Category: Events- Bombings, Lynches, mass murders of blacks

November 25 1992- The Bodyguard Was Released

GM – FBF – Today’s story is just one short glimpse of the talent that this Newark, NJ and later moved to East Orange, NJ native had. She was blessed to be around a family of great singers including her mother and Aunt who had connections into the entertainment world. Enjoy!

Remember – The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic thriller film directed by Mick Jackson, written by Lawrence Kasdan, and starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Costner stars as a former Secret Service agent-turned-bodyguard who is hired to protect Houston’s character, a music star, from an unknown stalker. Kasdan wrote the film in the mid-1970s, originally as a vehicle for Steve McQueen and Diana Ross.

Today in our History – November 25, 1992 – The Bodyguard was released.

The film was Houston’s acting debut and was the second-highest-grossing film worldwide in 1992, making $411 million worldwide. The soundtrack became the best-selling soundtrack of all time, selling more than 45 million copies worldwide.

The ads for “The Bodyguard” make it look like a romance, but actually it’s a study of two lifestyles: of a pop music superstar whose fame and fortune depends on millions of fans, and of a professional bodyguard who makes his living by protecting her from those fans. The movie does contain a love story, but it’s the kind of guarded passion that grows between two people who spend a lot of time keeping their priorities straight.

The star is Rachel Marron, played by Whitney Houston, and is as rich and famous as . . . Whitney Houston. The bodyguard is Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner), who got his training in the Secret Service and still blames himself for the fact that Ronald Reagan got shot, even though he had an excellent excuse for being away from work that day. Now Farmer hires himself out at $3,000 a week to guard celebrities, and is careful not to get involved.

Of course that’s easy at the outset. He is hired by Marron’s manager after the singer gets death threats. It’s not love at first sight. The conventions of this genre require that the star and bodyguard have to get off on the wrong foot; she doesn’t want him meddling with her lifestyle and freedom, and he doesn’t have any respect for an uncooperative client.

Eventually the tension between them melts, and there is a sort of love affair, based mostly on mutual proximity (they never talk about much but their professional relationship, and the skills of his job). There’s an odd, effective dating scene where she leaves her mansion to visit his cluttered, grim little apartment (and a peculiar moment with a samurai sword and a scarf that is undeniably erotic).

Meanwhile, Farmer gets to know some of the members of Rachel’s retinue, including her son, her sister, her manager and her obnoxious press agent (Gary Kemp). These people are supported by Marron, and live with her on her terms, creating eddies of jealousy and palace intrigue. She is aware of her power, and tells Farmer she is essentially a nice person who is considered a bitch by a lot of people, and wishes that weren’t so. Houston is effective at suggesting both sides of that personality.

The death threats keep coming in. There is a frightening scene at a charity concert, where Marron places her personal safety in the hands of a mob, and Farmer, with all of his skills, is powerless to protect her. I was less impressed by the scenes where he wires her estate with security cameras, and at one point goes crashing through her shrubbery in pursuit of a suspicious van. What’s he going to do? Leap onto the roof and hammer his way in through the windshield?

The movie was written by Lawrence Kasdan (“Body Heat,” “Grand Canyon”) and directed by Mick Jackson, and contains a little of the Hollywood insider cynicism Kasdan suggested in the Steve Martin character in “Grand Canyon.” The willingness of the press agent to risk anything for publicity is noted, as well as the star’s sense of personal invulnerability. This is Houston’s screen debut, and she is at home in the role; she photographs wonderfully, and has a warm smile, and yet is able to suggest selfish and egotistical dimensions in the character. Costner hugs her with his eyes open, scanning the room for surprise attacks.

The movie was made as a thriller, I suppose, because of box-office considerations. I felt a little cheated by the outcome, although I should have been able to predict it, using my Law of Economy of Characters, which teaches that no movie contains any unnecessary characters, so that an apparently superfluous character is probably the killer.

I thought the basic situation in “The Bodyguard” was intriguing enough to sustain a film all by itself: on the one hand, a star who grows rich through the adulation that fans feel for her, and on the other hand, a working man who, for a salary, agrees to substitute his body as a target instead of hers. Makes you think. Research more about the late American Hero Whitney Houston and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 16 1780- Paul Cuffe

GM – FBF – Today’s story is not talked about or shared with you in your history books and it should. As Americans last the two weeks we participated in our mid – term elections and I hope that you voted. Well, back when this country was at its Infancy a Black man went to his local legislators and asked for the right to vote or as you may have heard the term “Taxation without Representation”. Read the story and Enjoy!

