Black History

Remembering: Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Rosa Parks mugshot
Rosa Parks mugshot, Montgomery, AL, 12/01/1955

On a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on this date, in 1955, Mrs. Rosa Parks had enough. On this date Mrs. Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man. She was already seated in the “colored” section of the bus, but the “whites” section was full. It was customary for Blacks to give up their seat for whites, but Mrs. Parks was not feeling compliant that day. She was not tired as she is frequently depicted in historical recounting of the incident, at least not physically. She was tired of the denigrating treatment of Black customers who used the public transportation system in Montgomery Alabama. She had enough.

Unbeknownst to many today, prior to Mrs. Parks’ arrest, Black women had already started organizing a protest through a group called the Women's Political Council or WPC. They started a couple of years earlier in 1953. In March 1955, a few months prior to the arrest of Rosa Parks, a teenager by the name of Claudette Colvin refuse to give up her seat. The people had enough.

The Montgomery bus boycott would last 381 days from December 5, 1955, through December 20, 1956. Two years after the Montgomery Bus Boycott began, Mrs. Parks and her husband, Raymond, lost their job jobs and received numerous death threats after her arrest. They later moved to Detroit, Michigan where he passed away in 1977 and she in 2005.

So, as you take a seat on a bus or an airplane, or even in a movie theater or restaurant, be mindful of the people who paved the way for you to casually move about in America. Also be sure to tell and retell American history.

 

 

 


Kyra Harris Bolden First Black Woman Appointed to Michigan Supreme Court

Attachment-Lish-2022-11-22T115935.840
Kyra Harris Bolden will make history as the first Black woman to serve on the Michigan Supreme Court.

Michigan State Representative Kyra Harris Bolden will be appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court in January 2023 by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, making history as the first Black woman to serve on the high court. Bolden, an experienced attorney, and bipartisan lawmaker, connected with constituents across the state during her campaign for Michigan Supreme Court earlier this year.

"I am honored to have been selected by Governor Whitmer to serve the wonderful state of Michigan and ensure greater trust and justice for generations,” said Bolden. “This is an important time for Michiganders, and I am grateful for the continued support to bring a fresh perspective to our highest court. This is a court that will ultimately have the final word on many items that will affect not only our lives, but our children’s, and their children’s lives for generations to come. I’m excited and ready to get to work!”

Bolden received her bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University and went on to attend the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. After receiving her Juris Doctorate, Rep. Bolden became a civil litigation attorney. She is an active member of her community, serving as a member of the National Congress of Black Women-Oakland County, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and as a commissioner of the Total Living Commission for the city of Southfield.

Rep. Bolden will replace Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, who announced her departure from the court in September.

 

 


Celebrating this 4th of July: The Fight for Liberty and Justice For All Continues

Justice for All July 4th

The Fourth of July is a national holiday to celebrate this country's freedom from Britain. In 1776, Black people were not free or equal. It's two hundred forty-six years later and while chattel slavery is no longer legal, Black people are still not free or equal.

Since this is a national holiday, many people have this day off from work. Some families and friends will gather for a cookout. There will be parades, fireworks displays, and sales at brick-and-mortar stores as well as online. 

Today is a good day to make sure your voting status is up-to-date and to watch the video of legendary actor James Earl Jones delivering Frederick Douglass's famous speech "What to the Slave is the 4th of July?"

 

 


What is Juneteenth? Know the Truth

IMG_9173

Juneteenth became a federal holiday when President Joseph Biden signed it into law on June 17, 2021. To much fanfare, the holiday has received much media coverage and commentary. This year, the actual date, June 19, fell on Father’s Day to the chagrin of many people who don’t support Juneteenth. Those same folks said Juneteenth overshadowed Father’s Day. It's crucial to know the real history of Juneteenth and separate fact from folklore. June 19 is a Texas holiday that has now become a holiday for America. Please watch this interview with Dr. Carl Mack to put the Civil War, the legal end of chattel slavery in America, and Juneteenth in context for an accurate understanding.

