Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Constitutional Wallet- $24.99

videoDON'T GET "CAUGHT" WITHOUT IT!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Happy Black History Month-The New York Renaissance-All Black Professional Basketball Team

The New York Renaissance, also known as the Renaissance Big Five and as the Rens, was an all-black professional basketball team established February 13, 1923, by Robert "Bob" Douglas in agreement with the Renaissance Casino and Ballroom. The Casino and Ballroom at 138th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem was an entertainment complex including a ballroom that served as the Big Five's home court. Following each game, a dance took place. The success of the Rens shifted the focus of black basketball from amateur teams to professional teams. Initially, the Rens played mostly in Harlem, but by the end of the 1920s, as attendance began to dwindle, the team could be found more often playing on the road, barnstorming across the country out of necessity. The Renaissance are also the topic of the 2011 documentary On the Shoulders of Giants.
The Rens were one of the dominant basketball teams of the 1920s and 1930s. They were originally known as the Spartan Braves of Brooklyn.  The team played its first game on November 3, 1923. That night the Rens played a team of white players; interracial games featured regularly on their schedule, drawing the largest crowds. In its first years, the team strove to beat the Original Celtics, the dominant white team of the time, and claim the title of world champions: in their fifth encounter, the Rens did so for the first time, on December 20, 1925.  During the 1932-33 regular season, the Rens compiled a record of 120-8 (six of those losses came at the hands of the Celtics, who the Rens did beat eight times). During that season, the Rens won 88 consecutive games, a mark that has never been matched by a professional basketball team. In 1939, the Rens won the first professional basketball championship, when they beat the Oshkosh All-Stars, a white team, 34-25, in the World Professional Basketball Tournament in Chicago.
The team compiled a 2588-539 record over its history. Some of the longest-serving and best-known early Rens were Clarence "Fats" Jenkins, Pappy Ricks, Eyre Saitch, Charles "Tarzan" Cooper, Bill Yancey, and "Wee" Willie Smith. In 1936, the Renaissance became the first top-level team to sign a four-year African American college star, David "Big Dave" DeJernett of Indiana Central.
The Rens disbanded in 1949 after completing the 1948/49 season of the racially integrated National Basketball League as the Dayton Rens based in Dayton, Ohio. That was also the final season for the NBL, which merged with the all-white Basketball Association of America to form the also (initially) all-white National Basketball Association.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inducted the New York Renaissance collectively in 1963.  
 5 of the Rens are individual members: Tarzan Cooper, Pop Gates, Nat Clifton, John Isaacs and founder and coach Bob Douglas.


The Original Statue of Liberty is Black

Did you know the Original Statue of Liberty presented to the U.S. was a Statue of a…”Black Woman”?                                   In a book called “The Journey of The Songhai People”, according to Dr. Jim Haskins, a member of the National Education Advisory Committee of the Liberty-Ellis Island Committee, professor of English at the University of Florida, and prolific Black author, points out that what stimulated the original idea for that 151 foot statue in the harbor.

Haskins says that what stimulated the idea for the creation of the statue initially was the part that Black soldiers played in the ending of Black African Bondage in the United States. It was created in the mind of the French historian Edourd de Laboulaye, chairman of the French Anti-Slavery Society, who, together with sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, proposed to the French government that the people of France present to the people of the United States through the American Abolitionist Society, the gift of a Statue of Liberty in recognition of the fact that Black soldiers won the Civil War in the United States.
It was widely known then that it was Black soldiers who played the pivotal role in winning the war, and this gift would be a tribute to their prowess. Suzanne Nakasian, director of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Foundations’ National Ethnic Campaign said that the Black Americans’ direct connection to Lady Liberty is unknown to the majority of Americans, BLACK or WHITE.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Richard T. Greener-1st AA Graduate of Harvard Univ. & Dean of Howard Univ. School of Law

Richard Theodore Greener was the 1st African-American graduate of Harvard College and Dean of the Howard University School of    Law.                                                                                                       Greener quit school in his mid-teens to earn money for his family, but one of his employers, Franklin B. Sanborn, helped him to enroll in preparatory school at Oberlin College. He studied at Phillips Academy and graduated in 1865. After three years at Oberlin, Greener transferred to Harvard College and earned a bachelor's degree in 1870. His admission to Harvard was "an experiment" by the administration and paved the way for many more black graduates of Harvard.                                                                               After teaching for two years at the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia and then serving as principal at the Preparatory School for Colored Children in Washington, D.C., Greener accepted the professorship of mental and moral philosophy at the University of South Carolina in October 1873, where he was the university's 1st African-American faculty member and where he also served as a librarian there helping to "reorganize and catalog the library's holdings which were in disarray after the Civil War".                                                      When the university was closed in June 1877 by Wade Hampton III and the newly elected Democratic regime, Greener moved to Washington, D.C., where he took a position as a clerk in the United States Treasury Department and as a professor in the Howard Law School. He served as dean of the Howard University School of Law from 1878 to 1880 and opened a law practice. In 2009, some of his personal papers were discovered in the attic of an abandoned home on the south side of Chicago by a member of a demolition crew.