Remember – “All free people are entitled to the vote, this is a true fact. If I have too I will die for this land but let me also cast a vote for my cause” – Paul Cuffe

Today in our History – November 16, 1780 – Paul Cuffe & other black taxpayers of Massachusetts protest to the state legislator for the right to vote.

Petition for Relief from Taxation
Submitted by and for Former Slaves of Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Paul Cuffe
Paul Cuffe was born a free child in 1759, on Chuttyhunk Island, Massachusetts, the son of a Native American mother and African father. His father, Kofi, was a member of the Ashanti tribe of West Africa, who was captured and brought to America as a slave at the age of ten. A skilled carpenter, Kofi (Cuffe) earned his freedom, and educated himself. Paul refused to use the name of his father’s owner, Slocum, and adopted his father’s given name, Cuffe (or Cuffee).

At the age of 16, following his father’s death, Paul Cuffe began his career as a common seaman on whaling and fishing boats. During the Revolutionary War he was held prisoner by the British for a time but managed afterward to start small-scale coastal trading. Despite attacks by pirates, he eventually prospered. He built larger vessels and successfully traded south as far as Virginia and north to Labrador. In later life he owned several ships which engaged in trading and whaling around the world.

Cuffe was a devout and evangelical Quaker. At his home in Westport, Massachusetts, he donated a town school and helped support the teacher. It was quite possibly the first integrated school in the young republic. Later he helped build a new meeting house. Through his connections with Quakers in other cities he became involved in efforts to improve the conditions of African Americans. Strongly opposed to slavery and the slave trade, he joined other free African Americans in the Northern states in their abolitionist campaigns.

In 1780 he and his brother John petitioned the Massachusetts government either to give African and Native Americans the right to vote or to stop taxing them. The petition was denied, but the case helped pave the way for the 1783 Massachusetts Constitution, which gave equal rights and privileges to all (male) citizens of the state. This is a transcript of the petition submitted to the Massachusetts legislature.

To the Honorable Council and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled, for the State of the Massachusetts Bay, in New England:

The petition of several poor negroes and mulattoes, who are inhabitants of the town of Dartmouth, humbly showeth,—
That we being chiefly of the African extract, and by reason of long bondage and hard slavery, we have been deprived of enjoying the profits of our labor or the advantage of inheriting estates from our parents, as our neighbors the white people do, having some of us not long enjoyed our own freedom; yet of late, contrary to the invariable custom and practice of the country, we have been, and now are, taxed both in our polls and that small pittance of estate which, through much hard labor and industry, we have got together to sustain ourselves and families withall. We apprehend it, therefore, to be hard usage, and will doubtless (if continued) reduce us to a state of beggary, whereby we shall become a burthen to others, if not timely prevented by the interposition of your justice and your power.

Your petitioners further show, that we apprehend ourselves to be aggrieved, in that, while we are not allowed the privilege of freemen of the State, having no vote or influence in the election of those that tax us, yet many of our colour (as is well known) have cheerfully entered the field of battle in the defence of the common cause, and that (as we conceive) against a similar exertion of power (in regard to taxation), too well known to need a recital in this place.

We most humbly request, therefore, that you would take our unhappy case into your serious consideration, and, in your wisdom and power, grant us relief from taxation, while under our present depressed circumstances; and your poor petitioners, as in duty bound, shall ever pray, Paul Cuffe. Research more about the early black sons of Liberty and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 15 2007- John Cross Junior

GM – FBF – Today’s Story is about John Cross Jr. who was the pastor at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. where I had the pleasure of speaking a few years back. The 
same church that was bombed in 1963, where the killing of four girls accrued. The event was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Enjoy!

Remember – “Only a devil with no heart would do such an act and kill babies. – Rev. John Cross Jr

Today in Our History – November 15, 2007 John Cross Jr died.
Born in Haynes, Arkansas, on January 27, 1925, John Cross Jr. became a minister, educator and civil rights activist. In 1963, he was serving as pastor at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, when a bomb killed four young girls at the church. The attack was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 82, Cross died on November 15, 2007, in Lithonia, Georgia.

John Haywood Cross Jr. was born on January 27, 1925, in Haynes, Arkansas, where he was raised by parents John and Margie Ann. John Cross Jr. attended elementary school in his hometown, and later went to Lincoln High School in Forrest City, Arkansas.

Cross was a teenager when he gave his first sermon; his ordination took place at Springfield Missionary Baptist Church. In 1944, after completing high school, he served in the U.S. Army as an assistant chaplain. When his service ended, he taught in the Haynes public school system before enrolling at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. Cross graduated from college in 1950 with a degree in social science.

