Lynda Blackmon – Youngest person to participate on Bloody Sunday

At the young age of 14, Lynda Blackmon was allowed to march from Selma to Montgomery.

Lynda Blackmon

In the height of the Civil Rights Movement, hundreds marched from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in a nonviolent protest for voting rights. February 2020, Bay Area News 9 wrote these words sharing her story, her struggles and how she continues to live with the aftermath of Bloody Sunday.

“But the March 1965 demonstration was met with violence in what is now known as “Bloody Sunday.”

For Lynda Blackmon, the youngest demonstrator allowed to march that day, it’s still hard to talk about.

“I can’t forget those feelings to this day,” said Blackmon, who was 14.

She was hit twice in the forehead and shoved to the ground.

“I was running into a cloud of tear gas and this man was running, beating me, hitting me in my head,” Blackmon said.

The book Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom tells her story.

Blackmon said she became involved in the movement at 7 years old after her mother died.”

Learn about the women of the civil rights movement. They may not be household names but they are living history. Women have a story to tell. Learn their stories. This woman who walked with some of our civil rights giants had been through a tremendous ordeal at a young age. She had lost her Mother, her foundation, the person who loved and cared for her. For her to even participate in civil rights was a tremendous feat and a testimony to her mother, her tribe, her community. Learn the stories of everyday people in your community. It will change your life, change your perspective.

#womenshistorymonth #herstory #BloodySunday #LyndaBlackmon

Whoopi Goldberg: A Living Icon

Happy Women’s History Month!

Whoopi Goldberg – An American Living Legend

If you don’t know me, you don’t know exactly how much I love and admire Whoopi Goldberg. Not because many have compared us in looks and attitude but because I admire her independence, her ability to pave a way for women in comedy, acting and advocacy. I love her as much as I can a person who I’ve never met.

Now let me be clear, I am not a person who is enamored with celebrity or famous people. But there are a few people living and dead that if I could have lunch, coffee or just a brief meeting, it would mean the world to me. I’ve shared my admiration here for Muhammad Ali, Billie Holiday, Malcolm X. You can add Whoopi Goldberg to that list.

Caryn Elaine Johnson, known professionally as Whoopi Goldberg, is an American actress, comedian, author, and television personality. A recipient of numerous accolades, Goldberg is one of sixteen entertainers to have won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award. She is an original!

Currently Whoopi Goldberg is the lead host on “The View” and leads that group as she has so many others I suspect. She is opinionated, thoughtful, insightful, responsive, helpful, informative, insightful, legendary, beautiful, amazing, hilarious, sarcastic, groundbreaking, iconic, the list just goes on.

So as we begin Women’s History Month, we celebrate that I know and those that I wish I had meet in their lifetimes and mine. We will celebrate the Randallstown Moms who live and love in my immediate community, the civil rights icons who used their platforms to advocate for equality and human rights, the women of the Bible who set an example thousands of years ago that holds true today. We will celebrate the women who molded and raised me, the women who shaped my girls and me, and the women in our collective family who watch over us everyday as we achieve greatness, become icons like Whoopi! Happy Women’s Month to you all #themonthofwomen #whoruntheworld #knowourstory #randallstownmom

Coming 2 America

Coming 2 America

It’s been 33 years since the release of the legendary film with iconic characters created by Eddie Murphy. It was the first time that my generation saw Black Royalty on the big screen. It is etched in our hearts and minds forever! How many people still quote the original “Coming to America!” Who knows “sexual chocolate” and what is it? Is it true that the first mic drop was in the original “Coming to America”? How many people wanted to go to Zamunda before we had ever heard of Wakanda?

The Prince and Princess (Lisa McDowell)

Eddie Murphy is a living legend that I have admired and laughed with since SNL and “Delirious”. He is a comedic and storytelling genius. A native New Yorker, Brooklyn born and bred, he was my school girl crush when the rest of my peers were pining over Prince and Michael Jackson. Now don’t get me wrong I loved Prince, but Murphy was who I wanted to bring home to Momma. 😝 I can’t wait to share both movies with my family and friends. To see Shari Headley looking amazing 30 years later. Who else will return? Whose been added to the cast? It’s going to be epic!

Now, let’s check out the trailer: Coming 2 America trailer

One of the things that makes this movie so special is the new generation of actors who star in the film, including Murphy’s daughter Bella Murphy. She auditioned like every other actor and worked hard to get the part. This was not just handed to her. What an awesome opportunity to work with her Dad and some of the greatest actors of our time.

Jermaine Fowler, Kiki Layne and Teyana Taylor are also featured, and they will not disappoint. Of course many of the Black actors that we have come to know and love will return for this latest edition to Murphy’s portfolio.

No matter what, this film is getting lots of buzz. This film enthusiast is excited that Murphy has given us a look into their lives 30 years later. Eddie Murphy is Black History! I would have been remiss to not include this living legend in my Black History Month series!

#hollywoodroyalty #blackroyalty #coming2america #EddieMurphy #BellaMurphy #legends

Percy Green

I was the plaintiff in the seminal case establishing the analytical framework for employment discrimination cases. I was a black mechanic and laboratory technician laid off by McDonnell Douglas in 1964 during a reduction in force at the company.

I was active in the civil rights movement and I protested that my discharge was racially motivated. McDonnell Douglas advertised for vacant mechanic positions, for which I was qualified as I had been doing the job before. I applied, but was not hired.

I filed a lawsuit and it went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s decision was unanimous, 9-0 in my favor. My case, McDonnell Douglas Corp. v Green 411 U.S. 792 (1973) is cited in nearly every employment discrimination case since. My name is Percy Green.

