Don Cornelius

When you mention the name Don Cornelius amongst the Black community, there is no need for an introduction. For those who are unfamiliar with Don Cornelius, he was the writer and producer of the nationally syndicated dance and music show Soul Train.

Soul Train was formed because Don noticed in the late 60’s that there weren’t any television shows geared towards Black artists and soul music. With the creation of Soul Train, soul and funk artists could showcase their talents.

Prior to Soul Train, Black people were limited to occasionally performing on TV as guests on White programs. All that changed with Don’s creation of Soul Train. Soon, White audiences started to tune into Soul Train and it’s popularity skyrocketed. Eventually, Soul Train would even showcase White artists whose nusic was centered around soul, funk and R&B.

I loved watching Soul Train as a child because I loved seeing some of the artists I grew up listening to perform live. And who can forget the infamous Soul Train line and those Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen commercials? Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen played a part in Don’s Black is Beautiful campaign.

Listening to Don talk with his nicely shaped afro and smooth deep voice was a treat. I could listen to him talk all day. One of my favorite parts of Soul Train is when it was ending and Don would say: “I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!”

With all the success and positivity that Soul Train brought to the Black community, it saddens many how Don Cornelius’s life ended. Don suffered with seizures, battled Alzheimer’s and his health steadily declined. He was in constant pain the last 15 years of his life and unfortunately he decided to end his life.

Soul Train will always be one of those shows that is cherished amongst the Black community because it was a show where Black people were portrayed in a good way. It also showed people how to have fun, dance and get down!

If you have never watched an episode of Soul Train, you are really missing out. To see a brief clip of one of my favorite episodes, click here.

The next time you are on YouTube, search for it. It’ll have you smiling and dancing before you know it. 👌🏾

To listen to a brief catchy remix of the theme song, click here.

Until next time…love, peace and soul!

Black History Trivia Revealed

The other day, I asked the following question:

Do you know who was the first African American to hold a medical degree?

I also gave the following hints:

1) This individual was the first University trained African American.

2) This individual graduated at the top of their class while also being the only African American in their class.

3) This individual was an abolitionist, a writer and author.

For those of you who are wondering, it is Dr. James Mccune Smith.

If you guessed right, give yourself a pat on the back. 🙃

In addition to the accomplishments above, Dr. James Mccune Smith helped start the National Council for Colored People in 1853 and he was the only African American in the world (during his time) to run a successful pharmacy in Scotland.

When you get a moment, read a little bit more about him. His story is both amazing and inspiring.

Until next time…

Black History Trivia

Do you know who was the first African American to hold a medical degree? I will give you a few hints:

1) This individual was the first University trained African American.

2) This individual graduated at the top of their class while also being the only African American in their class.

3) This individual was an abolitionist as well as a writer and author.

Do you know the answer? 🤔

Feel free to Google it as I’m sure some of you will. Go for it! 😉

If you think you know the answer, leave a comment. I will reveal the answer on Friday.

Until next time…

Vernon Dahmer

Vernon Dahmer was a successful and wealthy Black businessman from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I decided to blog about him for Black History Month because of his bravery and love for his family.

Vernon Dahmer was born in 1908 to a biracial mother and German father. Vernon was very sharp when it came to running a business and according to his family, he got his business sense from his father. His father taught him everything he knew because he himself was also a successful businessman.

Vernon was loved by many of the locals because he provided jobs to both Blacks and Whites. He was generous with his money, caring and was always looking for ways to help his community. Unfortunately for Vernon, his dealings with the NAACP and civil rights movement made him a marked man.

On January 10, 1966, a group of Klansmen torched Vernon’s home with gas jugs and gun fire. To distract the Klansmen from his wife and children, Vernon shot at them as he was literally being burned alive. As his wife and children ran to safety, Vernon stood firmly with his shotgun as the fire began to engulf him from the waste up.

Despite being severely burned, Vernon died from smoke inhalation and damage to his lungs. By standing in that fire to save his family, Vernon’s lungs were literally cooked from the inside. The fire destroyed his store, home and cars.

What struck me the most about Vernon’s tragic story is the fact that he was murdered out of pure jealously and hate. What’s even more unsettling is that some of the Klansmen responsible for his death escaped punishment and continued to brag about it for many years.

Until next time…

William and Ellen Craft

Many people, Black and non-Black, have never heard of William and Ellen Craft. In fact, many have never heard of this couple’s daring escape for freedom. For Black History Month, I’m going to share their incredible story with you.

