GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was a person that made a lot of kids and adults smile. It didn’t have to be a holiday but when it came to eating he was the person everyone respected. Necessity is the mother of invention and in 1875 this person discovered that there was a much better way to cut and shape biscuits than forming each one individually by hand. he, a black dry goods grocer from Oakland, California may be famous for inventing the process of refining coconut oil, but we honor him this month for inventing the modern biscuit cutter!Today in our History – November 30, 1875 – Alexander P. Ashbourne patented the first biscuit cutter. It consisted of a board to roll the biscuits out on, which was hinged to a metal plate with various biscuit cutter shapes mounted to it.Necessity is the mother of invention and in 1875 Alexander P. Ashbourne discovered that there was a much better way to cut and shape biscuits than forming each one individually by hand. Ashbourne, a black dry goods grocer from Oakland, California may be famous for inventing the process of refining coconut oil, but we honor him this month for inventing the modern biscuit cutter!Before Ashbourne’s innovation biscuit dough had been rolled out and the biscuits themselves were either cut into squares or pulled apart and formed by hand individually… for thousands of years, all the way back to the Roman Empire! It wasn’t until Ashbourne cleverly developed this famously useful invention that bakers could roll out and cut entire batches of biscuits in just a few motions.This revolutionary new tool paved the way for bakers who needed to produce their biscuits and other baked goods in bulk. With just one downward push bakers could cut out dozens of biscuits and prepare enough for all of their hungry customers quickly!Ashbourne, an African American grocery store owner in Oakland, Calif., received U.S. Patent No. 170,460 on Nov. 30, 1875. According to the Southern Foodways Alliance (an organization that reveres biscuits and gravy and barbecue and such), “His spring-loaded cutter consisted of a board to load and unload biscuits, and a metal plate with various shapes.”The cook could push down on the plate to cut the dough into shapes.”And all you paleos out there have yet another reason to thank Mr. Ashbourne. Between 1875 and 1880, he patented three additional inventions that improved on the process of preparing, treating and refining coconut oil for domestic use.A biscuit cutter is a kitchen tool used to cut biscuit dough into even shapes. A biscuit cutter is similar to a cookie cutter, except that you use it to cut biscuit dough instead of cookie dough. The biscuit cutter was invented in 1875 by Alexander P. Ashbourne, an African-American inventor and dry goods grocer from Oakland, California.Biscuit cutters can be made out of both metal and plastic. They are generally round. Their sides can be either straight or fluted. The purpose of the biscuit cutter is to ensure that each biscuit from a batch is the same size. This helps ensure that the biscuits will cook evenly. If biscuits are different sizes, they may cook at different rates, resulting in a batch where some biscuits are overcooked and some are overdone. Some biscuit cutters come in decorative shapes, like hearts or stars. To prevent biscuit dough from sticking to the sides of your biscuit cutter, dip it in flour before you cut.The biscuit dates back to Roman times. Its name means “twice-cooked” in Latin. The American biscuit is different from the British biscuit — in Britain, “biscuit” means a cracker or cookie, while in America, a biscuit is a quick bread made using either yeast, baking soda or baking powder. The American biscuit emerged in the 1800s and was especially popular in the South. Cooks would mix their biscuits and then roll and shape them by hand. In 1875, Alexander P. Ashbourne patented the first biscuit cutter. It consisted of a board to roll the biscuits out on, which was hinged to a metal plate with various biscuit cutter shapes mounted to it.After you rolled the biscuits out, you brought the plate down on the dough, creating many biscuit shapes at once. The cutters were spring-loaded, allowing the biscuit shapes to be easily released. The biscuit cutter also came with a space to store your rolling pin.Today, biscuit cutters are much simpler — perhaps because biscuits are less common, and we make them in smaller quantities.After the Civil War, many African-Americans entrepreneurs entered the food industry. Emancipation meant that African-Americans could move to different regions, pursue higher education, and start businesses. Many African-Americans started catering businesses or became grocers. They also created many food-related inventions.Besides Ashbourne’s biscuit cutter, African-American inventors of the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s also patented bread-making machines, the ice-cream scoop, dough-kneaders, lemon-squeezers, the lunch pail, the refrigerator, the corn silker and the egg beater.Cookie cutters are a good substitute for a biscuit cutter, although it’s important to use the simplest cookie cutter shapes possible. You can cut biscuits into detailed shapes, but that detail will be lost once the biscuits have cooked. This is because biscuits rise so much during baking. Empty, clean tomato paste cans can also be used. These will result in small, round biscuits.In addition to inventing the biscuit cutter, Ashbourne also patented processes for treating and refining coconut oil. Share with your babies and make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American novelist, playwright, and actress, acknowledged as “the only African-American woman to have written, produced, and published plays for four decades.” Childress described her work as trying to portray the have-nots in a have society, saying: “My writing attempts to interpret the ‘ordinary’ because they are not ordinary. Each human is uniquely different. Like snowflakes, the human pattern is never cast twice.We are uncommonly and marvellously intricate in thought and action, our problems are most complex and, too often, silently borne.” Childress also became involved in social causes, and formed an off-Broadway union for actors. Alice Childress’s paper archive is held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, NY. Today in our History – November 29. 1955 – Alice Childress (October 12, 1916 – August 14, 1994) – Alice Childress becomes the first African American woman to receive an Obie Award for her play “Trouble in Mind”. Childress (née Herndon) was born in Charleston, South Carolina, but at the age of nine, after her parents separated, she moved to Harlem where she lived with her grandmother, Eliza Campbell White, on 118th Street, between Lenox Avenue and Fifth Avenue.Though her grandmother, the daughter of a slave, had no formal education, she encouraged Alice to pursue her talents in reading and writing. Alice attended public school in New York for her middle-school education and went on to Wadleigh High School, but had to drop out once her grandmother died. She became involved in theater immediately after her high school and she did not attend college. She took odd jobs to pay for herself, including domestic worker, photo retoucher, assistant machinist, saleslady, and insurance agent. In 1939, she studied Drama in the American Negro Theatre (ANT), and performed there for 11 years. She acted in Abram Hill and John Silvera’s On Strivers Row (1940), Theodore Brown’s Natural Man (1941), and Philip Yordan’s Anna Lucasta (1944). There she won acclaim as an actress in numerous other productions, and moved to Broadway with the transfer of ANT’s hit Anna Lucasta, which became the longest-running