My name is Percy Green, and I am Black History.

Habari gani!?! Imani

Today is Day 7 of Kwanzaa when we focus on the principle of Imani or Faith!

Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday held annually from December 26 to January 1. The word “Kwanzaa” itself comes from the Kiswahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning “first fruits [of the harvest].” At its core, Kwanzaa celebrates family, culture, community, and the harvest.

Kwanzaa highlights seven principles, known as the Nguzo Saba, represented by each day of the seven-day celebration. These principles are unity(umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility(ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani).

Kwanzaa was created and developed by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, making it a new holiday despite being steeped in rich African history and customs. Since Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, many people celebrate it along with Christmas, Hanukkah or other religious holidays. It is celebrated primarily in North America and the Caribbean.

The principles of Kwanzaa are designed to educate and empower individual development and community awareness. During Kwanzaa, people greet one another with the expression, “Habari gani” or “What’s the news!?!” The response is the expression associated with that Day of Kwanza. It is based on the principle for Day 7 that is the foundation for my 2021!

Each year, I choose a ‘word of the year’ that will define my devotions, words and actions. This year, I choose Imani. It is such a beautiful word and the basis for everything that I plan. I will act, speak and walk in faith, by faith and with faith – today and everyday!

“I believe with all my heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, (our collective community) and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.” Everything that I am and do in 2021 is based on and guided by this principle!

Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year💋

Remembering Arthur Mitchell: A Monumental Legacy

NEW YORK (AP) — Arthur Mitchell, who broke barriers for African-Americans in the 1950s as a ballet dancer with the New York City Ballet and who would go on to become a driving force in the creation of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, has died. He was 84.

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Our Story:  My daughter auditioned and was selected to attend the world-renown Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) Summer Intensive program.  DTH has helped her improve her dance acumen, hone her technique, and learn more about the history of dance, dancers and “pretty brown dancers.”  This summer, her friends from Studio A Academy and Sudbrook Magnet Middle School attended with her, and it is a treasured memory that she will cherish for a lifetime.

Oliva_DTH (2)I am so grateful to Arthur Mitchell for not moving to Europe 50 years ago.  They say that everything happens for a reason.  Well, Arthur Mitchell was leaving New York ballet to start a dance school in Brazil when he learned of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  He decided that he did not have to start a school in Brazil for dancers who look like him when there were dancers right here in America, in his hometown of Harlem.  Mr. Mitchell, along with Karol Shook, founded Dance Theatre of Harlem “to give the children of Harlem the same opportunities Mitchell had as a teenager.”  There were very few opportunities for classically trained dancers of color at that time.  Arthur Mitchell paved the way.  He did what no one else had done, and it still lives today!

My daugher, her friends and lots of young ladies and men are better dancers, better people today because of the vision and work of Arthur Mitchell.  I salute you Mr. Mitchell.  I salute the wonderful company dancers, administrators, teachers and mentors of Dance Theatre of Harlem for your hard work and dedication to developing dancers and leaders in our community.  Thank you!

To learn more about Dance Theatre of Harlem, please visit their website at Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Happy Black History Month

When I opened Google on February 1, 2017, to my delight, Google wished me ‘Happy Black History Month’ highlighting Edmonia Lewis, an African-Native American sculptor born in New York on Independence Day 1844.  On February 1, 2018, Google highlighted Carter G. Woodson, an Black American writer and historian considered the “Father of Black History.”

Go out and learn more about your history.  Lots of times we discuss the great Black Americans who built this country and helped our community begin to grow and thrive.  Now I want you to learn your history.  Who are your parents?  Who are your grandparents?  Where do you come from?  These are my children.  I want them to know where they come, who they are, what great people came in our family before them.

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Our children need to know and learn who the great famous Black women and men in world history.  That is very important.  But just as important is for them to know and learn who the great Black women and men in our family histories are.  Make it a part of our Black History activities.  Talk with your ancestors and learn about your family.  That’s what I plan to do.

This month, I have decided to dedicate time to learning my family history and hope that you may do the same.  Make Black History Month GREAT again!!!

 

What does BLM mean to you? Essay Contest 

Dr. Kennette Thigpen is host an essay contest where students age 10-18 of all backgrounds, races and ethnicities to share what Black Lives Matter means to them. In an effort to not forget our children, the essay contest allows children to share what they are thinking, seeing and experiencing. Let’s here from our young people, our future and allow them to express their perspectives. 

For essay contest details, please visit Dr. Thigpen’s website https://www.drkennettethigpen.org/contest and share with your friends, family and associates. 

Registration starts September 1, 2017 and ends October 15, 2017. 

The Smithsonian Musem of African American History and Culture

img_6674-1The girls and I recently visited the new Smithsonian Museum of African American history and culture with a friend and her daughter. It was breathtaking.

The museum is a total of seven (7) floors and chronicles African American history from slavery to the end of the 20th century. The main floor has information, the Museum Shop and a few items in exhibit. There are theee (3) floors below ground and three (3) floors above ground with artifacts, interactive exhibits and awe-inspiring history. You cannot reasonably see it all in one visit. I actually encourage you to plan to go multiple times and experience each section, each part of our rich, varied and profound experiences in America.

Anyone who knows me know that I love being Black. I love my people! I love our culture. I love the dichotomy of being Black in America.  We learn two languages, two definitions of success, two styles of dress, and multiple ways to solve any problem.

However, visiting this newest addition to the Smithsonian museums, I was reminded of just how beautiful and special our (MY) people are. I was just so PROUD to be Black today, in this time, at this moment. It was the best feeling in the world!