LATEST ARTICLES

Frank “Sugar Chile” Robinson: A Child Prodigy

Frank “Sugar Chile” Robinson is an American jazz pianist and singer. He became famous as a child prodigy in the mid–1940s, and this little genius gained top billing and performed at notable venues.  He was the first African American performer at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner in 1946

Early Life

Frank Isaac Robinson was born in Detroit on December 28, 1938, and was the youngest of 7 children. He was known as Sugar Chile Robinson, and his mother gave him the nickname “Sugar Chile.” His parents didn’t play any instruments, but they did have a piano that his aunt left at their house. According to legend, ‘Sugar Chile’ would climb onto the piano bench and teach himself to play what he heard on the radio. Little “Sugar Chile” would slap the piano with his elbows and fists. 

His Big Break

He was disqualified from a talent competition for being too young. However, he won another talent contest for kids under 18 when he was three. Imagine everyone’s jaw-dropping when a young child sat down at the piano and started to play and sing the blues.

Robinson stunned the crowd with his incredible piano, blues and jazz abilities when he won a talent competition at the age of three at Detroit’s very own Paradise Theatre; by 1945, he had been “discovered” by pianist and bandleader Frankie Carle.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) offered Frank’s father a seven-year contract, but he turned it down. But later signed the movie contract. He rose to fame after appearing in the 1946 American film “No Leave, No Love.” He made a cross-country tour and broke box office records.

His Career 

Sugar Chile started performing in large venues and broke attendance records in Detroit and California. He received special permission to join the American Federation of Musicians in 1949, enabling him to record his first two Capitol Records singles, “Numbers Boogie” and “Caldonia,” which peaked on the Billboard R&B chart and became the organization’s youngest-ever member at the time.

Frank played ‘Caldonia’ for President Harry S. Truman at the White House. He famously shouted, “How’m I Doin’, Mr. President?” which became his catchphrase. Truman gave him a big thumb’s up. 

He was the first black performer at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Touring

He headlined for a week at Chicago’s Regal Theatre, making more than $36,000, a record that remains the biggest one-week attraction of the theatre’s history.  

His last single was issued in August 1952, and shortly after that, a 10″ collection LP, boogie-woogie featuring many of his 1952 songs, was published. He performed at four engagements in 1953, then three more in 1954, one of which was at The Blue Note in Chicago in August 1954 with jazz saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. He performed just twice between 1955 and 1956 under his current name, Frank Robinson, and at the ripe old age of eighteen, he gave up the stage.

By 1950, he was touring with Count Basie and appeared on television and in the short film Sugar Chile Robinson, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and His Sextet. During the 1950 holiday season in Europe, Sugar Chile’s “Christmas Boogie” c/w “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” sold well enough to prompt a two-month tour of the UK in the summer of 1951. This included glowing reviews for his performance at the London Palladium, appearances on BBC TV, and a Melody Maker interview.

In 1952 he gave up music. He said, “I wanted to go to school… I wanted some school background in me, and I asked my Dad if I could stop, and I went to school because I honestly wanted my college diploma.”

Sugar Chile returned to school and finished high school at just 15 years old. He graduated from Olivet College with a history degree and the Detroit Institute of Technology with a psychology degree. He worked for his Uncle Frank’s chiropractor business after graduating. 

After Music 

Robinson worked for WGPR-TV in the 1960s and established a recording studio and tiny record labels in Detroit. He ran his own Lendo/Lando and Autocap labels in the 1960s while working for the family business. Rufus Wonder, Little Stevie’s cousin, and The Superlatives had minor hits on these labels. From 1962 to 1996, he also worked part-time selling television commercials for the nearby broadcaster WGPR-TV.

“No one told me I was making history.”

Honors

Thanks to the American Music Research Foundation, Robinson has come back as a musician in recent years. 

In 2002, he performed at a special concert honoring Detroit music. His 1950 “Go Boy Go!” recording was used in a Dockers television ad in 2006.

Sugar Chile Robinson was the featured artist in the final Dr. Boogie show of 2013. He joined President Obama at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 30, 2016, marking the 70th anniversary of his presence at the dinner in 1946. A standing ovation was given to him after the meal as a photo of him as a little child played on the TV screens. The same year, he was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.

