Archive for February, 2010

LESSONS IN BLACK HISTORY – David Walker

February 28, 2010

матрациwalkerappealDAVID WALKER – Not to be confused with yours truly, this other David Walker, with whom I proudly share a name, was the legendary abolitionist born in North Carolina on September 28, 1785. The son of a slave father and a free mother, Walker was not a slave, but still witnessed the life of slavery. He traveled throughout the country, eventually settling in Boston. In 1829 he wrote and published Walker’s Appeal, a scathing commentary on slavery and racism in America that ignited great controversy and earned the label of sedition. Among other things, Walker advocated violence as a means to end slavery, even if it meant death. A price was placed on Walker’s head by those that supported slavery ($10,000 alive, $1,000 dead). Southern states banned the seventy-six page pamphlet, and possession of Walker’s Appeal by blacks was often met with violence or jail. Despite efforts to suppress the publication, it was heavily distributed throughout northern cities, and smuggled throughout the south. Walker was found dead under mysterious circumstances on the doorstep of his home in 1830, at the age of 44. Towards the end of Walker’s Appeal, he wrote, “If any are anxious to ascertain who I am, know the world, that I am one of the oppressed, degraded and wretched sons of Africa, rendered so by the avaricious and unmerciful, among the whites.”

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LESSONS IN BLACK HISTORY – The Black Panther Party

February 27, 2010

bppBLACK PANTHER PARTY FOR SELF DEFENSE – On October 15, 1966, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Originally created as a militant organization to protect black neighborhoods against police brutality, the BPP adopted a Ten Point Program that spelled out its mission. The Panthers did not subscribe to the non-violent practices of other black activists organizations, and quickly earned an international reputation for their violent clashes with the police. Aside from the violence, the BPP also operated free breakfast programs for children, facilitated health clinics, and promoted strength through education. Perceived as a threat to the national security, the Panthers were targeted by J Edgar Hoover and the FBI, which used its Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) as an effective weapon against the Black Panthers. The FBI’s COINTELPRO operation, coupled with an onslaught of other legal problems, helped to decimate the Black Panther Party in a very short time span. Key leaders were killed (often gunned down by police), thrown in jail, and the party began to splinter over differing ideologies. By the early 1970s, the BPP had imploded, and in 1976 the original party was dissolved. Click HERE to read the Ten Point Program. (more…)

LESSONS IN BLACK HISTORY – Cherokee Bill

February 26, 2010

cherokeebillCRAWFORD “CHEROKEE BILL” GOLDSBY – Through the magic of Hollywood, the most legendary figures of the old west, both lawmen and outlaws, have almost always been white. In reality, this was not the case, with some of the most well known gunslingers and cowboys of the old west being black. This is especially true of Crawford Goldsby, better known as Cherokee Bill, one of the most ruthless outlaws of his time. Born in Texas in 1876, Cherokee Bill was the son of a former Buffalo Soldier and a Cherokee Freedman. Cherokee Bill started his life of crime at age 18, when he shot another man in a dispute. He joined up with outlaws Bill and Jim Cook, and in the summer and fall of 1894, the Cook Gang terrorized much of Oklahoma, robbing and killing with little discretion. The gang split up in late 1894, and in January of 1895, Cherokee Bill was captured. His subsequent trial resulted in a death sentence, and on March 17, 1896, he was sent to the gallows. The day Cherokke Bill was set to be hung, he left behind two lasting memories for his legacy. Legend has it that when Cherokee Bill woke up on the morning of March 17, he said, “This is as good a day as any to die.” When he was taken to the gallows, and asked if he had any last words, Cherokee Bill stated for the record, “I came here to die, not make a speech.” He was dead a few minutes later at the age of 20.

OSCAR 'RACE' – my latest article on MSN

February 25, 2010

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Check Oscar ‘Race’ – my latest article on MSN. I weigh in on the nominations of The Blind Side, Precious, and how the Oscars and Hollywood deal with issues of race and racism. Click HERE to read the article.

LESSONS IN BLACK HISTORY – George Dixon

February 25, 2010

GeorgeDixonGEORGE DIXON – Canadian boxer George Dixon became the first black man to win a boxing championship. Born in 1870, Dixon began fighting at age 16, when he weighed only 87 pounds and stood 5’3”, earning him the nickname “Little Chocolate.” His career spanning twenty years and 104 fights (he had 44 fights in 1893 alone). Dixon won the world bantamweight championship in 1888, and in 1891 Dixon took the world featherweight title. Jack Johnson would go on to become the first black world heavyweight in 1908, after beating Tommy Burns. Before Johnson took the title, black fighters were not allowed to fight for the world championship, and instead had to vie for the “Black World Heavyweight Championship,” a title Johnson won in 1903. In 1910, former champion James Jeffries, known as “the Great White Hope,” came out of retirement to take the title back for the white race. Johnson destroyed Jeffries in “the Fight of the Century,” and his victory set off race riots. The fight had been filmed, as many prizefights were in those days, but it was felt that Jeffries’s defeat was so demoralizing the white population that Congress banned the exhibition of all prizefight films. The ban lasted from 1912 until 1940. The documentary Unforgivable Blackness – The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson is an excellent source of information on the fighter’s life and career. You can order the DVD by clicking HERE.

