Archive for October, 2011

GREETINGS & NEWS

Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, News, Newsletter with tags , , , , on October 31, 2011 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

“Forgiveness is not something we do for other people.  We do it for ourselves to get well and move on.”

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 PANTHER NEWSLETTER VOLUME TWO: ISSUE 20

Its mission – To Educate; To Motivate; To Promote; To Inspire; To Express; To Share

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DEDICATION

This issue of PANTHER NEWSLETTER is dedicated to the Thomas Family: Answick, Paul, Norman (AKA; Boo), Isaiah, Gayna and Sharna; sons and daughters of Small Heath whose mother passed away in September.

“Say not in grief : ‘she is no more’ but live in thankfulness that she was”

Forever Bless. 

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Greetings and Welcome to PANTHER NEWSLETTER ISSUE 20.  In this issue we have a new page, THE HEART OF OUR COMMUNITY, a very well-known SPECIAL GUEST whom I’m sure you will enjoy, THE MUSICAL COA-COA BASKET, the FEATURED ARTICLE, and everybody’s favourite, THE CULTURE CORNER.  A big shout goes out to our new readers globally.  So without any further ado, kick back and enjoy your on line cultural review.

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NEWS (UK)

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‘HACKNEY HEROINE’ GOES TO THE TORY CONFERENCE  

Woman who blasted rioting youths is invited to Manchester meeting; read on…

AFTER THE UK RIOTS: NO VOICE FOR BLACK BRITS

Distorted coverage and racist analysis outraged black Brits, who are now shut out of the post-mortem; more…

AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK JOURNALISTS TO THE BBC

The following is an open letter from the National Association of Black Journalists to the BBC on the coverage of the UK riots by the network which the NABJ has deemed racially insensitive; read the text of the letter here…  

RIO HAS HIS SAY ON RACE ROW

In the latest twist in the much chronicled Anton Ferdinand – John Terry race row, Rio Ferdinand has backed his brother by allegedly saying the incident was ‘blatantly racist’; more…

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ELSEWHERE

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BLACK STUDENTS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE SUSPENDED FROM SCHOOL

A new study has found that ethnic minority students are more likely to recieve harsher punishments in schools for misbehaving than white children; more here…

JAMAICAN NAMED AS WHITE HOUSE CHIEF USHER

Jamaican-born hotelier Angella Reid has been appointed the first female White House chief usher; read more…

WRONGLY CONVICTED BOZELLA WINS PRO BOXING BOUT

US boxing expert Kevin Iole says that after spending 26 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Dewey Bozella’s first and only pro boxing match was a success; more here…

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OBITUARY

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LEONARD DILLON OF THE ETHIOPIANS PASSES AWAY

SIXTY-NINE-YEAR-OLD Leonard Dillon of the Ethiopians passed away yesterday at his daughter’s home after suffering from lung and prostate cancer; read more…

SYLVIA ROBINSON, PIONEER OF RAP MUSIC DIES

Sylvia Robinson, known to many as the mother of hip-hop, has died aged 75.  The former soul singer set up trail-blazing record label Sugar Hill Records in 1979 with her husband Joe; read more here…

THE HEART OF OUR COMMUNITY

Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, Music, News, Newsletter, Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , on October 31, 2011 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

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DANCE  & FITNESS

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EGYPTIAN BELLY DANCE AND/OR ZUMBA FITNESS WITH Chloe Redmond

For more details of her classes, click on the poster or check out Chloe’s website here…

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LOCAL BUSINESS

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All your Balloon decorations for Parties, Weddings
and Corporate Events
Check out CANDY BUBBLESwww.candybubbles.co.uk
Or give me a call on 0790 480 4419  – 0121 250 4466

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PERFORMANCE

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THE DRUM PRESENTS

KOKUMO & KWEEN NEFATITI SIMEON

Kokumo, Performance Poet/Singer/Songwriter who hails from the parish of Trelawny Jamaica and Kween Nefatiti , Singer/Songwriter/Dancer born in Birmingham; team up in an unmissable live musical performance from two very talented artists.

