“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture, is like a tree without roots.”

 Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887 – 1940)

Every year in October we celebrate BLACK HISTORY MONTH. Black history is with us every second, minute, hour, week, month and year. PANTHER NEWSLETTER’S CULTURE CORNER will attempt to enlighten you with what they never told you in your history class. Our story will be told right here – So enjoy the journey of clarification.



Not widely known but true…

Did you know?

  • Bakra (Back – rah); means white slave master, or member of the ruling class in colonial days. There is a word, mbaraka, meaning “white man, he who surrounds or governs” in the Ibo and Efik languages of Nigeria. Bakra may stem from the Bantu Duala language of the Cameroons, mbakara.
  • Patu (Pa – too); means owl, which derives from the Twi language of Ghana.
  • Ras: A title used by Rastafarians, from Amharic (Ethiopia) meaning  “Prince” “lord” or “head”.



  • Jamaica has the most churches per square mile of any country in the world. Over 1,600 churches all over Jamaica. That number is growing.
  • Jamaica was the first country in the Western world to construct a railway, even before the United States and this was only 18 years after Britain.
  • Jamaica is the first Caribbean country to gain independence.
  • Jamaica was the first commercial producer of bananas in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Jamaica also was the first island in the Caribbean to produce rum on a commercial basis.
  • Apart from the United States, Jamaica has won the most world and Olympic medals.



Shaka (1787 – 1829); The Warrior-King of Zululand, revolutionised the Zulu army’s weapons and its military tactics. To maintain his Royal Army, Shaka unified many tribes of the South African region.  He saved the region from being dominated by Europe.

Sojourner Truth (1797 -1883); was the self-given name from 1843 of an African-American abolitionist born into slavery. A God-fearing woman who was the first black woman to speak out in public against slavery and for women’s rights in America. She spent forty years of her life travelling all over America speaking the truth about slavery and women’s rights. She helped to shake off the chains of slavery.

Harriet Tubman (1822 – 1913); also known as “Black Moses”, “Grandma Moses”, or “Moses of Her People”. Was an African-American abolitionist.  An escaped slave, she worked as a lumberjack, laundress, nurse and cook. As an abolitionist, she acted as intelligence gatherer, refugee organiser, raid leader, nurse and fundraiser.

Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823 – 1893); was the first black newspaper woman in northern America.  She published “The Provincial Freeman”, Canada’s first anti-slavery newspaper. Mary kept black people informed about true conditions in Canada. She was nick-named “The Rebel” for denouncing the evils of the day, especially slavery.

Bessie Coleman (1893 – 1926); was born with a driving ambition to learn and to better her position.  She met with obstacles in her quest to obtain flying instruction in America for two reasons: Race and Sex. She over-came this and went on to become the first black woman pilot in 1922.

Claudia Jones (1915 – 1962); was born in Trinidad and grew up in Harlem, America where she joined the Communist Party. As a black activist, she was jailed four times during the repressive McCarthy era and on her final release she came to England where she founded the “West Indian Gazette”.  When she died in 1962, she was buried next to Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery, North London.

Malcolm X (1925 – 1965); no one expressed the anger that many black Americans felt during the 1950’s and 1960’s more vividly than Malcolm X.  He lashed out at society’s unfair treatment of his people. Following a trip to Mecca, Malcolm, already a devout Moslem, changed his name to El Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz.  His fight for freedom continued until he was assassinated on February 21 1965.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 – 1968); led the bus boycott that ended segregated seating on Montgomery public buses. The son of a minister, Martin headed a long struggle for equal rights in America. He helped win many rights that all Americans now enjoy. In 1963 he led the historic ‘march in Washington’ where he gave his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech. A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1986, a national holiday was declared to honour him. He was assassinated on April 4 1968. He was only 39 years of age.

Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.  January 17 1942 was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” in 1999 by Sports Illustrated. He is widely regarded to be the greatest heavyweight boxing champion of all time. Standing at 6 feet 3 inches (1.93 m), Ali had a highly unorthodox style for a heavyweight boxer. He carried his hands at his sides, rather than normal boxing style of carrying the hands high to defend the face.  He relied on his ability to avoid a punch. In the ring, he would “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” He won the world heavyweight title three times before he retired.

Bob Marley (1945 – 1981); was born February 15 in Jamaica.  A Rastafarian, a faith that inspired his writing and music. He cut his first record at the legendary Sir Clement (Coxsone) Dodd studio (Studio One) in 1961; but it wasn’t until 1964 when success came when, together with Bunny Wailer and the late Peter Tosh they formed The Wailing Wailers. He later went solo to release strings of hits. He died of cancer May 11 1981.


Here ends your history lesson for this month.


Log on for more CULTURE CORNER next month and remember…

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach.”

W.E.B (William Edward Burghardt) Dubois

‘Til next month – Everyting Bless.

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