Historical African American Figures

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King was a crucial figure in the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement. He helped to organise the Great March on Washington, which advocated for the equality of black Americans. In 1964 the Baptist minister won the Nobel Peace Prize.

King was sadly assassinated in 1968. His death galvanised the country and some claim that it helped to speed up the process of equal rights. Half a century later, US citizens are still enjoying the benefits of King’s sacrifice and work.

Barack Obama

In 2009 Barack Obama became the first ever African American president. His term of office would not end until 2017. He helped to launch a number of liberal policies throughout the country. This included universal health care.

Despite no longer being in office, Obama continues to be a popular figure amongst the public. He is considered one of the greatest presidents of all time. He and his wife Michelle are still active and vocal in the political sphere.

Mohammed Ali

Ali was one of the most successful boxers of the 20th century. He is most famously remembered for the Rumble in the Jungle of 1974. During this fight he competed against George Foreman.

Ali lived to see the internet age. It is astounding to think that a figure so tied to the 1960’s would also survive to see the emergence of online services such as movon.com. The latter is a medical app that provides healthcare online. Ali used modern technology like this for a number of philanthropy endeavours.

Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens made the headlines during the 1936 Olympics. This African American athlete specialised in the long jump and sprinting. In track and field sports he is often cited as the very best.

The 1936 Olympics was attended by the dictator Adolph Hitler. During the games Owens won four gold medals. This helped to dispel the Nazi myth of white genetic supremacy. Today it is seen as a great victory for humanity.

Malcolm X

Malcolm X was active in the Civil Rights Movement at the same time as Martin Luther King. However, X is considered a much more controversial figure. He was an extreme proponent of racism in America and an influential person during this period.

Like Martin Luther King, X was also the victim of an assassination plot. He is remembered for being a proponent of black self defence, self determination and anti-racism. A film was later made about his life directed by Spike Lee.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is considered one of the greatest musicians that ever lived. He had a string of best selling albums during the 1980’s. One of his greatest hits, Thriller was extremely influential to popular culture.

Jackson mixed modern music with urban dance moves. He has been dubbed the King of Pop by his adoring fans. His music continues to be enjoyed by millions of people worldwide.

Black History Month: Its Origins and Humble Beginnings

The origins of Black History Month initially started in Chicago in the midst of summer in 1915. During this time, Carter G. Woodson who was an alumnus of the University of Chicago traveled to the state of Illinois to take part in a nationwide celebration of 50 years of emancipation. A large number of African American people came from different parts of the country to view exhibits that reflected progress that African-Americans have made since slavery was abolished. Even though this celebration was held at the Illinois Coliseum, which was also home to the Republican convention of 1912, an estimated 6,000-12,000 people patiently waited outside to see the exhibition. Being inspired by the celebration, which lasted for three weeks, Woodson made a decision to create an organization geared towards the promotion of the study of the lives of African-Americans, mainly through science. On the day of September 9, Woodson arrived at the YMCA of Wabash, meeting with A.L. Jackson and 3 others. Together, they formed the now historic group, the Association of the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH).

Woodson had a strong belief that historic scientific events that were published would change race relations for the better. He believed that this would be achieved by destroying the widespread untruths regarding the achievements of African-Americans and Native Africans. He had hopes that more individuals would promote the findings that his group would publish in The Journal of Negro History, which was made in 1916. Woodson advertised his ideas, heavily persuading black organizations of civic leaders to help promote the achievements that his research team had discovered. He worked with his college fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, to create Negro History and Literature Week or Negro Achievement Week. The results of their efforts were very positive. However, Woodson had bigger ideas that he wanted to achieve.

These efforts were the beginning of the progressive idea of celebrating black history, along with a vision to reflect on the great achievements and historical timeline of the plight of African-Americans. During the 1940s, West Virginia African-Americans started to celebrate February as Negro History Month. In the time of the Black Pride movement of the 1960s, Negro History week would expand to Black History Month. Frederick H. Hammurabi, a cultural activist, began celebrating Negro History Month during the mid-1960s. By the time of the late 1960s, many young Black college students began learning more of their African heritage, thus promoting Black History Month through the community at a speedy pace. The transition to the celebration becoming a month-long event began before the death of Dr. Woodson, which occurred on April 3, 1950.

