Blog

What is your WHY?

On behalf of the ASALH South Florida Branch, I am submitting my WHY.

Our Historian, Dinizulu Gene Tinnie, clarified our mission from the beginning.

Our branch has had several opportunities to create a calendar of activities that told stories of captive Africans. We created and nurtured a culture of active learning and teaching as a way of life in our communities that Dr. Woodson and other Ancestral luminaries would be proud of. In the spirit of “commemorating with a purpose,” our activities are linked to the efforts of Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, Broward College, the Black Archives and Lyric Theater, and other organizations with the same mission to use the creative arts and culture community to lead in making the remembrance of those ancestors relevant and real. We have and will continue to involve artists, architects, writers, poets, storytellers, musicians, dancers, composers, creative thinkers, and doers of all kinds to keep our community vibrant and filled with the memory of our past and the fulfillment of our goals in the future.

Dr. Joan Cartwright

Quarterly Meeting

Today, we held a meeting of the members of the South Florida brand of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). ASALH South Florida is three years old. Although we are a fledgling chapter, we are determined to continue our chapter’s efforts to promote Black history.

COVID-19 struck one of our members, Anita McGruder, who survived! Other members have been on lockdown and have not been able to visit other family members.

Charlene Farrington is exhibiting the Jazz art collection of Dr. Joan Cartwright at Spady Cultural Heritage Museum in Delray Beach, Florida, through the month of February 2021.

Joan Cartwright will be at the museum on the dates listed above.

We will be doing several Zoom presentations at Broward College:

November 5 – Tameka Hobbs

November 24 – Charlene Farrington and Dr. Joan Cartwright

February 2021 – Jazz with Dr. Joan Cartwright

April 2021 – Oral History Conference

We will continue to recruit new members. To join our branch, you must be a member of National (www.asalh.org) and click here to pay local dues.

Sean Jones

asalhsfradiobannerSean Jones of the ATLANTA branch of ASALH will discuss a joint on-line program on May 19, 2020, for Malcolm X’s birthday. In Atlanta, the Malcolm X Festival is always a beautiful event that is very well attended and the branch always participates. Obviously, the event was canceled. Jones believes this is a great opportunity for ASALH to fill a void on that weekend where many of us in our communities across the country are accustom to celebrating our HERO.  www.blogtalkradio.com/asalhsouthflorida/2020/05/12/seanjones

sean jones

http://blogtalkradio.com/asalhsouthflorida

Radio ASALH South Florida

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Weekly podcast: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/asalhsouthflorida

Upcoming Episodes

cyrus sean jones

Sylvia Y. Cyrus Tues May 5 @4pm | Sean Jones Tues May 12 @4pm

Archived Episodes

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 @ 4 p.m. EST

Dr. Roxanna Anderson, Mental Health Therapist, President of the National Council on Black American Affairs (NCBAA) at Palm Beach State College (PBSC)

asalhsfradiobannerroxannaandersonwww.andersonmentalhealththerapist.com

African World Calendar

AUGUST

An excerpt from The African World Calendar Project

Known as BLACK AUGUST, both for the number of notable historical events associated with African American history and for the Black August movement which originated in the California prison system, within or related to which several of events below occurred.

Note: the abbreviation “TLC” denotes cases documented in “The Lynching Calendar” website.

1          1832    Battle of Bad Axe: Soldiers under General Henry Atkinson, armed volunteers and Dakota Sioux killed around 150 Indian men, women and children near present-day Victory, Wisconsin. The US suffered 5 dead.

1834    Abolition of slavery in British dominions.  Actual freedom for the enslaved would come years later, after unpaid “apprenticeships,” while the slaveholders would be generously compensated at British taxpayers’ expense for their “loss of property.”

1842    Lombard Street Riot, Philadelphia:  Here on August 1, 1842, an angry mob of whites attacked a parade celebrating Jamaican Emancipation Day.  A riot ensued.  African Americans were beaten and their homes looted.  The rioting lasted for 3 days.  A local church and abolition meeting place was destroyed by fire.” (Text from Historic Marker near Mother Bethel AME Church)

1945    In Miami, FL, Virginia Key Beach is opened following a bold community protest earlier that year, as “a Dade County Park for the exclusive use of Negroes.”  The Park would stand out for its scenic beauty and for being very nearly equal to its Whites-Only counterpart, with amusement rides and other amenities, and would be frequented by visiting celebrities as well as residents from a wide radius.

1947    In Miami, FL. 35 families are evicted on short notice under eminent domain in two hours by armed U.S. Marshals on this Friday morning from the historic Railroad Shop Colored Addition neighborhood, which was home to numerous pioneer families, to make room for the construction of a segregated White school.  No provisions were made for their relocation. With their belongings are placed on the street, it would rain that evening, adding to the misery and indignity of the circumstance.