Cross next served as a minister at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Widewater, Virginia. Wanting to pursue his theological studies, he returned to Virginia Union University and enrolled in a master’s program at the institution’s divinity school. He received his master’s degree in 1959. Staying in Richmond, he then became a pastor at the Gravel Hill Baptist Church.

In 1962, Cross was designated as pastor of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The city was the site of conflict between supporters of segregation and civil rights activists. In a 1991 article, Cross described the heightened racial tensions that he experienced upon arriving in Birmingham. When he attempted to hail a taxicab, the white driver told him, “[I] don’t drive coloreds.” Cross responded, “I’ll tell you what, I’m coming here to pastor a church. Before I leave here, you’ll be hauling anybody who wants to be hauled.”

Encouraged by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cross welcomed leaders of the Civil Rights Movement at his church. The house of worship was a nerve center for meetings and rallies, which resulted in Southern segregationists targeting the church. On September 15, 1963, a Sunday, a bomb was planted in the building. It went off before a youth service.

Cross was one of the people who dug through the rubble after the explosion, looking for survivors. He discovered the bodies of the four young girls who had been killed: Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. The attack also left more than 20 other worshippers injured. The atrocity became a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, building support for the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Cross helped lead his parishioners through the dark days following the tragedy. He also presided over the funeral service that was held for Collins, McNair and Wesley. Approximately 8,000 people came to the service.

In 1968, Cross left the 16th Street Baptist Church to teach history and sociology at Alabama State University. He also served as director of the university’s Baptist student center. In 1972, Cross became the associate pastor of the Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia. A few years later, he started working as the black church relations director for the Atlanta Baptist Association. After retiring in 1989, Cross worked part-time as a minister and youth counselor.

Cross met Julia Ball at Virginia Union University. After marrying in 1949, the couple had four children: Michael, Alma, Lynn and Barbara. Cross enjoyed visiting his hometown, stating that his favorite vacation destination was Haynes, Arkansas. Having suffered a series of strokes in his later years, Cross passed away on November 15, 2007, at age 82, in Lithonia, Georgia. Research more about Black Reverends who fight/fought for civil rights and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 11 1918- World War I Ends

GM – FBF – Today’s story is one of the greatest watermarks in our History November 11, 1918. The day the guns fell silent on the Western Front in Europe and “The War to end all wars was over”. On 11 November 1918 at 1100, the armistice between the Allies and Central Powers went into effect or did it?

My great grandfather from Houston County, GA. served in the 92nd Division which was all black and while returning home from Europe in February, 1919 he stopped in a tavern in Valdosta, GA and was lynched with his uniform on. Not that uncommon for the time, during the summer and fall of 1919, anti-black race riots erupted in ninety-six cities across America. The lynching of blacks also increased from two hundred and eight in 1918 to seven hundred and seven in 1919. (Many say there were more)

At least two hundred and seventy of those victims were war veterans, and some were lynched while in uniform. Today’s story is about the most famous the 396th U.S. Infantry “Hell Fighters” Band and the band leader James Reese Europe. Enjoy!

Remember – “I have come from France more firmly convinced than ever that Negros should write Negro music. We have our own racial feeling and if we try to copy whites we will make bad copies…We won France by playing music which was ours and not a pale imitation of others, and if we are to develop in America we must develop along our own lines.” – James Reese Europe

Today in our History – November 11, 1918 – World War I Ends (Armistice Day)

James Reese Europe, one of the first African Americans to record music in the United States, was born on February 22, 1881 in Mobile, Alabama to Henry and Lorraine Europe. When he was ten, his family moved to Washington D.C. where he began to study violin with Enrico Hurlei, the assistant director of the Marine Corps Band. In 1904, Reese moved to New York to continue his musical studies.

In 1910, Europe founded one of the most well-known African American organizations during that time, The Clef Club, a part union and part fraternal organization which owned a building on West 53rd Street. Europe was the Clef Club’s first elected president as well as the conductor of its symphony orchestra. The Clef Club Orchestra appeared at Carnegie Hall for the first time on May 2, 1912 and later in 1913 and 1914.

The Carnegie Hall concerts gave the Clef Club Orchestra respectability in upper class circles and as a result, they were engaged to play at many of the most elite functions in New York, London (UK), Paris (France), and on yachts traveling worldwide. The Orchestra generated over $100,000 in bookings during the period. In 1913 Europe also made the first of a series of phonograph records for the Victor Talking Machine Company.

