Month: June 2018

June 20 1967- Cassins Clay

GM – FBF – Fifty One Years Ago, I could have told you about many different events but to me this was the biggest event on that date. I still say he is the GOAT (Greatest of all time) not for what he did in his profession but how he took on the government and lived by his tearms. Enjoy!

Remember – I’m not gonna help nobody get something my negroes don’t have. If I’m gonna die, I’ll die now right here fighting you, if I’m gonna die. You my enemy. My enemies are white people, not Viet Congs or Chinese or Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. You won’t even stand up for me in America for my religious beliefs, and you want me to go somewhere and fight, but you won’t even stand up for me here at home. – (Cassius Clay) – Muhammad Ali

Today in our History – June 20, 1967 – Cassius Clay Guilty in Draft Case; Gets Five Years in Prison – U.S. Judge Also Fines the Boxer $10,000 for Refusing Induction

Houston, June 20, 1967–Cassius Clay, the deposed heavyweight champion, was convicted by a jury tonight of violating the United States Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted.

Federal District Judge Joe E. Ingraham sentenced Clay to five years in prison and fined him $10,000. This was the maximum penalty for the offense, which is a felony.
The judge’s sentence was pronounced immediately at Clay’s request.

“I’d appreciate it,” the 25-year-old boxer said, “if the court will do it now, give me my sentence now, instead of waiting and stalling for time.”
His lawyers said he “wants to be able to sleep tonight” without worrying what the sentence would be.

Clay, who had contended that his status as a Black Muslim minister made him exempt from the draft, stood passively in front of the judge’s bench as the judge pronounced sentence.
Every eye in the crowded courtroom was on him as he stared straight ahead, saying, “No, sir,” firmly when the judge asked him if he wanted to say anything that might go toward mitigating his sentence.

Before the sentencing, Morton Susman, United States Attorney, indicated that he would file no objection to the judge’s giving Clay a lighter sentence than the maximum.
“The only record he has is a minor traffic offense,” said Mr. Susman.

He said that Clay, as an athlete, had brought honor to the United States by winning in the Olympics in Rome in 1960, and had brought credit to himself by becoming heavyweight champion of the world.
“He became a Muslim in 1964 after defeating Sonny Liston for the title,” said Mr. Susman. “In my opinion, his trouble started with that–this tragedy and the loss of his title can be traced to that.”

After Clay had refused in April to take the Army induction oath, the World Boxing Association and the New York Athletic Commission stripped him of his title.
Mr. Susman, who was aided in the prosecution by a Negro assistant, Carl Walker, said that he had studied the Muslim order “and it is as much political as it is religious.”
Clay, who had stood stiffly in his gray silk suit and black alligator shoes without speaking, could keep quiet no longer.
“If I can say so, sir,” he said, “my religion is not political in no way.”

There were a number of Muslim members in the courtroom for the verdict and the subsequent sentencing, but there was no outcry and no disturbance. A number of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation were watching the audience along with Federal marshals.

The jury, six men and six women, all white, stayed in the jury box during the sentencing.
Clay’s attorneys, Hayden C. Covington of New York City and Quinnan A. Hodges of Houston, took exception to Mr. Susman’s remarks about the Muslims.

Mr. Covington, who has won civil rights suits for Jehovah’s Witnesses, a religious sect, in a number of constitutional cases, said: “I take exception to remarks that this man is under the influence of the Muslims in any way.”
Clay, he said, is one of the finest men he has ever met and acted from “sincerity and honesty” when he refused last April 28 to step forward and be inducted into the armed services at Houston.

Both Mr. Covington and Mr. Hodges asked Judge Ingraham to put Clay on probation. Failing that, said Mr. Covington, the former champion should not be given a sentence more severe than those given in a similar cases. “That’s 18 months,” he said.
Judge Ingraham, after being told that Clay’s attorneys would appeal, said that now was not the time to ask for clemency. If the conviction should be thrown out on appeal, “the sentence would be nil,” he said, but if it should be upheld, that would be the time to seek a reduction in sentence or to seek probation.
Clay, who had known both applause and boos in his seven years as a boxer, did not seem downcast at today’s turn of events.