all-black play in Broadway history among a cast that also included Hilda Simms, Canada Lee, Georgia Burke, Earle Hyman and Frederick O’Neal. Though many biographies list her as having won a Tony award nomination for her starring performance, this does not turn out to be the case.In 1949 she began her writing career with the one-act play Florence, which she directed and starred in, and which reflected many of the themes that are characteristic of her later writing, including the empowerment of black women, interracial politics, and working-class life. In Florence, a black, Southern, working-class woman, Mama Whitney, decides to travel by train from South Carolina to New York City to retrieve her daughter, Florence, who is a struggling actor. However, after a white woman waiting for the same train offers to help Florence by recommending her for a job as a main, Mama Whitney decides to send her daughter money instead bringing her home. Childress’ goal in writing Florence was to “settle an argument with fellow actors (Sidney Poitier among others) who said that in a play about Negroes and whites, only a ‘life and death thing’ like lynching is interesting on stage.” Her 1950 play, Just a Little Simple, was adapted from the Langston Hughes novel Simple Speaks His Mind and was produced in Harlem at the Club Baron Theatre. Her next play, Gold Through the Trees (1952), gave her the distinction of being one of the first African-American women to have worked professionally produced on the New York stage. The success of these plays enabled her to bring Harlem’s first all-union off-Broadway contracts into practice. Childress’s first full-length, dramatic play, Trouble in Mind was produced at Stella Holt’s Greenwich Mews Theatre in 1955 and ran for 91 performances. Again, reports of her awards have been exaggerated or mistaken: Biographies and even her 1994 obituary claimed that Trouble in Mind won an Obie award for the best off-Broadway play of the 1955–56 season, which would have made Childress the first African-American woman to be awarded the honor, but the Obie Awards have investigated the claim and found no record of any award going to Childress. Trouble in Mind is about racism in the theater world. In a play with-in-a-play, Childress depicts the frustrations of black actors and actresses in mainstream white theater. She completed her next dramatic work, Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, in 1962. Its setting is South Carolina during World War I and deals with a forbidden interracial love affair. Due to the scandalous nature of the show and the stark realism it presented, it was impossible for Childress to get any theatre in New York to stage it. The show premiered in 1966 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and was also produced in Chicago. It was not until 1972 that it played in New York at the New York Shakespeare Festival, starring Ruby Dee. It was later filmed and shown on TV, but many stations refused to play it. In 1965, Childress was featured in the BBC presentation The Negro in the American Theatre. From 1966 to 1968, she was a scholar-in-residence at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University. In conjunction with her composer husband, Nathan Woodard, she wrote a number of musical plays, including Young Martin Luther King (originally entitled The Freedom Drum) in 1968 and Sea Island Song (1977). Alice Childress is also known for her young adult novels, among which are Those Other People (1989) and A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich (1973). She adapted the latter as a screenplay for the 1978 feature film also entitled A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ but a Sandwich, starring Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield. Her 1979 novel A Short Walk was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She had used the names Louise Henderson and Alice Herndon before her marriage in 1934 to actor Alvin Childress. The couple had a daughter together, Jean R. Childress, and divorced in 1957, when musician Nathan Woodard became her second husband. She died of cancer, aged 77, at Astoria General Hospital in Queens, New York. At the time of her death she was working on a story about her African great-grandmother, Ani-Campbell, who had been a slave, and her Scots-Irish great-grandmother. Research more about this great American Champion and share it wih your babies. Make it a champion day!
Today’s American Champion was a former slave and the first president of Huntsville Normal School, which is today Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in Normal, Alabama. Today in our History – November 28, 1887 – William Hooper Councill (July 12, 1848 – 1909) was named President of Huntsville Normal School.He was born a slave in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on July 12, 1848 to William and Mary Jane Councill. His father escaped to Canada in 1854 and made several unsuccessful attempts to free his family.The young William Hooper Councill was taken to Huntsville, Alabama by slave traders in 1857. He and his mother and brothers were sold as slaves from the auction block at Green Bottom Inn to Judge David Campbell Humphreys. At this auction he saw two of his brothers sold in 1857, and never heard from them again. During the American Civil War, he and his remaining brothers were taken into rural areas to keep them from the Union Army, but before the end of the war they escaped to Union lines. They attended on a part-time basis the Freedmen’s Bureau school opened by northerners in Stevenson, Alabama in 1865, where Councill remained until 1867, when he began teaching.He was the first person to teach a school for black students outside of a city in northern Alabama – a position which caused frequent trouble with the Ku Klux Klan. Councill helped start the Lincoln School, four miles west of Huntsville, in 1868, which had 36 students by 1870. During Reconstruction after the American Civil War, he held minor political positions in Alabama, serving as assistant enrollment clerk in the Alabama legislature in 1872 and 1874. He was a secretary of the Colored National Civil Rights Convention in Washington, DC in 1873. He taught for a time at Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia and edited a newspaper, the Negro Watchman in 187 in Huntsville.Councill used his connections in the Democratic Party and state legislature to gain approval for his plan for the State Normal School for Negroes in 1875, becoming its principal and, later, president. He was appointed notary public by Governor Rufus W. Cobb in 1882. In 1883, he was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Alabama. In 1884 he married Maria H. Wheeden from Huntsville. As a contemporary of Booker T. Washington, he and Washington (who performed research at Tuskeegee Institute) often competed for favors and funds from the Alabama Legislature and northern philanthropists. In 1887 Councill attracted wide attention when he complained to the Interstate Commerce Commission of harsh treatment on the Alabama railroad. That action later prompted his superiors to relieve him of his duties as president of AAMU for one year. That experience may have helped alter his position on the proper role for a Black man to play in the South during that era, because afterwards, he advocated accommodation and acceptance of his “unctuous sycophancy”, which prompted Washington to characterize him as “simply toadying to White people.” He served at AAMU until 1909, although Solomon T. Clanton served as acting president in 1903 when Council was ill. Under his leadership, AAMU was second only to Tuskegee Institute in size among Alabama Negro industrial schools.Councill compiled the illustrated cultural