At the beginning of World War I, Reese joined New York Army National Guard as a private but shortly after passing the officer’s exam was commissioned as a Lieutenant. He was assigned to the all-black 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment. When his musical background became known he was asked by his commanding officer, Colonel William Hayward, to form a military band as part of his combat unit. Hayward told Europe to get musicians wherever he could, and Reese did just that.

Europe knew that it would be difficult to convince musicians in New York to enlist in the military to play music, so he went as far as traveling to Puerto Rico to recruit the needed musicians for his band. His band became known as the 396th U.S. Infantry “Hell Fighters” Band.

The Hell Fighters Band entertained troops and citizens in every city they visited and was received with great enthusiasm. He was sent from the front to lead his band at an Allied conference in Paris where they were only supposed to play one concert. The crowd’s reaction was so great that both American and French officials asked them to stay to perform for eight more weeks.

Europe and his band returned to New York on February 12, 1919. Soon after, they began a tour of American cities and started recording their songs in the studio. Through his music, Europe brought ragtime out of the bordellos and juke joints into mainstream society and elevated African American music into an accepted art form. He was a household name in New York’s music world and on the dance scene nationwide.

On the final performance of the band’s American tour, Herbert Wright, one of the “percussion twins,” became angered with Europe and attacked him with a knife during intermission. Europe did not survive the attack and Europe was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Research more about blacks during WWI and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 1 – Walter Payton

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a man who could inspire you and got the best out of you in practice or in a game. He graduated in tiny Jackson State University but people knew then he was special. It always wasn’t easy for him until he had an offense line. Then the man turned in his greatness. His personal story was sad as I watched him maybe like some of you tell the world that he had cancer and would die. He broke down on the television and cried because he didn’t want to die. He will always be remembered because the NFL has a Man of The Year trophy named after him. Enjoy the story!

Remember – “I am happy to say that everyone that I have met in my life, I have gained something from them; be it negative or positive, it has enforced and reinforced my life in some aspect.” – Walter Payton

Today in our History – November 1 – Walter Payton dies from cancer.

Former Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, the NFL’s all-time rushing leader and a man who ran with gritty determination and defiance that belied his nickname “Sweetness,” died from cancer of the bile duct.

Payton, looking shockingly frail and gaunt, announced at an emotional news conference Feb. 2 he was suffering from primary sclerosing cholangitis, a rare liver disease he said at the time could be cured only by a transplant.

But Greg Gores, a liver specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said today at a news conference at Bears headquarters in Lake Forest, Ill., that further evaluation of Payton’s illness had indicated “a diseased malignancy of the bile duct.”

Gores said Payton had undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment in recent months in an attempt to stem the cancer. He added that because of the “aggressive nature” of the malignancy and its spread to other areas, “a liver transplant was no longer viable. . . . He made an informed decision regarding additional therapy.”

Surrounded by his wife, Connie, and two children, Jarrett and Brittney, Payton died shortly after noon at his home in Barrington, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, the city he captivated with his on-field heroics for 13 seasons, including a Super Bowl championship at the end of a 15-1 season in 1985.

“He’s the best football player I’ve ever seen. At all positions, he’s the best I’ve ever seen,” said Mike Ditka, who coached Payton for six of current Saints coach’s 11 years with the Bears, including the 1985 Super Bowl season. “There are better runners than Walter. But he’s the best football player I ever saw. To me, that’s the ultimate compliment.”

In a career that began with a debut of minus-eight yards in eight carries in the first game of his rookie season,
Payton rushed for 16,726 yards, breaking the record held by fellow Hall of Famer Jim Brown and a record as revered in his sport as Hank Aaron’s 744 home runs in baseball.

Payton was named to the Hall of Fame in January 1993 –– first year of eligibility – and was believed to be a unanimous choice by selectors.

Payton, 5 feet 10 and 200 pounds, was an awesome physical specimen who came into the league in 1975 as the Bears’ first-round choice out of Jackson State in Mississippi, the fourth overall pick that year. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in a year when Ohio State running back Archie Griffin won it for the second straight season. Payton got little support, mostly because Jackson State, a predominately black school, played a weaker Division I-AA schedule.

Payton gained 3,563 yards and scored 66 touchdowns over his college career and once scored 46 points in a game. He led the nation in scoring in 1973 with 160 points, and his 464 career points were an NCAA record.

