Category: 1950 – 1999

March 5, 1985- Mary McLeod Bethune

GM – FBF – “The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.” – Mary McLeod Bethune

Remember – “Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.” – Mary McLeod Bethune

Today in our History – March 5, 1985 – Mary McLeod Bethune is Honored With Her Image on a U.S. Postage Stamp.

Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (born Mary Jane McLeod; July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955) was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian and civil rights activist best known for starting a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida. She attracted donations of time and money, and developed the academic school as a college. It later continued to develop as Bethune-Cookman University. She also was appointed as a national adviser to president Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of what was known as his Black Cabinet. She was known as “The First Lady of The Struggle” because of her commitment to gain better lives for African Americans.

Born in Mayesville, South Carolina, to parents who had been slaves, she started working in fields with her family at age five. She took an early interest in becoming educated; with the help of benefactors, Bethune attended college hoping to become a missionary in Africa. She started a school for African-American girls in Daytona Beach, Florida. It later merged with a private institute for African-American boys, and was known as the Bethune-Cookman School. Bethune maintained high standards and promoted the school with tourists and donors, to demonstrate what educated African Americans could do. She was president of the college from 1923 to 1942, and 1946 to 1947. She was one of the few women in the world to serve as a college president at that time.

Bethune was also active in women’s clubs, which were strong civic organizations supporting welfare and other needs, and became a national leader. After working on the presidential campaign for Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, she was invited as a member of his Black Cabinet. She advised him on concerns of black people and helped share Roosevelt’s message and achievements with blacks, who had historically been Republican voters since the Civil War. At the time, blacks had been largely disenfranchised in the South since the turn of the century, so she was speaking to black voters across the North. Upon her death, columnist Louis E. Martin said, “She gave out faith and hope as if they were pills and she some sort of doctor.”

Honors include designation of her home in Daytona Beach as a National Historic Landmark,[3] her house in Washington, D.C. as a National Historic Site,[4] and the installation of a memorial sculpture of her in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C. The Legislature of Florida is expected to designate her in 2018 as the subject of one of Florida’s two statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection. Research motr about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 4, 1961- The Original 13 Freedom Fighters

GM – FBF – I had a client in Anniston, Alabama for four (4) years. Every visit I always asked where is the monument for the freedom riders who’s bus was set ablaze? I asked hotel workers, local business owners, schools principls, etc. that was 2011 through 2015. I am happy to announce that on January 12, 2017, The Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Alabama opened. Enjoy!

Remember – “Traveling in the segregated South for black people was humiliating. The very fact that there were separate facilities was to say to black people and white people that blacks were so subhuman and so inferior that we could not even use public facilities that white people used.” ~ Diane Nash, Freedom Rides Organizer

Today in our History – May 4, 1961 – The original group of 13 Freedom Riders—seven African Americans and six whites—left Washington, D.C., on a Greyhound bus on May 4, 1961.

Freedom Riders were groups of white and African American civil rights activists who participated in Freedom Rides, bus trips through the American South in 1961 to protest segregated bus terminals. Freedom Riders tried to use “whites-only” restrooms and lunch counters at bus stations in Alabama, South Carolina and other Southern states. The groups were confronted by arresting police officers—as well as horrific violence from white protestors—along their routes, but also drew international attention to their cause.
The 1961 Freedom Rides, organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), were modeled after the organization’s 1947 Journey of Reconciliation. During the 1947 action, African-American and white bus riders tested the 1946 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Morgan v. Virginia that found segregated bus seating was unconstitutional.

The 1961 Freedom Rides sought to test a 1960 decision by the Supreme Court in Boynton v. Virginia that segregation of interstate transportation facilities, including bus terminals, was unconstitutional as well. A big difference between the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation and the 1961 Freedom Rides was the inclusion of women in the later initiative.

In both actions, black riders traveled to the American South—where segregation continued to occur—and attempted to use whites-only restrooms, lunch counters and waiting rooms.

The original group of 13 Freedom Riders—seven African Americans and six whites—left Washington, D.C., on a Greyhound bus on May 4, 1961. Their plan was to reach New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 17 to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, which ruled that segregation of the nation’s public schools was unconstitutional.

The group traveled through Virginia and North Carolina, drawing little public notice. The first violent incident occurred on May 12 in Rock Hill, South Carolina. John Lewis, an African-American seminary student and member of the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), white Freedom Rider and World War II veteran Albert Bigelow, and another African-American rider were viciously attacked as they attempted to enter a whites-only waiting area.

The next day, the group reached Atlanta, Georgia, where some of the riders split off onto a Trailways bus.

John Lewis, one of the original group of 13 Freedom Riders, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1986. Lewis, a Democrat, has continued to represent Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Atlanta, into the early part of the 21st century.

On May 14, 1961, the Greyhound bus was the first to arrive in Anniston, Alabama. There, an angry mob of about 200 white people surrounded the bus, causing the driver to continue past the bus station.

The mob followed the bus in automobiles, and when the tires on the bus blew out, someone threw a bomb into the bus. The Freedom Riders escaped the bus as it burst into flames, only to be brutally beaten by members of the surrounding mob.