 

 


CNN Senior Legal Analyst and SiriusXM Talk Show Host Laura Coates Will Lead the Miami-Dade NPHC Virtual Voting Rights Symposium at 6 PM ET on Sunday, Feb. 20

VOTING RIGHTS ACT SYMPOSIUM FLYER (4)

As Americans witness the advancement and passage of laws making it more difficult to vote throughout the nation, the Miami-Dade Chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) is hosting an important symposium on Sunday, February 20, 2022, 6 PM ET, “Voting Rights Act-The Power of Now: Why it’s important to you!” This virtual event is designed to educate, inform, mobilize and empower voters.  Visit https://tinyurl.com/36e6a7dj to pre-register for the event. 

The NPHC is a collaborative council of Black Greek-letter fraternities and sororities informally known as the “Divine Nine.” These organizations have historically played a significant role in fighting for civil rights in America and in Get Out The Vote initiatives. 

Laura Coates will lead this conversation on voting rights. She is a CNN senior legal analyst, SiriusXM talk show host, attorney, author and college professor. Other panelists are Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (AKA), State Senator Shevrin Jones (ΑΦΑ), State Representative Christopher Benjamin (ΩΨΦ), Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association Trelvis Randolph (ΦΒΣ), and Vanessa Woodard Byers (ΑΚΑ), creator and editor of Blogging Black Miami. 

Don’t miss this lively, engaging and informative discussion Sunday,  February 20, 2022, at 6 PM ET. Join the conversation by pre-registering at https://tinyurl.com/36e6a7dj. 

Dr. Keietta Givens (ΔΣΘ) is president of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the NPHC. 


Alpha Kappa Alpha Presents MLK Virtual Youth Symposium, Sun. Jan. 16, 2022, 2pm ET

Social Distancing from the Dream

The W.I.S.H. Foundation (Women Involved in Service to Humanity), Incorporated, in partnership with Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated presents the 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Virtual Youth Symposium on Sunday, January 16, 2022, from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm.  This year’s theme is "Are we Social Distancing from the Dream?".

This event is free and open to students of all grade levels from elementary through senior high school. Organization mentoring groups, church youth auxiliary groups, parents and organization members are encouraged to attend. The deadline to register to attend this event is January 12, 2022. Please note that parents must register separately and join the Parent's Forum on event day via a separate device.

Dr. Martha Johnson-Rutledge is the president of the Gamma Zeta Omega Chapter. Islamiyat Nancy Adebisi Elus is the Chairman of the W.I.S.H. Foundation, Incorporated. This is the eleventh year the organizations have presented this community event. Click HERE to register.


Celebrating Juneteenth: 5 Facts You Should Know

IMG_4857

American history will forever remember the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden, officially signed into law a Juneteenth National Independence Day on June 17, 2021. Juneteenth is short for June 19. On that day in 1865, U.S. Major General Gordon Granger notified the enslaved African Americans in Texas that they were free, or at least that is the big lie, so many of us were told and have repeated ad nauseam.

For 156 years, blacks in Texas have celebrated this holiday. One woman, Opal Lee, made it her life's work to see that Juneteenth became a national holiday in the United States. It took her decades, but she accomplished her mission. She is proof that persistence wins and the power of one person can move mountains.

If you don't understand anything else about Juneteenth, know that its history is messy, brutal, painful, and shameful. Depending on your ethnicity, age, and academic training, you might know a lot about Juneteenth, or you might know very little. Either way, the establishment of Juneteenth as a national holiday has triggered interest and much-needed conversation about the Civil War, Reconstruction, reparations, and the vestiges of anti-black racism that remain in society.

Here are five facts you should know when celebrating Juneteenth:

1.    Blacks knew they were free BEFORE U.S. Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.

In his article, The Hidden History Of Juneteenth, historian Gregory P. Downs documents a conversation of former slave Felix Haywood. He was one of more than 2,300 former slaves interviewed during the Great Depression by members of the Federal Writers' Project, a New Deal agency in the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

"We knowed what was goin' on in [the war] all the time," said Haywood, "We all felt like heroes and nobody had made us that way but ourselves."

Felix-Haywood
Felix Haywood




2.    The last of the enslaved people were not free upon the legal notification of the emancipation of blacks in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.

Proclamations, pronouncements, and declarations did not free enslaved Black people. Some stubborn Texans continued to keep blacks in bondage months after Granger and some 2,000 Union soldiers rode into Texas.

Remember the Emancipation Proclamation freed enslaved people in the Confederate States still in rebellion in 1863 (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, and North Carolina), but not those in North-South border states. Blacks remained enslaved in Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, and Kentucky for almost six months after Juneteenth because their state legislatures rejected the 13th Amendment after Congress passed it in January 1865. Slavery was legally banned upon the ratification of the 13th Amendment in December 1865.

