Sunday, May 29, 2011
The Schoolteacher on the Streetcar
AS the civil rights figure Rosa Parks lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda two weeks ago, her 19th-century Northern forerunner, a young black schoolteacher who helped integrate New York's transit system by refusing to get off a streetcar in downtown Manhattan, rested in near-perfect obscurity.
Mrs. Parks's resistance on a bus became a central facet of American identity, a parable retold with each succeeding class of kindergartners. But who has ever heard of Elizabeth Jennings?
The disparity is largely an accident of timing. Thanks to television, Americans around the country became a witness to events in 1955 Montgomery, Ala.; by contrast, Jennings's supporters had to rely on a burgeoning but still fragmented mid-19th-century press. By 1955, when Parks refused to be unseated, segregation was emerging as an issue the nation could not ignore. When Jennings, 24, made her stand, on July 16, 1854, the first eerie rebel yell had yet to rise from a Confederate line. Segregation was a local or perhaps a regional story. It was slavery that was tearing the nation apart.
If Elizabeth Jennings was ahead of her time, she was also, on that midsummer Sunday, running late. She was due at the First Colored American Congregational Church on Sixth Street near the Bowery, where she was an organist. When she and her friend Sarah Adams reached the corner of Pearl and Chatham Streets, she didn't wait to see a placard announcing, "Negro Persons Allowed in This Car." She hailed the first horse-drawn streetcar that came along.
As soon as the two black women got on, the conductor balked. Get off, he insisted. Jennings declined. Finally he told the women they could ride, but that if any white passengers objected, "you shall go out ... or I'll put you out."
"I told him," Jennings wrote shortly after the incident, that "I was a respectable person, born and raised in New York, did not know where he was born ... and that he was a good for nothing impudent fellow for insulting decent persons while on their way to church."
The 8 or 10 white passengers must have stared. Replying that he was from Ireland, the conductor tried to haul Jennings from the car. She resisted ferociously, clinging first to a window frame, then to the conductor's own coat. "You shall sweat for this," he vowed. Driving on, with Jennings's companion left at the curb, he soon spotted backup in the figure of a police officer, who boarded the car and thrust Jennings, her bonnet smashed and her dress soiled, to the sidewalk.
But, like Mrs. Parks a century later, Elizabeth Jennings had her own backup. She had grown up among a small cadre of black abolitionist ministers, journalists, educators and businessmen who stood up for their community as whites harshly reasserted the color line in the decades after New York had abolished slavery in 1827. Her father, Thomas L. Jennings, was a prominent tailor who helped found both a society that provided benefits for black people and the Abyssinian Baptist Church, which later moved to Harlem.
The daughter had worked in black schools co-founded by a "conductor" of the Underground Railroad. Her own church - First Colored American - was a place of learning and political rebellion, where, one evening in 1854, addresses on God and the Bible alternated with talks on "The Duty of Colored People Towards the Overthrow of American Slavery" and "Elevation of the African Race."
After the incident aboard the streetcar, Jennings took her story to this extended family. Her letter detailing the incident was read in church the next day; supporters forwarded the letter to The New York Daily Tribune, whose editor was the abolitionist Horace Greeley, and to Frederick Douglass' Paper, which both reprinted it in full. Meanwhile, her father made contact with a young white lawyer named Chester Arthur.
Arthur, who would go on to become president upon the assassination of James Garfield in 1881, was at the time a beginner in his 20's only recently admitted to the bar. He nevertheless won the case, against the Third Avenue Railway Company; a judge ruled that "colored persons if sober, well behaved, and free from disease" could not be excluded from public conveyances "by any rules of the Company, nor by force or violence," according to newspaper reports. "Our readers will rejoice with us" in the "righteous verdict," remarked Frederick Douglass' Paper.
NEW YORK before the Civil War resembled the Jim Crow South of Rosa Parks's era in at least this respect: A pervasive racial caste system decreed that a great deal of space - in schools, restaurants, workplaces and churches - was strictly off-limits to African-Americans. The city's transit system, in its infancy, was a particularly bitter proving ground.