The historical fight to reflect the achievements of African-Americans were part of an ongoing universal plight for equality. These efforts have since been reflected in many industries, such as healthcare. For example, kry.care is an organization with a global vision of providing health care that is equal, along with accessible, to people of all types. These type of ongoing efforts help continue the universal goal of equal rights for people of all backgrounds.

Slavery Unleashed

Art – A Graphic Reminder of Slavery

In this modern day world, we live in, one does expect to hear or encounter the world slavery let lone experience it; but there are some parts of the world where modern-day slavery still exists. It is estimated that there are about 40 million people in the world that are currently in modern day slavery. Slavery can take many shapes and form including forced marriage, human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage and many others. What is astonishingly atrocious is the people who carry out these crimes. Imagine if the people who commit these terrible crimes against other human beings were to walk a mile in their shoes and experience what these slaves were going through? How would they feel?

The Lynching Memorial

This is what the new memorial at Montgomery, Alabama tries to achieve. The lynching memorial depicts the horrors of slavery and the struggles that slaves had to endure. The memorial honours the lives of more than 4000 black people who were victims of lynching due to the racism of that era in the United States Of America. By showcasing their names and depicting controversial sculptures of slaves near the memorial site, Bryan Stevenson who created the Equal Justice Initiative, responsible for the memorial, believes that the site will encourage more dialogue between different folks in the city. He believes that by talking about slavery people will become more sympathetic to the injustice that befell the African American community of that era and people of all colours can come to terms with their past, make peace with it and eventually remember not to repeat the mistakes ever again. One thing is for sure; talking about slavery is not enough, especially when it comes to modern-day slavery which is a real human rights issue. What will make all the difference, on the other hand, is actually doing something about this problem.

Freedom From The Chains

The creators of Blues music

Around the 19th century the amazing music genre blues was born, some say in the american south. It has a deep and tragic story behind it though. To feel “blue” means that you’re somehow feeling sad and that’s very true. The music genre blues is originated from African musical traditions, African-American work songs, spirituals and folk music.

African-American work songs is a nicer name for slavery work songs. The slavery was very rough, specially in the south of USA.

The music genre blues is something truly amazing though. Some say that the most beautiful and emotionally moving songs are blues.

Mississippi John Hurt was a blues artist who was born in 1893. He was an amazing artist who learned how to play the guitar when he was only 9 years old.  It evolved and he started playing guitar and singing in local pubs and parties and he became a great singer. A little down the road he was signed by a music label, then he got a small career that didn’t last very long. Sadly he returned to his home town of Avalon and started working as a farmer. He only released to songs with the music label, one of them was Louis Collins.  The song is about a mother, Mrs. Collins, who’s sad that her son is leaving to join the army.

To truly experience the real blues music you should go to the american south and walk the same blocks that these old blues legends used to walk and find inspiration in. You can find cheap and nice flights to your favourite blues-town destinations at http://avionero.com/.

Another great blues musician was also born in Mississippi, Nehemiah Curtis James, also known as “Skip James“. Skip James wasn’t born in Avalon as Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James was born in Bentonia.

Skip James was born in 1902 and passed away in 1969. During his musical career he managed to learn how to play the guitar and the piano. He recorded his very first album with the music label Paramount and it was released in 1931. Due to the economic depression at the time it wasn’t very easy to sell alot of records. The music label didn’t like the fact that so few records were sold and Skip James didn’t record anymore music in over 30 years.

But in the year of 1960 he was rediscovered by three other blues musicians. Their discovery lead to that Skip James played at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964, and he kept on playing at several folk and music festivals until his passing in 1969.

During these years Skip James recorded alot of music and lots of his songs have been interpreted by lots of other musicians.