Archives for : July2014

Betty Davis:They Say I’m Different……




There would be no Prince, Madonna, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis (in the 1970’s), or Lil Kim, if it weren’t for Betty Davis and her explosive, courageous, erotic, gender bending, bluesy, and funky music. Betty’s voice purrs, growls, and scratches through her deliciously written lyrics. A blues woman to the bone, Betty took her southern roots, and mixed them with raw funk, soul, and psychedelic rock.

A woman well ahead of her time, she pushed boundaries with her avant-garde fashion sense, amazing afro, and provocative lyrics. There is one testimonial about Betty Davis that is universal: she was a woman ahead of her time. In our contemporary moment, this may not be as self-evident as it was thirty years ago – we live in an age that’s been profoundly changed by flamboyant flaunting of female sexuality: from Parlet to Madonna, Lil Kim to Kelis.

Yet, back in 1973 when Betty Davis first showed up in her silver go-go boots, dazzling smile and towering Afro, who could you possibly have compared her to? Marva Whitney had the voice but not the independence. Labelle wouldn’t get sexy with their “Lady Marmalade” for another year while Millie Jackson wasn’t “Feelin’ Bitchy” until 1977. Even Tina Turner, the most obvious predecessor to Betty’s fierce style wasn’t completely out of Ike’s shadow until later in the decade.

22 year old Betty met brilliant trumpeter and bandleader Miles Davis who was almost twice her age. Miles could not resist the undeniable coolness that Betty exuded, so he had to know her.

The steamy pair married in 1969 only after a year of knowing each other. By this time Betty had already graced the cover of Miles’s 1968 album, Filles de Killimanjaro. “Mademoiselle Mabry” served as Miles’s muse as well as a very influential musician in his life. During the pivotal two years they were together, Betty introduced Miles to the sounds of her good friend Jimi Hendrix, who middle aged Miles was not hip to.

Inspired by the sounds of the younger generation Miles decided to push his music to uncharted territory, and thus spawned “fusion.” Miles completely reinvented himself and released the ground breaking album Bitches Brew in 1970, which Betty also helped name.

Patrick Francis Healy: 140th Anniversary



On July 31, 1874, Patrick Francis Healy was inaugurated as president of Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic University in America, and became the first Black to head a predominantly white university.

Patrick was born into slavery in Macon, Georgia, to the Irish-American plantation owner Michael Healy and his bi-racial slave Mary Eliza. Because of the law of slavery, children took the status of the mother, by the principle of partus sequitur ventrum, Patrick and his siblings were legally considered slaves.

Rick James: The Hit Maker




“I think I’m a musician who writes for people as opposed to being self-indulgent. I have to like it, but it’s basically for people. I concentrate on that, giving them what I think they can dance to and what I think they would appreciate in their ears.” – Rick James on writing hits

The Temptations: 45th Anniversary!



Today we’re celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Temptations‘ #1 hit “I Can’t Get Next to You.”

Iggy Azalea & Co: Fast & Furious 7


Quentin Tarantiono’s: The Hateful Eight






The Weinstein Company  has released the first poster for Quentin Tarantiono’s The Hateful Eight, coming in 2015!

Michael Colyer & Co: Blessed Hands



Today Lisaraye got Baptised at her home and we were there to witness it and to bask in the glow of God’s amazing love. I feel honored to have a friend with such integrity and character who loves the Lord. Congratulations,my friend. You are Glowing.

Happy Birthday Laurence Fisburne



Happy Birthday to film and stage actor, playwright, director, and producer Laurence John Fishburne III (born July 30, 1961).

Happy Birthday Paul Anka



Happy Birthday to singer, songwriter and actor Paul Albert Anka, OC (born July 30, 1941).

Happy 78th Birthday Buddy Guy


Happy Birthday to blues guitarist and singer George “Buddy” Guy (born July 30, 1936).

Happy Birthday David Sanborn



Happy Birthday to alto saxophonist David Sanborn (born July 30, 1945). Though Sanborn has worked in many genres, his solo recordings typically blend jazz with instrumental pop and R&B.

Happy 40th BirthdayHilary Ann Swank

Happy Birthday to film actress Hilary Ann Swank (born July 30, 1974). She has won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, for playing Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry (1998) and a struggling waitress-turned-boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby (2004).

Happy 50th Birthday Vivica Fox





On July 30, 1839, Sengbe Pieh later known as JOSEPH CINQUE’, a West African man of the Mende people, lead a revolt aboard the Slave ship AMISTAD and demanded that they direct the ship back to Sierra Leone.