Recent Years

Robinson temporarily reconnected with the music industry in the 1960s by co-owning the Detroit-based Lando and Lendo labels, which produced 45s by Rufus Wonder (Stevie Wonder’s cousin) and Carl Carlton. He obtained employment with the first African-American-owned television station, WGPR-TV selling TV advertising during this time. Frank established his recording studio and the AutoCap record label on the back of these modest triumphs, which also had a modest hit with “Don’t Walk Away” by The Superlatives.

He was in financial difficulty in 2017, and a house fire had destroyed his valuables. Robinson lived in a tiny flat with his niece with no beds and a piano, so they had been sleeping on blow-up beds. After receiving a call from friends, the Music Maker Relief Foundation group sent him a bed and registered him for a monthly food program. Robinson received a piano from Buddy Smith, who he inspired in the 1940s.

12 Facts about George Crum

Before discussing 12 facts about George Crum or George “Speck,” let us look at common legends about how some believe potato chips originated.

Who invented Potato Chips? 

First, some believe the original fries originated in Namur, Belgium. Namur is where the locals were fond of fried fish. But when the Meuse froze over one cold winter in 1680, people reportedly fried potatoes instead of the fish that they were used to.

Second, some believe that the invention of french fries took place just before the French Revolution on the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris in 1789. However, at least one reference to “fried potatoes” appears to date from 1775 in France.

Did George Speck invent Potato Chips?

According to legend, Crum became annoyed when a customer, Cornelius Vanderbilt, complained that his French-fried potatoes were too thick. Crum reacted by slicing the potatoes as thinly as possible, frying them in grease, and serving the crunchy brown chips back out to the guests.  

12 facts about George Crum
Cornelius Vanderbilt 

George Speck, also known as George Crum, was a chef known for inventing what we know as Potato Chips. He became famous for popularizing potato chips in Upstate New York and was later known as their creator. He was a mixture of black American and Mohawk Indian. However, the Moon’s Lake House, where he worked, was credited with the invention of the potato chip around the mid-1800s.

Was George Crum’s sister involved in the invention?

George Crum is commonly believed to have invented the potato chip, but his sister Kate Speck claimed to have come up with what would become known as the Saratoga chips. She accidentally sliced off a sliver of potato, and it fell into a hot frying pan. George Crum approved of the chip after tasting the sliced potato. Her claim is undermined by the existence of cookbooks describing earlier versions of the chips that were called fried potato shavings in the United States and Great Britain.

12 Interesting Facts about George Crum:

Moon’s Lake House (credit: Wikipedia)
  1. Born in 1822 to a Native American mother and a black jockey father in Saratoga Lake, New York, George Crum was first employed as a mountain guide and trapper in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
  2. He was known as Crum. His father used that name when he was a horse jockey.
  3. In 1853, he took a position as the head chef of Cary Moon’s Lake House in Lake Saratoga, New York, where he cooked dinner for guests one evening.
  4. Having planned to make french fries, one of his guests complained that they were too thick. He was annoyed, so he cut the potatoes very thinly, and when he deep-fried them in oil, they were thin and crisp. After adding salt, they tasted good.
  5. Crum’s chips were initially known as potato crunchers and also Saratoga chips.
  6. George decided to build his restaurant near Saratoga Lake in 1860. He served potato chips as an appetizer at every table. The restaurant was a huge success and lasted 30 years before closing in 1890. 
  7. Although he did not patent his potato chips and never tried to market them outside of his business, potato chips were widely sold by others after he left. The industry grew to a six-billion-dollar sector. 
  8. Moon’s Lake House owner later tried to claim credit for the invention and began packing and distributing potato chips inboxes. 
  9. As soon as Crum opened his restaurant in 1860 in Malta, New York, he provided every table with a basket of potato chips. Visitors travelled 10 miles to try Crum’s potato chips.
  10. George Crum died in 1904 at the age of 92, leaving behind the legacy of inventing the world’s greatest snack food.
  11. Crum’s involvement first appeared in an advertisement in 1885, and Vanderbilt was introduced in an ad made 120 years after the potato chip was thought invented.
  12. In 1895, he started making potato chips in his kitchen, then delivered them to local stores. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, people began to sell potato chips in grocery stores. The first such person may have been William Tappendon of Cleveland, Ohio. 

Conclusion 

Making potato chips was a tedious task. That changed in the 1920s when the mechanical potato peeler was invented. Potato chips went from a local favorite to a national brand with this technology.

There’s no doubt that potato chips are one of the world’s most popular snack foods today. Many say potato chips are America’s favorite snack food. They might be right! Retail sales of potato chips in the United States total over $6 billion every year.