history book Lamp of Wisdom; or Race History Illustrated in 1898. It was published by J. T. Haley of Nashville. Councill died on April 9, 1909, following a long illness. He was buried on the campus of AAMU, where he had served as president for 32 years. His wife Maria was buried alongside him after she passed away in 1910. Councill is celebrated every May at AAMU on Founder’s Day, which includes events honoring his contributions to the university and African American education. The first public school for African Americans in Huntsville was named William Hooper Councill High School in Councill’s honor. Originally founded in 1867, the school closed due to integration, with the last class graduating in 1966. The high school building is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.In 2018 the William Hooper Councill Alumni Association broke ground on the William Hooper Councill High School Memorial Park, located on the school’s original site. The design mirrors the original floor plan of the school, with paths and benches incorporating bricks from the last school building that had remained on site. Initial work on the park began in 2019, and city officials have announced that in the future the park will feature sculptures of Councill as well as students from Councill High School. In 2020 AMMU announced the construction of the William Hooper Councill Eternal Flame Memorial, which was described as “a lasting tribute to the visionary founder of AAMU and his enduring fight for education that has positively impacted the United States and beyond.” The Memorial will include a new structure erected at the current gravesite, with the eternal flame set in the center of a walkway. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make It A Champion Day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American singer, songwriter, actress, pianist, and civil rights activist. Franklin began her career as a child singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was a minister. At the age of 18, she embarked on a secular-music career as a recording artist for Columbia Records. While Franklin’s career did not immediately flourish, she found acclaim and commercial success after signing with Atlantic Records in 1966. Hit songs such as “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”, “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “Chain of Fools”, “Think”, and “I Say a Little Prayer” propelled her past her musical peers. By the end of the 1960s, Aretha Franklin had come to be known as the “Queen of Soul”.Franklin continued to record acclaimed albums such as I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967), Lady Soul (1968), Spirit in the Dark (1970), Young, Gifted and Black (1972), Amazing Grace (1972), and Sparkle (1976) before experiencing problems with her record company. Franklin left Atlantic in 1979 and signed with Arista Records. She appeared in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers before releasing the successful albums Jump to It (1982), Who’s Zoomin’ Who? (1985), and Aretha (1986) on the Arista label. In 1998, Franklin returned to the Top 40 with the Lauryn Hill-produced song “A Rose Is Still a Rose”; later, she released an album of the same name which was certified gold. That same year, Franklin earned international acclaim for her performance of “Nessun dorma” at the Grammy Awards; she filled in at the last minute for Luciano Pavarotti, who canceled his appearance after the show had already begun. In a widely noted performance, she paid tribute to 2015 honoree Carole King by singing “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center Honors.Franklin recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top-ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries, and 20 number-one R&B singles. Besides the foregoing, Franklin’s well-known hits also include “Ain’t No Way”, “Call Me”, “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”, “Spanish Harlem”, “Rock Steady”, “Day Dreaming”, “Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”, “Something He Can Feel”, “Jump to It”, “Freeway of Love”, “Who’s Zoomin’ Who”, and “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” (a duet with George Michael). She won 18 Grammy Awards, including the first eight awards given for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (1968–1975). Franklin is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide. Franklin received numerous honors throughout her career. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1987, she became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She also was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012. In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine ranked her number one on its list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” and number nine on its list of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2019 awarded Franklin a posthumous special citation “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades”.Today in our History – November 27, – Rolling Stone magazine, which ranks Aretha Franklin as the number one on its list of 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.A gifted singer and pianist, Aretha Franklin toured with her father’s traveling revival show and later visited New York, where she signed with Columbia Records. Franklin went on to release several popular singles, many of which are now considered classics. In 1987 she became the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2008 she won her 18th Grammy Award, making her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history.The fourth of five children, Aretha Louise Franklin was born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Baptist preacher Reverend Clarence La Vaughan “C. L.” Franklin and Barbara Siggers Franklin, a gospel singer. Franklin’s parents separated by the time she was six, and four years later her mother succumbed to a heart attack. Guided by C. L.’s preaching assignments, the family relocated to Detroit, Michigan. C. L. eventually landed at New Bethel Baptist Church, where he gained national renown as a preacher.Franklin’s musical gifts became apparent at an early age. Largely self-taught, she was regarded as a child prodigy. A gifted pianist with a powerful voice, Franklin got her start singing in front of her father’s congregation. By the age of 14, she had recorded some of her earliest tracks at his church, which were released by a small label as the album Songs of Faith in 1956. She also performed with C. L.’s traveling revival show and, while on tour, befriended gospel greats such as Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke and Clara Ward.But life on the road also exposed Franklin to adult behaviors, and at the age of 14, she became a mother for the first time with a son, Clarence. A second child, Edward, followed two years later — with both sons taking her family’s name. Franklin would later have two more sons: Ted White, Jr. and Kecalf Cunningham.But by 1975, Franklin’s sound was fading into the background with the onset of the disco craze, and an emerging set of young Black singers, such as Chaka Khan and Donna Summer, began to eclipse Franklin’s career. She did, however, find a brief respite from slumping sales with the 1976 soundtrack to the Warner Brothers film Sparkle — which topped the R&B charts and made the Top 20 in pop — as well as an invitation to perform at the 1977 presidential inauguration of Jimmy Carter. In 1978 she also married actor Glynn Turman.A string of chart failures ended Franklin’s relationship with Atlantic in 1979. The same year, her father was hospitalized after a burglary attempt in his home left him in a coma. As her popularity waned and her