Tag Archives: black history

Remembering Medgar Evers Today – “A Prose for Medgar and Myrlie” by Nikki Skies

It landed on the kitchen table next to the watermelon.  Like a Sunday newspaper on Thursday.  Set aside for recycling.  Or an abandoned spoon after dessert. It sat there foreign but familiar.  Like an African American in America.

The carousel sang loudly. Drowned out the relief of parental duties.  Playful screams resonated the atmosphere.  Cotton candy decorated white faces pink and blue. Mustard stains on white t-shirts. Scraped knees caused by unattended shoelaces. The day was glee and the night carefree, as flying gravel spun under running feet.

Her bladder was full of miles like her mother’s.  She watered the ground with chocolate auburn.  The spices enticed the clouds to cry and capture the streets.  She met him where the sun sat in the fire pit.  He kissed her hand to summons a feather so she wouldn’t doubt his words.  His eyes were complete like the turn of an owl’s head.  The preacher announced their commitment where roads met corners with mirrors.  He hung their picture in a birdcage to catch time.  He told them not to be afraid.

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The first season spread the hours like a bridge. He supplied water to dry, fallen branches daily.  Believers of the unseen.  She carried unicorns in her pockets.  They wore audacious yellows and greens in a black and white world.  Demanded freedom like 8 a.m. school bells.  Unbalanced as thick as unjust.  At night she placed sweet onions on his eyelids. He remained rooted.  His tongue poignant from the aroma.

Dog’s were death’s best friend.  Hydrants absent from fires.  Hoses present at protests.  Tilted buses full of spiritual songs.  Northern boys with fresh fists. Southern boys with patched will.  Northern girls with golden intuition. Southern girls with ancient maps.  Laughter extinct.  Spit like rain. Freedom rides. Spirits flew. Red summer. Blue years. Freedom wide. Hatred tall. Black bodies hung/ burned/ mutilated. Daylight tardy.

Soprano saxophone accompanied her screams.  Vibrato in her hands.  His head in her lap.  His eyes meeting her’s was the prize. “Sit me up, turn me loose.” Abandoned from forever. She sat him up. Erect as pillars.  Baroque rocked. Down. She sipped tea in China.

Scores for his name. His verses rhymed her forward.  Her passion sweet as fruit. Seasoned. Made days wet cement. For imprints. Slops. Hills. Concrete with purpose. His remembrances sleep at our feet.

 

a prose from the book,

Mississippi Window Crack

Autographed copies available here

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Let the bells ring!

Let the bells ring at 6:01pm CST. in honor of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

50 Years Ago Today

On this day 50 years ago, one of the greatest leaders this world has every known, delivered his last speech.  Remembering the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today.

Here is a snippet of his last speech, “I Have Been To The Mountaintop”:

She Chronicles presents, “Gladys Hedgpeth” by Jetta Dya Jones

She was a close friend of one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated contraltos, Marian Anderson, and renowned educator, Mary McCloud Bethune; an admirer of Booker T. Washington; and once wrote about going to hear Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie and how disappointed she was when her children didn’t know where Ethiopia was on a world map.  Sadly, not much has changed 75 years later.  Civil rights activist and gifted seamstress, Gladys Hedgpeth’s story is one of courage, faith, and simply being aware things just weren’t fair when it came to equality in the quality of life . . . academic opportunities; career visions realized; and cultural exposure.  Against all odds, the self-educated, ‘very pretty’, brave and defiant mother of 9 helped bring a school board to its knees.

In 1943, Trenton, New Jersey wasn’t much different for ‘people of color’ than small towns in the South.  Daily racial oppression was just not as blatant, but most ‘Negroes’ were still confined to segregated facilities; venues; and prospects.  Although having to endure the sole responsibility of being a divorced single mother, a small portion of Gladys Hedgpeth’s days were still spent lugging a big, black pocketbook loaded down with NAACP membership envelopes.  It wasn’t easy convincing folks to join the so needed historic organization (founded in 1909) when that same dollar could buy two loaves of bread.  The crusader knew she had no choice but to try.

When Junior High School No. 2 was built, Gladys and other parents on the block thought their children wouldn’t have to travel to far away Lincoln.  That was definitely not the case.  Ten years before the decision of Brown vs. the Topeka, Kansas Board of Education (the Supreme Court’s decision on public school desegregation), the protestor and her neighbor, Berline Williams filed a lawsuit against the Trenton Board of Education.  They were represented by an NAACP attorney, Robert Queen.

Soon more than 200 black school children had transferred from Lincoln to other city junior high schools.  In 1946, Lincoln began enrolling white children making its principal Patton J. Hill, one of the first black men in the U.S. to head an integrated secondary school.  The case was cited by Thurgood Marshall in his arguments in the 1954 Supreme Court case.