15 Fun Facts about Ruby Bridges

0

Who is Ruby Bridges?

Ruby Bridges is a civil rights activist from the United States. During the New Orleans school desegregation crisis on November 14, 1960, she was the first African-American youngster to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana.

15 Fun Facts about Ruby Bridges

1. When Ruby Bridges was a little girl, she was active in the civil rights struggle. Bridges was one of six black students in New Orleans who passed the test determining whether or not they could attend the all-white school in early 1960.

2 Ruby Nell Bridges was born in Tylertown, Mississippi, on September 8, 1954. She was the oldest child in a family of five, and her family relocated to New Orleans when she was four years old so that her parents for a better job. 

3. She was born in 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education eliminated “separate but equal” education for African Americans, and the order was either ignored or blocked by southern states. The “Little Rock Nine,” a group of nine Black high school students from Arkansas, enrolled in a white high school in 1957. 

William Frantz Elementary School building

4. Three other small Black girls were in first grade in another New Orleans white school when Ruby started. One of them was Ruby, and she was selected to attend the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. When Ruby was in kindergarten, a federal court declared that New Orleans schools needed to integrate or allow both Black and white pupils to attend.  

5. At Frantz School, Ruby was the only black student. Four federal marshals, who were assigned to protect her, drove her to and from school. 

6. Parents did not want their children to attend the same school as African-American students. They screamed and threatened Ruby; even white parents yelled threats against her from the audience. 

7. The marshals drove her to and from school for the following six months. Attempts were made to harm her family. Her father was laid off, and her grandparents were forced to sell their Georgia farm. The neighborhood corner store turned them down. 

8. Ruby didn’t miss a single day of school that year, but her parents divorced by the end of the year.

9. The story of her attending a white school is shown in Norman Rockwell’s artwork The Problem We All Live With, which was installed in the White House during President Obama’s term. 

Norman Rockwell The Problem We All Live With 

10. There is a message in the painting. If you look at the painting, you can’t see the Marshall’s face because the painting intentionally crops out their faces. Take note of the background. a broken and smeared tomato hurled against the wall, as well as racial obscenities such as “N-word” and “KKK.” Mr. Rockwell utilized a local girl, Lynda Gunn, and his cousin as the model for his painting, which Ruby Bridges inspired.

11. Since most white parents no longer allowed their children to attend school, Ruby spent most of the year as the sole student in her first-grade class. She and her teacher, Barbara Henry, became great friends as they worked together.

12. On her second day at Frantz school, every staff member refused to teach Ruby, except one – Mrs. Barbara Henry.

Ruby Bridges photo credit: Wikipedia

13. Parents gradually became less enraged and fearful, and their children were allowed to return to Frantz School. The children returned the following year, and the school was fully integrated. 

14. She founded the Ruby Bridges Foundation, a foundation that promotes understanding and harmony among youngsters, in 1999. 

15. She also wrote a book called Through My Eyes in 1999, which recounted her experiences.

Conclusion

Ruby Bridges was six years old when she entered a segregated school. She now teaches children how to overcome racial prejudices. She is now a civil rights speaker, author and advocate.

I think the lesson that I learned is that you can’t look at a person and judge them. That you have to allow yourself an opportunity to really get to know them, no matter what they look like.” – Ruby Bridges

Who Was George Washington Carver?

0

About

George Carver was born in the year 1864 in Diamond, Missouri, US. He was an American agricultural scientist and inventor who promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. He is best known for being the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century. Below is all you need to know about George Washington Carver Biography.

George Washington Carver

George Carver was a famous agricultural black scientist and inventor who helped develop many soybeans, sweet potatoes, and peanuts. He was born into slavery a year before it was outlawed, after which he left home at a young age to further his education and earn a master’s degree from Iowa State University. 

Goerge Washington Carver home
Photo by Matthew A. LynnMERA

Carver planned to teach and conduct research at Tuskegee University for years. Even though he spent years developing several products made from peanuts, none were commercially successful. He was also a leader in promoting environmentalism and received numerous awards for his work.

His Early Life

George Washington Carver was born into a life of slavery in Diamond, Newton County, Missouri, near Crystal Place, before abolishing slavery in Missouri, which occurred in January 1865, during the American Civil War. His date of birth was not known to him. 

Moses Carver, a German American immigrant and a farm owner bought George’s mother, Mary, from William P. McGinnis on October 9, 1855, when she was 13. George was a week old when he was kidnapped, along with his sister, by night raiders from Arkansas. 