Also, note that Native American territories were not subject to U.S. jurisdiction in the matter of slavery. Consequently, after Juneteenth 1865, about 10,000 blacks remained enslaved among five prominent Native American tribes --- the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. It would also be a year later before enslaved blacks were freed from Native American territories. So some of you need to think on that when you hear a black person brag about having "good hair" because they have Indian in their family. [Insert side-eye.]

3. President Abraham Lincoln was not an abolitionist.

As a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Lincoln was accused of supporting "negro equality" by his opponent, Stephen Douglas. On September 18, 1858, in Charleston, Illinois, Lincoln clarified his position during a debate.
 

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and Black races," said Lincoln. He also said he opposed Blacks having the right to vote, to serve on juries, to hold office and to intermarry with whites.

So, don't get it twisted, President Lincoln freed enslaved blacks not out of benevolence but for political reasons and as a war tactic. If the secessionist Confederate States had accepted Lincoln's Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862, enslaved blacks would have remained in legal bondage. Still, since the stubborn Southerners refused to give up, Lincoln took away their best asset, the enslaved blacks.

4. The Compromise of 1877 marked the end of the Reconstruction Era and resulted in the dismantling of much of the progress of African Americans.

Despite Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws enacted after the Emancipation Proclamation, newly emancipated African Americans made tremendous progress. Blacks ran for political office, opened schools, and started businesses.
           
During this period of Reconstruction (1865-1877), Blacks were members of the Republican Party, and the Democrats were the Party of slaveholders. Republican Rutherford B Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden were candidates for President of the United States. The election results were highly disputed, much like what the country is still experiencing since the presidential election of 2020. During a secret meeting, an unwritten deal was made; Democrat Samuel Tilden agreed to allow Republican Rutherford B Hayes to become President of the United States if Hayes would agree to pull the troops from the South that were protecting emancipated Blacks.

The shock of the violence of the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the White House was mild in comparison to the terror, death, and destruction heaped upon Blacks after the troops were pulled from the South. Yep, the Republicans and the Democrats. [Insert side-eye, again.]


5. While June 19, 1865, symbolizes our national day of observance of the end of slavery, those of us in Florida should know our state's Emancipation Day is May 20, 1865.

After the end of the Civil War, on May 10, 1865, Union Brigadier General Edward M. McCook arrived in Tallahassee to take possession of the capital from Southern rebels. On May 20, 1865, after official control of the region was transferred to Union forces, he declared the Emancipation Proclamation in effect. That same day an announcement arrived in Tallahassee sent by Major General Quincy A. Gillmore via train from Jacksonville. General Gillmore's Special Order Number 63 noted that "the people of the black race are free citizens of the United States."

 

In conclusion:

As this first Juneteenth National Independence Day comes to an end, it is incumbent upon us to ensure the true history of Emancipation Day in Florida, Juneteenth, and the Reconstruction Amendments are taught. Preferably formally in our public and private school systems and definitely in our homes and community groups.

With the expeditious bipartisan approval of the 117th Congress to make Juneteenth a national federal holiday, let's always be mindful of what this holiday represents and the progress yet to be made for equitable treatment of Blacks in America. Let's not allow Juneteenth to become just another day off from work and school. Let us demonstrate the proper homage to our ancestors. Let's share our history not from the lens of trauma porn but from a perspective of pride in the achievements of our ancestors and commitment to duplicate their success despite obstacles and deception.
 

 

 


Alpha Kappa Alpha Makes History with New Chapter in Wellington

F17F3AF4-31EF-4A70-B230-7ECF5C014050

On Sunday, June 6, 2021, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated made history with the chartering of a new chapter serving Wellington and the Western Communities in Palm Beach County, Florida. The Alpha Alpha Upsilon Omega Chapter is the first African American organization actively involved with community service in the Village of Wellington.

The South Atlantic Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Carolyn Gause Randolph of Columbus, Ga., was the chartering officiant for the ceremony that was held in the Grand Ballroom at the Village of Wellington Community Center. Fifty-two college-educated and professional women are now forever recorded in the annals of the organization as charter members.

Prior to becoming a chartered chapter, this group of women formed the Crowned Pearls of Wellington Interest Group and set out to address needs among the disadvantaged black and brown populations in the Western Communities of Palm Beach for more than a year.

