the article "Why the Southwest Keeps Seeing Droughts".  There are many folks in the west and some countries in Europe who view food insecurity and crop failures as a chronic 'third world' problem.

U.N. Climate Panel Issues Dire Warning of Threat to Global Food Supply, Calls for Action & Adaption | Democracy Now!

The links to the droughts mentioned above have been rendered inconsequential  by the images of the well stocked produce sections and shelves  in many of our supermarkets.  They are buffers to the realities of what our future will be if we don't get a grip on this and make some serious changes in how we take care of the earth. The latter will make the necessary adjustments (mother nature has a history of doing so) and it will be the world community suffering the bleak consequences.                                                                                                                                  
 I trust this article and the panel discussion will be food for thought and a call for more citizen led interventions for the titans of industry, government and naysayers will be our most daunting adversaries!  

01 March 2014

Read Lupita Nyong’o’s Moving Speech about Beauty at ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon | GOOD BLACK NEWS

 I just had to re-blog this speech by Lupita Nyong'o on the beauty of black skin and her journey of acceptance and celebration.  It is a critical piece and one that I hope the "Pecola Breedloves' of the world and others who are "lighter than" will read and learn that the negative perceptions by others  should not impede our knowing that 'the greatest love of all' is to love ourselves!

Read Lupita Nyong’o’s Moving Speech about Beauty at ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon | GOOD BLACK NEWS
'The Greatest Love of All'

Related Links:
Lupita Overcame Her Color Issues. But What About All The Other Lupitas?
Why an African-American Director Would Not Have Cast Lupita Nyong'o

24 February 2014

Claudette Colvin: One of Many Unsung Heroines

Claudette Colvin:  Age 15
Abdul Ali wrote an article for The Root on Claudette Colvin titled, "The Woman Civil Rights Leaders Threw Under The Bus".  She was 15 years old when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery and was forcefully removed and assaulted by authorities.  She was referred to as the "Other Rosa Parks" during that period when Mrs. Parks became the symbol of resistance to Montgomery's segregated transportation system.  The historical accounts omitted her over time and many were taught that Rosa Parks was the only one who defied the system.  There were other blacks who resisted this southern practice as well and Ms. Parks would educate the audiences wherever she spoke about these courageous citizens. The selection process, however, for  this bold stance was based on colorism, stature and age.  In Mr. Ali's article, he provided a link to 'Democracy Now' and their interview with Ms. Colvin, age 73 about those events and what paths she's travelled since then.  

 'Lest We Forget' those who struggled and sacrificed for their offspring and descendants.

21 February 2014

White Fear Trumps Black Life - Leonard Pitts Jr. -

 An excellent commentary on the Jordan Davis trial, implications of a re-trial and securing justice, security and some modicum of well-being  for our young black men.


Protecting 'Our' Children in the Wake of the Michael Dunn Verdict.

19 February 2014

Frances Ellen Harper: An Unsung Freedom Fighter

This is a re-print of an article on The Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography Website.  Frances Ellen Watkins Harper is one of the many unsung female freedom fighters , for whom I'd like to feature during Black History Month.  Their lives were fascinating and inspiring.  We must not forget them and our descendants have a given right to know the sheroes and heroes who made sacrifices that led to the freedom they are enjoying today. With that said, the struggle still continues for full equality.     

Frances Harper

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (September 24, 1825-February 22, 1911), was an African-American writer, lecturer, and political activist, who promoted abolition, civil rights, women's rights, and temperance. She helped found or held high office in several national progressive organizations.
 She is best remembered today for her poetry and fiction, which preached moral uplift and counseled the oppressed how to free themselves from their demoralized condition. Frances was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to free parents whose names are unknown. After her mother died in 1828, Frances was raised by her aunt and uncle. Her uncle was the abolitionist William Watkins, father of William J. Watkins, who would become an associate of Frederick Douglass. She received her education at her uncle's Academy for Negro Youth and absorbed many of his views on civil rights. The family attended the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church.
At the age of fourteen, Frances found a job as a domestic in a Quaker household, where she was given access to their library and encouraged in her literary aspirations. Her poems appeared in newspapers, and in 1845 a collection of them was printed as Autumn Leaves (also published as Forest Leaves).
Following the passage in 1850 of the Fugitive Slave Law, conditions for free blacks in the slave state of Maryland deteriorated and the Watkins family fled Baltimore. Frances Watkins moved on her own to Ohio, where she taught sewing at Union Seminary. She moved on to Pennsylvania in 1851. There, alongside William Still, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, she helped escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad on their way to Canada. 