Moses Carver hired someone to get them back, but they only succeeded in finding George, whom they bought by trading one of Moses’ finest horses. He was raised by Moses Carver and his wife Susan and taught how to read and write. He started going to the farm and was soon known as a plant doctor to several local farmers.

His Education

At age 11, George left the farm to attend an all-Black school in a nearby town in Neosho, where he was taken in by Andrew and Mariah Watkins, a childless African American couple. Two years later, he moved to Kansas, leaving his education in Neosho behind. 

Surviving from the domestic skills he learned while moving from one foster home to another, he put himself through school and later graduated from Minneapolis High School in Minneapolis. In 1894, Carver became the first African American to earn a Bachelor of Science degree.

Tuskegee Institute

Washington persuaded its trustees to establish an agriculture school, which Carver could only head if Tuskegee retained its all-Black faculty. Carver accepted the invitation and would spend his life at Tuskegee Institute.

Carver devised strategies to repair soils depleted by repeated cotton crops as a professor at Tuskegee Institute. He wanted poor farmers to cultivate alternative crops like peanuts and sweet potatoes to supplement their income and improve their quality of life.

George Washington Carver (front row, center) poses with fellow staff members at the Tuskegee Institute (now known as Tuskegee University) located in the U.S. state of Alabama. Photo credit: Wikepedia

His Relationship

George never got married. His courtship with Sarah L. Hunt, an elementary school teacher and the sister-in-law of Warren Logan, Treasurer of Tuskegee Institute, only lasted for three years. News had it that he was bisexual and constrained by mores of his historical period.

His Inventions and Fame

  • George Carver taught the farmers to enrich their croplands with swamp muck instead of fertilizers. His idea of crop rotation was of great value to several farmers.
  • His most significant success came from peanuts. He developed many industrial and commercial products from peanuts, including paper, cooking oils, punches, salad oil, soaps, cosmetics, wood stains, and massage oils that treated him with infantile paralysis.
  • A lot of facts and images were created from George Washington Carver for kids, which was a source of education for them.
  • In 1916, George was made a member of the Royal Society of Arts in England, one of the few Americans to receive this honor.
  • George discovered Permaculture used to generate carbon from the atmosphere, producing many crops. Premature is still used in President Biden’s reign.
  • He later established a legacy by creating a museum of his work and the George Washington Carver Foundation at Tuskegee in 1938 to continue research on Agriculture.
George Washington Carver at work in his laboratory

His Death

On January 5, 1943, George Carver died at the age of 79 from anemia resulting from a fall down a flight of stairs. He was 78 years old and was buried on the Tuskegee Institute grounds.

List of Products made from the Peanut
By Dr. George Washington Carver

The Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States

The Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States was founded in Columbus, Ohio. The Ward Transfer Line is the country’s oldest continuously operating African-American business. William S. Ward established the company in 1881 as a moving company, and it began with three employees and a single wagon to transport items.

John T. Ward and Catherine Moss Ward

The Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States
John T.Ward. Photo Credit: Columbus Public Library Archives
The Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States
Catherine Moss Ward was the wife of John T. Ward

John T. Ward was the father of William S. Ward.  He was born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 19, 1820. Ward emigrated from Virginia to Columbus in 1836, and later met Catherine Moss, an Underground Railroad operator in Central Ohio.  The couple met while growing up on a farm near the National Pike (now known as Main Street). They married in 1838 and had 12 kids.

Ward was a free man who purchased his own farmland and worked as the janitor at the old City Hall. His farm was in what is now known as Whitehall. Once an underground railroad station, that house still exists today but is no longer in the Ward family’s possession.  He eventually settled in the Reynoldsburg area.

The Business 

Ward Transfer Line was founded in 1881 by John T. Ward and his son, William in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1859, the Wards started working on

The Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States
Photo Credit: Columbus Public LIbrary Archives

his “business plan” for a moving company.  He hauled goods and merchandise from warehouses and storage yards to commercial sites and markets under contract for wholesales.

Ward’s son, William, worked in the moving business after the war and later left to work for the Union Transfer and Storage Company.  He navigated the tanks and rose through the ranks to become a teamster, work supervisor, foreman, and rate clerk.

In 1899, they add “storage” and changed the name to E.E. Ward Transfer and Storage Company, after Edgar Earl Ward, John T. Ward’s grandson who was running the business at the time.

