Thursday, March 6, 2008

Mapping The African American Past

great new black history site.
the above movie is from the Columbia Teacher's College site
from the nytimes of 3/6/07

New Medium, Old Stories: A High-Tech Look at the City’s Black History
The teeming restaurant was called Downing’s Oyster House, and its 19th-century patrons were bankers, politicians and lawyers. But even as the swells did their deals upstairs, the proprietor, Thomas Downing, a free black man, presided over a far different scene in his basement, a hiding place for escaping slaves.
The establishment, at 5 Broad Street near Wall Street, was a stop on the Underground Railroad — to Canada, and freedom.
Stories about Downing’s — and many other locales and people significant to black history in New York City — have rarely been classroom staples for schoolchildren. But these sagas, presented in text, historical images and interactive maps, are the focus of a new Web site officially unveiled on Wednesday with an acronym, MAAP, that stands for “Mapping the African American Past.”
The Web site, presented by Columbia University at, uses video, audio and maps and images to showcase 52 historic sites and people in the city, ranging from the familiar (the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan) to the rarely acknowledged, including the Oyster House and the Colored Orphan Asylum.
“It gives students an opportunity for detailed study in a way that would never be possible in traditional textbooks,” said Frank A. Moretti, a professor of communications at Teachers College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
He described the new site as the most extensive Web-based examination of the city’s African-American history. The Web site — a portal to film and music clips, photographs and artwork — is searchable by location and year, back to 1632. Narratives can be podcast through iTunes.
Dr. Moretti said the yearlong project was conceived by Reginald L. Powe, a longtime developer of educational content for publishers and curriculum providers. Mr. Powe’s Manhattan-based company, Creative Curriculum Initiatives, has produced boxed sets of 52 cards (3 ½ inches by 5 inches) depicting historical locations under the rubric “The African Experience in New York.”
“As an African-American interested in history, I found it hard to understand why so much of the city’s African-American past was unknown to students,” Mr. Powe said. “People know little about slave revolts and people burned at the stake — and about inspirational stories of those who advanced against impossible odds.”
A thousand sets of the cards will be made available free to city schools, and they will be offered for sale to the public for $24, which is “the price reputed to have been paid for Manhattan,” Mr. Powe said.
Educators in Columbia’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning added more information, images and video interviews to the cards in creating the Web site, said Dr. Moretti, who is the center’s executive director. The history project was initially financed with $250,000 from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and then Columbia contributed $250,000 in development and staff expenses to produce the Web site and teaching materials, he said.
“Creating lessons on New York history has been a bit of a challenge for many teachers, since there hasn’t been a large market for publishers to create these materials,” said Dr. Margaret S. Crocco, professor and coordinator of social studies education at Teachers College.
As part of the Web site, she directed a team of eight educators at the college to create 24 lesson plans at eighth- and fourth-grade levels that can be downloaded free. The site’s images and information can be dragged, manipulated and otherwise organized by students for projects and teachers creating their own lesson plans.
The Web site is evidence of “the significant awakening of interest in New York’s black history,” said Kenneth T. Jackson, the Jacques Barzun professor of history at Columbia University and the editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of New York City.

“This site should just keep expanding.”