His step was as jaunty as ever as he walked from the courtroom after being released on $5,000 bond. He held hands with two young women who had been with him during intermissions in the trial and he smiled at the crowd that gathered around. He allowed the television cameramen to surround him and shuffle him off down the street.

The jury was out considering the verdict for only about 20 minutes. Everyone knew before it retired that Clay would be convicted. He and his lawyers had not attempted to deny that he had refused induction. Their main contention was that the draft boards in Louisville, Ky., and in Houston had acted improperly in not granting him a deferment as a minister.
After Judge Ingraham had ruled that a study of the huge draft board file of the Clay case had convinced him that the draft boards had not acted “arbitrarily or capriciously” in refusing the deferment. Clay’s conviction became a foregone conclusion.

Clay paid no attention to the legal maneuvering during the day. He sat at the defense table, drawing and chewing gum.
During recesses, while Clay stood out in the corridors in the Federal Courthouse and signed autographs for children, one of his attorneys showed reporters some of the drawings that Clay had made. One showed an airplane flying over a heavily wooded mountain range toward the rising sun. Another portrayed a ship sailing head-on into a fjord between two mountain ranges.

Clay himself exhibited other drawings–mystic symbols, clouds and so forth. One was an elaborate sketch of the words “Muhammad Ali,” which is his Muslim name.
In all, the jury heard only an hour or so of testimony, most of it from Government witnesses.Research more about the great American and share with your babies Make it a champion day!

June 10 1957- Stax Records

GM – FBF – During Black Music Month, there is a lot of good posts by people that look at artists on a daily and weekly basis. So let us look at the more famous record companies that put their sounds on wax. Over the rest of the weekends in June I will remind you of many that started in the late 50’s through the 70’s, starting with the sound of the South. Enjoy!

Remember – Barry Gordy and Motown want to create “The Sound for Young America”, I will stick with the rest of America. – Estelle Axton

Today in our History – June 10, 1957

Stax Records is an American record label, originally based in Memphis, Tennessee. Founded in 1957 as Satellite Records, the label changed its name to Stax Records in 1961. It was a major factor in the creation of Southern soul and Memphis soul music. Stax also released gospel, funk, jazz, and blues recordings. Renowned for its output of blues music, the label was founded by two siblings and business partners, Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton (STewart/AXton = Stax). It featured several popular ethnically integrated bands (including the label’s house band, Booker T. & the M.G.’s) and a racially integrated team of staff and artists unprecedented in that time of racial strife and tension in Memphis and the South.

Following the death of Stax’s biggest star, Otis Redding, in 1967, and the severance of the label’s distribution deal with Atlantic Records in 1968, Stax continued primarily under the supervision of a new co-owner, Al Bell.Over the next five years, Bell expanded the label’s operations significantly, in order to compete with Stax’s main rival, Motown Records in Detroit. During the mid-1970s, a number of factors, including a problematic distribution deal with CBS Records, caused the label to slide into insolvency, resulting in its forced closure in late 1975.

In 1977, Fantasy Records acquired the post-1968 Stax catalogue and selected pre-1968 recordings. Beginning in 1978, Stax (now owned by Fantasy) began signing new acts and issuing new material, as well as reissuing previously recorded Stax material. However, by the early 1980s, no new material was being issued on the label, and for the next two decades, Stax was strictly a reissue label.

After Concord Records acquired Fantasy in 2004, the Stax label was reactivated, and is today used to issue both the 1968–1975 catalog material and new recordings by current R&B and soul performers. Atlantic Records continues to hold the rights to the vast majority of the 1959–1968 Stax material.
Research more about African – American music companies and share to your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 19 1865- Juneteenth Day

GM – FBF – Today is the black holiday known as Juneteenth Day. Some of the people up North may or may not had heard about this day. So let’s take a deeper look at this. Enjoy!