The company began using motor vehicles in the early 1900s, eventually phased out their last horse-powered moving team in 1921. By 1925, it had grown to include more commercial clients, such as the Steinway Piano Company, for whom it transported nearly 900,000 pianos.

The Underground Railroad

Ward became involved in the Underground Railroad as a young man in the 1840s, hiding fugitive slaves on his farm outside Columbus in Whitehall.

John T. Ward and his family assisted slaves fleeing to Canada through the Second Baptist Church in Columbus. He used his horses and wagon to assist slaves in escaping to freedom by establishing a network of hiding places and safe houses.

The Second Baptist congregation was afraid of losing their jobs if they became involved, so Ward and James Preston Poindexter left and founded the Slavery Resistant Church to assist runaways. They all returned to Second Baptist after the Civil War, where Poindexter served as pastor for forty years.

Maintaining the Legacy

The Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States was run by Edgar Earl, who was born in 1881. Edgar Earl Ward, the youngest, took over the business in 1899 when he was 18 years old. There were a lot of changes under Edgar Ward’s leadership.

The Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States
Edgar Earl Ward Photo credit: Columbus Public Library Archives

In the early 1950’s Eldon Ward, the great-grandson of John T. and Catherine Ward took over as manager. However, there was no succession plan when Eldon Ward decided to retire in 1996.  He moved to Phoenix, and he had no children of his own.

The current owner, Brain Brooks’ father, was the attorney for E.E. Ward for 20 years, and Eldon

 

 Ward was Brooks’ godfather. So, when it appeared that the business would be leaving the Ward family’s hands, Brooks’ mother begged her son to help keep the E.E. Ward legacy alive.

He was passionate about its long history and wanted to preserve it. In April 2001, he bought the company with a business partner, Otto Beatty, for an undisclosed sum.

E.E. Ward, now located at 2235 Southwest Blvd. in Grove City, has remained the oldest continuously operating black-owned business in the United States, according to the US Department of Commerce and mentioned in the 2003 Congressional Record.

The company has survived the Great Depression, two World Wars, the Great Recession, and the presidency of 25 different presidents. Today they are the Oldest Black-Owned Business in the United States.

Who are the Stolen Girls?

0
Who are the Stolen Girls? Thousands of kids protested against segregation. Many were arrested and put in prison for days, weeks, and even months. This event aided with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. More than a dozen African-American children aged 12 to 15 were seized and held in a decaying stockade for two months without being charged in 1963. Who are the Stole Girls?

The Protest

In the summer of 1963, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) staged a protest march in Americus, Georgia, to protest segregation in collaboration with the NAACP. Then, in late July 1963, Black youngsters began to demonstrate regularly at the Martin Theater and the Trailways bus terminal against segregation. As white oppressors of the movement met the youthful activists with taunting and violence, the peaceful demonstrations became boisterous. The march began at Friendship Baptist Church and concluded at a segregated cinema. When they arrived at the movie theatre, a group of preteen and young African-American teenage girls known as the “Stolen Girls” attempted to purchase tickets and were arrested for doing so. Fifteen young girls aged 12 to 15 were imprisoned for defying segregation restrictions. By the Martin Theater and the Trailways bus terminal, the girls staged a protest. Instead of entering the back alley, the marchers attempted to purchase tickets at the movie theatre’s front entrance. Police arrived quickly, assaulted the girls, and arrested them without charging them.

The Arrest

Three young women, the youngest was ten years old, and the oldest of whom was sixteen, were captured and taken to the “Leesburg Stockade,” a dismal, dank Civil War-era prison about twenty miles west of Americus in rural Leesburg. In jail for the first few days, they didn’t receive any food. They survived on rations of overcooked hamburgers and egg sandwiches for the next few days. The girls also slept on filthy beds without access to a bathroom, sharing space with mosquitoes, gnats, and, at one point, a snake brought into the room by guards. After weeks of searching throughout the region, a photographer Danny Lyon located the girls’ and alerted community members. Police released the girls days after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream speech” in Washington D.C.After they were released, many of the girl’s parents received a bill with a charge of two dollars for every day of their child’s imprisonment.

Conclusion

Days after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C.; police freed the girls. Danny Lyon, a photographer, discovered the girls’ bodies after weeks of scouring throughout the region and alerted the community. Many of the girls’ parents got a bill of two dollars for each day their kid was imprisoned after they were freed. The Leesburg Stockade Girls “stolen girls” are an example of teenage freedom fighters who are brave.

