Black History

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.


Talladega College Explores Feasibility of Reviving Football Program on 100-Year Anniversary of Championship Win

39DE32E0-3E49-4119-B20E-A3B7E909E2C3
              

(Talladega, AL)  The Talladega College Board of Trustees authorized Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins to employ a consultant to determine the feasibility of reviving the institution’s football program.  Trustees voted in favor of conducting a feasibility study during the institution’s spring board meeting on April 30, 2021. 

Talladega seized the Black College Football National Championship in both 1920 and 1921 under the leadership of Coach Jubie Barton Bragg. While the institution’s illustrious football program was canceled 80 years ago, during World War II, the upcoming study may help usher in a new era of football for Alabama’s first private historically black college.

“The year 2021 marks the one hundred year anniversary of our historic back-to-back championship win,” said Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins. “Given the success of our academic and athletic programs; the recent growth and transformation of the college; and the myriad benefits of having a football program, now may be the time to revive our team. This could be great for the college, the community, and central Alabama. However, our decision will be based upon the findings of a formal feasibility study.”

Dr. Hawkins has extensive experience in bringing back a college football program. During his tenure as president of Texas College, where he served prior to beginning his presidency at Talladega, he successfully restarted the institution’s football program that had been shut down for 40 years. Texas’s football program is still thriving today. 

Talladega’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Jeffery T. Burgin Jr, recently spearheaded a preliminary investigation to determine the feasibility of adding a football program.  His committee surveyed employees and found that an overwhelming majority of Talladega’s faculty and staff are in favor of having a football program. Most employees believe a football team will increase student enrollment and retention; attract donations and sponsorships; and increase institutional pride.

“We are now moving forward with a true feasibility study. Adding a football program will affect community members so we want to hear their opinions. We also want to gage the opinions of our alumni and other stakeholders,” Dr. Burgin stated.

Talladega College Athletic Director Kevin Herod added, “The possibility of adding football would only enhance our athletic program and bring new opportunities to the campus, the community, and the overall collegiate experience for our students.” 

Shakayah Midgette, a 2021 graduate who served as student representative to the Talladega College Board of Trustees, stated, “The band would love to actually march at home games, and many students are excited about the possibility of attending football games on campus.  School pride has increased a great deal, and I believe a football team would help it to increase even further.  Football would attract new students as well as sponsors.”

Talladega recently launched its first-ever graduate program and constructed three new facilities — a 45,000-square-foot residence hall; the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center; and the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which houses Hale Woodruff’s renowned Amistad Murals. The 2020-2021 academic year was Talladega’s 3rd consecutive year for record enrollment increases. Talladega is consistently listed among the best colleges in the Southeast and the top HBCUs in the nation.  

 


City of North Miami Beach Commission Names Street in Honor of Miami-Dade Commissioner Jean Monestime

0A6B4D8B-C3C9-47BA-AC23-D4D7CFFDA974

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FL __ The North Miami Beach City Commission has voted to name Northeast 159th Street in honor of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime for his advocacy and trailblazing leadership in the community.  The Commission voted unanimously to name the road from West Dixie Highway to Northeast 8th Avenue "Jean Monestime Street," making it one of the longest roads named after a Haitian American in South Florida. Commissioner Michael Joseph was the prime sponsor of this resolution, and  Commissioner McKenzie Fleurimond was the co-sponsor.

"The City wanted to recognize Commissioner Monestime for his leadership, vision, and longtime support of our community's quality of life. May is Haitian Heritage Month, which makes the timing of this honor especially meaningful," Commissioner Joseph said.

Commissioner Monestime represents District 2 on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, which includes parts of North Miami Beach. He is the first Haitian American to serve as a Miami-Dade County commissioner and the first to serve as its chair. He is also in his last tenure of office due to term limits.

The resolution passed by the North Miami Beach Commission also urges the Miami-Dade County Commission to co-designate the remaining county road section of 159th Street, from Northeast 8th Avenue to Northwest 6th Avenue, in solidarity with the municipal resolution. The co-designation awaits the confirmation of the Miami-Dade County Commission before becoming final.