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4          1964    The bodies of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner are found outside of Philadelphia, Neshoba County, Mississippi.  The three civil rights workers had disappeared weeks before, after being released by the sheriff, who had stopped and detained them earlier in the day for an alleged traffic violation.

5          1920    Four black men in McClenny (Baker County), North Florida, are removed from the local jail and lynched for the alleged rape of a white woman. (TLC)

6          1945    Atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, by B-29 bomber Enola Gay, destroying 90% of the city and killing 80,000 immediately, with tens of thousands more to follow from the effects of the explosion.

1962    Jamaica gains independence from Great Britain

7          1935    Birth of multitalented jazz legend Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Columbus, OH

1964    James Chaney’s funeral in Meridian, Mississippi (see August 4)

1970    California: Jonathan Jackson, age 17, enters San Rafael, CA, courtroom, armed, to free the “Soledad Brothers”: his older brother George, Fleeta Drumgo, and John Cluchette.  He is assisted in the courtroom by defendants James McClain, William Christmas, and Ruchell McGee who join him.  Jackson, McClain, Christmas and Judge Haley, who had been taken hostage, are all killed by police who opened fire on the van driven by Jackson as they left the courthouse. Ruchell Cinque McGee would survive to spend over 40 years in prison.

(See:  http://www.workers.org/2010/us/jonathan_jackson_0812/ and other sources).

8              1860     “There had never been a day in U.S. history like August 8, 1860, when, within hours, the Africa Squadron of the U.S. Navy seized two slave ships within hours off the coast of Africa with more than 1,500 Africans aboard. On the Erie, there were found 897 Africans crammed below deck. Approximately half were children; the youngest, six months of age. Another 130 women, 164 men, and 329 children were packed below in the slave deck of the Storm King. The seizure of the slavers Erie and Storm King constituted the largest number of Africans freed from slavers on a single day by the U.S. Navy. Equally remarkable, most of the U.S. vessels seized with Africans aboard were captured during the year 1860. Between April and October of that year, some 4,500 Africans were discovered aboard eight ships flying the U.S. flag.”

(Source: Civil War History; Liberia and the Last Slave Ships, Dec. 1, 2008)

NOTE:  These include three ships captured by the U.S. Navy in the spring of that year, the Wildfire, William, and Bogotá, with 1,432 African captives aboard, who were brought into Key West, Florida, of whom 295 did not survive the illnesses and hardships they had endured and were buried at the African Cemetery site in that city.

1877    Battle of the Big Hole US troops under Colonel John Gibbon attacked a Nez Percé village at Big Hole, in Montana Territory. They killed 70 to 90 including 33 warriors before being repulsed by the Indians. 31 US soldiers were killed.

1974    President Richard M. Nixon, disgraced by scandal, announces to the nation his intent to resign from office on the following day, the first U.S. president to do so.  His administration was marked by the expansion of COINTELPRO (Counterintelligence Program), which often used illegal means to infiltrate and disrupt such groups as the Black Panther Party, which came under frequent, unwarranted attacks by law enforcement; by such measures as “preventive detention,” primarily of Black youth who had committed no crime; by his quick praise of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller’s suppression of the Attica Prison revolt; by his open support of the overthrow of democratically elected President Allende of Chile, and prompt recognition of the brutal regime of Augusto Pinochet; and, in sharp contrast, by his non-recognition of the African governments of Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique, which won their independence by armed struggle against Portugal, whose military warfare against those nations Nixon supported under the pretext that Portugal was a NATO nation under attack.

9          1610    Paspahegh Massacre: Lord De la Warr sent 70 men to attack the Paspahegh Indians. They destroyed their main village near Jamestown, killing between 16 and 65 people. The wife and children of the village chief were captured and shortly afterward put to death. (Wikipedia)

1945    Second atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki, killing at least 40,000 immediately.

1994    By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples shall be observed on 9 August every year. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

2014    In Ferguson, MO, teenager Michael Brown is fatally shot with his hands up by police officer Darren Wilson, who is later cleared of all wrongdoing.  This incident marks the beginning of the #Black Lives Matter movement.

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11        1965    California: Watts Rebellion in South Central Los Angeles begins, and continues until August 17, with 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, over 3,000 arrests, and more than 1,000 buildings destroyed, with an estimated $40 million in damage.

12         2015   California: Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell, last of the San Quentin Six, assassinated at the new Folsom Prison in California, after decades of persecution.  He was one of four inmates who began a hunger strike at the ultra-high-security Pelican Bay prison in the summer of 2013 which would be taken up by no less than 30,000 prisoners at facilities around the state.  He is remembered for standing firm and resolute in his principled political stances in spite of all attempts to “break” him.

