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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Journal Archives

7-1? Do NOT fuck around with the United States of Goddamned America!

The rest of the so-called competitors have been warned...

From Shani Davis to Lolo Jones: Which black stars will shine at Sochi Olympics?

he 2014 Winter Olympics are underway, featuring elite snow sports athletes from all over the globe taking center stage for the next three weeks. Of those athletes, very few are black, and even fewer are African-Americans.

Black athletes have never been a dominant presence in the Winter Olympics, and Sochi will be no different. But with Lindsay Vonn’s injury, and Shaun White drawing more headlines for pulling out of events than competing in them, the amount of recognizable American stars to root for has taken a substantial hit.

That leaves the door open for some of the few, talented, African-American Olympians to gain some fame if they compete well. Let’s breakdown the athletes who have the opportunity to become superstars in Sochi.

Shani Davis

Davis might be the one African-American who already is a household name, especially in Olympic circles. The 31-year-old speed skater already holds four medals. He’s in the history books, as he became the first black athlete to win a gold medal at a winter event, winning one at the Turin games in 2006.

Davis grew up in Chicago and became a prodigious roller skater before he was old enough to go to school. He switched to ice skating after his mother began working for an attorney who had a competitive speed-skating son. He dominated as a youth, climbed the ranks, and quickly became one of America’s top skaters. He has the movie-worthy story of using sport as an escape:

“I loved that it took me out of the South Side of Chicago,” Davis . “It broadened my horizons.”

He’s earned the much-deserved crossover success. He holds sponsorships from McDonald’s and Ralph Lauren. He’s beloved in the skating world. He’s viewed as a role model, and how an Olympian is supposed to carry himself.

The reason we should all watch Davis this Olympics is so we can say we saw history. Another gold medal would make him the first U.S. Olympian to win gold in three straight Olympics (an achievable feat, as Davis has dominated in the recent World Cup skating events).

Davis is the current face of the Olympics for Americans. That feat in itself is almost as impressive as Davis’ speed skating career.

The U.S. bobsled team

The women’s bobsled team features six athletes and five of them are African-American. For the first time in women’s bobsled history, the teams will feature black women in the front, piloting. Elana Meyers is the most accomplished bobsledder, having won a bronze medal in the Vancouver games in 2010. Jazmine Fenlator – a track-and-field star in college – has experience, having been a pilot for three seasons.

Three black women will serve as brakemen. Aja Evans – another college track star – has been a bobsledder for just two years, but has already earned the honor of USA Bobsled’s Rookie of the Year. Fellow brakeman Lauryn Williams possesses the most Olympic pedigree, having won a gold medal already, as a sprinter in the 4 x100 relay in the 2012 London Games.

All four women make up a talented, interesting team, and could end up representing multiple medals for the U.S. if they compete well. Their fifth member has the opportunity to be the dominant story of the Olympics though…


Unemployment and Violence in the African American Community

The University of Chicago recently released a study that revealed the fact that 92 percent of African American youth between the ages of 16 and 19 are currently unemployed in the state of Illinois; this information should serve as a wake-up call for the nation. However, when the information and data was presented to the public, it only appeared like another headline without any follow up in sight.

These numbers are real, and people should understand why the violence is so high in the African American community. As a matter of fact, more than 75 percent of the over 400 homicides in Chicago occurred in the African American community in 2013. This is bad all across the board. Additionally, some academic professionals do their best to avoid taking on the issue of poverty and a direct link to violence, suggesting that people should just change the way they think, or change their behavior with no resources. At least people with resources can schedule a visit to a counselor or psychiatrist, but the many unemployed youth do not have the resources to help them change their behavior.

How can we really expect the African American community to be free from violence when thousands of African American youth are trying to survive from day-to-day in their environment without any resources? There is no excuse for 92 percent of African American youth being unemployed when you have all of the so-called leaders talking good talk about bringing jobs to the community or to their city. This should be recognized as a state of emergency due to the fact that these young men and women need help right now. There is no way to help everybody, but 92 percent is way too high for any community. When there was high unemployment in the Italian and Irish communities, you had high levels of violence. We, as a people, cannot continue down the path of ignoring this lack of resource problem in the African American community.