father’s health declined, Franklin was also saddled with a massive bill from the IRS. However, a cameo in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers helped Franklin revive her flagging career. Performing “Think” alongside comedians John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd exposed her to a new generation of R&B lovers, and she soon signed to Arista Records.Her new label released 1982’s Jump To It, an album that enjoyed huge success on the R&B charts and earned Franklin a Grammy nomination. Two years later, she endured a divorce from Turman as well as the death of her father.In 2008 she received her 18th Grammy Award for “Never Gonna Break My Faith” — a collaboration with Mary J. Blige — and was tapped to sing at the 2009 presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.With 18 Grammys under her belt, Franklin is one of the most honored artists in Grammy history, ranked among the likes of Alison Krauss, Adele and Beyoncé Knowles. In 2011 Franklin released her first album on her own label, A Woman Falling Out of Love. To support the project, she performed several concerts, including a two-night stint at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York. With fans and critics alike impressed with her performances, she successfully proved that the Queen of Soul still reigned supreme.’Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics’In 2014 Franklin underscored that point with Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, which reached No. 13 on the pop charts and No. 3 R&B. In February 2017, the 74-year-old Queen of Soul told Detroit radio station WDIV Local 4 that she was collaborating with Stevie Wonder to release a new album.“I must tell you, I am retiring this year,” she said in the interview, adding: “I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from and where it is now. I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”In January 2018, it was announced that Franklin had hand-picked singer and actress Jennifer Hudson to play her in an upcoming biopic.On August 12, 2018, it was reported that a “gravely ill” Franklin was bedridden in her Detroit home, surrounded by family and friends. As news of her condition spread, more luminaries paid a visit to express their well wishes, including Wonder and Jesse Jackson.Four days later, on the morning of August 16, Franklin succumbed to her illness, which her family revealed to be pancreatic cancer. A public viewing was held later that month at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, with fans camping out overnight for the chance to pay their respects to the iconic singer. Her televised funeral was set to be held at the city’s Greater Grace Temple on August 31, with Wonder, Khan and Hudson among the scheduled performers, and Jackson, Clinton and Smokey Robinson highlighting the list of speakers. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was Dr. McFarlin founded the Black Storytellers of San Diego, Inc. (BSSD) 15 years ago. As an affiliate of the National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS) headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, their mission is to promote storytelling through education and entertainment, inspire through the power of the word and to keep African/African American culture and traditions alive and connected by telling and teaching stories. Under Dr. McFarlin’s leadership, the Storytellers provided acclaimed performances and presentations primarily throughout San Diego County. They have performed in classrooms, Head Start programs, homeless shelters, military bases, funeral services and hospitals. BSSD, Inc. collaborators have included Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library, National University, Grossmont College, University of San Diego, UCSD, San Diego Women’s Chorus, The Joe & Vi Jacobs Center, and San Diego Museums. Today in our History – November 26, 2013 – Doctor Annjeannette Sophie McFarlin dies.As a child, Annjennette McFarlin loved listening to stories told by the grown-ups in her life. She grew up to teach speech to college students and become a storyteller herself. In her rich, resounding voice, she told tales of everything from African folklore to a rap version of Little Red Riding Hood.In the late 1990s, she helped start Black Storytellers of San Diego Inc., an affiliate of the national association based in Baltimore. The group holds free storytelling sessions at local libraries and schools.”She was the heartbeat of the operation,” said longtime friend and colleague Maxine Sherard. “She brought it alive.”In a 2006 interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, Dr. McFarlin said of storytelling, “It allows people to take a trip with me and never leave their chairs. You can see it in their eyes, can feel it vibrate off them as they respond to the words and images.”Dr. McFarlin died after months of ill health on Nov. 27 at her home in Chula Vista. She was 78.Weeks before her death, she appeared at the PTE-HOPE Inc. multicultural fair, an event she performed at since its inception in 2007.”Our diverse community will miss her profound cultural wisdom and her kindness,” said Marissa Acierto, business manager of PTE-HOPE Inc. “Her outreach efforts have been a treasure.”Annjennette Sophie McFarlin was born July 14, 1935, in Pensacola, Fla., the eldest of three to Clifford and Thecimar McFarlin. Part of the wave during World War II of African Americans migrating West to find work, she and her family arrived in Chula Vista in the early 1940s, making the trip on a segregated train.A San Diego High School graduate, she eyed a nursing career when she took a speech class at East Los Angeles Community College in 1962 and found her passion for communications. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Long Beach, a master’s degree from UCLA, and in 1975, a doctorate in rhetorical studies from Washington State University.She penned the book, “Black Congressional Reconstruction Orators and Their Orations” and was considered the first recognized scholar of orator Hallie Quinn Brown.”It was significant research, and she was proud of that,” said longtime friend Joyce Suber.Dr. McFarlin taught at Northern Illinois University, Southwestern College, the University of New Hampshire, SDSU, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Washington State University and Grossmont College, where she was chairman of the speech department from 1978 until her retirement in 2002. She was director of the San Diego-Imperial County Community College Association Regional Faculty Internship Project from 1994 to 2002.Through her firm, Adjua Associates, Dr. McFarlin provided communications services to individuals, businesses, universities and public schools. In 1986, she received a San Diego County Black Achievement Award for her work in community education.”She will be missed by the educational community as well as the San Diego community for her dedication and passion for students and for her love of learning,” said Donna Arnold, dean of the School of Arts and Communication at Southwestern College.Dr. McFarlin is survived by a daughter, Annjennette Elizabeth McFarlin, sister Linda Brown, and a brother, Michael McFarlin, all of Chula Vista. Resrearch more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American pop and dance music singer. She was the lead singer of the Eurodance group La Bouche from 1994 to 2000, alongside American rapper Lane McCray. Their two most successful singles, “Be My Lover” and “Sweet Dreams”, were released in 1994 and 1995 respectively. After leaving the band, she began a solo career and found success primarily in European countries before her death in 2001. Her solo hits include “Love How You Love Me”, “Heartbeat” and “Wonderful Dream (Holidays are Coming)”.On the night of November 25, 2001, shortly after the final performance in Leipzig, she was among the twenty four passengers that were killed in the crash of Swiss airline’s Crossair Flight 3597 in Bassersdorf, Switzerland.Today in our History – November 25, 2001 – Melanie Janene Thornton (May 13, 1967 – November 25, 2001) dies.Thornton was born in Charleston, South Carolina and began studying voice from the age of six, as well as learning to play the piano and the clarinet. Inspired by singers whom she idolized and grew up listening to such as Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack Thornton would mimic the female vocalists she watched on television and/or heard on radio. Later on she financed her college studies with appearances in talent shows and smaller band concerts. Throughout that period, she frequented a club called The Peacock Lounge, getting up and doing jam sessions when the live band invited people up to sing.She had long dreamed of a career in music and in February 1992, Thornton went to Germany. Her sister lived there with her U.S. Army husband and Thornton had dual citizenship in Germany and the United States. Her uncle, Bob Chisolm, a singer and piano player, encouraged her to give the German nightclub circuit a try.She had been singing in a Macon, Ga., band, Danger Zone, pulling down $50 on a good night. However, Bob Chisolm told her that on a bad night in Germany she would make $150. Thornton provided guest vocals for a lot of dance projects on their single releases, such as Orange Blue’s “If You Wanna Be (My Only)”, Comic’s “I Surrender to Your Love”, 100%’s “Power of the Light”, Trance-Vision’s “Take Me 2 Heaven 2 Nite” or Men Behind’s “Feel the life” and “How Can I.”Thornton tried it and soon found work in studios recording demos. It was her recording of the song “Sweet Dreams” that caught the attention of producer Frank Farian, the mastermind of the infamous 1980s duo Milli Vanilli. Farian took her under his wing, teaming her with rapper Lane McCray in the duo La Bouche, which is French for “The Mouth”. La Bouche went on to become one of the biggest Eurodance groups of the 1990s, with a string of hits, worldwide. They released two studio albums “Sweet Dreams” and “S.O.S.”, with “A Moment of Love” being the European version of “S.O.S.”, the remix album “All Mixed Up” followed by a string of hits like “Sweet Dreams (Ola Ola E)”, “Be My Lover”, “Fallin’ in Love”, “I Love to Love”, “Bolingo (Love is in the Air)”, “You Won’t Forget Me” or “S.O.S.” In February 2000, she would leave La Bouche to be replaced by Natascha Wright as the new front-woman. Next to La Bouche, Thornton continued providing guest vocals on singles such as Orange Blue’s “Sunshine of My Life” and “Runaway”, 100%’s “The Way It Is” and on Le Click’s U.S. chart debut “Tonight is the Night” in 1995.She signed a record deal with Sony/Epic Records. Her first solo single was released in November 2000, titled “Love How You Love Me”, a ballad (the CD-maxi includes a few dance remixes). Thornton presented her new single on November 29, 2000 on the RTL Spendenmarathon, and on December 1 at the Dome in Berlin. The follow-up singles were “Heartbeat”, “Makin’ Oooh Oooh (Talking About Love)” and “Memories”. On May 7, 2001, Thornton released her first (and only) solo album entitled Ready to Fly under the label X-Cell, distributed by Sony/Epic Records. The album featured a mixture of soul and dance tracks that showed off her powerful voice. There was also a special edition of the album released later in 2001 featuring some remix bonus tracks and bonus songs such as the single “Wonderful Dream (Holidays Are Coming)”. Thornton continued to do club appearances in the United States under the billing “Melanie Thornton, formerly of La Bouche”. She was featured on Joy-Lab’s single release “Freedom (Free Your Mind)” in 2001.On the night of November 25, 2001, Thornton died in the crash of Crossair Flight 3597 near Zürich, Switzerland, at the age of 34. Thornton had given her final performance in Leipzig and immediately afterwards taken the flight from Berlin to Zürich for upcoming radio and TV appearances (among others, the broadcast Die Bar on TV3, which was cancelled) to promote her new single “Wonderful Dream (Holidays Are Coming)” (a Christmas ballad recorded for a German Coca-Cola TV commercial) and her album Ready to Fly. Thornton was laid to final rest in her native South Carolina, at Mount Pleasant Memorial Gardens, in Mount Pleasant, Charleston County, South Carolina.Although Thornton’s death occurred practically on the eve of that year’s Christmas season, Coca-Cola decided to stick with the commercial as planned. The original commercial has been aired in Germany every year since 2001 around Christmas time, and the song has been in the German single charts every year since. It has also aired in several other countries.On November 25, 2002, the single “In Your Life” by La Bouche with Thornton, returning posthumously on lead vocals, was released to commemorate the first anniversary of her death. Included is an “in memory” dedication from Lane McCray and SonyBmg/X-Cell Records. The single has been included in the first La Bouche “Best of” compilation (Credited as “La Bouche feat. Melanie Thornton”) on May 21, 2002.On December 1, 2003, another remix compilation called “Memories – Her Most Beautiful Ballads” has been released containing her ballads and songs in acoustic ballad versions. On April 2, 2007, the second La Bouche compilation “Greatest Hits” has been released. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was an American writer, and political activist who became an early leader of the Black Panther Party. In 1968, he wrote Soul on Ice, a collection of essays that, at the time of its publication, was praised by The New York Times Book Review as “brilliant and revealing”. He stated in Soul on Ice: “If a man like Malcolm X could change and repudiate racism, if I myself and other former Muslims can change, if young whites can change, then there is hope for America.” He went on to become a prominent member of the Black Panthers, having the titles Minister of Information and Head of the International Section of the Panthers, while a fugitive from the United States criminal justice system in Cuba and Algeria. He became a fugitive after leading an ambush on Oakland police officers, during which two officers were wounded. He was also wounded during the clash and Black Panther member Bobby Hutton was killed. As editor of the official Panthers’ newspaper, The Black Panther, his influence on the direction of the Party was rivaled only by founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. He and Newton eventually fell out with each other, resulting in a split that weakened the party. After spending seven years in exile in Cuba, Algeria, and France, he returned to the US in 1975, where he became involved in various religious groups (Unification Church and CARP) before finally joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as becoming a conservative Republican, appearing at Republican events.Today in our History – November 24, 1968 – Leroy Eldridge Cleaver (August 31, 1935 – May 1, 1998) – fled the U.S. for Algeria to avoid imprisonment on a parole violation.Eldridge Cleaver spent much of his youth in reform school and prisons in California. He began writing while incarcerated. Freed on parole, he joined the Black Panthers and published his prison essays in Soul on Ice. In 1968, he fled the country to avoid a return to prison. Cleaver was 62 when he died in Pomona, California, on May 1, 1998.Leroy Eldridge Cleaver was born on August 31, 1935, in Wabbaseka, Arkansas. Growing up, Cleaver witnessed his father