Live and direct at The Drum, Birmingham; Saturday November 12 2011.  Check out the prices and details here…

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HOLY & HORNY

WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY TONYA JOY BOLTON

“A long time in the making”

Multifaceted and multi-talented Tonya Bolton enthrals you with her one woman show.  Let her take you on a journey taken by many, but one that is rarely shared so honestly in the public domain.

FOR MORE DETAILS OF THE SHOW CLICK here…

SATURDAY 19th NOVEMBER 2011 – 7.45pm @ THE PUBLIC, NEW STREET, WEST BROMWICH B70 7PG

CHECK IT !!!

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BOOKS

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KING OF KINGS: NGUSA NAGAST by CLAUDETTE. E. JOHNSON

King of Kings is an important revelation, presenting breakthrough facts on biblical history and the Rastafarian Movement.  King of Kings offers insight into uncovering the truth regarding boodlines of King Solomon and The Queen

of Sheba, King David, Jesus Christ as well as The Ark of the Covenant, proven through geneology and made popular by movies “RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK” and “THE DA VINCI CODE”.  If you’re searching for a good historical read, why not check out this superb and inspiring book; here…

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REAL TALK

Shadow People speak out …

by Martin Glynn

REAL TALK: Shadow People speak out is a collection of monologues which has been a long time in the making.  For many years Martin Glynn has worked in prisons, engaged with the disaffected sections of the community, and has been through his own rite of passage. Throughout his journey as a writer and criminologist he has encountered many amazing people whose stories have gone with them to their grave, have not been told, been ignored, or have been too uncomfortable for many to hear.

Download your free e-book of Real Talk: Shadow People Speak Out here…

Also check out Sankofa Associates Goods & Services here…

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CELEBRATE WHA?

Ten Black British Poets from the West Midlands Edited by Eric Doumerc and Roy McFarlane (Birmingham Poet Laureate 2011) 

CELEBRATE WHA? is an anthology of poems about identity and race with curry goat ‘n’ rice.  Ten poets – Dreadlock Alien, Sue Brown, Marcia Calame, Evoke, Martin Glynn, Michelle Hubbard, Kokumo, Roy McFarlane, Chester Morrison and Moqapi Selassie – explore what it means to be black and British and from the West Midlands.  This is the English language in a Caribbean coat, Auden in a Creole accent.  CELEBRATE WHA? celebrates writing with a reggae rhythm, born out of a heady mixture of dub, grime and performance poetry, politics and music, anger and laughter.   This anthology is dedicated to Birmingham’s Black poets – long overdue.  To buy and read more about the anthology, check it out here…

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MUSIC

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I always like to re-visit past ARTISTS OF THE MONTH and SPECIAL GUESTS to see how they are doing.  PANTHER NEWSLETTER is pleased to announce that CHERRI POET featured in issue 15, has released her new single.  Have a listen to it here…

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My bredrin BROTHA CHAZ WALKER (dubbed “The High-Priest of Hip-Hop”community activist and teacher), from outta Oakland California featured in issue 14, has been on the streets of his home town mingling with peaceful protesters.  They are upset that the billions of dollars in U.S. bank bailouts doled out during the recession, has allowed banks to resume earning huge profits while average Americans have had scant relief from high unemployment and job insecurity.  They also believe the richest 1 per-cent of Americans do not pay their fair share in taxes.  Sounds familiar don’t it?  BROTHA CHAZ has crafted a tune followed by a brief commentary to celebrate the experience; have a listen here…

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On that note, here’s a funny caption which sums it all up

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SPECIAL GUEST

Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, News, Newsletter, Television, Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , on October 31, 2011 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

Her first appearance on UK television was in the BBC production Play for Today in 1976 and before her role in EastEnders she had previously been a regular cast member on the hospital drama Angels (1979 – 1981) and the sitcom No Problem! (1983 – 1985).  Other television credits include various roles in the comedy sketch-show The Real McCoy (1991); The Queen’s Nose (1995); Holby City (2003); Doctors (2003) and My Family (2004).

PANTHER NEWSLETTER is proud to present JUDITH JACOB our SPECIAL GUEST this issue.  She is one of the UK’s premier artists on both the Television and the stage .  I hooked up with Judith to reason with her, about her and her works.  Check out her interview with me here…

THE MUSICAL COA-COA BASKET

Posted in Articles, Black History, Music, News, Newsletter with tags , , , , on October 31, 2011 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

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“One good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain.”