The second bus, a Trailways vehicle, traveled to Birmingham, Alabama, and those riders were also beaten by an angry white mob, many of whom brandished metal pipes. Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner Bull Connor stated that, although he knew the Freedom Riders were arriving and violence awaited them, he posted no police protection at the station because it was Mother’s Day.

Photographs of the burning Greyhound bus and the bloodied riders appeared on the front pages of newspapers throughout the country and around the world the next day, drawing international attention to the Freedom Riders’ cause and the state of race relations in the United States.

Following the widespread violence, CORE officials could not find a bus driver who would agree to transport the integrated group, and they decided to abandon the Freedom Rides. However, Diane Nash, an activist from the SNCC, organized a group of 10 students from Nashville, Tennessee, to continue the rides.

U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, brother of President John F. Kennedy, began negotiating with Governor John Patterson of Alabama and the bus companies to secure a driver and state protection for the new group of Freedom Riders. The rides finally resumed, on a Greyhound bus departing Birmingham under police escort, on May 20.

The violence toward the Freedom Riders was not quelled—rather, the police abandoned the Greyhound bus just before it arrived at the Montgomery, Alabama, terminal, where a white mob attacked the riders with baseball bats and clubs as they disembarked. Attorney General Kennedy sent 600 federal marshals to the city to stop the violence.

The following night, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. led a service at the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, which was attended by more than one thousand supporters of the Freedom Riders. A riot ensued outside the church, and King called Robert Kennedy to ask for protection.

Kennedy summoned the federal marshals, who used teargas to disperse the white mob. Patterson declared martial law in the city and dispatched the National Guard to restore order.

On May 24, 1961, a group of Freedom Riders departed Montgomery for Jackson, Mississippi. There, several hundred supporters greeted the riders. However, those who attempted to use the whites-only facilities were arrested for trespassing and taken to the maximum-security penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi.

During their hearings, the judge turned and looked at the wall rather than listen to the Freedom Riders’ defense—as had been the case when sit-in participants were arrested for protesting segregated lunch counters in Tennessee. He sentenced the riders to 30 days in jail.

Attorneys from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), a civil rights organization, appealed the convictions all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed them.

The violence and arrests continued to garner national and international attention, and drew hundreds of new Freedom Riders to the cause.

The rides continued over the next several months, and in the fall of 1961, under pressure from the Kennedy administration, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued regulations prohibiting segregation in interstate transit terminals. Research more about the summer of ’61 in the south and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

March 2, 1971 – The Riot at Zion Baptist Church

GM – FBF – “The markers are going to bring to bear some of the feelings that need to be brought to bear, and it really puts our city back on the map on really being a forward and progressive city.”

Remember – “I think the magnitude of what happened here is just beginning to be realized.” – Edward Donaldson

Today in our History – March 2, 1961 – 187 petitioners consisted of African-American high school and college students who peacefully assembled at the Zion Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina. The students marched in separate groups of roughly 15 to South Carolina State House grounds to peacefully express their grievances regarding civil rights of African-Americans. The crowd of petitioners did not engage in any violent conduct and did not threaten violence in any manner, nor did crowds gathering to witness the demonstration engage in any such behavior. Petitioners were told by police officials that they must disperse within 15 minutes or face arrest. The petitioners failed to disperse, opting to sing religious and patriotic songs instead. Petitioners were convicted of the common law crime of breach of the peace.

The Supreme Court held that in arresting, convicting and punishing the petitioners, South Carolina infringed on the petitioners’ rights of free speech, free assembly and freedom to petition for a redress of grievances. The Court stated that these rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment and protected by the Fourteenth Amendment from invasion by the States.

The Supreme Court argued the arrests and convictions of 187 marchers were an attempt by South Carolina to “make criminal the peaceful expression of unpopular views” where the marchers’ actions were an exercise of First Amendment rights “in their most pristine and classic form.” The Court described the common law crime of breach of the peace as “not susceptible of exact definition.”

While the majority in Edwards distinguished Feiner v. New York (1951), based on the absence of violence or threats from the petitioners’ march to the state capital, Justice Clark stated that the breach of the peace convictions upheld in Feiner presented “a situation no more dangerous than that found here.” Justice Clark noted that Edwards was more dangerous because Feiner involved one person and was limited to a crowd of about 80, whereas the Edwards demonstration involved around 200 demonstrators and 300 onlookers. He argued that the City Manager’s action may have averted a catastrophe because of the “almost spontaneous combustion in some Southern communities in such a situation. Research more about Black protests in America and make it a champion day!

February 28 1964- Thelonious Monk

GM – FBF – I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public want ? you play what you want and let the public pick up on what you doing ? even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years. – Thelonious Monk

Remember – I don’t conside myself a musician who has achieved perfection and can’t develop any further. -,Thelonious Monk

Today in our History – February 28, 1964 -Jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk was a giant of American music. On Feb. 28, 1964, he was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which also included a feature article titled “The Loneliest Monk.”

Born on Oct. 17, 1917, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Monk at age four moved with his parents to New York City and began studying classical piano at age 11. He won so many amateur competitions at the famed Apollo Theater, reports, that he was ultimately banned from participating in the weekly contest. At 16, he left high school to pursue his passion.