Monday, March 3, 2008

Emmett Till: Part 2

biography from wikipedia continued

Emmett Till was buried September 6 in Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois. The same day, Bryant and Milam were indicted by a grand jury.
When Mamie Till came to Mississippi to testify at the trial, she stayed in the home of Dr. T.R.M. Howard in the all-black town of Mound Bayou. Others staying in Howard's home were black reporters, such as Cloyte Murdock of Ebony Magazine, key witnesses, and Congressman Charles Diggs of Michigan, the first chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Howard was a major civil rights leader and fraternal organization official in Mississippi, the head of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL), and one of the wealthiest blacks in the state.
The day before the trial, Frank Young, a black farm worker, came to Howard's home. He said that he had information indicating that Milam and Bryant had help in their crime. Young's allegations sparked an investigation that led to unprecedented cooperation between local law enforcement, the NAACP, the RCNL, black journalists, and local reporters. The trial began on September 19. Moses Wright, Emmett's great-uncle, was one of the main witnesses called up to speak. Pointing to one of the suspected killers, he said "Dar he," to refer to the man who had killed his nephew.
Another key witness for the prosecution was Willie Reed, an 18-year-old high school student who lived on a plantation near Drew, Mississippi in Sunflower County. The prosecution had located him thanks to the investigation sparked by Young's information. Reed testified that he had seen a pickup truck outside of an equipment shed on a plantation near Drew managed by Leslie Milam, a brother of J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant. He said that four whites, including J.W. Milam, were in the cab and three blacks were in the back, one of them Till. When the truck pulled into the shed, he heard human cries that sounded like a beating was underway. He did not identify the other blacks on the truck.
On September 23 the all-white jury, made up of 12 males, acquitted both defendants. Deliberations took just 67 minutes; one juror said, "If we hadn't stopped to drink pop, it wouldn't have taken that long."The hasty acquittal outraged people throughout the United States and Europe and energized the nascent Civil Rights Movement.
Even by the time of the trial, Howard and black journalists such as James Hicks of the Baltimore Afro-American named several blacks who had allegedly been on the truck near Drew, including three employees of J.W. Milam: Henry Lee Loggins, Levi 'Too-Tight' Collins, and Joe Willie Hubbard. They were never called to testify. In the months after the trial, both Hicks and Howard called for a federal investigation into charges that Sheriff H.C. Strider had locked Collins and Loggins in jail to keep them from testifying.
Following the trial, Look Magazine paid J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant $4,000 to tell their story. Safe from any further charges for their crime due to double jeopardy protection, Bryant admitted to journalist William Bradford Huie that he and his brother had killed Till. Milam claimed that initially their intention was to scare Till into line by pistol-whipping him and threatening to throw him off a cliff. Milam explained that contrary to expectations, regardless of what they did to Till, he never showed any fear, never seemed to believe they would really kill him, and maintained a completely unrepentant, insolent, and defiant attitude towards them concerning his actions. Thus the brothers said they felt they were left with no choice but to fully make an example of Till, and they killed him. The story focused exclusively on the role of Milam and Bryant in the crime and did not mention any possible part played by others in the crime. The article was published in Look in January 1956. While some found it repugnant that Look had paid these men $4,000, the editorial position was that the good of getting the public to know the truth outweighed the bad of these men being paid a lot of money.
In February 1956 Howard's version of the events of the kidnapping and murder, which stressed the possible involvement of Hubbard and Loggins, appeared in the booklet Time Bomb: Mississippi Exposed and the Full Story of Emmett Till by Olive Arnold Adams. At the same time a still unidentified white reporter using the pseudonym Amos Dixon wrote a series of articles in the California Eagle. The series put forward essentially the same thesis as Time Bomb but offered a more detailed description of the possible role of Loggins, Hubbard, Collins, and Leslie Milam. Time Bomb and Dixon's articles had no lasting impact in the shaping of public opinion. Huie's article in the far more widely circulated Look became the most commonly accepted version of events.
In 1957 Huie returned to the story for Look in an article that indicated that local residents were shunning Milam and Bryant and that their stores were closed due to a lack of business.
Milam died of cancer in 1980 and Bryant died of cancer in 1994. The men never expressed any remorse for Till's death and seemed to feel that they had done no wrong. In fact, a few months before he died, Bryant complained bitterly in an interview that he had never made as much money off Till's death as he deserved and that it had ruined his life[11]. Emmett's mother Mamie (as Mamie Till Mobley) outlived both men, dying at the age of 81 on January 6, 2003. That same year her autobiography Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America (One World Books, co-written with Christopher Benson) was published.
In 1991, a seven-mile stretch of 71st street in Chicago was renamed "Emmett Till Road," after the slain child. In 2006 a Mississippi historical marker marking the place of Till's death was defaced, and in August 2007 it went missing.Less than a week later a replica was put up in its place.[13]
In 2001, David T. Beito, associate professor at the University of Alabama and Linda Royster Beito, chair of the department of social sciences at Stillman College, were the first investigators in many decades to track down and interview on tape two key principals in the case: Henry Lee Loggins and Willie Reed. They were doing research for their biography of T.R.M. Howard. In his interview with the Beitos, Loggins denied that he had any knowledge of the crime or that he was one of the black men on the truck outside of the equipment shed near Drew. Reed repeated the testimony that he had given at the trial, that he had seen three black men and four white men (including J.W. Milam) on the truck. When asked to identify the black men, however, he did not name Loggins as one of them. The Beitos also confirmed that Levi 'Too-Tight' Collins, another black man allegedly on this car, had died in 1993.
In 1996, Keith Beauchamp started background research for a feature film he planned to make about Till's murder, and asserted that as many as 14 individuals may have been involved. While conducting interviews he also encountered eyewitnesses who had never spoken out publicly before. As a result he decided to produce a documentary instead, and spent the next nine years creating The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till. The film led to calls by the NAACP and others for the case to be reopened. The documentary included lengthy interviews with Loggins and Reed, both of whom the Beitos had first tracked down and interviewed in 2001. Loggins repeated his denial of any knowledge of the crime. Beauchamp has consistently refused to name the fourteen individuals who he asserts took part in the crime, including the five who he claims are still alive.
On May 10, 2004, the United States Department of Justice announced that it was reopening the case to determine whether anyone other than Milam and Bryant was involved. Although the statute of limitations prevented charges being pursued under federal law, they could be pursued before the state court, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and officials in Mississippi worked jointly on the investigation. As no autopsy had been performed on Till's body, it was exhumed on May 31, 2005 from the suburban Chicago cemetery where it was buried, and the Cook County coroner then conducted the autopsy. The body was reburied by relatives on June 4. It has been positively identified as that of Emmett Till.
In February 2007, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that both the FBI and a Leflore County Grand Jury, which was empaneled by Joyce Chiles, a black prosecutor, had found no credible basis for Keith Beauchamp's claim that 14 individuals took part in Till's abduction and murder or that any are still alive. The Grand Jury also decided not to pursue charges against Carolyn Bryant Donham, Roy Bryant's ex-wife. Neither the FBI nor the Grand Jury found any credible evidence that Henry Lee Loggins, now living in an Ohio nursing home, and identified by Beauchamp as a suspect who could be charged, had any role in the crime. Other than Loggins, Beauchamp still refuses to name the 14 people who he says were involved although the FBI and District Attorney have completed their investigations of his charges and he is free to go on the record. A story by Jerry Mitchell in the Clarion-Ledger on February 18 describes Beauchamp's allegation that 14 or more were involved as a legend.
The same article also labels as legend a rumor that Till had endured castration at the hands of his victimizers. The castration theory was first put forward uncritically in Beauchamp's "Untold Story" although Mamie Till-Mobley (Emmett's mother) had said in an earlier documentary directed by Stanley Nelson, "The Murder of Emmett Till," (2003) that her son's genitals were intact when she examined the corpse. The recent autopsy, as reported by Mitchell, confirmed Mobley-Till's original account and showed no evidence of castration.
In March 2007, Till's family was briefed by the FBI on the contents of its investigation. The FBI report released on March 29, 2007 found that Till had died of a gunshot wound to the head and that he had broken wrist bones and skull and leg fractures.