William and Ellen Craft were an enslaved couple from Macon, Georgia. William was a carpenter and Ellen was a house servant. William and Ellen wanted to raise a family but like so many other slaves, they didn’t want to bear any children into slavery. William and Ellen’s strong desire not to bear children into slavery resulted in what’s been called the most ingenious plot in fugitive slave history.

Because Ellen was a quadroon, she could easily pass for White. Since it wasn’t customary for a White woman to travel alone with a Black male servant, Ellen and William decided to dress her up as a White male slave owner. William, in turn, would come along with her as her slave.

William and Ellen bought clothes similar to what White slave owners wore and styled her hair in a way that would give her a manly appearance. To hide the fact that Ellen couldn’t write, William put her arm in a sling. By putting Ellen’s arm in a sling, this would evoke pity on her part.

Whenever it came time to speak, Ellen pretended to have an illness or speech impediment. While on the run, they traveled first class, stayed in the finest hotels and even dined on fine foods. By the time their ingenious plot was figured out, they were already up North living as a free Black couple with their children who were born free.

William and Ellen Craft’s escape, like thousands of other Black slaves, angered White slave holders because slaves weren’t deemed as human, educated or equal. Their successful escape to freedom was a threat to their unjust society and a blow to their ego.

The Craft’s story, like so many others, shows that when a person really wants to be free, they’ll stop at nothing to attain it. If they can’t attain it, they would rather die trying.

Until next time…

Elizabeth Catlett

Good Evening good people! If you are into art, you are really going to like this next Black History month post.

Elizabeth Catlett was an African American artist whose work centered around the Black experience, race, racism and civil rights. Her main purpose for creating such wonderful pieces of art was to represent Black people in a strong and positive light. Elizabeth was known to create pieces that touched on the struggles and triumphs of Black people.

Elizabeth was a visionary artist who poured everything she had into her sculptures, drawings and paintings. I can remember seeing a few of her pieces in several museums and I loved everyone one that I saw. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has some great pieces of her work on display. As an art lover, I can spend hours in a museum admiring paintings, drawings and my tip top favorite, sculptures!

Good meaningful art has a unique way of touching our souls and making us think.

If you have never seen Elizabeth Catlett’s art up close and personal, you are really missing out. The next time you are in New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, D.C. or Chicago, check out one of their museums because some of her art is displayed there. The Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans is a good place to start.

Her drawings and paintings are absolutely amazing!

Until next time…

Frank Embree

I decided to blog about Frank Embree for my first Black History Month post for the year 2019. The story of Frank Embree is gut-wrenching, but it is a story that must be told.

Warning ⚠: This post contains graphic details and images that some may find disturbing. Viewer and reader discretion is strongly advised.

Frank Embree was a 19 year old Black teen who was falsely accused of raping a 14 year old White girl in Fayette, Missouri in 1899. On his way to Mexico, Frank was captured by a White racist mob (numbered over a thousand) and stripped naked. They thought by stripping him naked, the humiliation would make Frank confess, but it didn’t.

Because Frank refused many times to admit to this false crime, he was whipped severely with a bull whip. The crowd had hoped that the whipping would make him confess, but it didn’t. Witnesses recounted that as the whip tore into his flesh, Frank never winced or cried once after receiving 103 lashes. This made the White racist mob even more angry. A few times he fell due to exhaustion, but Frank still did not confess.

After receiving almost 50 more lashes, Frank couldn’t take it any more and finally confessed to a crime he didn’t commit. Knowing that his death was imminent, Frank asked not to be burned alive. He also asked that the dime in his pocket be given to his father and his revolver to his mother.

As Frank was led to an oak tree, he was allowed to pray before he was hanged. His lifeless, bloody and badly whipped body hung for hours before he was eventually cut down. His father never received the dime in his pocket nor did his mother receive his revolver.

The newspapers would go on to lie about Frank’s age, his character, the account of the events that unfolded and often misspelled his name in an effort to make the actions of that White racist mob justified.

Imagine, for a moment, being whipped and eventually lynched for a crime you didn’t commit. Can you even begin to envision all the emotions and dreadful thoughts that ran through Frank’s mind and body during this ordeal? Yet, millions of Black people, mainly Black men, suffered the same cruel and unjust fate for many years.

Let me be clear on one thing: The stories I have shared and will continue to share isn’t just Black History, it is HISTORY. Period!

Until next time…