But that was merely a prelude to a remarkable NFL career that ended in early 1988, when the Washington Redskins knocked the Bears out of the playoffs for the second straight season.
“My first year coaching with the Rams, we played the Chicago Bears in the [NFC] championship game, and I got to see first-hand what a great player Walter Payton was,” said Redskins Coach Norv Turner. “He was obviously much, much more than that – what a role model for anyone who ever wanted to play in this league or anyone who wanted to compete, and what a role model on and off the field.”

Payton was a driven athlete, a player who conditioned himself for the rigors of the game by running up steep hills in the offseason to the point of total exhaustion. He had arms like anvils, the thighs of Mr. Universe and an iron will. He missed only one game because of injury in his entire career when a coach, over Payton’s protest, rested him because of a sore ankle his rookie season.

As a rookie, Payton started seven games and rushed for 679 yards and seven touchdowns. The next season, he had the first of what would be 10 1,000-yard seasons, rushing for 1,390 yards and 13 touchdowns.

In ’77, only his third season in the league, Payton won the first of two MVP awards with the most productive season of his career. He rushed for 1,852 yards and 14 touchdowns, both career highs. His 5.5 yards per carry also was the best of his career.

In the Bears’ Super Bowl season, Payton gained 1,551 yards and had nine rushing touchdowns and also caught 49 passes, with two more for scores. In the Bears’ 46-10 rout of the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, Payton didn’t score a touchdown, a sore point with him that even caused Ditka to apologize to him afterward for what he said was simply an oversight.

Payton retired after the 1987 season and immediately launched himself into a successful business career that included part ownership of an Arena Football league team, several restaurants and a number of other businesses.
When Payton was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he asked 12-year-old Jarrett to be the first son to present his father at the ceremonies in Canton, Ohio. “Not only is he a great athlete, he’s a role model – he’s my role model,” said Jarrett, now a running back at the University of Miami who came home last Wednesday to be with his ailing father.

Jarrett Payton read a brief statement at the news conference at Halas Hall today, thanking well-wishers from around the world for their support and encouragement as well as the medical personnel who treated his father since his illness was first diagnosed.

“These last 12 months have been extremely tough for me and my family,” he said. “We’ve also learned about love and life.”
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue today called Payton “one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. . . . Walter was an inspiration in everything he did. The tremendous grace and dignity he displayed in his final months reminded us again why ‘Sweetness’ was the perfect nickname for Walter Payton.”
Mike Singletary, a fearsome middle linebacker who played with Payton from 1981 to ’87, said today he spent the weekend praying and reading scripture with Payton and saw him again Monday before he died.

“With all the greatest runs, the greatest moves I saw from him, what I experienced was by far the best of Walter Payton that I’ve seen,” Singletary said at Lake Forest. “As a football player, he was really the first running back I ever met that I truly respected in terms of how he prepared. . . . He was the first running back I had ever seen that I thought would be a great defensive player.

“His attitude toward life, you wanted to be around him. If you were down, he would not let you stay down. It was his duty to bring humor and light to any situation. No matter how tough it was, Walter could always make you feel great about playing the game and playing for the Chicago Bears. He was definitely a bright spot wherever darkness appeared.” Research more about this great American Hero an share with your babies. I will be speaking at Dacula High School about the Blacks who served during WWI and how Blacks on the home front lived. November 11, 2018 will be the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI. I won’t be able to respond to any posts. Make it a champion day!

October 28 2009- “This Is It” The Movie By Micheal Jackson

GM – FBF – Today’s story can only be told by people who lived through it. Coming out of Gary, Indiana in 1968, The Jackson’s were STARS with number one hits, T.V. specials and even a Saturday morning cartoon show. I personally saw him perform over his career six times between his brothers and by himself. His personal life and professional life is an open book and I feel sorry for how his life ended but so did Dorothy’s, “Bird” and Billie to name a few. I just know that he was better than what you saw in the move but at that part of his life I guess that was all that he had left. Enjoy!

Remember – “There were times when I had great times with my brothers, pillow fights and things, but I was, used to always cry from loneliness.” – Michael Jackson

Today in our History – October 28, 2009 – “THIS IS IT” the movie by Michael Jackson opens in Theaters.
The announcement earlier this year that Michael Jackson would be doing 50 concerts in London was greeted with equal parts euphoria and cynicism. Was he doing it for us? Was he doing it for money? Then in June, less than a month before the start of the sold-out run, Jackson died of cardiac arrest, and the news that a film of the show’s rehearsal footage was on the way added another layer of ambivalence. Awesome. Creepy. But, for now, “Michael Jackson’s This Is It’’ is the fierce last word on the matter. Jackson had no apparent plans to phone, fax, text, or IM it in.