Instead the captives directed the ship in the opposite direction, towards the Americas, in the hope of attracting the attention of one of their fellow Spaniards who would save their ship and regain control. After about two months, Amistad reached United States waters near Long Island. Members of the USS Washington boarded the vessel. According to the LIES by the Spaniards, they charged the Africans with mutiny and murder, and took them to New Haven, Connecticut to await trial.
CINQUE’ was the most prominent defendant in the case United States v. The Amistad, in which it was found that he and 51 others had been victims of the illegal Atlantic slave trade.

In March 1840, the Supreme Court ruled that the Africans mutinied to regain their freedom after being kidnapped and sold illegally. The advocacy of former U.S. President John Quincy Adams, together with Roger Sherman Baldwin, was critical to the Africans’ defense. The court ordered the Africans FREED and returned to Africa, if they wished. CINQUE’ and the other Africans reached their homeland in 1842.

In Sierra Leone, Cinqué was faced with civil war. He and his company maintained contact with the local mission for a while, but Cinqué left to trade along the coast. Little is known of his later life, and rumors circulated. Some maintained that he had moved to Jamaica. He died in 1879 at the age of 64 and was buried on Sherbro Island in Sierra Leone!
AMISTAD, the 1997 film depicting the events of the mutiny and trial, Cinqué was portrayed by Beninese-American actor Djimon Hounsou.
~RWG Soldier!!~

Written By Tracey TjdaMilitant Jennings

Happy 46th Terry Alan Crews



Happy Birthday to actor and former NFL player Terry Alan Crews (born July 30, 1968). He is perhaps best known for playing Julius on the UPN/CW sitcom Everybody Hates Chris and for his appearances in Old Spice commercials, Arrested Development, The Newsroom and for his roles in films like Friday After Next, White Chicks, Idiocracy, Gamer, and The Expendables. He stars as Nick Kingston-Persons in the TBS sitcom Are We There Yet? and as himself in the BET reality series The Family Crews.

Happy Birthday Chester Bomar Himes (July 29, 1909-November 12, 1984)



“Named for his maternal grandfather, Chester Bomar Himes was born on July 29, 1909, in Jefferson City, Missouri, the youngest son of Joseph Sandy and Estelle Bomar Himes. Himes’s father was head of the mechanical department at Lincoln Institute, where he taught blacksmithing and wheelwrighting; his mother was formerly on the faculty of Georgia State College, teaching English composition and music. The Himes family led a nomadic life during Himes’s early years. In 1914 they moved to Cleveland following his father’s resignation from Lincoln Institute. Their stay there was brief as Himes’s father accepted a position on the faculty of Alcorn College in Lorman, Mississippi. Tension between Himes’s parents— attributed to his father’s humble status and his mother’s attempts at social climbing—soon caused a riff. Estelle Himes accepted an offer to teach in South Carolina and she took Chester and his middle brother, Joseph, Jr. However, less than a month later Estelle relocated again, this time to Augusta, Georgia. She taught music at the Haines Normal and Industrial School, which both her sons attended.

At the end of the school year the family was reunited, with the exception of the eldest son, Edward, who left home to attend Atlanta University and eventually made his way to New York. Himes’s father took a position at the Branch Normal School in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, while his mother taught in local public schools. In June 1923 an accident during a chemistry demonstration on gunpowder left Joseph, Jr. blind, and Chester, who was forbidden to take part in the demonstration because of misbehavior, was despondent over his brother’s injury. The family moved to St. Louis shortly thereafter, but by 1925 they were back in Cleveland.

In 1926 Himes graduated from Glenville High School in Cleveland. He planned on attending Ohio State University, and in order to earn money he worked as a busboy at the Wade Park Manor Hotel. While on the job Himes was seriously injured after he fell down an elevator shaft. The hotel was found liable and Himes was awarded a monthly disability payment. He enrolled at Ohio State but left in 1927 because of poor grades and bad health. Himes thereupon returned to Cleveland and began working as a bellhop in the Gilsey Hotel. Attracted by the seamier side of Cleveland, he began carrying a gun and hanging out at a bar and gambling club called Bunch Boy’s, where he dealt blackjack. Himes soon found himself in trouble with the law. His first arrest, for passing bad checks, ended with a two-year suspended sentence, plus a five-year parole. His second arrest was far more serious: the armed robbery of an elderly couple. In December 1928 Himes was sentenced to 20 to 25 years’ hard labor. He served time in the Ohio State Penitentiary from December 27, 1928. until September 21, 1934, when he was transferred to a work farm; he was paroled into his mother’s custody on April 1, 1936.