Bob Marley (1945 – 1981)

Music has always played an important role in all our lives, especially Reggae, the music genre first developed in Jamaica, strongly influenced by traditional African, American jazz and old-time rhythm and blues. Reggae owes its direct origins to the progressive development of Ska and Rocksteady in 1960s Jamaica. Each month, THE MUSICAL COA-COA BASKET will salute the legendary artists and recording studios from out of Jamaica that have placed reggae on the musical global map.

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THE UNFORGETTABLE SOUND OF CHANNEL ONE

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The emergence of Channel One was critical to grassroots Reggae getting on the international map during the 1970s. Located in the Maxfield Park community, in Kingston Jamaica, the Channel One Studio released a series of classics driven by the rhythmic power of its house band The Revolutionaries. The band’s ‘Rockers’ sound was the force behind hit songs by groups like Earth and Stone, The Mighty Diamonds, The Jays, Wailing Souls, The Meditations, and deejays Dillinger and Ranking Trevor.

Channel One was the place where musicians like Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare and Ranchie McLean made their names, behind it all were studio owners, the Hoo-Kim brothers. Their vision was as crucial to the success of the studio as its drum sound. Joseph Hoo Kim was the eldest of the four brothers. The others were Paul, Kenneth and Ernest, who all grew up in the Maxfield Park area with their father, a Chinese immigrant, and their mother, who was of Chinese-Jewish descent. The Hoo-Kim family ran a bar and ice cream parlor in the community and the brothers dabbled in slot machines. Joseph Hoo-Kim said it was while visiting Dynamic Sounds Studio one day and watching a recording session that he became hooked on music.

The turning point for Channel One came in early 1973, when Hoo Kim met a young drummer named Sly Dunbar while he (Hoo- Kim) was club-hopping one night. Sly Dunbar who played drums for the group Skin Flesh and Bones asked Hoo-Kim if they could come to the studio and play a tune for them.  Hoo-Kim said yes. That first session included Dunbar on drums, Ranchie McLean on bass, Rad “Dougie” Bryan on guitar and Ansell Collins on keyboards. It produced Delroy Wilson’s cover of the Spinners song, It’s A Shame, which became the first of countless hits recorded at Channel One.

Channel One quickly became the place to be for producers and budding performers, The Meditations, Dr Alimantado, Horace Andy and The Mighty Diamonds, a harmony trio Sly Dunbar credits with introducing Channel One to radio audiences. Within two years, Dunbar, McLean, Collins, Bryan and bass player Lloyd Parkes were joined by established session men like Robbie Shakespeare, who had worked extensively with Bunny Lee; and Tommy McCook, the respected saxophonist who was a founding member of The Skatalites and had been producer and Duke Reid’s musical director at Treasure Isle. They were complemented by saxophonists Richard “Dirty Harry” Hall and Herman Marquis; trombonist Vin Gordon; trumpeter Bobby Ellis; percussionists Uzziah “Sticky” Thompson, Christopher “Skyjuice” Blake and Stanley “Barnabas” Bryan who added flavour to the famous Channel One sound that eventually became known as ‘Rockers’.

That timeless beat can be heard on classics such as Ballistic Affair (Leroy Smart); Born For A Purpose (Dr Alimantado); I Know Myself (Ernest Wilson); Woman Is Like A Shadow (The Meditations); Roof Over My Head, Africa (The Mighty Diamonds); War, Firehouse Rock (The Wailing Souls); and MPLA, The Revolutionaries‘ instrumental tribute to the struggles of freedom fighters in Africa.  The militant music out of Channel One touched a nerve in the anarchistic punk movement in the United Kingdom.  Johnny Rotten, leader of the Sex Pistols band, is on record as saying Born For A Purpose is one of his favorite songs.

The Hoo-Kim brothers marketing coups was the Disco45, a 12-inch disc featuring a hit vocal song by a singer or group followed by a deejay take on the song, usually done by the prolific Ranking Trevor.  The concept took off and soon rival studios like Joe Gibbs were capitalizing on the Disco 45’s popularity and also finding great success with it.