The Death Of Emmett Till

a slide show of images backing Dylan's great song
the lyrics

"Twas down in Mississippi no so long ago,
When a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a Southern door.
This boy's dreadful tragedy I can still remember well,
The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till.
Some men they dragged him to a barn and there they beat him up.
They said they had a reason, but I can't remember what.
They tortured him and did some evil things too evil to repeat.
There was screaming sounds inside the barn, there was laughing sounds out on the street.
Then they rolled his body down a gulf amidst a bloody red rain
And they threw him in the waters wide to cease his screaming pain.
The reason that they killed him there, and I'm sure it ain't no lie,
Was just for the fun of killin' him and to watch him slowly die.
And then to stop the United States of yelling for a trial,
Two brothers they confessed that they had killed poor Emmett Till.
But on the jury there were men who helped the brothers commit this awful crime,
And so this trial was a mockery, but nobody seemed to mind.
I saw the morning papers but I could not bear to see
The smiling brothers walkin' down the courthouse stairs.
For the jury found them innocent and the brothers they went free,
While Emmett's body floats the foam of a Jim Crow southern sea.
If you can't speak out against this kind of thing, a crime that's so unjust,
Your eyes are filled with dead men's dirt, your mind is filled with dust.
Your arms and legs they must be in shackles and chains, and your blood it must refuse to flow,
For you let this human race fall down so God-awful low!
This song is just a reminder to remind your fellow man
That this kind of thing still lives today in that ghost-robed Ku Klux Klan.
But if all of us folks that thinks alike, if we gave all we could give,
We could make this great land of ours a greater place to live.