The movie still arrives, screened for critics only hours before opening, with an eerie taint. It comes days before Halloween; its star, while far from death at the time, a diminished version of his electrifying self, his face a wan mask. Next weekend, that popular chiller about the couple in the haunted house won’t be the only paranormal activity at the box office. Yet watching Jackson pop, lock, rock, writhe, thrust, and clutch his crotch, even at 50 percent, leaves a feeling of woe: This show really would have been major.

Over the summer news outlets ran some of the footage – or footage very much like it. For a movie audience, the question is whether an hour and a half of the same will be any fun, especially when so much of it is barely camera-phone quality. The opening minutes seem doubtful. Jackson chops, poses, and slides through “Wanna Be Startin’ Something.’’ He doesn’t commit to any sort of vocal styling. And you can see him thinking about how to work the song out.

Watching a great artist decide how to move doesn’t seem much more exciting than watching a waiter set a table: When’s dinner? That, of course, is the terrible punch line of this entire experience: This is it. So, instead, we devour even Jackson’s lassitude. It’s our last supper. (Besides, what waiter is going to serve you wearing a tuxedo jacket with one sequined lapel and shoulders that look like something from a Tim Burton movie?)

Lest anyone get the morbid sense that the film is a necrophiliac’s delight, Jackson often feels vibrantly, reassuringly human. He sashays with one of his female dancers at one point. He puts the spotlight on his band and dancers, and his perfectionism never approaches divadom. When Jackson stands over the keyboard of the show’s musical director, trying to coax a note out of him, and says “I just want to hear it the way I wrote it,’’ what’s so funny is how little it is for him to ask. But also it’s a side of Jackson we never got to see. His Peter Pan syndrome and his professionalism truly coexist. He wants the show to be flawless. He also wants every element of the experience to appear to emanate from his every gesticulation. He’s a life force. He’s the Wiz.

He’s also a man with too much integrity to let anyone else call the shots. Indeed, the director of the concert and this movie, Kenny Ortega, seems more like a jolly personal assistant, repeatedly telling Jackson how much he loves him. It’s the sort of thing you expect to hear a fan blurt out as a movie star accepts an award. Jackson responds in kind: “I love you, too.’’
Ortega is a Hollywood veteran (he choreographed “Dirty Dancing’’ and directed the “High School Musical’’ franchise), and the movie is a dutiful tribute to its star. The crosscutting of footage isn’t seamless, but we get a decent sense of how most of the numbers would go. The crew filmed an inspired sequence in which Jackson inserts himself into classic Hollywood movies such as “Gilda’’ and “The Big Sleep,’’ alongside Rita Hayworth and Humphrey Bogart. The sequence is for “Smooth Criminal,’’ and it now has posthumous logic. Of course a legend plays with legends.

Clearly, Jackson expected just enough of himself to aim for some high points, even in these run-throughs. He tells the dancers and crew begging him to let go and really sing that he’s saving his voice for the actual performances. But you get the sense that he had to test how hard he could push that complex instrument. So even as he demurs when the band breaks out the gospel tambourine at the end of a Jackson Five medley, he still puts his foot into some of the songs. His singing voice is rarely more beautifully acrobatic than on the movie’s version of “Human Nature.’’

This all calls to mind the comeback concerts of Jackson’s friend Liza Minnelli, who hit Broadway last year at less than her best but was determined to bring the house down every night. There was no reason to think that Jackson wouldn’t have accomplished the same thing. Even if he didn’t manage to blow the crowds away 50 times, he would have risked it all trying. Research more about this American Black Entertainer and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 26 1997- The Million Woman March

GM – FBF – Today’s story was a test of how our black females can get together like their male counterparts. It was a challenge but they pulled it off. Enjoy!
Remember – “We are mothers. We are caregivers. We are artists. We are activists. We are entrepreneurs, doctors, leaders of industry and technology. Our potential is unlimited. We rise.” -Alicia Keys

Today in our History – October 25, 1997 – The Million Woman March in Philadelphia, PA.

The march was founded and formulated by Phile Chionesu, a grassroots activist, human rights advocate, Black Nationalist/Freedom Fighter, and owner of an African crafts shop; she was not associated with any national black organizations. After several months of underground organizing, Chionesu asked Asia Coney to join her, making her the third National Co-Chair.