Though critically acclaimed and respected among his peers, Monk, who’s sound was “innovative, technically demanding, and extremely complex,” did not achieve real success until he began recording and performing with the esteemed John Coltrane. In 1962, he got his first major label contract with Columbia Records and two years later was on the cover of Time.

“Monk’s lifework of 57 compositions is a diabolical and witty self-portrait, a string of stark snapshots of his life in New York,” wrote the magazine’s music critic Barry Ferrell. “Changing meters, unique harmonics and oddly voiced chords create the effect of a desperate conversation in some other language, a fit of drunken laughter, a shout from a park at night.”

Monk is believed to have struggled with mental illness. After several years in seclusion, he died from a stroke on Feb. 7, 1982. He was posthumously inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and has been featured on a postage stamp.

Four years after his death, the Monk family and the late musical philanthropist Maria Fisher created the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which focuses on “identifying the music’s new voices, honoring its present and past masters, and making the jazz aesthetic available and comprehensible in concert halls and classrooms around the world.” In addition, the foundation hosts a prestigious international jazz competition each year. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. I will be speaking at Marietta High School in Marietta, GA. and will not be able to respond to any posts. Make it a champion day!

February 27 1988- Debi Thomas

GM – FBF – But I like it when my patients are impressed not knowing that I was an Olympian. – Debi Thomas

Remember – “I got a bronze medal and I can’t complain about that, the only African-American to get a medal in the Winter Olympics.” – Debi Thomas

Today in our History – February 27,1988 – Olympic ice skater who became the first black athlete to win a medal at the Winter games reveals she lost her medal to bankruptcy after being diagnosed as bipolar and struggling to pay medical bills.
Debi Thomas began the first African American to win a medal in the Winter Olympics when she took home the bronze in 1988. Thomas, 50, now lives in a trailer in Virginia with her fiance and says she struggles to pay her bills. She also lost her bronze medal when she had to file for bankruptcy after she was diagnosed as bipolar and couldn’t afford to pay her medical bills.

During the Winter Olympic games 30 years ago a then 20-year-old Debi Thomas had won a bronze medal in figure skating, making her the first African American athlete to win a medal in the Winter games.

Now, Thomas is living in a trailer in Richlands, Virginia with her fiance, struggles to pay her bills and lost her bronze medal to the bank after being forced to file bankruptcy following a bipolar diagnosis.

‘It may look (to) people on the outside like it’s insane, but I don’t care,’ Thomas told the New York Post. ‘I don’t care about living in a trailer. People are so obsessed with material things, but I only care about knowledge.’

Thomas, 50, said she has left her skating days behind her – and she hopes others have too. The former orthopedic surgeon now spends her time practicing hypnosis and selling tiny pieces of gold for a company called Karatbars. She also earned a certificate in Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique, which the Post reports she uses to hypnotize people to cure them of ailments.

Thomas is also working on an autobiography called ‘In Right Light it Looks Gold’.

The former Olympic athlete told the outlet that her choice of work doesn’t provide her a steady income, and she still struggles to make ends meet but she’s okay with that.

‘I always know that sometimes if you want to be a visionary, you’re going to have to commit to that and you may go through some financial struggles,’ she explained.

It seems Thomas’ struggles began in April 2012 when, according to the Washington Post, she got into a domestic dispute with her fiance Jamie Loone outside her home.

Thomas pulled out a shotgun and fired it, trying to scare Loone. The police were called and Thomas reportedly threatened to harm herself. She was taken the hospital for a psychological evaluation and diagnosed as bipolar.

Thomas, who claims she no longer suffers from the disorder and refuses to take medication because she doesn’t believe in it, told the Post she couldn’t afford her medical bills following her diagnose and filed for bankruptcy.

She was $600,000 in debt when she filed.

The one-time household name had to close her private orthopedic practice and had to hand over her bronze medal, worth a reported $2,200, to the bank. She had won the medal in 1988 during the ‘Battle of the Carmens’ at the Winter games against Germany’s Katrina Witt, who took gold.

‘I lost (the medal) to bankruptcy,’ Thomas said.’They can take away the medal, but they can’t take away the fact that I won it.’

Thomas said she wasn’t upset about losing the bronze medal, and no longer focuses on her past competing in the Olympics.

‘I got really detached from skating,’ she said. ‘People who are still so focused on my skating career, I’m just like, ‘Come on, that was thirty years ago. Why does it matter?”

She added: ‘I’m not proud of how I performed in the Olympics at all. The biggest disappointment isn’t that I didn’t win the gold, it’s that I didn’t skate my best.’

Besides winning her bronze medal, Thomas was the 1986 world champion and two-time US national champion. Research more about this great American hero and share with your babies. I will be speaking at North Atlanta High School as part of their Black History Month Program, so I will be gone most of the morning but back this afternoon. Make it a champion day!

February 21 1965- Malcom X

GM – FBF – The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.

Remember – “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X

Today in our History – February 21, 1965 – Malcolm X, original name Malcolm Little, Muslim name el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, (born May 19, 1925, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.—died February 21, 1965, New York, New York), African American leader and prominent figure in the Nation of Islam who articulated concepts of race pride and black nationalism in the early 1960s. After his assassination, the widespread distribution of his life story—The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965)—made him an ideological hero, especially among black youth.