Remember – The emancipation of Black people in Texas is finially here. So rejoyce! – Fredrick Douglass

Today in our History – June 19, 1865 – Juneteenth Day –

The Day Slaves Learned They Were Free

The 19th of June is known as Juneteenth, an African-American holiday begun at the end of slavery days. Its origins are Texan, not Louisianan, but Juneteenth has long had strong roots in the South and has since spread all over the country as a time for African-Americans to commemorate their freedom and accomplishments.

President Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, which granted freedom to slaves in Confederate states, on New Year’s Day in 1863. Word didn’t reach the African-American slaves of Galveston, Texas, until June 19, 1865, when a force of two-thousand Union soldiers arrived and informed them of their freedom. Although news indeed did travel slowly in those days, two and a half years is a long time; historians suspect Texas slaveholders knew of the proclamation and chose not to free their slaves until they were forced to.

The African-Americans of Galveston began an annual observance of Juneteenth which over the years spread to other areas and grew in popularity. Early Juneteenth celebrations were picnics at churches and in rural areas with barbecues, horseback riding, fishing, and more. The early 20th century saw a weakening of the holiday’s observance due to African-American migration to urban centers,

The national celebration of Independence Day just a few weeks later, and the preference of white historians to emphasize the Emancipation Proclamation over Juneteenth as a date to mark the end of slavery. Although some activists objected that holiday’s associations with slavery were too backward-looking, Juneteenth’s visibility rose again during the Civil Rights Era of the 1950s and 60s, and its resurgence continues all over the country.

Like elsewhere, in New Orleans African-Americans celebrate Juneteenth with barbecues and picnics, with family and church gatherings that strengthen community bonds. Other events include jazz concerts and speaking engagements emphasizing African-American empowerment, education, and achievement. To participate in Juneteenth festivities, check listings in local newspapers or online as the next June 19th approaches. Research more about this great American Holiday and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 18 1889- The Baby Carriage Is Patient

GM – GFB – Today I will Introduce you to a Black Inventor, whose Invention which will still see millions of every day. Enjoy!

Remember – “When I patened my Invention, I knew it would offer hundreads of Americans a way to get exercise and a way for parents to get looks any where they went.” – William H Richardson

Today in our History June 18, 1889 – The Baby Carriage is patent.

African American inventor William H. Richardson was born on January 5, 1850 in Baltimore, Maryland. patented an improvement to the baby carriage in the United States on June 18, 1889. It is U.S. patent number 405,600. His design ditched the shell shape for a basket-shaped carriage that was more symmetrical. The bassinet could be positioned to face either out or in and rotated on a central joint.

A limiting device kept it from being rotated more than 90 degrees. The wheels also moved independently, which made it more maneuverable. Now a parent or nanny could have the child face them or face away from them, whichever they preferred, and change it at will.

The use of prams or baby carriages became widespread among all economic classes by the 1900s. They were even given to poor mothers by charitable institutions. Improvements were made in their construction and safety. Going for a stroll with a child was believed to have benefits by providing light and fresh air. He died December 12, 1925. Research more about this great American and work with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 17 1950- Chess Records Is Born

GM – FBF – Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s. Today, I continue with the saluite to Black Record companies during Black Music Month. Chess Records outside of Motown, recorded the most groups and individual acts. I had the honor of working weekends at radio station – WVON – AM in Chicago, after Leonard Chess sold the station in ’69. Many have seen the movie “Cadillac Records”, let’s read about the real thing. Enjoy!

Remember – “We came from Poland in 1928. That was blues all the time.” – Phil Chess

Today in our History – June 17, 1950 – Chess Records is born.

Chess Records “Home of the Electric Blues” was started by brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, two Polish born immigrants, founded Chess Records the pre-eminent Blues label of the 50s and 60s.Eventually they created a monopoly of Chicago music recording, doing sessions and releasing recordings by every major blues performer from John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, “King of the Slide Guitar,” to Bo Diddley through Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry and everyone in between. The brother’s owned the upscale Macamba.night club on Chicago’s Southside.