In The Quality of Hurt, the first volume of his autobiography, Himes wrote, “I grew to manhood in the Ohio State Penitentiary. I was nineteen years old when I went in and twenty-six years old when I came out. I became a man dependent on no one but myself. I learned all the behavior patterns necessary for survival. … I survived, I suppose, because I knew how to gamble.” Himes admitted that his explosive rage also served as a shield in prison, as did his education. It was in prison that Himes began to write, and his first stories naturally dealt with crime and criminals. “Crazy in the Stir,” “To What Red Hell” (based on an infamous prison fire at the Ohio State Penitentiary), “The Visiting Hour,” “Every Opportunity,” “The Night’s for Crying,” “Strictly Business,” and other stories appeared in various newspapers and magazines, including Coronet and Esquire. This early success bolstered Himes’s confidence, and upon his release he began working on a prison novel, originally titled Black Sheep. On August 13, 1937, he married Jean Lucinda Johnson, whom he had lived with before his incarceration.

The Great Depression came upon the United States during Himes’s prison term and, ironically, Himes was spared its harshest years. The Works Project Administration (WPA) was one of the New Deal programs designed to kick-start the economy, and in 1937 he went to work for the WPA, at first as a laborer and then a research assistant for the Cleveland Public Library. By 1938 Himes was working for the WPA’s Federal Writers’ Project, assigned to write a history of the state of Ohio and later a guide to Cleveland. In retrospect Himes considered this one of the happier periods in his life, both personally and professionally. Himes was even writing a column (though unsigned) for the Cleveland Daily News titled, “This Cleveland.” In March 1940 he successfully petitioned Ohio Governor Harold Burton for termination of his parole and restoration of his citizenship. Himes afterward joined the Democratic Party.

In 1941, after his term in the Federal Writers’ project had expired and he could not find work in Cleveland, Himes decided to head to California. Before doing so, however, he went to work as a butler on Malabar Farm, located in the countryside southwest of Cleveland. Malabar was owned by the writer Louis Bromfield, who at the time was at the height of his popularity. Bromfield, a Pulitzer Prize winner who also wrote Hollywood screenplays, read Himes’s Black Sheep and promised to help get it published.

Himes spent most of World War II working in the war industry in Los Angeles and California. During this time he published stories and essays in such black-run magazines as Crisis and Opportunity. By 1944 Himes was working on another novel and was awarded a Rosewald fellowship to complete it. That year he moved to New York City. He completed the 1945 novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go, a semi-autobiographical tale of the absurd and rage-filled life of a young, educated African-American man who eventually lands a job in the shipyards. After the novel’s publication Himes returned to California and began working on a new novel. When he had finished it Himes moved back to New York City. His second novel, Lonely Crusade, was published in 1947. The following year Himes spent two months at the famed Yaddo Writer’s Colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. It seemed his career was finally on its way. However his home life suffered and by 1950 Himes and his wife had separated for good.

In 1952 Himes was again running out of money when he managed to finally sell his prison novel, now retitled Cast the First Stone. Unfortunately this was such an over edited version of the manuscript that it amounted almost to censorship. Even Himes’s choice of a new title, Yesterday Will Make You Cry, was changed. It was not until 1998 that the novel was finally published in its entirety, along with Himes’s preferred title. Also in 1952 Himes met a young woman who worked as an executive at the International Institute of Education; Himes’s violent and often destructive affair with Vandi Haygood eventually became the basis for his 1955 novel The Primitive (also titled The End of a Primitive.). By the time that book came out, though, Himes was no longer living in the United States. In 1953 he immigrated to France already the refuge for such prominent African American writers as Richard Wright and James Baldwin. In 1954 Himes published The Third Generation; later that year he moved to Mallorca, a Spanish island also known as Majorca.

1956 was the real turning point in Himes’s career. Marcel Duhamel, who had translated If He Hollers Let Him Go into French, became the editor of Gallimard publishing house’s “La Sârie Noir” and persuaded Himes to write detective fiction. Since Himes’s earliest published work had dealt with crime and his subsequent novels had both noirish and absurdist touches, this was not so unusual a request. Himes decided to give it a try to what resulted was a long series featuring literature’s first two African-American detectives, Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones, who were patterned after characters in a story Himes had written while in prison. The series became known as the “Harlem Cycle.”