Emmett Till: Part 1

Feom wikipedia, part 1 of biography

Emmett Louis "Bobo" Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was a fourteen year old African-American from Chicago, Illinois brutally murdered [1] in Money, Mississippi, a small town in the state's Delta region. The murder of Emmett Till was noted as one of the leading events that motivated the nascent American Civil Rights Movement.qwdf The main suspects were acquitted, but later admitted to committing the crime.
Till's mother insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket to let everyone see how he had been brutally killed.[2] He had been brutally beaten and had his eye gouged out before he was shot through the head and thrown into the Tallahatchie River with a 75-pound cotton gin fan tied to his neck with barbed wire. His body was in the river for three days before it was discovered and retrieved by two fishermen.
Till was laid to rest in Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois. The murder case was officially reopened in May 2004, and as a part of the investigation the body was exhumed so an autopsy could be performed.The body was reburied by the family in the same location later that week.
Emmett Till was the son of Mamie Till and Louis Till. Emmett's mother was born to John and Alma Carthan in the small Delta town of Webb, Mississippi ("the Delta" being the traditional name for the area of northwestern Mississippi at the confluence of the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers). When she was two years old, her family moved to Illinois. Emmett's mother largely raised him on her own; she and Louis Till had separated in 1942.
Emmett's father, Louis Till, was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943. While serving in Italy, he was convicted of raping two women and killing a third. He was executed by the Army by hanging near Pisa in July 1945. Before Emmett Till's killing, the Till family knew none of this, having been told only that Louis had been killed due to "willful misconduct". The facts of Louis Till's execution were made widely known after Emmett Till's death, by segregationist senator James Eastland, in an apparent attempt to turn public support away from Mrs. Till just weeks before the trials of Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, the implication being that criminal behavior ran in the Till family.
In 1955, Till and his cousin were sent to stay for the summer with Till's uncle, Moses Wright, who lived in Money, Mississippi (another small town in the Delta, eight miles north of Greenwood).
Before his departure for the Delta, Till's mother cautioned him to "mind his manners" with white people.
Till's mother understood that race relations in Mississippi were very different from those in Chicago. Mississippi had seen many lynchings during the South's lynching era (ca. 1876-1930), and racially motivated murders were still not unfamiliar, especially in the Delta region where Till was going for a visit. Racial tensions were also on the rise after the United States Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education to end segregation in public education.
Till arrived on August 21. On August 24, he joined other young teenagers as they went to Bryant's Grocery and Meat Market to get some candy and soda. The teens were children of sharecroppers and had been picking cotton all day. The market was owned by a husband and wife, Roy Bryant and Carolyn Bryant, and mostly catered to the local sharecropper population. Till's cousin and several black youths, all under 16, were with Till in the store. Till had shown them photos of his life back home, including one of him with his friends and girlfriend, a white girl. The boys didn't believe that he had a white girlfriend and dared him to talk to a white woman in the shop.
As Till was leaving the store, he said "Bye, baby," to Carolyn Bryant, a married white woman. She stood up and rushed to her car. The boys were terrified, thinking she might return with a pistol, and ran away.
Carolyn Bryant told others of the events at the store, and the news spread quickly. When Bryant's husband returned from a road trip a few days later and was told the news, he was greatly angered. By that point, it seemed that everyone in Tallahatchie County had heard about the incident, which had had several days to percolate. Different versions were disseminated. Till's cousin, Wheeler Parker, Jr., who was with him at the store, claims Till did nothing but whistle at the woman. "He loved pranks, he loved fun, he loved jokes... in Mississippi, people didn't think the same jokes were funny." Carolyn Bryant later asserted that Till had grabbed her at the waist and asked her for a date. She said the young man also used "unprintable" words. He had a slight stutter and some have conjectured that Bryant might have misinterpreted what Till said. Bryant decided that he and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, 36, would meet at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday to "teach the boy a lesson."
At about 12:30 a.m. on August 28, Bryant and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, came in a car with two people in the back whose identities have still not been confirmed, and kidnapped Emmett Till from his great-uncle's house in the middle of the night. According to witnesses, they drove him to a weathered shed on a plantation in neighboring Sunflower County, where they brutally beat and then shot him. A fan was tied around his neck with barbed wire in order to weigh down his body, which they dropped into the Tallahatchie River near Glendora, Mississippi, another small cotton town north of Money.
Afterwards, with Till missing, Bryant and Milam admitted they had taken the boy from his great-uncle's yard but claimed they turned him loose the same night. Some supposed that relatives of Till were hiding him out of fear for the youth’s safety or that he had been sent back to Chicago where he would be safe. Word got out that Till was missing and soon NAACP civil rights leader Medgar Evers, the state field secretary, and Amzie Moore, head of the Bolivar County chapter, became involved, disguising themselves as cotton pickers and going into the cotton fields in search of any information that would help find the young visitor from Chicago.
After Till's body was recovered, the brothers and the police tried to convince people that it wasn't Till; that Till was in Chicago and that the beaten boy was someone else. Till's features were too distorted by the beatings to easily identify him, but he was positively identified thanks to a ring he wore on his finger that had been his father's. His mother had given it to him the day before he left for Money. The brothers were soon under official suspicion for the boy's disappearance and were arrested August 29 after spending the night with relatives in Ruleville, just miles from the scene of the crime.
Moses Wright, a witness to Till's abduction, told the Sheriff that a person who sounded like a woman had identified Till as "the one," after which Bryant and Milam had driven away with him. Bryant and Milam claimed they later found out Till was not "the one" who had allegedly "insulted" Mrs. Bryant, and swore to Sheriff George Smith they had released him. They would later recant and confess after their acquittal.
In an editorial on Friday, September 2, Greenville journalist Hodding Carter, Jr. asserted that "people who are guilty of this savage crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," a brave suggestion for any Mississippi newspaper editor to make at the time.
After Till's disfigured body was found, he was put into a pine box and nearly buried, but Mamie Till wanted the body to come back to Chicago. A Tutwiler mortuary assistant worked all night to prepare the body as best he could so that Mamie Till could bring Emmett's body back to Chicago.
The Chicago funeral home had agreed not to open the casket, but Mamie Till fought their decision. The state of Mississippi insisted it would not allow the funeral home to open it, so Mamie threatened to open it herself, insisting she had a right to see her son. After viewing the body, she also insisted on leaving the casket open for the funeral and allowing people to take photographs because she wanted people to see how badly Till's body had been disfigured. News photographs of Till's mutilated corpse circulated around the country, notably appearing in Jet magazine, and drew intense public reaction. Some reports said that up to 50,000 people viewed the body.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rosa Parks In Poetry