In those days, black musicians weren’t very much favoured, to say the least, by major American record companies. This left a niche for the taking and the brothers, who had changed their names to Leonard and Phil Chess, wanted a piece of the pie. This led them to get involved with the Aristocrat Records label. Leonard initially intended to record jazzy music, the kind that was popular back at their club, but that didn’t prove profitable.

But in 1948 he decided to take a chance and released I Can’t Be Satisified, a raw Southern-blues song he didn’t really understand artistically. The track by the future blues legend Muddy Waters became an instant hit with African-Americans who had moved to Chicago from the South in search of employment – the first pressing virtually sold out in two days.

Needless to say, the Chess brothers were impressed. On June 17, 1950, they were well into the music business – they had taken over Aristocrat and renamed it Chess Records.
It’s safe to say that the Chess brothers’ label changed the history of music. Working with artists like Chuck Berry and Howlin’ Wolf, they released some of the most influential blues and rock-and-roll tracks ever written.

Ike Turner was part of Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, the band whose Rocket 88 was put out by Chess in 1951 and is widely considered the first rock-and-roll tune ever recorded. The immortal blues track I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man, written by bass player Willie Dixon, was recorded by Muddy Waters for the label in 1954. The Rolling Stones got their name from a stunning Muddy Waters blues tune called Rollin’ Stone, which was, of course, also a Chess release.

The year 1955 saw the release of Maybellene, a classic song by Chuck Berry, of whom John Lennon famously said ‘If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you could call it “Chuck Berry”.’ A year later, Howlin’ Wolf’s haunting Smokestack Lightning appeared, which was recently featured on the soundtrack for Martin Scorcese’s film The Wolf of Wall Street. The 1960s was the era of Etta James, the now-legendary singer who graced Chess with songs like I Just Want to Make Love to You and At Last.

What started out as a business venture turned out to be a milestone for American vernacular music. The brothers from Poland not only profited from selling music created by African-Americans but they introduced it to the ears of huge broader audiences. They played a key role in the conquest of the world by blues and rock and roll, irrevocably refashioning international music forever.

In an interview for The Guardian, Marshall Chess, Leonard’s son, who spent a lot of time around the family business in its glory days, said that ‘you couldn’t be an angel and run Chess records in the ghetto in Chicago’. Knife fights occurred on a daily basis in the area, and there was a lot of drinking. Many of the blues musicians themselves were hot-blooded. Black music was out of the mainstream, and major stations didn’t generally air blues songs.

Leonard and Phil did what they could to turn a profit in these conditions. For instance, they assigned writer’s credits to radio DJs to prompt them to play the songs they released. They also purchased WVON, a Chicago radio station dedicated to African-Americans, to get more airplay for the songs they put out.

The urge to earn more and more might have pushed the brothers to make some controversial decisions. For example, instead of paying them royalties, they’d buy their artists Cadillacs or take care of their bills. Because of such things, Chess Records eventually had numerous legal issues with its roster of musicians. Nevertheless, it is undisputed that the Polish duo formed many meaningful relationships with the musicians they worked with, not only as business associates, but also as friends.

In 1969, Leonard sold Chess Records and not long after suffered a fatal heart attack. But the label’s legacy lived on. Their two-storey building at 2120 South Michigan Avenue, which from 1957 onwards was their headquarters and a recording studio, is today a Chicago landmark. It houses the non-profit Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation, which re-opened the studio in the 1990s. The Chess Records story also inspired two recent feature films, Cadillac Records and Who Do You Love, and the label’s classic recordings are still issued today, adored by millions across the globe.Research more about black music and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 16 1984- Edwin Moses

GM – FBF – I will never forget the demanding Coach Lawrence Dunn who coached me at Junior One where we never lost a track meet in ten years and the great Alfonso Jennings who had just graduated from Maryland – Eastern Shore and was Asst. Track Coach at TCHS. He would go on to create a N.J. and National Dynasty in the High School ranks and creator of The Trenton Track Club (TTC) where he is still coaching and three weeks ago he had one of his female runners compete in Atlanta, GA. for a tune up race before the USA Nationals. He is also in the Penn Relays Hall of Fame. I ran the 400 yrds, 800 yrds and 4×400 yrd. Relay and Long Jumped. Thanks to you both. Today let’s read about a Track Great. Enjoy!