beating his mother. Soon after a move to Los Angeles, California, his father left the family.As a teenager, Cleaver was charged with stealing a bicycle and sent to reform school. He would return for a second stay for selling marijuana. In 1954, Cleaver was sent to prison for possession of marijuana.During his incarceration, Cleaver began to develop his own political philosophy. After his release in 1957, he raped an unknown number of women, both black and white. He felt that his rapes of white women were “insurrectionary” rapes, justified by what African Americans had suffered under a system dominated by whites.In 1958, Cleaver was put behind bars once more, this time for assault. There, he became inspired by Malcolm X. He also began writing, detailing his continuing philosophical evolution. Though still passionate about rights for African Americans, he rejected the anger that had motivated his rapes. With the help of his lawyer, his compelling essays appeared in Ramparts magazine. His work gained the attention of supporters who pushed for Cleaver’s release, which happened when he was granted parole in 1966.In 1967, Cleaver joined the Black Panther Party as its minister of information. He became the voice of the activist group, coming up with attention-getting slogans and editing its newspaper. The next year, Soul on Ice, a collection of Cleaver’s prison writings, was released and became a bestseller.1963)On April 6, 1968, Cleaver was involved in a shoot-out with police that left a fellow Black Panther dead.At first jailed, he was soon released on bail, which allowed him to continue his run for president on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. However, Cleaver was then told he would have to return to custody.Rather than go back to prison, Cleaver fled to Cuba. During his time as a fugitive, he visited North Korea, North Vietnam, the Soviet Union and China. Cleaver also travelled to Algeria, where he set up an international office for the Black Panthers before being kicked out of the group in 1971.Cleaver next moved to France. He had a religious experience there before returning to the United States in 1975. He then proclaimed himself a born-again Christian, decried the socialist systems he had seen and wrote that “the American political system is the freest and most democratic in the world.” Cleaver’s charges from the shoot-out in 1968 were eventually reduced to assault and he was sentenced to community service.Cleaver’s later years saw him shift between different beliefs. He worked with Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and created “Christlam,” which combined aspects of Christianity and Islam. His politics changed as well. After joining the Republican party, he ran for office several times and supported Ronald Reagan — whom he had formerly denounced — as president.Cleaver also suffered from an addiction to cocaine. This resulted in several arrests, though he did not have to return to prison. A devastating head injury in 1994 — which may have occurred in a drug-related attack — prompted him to recommit to evangelical Christianity. Cleaver died in Pomona, California on May 1, 1998, at the age of 62. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was a 17-year-old high school student, it happened on November 23, 2012, at a Gate Petroleum gas station in Jacksonville, Florida, by Michael David Dunn, a 45-year-old software developer, following an argument over loud music played by him and his three friends.Dunn was convicted on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for firing at three other teenagers who were with him and one count of firing into a vehicle. The jury could not reach a verdict about whether to convict Dunn for the murder of him at the first trial. In a second trial, Dunn was found guilty of the first-degree murder of him.Today in our History – November 23, 2012 – Jordan Davis is murdered.The shooting of Jordan Davis took place in Jacksonville in Duval County. Around 7:30 p.m., four teenage boys (Leland Brunson, Jordan Davis, Tommie Stornes, and Tevin Thompson) stopped at a Gate Petroleum gas station. Stornes left the car running while he went into the store. Brunson, Davis and Thompson remained in the vehicle listening to music which was described as “very loud.” Michael Dunn and his girlfriend Rhonda Rouer pulled into the adjacent parking spot; Dunn was in the city for his son’s wedding. Rouer left the car to purchase white wine and chips. She testified that Dunn told her, “I hate that thug music” before she left the car for the store, although Dunn claims he used the phrase “rap crap.” The bass from loud hip-hop music (“Beef” by Lil Reese, Lil Durk and Fredo Santana) playing in the teens’ SUV annoyed Dunn, who asked for it to be turned down. The front seat passenger, Tevin Thompson, initially complied, but Jordan Davis requested the music to be turned back up. The argument continued and an independent witness overheard Dunn say, “You aren’t going to talk to me like that.” Dunn, who had a concealed weapons permit, took a handgun out of his glove compartment and started firing at Davis’s door, hitting him in the legs, lungs, and aorta.As the SUV backed up to evade his gunshots, Dunn opened his own door and continued firing at the car in shooter’s stance, later testifying that he still feared for his safety as well as that of Rouer, who was to return to the vehicle imminently. After the shooting, Stornes drove the SUV away to a nearby parking lot and stopped to find Davis “gasping for air”. Rouer returned to Dunn’s car and they went back to their hotel where they ordered pizza. Dunn did not contact the police. The next morning, Rouer saw a report about the shooting on the news, indicating that Jordan Davis had died.On the drive home, Dunn testified, he called a neighbor who works in law enforcement to arrange to speak to him about the shooting, but phone records indicate that the neighbor actually called him, and Rouer testified that the shooting was never mentioned during the call. Dunn returned to his home in Satellite Beach the following day at 10:30 a.m., where he was arrested after an eyewitness reported his license plate to police. After his arrest, Dunn claimed that Davis threatened him with a “gun or a stick.” Dunn’s girlfriend said no such item was mentioned to her at any point. Investigators later searched the boy’s SUV and found no weapons. Davis’s friends testified that he could not have opened his door because the child lock was set. Contrary to Dunn’s claim that he mentioned a weapon to Rouer several times, she testified that he never mentioned a gun either that night or the next day. Shortly after Davis’s death, his parents, Ron Davis and Lucy McBath, and some of the other vehicle occupants, filed civil complaints against Dunn. They were represented by John Michael Phillips in wrongful death and defamation lawsuits against Dunn. The cases were settled for an undisclosed amount in January 2014. Dunn’s insurance company, Progressive Select Insurance, challenged its duty to cover the lawsuit, but dismissed its lawsuit in conjunction with the settlement. In his criminal trial, Dunn had been declared “broke”.In closing arguments at the first trial, the defense lawyer for Michael Dunn cited the language of Florida’s stand-your-ground law. On February 15, 2014, after more than 30 hours of deliberation, the jury found Dunn guilty on the three counts of attempted murder. The jury could not reach an agreement on the charge of first-degree murder, and the judge declared a mistrial on that count. Florida state attorney Angela Corey stated that her office would seek a retrial for this charge. Dunn’s attorney subsequently requested that sentencing on the four counts of which Dunn already had