At the peak of Channel One’s golden run, however, tragedy struck in 1977 when Paul Hoo-Kim was murdered by a gunman in Greenwich Farm. Though the Hoo-Kims gradually lost interest in the music business, Channel One was still being utilized by producers up until the early 1980s. None more than the flamboyant Henry “Junjo” Lawes who recorded most of a young singer named Barrington Levy’s early hits there with the Roots Radics Band. Former Revolutionaries, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, maintained ties with their old stomping ground in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They recorded songs by Black Uhuru, Jimmy Riley and The Tamlins for their Taxi label at Channel One.

As dancehall music became computerized in the mid-1980s, Joseph Hoo-Kim gave up operating Channel One and migrated to the United States. Ernest Hoo-Kim, who has also retired from the music business, still lives in Jamaica.

In the 1980s, Dunbar and Shakespeare took their drum and bass sound internationally by working with a list of major acts, including Grace Jones, Gwen Guthrie, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.  Dunbar credits the vibe of the Maxfield Park community and the characters at the studio for helping to produce the formula that created the unforgettable sound of Channel One.

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BONUS CHANNEL ONE TRACKS: I’m The One Who Loves You – The Jays; Pretty Looks – The JaysVery Well – Wailing Souls; Fade Away – Junior Byles; Fort Augustus – Junior DelgadoRoots, Rock, Reggae – Clint Eastwood; Roots Natty Roots – Johnny Clarke

‘Til December – Everyting Bless

NORMSKI’S ARTICLE

Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, News, Newsletter, Writing with tags , , , , , on October 31, 2011 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

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BURNING AN ILLUSION

© 2011 Norman Samuda Smith

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“The Government is not infallible.  Government is only an executive control, a centralized authority for the purpose of expressing the will of the people.  Before you have a government, you must have the people.  Without the people there can be no government.  The government must be therefore, an expression of the will of the people .”

Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887 – 1940)  

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Summer madness in the guise of riots reigned through the streets of Britain’s cities in August.  Modern day news is broadcasted through cell-phones, laptops, computers, tablets and all kinds of gismos. Britain’s youth, live and direct were burning an illusion the ‘powers that be’ have portrayed to the world that here in Britain everything is cool, we’re all getting on rather well thank you, we’ve got the Olympic Games coming soon and we’ve had a royal wedding.

The riots vexed our politicians who had to cut short their summer holidays to attend emergency talks in the House of Parliament.  They pointed fingers at ‘irresponsible parents’ and labelled the rioters across the nation ‘thugs’ and ‘gang members’; while the media subtly tried to portray the rioting as a race issue, which it clearly was not. The statistics in August revealed that three-quarters of the rioters arrested were between the ages of 10 to 17, a further three-quarters of the number charged had previous criminal records, and a vast number of ordinary shoppers who were just shopping, got caught up in the moment of madness and saw the opportunity to grab some free designer gear while the police were not around. So after the politicians finished pointing their fingers, finished spitting out revenge justice, and as the riots continued outside while they debated ‘state of emergency tactics’, they finally asked, why did this happen in their ‘Green and pleasant land’?

Let’s rewind back to September 1970, it was a couple of weeks before my twelfth birthday, I was starting secondary school having just left junior school to attend an all-boys’ school here in Birmingham which was well-known for its academic achievements of its pupils as well as its highly rated disciplinary system. School uniform had to be worn with pride, the colours of the uniform was the law, any other colour apart from grey, green, black or white was frowned upon. In the mornings when the school bell rang, and we walked into the school, the teachers were at the entrance doors. If your shoes were not polished, they sent you home to polish and shine them, if you forgot your tie; they sent you home to get it. If you were late for school, no excuse, you got the cane, failure to present your homework on time, the cane. You had to be polite to the teachers, no answering back or cheekiness, and last but by no means least, the school was always responsible for your actions the minute you stepped onto the pavement in the morning until you arrived home in the evening, even after sporting activities. Which meant if one did anything wrong by way of fighting, stealing, anything bad, the school would punish you for that.