Remember – ” I really don’t see the hurdels. I sence them like a memory.” – Edwin Moses

Today in our History – June 16, 1984

Edwin Moses wins his 100th consecutive 400-meter hurdles race!

Being an Olympic-level competitor is a testament itself to an athlete’s dedication and endurance, but winning medals consistently for ten years is a feat few can claim. On June 4, 1987 Edwin Moses ended his 10-year winning streak in the 400-meter hurdles.

From August 1977 to May 1987, Moses won 122 consecutive races in that event. During a meet in Madrid, Spain, fellow American Danny Harris, who had finished second in the 400-meter hurdles in the 1984 Olympics, beat Moses by .13 seconds to end the winning streak.
Before then, Moses, the world record-holder with a time of 47.02 seconds, hadn’t lost since Aug. 26, 1977, when he was beaten in West Berlin by West Germany’s Harald Schmid. Moses was a 20-year-old student at Morehouse College at the time.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Moses ended up in Atlanta on an academic scholarship to Morehouse College where he majored in physics and industrial engineering while competing for the school track team. Morehouse didn’t have its own track, so he used public high school facilities around the city to train.

Initially, Moses competed mostly in the 120-yard hurdles and 440-yard dash. Before March 1976, he ran only one 400-meter hurdles race. Once he turned his focus to the event he made remarkable progress.

His trademark technique was to take a consistent 13 steps between each of the hurdles, pulling away in the second half of the race as his rivals changed their stride pattern. That summer, he qualified for the U.S. team for the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. In his first international meet, Moses won the gold medal and set a world record of 47.63 seconds.

After losing to Harris in 1987, Moses won 10 more races in a row, collecting his second world gold in Rome in August of the same year, and then he finished third in the final 400-meter race of his career at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.
Reflecting on his career years later, Moses told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “I wish I hadn’t been robbed in 1980. I had the chance to go. I was in such great shape.” That was the year President Jimmy Carter ordered that the U.S. team boycott the Olympic games in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.

Moses won his second gold at the Los Angeles Games in 1984. In 1988, Moses went for his third in Seoul, but felt his chances were hurt when NBC moved the finals to earlier in the day, so that it could be broadcast live in the U.S. He had run in the semifinals less than 24 hours earlier.

Moses finished third for the bronze, in 47.56 seconds. Teammate Andre Phillips won in 47.19, breaking Moses’ Olympic record.

If he’d had a full 24 hours to recover, “I’m sure it would have” made a difference, Moses said.

Since then, the scheduling for the 400 hurdles has changed so that a day separates the semifinals and finals. It has given hurdlers time to recuperate, making record performances in the finals more likely.

“That’s really changed the event, ” Moses said.
For a track titan hunting for a last taste of glory, it changed too late. Research more of this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 15 1864- Law Equalizing The Pay Of Black Soldiers

GM – FBF – Today in our History, we look back on the Civil War or War between the States or here in the South it was called “The War of Northern Agression”. The Colored Troops were getting paid 1/2 of the white soulders were getting paid until this day. Let’s read how our Congress will correct that mistake. Enjoy!

Remember – ” A negro soulder can take a bullit just as good as a white soulder but for half pay. Rip it up or will you take slave wages?” – Fredrick Douglass