In the 1830's, when the first omnibus routes were established, the newspaper The Colored American told black New Yorkers, "Brethren, you are MEN - if you have not horses and vehicles of your own to travel with, stay at home, or travel on foot" rather than be "degraded and insulted" on city coaches. But by the time Elizabeth Jennings boarded the streetcar at Chatham and Pearl Streets, the avenues churned with horse-powered public transportation, and the city stretched far beyond 42nd Street, a long way to walk.
Jennings's legal victory did not complete integration of city transit. But blacks actively tested her precedent, in part through the Legal Rights Association, which her father founded for that purpose. In 1859, another case brought by that group resulted in a settlement, and by the following year nearly all the city's streetcar lines were open to African-Americans.
And Elizabeth Jennings? The details of her life have been told most painstakingly by John H. Hewitt, who, in his 1990 study in the journal New York History, reported that he had not uncovered a single biography of the woman, "not even a thumbnail sketch."
But a few things he did learn. She kept teaching. She married a man named Charles Graham. During the 1863 draft riots, when largely Irish rioters vented their rage at a new conscription law on the black people who were their most direct competitors for jobs and homes, Elizabeth and her husband were likely at home on Broome Street, bent over their ailing year-old son, Thomas. According to his death certificate, the child died of "convulsions," perhaps a last manifestation of one of the infectious diseases that sent urban death rates soaring in those years. While the city was reeling in the aftermath of its worst street melee yet, the couple were laying their son's small body to rest in Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn.
As an older woman, Elizabeth Jennings Graham established, on the first floor of her house at 237 West 41st Street, the city's first kindergarten for black children. The children made art; they planted roots and seeds in the garden. "Love of the beautiful will be instilled into these youthful minds," read an article on the school.
It was there, too, that the woman who boarded the streetcar at Chatham and Pearl Streets died. The year was 1901. She was buried in Cypress Hills, near her son, and a few thousand Union dead.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
It'll be the Miami Heat vs Dallas Mavericks for this season's NBA Championship finals. The matchup is a good one as showcased above with D'Wade and Jason Kidd. Don't listen to the expert picks on this one, either team can pull it off and win four out of seven games.
The writing is done in an exciting, can't wait to read more, style, while the subject matter is pure bad boy COPS stuff. Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Think not? I just re-read section 16 (The Convict) about the rise then fast downfall of Rams star defensive back Darryl Henley (Inmate#01915-112, Marion, Illinois Federal Prison). Let me summarize here:
Henley and girlfriend Tracy Ann Donaho, Rams Cheerleader, flight arrives at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport.
FBI agents pull Donaho out of line for questioning
Donaho taken to jail for a suitcase found with her name on it and twelve kilos of cocaine stashed inside
A day later Donaho tells agents that suitcase is Henley's and he'd arranged for her to carry it without knowing its contents
Henley eventually indicted as the kingpin in a national cocaine trafficking ring that includes his parents and other family members.
Henley sent to a federal detention facility in Los Angeles. Henley released on $1 million bond and continues playing football. He then plays another season with court ordered officer accompanying him on road trips. Henley pays the bill for officer. Trial scheduled for following summer.
- during this time (2 seasons) Henley still major part of Rams team, playing like a pro bowl worthy defensive back (what focus.) He would voluntarily take a leave of absence as not to be a distraction to the team. Rams would go 4-12 on the season.
Henley found guilty of conspiring to deliver narcotics "drug traffiking"
Now The Twist: Excerpt
Then came a twist so bizarre even the hardened cynics were left scratching their heads. According to prosecutors, while in the federal jail, Henley befriended a guard who provided Henley with a cellular phone. Using that phone, Henley arranged for a $1 million heroin shipment to be sent to Detroit and for cocaine to be moved around Southern California. With the profit he earned from those transactions, Henley offered to pay for the murder of Donaho (the ex-girlfriend cheerleader) and U.S. District Judge Gary Taylor, who had presided in the case and would be determining his sentence.
Bad Boys Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do, Whatcha Gonna Do when they Come For You!
Turns out the inmate was a fink, a jailhouse informant and the voice on the other end of Henley's cell phone when he ordered the judge's murder belonged to a federal undercover agent with all conversations being recorded.
"In one day, March 10, 1997, Henley appeared in back-to-back hearings where federal judges ordered him to spend the next forty-one years of his life in prison."