It was a Victorian type discipline, which suited the ethics of many West Indian parents of that era who were avid disciplinarians, and it suited our community. We as youths were taught by our parents that we must have respect for our elders.  When we saw the elders we knew when we were on the streets, we would be polite and say hello Mrs Brown or Mr Brown, if we didn’t, our parents would be told and we would get punished for being disrespectful. It was hard and fun being a youth of West Indian origin in England during the 70s, but in hindsight we knew our boundaries and knew what we could and could not get away with. We were taught, the school takes over the responsibilities of our parents for the few hours that we are there, and they remain responsible until we walk through our front door in the evening. Not all schools were like the one I went to, some of them had bad disciplinary records, but the majority of them coped well with their incidents.

Where am I going with this? – Well, from whence our political leaders decided to take away the power of parents and teachers in regards to disciplinary measures, such as a smack if their child steps out of line, that’s where it all broke down. Children can now ‘divorce’ their parents and take them to court for assault. When a son steps up and decides to big-up his chest on his mother and says: ‘You can’t do nothing to me mom!’ or a teacher who tries to restrain a youth within reason when he/she is out of control or disruptive and is charged for assault, it then becomes plain to see, as that generation grows into adults, you’re gonna get chaos, no boundaries. I’m not saying that capital punishment should make a revival, but the discipline of our youth should run parallel with parents’ morals and school standards.

So why did the riots kick-off? – Opportunism? – Boredom? – High unemployment? – The shooting of Mark Duggan? – Or could it be deep down everyone seized the moment to vent their suppressed displeasure about the billions of pounds in U.K. bank bailouts doled out during the recession, has allowed banks to resume earning huge profits while the average Brit have had scant relief from high unemployment and job insecurity; that the richest 1 per-cent of Brits do not pay their fair share in taxes? Sounds familiar don’t it? – The post-mortem continues.

 

‘Til December – Everyting Bless

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*All rights reserved.  No part of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda Smith.*

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THE CULTURE CORNER

Posted in Articles, Black British Literature, Black History, News, Newsletter with tags , , , , on October 31, 2011 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

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THE CULTURE CORNER ANTHEM THIS ISSUE

AFRICA MUST WAKE UP – NAS & DAMIAN MARLEY 

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“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.

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Blacks in Britain (Part eight) 

Not widely known – But true…

 

1948 – Nearly 500 people arrived in Britain on board the Empire Windrush; (a must read).  Though some of the arrivees had already had already been in Britain during the war, over 100 Afro-Caribbeans also entered Britain on the S.S Orbita. The Windrush’s inhabitants were detained on board, interviewed, and most were placed in agriculture, the iron foundries, railways, and in other industries that needed labourers.

Merseyside (Liverpool), one of the most oldest black communities in Britain, already had over 8,000 inhabitants. Motivated by the anti-black “colour bar” used the National Union of Seamen to discriminate against black sailors, whites attacked scores of black people.

Prior to 1948, Britain cultivated an official “laissez-faire” policy toward black immigration during its post-war need for reconstruction labourers. By 1949 however, opposition to unrestricted West Indian immigration began to grow in government circles. The importance attached to the citizenship right of British subjects became the obstacle to tightening controls on the numbers of black migrants to Britain.

1949 – The first colonial black football team from Lagos, Nigeria played at Merseyside, home of Britain’s largest and oldest black community, and defeated the Marine team 5 – 2.  The Nigerian victory cheered Merseyside’s black inhabitants who, after fighting for Britain in World War II, had suffered numerous racist attacks from whites (reference 1948 entry). The touring Nigerian team was the first of many colonial teams from Africa and the Caribbean who, from 1949 – 1959, would be used to prove that Britain’s economic and political system was far superior that any offered in Africa. Through “sport politics”, British leaders hoped that “smooth decolonization could be enhanced by closer fraternization between the ‘old masters’ and ‘new inheritors’, thereby allaying the fears of European capital about the removal of protection of the colonial state for capital’s economic activities.”

1950’s – Britain, or the “Mother Country” as referred to by West Indians, requested West Indian immigrant workers to help in the reconstruction of Britain’s post-World War II economy. While Britain depended upon large numbers of cheap labour, the political, economic and social needs of Britain always outweighed those of the Caribbean. Various industries such as British Rail, The National Health Service, and London Transport, directly recruited black West Indian workers from Jamaica and Barbados. By the mid-1950s, most of the West Indies had lost one-third of its workforce.