Today in our History – June 15, 1864

Law Equalizing the Pay of Black Soldiers

CHAP. CXXIV.–An Act making Appropriations for the Support of the Army for the Year ending the thirtieth June, eighteen hundred and sixty-five, and for other Purposes.
. . . .
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That all persons of color who have been or may be mustered into the military service of the United States shall receive the same uniform, clothing, arms, equipments, camp equipage, rations, medical and hospital attendance, pay and emoluments, other than bounty, as other soldiers of the regular or volunteer forces of the United States of like arm of the service, from and after the first day of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-four; and that every person of color who shall hereafter be mustered into the service shall receive such sums in bounty as the President shall order in the different states and parts of the United States, not exceeding one hundred dollars.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That all persons enlisted and mustered into service as volunteers under the call, dated October seventeen, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, for three hundred thousand volunteers, who were at the time of enlistment actually enrolled and subject to draft in the state in which they volunteered, shall receive from the United States the same amount of bounty without regard to color.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That all persons of color who were free on the nineteenth day of April, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, and who have been enlisted and mustered into the military service of the United States, shall, from the time of their enlistment, be entitled to receive the pay, bounty, and clothing allowed to such persons by the laws existing at the time of their enlistment. And the Attorney-General of the United States is hereby authorized to determine any question of law arising under this provision. And if the Attorney-General aforesaid shall determine that any of such enlisted persons are entitled to receive any pay, bounty, or clothing, in addition to what they have already received, the Secretary of War shall make all necessary regulations to enable the pay department to make payment in accordance with such determination.
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That all enlistments hereafter made in the regular army of the United States, during the continuance of the present rebellion, may be for the term of three years.

APPROVED, June 15, 1864.

Research more on why The United States Congress passed this Act for the brave black troops and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 14 1977- Ethel Waters Dies

GM – FBF – Today as we are honoring Black Music Month, I have been with people who would say that Nate King Cole was the first black to have a T.V. show in the 1950″s and I would have to educate them. Let’s take a better look, Enjoy!

Remember – “One day, I pray that there will be more negros who will be on the small screen to tell are stories. – Ethel Waters ( Thank God she did live long enough to see her prayer come true)

Today in our History – June 14,1977 – Ethel Waters Dies

Ethel Waters, one of the most influential jazz and blues singers of her time, popularised many song classics including “Stormy Weather”. Waters was also the first African-American woman to be given equal billing with white stars in Broadway shows, and to play leading roles in Hollywood films. Once she had established herself as one of America’s highest paid entertainers she demanded, and won, dramatic roles.

Single-handedly Waters shattered the myth that African-American women could perform only as singers. In the early 1950s, for example, she played a leading role in the stage and screen versions of Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding. Ethel played a Southern mammy, but demonstrated with a complex and moving performance that it was possible to destroy the one-dimensional Aunt Jemima image of African American women in American theater and cinema.
In a career that spanned almost sixty years, there were few openings for an African-American woman of her class, talent and ability. She appeared on television as early as 1939 when she made two experimental programmes for NBC: The Ethel Waters Show and Mamba’s Daughters.

The Ethel Waters Show was a one-hour American television variety special that ran in the earliest days of NBC, on June 14,1939, and was hosted by actress and singer Ethel Waters. Waters was the first black performer, male or female, to have her own TV show and may very well have been the first black person to appear on television.The special was transmitted from the NBC Studios in New York over W2XBS.

The special included Waters performing a dramatic sequence from her most recent Broadway play Mamba’s Daughters, along with two actresses from the production, Georgette Harvey and Fredi Washington. The cast also included Joey Faye and Philip Loeb, performing skits.
But it was her regular role as the devoted, cheerful maid in ABC’s popular situation comedy Beulah (1950-52) that established her as one of the first African-American stars of the small screen.

Waters’ dramatic roles on television were also stereotyped. Throughout the 1950s she made appearances in such series as Favorite Playhouse, Climax, General Electric Theater, Playwrights ’56 and Matinee Theater. Without exception, Waters was typecast as a faithful mammy or suffering mother. In 1961 she gave a memorable performance in a Route 66 episode, “Good Night, Sweet Blues,” as a dying blues singer whose last wish is to be reunited with her old jazz band. Consequently Ethel became the first black actress nominated for an Emmy award. She later appeared in The Great Adventure (“Go Down Moses”), with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee in 1963; Daniel Boone (“Mamma Cooper”) in 1970; and Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law (“Run, Carol, Run”) in 1972.

But, says African-American film and television historian 
Donald Bogle in Blacks in American Films and Television (1988): “Waters’ later TV appearances lack the vitality of her great performances (she has little to work with in these programs and must rely on her inner resources and sense of self to get by), but they are part of her evolving image: now she’s the weathered, ailing, grand old woman of film, whose talents are greater than the projects with which she’s involved.”