One of the best ways to address this problem would be scheduling meetings with major corporations and small businesses in Illinois and speak with the business owners about hiring some of the young people and providing the businesses with incentives for hiring the young men and women. Do not get me wrong, here because we have to think about the Hispanic, Caucasian and Asian communities as well. The community at large should step up and rally around this issue immediately to show the young people that somebody cares about their well being. It's hard growing up in a distressed community without any resources, and this is one of the main reasons why some young men try their hand in the drug business. Once a young man or woman gets caught up in the drug game, then they are then turned over to the jail system.


Larry Doby may not be household name, but should be

When we think of the integration of baseball, the name that comes to mind for most is that of Jackie Robinson. And while Robinson’s accomplishments in breaking baseball’s color barrier should never be marginalized, there’s another legend that perhaps deserves more credit for how he changed the game.

On July 5, 1947, 11 weeks after Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Larry Doby became the first black player in the American League, pinch-hitting for Cleveland Indians pitcher Bryan Stephens in the seventh inning of a game against the White Sox at Chicago’s Comiskey Park.

Doby would go on to play 13 seasons and make seven All-Star teams. He won a World Series in 1948 and finished second to Yogi Berra in MVP voting in 1954, as the Indians won 111 regular-season games and clinched the AL pennant. Most importantly, he helped advance the game with class that most couldn’t muster in the face of all of the venom he encountered as he traveled with the Indians through the Rust Belt.

“I think in a lot of ways, he had it in much rougher fashion (than Robinson),” said Mike Veeck, whose father, Indians owner Bill Veeck, purchased Doby’s contract from the Newark Eagles of the Negro League.

“He had a high school education, and he wasn’t prepped for any of this; he was kind of dropped in the middle. I think the thing that people really identify with Larry is the tremendous sense of dignity about being No. 2. We all related to being No. 2, but we really can’t relate to being Jackie Robinson.”


Alan Page ruled on and off the field

Alan Page grew up to be a Hall of Fame football player, but he always wanted to be a lawyer. He loved watching “Perry Mason” on TV, and the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case ignited something in his young mind.

”I can remember as a 9-year-old, 1954, reading newspaper stories about the Brown vs. Board of Education and somehow, don’t’ ask me how, understanding the significance of what the court had done,” he said of the Supreme Court’s ruling the segregated schools were unconstitutional. “I was fascinated by the power the law has to bring about change. “

And so Alan Page grew up to be a Hall of Fame football player and the first African-American member of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

“It was a big deal, but in my world it wasn’t,” Page said. “It was an opportunity for me to serve, it was an opportunity for me to perform as well as I could. I suppose to some degree it makes it clear that whether you’re a person of color or not, you can have the talent and the skills and the wherewithal to perform the judicial responsibility at a high level.”

In 1945, Page was born in Canton, Ohio, where his bust now rests in the Hall of Fame. His parents told him to do the best he could at whatever he tried. Every parent says that, of course, but that message stuck to Page’s brain and wormed its way deep inside.

”If you’re going to be a garbage collector, be the best garbage collector you can be,” he said. ”If you’re going to be a doctor, be the best doctor you can be. Fortunately for me, don’t ask me why, I took that to heart. I think one of the problems people run into is there’s a tendency to perform at the level of the competition. In doing that, in trying to do that, most people don’t play to their full potential.”


Eight Great Ways To Celebrate Black History In America's National Parks

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The African American Experience Fund of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, released today a list of great ways to celebrate and honor African American contributions in our national parks during National African American History Month and throughout the year.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090630/DC40408LOGO)

"We encourage everyone to engage year-round with the African American history that is preserved in our national parks, and National African American History Month is a time to shine a special light on the important contributions that African Americans have made to our country," said Julie Williams, Senior Vice President of Community Partnerships at the National Park Foundation. "Our national parks tell our shared story, and we invite everyone to uncover something new, visit a place they've never been, and add their story to our collective history."