been convicted be delayed until after Dunn’s retrial.Dunn faced up to 75 years in prison on these counts: up to 20 years for each count of attempted second-degree murder, and up to 15 years for firing into a vehicle. Jury selection in Dunn’s retrial began on September 22, 2014, and opening statements took place on September 25. Dunn was found guilty on October 1, 2014, at the conclusion of the retrial. Dunn was given a sentence of life in prison without parole plus 90 years. Following the trial, Dunn’s attorney filed for appeal with the First District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida. On November 17, 2016, his appeal was denied. Dunn’s former neighbor, Charles Hendrix, said he was not surprised by his behavior. Hendrix commented on Dunn, whom he described as arrogant and controlling, adding that Dunn’s ex-wives told him that Dunn was violent and abusive toward them, although he never personally witnessed this. Hendrix spoke of a previous discussion where Dunn asked him if he knew anyone who would “take care of” someone who infuriated him in an unrelated incident, and Hendrix interpreted further discussion as Dunn wanting to send a hit on this person. Davis’ father Ron Davis said, “I’m in constant contact with Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, and I text Sybrina [Trayvon’s mother] all the time and I just want to let them know, every time I get justice for Jordan, it’s going to be justice for Trayvon, for us.” He said he wanted to confront Dunn in jail about his son’s murder. Rebecca Dunn, Dunn’s daughter, defended her father’s story, by her statement during an interview, “He is going to protect himself if he sees no other way than to bring out his gun, then that’s what he’s going to do.” She described Dunn as “a good man. He’s not a racist. He’s very loving.” Davis’ mother, Lucy McBath ran for Congress in Georgia’s 6th congressional district in 2018, running on a platform that included reform of gun laws; McBath cited the activism of students after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting as a reason for her run. She defeated incumbent Karen Handel, winning 160,139 votes (50.5%) to Handel’s 156,875 (49.5%).In January 2015, the documentary 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets (originally titled 3 ½ Minutes) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The documentary, directed by Marc Silver, explores the shooting, the trial, and Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws. The documentary won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The film distribution was sold to HBO. Davis’s story also features in the 2015 documentary film The Armor of Light, the directorial debut of Disney heir Abigail Disney. The film follows Rob Schenck, a pro-life Evangelical minister; Lucy McBath, the mother of teenager Jordan Davis; and attorney John Michael Phillips as they interact in the years after the shooting. It debates the question: Is it possible to be both pro-gun and pro-life?The Armor of Light premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2015 before opening theatrically on October 30, 2015. Research more about this great American tragedy and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion s an American former United States Secret Service agent – the first African-American Secret Service agent assigned to the Presidential Protective Division, appointed by John F. Kennedy in 1961.He was fired from the Secret Service after he was charged in 1964 with accepting a bribe in relation to a counterfeiting case he was involved with. Convicted by a jury, he was ultimately sentenced to six years in prison.Today in our History – November 22, 1963 – Abraham W. Bolden, was in Dallas, Texas assigned to President John F. Kennedy when he was assonated.Abraham Bolden Sr., the first African-American Secret Service agent assigned to the White House detail, still finds humor in his life, despite having faced formidable challenges that would have defeated a lesser man.Bolden served three years in prison after being convicted of giving government documents to a known criminal in exchange for $50,000.The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago retaliated against Bolden after he complained to no avail to his Secret Service bosses and later to the public that Secret Service agents failed to protect President John F. Kennedy on the day he was assassinated because some of them considered the President a ‘nigger lover’ who was changing the country.Some of Bolden’s white Secret Service colleagues fabricated the charge against him as part of an elaborate cover-up that followed JFK’s assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. He details the evidence in his book, The Echo from Dealey Plaza: The True Story of The first African American on the White House Secret Service Detail and His Quest for Justice after the Assassination of JFK. The book was published in 2008.Bolden is 79 and he walks with the assistance of a metal walker. He has suffered three heart attacks and he endures severe back pain. He lives in a brick bungalow on a quiet street in Chicago, where all of his neighbors know who he is.President Kennedy met Bolden at the door of the men’s room at McCormick Place, Chicago’s convention center that borders Lake Michigan.Bolden was guarding the men’s restroom on April 28, 1961, so it could only be used by top political officials. It was a job normally assigned to a uniformed Chicago policeman, but his fellow Secret Service agents wanted to demean Bolden by assigning him the task.“It was very difficult because I was African-American. I wasn’t wearing a uniform and many people did not believe I was a Secret Service agent,” he said.Bolden was standing at his assigned post when he heard a rumble of footsteps coming down the stairs.Leading the group was President Kennedy, followed by Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner and Ill. Sen. Paul Douglas and Chicago Congress¬man William L. Dawson.“I stepped aside. I didn’t say hello, Mr. President,” Bolden recalled. But President Kennedy followed Bolden and asked him if he was a Chicago police officer or a Secret Service agent.Bolden told the president he was a Secret Service agent. “Has there been a Secret Service agent assign¬ed on the White House detail?” President Kennedy asked. “Not to my knowledge,” Bolden answered. The President asked Bolden if he would like to be the first. The president shook Bol¬den’s hand and cameramen snap¬ped photographs, but those photos have since disappeared. “The Secret Service did not want me to be seen with the President,” he said.President Kennedy arranged for Bolden to be assigned to the White House Secret Service detail. The President told Pierre Salinger, White House press secretary, that Bolden was the Jackie Robinson of the U.S. Secret Service.When the Kennedy family vacationed at Hyannis Port, Mass., the agents all lived together in a house on the compound. As the agents were driving to the compound, Secret Service Agent Bob Foster saw a Black woman in an Air Force uniform. “Thar goes a nigger,” he shouted before realizing that Bolden was in the car. Foster covered his mouth. “I was there, but they did not see me,” he said of the other agents.Agent Harvey Henderson, however, did not shy away from calling Bolden vicious names. Henderson said, “‘I am going to tell you something, and I don’t want you to ever forget it,” Henderson said. “You were born a nigger, and when you die, you’ll still be a nigger. You will always be nothing but a nigger. So act like one! ‘“It was at the Kennedy compound that Bolden learned how much some of the agents hated the President, calling him a “nigger lover” who was pushing integration on the country. “They