In the late 1950s ill-health forced Waters into semi- retirement. A deeply religious woman, most of her public appearances were restricted to Billy Graham’s rallies. She died in 1977 at the age of 80. Resarch more about this great ‎American shero and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 13 1908- Thomas Greene Wiggins

GM – FBF – Black Music Month is almost over and you have listened to and viewed some of the great Individual artists of our time. When I was getting my first Master’s in Wisconsin, Radio & Television Broadcasting. My teacher would always single me out since I was working on one of the biggest radio stations in the mid-west and he asked me did I know about “The Last Slave” and played :30 seconds of “The Battle of Manassas” being embarrassed I listened to Tom Wiggins, George Washington Johnson, Scott Joplin and W.C. Handy. Today let’s gain knowledge of “The Last Slave”, Enjoy!

Remember – Ray Charles attended school at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine from 1937 to 1945 and his musical teacher Mrs. Lawrence would play some old beautiful songs by “The Last Slave” and always told me that I could be just as good as “Blind Tom Wiggins”, I set out to be better – Ray Charles

Today in our History – June 13, 1908 – THE LAST SLAVE DIES

Thomas Greene Wiggins was born May 25, 1849 to Mungo and Charity Wiggins, slaves on a Georgia plantation. He was blind and autistic but a musical genius with a phenomenal memory. In 1850 Tom, his parents, and two brothers were sold to James Neil Bethune,a lawyer and newspaper editor in Columbus, Georgia. Young Tom was fascinated by music and other sounds, and could pick out tunes on the piano by the age of four. He made his concert debut at eight, performing in Atlanta.
In 1858 Tom was hired out as a slave-musician, at a price of $15,000. In 1859, at the age of 10, he became the first African American performer to play at the White House when he gave a concert before President James Buchanan. His piano pieces “Oliver Galop” and “Virginia” Polka” were published in 1860. During the Civil War he was back with his owner, raising funds for Confederate relief. By 1863 he played his own composition, “Battle of Manassas.” . This continued guardianship of Blind Tom by the Bethune family following emancipation caused some to refer to Wiggins as “the last slave.” 
By 1865, 16-year-old Tom Wiggins, now “indentured” to James Bethune, could play difficult works of Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, and Thalberg. He also played pieces after one hearing, and memorized poems and text in foreign languages. Advertising claimed Tom was untaught, but in fact he was tutored by a Professor of Music who traveled with him.
James Neil Bethune took Tom Wiggins to Europe where he collected testimonials from music critics Ignaz Moscheles and Charles Halle, which were printed in a booklet “The Marvelous Musical Prodigy Blind Tom.” With these and other endorsements, Blind Tom Wiggins became an internationally recognized performer. By 1868 Tom and the Bethune family lived on a Virginia farm in the summer, while touring the United States and Canada the rest of the year, averaging $50,000 annually in concert revenue. James Bethune eventually lost custody of Tom to his late son’s ex-wife, Eliza Bethune. Charity Wiggins, Tom’s mother, was a party to the suit, but she did not win control of her son or his income.
Blind Tom Wiggins gave his last performance in 1905.

He died three years later on June 13, 1908 at the age of 59 at his manager’s home in Hoboken, New Jersey. Blind Tom’s story became the subject of great interest around the turn of the twenty-first century. Articles about him have appeared in such periodicals as the New Yorker and the Oxford American, and in 1999 pianist John Davis made a new recording of fourteen of Blind Tom’s original pieces. In 2002 the 7 Stages Theatre in Atlanta produced a play based on Wiggins’s life entitled Hush: Composing Blind Tom Wiggins. Columbus State University holds a small collection of Blind Tom’s original sheet music. Research more about this great American artist and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 12 or 13 1893- Amanda America Dickson

GM- FBF – Today I will examine one of the great American History Stories. The story you are about to read is part my own DNA. Although on my Father’s side of the family many people say that is part of my family tree. Amanda American Dickerson Toomer had a lot challanges in her life. Enjoy!

