Eugene Bullard. Do you recognize that name? Better yet, have you ever heard of him? I’ll be honest and say that I never heard of him until yesterday. I had an awesome reader introduce him to me yesterday and when I did a little research on him I was amazed.
Eugene Bullard was the first African American military pilot. He was one of the few Black combat pilots of WWI. Born to a Haitian father and an indigenous Creek mother, he escaped to Scotland as a stowaway to get away from the racism that plagued many African Americans. As a child, he witnessed his father’s narrow escape from a lynching which made him even more determined to leave the South.
When he arrived in Scotland, he worked as a boxer and in a music hall. When he enlisted in WWI and became seriously injured, he volunteered to become an airgunner. He would eventually make a name for himself as an airgunner and soon a pilot. Nicknamed the Black Swallow of Death, Eugene would go on to receive many awards and widespread recognition for his service.
After his discharge, he found work as a drummer and as a nightclub manager. Soon, he became the owner of his own nightclub L’Escadrille where famous people like Louis Armstrong, famed actress Josephine Baker and acclaimed poet Langston Hughes would often attend.
Upon returning to the United States in his later years, he worked as an elevator operator where he was relatively unknown. In December 1959, he was interviewed by the Today Show and found new fame again. Almost two years later he died from stomach cancer at the age of 66, but still to this day he is widely regarded and recognized as the first decorated African American military pilot in the world.
Until next time…
You know what word I am referring to. It is an ugly, derogatory word that has nothing positive associated with it. What bothers me the most about this word is how it has been embraced by so many within the Black community. Some feel that dropping the last two letters and adding an -A- at the end makes it acceptable to use within the Black community. Rubbish! Bologna!! Outrageous!!! Ridiculous!!!!
That right there is some warped and twisted thinking if you ask me and it does not make an ounce of sense. I am blown away by the sheer number of Black people who refer to one another as the N-Word minus the last two letters replaced with the letter – A-. For years Black people have been trying to distance themselves from this repulsive word and it bothers me deeply that so many Black people do not mind using it. How sad.
If the Black people who lived back then saw how some Black people refer to themselves and each other as the N-Word, it would probably break their hearts. There are many within the Black community who share a similar disdain for the use of that word by (some) Black people and I cannot understand why a Black person would feel so comfortable using such a word.
You would never catch me using that word in any form or fashion. Why??? Because I do not like to look ignorant and foolish. Ignorance is NOT bliss.
Until next time…
a picture, description, or imitation of a person or thing in which certain striking characteristics are exaggerated in order to create a comic or grotesque effect.
Caricatures. I have never cared for them. Why? Because they are used to mock or make fun of others. Caricatures (in the beginning) were primarily used to mock and make fun of Black people particularly here in the United States. That I tell you is just a cold hard fact. Google it’s history and you will see that I am telling the truth. I see no need to lie or sugar coat it; it is what it is. Caricatures are very offensive and demeaning, yet they were used as a comedic effect to sell products at the expense of those they mocked. Believe it or not, a lot of money was made using these stereotypical caricatures.
I remember hearing stories from my parents and grandparents how these caricatures would be all over TV and newspapers to advertise a certain product or products. Upon seeing them in museums and on documentaries as I got older, I began to understand why they found them to be so offensive. Visit any historical Black museum or watch any of the Black history documentaries this month and you will see exactly what I am talking about.
Black people were often depicted with oversized big lips, huge noses, short stubby nappy hair and dumb. Yes full lips, broad noses and coiled / curly hair is a trait among Black people, but the way Black people were depicted in these caricatures is a far cry from how Black people really looked. As far as being dumb, well we all know that was something most of those racist poor souls liked to think to make themselves feel better.
I saw a black history special recently that discussed how these caricatures are now very expensive antiques. There are some caricatures that sell for thousands and thousands of dollars for die hard collectors. Who would have thought that something so offensive would be worth so much of money nowadays. I guess they want to own a little piece of history. You will never catch me running out to buy one. I prefer to see all people in a positive light rather than a negative one.
Until next time…