The “Harlem Cycle” and many of Himes’ other novels are a mixture of elements, their violence and absurdity at times seemingly at odds with each other, while at other times serving as perfect counterpoints. As Himes himself wrote in My Life of Absurdity, “It never occurred to me that I was writing absurdity. Realism and absurdity are so similar in the lives of American blacks one cannot tell the difference.”

The first novel in the series, published in 1957, was titled La Reine des pommes (For Love of Imabelle). The novel, which won the Grand Prix in 1958 as the best detective novel of the year, introduces Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones. When it was finally published in the United States it was heavily re-edited, but years later was restored under the title A Rage in Harlem. By the time For Love of Imabelle was published Himes had already finished the next two books in the series, The Crazy Kill (Couchâ dans le pain) and The Real Cool Killers (Il pleut des coups durs), both published in 1959.

Himes’ next novel, Dare, was also published in France in 1959, but did not reach its American audiences, under the title Run Man Run, until 1966. It is unique among the “Harlem” novels in that it does not feature Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones. In 1960 Himes published two more “Harlem Cycle” novels: All Shot Up and The Big Gold Dream. The early 1960s proved to be the peak of Himes’ career, though not his fame. Ever the gypsy, Himes traveled widely about Europe and back and forth to the United States. He also became more deeply involved with Lesley Packard, whom he married in 1965. In 1961 he finished another novel in the “Harlem Cycle,” The Heat’s On, which, like Run Man Run, wasn’t published in the United States until 1966. That same year, Himes also took a break from the “Harlem Cycle” with the publication of Pinktoes.

In 1962 Himes returned to the United States to do a film documentary about Harlem for France-Soir. The next year he published Une Affair de viol, published in the United States in 1984 as A Case of Rape. Himes suffered a stroke while in Mexico later that year, prompting his return to France. In 1965 he published Cotton Comes to Harlem. The best-known novel in the “Harlem Cycle,” it was made into a 1970 film directed by Ossie Davis and starring Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques. Over the next few years Himes continued his hectic pace of travel. He and his wife moved to southern France and from there went to Paris, London, Barcelona, Sweden, and Egypt. In 1968 the couple moved to Spain and the following year built a house in Moraira. In 1969 Himes published what was to be the final volume of the “Harlem Cycle,” Blind Man with a Pistol.

In 1972, after publishing The Quality of Hurt, the first volume of his autobiography, Himes went to New York, where he was recognized by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In 1973 Black on Black was published; it is an anthology of Himes’ selected shorter works. In 1974 The Heat’s On was filmed as Come Back Charleston Blue, again starring Cambridge and St. Jacques. Himes published the second volume of his autobiography, My Life of Absurdity, in 1976. Seven years later Plan B was published, though Himes himself was too ill to finish it. Featuring Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones, Plan B is a novel of African-American revolution begun in the early 1970s but scrapped when Himes decided to devote his energy to his autobiography. Himes died on November 12, 1984.”


Happy Birthday Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette



Happy Birthday to Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette who turned 74 years old today!

“Bernard Lafayette Jr. (born July 29, 1940 in Tampa, Florida) is a longtime civil rights activist and organizer, who was a leader in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. He played a leading role in early organizing of the Selma, Alabama, voting rights campaign; was a member of the Nashville Student Movement; and worked closely throughout the 1960s movements with groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the American Friends Service Committee.

Lafayette’s parents were Bernard Lafayette, Sr., and Verdell Lafayette. Lafayette spent much of his childhood in Tampa, Florida, but also lived in several other places, as his father was an itinerant laborer. His mother’s job is unknown. His family spent two years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his sister Rozelia was born. Philadelphia was where the young Bernard first lived in an integrated community.

As a young man at the age of twenty, Lafayette moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and enrolled in the American Baptist Theological Seminary. During the course of his freshman year, he took classes in nonviolence at the Highlander Folk School run by Myles Horton, and attended many meetings promoting nonviolence. He learned more about the philosophy of nonviolence as lived by Gandhi, while taking seminars from activist James Lawson, a well-known nonviolent representative of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Lafayette began to use the nonviolent techniques as he became more exposed to the strong racial injustice of the South. In 1959, he, along with his fellow friends Diane Nash, James Bevel, and John Lewis, all members of the Nashville Student Movement, led sit-ins, such as the 1960 Lunch Counter Sit-In, at restaurants and businesses that practiced segregation. As a strong advocate of nonviolence, Lafayette, in 1960, assisted in the formation of a group known as the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

In 1961, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) initiated a movement to enforce federal integration laws on interstate bus routes. This movement, known as the Freedom Rides, had African-American and white volunteers ride together on bus routes through the segregated South. Lafayette wanted to participate, but his parents forbade him. After the Freedom Riders were violently attacked in the city of Birmingham, Alabama, the Nashville Student Movement, of which Lafayette was a member, vowed to take over the journey. At the time, some civil rights leaders worried that the Freedom Rides were too provocative and would damage the movement. Despite many doubts, these Nashville students were determined to finish the job.

