Homer Plessy

When I mention the name Homer Plessy, that name doesn’t seem to ring a bell to most people. When I mention the landmark case he was involved in, then his name suddenly rings a bell. What landmark case am I referring to? Plessy v. Ferguson.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this case, the Plessy v. Ferguson ruling backed and upheld the practice of racial segregation in regards to the Separate Car Act. Keep reading because the elements of this case is very intriguing.

Homer Plessy, a shoemaker, laborer, clerk and insurance agent was by law an Octoroon. If Homer wanted to, he could have kept his African ancestry hidden and passed for White, but he refused to. Instead of passing, Homer along with other Free People of Color decided to use their racially ambiguous appearance to challenge the Separate Car Act.

Homer, along with the Citizens Committee, decided to violate Louisiana’s separate car law. Homer and the Citizens Committee wanted to show that if you can’t always tell who is White and who is Black, then why should there be laws in place to separate Whites from Blacks? They had a valid point. Keep reading because it’s about to get even more interesting.

When Homer boarded the “Whites Only” train car, he had no problems boarding. When the conductor came to collect his ticket, Homer told him he was 7/8th White and that he refused to sit in the “Blacks Only” car. Needless to say, everyone within that Whites only car immediately became upset. Why? Because they assumed Homer was White. Had he not revealed himself, no one would have ever suspected his racial background.

Homer and the Citizens Committee had hoped to prove their valid point that if you can’t tell who is really Black and who is really White, why create separate laws? They lost their case due to the insurmountable racism and discrimination that existed during their time, but their efforts were not totally in vain.

The Plessy v. Ferguson case played a huge role in the Brown v. Education case. The Plessy v. Ferguson case was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Racial segregation was completely outlawed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Ask yourself this: If Homer Plessy were to stand in front of you, would you be able to detect his African ancestry? What about the rest of the racially ambiguous men who were apart of the Citizens Committee? These men were Free People of Color who could have passed for White as well. Do you know who the racially ambiguous man is below?

I’ll give you a hint: he played a major role in the Plessy v. Ferguson case, he too could have passed for White, was often mistaken as White, but he wasn’t White. In fact, he was half Haitian and half Cuban. Drop your answer in the comments if you think you know. 🤔 I will reveal the answer Tuesday evening.

Until next time…

Freedom

Good morning good people! I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes for Black History Month. These quotes represent what freedom meant for these individuals (during their lifetime) and / or their desire to attain it. These quotes touched my heart and I wanted to share them with you. Enjoy! 🙏🏾 ❤️ 🙏🏾

Until next time…

Lucille Clifton

For Black History Month, I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes by the late poet Lucille Clifton. Lucille’s works of poetry were so good that she almost won a Pulitzer Prize twice.

Lucille is known for several of her quotes, but there is one quote of hers that stands out from the rest. This particular quote was born out of her frustration with racism and discrimination. Lucille was born in 1937, so one can easily see how frustrating it must have been to live during that time as a Black person.

When you see this quote of hers, you will instantly have a connection to it. Why? Because millions of people use this very same quote to offer encouragement and advice. What quote am I referring to?

This one:

Do you agree? 👆🏾 I do.

Until next time…

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 music 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…