from npr on 12/5/05 I used images from Weatherford's books to complement the audio

News & Notes , December 5, 2005 · Poet Carole Boston Weatherford reads her poem December 1, 1955: Before Rosa Altered History in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Montgomery bus boycott. Weatherford teaches creative writing at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina. She's the author of several book including Freedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins.

Paul Cuffee

I found the audio at Bridgewater State University and combined it with images of Cuffee and/or related to him, including the Paul Cuffee School in Providence, Rhode Island. Note some spell his name Cuffee and others Cuffe.

Paul Cuffee, Negro shipowner and colonizer, was born near New Bedford, Massachusetts. As a free Negro whose father had been a slave, Cuffee became greatly concerned over the status of the Negroes in his native state and throughout America to the extent that he became one of the first to advocate African colonization as a solution to the incipient racial problem. In 1811, he traveled to Sierra Leone, a British colony on the West Coast of Africa, where he founded the Friendly Society of Sierra Leone, for the emigration of free Negroes from America. In 1815, he spent $4,000 of his own funds to transport 38 Negroes to Sierra Leone. He had planned more expeditions to Africa, but his health failed and he died in 1817.

A successful shipbuilder and shipowner, he accumulated an estate worth more than $20,000. In 1797, at a price of $3,500, he purchased for himself and his Indian wife, Alice Pequit, a farm on which he built a school for free Negro children. He and his brother, John Cuffee, entered a suit, as taxpayers, against the state of Massachusetts for the right to vote; but they were unsuccessful in winning the case. Several years later, legislation was adopted to correct the unjust practice. The Negro entrepreneur campaigned regularly against discriminatory practices faced by the Negroes in America. His association with whites was unquestioned, and he was received by the Quakers as a member of the Westport Society of Friends.