I know its not good karma to feast on another's misfortune, but I'm sure excited about seeing this book on my shelf again. Gotta go, the story of Lawrence Phillips just caught my eye. Whatcha gonna do.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The San Francisco Giants will have to go it alone, without catcher/cleanup hitter Buster Posey to lead them to another championship. Posey got his leg smashed up in a collision at the plate last night when a Florida Marlin came barreling down on him at the plate. If you were watching and saw Posey worming and wriggling on the ground in pain after the play, you knew then and there that the injury could be season threatening for him. It Was!
Sunday, May 22, 2011
With Jonathan Sanchez pitching like a GIANT through seven innings, the Oakland A's found a way to make the San Francisco Giants sweat through yet another nail-biter.
A seasoned soldier with plenty of fight left in him became the oldest boxer ever to win a title. Bernard Hopkins' rematch against Jean Pascal for the WBC Light Heavyweight Championship can be summed up as; Mission Accomplished.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Giants are definitely one of the hottest winning teams in baseball. #55 Tim Lincecum gave up only three hits in pitching nine complete shutout innings, Giants defense has been the star of the show during the teams' hot streak as they played another completely awesome game. Today's defensive play of the game; outfielder Andres Torres's diving catch of a ball hit well by A's Chase Headley.
I remember hanging out with Shield Head once at the coliseum before a Raiders game. Cool guy who's truly passionate about our Raiders. He talks the talk and walks the walk as a Raiders fan, win lose or tie........
Friday, May 20, 2011
One of Pro Wrestling's most flamboyant characters has taken that dark detour from the road of life and we wish him well.
(05-20) 04:00 PDT Los Angeles --
When Jamey Carroll hit the sinking liner with two outs in the ninth and everything on the line, Aubrey Huff turned toward right field to watch Nate Schierholtz charge the ball. If Schierholtz lets it drop, the game is tied. If it gets by him, the Dodgers win.
Huff, who had a miserable time with two identical drives when he played right field here in April, had one thought: "Thank God it wasn't me."
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/19/SPIB1JIL8T.DTL#ixzz1MuEZa1zm
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
This movie, The Last Laugh, is a simple story with a very important message that stands the test of time. A happy-go hotel doorman, proud of his military-like red work coat with shiny brass buttons, loses his position at the hotel and must relinquish the coat and matching hat. He's simply gotten too old to continue with the physical duties of a doorman and thus is assigned the bathroom attendant position, now vacant due to the former attendant being committed to a home for the elderly.
Mind you the coat , along with the long held doorman's position, has been his pride and joy and the reason he can stroll into and out of his poor neighborhood with his chest puffed out like a rooster. When he finishes reading the job demotion notice you see the beginning transformation in his character. He is not only stunned but its as if all the air has been sucked out of his body, leaving him a shell of his former self.
As soon as the coat is stripped away from his huge protesting body, you see all his pride and dignity slip away with it. Without the coat the former doorman looks old and decrepit without a reason or will to live. After his meeting with the young, unattentive hotel manager who shows no pity or concern for the former doorman, the transformation is complete.
By now you want to see what happens to the former doorman, now bathroom attendant, as he now must face those who thought him so important and handsome in his commanding coat, including little neighborhood kids. Its a great film that warns as it reminds us of who we really are versus the positions and titles we cloak ourselves in. I believe the movie may have been originally titled "The Cloak."
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Again, the billion dollar question is put on the table; why has no wall street or financial executive been prosecuted in connection with the financial crisis that has maimed America's economy and workforce?
Saturday, May 14, 2011
It seems that kids who are at risk today find it hard relating to successful professionals and politicians simply because they do not see the struggles and sacrifices made by these individuals to attain their success.
Though many successful professionals may have come from well-to-do, upper-class families, I'm sure a high percentage had to scrape and scrap while working and attending college starving and broke. So is the divide that wide between the haves and the have nots of today that underprivileged kids choose role models based on their perception of one's struggle to attain success? Maybe its the rooting for the underdog against those favored to succeed. Or could race possibly play a part in students' decisions?
Whatever the reason(s), and I'm sure they're varied, Michael Vick says that he is "honored to be speaking at their commencement." He recognizes that the students, like himself, were able to turn their lives around and take advantage of an opportunity given them to succeed.