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14        1860     A brig, having no name, but fully armed to rob returning slavers, was seized, and taken to Key West.  (New York Times on November 17, 1862)

1936    Rainey Bethea hanged in Owensboro, KY:  The last legal execution made public occurred in the early morning of August 14, 1936, when a crowd of 20,000 gathered to watch the public hanging of Rainey Bethea in Owensboro, Kentucky. Bethea, a 22-year-old black man, had been convicted of the rape and murder of a seventy-year-old white woman. [TLC]

15        ANNUAL Boa Morte Festival, Cachoeira, Bahia, Brazil, organized by the historic Irmandade da Boa Morte (literally “Sisterhood of the Good Death,” meaning a good beginning of one’s new life after death), coinciding with the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar commemoration of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary), which draws visitors from around the world.

1887    Founding of the all-African American town of Eatonville, outside of Maitland, Florida.  It would become the hometown of anthropologist and author Zora Neale Hurston and of National Football League legend Deacon Jones.

16        2018    Death of the beloved Queen of Soul, Aretha Louise Franklin, Detroit, Michigan

17        1795    Beginning of massive “slave revolt” in Curaçao, Dutch West Indies, led by Tula, a literate enslaved man who was inspired by the revolution in Haiti.  The revolt would last until October 3, with a massacre of the Africans.

1887    Birth of the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, O.N.H., St. Ann’s Bay, Jamaica.  He would establish the powerful Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), with the motto of Pan African solidarity “One God, One Aim, One Destiny.”  The UNIA would give rise to such legacy organizations as the Nation of Islam and the Moorish Science Temple, among others, while inspiring a host of subsequent charismatic Black spiritual/political leaders.

18        1518    Official beginning of the Transatlantic “slave trade,” when King Carlos I issues a charter authorizing the transportation of captives directly from Africa to the Americas (instead of being brought first to Spain).  This would open the way to fierce competition among European powers, the forced migration of millions of Africans, and the devastation and depopulation of the continent for more than four centuries, from which Africa has still not yet recovered.

2018    Death of Kofi Atta Annan, born in Kumasi, Ghana, second UN Secretary-General from Africa (after Boutros-Boutros-Ghali, of Egypt), in Bern, Switzerland

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21        1971    California: Assassination of George Lester Jackson (author of Soledad Brother, a collection of his letters from prison, and of Blood in My Eye, political essays completed only days before his death) by guards in San Quentin prison, California.  Eloquent, insightful, and legendarily courageous, Comrade George, as he came to be known, became one of the most influential voices for human justice of his time, with his writings published internationally.  The pain and outrage following his murder have been linked to the Attica prison uprising in New York State two weeks later. George was the older brother of Jonathan (See August 7, 1970, above.)

22       1831    Nat Turner rebellion begins.  From 55-65 White people are killed as they slept.

23        1791    Legendary meeting in the Bwa Kayiman (Bois Caiman) forest starts the ultimately successful Haitian Revolution.

1831    Nat Turner Rebellion suppressed, Southampton, Virginia, at Belmont plantation. “The state executed 56 blacks and militias killed at least 100 blacks. An estimated 120 blacks were killed, most of whom were not involved with the rebellion… Blacks suspected of participating in the rebellion were beheaded by the militia. ‘Their severed heads were mounted on poles at crossroads as a grisly form of intimidation.’ A section of Virginia State Route 658 remains labeled as “Blackhead Signpost Road” in reference to these events. [Wikipedia]

1994    UN General Assembly declares the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, in conjunction with the launch of the UNESCO Slave Route Project.  (The anniversary date of the start of the Haitian Revolution is chosen to underscore the fact that Africans themselves were the primary agents in bringing about the Abolition of slavery.)

24        1724    Norridgewock Massacre: Captains Jeremiah Moulton and Johnson Harmon led 200 rangers to the Abenaki village of Norridgewock, Maine, to kill Father Sebastian Rale and destroy the Indian settlement. The rangers massacred 80 Abenakis including two dozen women and children and 26 warriors. The rangers suffered 3 dead. (Wikipedia)

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26        1839    The Spanish schooner Amistad captured off Montauk Point, Long Island, NY, with 39 surviving African adult males and four children.  There were originally 53 captive Africans aboard the coastal schooner, being transported from Havana (where they had arrived as part of a “cargo” of 600 captives aboard an actual slave ship) to eastern Cuba when the revolt broke out.  The Africans were all Mende people from Sierra Leone, the Ancestral homeland of the Gullah/Geechee culture of the Carolina and Georgia Sea Islands.

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28        1955    Murder of Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi

1957    Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina begins 24-hour filibuster against the Civil Rights bill. Known as an arch-segregationist, Thurmond had famously launched the “Dixiecrat” faction of the Democratic Party in 1948, which, significantly, revived the display of the Confederate battle flag emblem.