Watkins continued to write, and in 1854 her Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects attracted critical notice and became her biggest commercial success. In these poems she attacked not only racism but also the oppression of women. Most of the earnings from this and her other books went to help free the slaves. In 1854 she also began her lecturing career. She was much in demand on the anti-slavery circuit and she traveled extensively in the years before the Civil War.
John Brown led the unsuccessful uprising at Harper's Ferry in 1859. Watkins gave emotional support and comfort to Mary Brown during her husband's trial and execution. In a letter smuggled into John Brown's prison cell, Watkins wrote, "In the name of the young girl sold from the warm clasp of a mother's arms to the clutches of a libertine or profligate,—in the name of the slave mother, her heart rocked to and fro by the agony of her mournful separations,—I thank you, that you have been brave enough to reach out your hands to the crushed and blighted of my race." 

In 1859 Watkins's tale "The Two Offers" appeared in the Anglo-African, the first short story to be published by an African-American. Although cast in fictional form, the piece is actually a sermon on the important life choices made by young people, women in particular. The tale relates the tragedy of a woman who mistakenly thinks romance and married love to be the only goal and center of her life. "Talk as you will of woman's deep capacity for loving," Watkins preached, "of the strength of her affectional nature. I do not deny it; but will the mere possession of any human love, fully satisfy all the demands of her whole being? . . . But woman—the true woman—if you would render her happy, it needs more than the mere development of her affectional nature. Her conscience should be enlightened, her faith in the true and right established, and scope given to her Heaven-endowed and God-given faculties." 

 In 1860, Frances Watkins married Fenton Harper, a widower with three children, and moved to Ohio. Their daughter, Mary, was born in 1862. Fenton died in 1864. After the war was over, Frances Harper toured the South, speaking to large audiences, encouraging education for freed slaves, and aiding in reconstruction. 

Harper first became acquainted with Unitarians before the war, due to their support of abolition and the Underground Railroad. Her friend Peter H. Clark, a noted abolitionist and educator in Ohio, had become a Unitarian in 1868. When Harper and her daughter settled in Philadelphia in 1870, she joined the First Unitarian Church. With slavery a thing of the past, Harper turned her energy to women's rights. She spoke up for the empowerment of women and worked with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to secure votes for women. Unlike Anthony and Stanton, Harper supported the Fourteenth Amendment, which, together with the Fifteenth, granted the vote to black men but not to women. Recognizing the ever-present danger of lynching, she reasoned that the African-American community needed an immediate political voice. With that would come the possibility of securing further legal and civil rights. 

16 February 2014

Garveyism: A Movement Defined By The Times!

Marcus Garvey: 08/17/1887~06/10/1940

"God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement." Marcus Garvey

I was visiting one of my favorite historical sites and noticed a perspective written by Robin Dearmon Muhammad titled "Garveyism Looks Toward the Pacific:The UNIA and Black Workers In the West". This article on their efforts in the west was quite illuminating and a grand gesture despite the daunting challenges. 

 I would encourage the readers to peruse the above piece. I feel that Mr. Garvey's movement and accomplishments have been diminished by some historians.  He's been described as buffoonish and was publicly denigrated by W.E.B. Dubois, whom at that time wasn't too interested in working class blacks and held a rather elistist view of black accomplishments.  There were failures and the trusting of some blacks who didn't take seriously his efforts to expand the goals of working class and poor African-Americans not only in the states but globally.                                               

Self-help and economic empowerment were his goals and I give him an A for effort/endeavor and F for those African-Americans who stood by and ridiculed him and those followers who were trying to "uplift the race" through action as well education.  They struggled for a better life.  Robin Muhammad's assessment clearly exemplifies Mr. Garvey's endeavors and those of his followers with historical accuracy than one would encounter in some versions of that phenomenon.  Professor Gates' views on Garveyism entailed a marginal view of what the movement was about and was rather brief and dismissive in the PBS special 'Many Rivers to Cross'.  Dr. Gates' personal views were also revealed when addressing what the movement tried to accomplish by focusing on the mistakes and marginalizing the successes that many of his urban followers and their families experienced during that trying period.