The march was envisioned and intended to help bring social, cal, and economic development and power throughout the black communities of the United States, as well as to bring hope, empowerment, unity and sisterhood to women, men and children of African descent globally regardless of nationality, religion, or economic status. One main focus of the march for the women involved was family unity and what it means to be an African American woman in America. The women of the march called for three things: repentance for the pain of black women caused by one another, and the restoration and resurrection of African American family and community bonds. The march included scheduled hours of prayer and speeches.

The day was filled with prayer, music, and inspirational speeches. These events were meant to promote positive change. The march started from the Liberty Bell and ended at the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.[5] Speakers at the event included Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela; Congresswoman Maxine Waters; Sista Souljah; Jada Pinkett Smith; Attallah and Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughters of Malcolm X; and Dr. Dorothy Height. A message was read from Assata Shakur from her exile home of Cuba.
The march has been considered a social phenomenon due to its unconventional and unique way of organizing. It has influenced several mass gatherings by demonstrating a grassroots approach that had not been employed before.

These women were able to use different methods of spreading information via media coordinators like BWN NJ Delegate Stacey Chambers, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and, by word of mouth, fliers, black-run media, the Internet, and a network of women’s organizations. The Million Woman March was the launching pad for the development of the first global movement for women and girls of African descent throughout the Diaspora.[according to whom?]

Estimates of attendance for the march vary widely. The Philadelphia police gave no official estimates, but were preparing for up to 600,000 people. However, a study provided by the University of Pennsylvania in addition to aerial footage, photos, and other research data and information obtained from news and other sources, indicates that the gathering drew at least 500,000 people. Police sources gave numbers varying from 300,000 to 1 million. The attendees came even despite cold temperatures and light rain. Organizers estimated an attendance of 2.1 million. Phile Chionesu suggested there were more than 2.5 million people. “The rally brought together women from across the country – some wearing jeans and sweat shirts, others in festive African garb.”There were signs throughout the march saying, “I am one in a million” and “Black Women: No more AIDS, abuse, addiction”.[4] Supporters also bought buttons and apparel such as T-shirts, hats and flags with march logos.

The mission of the Million Woman March was for African American women to be self-determined. The march was also intended to draw attention to statistics that marginalize African American women. Research has shown that 94 of 1,000 African American teenage girls are victims of violent crime.

African American women are eighteen times more likely to get AIDS than white women. In 1996, African American men earned thirty dollars more than African American women per week, while, African American women were paid forty dollars less than white women per week. From these statistics, African American women and supporters wanted to take a stand, and part of the protest was because of inequalities like these.

The Million Woman March has continued its mission under the direction of the founder and national offices. Since the march, over 50 conferences, over 100 forums, online radio broadcasts for 12 years, and many social justice protests for women and African American females have taken place.Research more about black woman’s movements and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 24 2002- John Allen Muhammad

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a spree of murders and attempted murders that happened a year after the 9/11 attacks in NYC and Washington, D.C. Which many people were still afraid and in a state of fear. These acts of endangering human life happened around the greater Washington, D.C. area over a three week time period in October 2002. These acts would be called “The Beltway sniper attacks”.

Remember – “ I am a monster who “stole people’s lives.” – Lee Boyd Malvo

Today in our History – October 24, 2002 – John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo are arrested.

Here’s a look at the shooting spree that occurred in the Mid-Atlantic/Washington area in October 2002. Ten people were killed and three injured in sniper-style shootings.
John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested, tried and convicted for the shootings. Muhammad received a death sentence and was executed on November 10, 2009. Malvo was convicted and is waiting for resentencing after a federal judge overturned his two life sentences.
Timeline – DC Area Shooting Spree: 
October 2, 2002 – A shot is fired through a window at a Michael’s crafts store in Aspen Hill, Maryland, but no one is hit.

– Not linked by ballistic evidence.
October 2, 2002 – The first killing takes place when 55-year-old James D. Martin, a program analyst for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is shot in the parking lot of Shoppers Food Warehouse in Wheaton, Maryland.

– Not linked by ballistic evidence.
What is behind the rise in depression in America?
As the national nonprofit Mental Health America has identified, depression in America is on the rise. And many are left untreated.

October 3, 2002 – Police are called to a crime scene and find James L. Buchanan, a 39-year-old landscaper who has been fatally shot while mowing a lawn at a commercial establishment near Rockville, Maryland.

October 3, 2002 – Premkumar Walekar, 54, a part-time cab driver, is killed while pumping gas into his taxi at a station in the Aspen Hill area of Montgomery County, Maryland.

October 3, 2002 – Sarah Ramos, 34, of Silver Spring, Maryland, is killed at a post office near Leisure World Shopping center. A witness reports seeing a white van or truck speed from the post office parking lot immediately after the shooting.

