Monday, February 26, 2018

An Honor to be Guest Speaker

"From the cowardice that dares not face new truth,
From the laziness that is contented with half-truth, 
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth, 
Good Lord, deliver me.  Amen"

I have talked about Black History so much that I have become that history.  I was asked to be the guest speaker at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis to close out the month long celebration of activities for Black History Month.  This was indeed a great honor.  As always in my teaching and speaking I encouraged the congregation to think of Black History as the history of ALL of us.  Learning a more inclusive history helps us to know more about one another and enter into relationship and examine where our lives intersect.  Black History month is a beginning.

"Speak the names of those African Americans that have gone before, for the roll call is great:
Zora Neale Hurston-Novelist 
Romare Bearden- Artist 
Marie Daly-Chemist 

Sarah Goode-Inventor
Hiram Revels- politician and Minister "

Edit (3/22/2018)-
Here is a link to the sermon at Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

St. Louis connected Entertainers

 We took the show on the road!  First we planned and identified four African American performers that were born in St. Louis or had St. Louis connections.  We came up with Eva Taylor, Lonnie Johnson, W.C. Handy and Josephine Baker.  I prepared framed collage posters for each performer/musician and talked to students about each one's contributions.  T.J. brought a variety of instruments that would have been used in early Jazz and Blues performances. (banjo, trombone, tuba, guitar, trumpet, clarinet and drums) Accompanied by Christian on the piano, the duo played while T.J. demonstrated each instrument.   Christian talked about the popular dances of the day and highlighted his presentation with film clips of partner dancing and a dance performance.  He demonstrated and got students and staff on their feet to practice their best Charleston.  The finale was a rousing rendition of W.C. Handy's St. Louis Blues.  Students clapped along, asked questions, giggled and enjoyed the live music and dance performance.  What a great way to teach the next generation about the Jazz era, through music and dance and the accomplishments of these famous African Americans.   
Thank you to T.J. Muller and Christian Frommelt. 

Christian making morning announcements

 Christian Frommelt is one of the founders of the St. Louis Jitterbugs in St. Louis, Missouri. 
T.J. Muller is a musician and bandleader of The Gaslight Squares and The Arcadia Dance Orchestra in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Jet Magazine

 John Harold Johnson January 19,1918-August 8, 2005
John H. Johnson was a businessman and publisher.  He was the founder of the Johnson publishing company.  Johnson founded Ebony magazine in 1945 and Jet magazine in  1951.  
Johnson's first publication, NEGRO DIGEST, debuted in 1942.  
An article taken from Jet magazine stated, "Just as important as the news it provided, the magazine quenched Black America's "thirst for recognition and respect."  In 1942 Johnson sent our $2
 pre-publication subscription letters to 20,000 people; 3,000 responded sending $6000.  Within eight months, NEGRO DIGEST had increased its circulation to 50,000 copies a month nationally. In  October 1943 a cover story by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt on what she would do if she were Black almost doubled the circulation overnight.  Anchored on the success of NEGRO DIGEST, EBONY was launched three years later in 1945.  A picture magazine that unlike NEGRO DIGEST brought readers "face to face with the multicolored possibilities of man and woman,"with dazzling photographs that highlighted Black achievements, role models and positive lifestyles.  Like NEGRO DIGEST, it too gave readers respect.  
JET magazine debuted in 1951.  Since that time it's been the magazine of record for the Black community. 
Founded by the Johnson publishing company Ebony was sold to a private firm after 71 years.
JET is notable for its role in chronicling the Civil Rights Movement from its earliest years, including coverage of the Emmett Till murder, the Montgomery bus boycott, and Martin Luther King Jr.
Johnson Publishing Company published the final print issue of JET, June 23, 2014, continuing solely as a digital magazine app. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Black Panther

Print created by Anthony Leon
Anthony Leon studio

Black Panther

Earlier this week I was invited to a sneak preview of Black Panther by a dear friend.  (Thank you MKB!)  I had high hopes, I love the idea of a Black superhero.  I was not disappointed.  Remembering that this is a comic book story, I was delighted to see every hue of black and brown skin tone represented.  I loved the natural hair of the women and even the women with bald heads, a challenge for some and new view of what beauty looks like. (has always looked like for many) There are smart, strong female characters that male characters fight side by side with in battle.  Each scene is painted with mud cloth, head pieces, robes, African fabric and jewelry of African royalty.  Not just visually stimulating, there are lots of messages throughout about reaching back to help others and sharing wealth.  The Marvel Universe committed to welcoming Black Panther and did so on a grand scale.  I love that little brown and black children (and yes all children)  will be thrilled with this new Superhero as he takes his place among other characters that have made their way to the big screen.  Marvel fans, go and see for yourselves.  Let me know what you think. 

print by Anthony Leon studio

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

This is what Love looks like

Taken from the museum collection of vintage African American photographs.  Appropriate for Valentine's Day.  This is what LOVE looks like.