Work Cited

Leesburg Stockade: In 1963, Thirty Black Preteen Girls …. https://www.watchtheyard.com/history/leesburg-stockade-1963/ ‘Stolen Girls’ in Leesburg Stockade – The Black Detour. https://theblackdetour.com/stolen-girls-in-leesburg-stockade/ Black Girlhood in 20th-Century America | Oxford Research …. https://oxfordre.com/americanhistory/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-852

Grind City Kicks: An act of Service that should Inspire Entrepreneurs

0

About Grind City Kicks 

Grind City Kicks (GCK) was founded in Memphis, Tennessee. GCK uses sneakers to collaborate with other organizations and businesses to impact the community, highlight youth, and raise awareness about social issues. The company began with a passion for shoes and philanthropy in the community. They use ideas and suggestions from the community to create unique designs for GCK clothing and plan impactful events. The organization also spends money on programs, facilities, and support systems that benefit many. GCK has formed numerous partnerships with sports organizations and schools to create affordable sports apparel and accessories for their players. 

The Founder

After his partner lost interest and rebranded, Chima Onwuka is now the sole owner and CEO of Grind City Kicks. It was founded just months before the pandemic shut down in March 2020 when Onwuka anticipated that many families would be in need.      He saved the brand by buying out his business partner. Onwuka claims that GCK is yet another platform that allows him to use his God-given talent to influence and motivate others in the community. With the help of sponsorships and generosity from other organizations, GCK can aid a cause and support many families. Below are some of the few benefits of Grind City Kicks to the community.

To Support a Good Cause

GCK has produced its first pair of shoes to raise awareness for Black Lives Matter. The shoes serve as a conblack lives matterstant reminder of those who have died tragically, such as George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmuad Arbery. However, they are best known for their collaboration with breast Cancer Awareness, the American Cancer Society, Real Men Wear Pink, Championship Wrestling, and CW30.

To Pay Tribute to Loved Ones

Businesses like Grind City Kicks are out there to give a helping hand. They use shoes to pay tributes to loved ones that have passed away from tragedies.  GCK provided shoes to the families of Taylon Vail and Kam Johnson. Taylon Vail was only sixteen when he was killed in a shooting at his grandparent’s house while playing video games. Kam Johnson was the only person (child) who died in a bus horrific bus accident coming back from Dallas.

To Give Back

GCK has a line of sneakers and shirts that give back to support COVID-19 relief efforts in the community. They designed a Covid-19 awareness shirt that helps individuals and families affected by the coronavirus. GCK collaborated with, Grind City Cares, which impacts people and creates awareness for social issues. Together, these organizations raised funds for the Neighborhood Christian Center to continue working with families in need of resources during the pandemic. Grind City Kicks have assisted local organizations such as Memphis Athletic Ministries in providing basketball shorts for their players. They organized a Back to School Day concert with local artists and donated supplies to high schools in Memphis. Raleigh Egypt high school in Memphis received uniforms from GCK. Red Hook and Memphis Sports Master collaborated to make this possible. In 2021, they partnered with local organizations in the community to create the first alternative basketball program for alternative schools. GCK now works with sports, including soccer, basketball, rugby, and cycling, allowing teams to use their platform to give back to the community. This year they created its first partnership with a college basketball team.

Conclusion

GCK plays a role in providing critical services and raising a voice for people in need. They introduce stability and strengthen the community to see the greater good for the future. Partners like Grind city Cares create an excellent platform for a healthy community.  Grind City Kicks is an act of service that should inspire other Entrepreneurs. For more information, go to www.grindcitykicks.com

June is Black Music Month

0

Black music and culture have helped shape an entire century of American history. Starting with the negro spirituals born out of the excessive hardships of slavery, the creation of gospel, the evolution of blues, jazz, and R&B, not to mention the influence of black artists within rock and roll, rap, and hip-hop music.

President Jimmy Carter 

President Jimmy Carter
President Jimmy Carter

On June 7, 1979, President Jimmy Carter announced June as “National Black Music Month,” This comes over 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation theoretically ended the institution of slavery in the country and only 15 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. June has been the month designated as the time to honor it formally. This month celebrates the Black musical influences that comprise an essential part of our nation’s treasured cultural heritage. During June and beyond, we should appreciate the contributions of African-American musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters in American culture. 

President Carter wanted to focus on the impact Black music has had in the world. However, National Black Music Month wasn’t official because he had not signed a special presidential proclamation.