By 1950, there were over 30,000 ” ‘coloured British subjects’ ” in Britain, and 5,000 had migrated since 1945. Most were from West Africa and the West Indies.

A conflict regarding black seamen in Britain developed between the British Home Office, concerned with maintaining “law and order”, and the Ministry of Labour, who pointed to the low numbers of unemployed blacks to allay fears. In Merseyside and Liverpool however, high rates of black unemployment since 1948 had concerned citizens. A 1950 meeting voiced desires for the deportation of unemployed blacks as well as possible black unrest if deportation resulted. The meeting resulted in the decision that local seaman’s unions should negotiate on how many blacks were needed at each port, while the Colonial Office and the Ministry of Labour would interview those whose labour was no longer needed.

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FAMOUS BLACK PEOPLE PAST AND PRESENT

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Ida B Wells  (1862 – 1931)

SHE WOULD NOT BE SILENT

Ida B Wells was in England in 1894 when she heard that white Southerners had put a black woman in San Antonio, Texas into a barrel with “nails driven through the sides and then rolled [it] down a hill until she died.”  The 31-year-old Wells, a black Southerner, was seasoned to the widespread phenomenon of mob torture and murder that went by the shorthand “lynching”; in fact, she was abroad on a speaking tour denouncing it.  Nonetheless, she shed tears over the latest “outrage upon my people.”

Her call to speak out against lynching had come just two years earlier, when a Memphis mob murdered her close friend and neighbour Thomas Moss. The incident started as a dispute among white and black boys playing marbles, but it quickly evolved into an excuse to murder Moss, a successful businessman who was drawing patrons away from a nearby white grocer.

White Southerners explained to Northerners that they lynched only when they had to: when black men threatened, assaulted and raped white women. Wells was determined to expose the lie.  As the murders of the woman in the barrel and Thomas Moss attest, white Southerners also killed black women and economically threatening black men. Even when the mobs tore apart a black man who had been found with a white woman, it wasn’t always rape.  Sometimes, Wells declared in print, the man was not “a despoiler of virtue,” but had succumbed “to the smiles of white women.” Her editorial Free Speech, the black weekly she co-owned in Memphis, led white residents to destroy the newspaper’s office and threaten to kill her. But even after she was forced into exile from the South, she continued to proclaim — as a banner headline over one of her articles in a New York paper declared in 1892 — “The Truth About Lynching.”

For speaking plainly about rape, sex and murder, Wells lost her home and her livelihood. For the rest of her life, she had to defend her reputation against both white and black people who called her a “negro adventuress” and “Notorious Courtesan.” A black newspaper editor suggested that the public should “muzzle” that “animal from Memphis,” and the New York Times dubbed her “a slanderous and dirty-minded mulatress.”

Wells was an orphan and a poor, single woman who supported her younger brothers and sisters through teaching and journalism. She recognized that “my good name was all that I had in the world,” yet she would not be silenced. Wells used words to fight white Southern lynch mobs, an indifferent white Northern public and, sometimes, black critics who felt that her outspokenness undermined their agenda. Southern white supremacy was cruel and crazy, and she was the rare person who could see beyond the cultural insanity in which she was immersed. For that she paid dearly.

An editorial by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore

Check out the book:  “Ida: A Sword Among Lions”  by Paula J Giddings

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TRIBUTE TO OUR S/HEROES

Princess Sophia Alexandra Duleep Singh (8 August 1876 – 22 August 1948) was a prominent suffragette in the United Kingdom. She is best remembered for her leading role in the Women’s Tax Resistance League, but she also participated in other women’s suffrage groups including the Women’s Social and Political Union; most of her public life was spent campaigning for women’s rights. Her father was the Maharaja Duleep Singh, her mother, his first wife Bamba Müller. Duleep Singh had been the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire in Punjab and was exiled from India by the British at the age of fifteen, while Müller was of mixed German and Ethiopian descent. Princess Sophia combined her Indian, European and African ancestry with an upbringing among the British aristocracy. She inherited substantial private wealth from her father upon his death in 1893, and in 1898 her godmother, Queen Victoria, granted Sophia a grace and favour apartment in Faraday House, Hampton Court.  Sophia marched at the head of the Black Friday deputation to parliament in 1910, alongside Emmeline Pankhurst, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Dorinda Neligan.