Born in Nebraska, while an infant Malcolm moved with his family to Lansing, Michigan. When Malcolm was six years old, his father, the Rev. Earl Little, a Baptist minister and former supporter of the early black nationalist leader Marcus Garvey, died after being hit by a streetcar, quite possibly the victim of murder by whites. The surviving family was so poor that Malcolm’s mother, Louise Little, resorted to cooking dandelion greens from the street to feed her children. After she was committed to an insane asylum in 1939, Malcolm and his siblings were sent to foster homes or to live with family members.

Malcolm excelled in school, but after one of his eighth-grade teachers told him that he should become a carpenter instead of a lawyer, he lost interest and soon ended his formal education. As a rebellious youngster, Malcolm moved from the Michigan State Detention Home, a juvenile home in Mason, Michigan, to the Roxbury section of Boston to live with an older half sister, Ella, from his father’s first marriage. There he became involved in petty criminal activities in his teenage years. Known as “Detroit Red” for the reddish tinge in his hair, he developed into a street hustler, drug dealer, and leader of a gang of thieves in Roxbury and Harlem (in New York City).

While in prison for robbery from 1946 to 1952, he underwent a conversion that eventually led him to join the Nation of Islam, an African American movement that combined elements of Islam with black nationalism. His decision to join the Nation also was influenced by discussions with his brother Reginald, who had become a member in Detroit and who was incarcerated with Malcolm in the Norfolk Prison Colony in Massachusetts in 1948. Malcolm quit smoking and gambling and refused to eat pork in keeping with the Nation’s dietary restrictions. In order to educate himself, he spent long hours reading books in the prison library, even memorizing a dictionary. He also sharpened his forensic skills by participating in debate classes. Following Nation tradition, he replaced his surname, “Little,” with an “X,” a custom among Nation of Islam followers who considered their family names to have originated with white slaveholders.

After his release from prison Malcolm helped to lead the Nation of Islam during the period of its greatest growth and influence. He met Elijah Muhammad in Chicago in 1952 and then began organizing temples for the Nation in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston and in cities in the South. He founded the Nation’s newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, which he printed in the basement of his home, and initiated the practice of requiring every male member of the Nation to sell an assigned number of newspapers on the street as a recruiting and fund-raising technique. He also articulated the Nation’s racial doctrines on the inherent evil of whites and the natural superiority of blacks.

Malcolm rose rapidly to become the minister of Boston Temple No. 11, which he founded; he was later rewarded with the post of minister of Temple No. 7 in Harlem, the largest and most prestigious temple in the Nation after the Chicago headquarters. Recognizing his talent and ability, Elijah Muhammad, who had a special affection for Malcolm, named him the National Representative of the Nation of Islam, second in rank to Muhammad himself. Under Malcolm’s lieutenancy, the Nation claimed a membership of 500,000. The actual number of members fluctuated, however, and the influence of the organization, refracted through the public persona of Malcolm X, always greatly exceeded its size.

An articulate public speaker, a charismatic personality, and an indefatigable organizer, Malcolm X expressed the pent-up anger, frustration, and bitterness of African Americans during the major phase of the civil rights movement from 1955 to 1965. He preached on the streets of Harlem and spoke at major universities such as Harvard University and the University of Oxford. His keen intellect, incisive wit, and ardent radicalism made him a formidable critic of American society. He also criticized the mainstream civil rights movement, challenging Martin Luther King, Jr.’s central notions of integration and nonviolence. Malcolm argued that more was at stake than the civil right to sit in a restaurant or even to vote—the most important issues were black identity, integrity, and independence. In contrast to King’s strategy of nonviolence, civil disobedience, and redemptive suffering, Malcolm urged his followers to defend themselves “by any means necessary.” His biting critique of the “so-called Negro” provided the intellectual foundations for the Black Power and black consciousness movements in the United States in the late 1960s and ’70s (see black nationalism). Through the influence of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X helped to change the terms used to refer to African Americans from “Negro” and “coloured” to “black” and “Afro-American.”

In 1963 there were deep tensions between Malcolm and Eiljah Muhammad over the political direction of the Nation. Malcolm urged that the Nation become more active in the widespread civil rights protests instead of just being a critic on the sidelines. Muhammad’s violations of the moral code of the Nation further worsened his relations with Malcolm, who was devastated when he learned that Muhammad had fathered children by six of his personal secretaries, two of whom filed paternity suits and made the issue public. Malcolm brought additional bad publicity to the Nation when he declared publicly that Pres. John F. Kennedy’s assassination was an example of “chickens coming home to roost”—a violent society suffering the consequences of violence. In response to the outrage this statement provoked, Elijah Muhammad ordered Malcolm to observe a 90-day period of silence, and the break between the two leaders became permanent.

Malcolm left the Nation in March 1964 and in the next month founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. During his pilgrimage to Mecca that same year, he experienced a second conversion and embraced Sunni Islam, adopting the Muslim name el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. Renouncing the separatist beliefs of the Nation, he claimed that the solution to racial problems in the United States lay in orthodox Islam. On the second of two visits to Africa in 1964, he addressed the Organization of African Unity (known as the African Union since 2002), an intergovernmental group established to promote African unity, international cooperation, and economic development. In 1965 he founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity as a secular vehicle to internationalize the plight of black Americans and to make common cause with the people of the developing world—to move from civil rights to human rights.