In May 1961, in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, Lafayette and the other riders were “greeted” at the bus terminal by an angry white mob, members of Ku Klux Klan chapters, and were viciously attacked. The Freedom Riders were brutally beaten. Their attackers carried every makeshift weapon imaginable: baseball bats, wooden boards, bricks, chains, tire irons, pipes, and even garden tools.

During the Montgomery attack, Lafayette stood firm; his fellow riders William Barbee and John Lewis were beaten until they fell unconscious. Lafayette, Fred Leonard and Allen Cason narrowly escaped being killed by jumping over a wall and running to the post office. Everyone inside was carrying on individual business, just like nothing was happening outside. Lafayette later stated, ” I thought they were shooting Freedom Riders.” It was the gunshot of Alabama’s Director of Public Safety, Floyd Mann, who was fighting for the protection of the freedom riders.

Lafayette with other Riders was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, and jailed at Parchman State Prison Farm during June 1961. During Lafayette’s participation in civil rights activities, he was beaten and arrested 27 times.

In the summer of 1962, Lafayette accepted a position with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to do organizing work in Selma, Alabama. Upon arriving in the city, he began leading meetings at which he spoke about the condition of African-Americans in the South and encouraged local African-Americans to share their experiences.[1]

On the night of June 12, 1963, (the same night that Medgar Evers was murdered in Mississippi), Lafayette was severely beaten by a white assailant. While badly injured, he was not deterred from continuing his work.[1] In late 1964, the board of Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) decided to join the ongoing Alabama Project organized by James Bevel, Diane Nash, and James Orange, and chose Selma as the focal point to gain voting rights for African-Americans. In early 1965, Lafayette, Bevel, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Orange, Nash and others organized a series of public demonstrations that finally—with the march from Selma-to-Montgomery initiated by Bevel—put enough pressure on the federal government to take action, and gave enough support to President Lyndon Johnson for Johnson to demand the drafting and passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Lafayette went on to work on the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement (he had worked in Chicago earlier with Kale Williams, Bill Moyer, David Jehnsen and other leaders of the American Friends Service Committee). He later became ordained as a Baptist minister and served as president of the American Baptist Theological Seminary.

In 1973, Lafayette was named first director of the Peace Education Program at Gustavus Adolphus College, Saint Peter, Minnesota. The Gustavus program enabled Lafayette to infuse the entire curriculum of the college with peace education. Lafayette served this Lutheran liberal arts college for nearly three years.

Lafayette has been recognized as a major authority on strategies for nonviolent social change. He is also recognized as one of the leading exponents of nonviolent direct action in the world.

He was a Senior Fellow at the University of Rhode Island, where he helped to found the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. The Center promotes nonviolence education using a curriculum based on the principles and methods of Martin Luther King, Jr. He is a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the Candler School of Theology, at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lafayette was honored as a Doctor of Humane Letters from Mount Holyoke College, in May 2012.”


SlocumTexas: Massacred


On July 29, 1910, citizens in the small, predominately African American town of Slocum, Texas were massacred. This was one of many towns, such as Rosewood and Tulsa, where a successful, self-sufficient African American community was the subject of a terrorist attack designed to maintain economic white supremacy.


In each town, the incident that sparked the attack was relatively insignificant and often fabricated. Continue reading here: The death toll was comparable if not higher than in the Rosewood massacre and the Tulsa race riot (massacre), but few have heard of Slocum. A new book, The 1910 Slocum Massacre: An Act of Genocide in East Texas is an invaluable resource on this history.


A Texas school principal who is a descendant of the Slocum Massacre has asked the Zinn Education Project to help shine a light on this seldom told history. Teach about this practice in history with the lesson “Burned Out of Homes and History”:

“Mama”Cass Elliot: 40th Anniversary


Remembering “Mama”Cass Elliot who passed away 29th July 1974.

Happy Birthday Peter Jennings (July 29, 1938 – August 7, 2005)



Remembering journalist and news anchor Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings, CM (July 29, 1938 – August 7, 2005). He was the sole anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight from 1983 until his death in 2005 of complications from lung cancer.

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