wanted Lyndon Johnson, who was Ken¬nedy’s vice president in the White House, because he was a Southerner.It was a turbulent period in the nation’s history. Blacks demonstrated to integrate stores, lunch counters and better-paying jobs. In return, they were being met by police with water hoses, billy clubs, snarling dogs and angry white crowds.Bolden remained on the White House detail only 30 days. “I did not want to go to Dallas because I feared something would happen,” said Bolden, explaining that a month before President Kennedy’s assassination quick online loans with no credit check on Nov. 22, 1963, United Nations Ambassador Adlai Stevenson II had been physically attacked in Dallas by right-wing extremists. Stevenson was serving as the governor of Illinois at the time.Bolden doesn’t think Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shot killing JFK. He believes there were two other shooters, one inside Dal-Tex Building, a seven-story building, across the street from the Texas School Book Depository, where Oswald was located. The third shooter was on the grassy knoll. Oswald, however, did not fire the fatal shot, and he did not know about the existence of the other two shooters, Bolden said.Abraham Zapruder, who filmed President Kennedy’s assassination, rented offices in the Dal-Tex Building. Several witnesses said they heard several shots being fired from the Dal-Tex Building at President Kennedy’s open limousine.Credible Evidence President Kennedy Was To Be Killed In Chicago Or MiamiBefore President Kennedy’s assassination, the Secret Service had credible evidence that a gunman would attempt to kill the President either in Chicago or Miami, Bolden said. The Chicago office of the Secret Service never acted on the threats, Bolden said.After President Kennedy’s assassination, the information was rewritten to show that there was a threat to President Lyndon John¬son, who succeeded President Kennedy.Bolden, who was 29 and idealistic, went public with his concern that the Secret Service did not adequately protect President Ken¬nedy. He thought the truth would win out, but bureaucracy didn’t seek the truth; it sought to protect itself.The Secret Service concocted the charges that Bolden was planning to sell government documents for $50,000 to Joseph Spagnoli, a known criminal who lived in Villa Park, Ill., a Chicago suburb. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a Campion day!
GM – FBF – Today’s American Champion was a black Angolan known for achieving wealth in the early 17th-century Colony of Virginia. He was one of the first African American property owners and had his right to legally own a slave recognized by the Virginia courts. Held as an indentured servant in 1621, he earned his freedom after several years, and was granted land by the colony.He later became a successful tobacco farmer in Maryland. He attained great wealth after completing his term as an indentured servant, and has been referred to as “‘the black patriarch’ of the first community of Negro property owners in America”.Today in our History – November 21, 1654 – Richard Johnson, a free black, granted 100 acres of land in Northampton County for importing two persons.In 1664, Anthony and Mary Johnson appear in the Northampton court records, two of the 62 Africans listed among the 450 odd “tithables” on the tax lists. From 1664 to 1677, there were 13 free African householders living in Northampton, including Anthony and Mary.When Anthony and Mary reappeared in the historical record, they had four children and claimed 250 acres of land due them for five head-rights of either person who were indentured servants on their estate or persons from whom they purchased their head-rights. One of the persons, Richard Johnson was probably their son.The abstract of the deed reads as follows:“‘ANTHONY JOHNSON, 250 acs. Northampton Co., 24 July 1651…At great Naswattock Cr., being a neck of land bounded on the S. W. by the maine Cr. & S.E. & N.W. by two small branches issueing out of the mayne Cr. Trans. Of 5 pers: Tho. Bemrose, Peter Bughby, Antho. Cripps, Jno Gesorroro, Richard Johnson (as cited in Bennett 1993:37).’”Following a fire that destroyed much of their plantation, in February of 1653, Anthony and Mary formally petitioned the court for tax relief. The Court excused Anthony from payment of “taxes and Charges in Northampton County” for Mary and their two daughters for the rest of their “naturall [sic] lives.” This was an extraordinary concession in a society that commonly believed only “wenches that are nasty and beastly,” meaning African women, alone should demean themselves in hard labor, and pay taxes from the income of their labor (Brown 1996:124–126).The Johnsons continued to live and work together as an extended family. They apparently claimed one another as in dentures in order to extend their land holdings. In 1652, for example, John Johnson patented 450 acres next to his father’s lands listing Mary Johnson as one of the indentures on the deed. Two years later Richard Johnson acquired a 100-acre tract next to his father and brother listing Anthony as one of the indentures upon which he was claiming head rights (Bennett 1993:37–38).The family made decisions together as in the case of a court dispute over John Casor, one of their laborers. At issue was whether Casor was a slave or an indentured servant. Court records indicate that “Anthony Johnson’s sonne-in law, his wife and twoe sonnes persuaded the old Negro Anthony Johnson to set said John Casor free now” (Henning as cited in Breen and Innes 1980:16–17). This passage seems to imply that Mary had a voice in decision-making, a cultural custom among matrilineal peoples of West Central Africa but unusual in the patriarchal English society (Birmingham 1981; Salmon 1988; Brown 1996).The family moved as a unit to Somerset County, Maryland in the mid-1660s. There Anthony leased a 300-acre plantation. When preparing to move to Maryland, the Johnsons gave their youngest son fifty acres of land to sell and thus assist him to establish himself in Maryland (Breen and Innes 1980).Although “Antonio the Negro” anglicized his name, to Anthony Johnson, baptized his children, and lived the life of an English planter, at the end of his life, when he named his last plantation “Tonies Vineyard,” he must have still thought of himself as Antonio.Not English to be sure, but not African either. “Antonio” was a name that bespoke of the Iberian influence on Congo and Angolan culture. He must have expressed some cultural resistance to his acculturated life, reminiscing about his homeland, passing on stories of his African origins to his grandson John Johnson Junior because in 1677, a decade or more after Anthony’s death, his grandson purchased a 44-acre tract that he called “Angola.”Old Anthony died soon after the Johnson extended family all moved to Somerset County, Maryland. In a society in which marriages were routinely broken by early death, Mary and Anthony lived together for forty years.After Anthony’s death, Mary assumed the central role in the family. She renegotiated the plantation lease agreement obtaining a ninety-nine year lease for payment of colony taxes and an annual rent of one ear of Indian corn. Before she moves off the stage of history, Mary’s last recorded act was to make a will, leaving cattle to her younger son and daughter (Breen and Innes 1980; Brown 1996).In these actions, Mary, a formerly enslaved African displayed her acculturation to English laws and customs while simultaneously demonstrating an independence and assertiveness common among women in Kongo and Angolan matriarchal kin-based socio-cultural systems. Research more about this great American Champion and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!