(February, 1944) New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Newton Porter announced the Court’s decision . . . “It’s unlawful for Boards of Education to exclude children from any public school on the ground that they are of the Negro race, and a school board has no legal right to refuse Negro children admission in the school nearest their residence and compel them to attend another school where colored children are segregated from other children.

Celebration and honor!  In 1993, Junior High School No. 2 was renamed the Hedgpeth/Williams Middle School.

Resource:  Spring, 2005 – American Legacy Magazine

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Kansas City native, Jetta Dya Jones is a retired educator, motivational speaker, and freelance writer.  Her debut inspirational book, Ba’al Perazim:  The Breakthrough, will be released early summer (Life Chronicles Publishing)

 

Allegiance, a poem for “Rebel”

Allegiance.

like rusted barbwire
nothing gets past me
over me

Never Bow
nothing can get through to me
but your mixtures of smiles and advice
and now, that can only touch me through rain / Mama I miss you

my doubt outruns ruined panty hose
going back and forth like a father to work / a mother to prayer

Write a song for yourself
one that can march
when your walk is crooked
and your back is misguided

A song of allegiance
that can speak
when your twisted tongue is to capacity with
blues and sours and thorns

A song that pledges allegiance
to bodies that abandon couches and beds
but comfort the concrete slabs of
Oakland / Ferguson / Baltimore / New York

Blow the horn
Live to tell

Rebel Continue reading Allegiance, a poem for “Rebel”

SHE CHRONICLES: “On Being Black” a poem by Jolivette “The Poet Warrior”

Being Black is
more than the vernacular you use to speak,
more than stolen soul food recipes,
more than begging the Sun to bake you,
more than wrapping White legs around Black manhood
to make you feel full and complete,
however temporary the vibration may be

Being Black is
a generational journey, born of experiences of common ancestry and heritage all wrapped in various shades from caramel to cream and the bronze to charcoal color scheme.

Being Black is
NOT a train you can board whenever you can afford a ticket to travel in dark energy and dark matter.

Those who so easily invite others into our genealogy have little respect for what it means to have a racial and cultural identity

Being Black is
Being real
Being truthful
Being honest
About EVERYTHING
EXCEPT OUR PAIN
we tell white lies to mask our shame

To be Black is a Continuum and in this time and space, folk need to know their place.

jolivettebiopic

Jolivette Anderson-Douoning is an Educator and Poet from Shreveport, LA. Her research is focused on Race, Space and Place.  It explores the psyche of African Americans in the United States and how their existence has been negotiated according to the racial history of the nation.  Anderson-Douoning is a 4th year PhD student at Purdue University where she is studying American Studies/Curriculum and Instruction.  She currently lives in Indiana with her daughter.  
She has four recordings of poetry and prose: Love and Revolution UndergroundAt the End of a Rope in MississippiJolivette Live: A Bluesy Funk Life Cycle, and She Energy.
For bookings and additional information thepoetwarrior@icloud.com or DrJolly2015@gmail.com 

HBO Releases Full Trailer for ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’

HBO wants you to add another must-see film to your list: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The film, which is produced by and stars media…

Source: HBO Releases Full Trailer for ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’

Not Worth the Degree?

“There has to be more than what you see.”

This is what I say to friends that tell me that if they could do it over again they would not go to college.  A majority of them have found jobs outside of the fields they studied and made successful careers in them.  A few of them say for the work they are doing now, they only needed the on the job training offered so they are paying student loans “for nothing”.

“There has to be more you got from college.”

The majority of my friends from undergraduate and graduate school are from the Humanities and Social Science fields.  According to the National Center of Education Statistics, on average the unemployment rate for those fields have always been a steady 9.6%, the highest of any field of college study.  My friends divide between specific studies in theatre/speech communication, and the fields of psychology and criminal justice.  I look at how much these fields have grown with cultural and societal changes and clearly understand the difficulty in finding work.   I myself have had to find other fields of employment for financial support.  But would I say my degree wasn’t worth it?

I studied for my undergraduate degree at Grambling State University and chose to major in Theatre.  I had been into community theatre and the arts since I was a young child and had been writing poetry at a young age.  I remember during my senior year in high school, a friend who graduated a year ahead of me, and had the same reverence for theatre that I had, describe her displeasure she had with first year of college at a predominately white college.  She told me that the production season was booked with white productions and her confidence at being considered for any of the lead roles was dismal.  She “created” a love for costume design.  That gave me a different perspective on how to choose where I would go for college.  Being that I wanted to go into theatre, I applied to Pace University in New York and to Grambling State University (GSU) in Louisiana and was accepted to both.  I chose GSU.  “The Place Where Everybody is Somebody.”

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Continue reading Not Worth the Degree?