I'm sure that this year's Camelot graduation commencement speech will be one that'll live in the hearts of its graduates for the rest of their lives. I hope the Michael Vick haters, who call themselves good practicing christians yet can't find an ounce of forgiveness for a repentant soul, will remove the blinds from their eyes and see the giving deeds of Vick. Maybe then they'll find that most talked about attribute of christianity, love and forgiveness, for a man who once was lost but now appears to be found. They should do this not for Vick's sake mind you, but for themselves and those they feel a need to judge.
"Let he among you without sin, cast the first stone" John 8:7
During football season, we, the Cliff Street Crew, traveled to other neighborhoods in our town competing against kids just like ourselves; poor and lower middle class. I remember games on beacon st., hudson ave., beekman st. church yard, south ave. school, conway place one time, but Wampy and his crew were a no show and the game was forfeited. Now there's a nickname for you, "Wampy."
Wamp lived around the corner from conway place on south avenue, but he was all conway; scrappy. Even the dogs on conway were tough. Back then you were more likely to get bit or chased by a neighborhood dog than attacked or jacked by anyone. Unless the neighborhood wars were going on, but that's another story. I love remembering my childhood with all its colorful highlights.
Although I did not know him personally, I am blessed to have known of his commitment. In this day and time, we must learn that not all heros make millions or hold highly esteemed positions. No, some of our best heros and role models are those whom we have the opportunity to rub elbows with.
Mrs. Oliver, take care in knowing that this entire community benefitted from the sacrifice that you made in giving your husband to be a father to so many. His legacy will live thru the many people he touched. I know it is hard, but God ordained a better place for Coach. He is now on the sideline in Heaven doing what he loved....Coaching Angels.
May God Bless and keep your entire family and remember to look to the hills from whence cometh our help. Our help truly comes from the Lord.
Pastor Timothy M. Sheppard and the Central Missionary Baptist Church of Thunderbolt.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Sunday, May 08, 2011
Saturday, May 07, 2011
"Animal Kingdom, who had never raced on dirt before, reacted to his new rider the way a champion should, charging down the middle of the stretch to win by 2¾-lengths in front of a crowd of 164,858, the largest in Derby history."
This was the 137th Kentucky Derby. Did you know that early jockeys were negro and/or negro slaves who rode the horses of their slave masters? Some of these pioneers of the sport (negro freemen) did in fact own their horses. In the first Kentucky Derby thirteen of the 14 jockeys were negro. Negro Jockey Isaac Murphy sits at the top of the list of popular horse riders of the day.
CBS/Showtime Pacquiao vs Mosley Fightcamp 360°
Tonight's WBO welterwieght title fight between champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao and "Shugga" Shane Mosley is much anticipated for many reasons. My cousin, the boxing guru of our east coast African-American family and also barbershop boxing analyst (a reputable position in the black community) gave me a take on the fight I'd never considered.
This morning I called my cousin to get his take on the fight. Mind you my cousin, who became a Manny Pacquiao fan after seeing him destroy Oscar Delahoya, has always judged fighters based on past performance and current skillset, nothing more. Cousin predicts that Shugga Shane will knock the Pacman out either early or late in the pay-per-view aired fight tonight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He gave two reasons why:
1. Pacquiao splits his focus on boxing with his musical and political careers.
2. Mosley is the first African-American Pacquiao has ever faced.
My initial reaction to the boxing guru of the old 'hood' was WHAT! I'd never heard of ethnicity playing a role in analyzing the outcome of a professional boxing match. Cuz was quick to point out that the dark-skinned Joshua Clottey, who Pacman's speed rendered punchless thirteen months ago, was from Ghana and not a "real" Brotha.
1. Cuz is looking out for his reputation in the old 'hood' and playing it safe. As the Raiders saying goes, "win lose or tie, I'm a Raider 'til I die."
2. Cuz is so convinced of the psychological damage caused by a first encounter with a Brotha opponent in the ring, that skills become a moot point in such a match.
I didn't have the heart to tell Cuz that Pacquiao's sparring partner for this fight is a Brotha from San Francisco named Karim Mayfield, who's also sparred with Mosley. Brotha Karim believes that Pacman has the edge over Shugga.