The growing hostility between Malcolm and the Nation led to death threats and open violence against him. On February 21, 1965, Malcolm was assassinated while delivering a lecture at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem; three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted of the murder. He was survived by his wife, Betty Shabazz, whom he married in 1958, and six daughters. His martyrdom, ideas, and speeches contributed to the development of black nationalist ideology and the Black Power movement and helped to popularize the values of autonomy and independence among African Americans in the 1960s and ’70s. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day! As-salāmu ʿalaykum.


February 16, 1956- Gladys West

GM – FBF – Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

Remember – “You get what you set out to do.” – President John Hanson

Today in our History – February 15, 1781 – The Articles of confederation are almost done and the new congress were discussing who would lead the nation and JOHN HANSON was being talked about to be the one. Barack Obama has served two terms as President but was he the first Black President or the 8th Black President? I know this post will stir controversy but George Washington was not the first President of the U.S. Let’s take a look at history.

John Hanson Was the First President of the United States! 1781-1782 A.D. George Washington was really the 8th President of the United States! George Washington was not the first President of the United States. In fact, the first President of the United States was one John Hanson. Don’t go checking the encyclopedia for this guy’s name – he is one of those great men that are lost to history. If you’re extremely lucky, you may actually find a brief mention of his name. The new country was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The Articles of Confederation. This document was actually proposed on June 11, 1776, but not agreed upon by Congress until November 15, 1777. Maryland refused to sign this document until Virginia and New York ceded their western lands (Maryland was afraid that these states would gain too much power in the new government from such large amounts of land). Once the signing took place in 1781, a President was needed to run the country. John Hanson was chosen unanimously by Congress (which included George Washington). In fact, all the other potential candidates refused to run against him, as he was a major player in the revolution and an extremely influential member of Congress.

As the first President, Hanson had quite the shoes to fill. No one had ever been President and the role was poorly defined. His actions in office would set precedent for all future Presidents. He took office just as the Revolutionary War ended. Almost immediately, the troops demanded to be paid. As would be expected after any long war, there were no funds to meet the salaries. As a result, the soldiers threatened to overthrow the new government and put Washington on the throne as a monarch. All the members of Congress ran for their lives, leaving Hanson as the only guy left running the government. He somehow managed to calm the troops down and hold the country together. If he had failed, the government would have fallen almost immediately and everyone would have been bowing to King Washington. In fact, Hanson sent 800 pounds of sterling siliver by his brother Samuel Hanson to George Washington to provide the troops with shoes. Hanson, as President, ordered all foreign troops off American soil, as well as the removal of all foreign flags. This was quite the feat, considering the fact that so many European countries had a stake in the United States since the days following Columbus. Hanson established the Great Seal of the United States, which all Presidents have since been required to use on all official documents. President Hanson also established the first Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War, and the first Foreign Affairs Department. Lastly, he declared that the fourth Thursday of every November was to be Thanksgiving Day, which is still true today.

he Articles of Confederation only allowed a President to serve a one year term during any three year period, so Hanson actually accomplished quite a bit in such little time. Six other presidents were elected after him – Elias Boudinot (1783), Thomas Mifflin (1784), Richard Henry Lee (1785), Nathan Gorman (1786), Arthur St. Clair (1787), and Cyrus Griffin (1788) – all prior to Washington taking office. So what happened? Why don’t we ever hear about the first seven Presidents of the United States? It’s quite simple – The Articles of Confederation didn’t work well. The individual states had too much power and nothing could be agreed upon. A new doctrine needed to be written – something we know as the Constitution. And that leads us to the end of our story. George Washington was definitely not the first President of the United States. He was the first President of the United States under the Constitution we follow today. And the first seven Presidents are forgotten in history. Research more about our Presidents and share with your babies. I will not be a able to respond to your posts today, I am speaking at Summerour Middle School and North Gwinnett High School. Make it a champion day!

February 6, 1958- “The Nate King Cole Show”

GM – FBF – We who follow the Honorable Elijah Muhammad feel that when you try and pass integration laws here in America, forcing white people to pretend that they are accepting black people, what you are doing is making white people act in a hypocritical way.

Remember – “The Supreme Court is having a hard time integrating schools. What chance do I have to integrate audiences?” – Nat King Cole

Today in our History – February 6, 1958 – “The Nate King Cole Show” – Season One – Show number 13. “For 13 months, I was the Jackie Robinson of television”, wrote Nat King Cole in a revealing 1958 article for Ebony magazine. “After a trail-blazing year that shattered all the old bug-a-boos about Negroes on TV, I found myself standing there with the bat on my shoulder. The men who dictate what Americans see and hear didn’t want to play ball.”

The conventional wisdom about The Nat King Cole Show is that it was the first network TV program hosted by an African American, that NBC cancelled it after it failed to attract a sponsor, and that potential advertisers were reluctant to sign on for fear that their products would be boycotted by disgruntled Southerners. While based in fact, none of these statements is exactly true.

At the time of his show’s premiere, Nat Cole was not merely one of the highest paid black people in America but one of the most successful entertainers in the world, period. His gentle, romantic style of singing endeared him to millions, and his record sales were phenomenal. There was every reason to believe that a TV show starring Nat King Cole would be a huge hit.

