“What I really want to do is be a representative of my race — of the human race. I have a chance to show how kind we can be, how intelligent and generous we can be. I have a chance to teach and to love and to laugh. I know that when I’m finished doing what I’m sent here to do, I will be called home and I will go home without any fear.” – Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou, one of the first black women to enjoy mainstream success as an author and artist in almost every artistic medium has passed away. She was 86. Born Marguerite Johnson, Angelou was born on April 4th, 1928, in St. Louis. She grew up between St. Louis and the then-racially segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas. The famous poet got into writing after a childhood tragedy that stunned her into silence for years. From the silence, a louder voice was born. In her poem “Caged Bird,” Angelou wrote:
A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped
and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.”
(July 20, 1939-April 29, 2014)
Once the world’s fastest man
This week I lost a great friend and the world lost a great man. Former Olympic sprinter, Frank Budd, who at one time was considered the world’s fastest man has passed away. He was 74.
Under the guidance of legendary Villanova University track coach James “Jumbo” Elliott, Budd broke the record in the 100 yard dash with a time of 9.2 seconds in 1961. The record, which gave him the unofficial title of world’s fastest man, came at a meet on New York City’s Randall’s Island.
By Dave Zirin
As NBA players are making symbolic political statements on the court in response to Donald Sterling’s recorded racist rant, 1968 Olympian John Carlos’s name has been repeatedly referenced in columns and on social media. After all, it was the stand of John Carlos and Tommie Smith after their 200-meter race at the Mexico City Olympics that has become the go-to template for athletic protest over the last forty-five years. Many are using Carlos’s example to state authoritatively what the Clippers players should or should not have done before their playoff game last Sunday. Some folks are saying that if John Carlos were on the Clippers, they would have boycotted the game. Others have said that if John Carlos were there they would have sat on the floor or walked off the court after the opening tip. People have been talking about John Carlos as if it were a doctrinal “what would Jesus do” kind of discussion. This was coupled with a series of moralistic articles—including this doozy from the NY Times—about all that the players should have done.
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the former professional boxer who became an advocate for the wrongly convicted after spending 19 years in prison for a triple murder he did not commit, died Sunday in Toronto at the youthful age of 76.
Carter’s lightening fast combinations earned him the nickname “Hurricane” and by 1963, Ring Magazine had him rated as the number 10 best fighter in the world. In 1964, Carter got his only title shot against middleweight champion Joey Giardello but lost in a 15 round decision.
Carter’s struggle for freedom and exoneration received global attention after Bob Dylan wrote a song about him. His life story was also popularized in the 1999 film ‘The Hurricane” which starred Denzel Washington.
The attack on a Glasgow street busker that has recently been circulating around the internet and displayed to TV viewers has once again sparked the debate regarding racism around the world. I’m disappointed that incidents like these still take place around the world, but not surprised. Why should I be surprised when incidents like this one happens right here in America? If we can’t even get treated equally in our native country more so, get justice for our black youths whose lives seem expendable and worthless in the eyes of the justice system, why should I be surprised. The fact of the matter is we need to focus more on fixing what WE need to fix in our country first before we can worry about fixing things abroad. EQUALITY IS EQUALITY JUST LIKE JUSTICE IS JUSTICE! We just need to spend more time addressing America’s faults and failures of the black community FIRST!
It’s been a mighty long climb to reach where we are at now and I only expect that climb to get harder as the years go by. As long as I’m here on this earth I will continue to climb, crawl if I have too, until we get the treatment and rights that we are guaranteed.
That wonderful video, “Proud to Be,” was released by the National Congress of American Indians just in time for the Super Bowl in its effort to eliminate the offensive R–skins from the national vocabulary and let people know that we Indians are not mascots.
For decades, the 70-year-old NCAI has sought with considerable success to eliminate racist mascots and nicknames from high school, college and professional sports teams. Team after team, across the nation, the offensive names have fallen.
I would like to take this time to thank all of you for congratulating me on my recent induction into the Civil Rights Walk of Fame. I am honored and humbled to have been present alongside so many inspirational people this past weekend. A special thank you goes out to Xernona Clayton, founder and executive producer of the Trumpet Awards. Thank you for sponsoring this year’s event and for sharing your kind words with me. You are truly a remarkable woman.
By Daphne R
China is apparently finding out now what Black historians have been reporting for many years, the first inhabitants of China were in fact black.
H. Imbert, a French anthropologist said in his book, “Les Negritos de la Chine”,”The Negroid races peopled at some time all the South of India, Indo-China and China. The South of Indo-China
actually has now pure Negritos as the Semangs and mixed as the Malays and the Sakais.”
By Dr. Rosie Milligan
Hello, this is Dr. Rosie and I just want to encourage your heart today. Your mother, father, sister, brother and children may not see you, hear you, love you, and feel your pain or care about your issues. I want you to know that God sees you, hears you, loves you, feels your pain and he cares, God is concerned about everything that concerns you. Sometime our family and loved ones do not hear us because we are not communicating our needs clearly and we are angry with them because we feel that they should know our hurts, needs and pain even though we have not told them. Your family members are not like God and you have to communicate to them but God, He knows what you feel, and what you are thinking before you think it. If there is something that you need to tell someone and you find it hard to express and you are concerned about how the conversation will go—write them a letter. They cannot argue with the letter or cuss the letter out. You want see their facial expressions either, and they sure cannot not hit you because you are not there. And by the time they see you; God will have had time to soften their heart and will have given them a better understanding about your needs and how they can help you. So have no fear.
Another piece of wisdom: I encourage you to stay focused on what you have versus what you do not have—focus on the people who helped you versus the people who would not and did not help you—focus on what you can do versus what you cannot do—focus on who loves you versus who does not love you.
By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
NEWARK — Amiri Baraka, the longtime activist and former poet laureate of New Jersey died today, officials confirmed. He was 79 years old.
Baraka was placed in intensive care at Beth Israel Medical Center last month for an unknown reason, but a spokesman for his son’s mayoral campaign said his condition was improving late in December.
Newark Mayor Luis Quintana said Baraka will be sorely missed.
“I went to visit him at the hospital about two weeks ago,” Quintana said by phone. “He was more than poet he was a leader in his own right. He’s going to be missed and our condolences go out to his family today.”