Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
(there may be a reason why)
by Nikki Giovanni
I was born in the Congo
I sat on the throne
I gazed on the forest and burned
For a birthday present when he was three
My son Noah built new/ark and
I sowed diamonds in my back yard
I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Allensworth was born in slavery in Kentucky, teaching himself to read and write, when he escaped to join the army, he taught the illiterate soldiers and other escapees to read. He became the army’s first black chaplain, obtained his teaching certificate and was stationed in San Francisco.
Upon leaving the military he moved his family to Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles Allensworth envisioned a self-sustaining all black town where those like him could live free of discrimination and be a self- governing community. In 1908, the colony of Allensworth was established, in Tulare County. The towns people began building houses, schools, laying out streets and other public buildings. Allensworth soon became a town which consisted of 900 acres. The town flourished and became known as the “Tuskegee of the West”. All of the streets in Allensworth were named for notable African American abolitionists, poets and authors.
Unfortunately, two things happened to aid in the demise of this town. First, Allensworth while on his way south to publicize the town was struck and killed by a motorcycle. The second being that the land developers that sold the land promised a good supply of water to the town but as white’s moved into the area, the company’s people began siphoning the good water to them, causing the deterioration of the town as blacks moved away.
The town has since been restored and is now a State Historic Park, thanks to Cornelius Ed Pope, a black man, that worked for the state department of parks and recreation and remembered living in Allensworth as a child.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Just received his teaching degree from South Carolina College at the age of 16 and went on to Kimball Academy in New Hampshire and then to Dartmouth University. He graduated magna cum laude, won every prize there was in sociology, history, botany and zoology and was the only black man in his graduating class of 287, in 1907. After graduating Dartmouth he was offered a teaching job as an English professor at Howard University and appointed instructor of biology before establishing and becoming the head of Howard’s Zoology Department, where he taught for 34 years. He obtained is PhD in 1916 from the University of Chicago.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Engaging in the maritime trade and sailing from New Orleans to New York, the excitement and possibilities of the west soon lured him to California around 1841.
This 1841 voyage into San Francisco Bay alone would make him famous, although it would be the one of many claiming attention.
Leidesdorff established himself in a voluminous home on the corner of California and Montgomery Streets near the present-day Russ Building as well as owning a vast amount of land where the city of Folsom sits today.
Leidesdorff died of brain fever in 1848 at the age of thirty-eight. Flags hung at half-mast, vessels remained in the port and Minute guns were fired as the funeral procession made its way through the winding streets of San Francisco.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Although they were in free territory they were far from free and had to move around to elude detection on several occasions when slave catchers sought them out to transport them back into slavery in Georgia. They never felt safe in the Northern "Free" States and in 1850, just two years after fleeing slavery, sailed to England.
They became involved in anti-slavery causes and lectured before publishing their narratives, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom in 1860.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Kofi earned his freedom by his skillfulness as a carpenter and educated himself as well.
Paul learned maritime navigation after his fathers death and at the beginning of the American Revolution, he and his brother built a boat and began a trading business. This business grew to a fleet of ships and a ship yard, making Paul Cuffe one of the wealthiest men in America. He died September 17, 1817.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Zora Neale Hurston & J. California Cooper
These two women are amazing storytellers.
The first, I believe, wrote about herself
in most if not all of her books;
the latter, writes about others.
I came across Mrs. Cooper in a book store in San Antonio, Texas back in the summer of ’92 after devouring every book written by Zora Neale Hurston they had in the store. “If you like Zora, I think you’ll like this author” the sales lady said as she handed me my first book by J. California Cooper, A Piece of Mine. I flipped through the pages and decided to give her a try. It was a book of short stories, so full of life, anyone’s life, that before the mall closed the next evening I was back to purchase my next books, The Matter is Life and Family (a novel). To make a long story not too long, I have not only purchased and read all of her books but I have read most –if not all- of her books several times. She is an absolutely wonderful author and person, I should know, as I had the pleasure of not only meeting her but sitting with her for a while, once. Let me share the story…picture this… I am at the 2005 Book Club Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, I'm sitting a crowded conference room, everyone is waiting on the guest speaker, J. California Cooper to arrive. I get a little antsy and decide to excuse myself and step out onto the courtyard of the hotel for a breath of fresh air. As I'm sitting there, I notice a mature woman step out, cigarette in hand and ask if the seat next to me was taken, I said no and she sits down. As we begin talking about the conference and what a wonderful idea it was, I look deeper into her face. At the moment that I realize who she was (her book photos are of a much younger woman)I try not to hyperventilate, try not to stutter (I never had before), I ask in the mousiest voice, “are you J California Cooper?” (as I write this I think back and it is hard to contain my excitement, even today) “Yes dear, it is me” she replied and from then on, I floated, as if on a cloud. I had never been one with such luck, but on that day…I was the luckiest person alive. I soon received a call on my cell phone from my mom informing me that breakfast and the conference was about to begin, I explained that I was outside talking with J. California Cooper and would be in shortly. When she was ready to go in...
we walked in together.
Okay, so I went off track just a bit. But, what can I say?
Me meeting her could very easily be compared
to a 16 year old girl in the '80's meeting Michael Jackson!
I love J. California Cooper!
...read her books and you will too!
If you'd like to listen to an interview click the link below
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Samuel Allen like a hero fout
And though he was so brave and bold
His face no more shall we behold.
Eleazer Hawks was killed outright
before he had time to fight
before he did the Indians see
was shot and killed immediately.
Oliver Amsden he was slain
which caused his friends much grief and pain.
Samuel Amsden they found dead
not many rods off from his head.
Adonijah Gillet we do hear
did lose his life which was so dear.
John Saddler fled across the water
and so escaped the dreadful slaughter.
Eunice Allen see the Indians comeing
and hoped to save herself by running
And had not her petticoats stopt her
the awful creatures had not cotched her
And tommyhawked her on the head
And left her on the ground for dead.
Young Samuel Allen, Oh! lack a-day
Was taken and carried to Canada.