 

Robert T. Freeman-1st Black Dentist

Robert Tanner Freeman is the 1st professionally trained black dentist in the United States.  A child of slaves, he eventually entered Harvard University and graduated only four years after the end of the Civil War on May 18, 1869.

Robert Tanner Freeman was born in Washington, D.C. in 1846.   His formerly enslaved parents took the surname “Freeman” as did countless other people after gaining their freedom from bondage.  As a child, Robert befriended Henry Bliss Noble, a local white dentist in the District of Columbia.   Freeman began working as an apprentice to Dr. Noble and continued until he was a young adult. Dr. Noble encouraged young Robert to apply to dental colleges. 
Two medical schools rejected Freeman’s application but with the encouragement of Dr. Nobel who had contacts at Harvard Medical School, Freeman applied there.  Initially rejected, he was accepted into Harvard Medical School in 1867 at the age of 21, after a petition by Dean Nathan Cooley Keep to end the school’s historical exclusion of African Americans and other racial minorities.
Robert Tanner Freeman and classmate George Franklin Grant became the first blacks to enter the 1867 Harvard Dental School inaugural class of sixteen. Upon Freeman’s graduation in 1869, he and Grant became the first African American dentists in the United States. 
Dr. Freeman returned to Washington, D.C. after his graduation to open his own practice.  He became a pillar in the D.C. black community because of his commitment to mentoring other African American youth interested in the medical profession.  Unfortunately, his death came in 1873, only four years after he received his dental school degree. While working in Washington, D.C. he contracted a water-borne disease although the records are unclear as to the specific disease. 


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Thomas L. Jennings (1791–1856) was an African-American tradesman and abolitionist in New York City, New York. He was an African American who operated a tailoring and dry-cleaning business, and in 1821 was the 1st African American to be granted a Patent.
Jennings became active in working for his race and civil rights for the black community. In 1831, he was selected as assistant secretary to the First Annual Convention of the People of Color in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which met in June 1831. He helped arrange legal defense for his daughter, Elizabeth Jennings, in 1854 when she challenged a private streetcar company's segregation of seating and was arrested. She was defended by the young Chester Arthur, and won her case the next year.
With two other prominent black leaders, Jennings organized the Legal Rights Association in 1855 in New York, which raised challenges to discrimination and organized legal defense for court cases. He founded and was a trustee of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, a leader in the black community.

Big Mama Thornton, The Original "Hound Dog"

Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton was an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. She was the 1st to record Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog" in 1952, which became her biggest hit. It spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B charts in 1953 and sold almost two million copies. However, her success was overshadowed three years later, when Elvis Presley recorded his more popular rendition of "Hound Dog".                                                                   Similarly, Thornton's "Ball 'n' Chain" (written in 1961 but not released until 1968) had a bigger impact when performed and recorded by Janis Joplin in the late 1960s. Thornton's performances were characterized by her deep, powerful voice and strong sense of self. She tapped into a liberated black feminist persona, through which she freed herself from many of the expectations of musical, lyrical, and physical practice for black women. She was given her nickname, "Big Mama," by Frank Schiffman, manager of Harlem's Apollo Theater, due to her big voice, size, and personality. Thornton made it a point to use her voice to its full potential, once stating that she was louder than any mic and that she didn’t want a mic to ever be as loud as she was.
Feminist scholars such as Maureen Mahon often praise Thornton for subverting traditional roles of African American women. She added a female voice to a field that was dominated by white males, and her strong personality transgressed patriarchal and white supremacist stereotypes of what an African American woman should be. This transgression was an integral part of her performance and stage persona.  Even Elvis Presley and Janis Joplin admired her unique style of singing and started to incorporate elements of that style into their own works. Her vocal sounds and style of delivery are key parts of her repertoire that are recognizable in Presley and Joplin's work.
 During her career, Thornton was nominated for the Blues Music Awards six times. In 1984, she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. In addition to "Ball 'n' Chain" and "They Call Me Big Mama," Thornton wrote twenty other blues songs. Her "Ball 'n' Chain" is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame list of the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".