More on Cuffee
Paul Cuffee (1759—September 9, 1817) is most commonly known for his work in aiding free Negroes who wanted to emigrate to Sierra Leone. With the help of his shipping company Cuffee launched his first expedition to Sierra Leone on January 2, 1811. While in Sierra Leone, Cuffee helped to establish “The Friendly Society of Sierra Leone”, a trading organization. He had faith that the Friendly Society would help to establish a far more powerful Sierra Leone economy as well as self-help projects for the residents of the colony. He envisioned a mass emigration of Negroes to Africa.
Paul Cuffee was born free on Cuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, the youngest of ten children. His father, Kofi (also known as Cuffee Slocum and "Cuffee Cuffee"), was a member of a West African Ashanti tribe who had been captured and brought to America as a slave at the age of 10. Paul's mother, Ruth Moses, was a Native American and a member of a local tribe. Kofi was a skilled carpenter who educated himself and earned his freedom. Cuffee's father died when he was a teenager. He and his brothers refused to use the name Slocum, which his father had acquired from his owner, and adopted his father's personal name Hosie Cuffee
The closest mainland port to Cuttyhunk was New Bedford, Massachusetts, the center of the American whaling industry. At the age of 16, Paul Cuffee signed on a whaling ship and later on cargo ships, where he learned navigation. During the American Revolution he was held prisoner by the British for a time. At the age of 21 he refused to pay his taxes because he did not have the right to vote. Cuffee believed that he should not have to pay taxes if he was not being represented. In 1780 he petitioned the council of Bristol County to end taxation without representation. The petition was denied, but it was one of the influences that led the Legislature to grant voting rights to free male citizens of the state in 1783.
Because Cuffee had grown up on an island he developed a lifelong love for the sea. At age 24 he became part owner of a small vessel and married Alice Pequit. She was a member of the same Native American tribe as Cuffee’s mother. The couple settled in Westport, Massachusetts, where they raised their eight children. As Cuffee became more successful he invested in more ships and made a sizable fortune for the day and especially for a Black man of this era. In the 1790s he made his money in cod fishing and smuggling goods from Canada. With his money Cuffee bought a large farm along the Westport River and was able to invest in the expansion of his fleet.
Along with his shipping business Paul Cuffee always had an interest in the demeaning conditions for most Blacks in the American colonies. Cuffee did not live the average life of the Black man in America so he sought ways to help others who had not been as fortunate. Unfortunately most White Americans felt that Blacks were subordinate to Whites. Many Americans agreed with this quote: “To most white men, blacks were members of a despised and innately inferior race.” Although slavery continued, some believed the emigration of free Blacks outside the United States was the easiest and most realistic solution to the race problem in America. This idea translated into Blacks being sent to other parts of the world in order to establish their own societies and rid America of “the Black man problem”. This idea came partly from Thomas Jefferson and other members of American society.
Many previous attempts by White men to colonize Blacks in other parts of the world had failed miserably, including the British attempt to colonize Sierra Leone with free Blacks, criminals, and prostitutes. In 1787 four hundred people departed from Great Britain and headed for Sierra Leone. “The colony was plagued with serious problems from the outset and proved to be a severe disappointment to its London sponsors.”
Although colonizing Sierra Leone was an extremely difficult task, Cuffee believed it was a viable option for Blacks and threw his support behind the movement. Paul Cuffee stated “I have for these many years past felt a lively interest in their behalf, wishing that the inhabitants of the colony might become established in truth, and thereby be instrumental in its promotion amongst our African brethren.” Cuffee received encouragement to proceed with his project from people in New York, Baltimore, and Boston as well as members of the African Institution. Cuffe mulled over on the logistics and chances of success for the movement for three years before deciding in 1809 to move ahead with the proposed project. He launched his first expedition to Sierra Leone on January 2, 1811.
Cuffee reached Freetown, Sierra Leone on March 1, 1811. During his time there he traveled the area investigating the social and economic conditions of the region. He met with some of the colony’s officials, who opposed Cuffee’s idea for colonization of free Blacks from America. Because Cuffee had contacts with powerful officials from the African Institution he sailed to Great Britain to seek help from there.
Surprisingly Cuffee was welcomed in Britain with open arms. He met with the heads of the African Institution and was granted permission to continue with his mission in Sierra Leone. He then left Liverpool and sailed back to Sierra Leone, where he finalized his plans for the colony. While in Sierra Leone, Cuffee helped to establish the Friendly Society of Sierra Leone, a trading organization run by Blacks. He had faith that the Friendly Society would help to establish a far more powerful Sierra Leone economy as well as self-help projects for the residents of the colony. Cuffee’s friends from the African Institution granted the Friendly Society money for these goals. “Heartened by London’s response to the Friendly Society, and also by the evident faith Freetown’s inhabitants entrusted in him, Cuffee now believed the trip to Sierra Leone was well worth the sacrifice of time, effort, and money”. Although Cuffee viewed the expedition as successful, he feared that once he, along with several other powerful leaders, left, the citizens of the colony would again return to their heathen ways. So, Cuffee left the colony with a message advising them how to behave and warned them that they should not defer from his advisement.
After returning to America in 1812, Cuffee was arrested for bringing British cargo into the United States. His brig, the Traveler, was seized as well. He was summoned to Washington, D.C., for violating trade laws, where he met with the President, James Madison. He was warmly welcomed into the White House by the president. Madison later decided that Cuffee was not aware of and did not intentionally violate the national trading policy. Madison questioned Cuffee’s experience and the conditions of Sierra Leone and was eager to learn about Africa and the possibility of further expanding colonization. “Madison evaluated Cuffee’s plans carefully, but rejected them reluctantly.” Madison believed that there would be too many problems in further attempts to colonize Sierra Leone but regarded Cuffee as America’s African authority.
Cuffee intended to return to Sierra Leone once a year but the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain prevented him from doing so. Sierra Leone was still constantly on his mind. “He visited Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, speaking to groups of free Negroes on the 'favorable' possibilities of the colony. He also urged Negroes to form organizations in these cities to “communicate with each other… and to correspond with the African Institution and with the Friendly Society at Sierra Leone.” He printed a pamphlet about Sierra Leone to inform the general public of his ideas.
In the spring of 1813 Cuffee suffered several monetary losses because of some unprofitable ventures of his ships; one ship never returned. After getting his finances in order he prepared to return to Sierra Leone. The war between the U.S. and Britain continued, so Cuffe decided he would have to convince both countries to ease their restrictions on trading. He was unsuccessful and was forced to wait patiently until the war ended.
He left on December 10, 1815 with 38 Black colonists and arrived in Sierra Leone on February 3, 1816. Cuffee and his emigrants were not greeted as warmly as before. The authorities were already having trouble keeping the general population in order and were not thrilled at the idea that more emigrants were arriving. Although things did not go exactly as planned, Cuffee believed that once continuous trade between America, Britain, and Africa commenced the society would realize his predicted success. Cuffee left Sierra Leone in April filled with optimism for its future.
In 1816 Cuffee’s vision resulted in a mass emigration plan for Blacks. Although Cuffee was a successful Black man he still frequently dealt with discrimination. This time around Congress rejected his petition to return to Sierra Leone. “The year 1816 was one of great racial tension in this country.” During this time period many Black Americans began to demonstrate interest in immigrating to Africa. In 1816 Cuffee was persuaded by Reverends Samuel J. Mills and Robert Finley to help them with their colonization plans in the American Colonization Society. “Unlike the white abolitionists, he failed to take note or deliberately ignored the fact that Colonization Society was concerned only with encouraging free Negroes to emigrate from America, and that its members were not interested in disturbing the status quo in the South.”
In the beginning of 1817 Cuffee’s health deteriorated. He never returned to Africa and died on September 7, 1817.