New Comic Project – MAD MAULER by Walker and Love

February 24, 2010

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It is with great pleasure that I announce MAD MAULER, the latest collaboration between  myself and artist Robert Lover. MAD MAULER will be part of the POPGUN COMIC ANTHOLOGY, VOLUME 4, which arrives in stores next week. The last time Robert and I collaborated was BLIND MONKEY STYLE, which appeared in POPGUN, VOLUME 1. Order POPGUN 4 by clicking the banner below, or clicking HERE. Order POPGUN 1 by clicking HERE.

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LESSONS IN BLACK HISTORY – Oscar Micheaux

February 24, 2010

OscarMicheauxOSCAR MICHEAUX – Although he was not the first black filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux was the first black director to produce a feature-length film, and was certainly the most prolific movie maker of the era. The son of former slaves, born in Illinois in 1884, Micheaux moved to South Dakota with dreams of being a farmer. When his farm failed to produce any viable crops, he wrote his first novel, The Homesteader, which he self-published and sold door-to-door. Pioneering black filmmaker Noble Johnson’s Lincoln Motion Picture Company tried to option The Homesteader from Micheaux, but when they didn’t offer him enough money, he decided to make a movie himself. With no film experience at all, Micheaux produced a feature-length version of The Homesteader in 1919. Over the next three decades, Micheaux would make 41 more films, creating his own cottage industry of stars that included Paul Robeson (who made his film debut in Micheaux’s Body and Soul), Lorenzo Tucker (often billed as “The Black Valentino”), Alec Lovejoy, Carman Newsome and Laura Bowman. Micheaux traveled cross-country with his films in the trunk of his car, showing the movies anywhere he could screen them. He often raised the money for his next production by pre-selling the rights to various exhibitors, thereby pioneering the now common practice of pre-sales in film distribution.

LESSONS IN BLACK HISTORY – Mary Mahoney

February 23, 2010

marymahoneyMARY MAHONEY – In 1873, Mary Mahoney of Dorchester, Massachusetts, graduating nursing school, making her the first professional trained black woman to become a nurse. Mahoney was not the first black woman to provide health care. Jamaican-born Mary Seacole was a nurse, known for her service in the Crimean War (1853-1856), and during her time was regarded alongside legendary nurse Florence Nightingale. And while black women like Seacole practiced medicine in various different capacities for centuries, Mahoney was the first to become a licensed nurse. She was also a supporter of the women’s suffrage movement, and one of the first women in Boston registered to vote. Mabel Keaton Staupers became a nurse in 1917. Three years later, she helped found the first hospital in New York. Staupers was an advocate for desegregation, leading the charge for the integration of black nurses in the both the armed forces and the private sector.

LESSONS IN BLACK HISTORY – 761st Black Panther Tank Battalion

February 22, 2010

761st761st BLACK PANTHER TANK BATTALION – All branches of the United States Military were still segregated during World War II, but it was during this time special all-black units were formed, despite the belief that black soldiers were inferior to whites. Among the all-black combat units to be activated, few are more legendary than the 761st Black Panther Tank Battalion. Deployed in Europe in 1944, the 761st became known for their fierce fighting abilities. Of course, they had to be fierce, as they were often used to spearhead attacks, making them the first in the line of fire. The 761st successfully opened a hole in Germany’s Siegfried Line, making room from Patton to lead the 4th Armored Division into Germany, which helped win the war. The 761st fought valiantly through much of Europe, and at the end of the war, they were among the first of American forces to join with the Russians in Austria to liberate the concentration camps at Steyr. Jackie Robinson had been in the 761st, but he was transferred out and faced a court-martial after refusing to sit in the back of a bus during the unit’s training in the south. The racism that Robinson stood up to was a regular occurrence for the 761st and other all-black units in the military.

LESSONS IN BLACK HISTORY – York

February 21, 2010

yorkYORK – The Lewis and Clark Expedition to explore the western territories of the United States is a part of history most children learn in school, including the participation of Sacajawea. But most kids never learn about York, a slave owned by William Clark, who was a valuable member of the expedition—and even saved his master’s life at one point. During the two-year adventure, York was afforded the same rights and freedoms as the other members of the party, and his contributions are recorded in the expedition journals. Some historical accounts claim that Clark promised to set his slave free at the end of their journey. Clark never made good on his promise, and after the expedition York was once again treated as property, and a second class citizen. He was kept from his wife, a slave owned by another man. After enjoying freedom during the expedition, York did not take well to being a slave again, and Clark resorted to beating his slave for being “insolent and sulky.” There is no official record of York’s ultimate fate. Some believe he escaped to freedom, others believe Clark finally set him free, and others believe he died a slave.