There was just one slight problem: with legal segregation still in full force in the South and de facto segregation in much of the rest of the country, TV was, with few exceptions, the exclusive domain of white people. The rare television images of African Americans tended to be dumb stereotypes like those seen on Amos ‘n Andy and Beulah. Even if some in the industry might have been inclined to allow blacks to present themselves as intelligent and sophisticated, there was no telling how the audience might react.

Black hosts had been tried before. Hazel Scott (in 1950) and Billy Daniels (in 1952) had each starred in a short-lived and quickly forgotten variety show. But Cole’s program was the first hosted by a star of his magnitude, and expectations were high.

It was obvious that, if Nat were successful, it would open a lot of doors for other African American entertainers. There was a whole host of big stars, both black and white, who wanted to help and were willing to appear on the show for union scale. But despite the stars and the show’s high entertainment value, decent ratings failed to materialize.

Had the ratings been higher, national sponsors might have been willing to support the show. But the combination of a relatively small audience and skittishness about viewer reaction kept them away. While crediting NBC with keeping the show on the air, Cole felt advertisers should have had more guts. “When we went on the air last summer,” he wrote, “two big companies were on the verge of buying. But, at the last moment, somebody said, ‘No, we won’t take a chance.’ Two other sponsors turned us down cold. I won’t call their names, but they were big, very big. They turned us down and then lost money on inferior shows.”

Carter products, makers of Arrid deodorant and Rise shaving cream, backed the show for a short time but soon pulled out. In the absence of a national sponsor, NBC put together a patchwork of local ones, including Rheingold Beer in New York, Gallo and Thunderbird Wines in Los Angeles, Regal Beer in New Orleans, and Coca Cola in Houston. But despite a major push, Cole and NBC just couldn’t dispel the notion among big advertisers that viewers would object to seeing blacks and whites on an equal footing and that it would hurt the companies’ sales – despite the fact that none of the local sponsors had had a problem. “Madison Avenue [is] the center of the advertising industry,” Cole wrote, “and their big clients didn’t want their products associated with Negroes…Ad Alley thinks it’s still a white man’s world.”

It seems silly today, but Cole had to be careful how he related to his guest stars. In the best show biz tradition, he liked getting physical with his pals, often putting a friendly arm around them. But he was mindful never to touch the white women on the show. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that in some parts of the country, even at that late date, that would have been a lynching offense. Remember, it had been just two years since the murder of Emmett Till.

That Cole was aware of the situation is evident in this carefully worded statement: “We proved that a Negro star could play host to whites, including women, and we proved it in such good taste that no one was offended…I didn’t bend over backwards, but I didn’t go out of my way to offend anyone.” (Black women were another story. His flirting with Eartha Kitt on the October 8, 1957 telecast got so steamy that, at the close of the show, he felt the need to speak directly to his wife, assuring her it was all in good fun.)

Despite the controversy behind the scenes, there was little evidence of it on the show itself. Viewers simply saw and heard some of the best entertainment television had to offer. Reviewing the premiere, Variety foresaw “many pleasant quarter-hours to come” and mentioned “the topgrade quality that’s going into the series.” The New York Times called the show “a refreshing musical diversion” with a host possessing “an amiable personality that comes across engagingly on the television screen.”

While NBC was willing to keep the show going, Cole decided to call it quits after fourteen months on the air. Two factors influenced his decision. First, the network wanted to move the show from Tuesdays at 7:30 to Saturdays at 7:00. Nat felt the move wouldn’t help his ratings, since in some areas, the program would air at 6:00 or even 5:00. The other reason was that he didn’t feel comfortable asking his guest stars to work for practically nothing. “You can wear out your welcome,” he commented. “People get tired if you never stop begging.”

When the show folded, Cole and NBC expressed some optimism about reviving it if a national sponsor could be found, but that never happened. The next African American to try hosting a program was Sammy Davis Jr. in 1966, but low ratings forced him off the air after less than four months. It wasn’t until The Flip Wilson Show came along in 1970 that a variety show hosted by a black entertainer became an unqualified success.

But Nat King Cole was the trail blazer. “I was the pioneer, the test case, the Negro first,” he wrote. “I didn’t plan it that way, but it was obvious to anyone with eyes to see that I was the only Negro on network television with his own show. On my show rode the hopes and fears and dreams of millions of people.” It was a dream deferred, but one that eventually came true.

The prejudices of the era in which Cole lived hindered his potential for even greater stardom. His talents extended beyond singing and piano playing: he excelled as a relaxed and humorous stage personality, and he was also a capable actor, evidenced by his performances in the films Istanbul (1957), China Gate (1957), Night of the Quarter Moon (1959), and Cat Ballou (1965); he also played himself in The Nat “King” Cole Musical Story (1955) and portrayed blues legend W.C. Handy in St. Louis Blues (1958). His daughter Natalie was also a popular singer who achieved her greatest chart success in 1991 with “Unforgettable,” an electronically created duet with her late father. Research more about this American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

February 3, 1964- Public Schools Boycott

GM – FBF – America preaches integration and practices segregation.

