Posts Tagged ‘African American History’

Grenada – Ian Roberts: Mangos of the Island

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Ian Roberts is a craftsman who sells bracelets and other trinkets from a stall at the beach. He uses black coral and other natural elements which he polishes and shapes using a cigarette lighter. The results are finely crafted pieces with a rich amber hue. My people came from indentured Indian people who mixed with Africans. There were so many races here, the Indian people, the Africans, they mixed with the overseers. My people came after slavery and signed a five-year contact. After the contract ended, they stayed. Maybe it was better than in India. Maybe they didn’t have enough…

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The Great Billie Holiday

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Billie Holiday Billie Holiday, born Eleanora Fagan Gough in 1915, lived a remarkable, ground-breaking, and tragic life. She was raised in an impoverished section of Baltimore by her mother, her jazz guitarist father rarely around. After spending two years in reform school, she moved to Harlem with her mother where she ran errands in a brothel and later worked as a prostitute. Eventually, she went to a speakeasy looking for work as a dancer, but wound up singing instead. This launched a remarkable, international career where she appeared with Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Artie Shaw and other greats….

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Abolitionists, Resistance, and the Nation’s First Candy – Part 3

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The Author’s Illuminating (for her) Experience I recently had an experience in my hometown of Shepherdstown, WV. It was about racism, not against African Americans but Muslims, and it did not directly involve me. Still, I felt strongly about it and got involved. The situation, which is still ongoing, gave me new insight into how Mrs. Spencer and, dare I say, the escaped slaves, felt. Here’s how it started: I found, among other things, an anti-Muslim meme on the Facebook page of the town’s police chief, who is also a star in the hit show Ghosts of Shepherdstown which reaches…

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Abolitionists, Resistance, and the Nation’s First Candy – Part 2

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Resisters Under the Seat It’s hard to know where the enslaved people in Mrs. Spencer’s buggy started. Slaves labored at the ports of Salem and many other nearby places in the 18th and 19th centuries. Likely, they didn’t come from the South, as freedom was too far for escape. Regardless, they traveled on inconspicuous roads and paths, with little food, drink, or chance to rest. The escaped slaves fled for many reasons, among them the harsh reprisals of slaveholders; starvation and brutality where they worked; and the need to seek out family members who were sold away from them. How…

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The Charleston Chew

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The Charleston Chew, that dense chocolate covered marshmallow-taffy-toffee substance may be nostalgic, but beneath the chocolate exterior, is an edgy, activist DNA embedded in the candy which, as it happened, was named for the song and the dance known as the “Charleston” in 1925. Let’s start with the dance. No one knows where it originated exactly, but it likely was in the domain of enslaved African-Americans living on a small island near Charleston, South Carolina. Their dance likely had Ash-Ante African roots, modified to deceive the slaveholders and their rules prohibiting it. You have to remember that both song and…

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