Below are eight great ways to celebrate African American history in our national parks. Find even more suggestions on the African American Experience Fund's website and on the National Park Service's calendar.
Louisiana – Enjoy a free concert featuring musicians from New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park. Hosted by Cane River Creole National Historical Park and Asbury United Methodist Church in Natchitoches, the performers will be playing selections from their acclaimed CD collection, "Freedom is Coming: Songs of Freedom, Resistance, and the Underground Railroad." Find out more here.
Massachusetts – Experience the powerful story of the Civil War soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, an all-black Civil War contingent, at Springfield Armory National Historic Site. Find out more here.
Missouri – Encourage all fourth graders you know to enter the George Washington Carver National Monument's annual Art and Essay Contest! This year's theme is "Overcoming Obstacles: Struggle and Triumph in the Life of George Washington Carver." Find out more here.
New York – Take part in an African Beads Workshop or an African Person Puppet Workshop led by anthropologist and designer Vickie Fremont African Burial Ground National Monument. Find out more here.
Ohio – Help preserve the incredible legacy of Colonel Charles Young and join the African American Experience Fund in its efforts to establish the Colonel Charles Young Leadership Academy at the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument. The academy will focus on leadership, and through community service, it will inspire young leaders, cultivate future park stewards, and rangers to follow in the footsteps of an "officer and a gentleman" who never wavered in his pursuit of excellence.
Virginia – Spend the next three Saturdays at the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site watching the award-winning PBS series "The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow." Find out more here.
Washington, D.C. – Celebrate the life of Frederick Douglass with a community-wide birthday party at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. Live music, games, films, speakers, and plays will fill the day! Find out more here.
Everywhere – Experience Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy by exploring www.WeAreStillMarching.com. Not only can you read Dr. King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech and record yourself reciting it, but you can also connect with the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The interactive site transports you to August 28, 1963 and allows you to engage with the momentous march that epitomized the civil rights movement.



Month of African-American Comics – The Inheritors #1

All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by African-American creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. A quick note – since this month is so relatively short, I’ll be featuring an extra comic every week, for a total of 32 comics spotlighted! Here is a list of all the comics spotlighted so far!

Today we take a look at Robert Garrett’s The Inheritors #1 from XMoor Studios, drawn by Elbeni Olena.


Kansas African American Museum to present program

“More than a Month,” a program celebrating the stories of influential African-Americans who are rarely recognized, will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Kansas African American Museum, 601 N. Water.

Performers will include Gordon Parks Academy students, as well as Wichita State University’s Roberts Sisters.

Visit the museum’s website, www.tkaamuseum.org, for more information.

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2014/02/10/3279122/kansas-african-american-museum.html#storylink=cpy

Black History Month: 10 must-read classics by African American authors

#2. ‘The Collected Poems,’ by Langston Hughes

Alongside such famous works as "The Negro Speaks of Rivers", “I, Too, Sing America,” “Let America Be America Again,” and the book-length poem “Montage of a Dream Deferred,” this poetry collection includes 868 poems spanning five decades of lyrical jazz poetry.


Obama honors African-American History Month

President Obama has issued the annual proclamation declaring February to be National African-American History Month.

"We remember the courage that led activists to defy lynch mobs and register their neighbors to vote," wrote the nation's first African-American president. "And we carry forward the unyielding hope that guided a movement as it bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice."

From the proclamation:

"Americans have long celebrated our Nation as a beacon of liberty and opportunity -- home to patriots who threw off an empire, refuge to multitudes who fled oppression and despair. Yet we must also remember that while many came to our shores to pursue their own measure of freedom, hundreds of thousands arrived in chains.

"Through centuries of struggle, and through the toil of generations, African Americans have claimed rights long denied. During National African American History Month, we honor the men and women at the heart of this journey -- from engineers of the Underground Railroad to educators who answered a free people's call for a free mind, from patriots who proved that valor knows no color to demonstrators who gathered on the battlefields of justice and marched our Nation toward a brighter day.

"As we pay tribute to the heroes, sung and unsung, of African-American history, we recall the inner strength that sustained millions in bondage. We remember the courage that led activists to defy lynch mobs and register their neighbors to vote. And we carry forward the unyielding hope that guided a movement as it bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice. Even while we seek to dull the scars of slavery and legalized discrimination, we hold fast to the values gained through centuries of trial and suffering.

"Every American can draw strength from the story of hard-won progress, which not only defines the African-American experience, but also lies at the heart of our Nation as a whole. This story affirms that freedom is a gift from God, but it must be secured by His people here on earth. It inspires a new generation of leaders, and it teaches us all that when we come together in common purpose, we can right the wrongs of history and make our world anew."

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