Remember – N.Y.C. is not that big that it can not follow the law and Intergrate it’s public school system – Minister Milton Galamison.

Today in our History – February 3, 1964 – N.Y.C. Public Schools Boycott by Black and Purto Rican students. After negotiations failed, New York City’s civil rights organizations planned a one day march and boycott of the city’s school sytems, in protest of the ongoing segregation of schools.
As part of the boycott, several students skipped school on February 3 and the protesters spent the day marching to several of the city’s schools and to the Board of Education in Brooklyn.

The turn out for the boycott exceeded the expectations of many. Despite this the boycott was not successful in integrating the public school system.

Segregation in schools had been outlawed in New York City in 1920 and the Brown v. Board of Education decision made school segregation illegal on a national level. Despite this, New York City schools were still segregated in 1964 and provided unequal learning environments. Several states delayed the desegregation of their schools and many were able to keep segregated schools due to surrounding segregated communities. This was the case in New York City; segregation was not practiced by law, but it was still a reality in communities that had been traditionally black and white. The kids that lived in these neighborhoods would then attend the schools closest to where they lived, leading to segregated schools across the city. The city had promised the schools an integration plan for several years and the Board of Education released a plan to draw out new districts just a few days before the boycott, but activists said it was not enough.

In the early 1960s the boycott was proposed by Presbyterian minister Milton Galamison who had previously served as the president of Brooklyn’s NAACP branch. He created a civil rights organization called the Parents’ Workshop for Equality in New York City Schools that consisted of parents, teachers, and the city’s civil rights advocates. The group attempted to convince the Board of Education to create a plan for the integration of the city’s African American and Puerto Rican schools. The organization was unable to do so and by 1964 they requested that Bayard Rustin plan the boycott; Rustin helped plan the 1963 March on Washington and the Freedom Ride of 1947. Along with the city’s civil rights organizations and pastors, Rustin planned the boycott for February 3 and provided freedom schools for students to attend if they planned to partake in the boycott. These civil rights organizations included the City-Wide Committee for Integrated Schools, CORE, NAACP, Parents’ Workshop for Equality, and the Harlem Parents Committee.

On February 3 the boycott began when 464,000 students refused to attend school and several protesters marched to the city’s schools and to the Board of Education. At the Freedom Schools, students were taught about slavery, what it meant to be free, and sang songs like the popular “We Shall Overcome.” While there was a fear of violence, the boycott remained peaceful, and received more support than people thought it would. However, it did not succeed in integrating the city’s African American and Puerto Rican schools and communities. Even today several schools in the city are still segregated due to the Board of Education’s failure to fully address the issue. Research more about school Integration in America and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 25 – Instant Funk

GM – FBF – If you want to talk about dance bands – Trenton, NJ’s INSTANT FUNK is at the top of the list.

Remember – “Trenton Makes The World Takes”

Today in our History – Trenton, NJ own INSTANT FUNK to be honored this weekend January 27, 2017 “Father’s and Son’s United for a better Trenton – Unsung Heros.

Instant Funk burst on the ’70s disco scene with the million-selling single “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)” and the gold album Instant Funk. The Trenton, NJ, band started out with the core lineup of bassist Raymond Earl, drummer Scotty Miller, and guitarist Kim Miller. It later expanded to include keyboardist Dennis Richardson; lead singer James Carmichael; horn players Larry Davis, Eric Huff, and Johnny Onderlinde; and percussionist Charles Williams. The band can be heard on sides by Evelyn “Champagne” King (her gold single “Shame”), Archie Bell & the Drells (“Let’s Groove,” “The Soul City Walk,” and “Strategy”), South Shore Commission (“Free Man,” “A Train Called Freedom”), the O’Jays (” Let Me Make Love to You,” “I Swear I Love No One but You”), Lou Rawls (“From Now On,” “When You Get Home”), Gabor Szabo (“Keep Smilin'”), and Jean Carn, as well as for their mentor, Bunny Sigler, and his cover of “Love Train,” “Keep Smilin’,” “Let Me Party With You,” “Sweeter Than the Berry,” and “Only You,” a duet with Loleatta Holloway.

In the mid-’60s, bassist Raymond Earl met drummer Scotty Miller in grade school and formed the duo the Music Machine. In 1973, Scotty’s younger brother, guitarist Kim Miller, joined the duo. After hours and hours of playing together, the trio found that they clicked; they became so intuitively “tuned” into each other that they could anticipate and accent each other’s playing. In 1968, they began backing local vocal group the TNJs, appearing at local dances and venues building up a good reputation. Around 1971, the group’s manager Jackie Ellis christened the backup band Instant Funk because they could come up with funky grooves instantaneously.

Philly soul artist/producer/songwriter Bunny Sigler was invited by Ellis to see Instant Funk and the TNJs perform. Sometime during the show, Sigler was called on stage to perform. He was impressed that the band knew “Sunshine,” a song he co-wrote with Phil Hurtt that was made popular by the O’Jays. They began backing Sigler, the Manhattans, and various other R&B acts. As a staff songwriter/producer at Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records, Sigler began using Instant Funk on his sessions along with the TNJs. At those sessions and later, Sigler would record the basic track with Earl and the Miller brothers. Sigler, a brimming fount of ideas, would often stop the band midsong to implement one of his flashes of brillance. They backed Sigler on three of his PIR albums: That’s How Long I’ll Be Loving You, Keep Smilin’, and My Music. Some tracks from those LPs are on Sony/Legacy’s The Best of Bunny Sigler: Sweeter Than the Berry and the 1998 Sony CD Bunny Sigler. Instant Funk released a single on PIR’s TSOP imprint, “Float Like a Butterfly,” and an album, Get Down With the Philly Jump, issued in November 1976, whose title track and “It Aint Reggae (But It Sho Is Funky)” were popular in disco clubs.