(Much would be made, decades later, of the fact that Thurmond fathered, by an underage mother who was a family servant, and secretly financially supported, a Black daughter. When that revelation was finally made, upon her death, the sensational media hoopla over the supposed irony of his crossing the “racial” line [a common practice as old as slavery] overshadowed the far more important fact that this was a case of Statutory Rape for which he was never tried or punished.)

1963    March on Washington for Jobs and Justice, draws some 250,000 demonstrators. Dr. MLK Jr. delivers “I Have a Dream” speech

2005    Hurricane Katrina strikes Mississippi and Louisiana coasts, 50 years to the day after Emmett Till’s capture and murder.  Much devastation ensues.

2008    Sen. Barack H. Obama delivers acceptance speech of presidential nomination at Democratic National Convention

2012    Hurricane Isaac strikes Louisiana

29        1839    On August 29, 1839, the Amistad was towed into New London, Connecticut, a state where slavery was still legal,

1920    Birth of legendary alto saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker, Kansas City, Kansas

1958    Birth of Michael Jackson, “The King of Pop,” Gary, Indiana

30        1904    John Martin lynched, Laramie, Wyoming [TLC]

31        1778    Stockbridge Massacre: An ambush by the British during the American Revolutionary War that left nearly 40 natives dead.

2001    World Conference against Racism and Xenophobia (August 31-September 8) begins in Durban, South Africa, under UN auspices.

U.S. and Israeli delegations “walkout” on September 3, protesting alleged “anti-Zionist/anti-Semitic” language.  Eight days later the 9/11 attacks take place, overshadowing much of the Conference’s work, which continues anyway, with a “Durban II” conference ten years later in Geneva, Switzerland, declaring 2011 to be an International Year for People of African Descent, and subsequently the current International Decade for People of African Descent [Jan. 1, 2015 – Dec. 31, 2024], with the theme “Recognition, Justice, Development.”

See also Pan African Perspective Calendar

 

Daryl Scott on Black Historians

1darylscott-asalhDr. Daryl Scott is a past president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). This is a post from Scott on Facebook on May 6, 2019.

Since the 1990s, I have witnessed many talented historians, including some truly gifted ones, go without any real opportunity to practice their chosen profession. I have watched a rare few claw their way into the ranks of the tenured after being adjuncts for years. Most of us become academics because we want to think, write, and teach. Because I have always guarded myself against undo influences on my thinking–always skeptical or willing to be unconvinced–I have ever believed that the profession might have little for me. Yet I have been fortunate to ply my trade, but I was always willing to be a historian outside the academy. This is why I have always believed in ASALH and came to respect Carter G. Woodson–who did precisely the thing I thought I might have to do. He only lasted a year at Howard University and was saved for two years by his friend John Davis at West Virginia Institute. Before and after these experiences, he existed as a historian trained on his own dime and surviving outside of the academy.

The historical profession’s associations cannot imagine themselves serving anything but the academy, and then only from the top down. K-12 teachers, junior college professors, and independent scholars all feel less than welcome at gatherings, and publishing in one of the leading journals is but a dream. I spent a lot of time over thirteen years intentionally trying to be more democratic and inclusive than Woodson. Yet try as some of us did, the tendency of ASALH and all organizations occupied by academics is towards professional separation, hierarchy, and perceived prestige. Every time ASALH has tilted too far towards academics, its well-being has suffered. What is true for ASALH, I fear is true now for the entire academy.

Historians need to rethink their relationship to the university, the public, and one another. Attached to the academy, with its high-cost structure, historians-in-training are running up enormous debt. Everyone who thinks about it for a moment knows that graduate programs could operate on weekends only. Societies unattached to the academy are able to publish journals at a fraction of the cost because they are free from course releases, graduate student stipends, and the ever-escalating demands of university libraries who increasingly don’t subscribe to journals anyway. Associations with their own peer-review programs could put a seal of approval on scholarship that gets preserved in their databases and then published anywhere the author, the rightful copyright holder, desires. Through local branches, historians who are from the community can promote history. Not just local history, but whatever history is being produced by historians.

Implicit in all of this is that many of the historians, if not most, will be considered amateurs. Yet many would be history professionals outside of the academy. They will be teachers, museum workers, church historians, journalists, and former community leaders. I am convinced that America has been and remains a history wasteland precisely because we leave it to professionals rather than growing history from the community up.

General Meeting March 30, 2019

A meeting of the general body was held on Saturday, March 30, 2019, at the Blanche Ely Museum in Pompano Beach, FL. The discussion included:

  • Membership recruitment
  • 2019 Black Film Festival scheduled for December 19, 2019, at AARLCC in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We developed criteria for film submission, vendors, and guests.
  • 2020 Gala scheduled for February 22, 2020, as a fundraiser for Broward Libraries, ASALH South Florida, and Spady Museum (Goal: $30,000).
  • Lunch and Learn
  • Speaker’s Bureau
  • Next meeting, Saturday, April 20, 2019 @ 12 noon