The Beginning

Dyana Williams

It became official, in 1998 during President Bill Clinton’s term, a renowned journalist, community activist, and artist manager, Dyana Williams, submitted a petition to hold an event at the White House celebrating Black Music Month. Unfortunately, her plea was rejected due to the absence of a presidential proclamation. Determined, Williams lobbied for legislation with Congressman Chaka Fattah and GRAMMY® Award winner Kenny Gamble to draft up House Resolution 509, which is better known as The African-American Music Bill. In 2000, the bill was signed by former president Bill Clinton.

President Carter held the first Black Music Month event at the White House on June 7, 1979.

President Obama’s contribution 

President Barack Obama renamed Black Music Month to “African-American Music Appreciation Month” in 2009 but preserved its goal.

“As a long piece of American culture, music offers a vibrant soundtrack to the story of our people and our Union. When words alone could not bring us together, we have found in melodies and choruses the universal truths of our shared humanity. African-American musicians have left an indelible mark on this tradition, and during African-American Music Appreciation Month, we can pay special tribute to their extra-ordinary contributions”. – President Barack Obama

President Trump 

On May 29, 2020, President Trump officially proclaimed June 2020 “African-American Music Appreciation Month.” (I thought President Obama already did this!). 

Spirituals 

The Spirituals’ included plantation songs and work songs that evolved into the blues and gospel songs in church that we know of today. These songs were originally an oral tradition and imparted Christian values while also defining the hardships of slavery. 

Blues, Ragtime, and Jazz

The blues can be traced back to the slave trade era from 1619-1809. During the era, history has documented that slave ship captains would encourage slaves to sing and dance hoping it would keep them alive until they arrived to be sold.

In the 1890’s “Ragtime” was born in the Black communities of St. Louis. This style takes traditional march form, similar to the music of John Philip Sousa, and adds the syncopated, or “ragged,” rhythms of African music.

Jazz was often improvisational and was developed by Black people and influenced by both Europeans harmonic structure and African rhythmic intricacy. 

R&B, Rock & Roll, and Soul

In the 1940s, the term “rhythm and blues” (R&B) was coined as a phrase for secular music made by Black Americans. What would soon come from R&B and country music was rock & roll.

Hip Hop

Hiphop originated in the predominantly Black and Latino section of New York City, the South Bronx section in the late 1970s. Hip-hop emerged as a reaction to the socio-economic conditions in Black and Brown neighbourhoods.

How to Celebrate 

  1.  Listen to different genres of music.  
  2. Go to a concert.  
  3. Ask a senior citizen who their favorite black artist was growing up. 
  4. Watch a documentary about black music or about a black artist you have never heard of.
  5. Read books on black musicians. 

Sarah Rector: The “Richest Colored Girl in the World.”

Sarah Rector was born on March 3, 1902, in Indian Territory now Taft, Oklahoma, U.S. She was an African American member of the Muscogee Nation, best known for being the ‘Richest Colored Girl in the world’.

Who Was Sarah Rector?

Rector became the wealthiest black girl in the nation at the age of 11. This gave her international attention, especially when The Kansas City Star publicized it in 1913. Since then, her life has been filled with a lot of public speculation and financial maneuvering.

Her Early Life

Sarah Rector was born on March 3, 1902, to Joseph and Rose Rector in a two-room cabin near Twine, located on a Muscogee Creek Indian portion of land in Oklahoma. She had five siblings and they all went to school in Taft, an all-black town closer than Twine. 

Her parents were both descendants of African people enslaved and owned by the Muscogee Creek Nation Creek Indians before the Civil War. They were therefore listed as freedmen on the Dawes Rolls, which later gave them an entitlement to portions of land signed under the Treaty of 1866. 

The portion of lands granted to former slaves was usually made of rocks with poor agricultural quality. Sarah’s allotment became a burden and her father met the Muskogee County Court for a formal request to sell the land. His request was denied due to some restrictions on the land, so he continued paying the taxes.

Her Oil Deals and Wealth

Rector was only 13 years of age and could not legally manage her estate. She was given a guardian, a white man named T.J. who was appointed by a probate judge.

He managed all of Sarah’s financial matters. In fact, his guardianship towards her worked quite well to her advantage. Rector’s property was operated by a wealthy oilman, B.B. Jones.

Sun-News reported that the 1915 production was at approximately 160,000 barrels of crude oil per month. Her share was worth 20,000 barrels a month, where a barrel cost 90 cents. 