A Woman Called Moses

from youtube user jovanvliet

A 7th grader presents the story of Harriet Tubman, using still images and audio.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Black Nurses In World War II

Panoramic Movie On Linden Boulevard In Addisleigh Park, Queens

A panoramic movie incorporating some of the beautiful homes near the intersection of 176th Street and Linden Blvd (including the former James Brown-Cootie Williams House) taken on 7/13/07

Black Women In History Timeline 2

from youtube user badasiwannabe, included are

Whitney Houston, Oprah Whinfrey, Diana Ross, Phillis Wheatley, Ida Wells-Barnett, Phillis Wheatley, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth J Harris, Harriet Tubman, Susie King Taylor, Ida Wells-Barnett, Madame CJ Walker, Mary McLeod Bethune, Hattie McDaniel, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Marian Anderson, Ruth Ella Moore, Josephene Baker, Rosa Parks, Toni Morrison, Annie Easley, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson, June Bacon-Bercey, Barbara Jordan, Angela Davis, Maxine Waters, Shirley Caesar, Marian Wright Edelman, Wilma Rudolph, Aretha Franklin, Alice Walker, Patty La'Belle, Gladys Knight, Shirley Ann Jackson, Pointer Sisters, Carol Mosely-Braun, Donna Summer, Whoopi Goldberg, Pam Grier, Rita Dove, Chaka Khan, Condoleezza Rice, Mae C Jemison, Tramine Hawkins, Angela Bassette, Delorez Florence Griffith Joyner, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Cheryl Miller, Cece Winans, Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Soledad O'Brian, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blidge, MC Lyte, Lil Kim, Marion Jones, Lauryn Hill, Laila Ali, Foxy Brown, Venus & Serena Williams. (

Black Women In History Timeline 1

from youtube user badasiwannabe, included are

Whitney Houston, Oprah Whinfrey, Diana Ross, Phillis Wheatley, Ida Wells-Barnett, Phillis Wheatley, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth J Harris, Harriet Tubman, Susie King Taylor, Ida Wells-Barnett, Madame CJ Walker, Mary McLeod Bethune, Hattie McDaniel, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Marian Anderson, Ruth Ella Moore, Josephene Baker, Rosa Parks, Toni Morrison, Annie Easley, Nina Simone, Cicely Tyson, June Bacon-Bercey, Barbara Jordan, Angela Davis, Maxine Waters, Shirley Caesar, Marian Wright Edelman, Wilma Rudolph, Aretha Franklin, Alice Walker, Patty La'Belle, Gladys Knight, Shirley Ann Jackson, Pointer Sisters, Carol Mosely-Braun, Donna Summer, Whoopi Goldberg, Pam Grier, Rita Dove, Chaka Khan, Condoleezza Rice, Mae C Jemison, Tramine Hawkins, Angela Bassette, Delorez Florence Griffith Joyner, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Cheryl Miller, Cece Winans, Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Soledad O'Brian, Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blidge, MC Lyte, Lil Kim, Marion Jones, Lauryn Hill, Laila Ali, Foxy Brown, Venus & Serena Williams. (