Lillian Masediba Ngoyi “Ma Ngoyi”, (25 September 1911 – 13 March 1980), was a South African anti-apartheid activist. She was the first woman elected to the executive committee of the African National Congress, and helped launch the Federation of South African Women. She joined the ANC Women’s League in 1952; she was at that stage a widow with two children and an elderly mother to support, and worked as a seamstress. A year later she was elected as President of the Women’s League. On August 9, 1956 Ngoyi led a march along with Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu, and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn of 20,000 women to the Union Buildings of Pretoria in protest against the apartheid government requiring women to carry pass-book as part of the pass laws. On August 9, 2006, the 50th anniversary of the march on Pretoria, Strijdom Square from which the women marched, was renamed Lilian Ngoyi Square. August 9 is also commemorated in South Africa as Women’s Day.

Daisy Lee Gatson Bates (November 11 1914 – November 4 1999) was an American civil rights activist, publisher and writer who played a leading role in the Little Rock integration crisis of 1957.  Bates was raised by Orle and Susie Smith, whom she believed to be her birth parents for many years. In “The Death of my Mother,” Bates recounted learning as a child that her birth mother had been sexually assaulted and murdered by three local white men. Her father left the family shortly after her mother’s death and left her in the care of his closest friends. At the age of 15, Daisy became the object of an older man’s attention, L.C. Bates, an insurance salesman who had also worked on newspapers in the South and West. L.C. dated her for several years, and they married in 1942, living in Little Rock. The Bates decided to act on a dream of theirs, to run their own newspaper, leasing a printing plant that belonged to a church publication and inaugurating the Arkansas State Press. The first issue appeared on May 9, 1941. The paper became an avid voice for civil rights even before a nationally recognized movement had emerged. In 1952, Daisy Bates was elected president of the Arkansas Conference of NAACP branches.

Malorie Blackman OBE is an author of literature and television drama for children and young adults. She has used science fiction to explore social and ethical issues. Her critically and popularly acclaimed Noughts & Crosses series uses the setting of a fictional dystopia to explore racism. She was mentioned in the lyrics of Written in the Stars, a song by Tinie Tempah that reached number 1 on the UK singles chart.

King Sobhuza II of Swaziland was the longest reigning monarch in Africa.  Having initially opposed modern partisan politics, King Sobhuza or (Ngwenyem) II shrewdly formed his own political party and won all seats in the 1967 pre-independence elections. He abolished the parliamentary system and substituted it with traditional tribal communities. This system was feudal since the Royal Family was at the centre of both political power and land tenure. He died in 1983, leaving behind 33 wives.

General Alfred Dodds (1842 – 1922) was born in St. Louis in Senegal in West Africa of mulatto parentage. He was an outstanding soldier and he conquered some West African kingdoms which he added to the colonial empire of France. Dodds also helped France win many wars and for his heroic feats he was given France’s highest honour. He was made “A Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour.”

James Weldon Johnson (June 17, 1871 – June 26, 1938) was an African – American author, politician, diplomat, critic, journalist, poet, anthologist, educator, lawyer, songwriter, and early civil rights activist. Johnson is remembered best for his leadership within the NAACP, as well as for his writing, which includes novels, poems, and collections of folklore. He was also the American diplomat to Venezuela and Nicaragua. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” became the well-known anthem of US blacks which was written by him. He was also one of the first African-American professors at New York University. Later in life he was a professor of creative literature and writing at Fisk University.

Alaine Locke (1886 – 1954). Born in Philadelphia USA, he became a great American scholar who wrote a great deal about the African influence on American culture during the 1920s and 30s. He was one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, raising the profile of black artists and musicians as well as writer.

Here ends your history lesson for this issue.

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Log on for more CULTURE CORNER in December and remember…

“Discrimination is a hell-hound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.

Martin Luther King Jr

(January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

‘Til next December – Everyting – Bless

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