This amounted to a sum of  $18,000 per month, or a daily income that equals around $600. At that time, this amount of money was seen to be unbelievably huge. A lot of Americans could receive that amount as their salary, per year.

The news of Rector’s wealth spread like a wildfire across the world. She even began to receive loan petitions, money gifts, and even marriage proposals at a very young age.

On hearing about her wealth, the Oklahoma Legislature made a tireless effort to declare her white. This allowed Rector to reap the benefits of her increased social grounds, which includes riding in an exotic first-class car around the city.

In 1914, The Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper, published an article that claimed Rector’s estate was being mismanaged by her family.

They also stated that she was uneducated with a poor quality of life. On reading and hearing this news, National African American leaders Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois became concerned about her wellbeing.

Washington also came in to assist the Rector family. In October of that same year, she was enrolled in the Children’s School, a boarding school at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. This school was headed by Washington and upon her graduation, she attended the Institute.

Her Personal Life

In 1922, she married Kenneth Campbell, who was the second African American to own an auto dealership. The couple gave birth to three sons, Kenneth, Jr., Leonard, and Clarence.

They were known as royalty in their city, always driving expensive cars and entertaining celebrities like Duke Ellington and Count Basie at their home. Rector and her husband divorced in 1930 and she remarried William Crawford ​in 1934.

Her Later Life

Sarah Rector lived a very comfortable and wealthy life. She was exposed to beautiful things that include lavishing cars and clothing.

On July 22, 1967, at the age of 65, Rector died. Soon after, her wealth gradually disappeared, but she still had a few real estate holdings and active oil wells. Her remains were buried in Blackjack Cemetery in Taft, Oklahoma.

The Emancipation Proclamation

The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by US President Abraham Lincoln on the 1st of January, 1863. This was when the nation was close to its third year of a bloody civil war.

The proclamation declared “that everyone held as a slave in and around the 10 rebellious states are to be henceforth set free.” Despite this declaration, the Emancipation Proclamation was not implemented in so many ways.

It only applied to states that had separated from the United States, leaving the loyal border states still in the hands of slavery. Parts of the Southern secessionist states under the Northern hold were also left out of this act of freedom.

The promised freedom depended upon Union (United States) military victory. The Proclamation made emancipation a goal of the Civil War. During the war, it weakened the efforts of England and France to officially honor the Confederacy.

As Union troops came closer to the Rebel region and territory, they released thousands of people from slavery, each day. A lot of these slaves could not wait, as they escaped from their owners to gain their freedom.

The Proclamation

The Proclamation was issued and partitioned in two. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln declared towards the next 100 days that he would free all slaves in other locations that were not under Union control.

On January 1, 1863, he made a list of the ten different states in which the proclamation would then apply. These states include North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky. 

The five border states where slavery was still legal were not included, so they were not named. They had also remained committed to the Union and were not in rebellion.

Tennessee was also not named and this was because the Union forces had already gotten control of that area. Several counties of Virginia that were in the process of separating from that state to form the new state of West Virginia were specifically named as exemptions, as were several parishes around New Orleans in Louisiana.

At first, only a few slaves under the Union lines were immediately freed, but as Union forces advanced, about a million slaves were effectively freed. Out of the former slaves, a few joined the Union army.

The Original Copy

The original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation issued on January 1, 1863, is currently in the National Archives in Washington, DC. The text covers five different pages in the document that were originally tied with narrow red and blue ribbons.

The Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamtion

They were each attached to the page that carries the signature and the impression of the seal of the United States. Today, the ribbons and parts of the seal remain and are still very much decipherable. The rest of the parts are completely worn off.

The original document was bound with other proclamations in a large volume that has been kept for a long time in the State Department. During the period of preparation for binding, the document was strengthened with strips along the center folds before it was attached on a larger sheet of heavy paper. 

On the upper right-hand corner of this sheet, a number of the proclamation, 95, which was given by the State Department, was written and signed in red ink. Along with other records, the volume containing the Emancipation Proclamation was moved from the Department of State to the National Archives of the United States in 1936.

The Amendment

Exactly two months before the war ended in February, 865, some of the left-out border states ended slavery within their borders. Lincoln told the portrait painter, Francis B. Carpenter, that the Emancipation Proclamation was the major act of his administration, and probably the greatest mark made in the nineteenth century.

He later sponsored a constitutional amendment to ban slavery as it became an illegal practice all over the United States. This was officially sealed by the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865. A few months later, Lincoln was killed.