Jean CarnInstant Funk can also be heard on sides by the O’Jays (“Let Me Make Love to You,” “You’ve Got Your Hooks in Me,” “Once Is Not Enough,” and “I Swear I Love No One but You” from Message in Our Music; “Strokety Stroke” from So Full of Love), Archie Bell & the Drells (“Let’s Groove,” “Strategy,” “The Soul City Walk,” and “I Could Dance All Night” on Tightening It Up:The Best of Archie Bell & the Drells), the Three Degrees (“Take Good Care of Yourself”), Jean Carn (“I’m in Love Once Again” and “You Are All I Need” from Jean Carn), Dexter Wansel (“Life on Mars,” the best recording that gives an idea of how the band sounded live, and “You Can Be What You Wanna Be” from The Very Best of Dexter Wansel), and M.F.S.B. (“Let’s Go Disco” from Universal Love). The band can be heard on studio bandmate T. Life’s That’s Life album and LPs by his protégée, Evelyn “Champagne” King (Smooth Talk and Music Box).
In 1977, M.F.S.B. guitarist Norman Harris started his own label, Gold Mind Records, distributed by New York-based Salsoul Records. Sigler signed on as a recording artist. He and the band were constantly in the studio recording ideas and songs. One track, “Let Me Party With You,” Sigler would listen to while driving around and excited passengers suggested that he release it. The single, co-written by the Miller brothers, Earl, and Sigler, went to number eight R&B in January 1978. The track was reminiscent of Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.” The album, Let Me Party With You, was a huge disco hit, and included the follow-up single, the funky Sam Peake’s sax-drenched ballad “I Got What You Need,” “Don’t Even Try,” and the club hit “Your Love Is So Good.”

While brainstorming in the studio, Sigler and Instant Funk came up with “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl).” Sigler did overdubs on the track at Philadelphia-area studios, Alpha International and Sigma Sound Studios, before taking it to Bob Blank’s Blank Tapes in New York. When the track was done, Sigler shopped it around to the record labels, who rebuffed him with comments like “the hook’s not strong enough” and it sounds incomplete.” Instant Funk signed with Gold Mind, but by the time their single “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)” was released, Gold Mind had folded and all of its acts were transferred to Salsoul.

Witch Doctor The million-selling “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)” (remixed by Larry Levan) parked at number one R&B for three weeks, peaking at number 20 pop on Billboard’s charts in March 1979. Their second album, Instant Funk, issued January 1979, went gold hitting number one R&B in spring 1979. Other Instant Funk albums on Salsoul were: Witch Doctor (November 1979), The Funk Is On (October 1980), Looks So Fine (March 1982), Instant Funk, Vol. 5 (January 1983), and Kinky (September 1983). The band backed Sigler on his Salsoul LPs: I’ve Always Wanted to Sing…Not Just Write Songs (March 1979) and Let It Snow (June 1980). Other Salsoul LPs that feature Instant Funk are Loleatta Holloway’s Queen of the Night, Loleatta, and Greatest Hits; Double Exposure’s Locker Room; and the Salsoul Orchestra’s How High. For Neil Bogart’s Casablanca Records, the band can be heard on two albums Sigler produced for the label: Party Girl by Patti Brooks and Callin’ by the Pips. On Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Records, Sigler and the band are on Barbara Mason & Bunny Sigler’s Locked in This Position, the self-titled debut of Mystique featuring Ralph Johnson, and Mayfield’s own Heartbeat. With the John Brothers, who were featured on Witch Doctor, they recorded a Sigler-produced RCA single, “Try to Walk a Mile” b/w “I Just Want to Be Free,” both songs written by Bunny’s brother Jimmy Sigler. They are also on Gabor Szabo’s Mercury LP Nightflight and Carl Carlton’s I Wanna Be With You.
When the Cayre brothers, owners of Salsoul Records, decided to fold the label in 1984, in an effort to concentrate on the then-emerging home video market, Instant Funk was without a record deal. The band toured for a few years then disbanded. Some of the members were still in the music business in one form or another as the 21st century began. Raymond Earl was operating his own studio and production company, Ray Ray Productions. Kim Miller, Dennis Richardson, and James Carmichael went into gospel music. Bunny Sigler was touring the world as a member of the Trammps.

Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)” can be found on the CD reissue of their 1979 gold album Instant Funk, Greatest Hits from EMI/Capitol/The Right Stuff, in the movie and on the soundtrack for the Disney/Miramax movie 54, Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage, and various Salsoul and Salsoul-licensed compilations. For more Invermation and to get tickets for the event contact – Friends Who Like Instant Funk’s facebook page. Congradulations to one of Trenton’s finest. Make it a champion day!