"Our mission is to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women to improve social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life, and to be of service to all mankind." Chapter President Geneva Pettis-Hassell explained, "We are committed to helping each other and positively impacting the communities in which we live and work."

Despite the pandemic, The Crowned Pearls of Wellington Interest group served their community by hosting and assisting with providing food for healthcare professionals at Wellington Regional and Palms West Hospitals, voter registration efforts, donating, and volunteering with Feeding South Florida food drives, collecting and distributing toys and backpacks. The group also hosted a virtual college fair, supported a fund-raising effort to raise funds for historically Black colleges and universities, and mentored students participating in the Village of Wellington's Students Working to Achieve Greatness (SWAG) program more.

The group's volunteer and community efforts are consistent with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's Incorporated motto, "Service to All Mankind."

Notable Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated members include Vice-President Kamala Harris, U.S. House of Representatives Member Frederica Wilson, Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Award-winning Film Director Ava DuVernay, International Tennis Player and Professional Golfer Althea Gibson, First Female Astronaut Mae C. Jemison, Actress Phylicia Rashad, Civil Rights Leader Coretta Scott-King, Author and Poet laureate Maya Angelou, Inspirational Speaker and Author and Lawyer Iyanla Vanzant.

 

Pictured above from left: Alma Henry-Morman, 1st Vice-President;Marcia Rowe Hayden, Vice-President of Operations; Carolyn Gause Randolph, Regional Director of the South Atlantic Region; and Jenny Pettis-Hassell, President

 

 


Miami-Dade County Observes Juneteenth

6E3D3FE0-01E8-44E9-BB21-F53DC0BD18AF

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. While the holiday is celebrated on June 19, 1865, this year, June 19 falls on a Saturday, so County offices and libraries will be closed on Monday, June 21 in observance.

Solid Waste Management will collect curbside garbage or trash, as usual. Miami‑Dade Libraries will be closed, and Transit will operate on a normal schedule.

Please note that while we celebrate Juneteenth (June 19, 1865), it is the day enslaved African Americans were notified of their freedom in Texas. Emancipation Day in Florida is May 20, 1865, but enslaved African Americans were not free until the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was signed on December 6, 1865.

 

P.S.   This is not Critical Race Theory; it is American history. Teach the truth.


Juneteenth Unityfest, Livestreamed Celebrity Event, June 19, 2021 5pm-9pm ET

D8769D2A-4C99-4940-87BC-BDE5D08CB6CE

Juneteenth Unityfest, a star-studded live streamed event presented by the Robert Randolph Foundation (RRF) is designed to commemorate and celebrate the Juneteenth holiday. GRAMMY™ Award-winning artists India.Arie and Ledisi have been added to the lineup.

Hosted by actress and author Amanda Seales and comedian JB Smoove, Juneteenth Unityfest will include musical performances by: Robert Randolph, Earth, Wind & Fire, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, India.Arie, Darius Rucker, Dave Matthews & Carter Beauford, Ledisi, Black Pumas, Aloe Blacc, Keb’ Mo’, Bebe Winans, Khruangbin, Phony Ppl, Judith Hill, Jimmie Allen, Korean Soul, The Soul Rebels, and Greg Phillinganes, with more acts to be named soon.

The show also features guest appearances by: Phylicia Rashad, Billy Porter, Jon Hamm, Van Jones, Wayne Brady, Holly Robinson Peete, Aisha Tyler, Craig Robinson, Zach Galifianakis, Gail Devers, Lynn Nottage, Jason Wright, Krystal Mackie, Zina GarrisonWilson Cruz,Roger Guenveur Smith, LeVar Burton, Ms. Opal Lee, Adesola Osakalumi, Baratunde Thurston, and Jesse Williams.

Throughout the program, many community organizations and HBCUs will be highlighted. Some of the over 35 partners include:  HBCUs Benedict College, Fisk University, Lincoln University and Mississippi Valley State University; community organizations: Heal America, AARP Pennsylvania, The Africa Center, The African American Museum of Philadelphia, African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, beGirl.world, The Hip Hop Caucus, The HollyRod Foundation,  The Links, Incorporated, The Muhammad Ali Center, Reel Works, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Usher’s New Look, We Are Family Foundation, the Zina Garrison Foundation, and UNCF.