Google Maps: Count Basie

from My Queen's Jazz Trail

Google Maps: Milt Hinton

from My Queen's Jazz Trail

Google Maps: James Brown And Cootie Williams

from My Queen's Jazz Trail

Google Maps: Brook Benton

from My Queen's Jazz Trail

Google Maps: W.E.B. Dubois

from My Queen's Jazz Trail

Google Maps: Fats Waller

from My Queen's Jazz Trail

James Farmer

from 1/5/08 from pseudo-intellectualism
from wikipedia:

James Leonard Farmer Jr. (January 19, 1920 – July 9, 1999), a Black civil rights activist who was one of the "big four" leaders of the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
Born in Marshall, Texas in 1920, Farmer was an excellent student who skipped several grades in elementary school. After he completed high school at the age of fourteen he attended Wiley College. He considered careers in both medicine and the ministry during his undergraduate days. However, after he received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1938 he also realized he could not stand the sight of blood, so he enrolled in Howard University's School of Religion, receiving the Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1941. When World War II began the pacifist Farmer refused to serve, especially in a segregated army. He opposed war in general, and more specifically objected to serving in the segregated armed forces. Farmer was deferred from the draft because he held a divinity degree. After his time at Howard University he began traveling the Midwest speaking about racial equality and pacifism. Farmer decided to fight the Southern Methodist Church's policy of segregation rather than become an ordained minister.
In 1942, Farmer along with a group of students co-founded the Congress of Racial Equality, an organization that sought to bring an end to racial segregation in America through active nonviolence. The organization was also known as CORE. Farmer was the first leader of the Congress of Racial Equality but after several years he became inactive.
During the 1950s, Farmer served as national secretary of the Student League for Industrial Democracy (SLID), the youth branch of the socialist League for Industrial Democracy. SLID later became Students for a Democratic Society.
In 1960 Farmer became reelected as the director, which was around the same time the civil rights movement was gaining power. The organization was first called the Committee of Racial Equality and then became the Congress of Racial Equality. Farmer then served as the national chairman for the Congress of Racial Equality from 1942-1944 and then was reelected for the position in 1950. From 1961-1966 he was elected the national director. Farmer was so involved in his work that he even remained interested in the organization during the times he was not leader.
In 1961 Farmer, who was working for the NAACP at the time, was called back to lead the Freedom Rides for the Congress of Racial Equality and who had taken a hiatus from leading the group, returned as its national director. He also helped organize the Freedom Rides. The Freedom Rides led to the desegregation of bus terminals and interstate buses. He immediately planned a repeat of CORE's 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, a trip of eight white and eight black men challenging segregation in transportation in the upper South. This time, however, the group would journey to the Deep South, and Farmer coined a new name for the trip: the Freedom Ride. On May 4, participants journeyed to the deep South, this time including women as well as men, and tested segregated bus terminals as well as seating on the vehicles. The riders were met with severe violence and garnered national attention, sparking a summer of similar rides by other Civil Rights leaders and thousands of ordinary citizens. Although the Freedom Rides were attacked by whites, the Freedom Rides became recognized and the Congress of Racial Equality received nationwide attention. Also, Farmer became a well-known civil rights leader. The Freedom Rides led to the capturing of the imagination of the nation through photographs, newspaper accounts, and motion pictures. After the Freedom Rides, concerned whites and blacks decided it was time for racial segregation and racial discrimination to come to an end.
By the mid 1960s Farmer was growing disenchanted with emerging militancy and black nationalist sentiments in CORE and resigned in 1966. He took a teaching position at Lincoln University and continued to lecture. In 1968 Farmer ran for U.S. Congress as a Republican, but lost to Shirley Chisholm. However his defeat was not total; the recently elected President, Richard Nixon, offered him the position of Assistant Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare.
James Farmer co-founded Fund for an Open Society ( in 1975, which has as its vision a nation in which people live in communities which are stably integrated; where political and civic power is shared by people of different races and ethnicities. He led this organization until 1999.
Farmer retired from politics in 1971, but remained active lecturing and serving on various boards and committees. He published his autobiography, Lay Bare the Heart, in 1985. Farmer lived to see CORE move closer to its centrist roots in the 1980s and 1990s. President Bill Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998. Farmer taught a class on the civil rights movement at Mary Washington College (now The University of Mary Washington) in Fredericksburg, Virginia until his death in 1999.

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