Remember – I had to go to all of the courts, just to keep the money my Father left me. – Amanda America Dickson

Today in our History – June 12 or 13,1893 – Amanda America Dickson: Mixed Experience History Month. Amanda America Dickson Toomer dies (1849 – 1893).

Heiress and socialite Amanda America Dickson Toomer was, in her time, the wealthiest African Aerican woman in Georgia, and one of the wealthiest women in the United States.

Born November 20, 1849, on the Dickson Plantation, near Sparta, Georgia (Hancock County), Amanda America was the product of her 12-year-old mother, an enslaved house servant, Julia Francis Lewis, and 40-year-old David Dickson, a well-known agricultural reformer of that era and one of the wealthiest planters in the area. In her youth, Amanda was taken into the Dickson family home and raised by her paternal grandmother where she was taught to read, write, and play the piano. According to Dickson family tradition, David Dickson eventually doted on his only daughter.

In 1866, 17-year-old Amanda married her white first cousin, Charles Eubanks, a recently returned Confederate Army veteran and together they had two children, Julian Henry and Charles Green. It was an unhappy marriage, and in 1870, Amanda left her husband, and returned to the Dickson Plantation, where she was legally given the surname of Dickson for herself and her sons. Eubanks died two years later.

Dickson left home briefly again between the years of 1876 and 1878, to attend the Normal School of Atlanta University. When her father David Dickson died in 1885, and his will was read, it was revealed that he left all of his property, over 15,000 acres of land in Hancock and Washington Counties as well as his personal possessions, and money, together estimated at slightly over $300,000, to his daughter Amanda Dickson and her two sons. Although the will specifically warned Dickson family members not to contest his wishes, 79 relatives filed a lawsuit to prevent Amanda Dickson from inheriting the property.

The Superior Court of Hancock County upheld her claim and the family appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court. That court ruled in 1887 that Amanda Dickson was legally entitled to the inheritance under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that property rights are equal for blacks and whites, including the offspring of black and white citizens.

On July 15, 1886, before the Georgia Supreme Court ruling, pressure from other family members forced Dickson to leave the family plantation where she had spent most of her life. She moved to Augusta, Georgia before the town mandated residential segregation by race and purchased a large brick home at 484 Telfair Street, in the most prominent neighborhood in the city.

On July 14, 1892, Amanda married Nathan Toomer of Perry, Georgia. Born in 1839 in Chatham County, North Carolina, Toomer had been the slave of Richard Pilkinson of Chatham County, North Carolina but was later sold to John Toomer of Houston County, Georgia. When John Toomer died, he became the property of Colonel Henry Toomer, John’s brother. 
Amanda and Nathan were married about a year when Amanda America Dickson Toomer died on June 11or 12 1893, in Augusta from neurasthenia, or nervous exhaustion, considered to be caused by an unbearably hot train ride home from a month’s stay in Baltimore, Maryland for her health.

She was only 43 years old. Amanda America Dickson Toomer was buried in her wedding dress, in a metallic coffin, which was lined in rose colored plush fabric. The funeral was held at Trinity Colored Methodist Church, and she is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery, Richmond County, Georgia. Nathan Toomer later married Nina Pinchback. The couple had one son, the prominent Harlem (New York) Renaissance author Jean Toomer.

Dickson’s biography titled Woman of Color, Daughter of Privilege: Amanda America Dickson 1849-1893, Dickson defined herself as a “no nation” among both her black relatives and white relatives. When her father died in 1885, he left the bulk of his estate to Dickson (estimated at more than $300,000 plus land). White relatives contested the will, but ultimately lost their lawsuit in the Georgia Supreme Court which ruled: the “rights of each race were controlled and governed by the same enactment on principles of the law.” In 1892, Dickson married Nathan Toomer, a wealthy man of color, who fathered Harlem Renaissance writer Jean Toomer later in life (with Nina Pinchback). The movie A House Divided, starring Jennifer Beals, is based on Dickson’s life.

Research more about great woman of American History and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!