I've concluded that Color and/or Race alone cannot determine the superior or inferior performance of a professional boxer during a match.
Thursday, May 05, 2011
It is God who decides the time. So respect his doubts."
There are many sayings like this throughout the movie "The Message." Sayings that cause you to scan back and replay them so you can fully ingest their meanings. This was my third time watching this movie and again I come away with new ideas as well as a greater respect for Muslims and their faith. When the Christian Abbysinnian King draws a line in the ground to show how thin the differences between Christianity and Islam are, you get a sense that you're watching a movie that can change peoples perceptions about other religions.
I thought not having an actor portray Mohommad (PBUH) was a signature theme of the respect this movie shows for Allah and his messenger. While Anthony Quinn seemed to thrive in his role as the Lion Hunter, his dialogue with the camera as Mohommad was brilliant. The supporting cast, though a bit stiff (1977), takes nothing away from the overall performance. There is no misunderstanding the messenger's message. He continues to remind followers that he is just a man. An illiterate man who received the word of God with a duty to reveal it to man.
Regardless of your ethnicity or religious beliefs, this movie is a joy to watch simply because it teaches while telling a very revelatory tale about the man who brought the message of Islam to Arabia and the struggle to have it take root in the culture. Don't be afraid to learn about Islam and/or expel preconceived notions you may have about its beliefs and practice. There is no room for prejudicial judgment in this movie, just brotherly confirmation amongst mankind.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
But tonight in Detroit, the San Jose Sharks kept jabbing away at the Red Wings in Game 3 of their 7 game playoff series. The jab paid off huge as the Sharks stunned the Wings with yet another knockdown overtime goal to go up 3 games to none. The sharks are 5-0 in overtime games this postseason. They can taste the belt.
Can You Count Suckas? The Sharks are 9 wins away from their first ever NHL championship. Stick and move fellas, just keep sticking and moving and stay off the ropes.
[During Rocky's retraining]
Mickey: You're gonna eat lightnin'; you're gonna crap thunder
Final ....1 2 3 OT Tot
San Jose 1 1 1 1 4
Detroit.. 1 2 0 0 3
Monday, May 02, 2011
Sunday, May 01, 2011
I suppose I should thank Mr. Trump for triggering a memorable enlightening moment in my young life. Until I'd read Irving Wallace's well written novel I was so naive to the challenges the first Black President would face, not from foreign governments and world organizations mind you, but from that known as the American fabric of western civilization; the American peoples.
My Amazon.Com Review of Irving Wallace's "The Man"
This is one of the first books I was entranced by, once I started reading novels. It truly launched my joy and discovery of reading fiction.
The Man, written in 1964, is a story about a black man becoming united states president by line of succession. The vice presidency was vacant because of the incumbent's death. Then a freak accident kills the president and speaker of the house, catapulting the president pro tempore of the senate, a young black senator, into the unenviable role of the first black president of the united states.
Its been years since I read this book, but so great was its influence on me and so powerful its truth, that it changed my view of reading forever by broadening the genre of what I read as well as how I read. I have the great author of this book, Irving Wallace, to thank for writing a book that appealed to a young man who only saw value in reading instructional or historical related books. Mr. Wallace introduced me to the meaning of the infamous quote by Jessamyn West; "Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures."
I write this review many years later because of today's opposition toward and attacks on the integrity of president barack obama, the realworld first black president of the united states. I recommend this book to all citizens of the united states to read in this year, 2011. Hopefully, yesterday's fiction can reveal obscured truths about the reality of race today.
A stalwart to anchor the middle of the offensive line, the Raiders selected center/guard Stefen Wisniewski out of Penn State in the second round as the # 48 overall pick.
The Raiders selected other O-Line help, but shame on me, I'm impressed with two weapons acquired that handle the ball:
running back Taiwan Jones out of Eastern Washington in the fourth round. The head coach saw something special in Jones. “How do you pass up a guy that can make plays like that…a guy that can score touchdowns as often and as fast as he can?” asked Jackson to the press.
the multi-position threat in David Ausberry from the University of Southern California. ausberry plays running back and wide receiver, a big wide receiver.