October 3, 2002 – Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera, 25, of Silver Spring is shot dead at a Shell gas station in Kensington where she was vacuuming her van.

October 3, 2002 – In the only killing in Washington and the first one to occur at night, Pascal Charlot, 72, is shot in the chest as he walks along Georgia Avenue. He is taken to a hospital, where he dies less than an hour later.

October 4, 2002 – In a Michael’s parking lot in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Caroline Seawell, 43, is shot as she puts her bags inside her Toyota minivan. She is released from a Fairfax hospital on Monday, October 14.

October 7, 2002 – Iran Brown, 13, is shot and critically wounded outside Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Maryland’s Prince George’s County.

October 9, 2002 – A tarot card is found near the scene of the shooting at the school. CNN sources say it is the “Death Card” with the message “Call me God” for police.

October 9, 2002 – Dean Harold Meyers, 53, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, is killed while pumping gas at a station in Manassas, Virginia. A white minivan seen in the area is first thought to have some connection with the shooting but is later cleared by police.

October 11, 2002 – Kenneth Bridges, 53, a Philadelphia businessman, is killed at an Exxon station just off I-95 near Fredericksburg, Virginia. Police enforce a huge roadblock, trying to find a white van-like vehicle (similar to a Chevy Astro) with a ladder rack on top.

October 14, 2002 – Linda Franklin, 47, of Arlington, Virginia, is killed by a single gunshot in a Home Depot parking lot in Falls Church, Virginia.

October 19, 2002 – Jeffrey Hopper, 37, is shot in a parking lot at a Ponderosa Steakhouse near I-95 in Ashland, Virginia, 83 miles south of Washington. Doctors remove the bullet from the victim during surgery on October 21 and connect him to the others by ballistics.

October 21, 2002 – Police surround a white van at a pay phone at an Exxon gas station in Richmond, Virginia. They arrest one man in the vehicle and a second man “in the vicinity” but later say that they cannot be connected to the sniper shootings.

October 22, 2002 – Bus driver Conrad Johnson, 35, of Oxon Hill, Maryland, is shot as he stands on the top step inside his commuter bus in Aspen Hill, Maryland. He later dies at a hospital in Bethesda. Investigators confirm on October 23 that his death is connected to the sniper.

October 24, 2002 – John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo are arrested. They are found sleeping in a 1990 Chevy Caprice at a rest stop in Frederick County, Maryland.
November 10, 2009 – After receiving the death penalty in 2004, Muhammad is executed.

May 26, 2017 – A federal judge overturns two of Malvo’s life sentences in Chesapeake and Spotsylvania County in Virginia. Malvo remains in prison as his Virginia convictions still stand, as well as his previous sentences from Maryland.

June 21, 2018 – A federal appeals court agrees Malvo’s four life sentences from Virginia must be vacated based on a 2012 Supreme Court decision that it is unconstitutional for juveniles to receive mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Timeline – Other incidents where Muhammad/Malvo were charged or considered suspects:

February 16, 2002 – Keenya Cook, 21, is murdered. Her aunt was a former friend of Muhammad’s ex-wife. There is circumstantial but not ballistic evidence.

March 19, 2002 – Sixty-year-old Jerry Taylor is shot and killed on a Tucson, Arizona, golf course.

May 2002 – A synagogue in Tacoma, Washington, is vandalized. Police consider Muhammad as a suspect. Guns used in both incidents belong to a man with whom Malvo and Muhammad had stayed for a time.

September 5, 2002 – Shooting at a Clinton, Maryland, pizzeria. Paul LaRuffia is injured.

September 14, 2002 – Benny Oberoi, 22, is shot and wounded outside the Hillandale Beer & Wine Store in Silver Spring, Maryland. The shooting is linked by circumstances, witnesses and location of the alleged snipers, but not by ballistics.

September 15, 2002 – Shooting at a Brandywine, Maryland, liquor store. Muhammad Rashid is injured.

September 21, 2002 – Million Waldemariam, 41, is shot three times and killed at a liquor store in Atlanta. Ballistics on a .22 caliber handgun links both the Atlanta and the Montgomery shootings.

September 21, 2002 – Shooting at a Montgomery, Alabama, liquor store. Owner Claudine Parker is killed and clerk Kellie Adams is seriously injured. Ballistics are a match to Bushmaster .223 rifle and eyewitness accounts link to the DC snipers. Capital murder charges are filed against Muhammad and Malvo.

September 23, 2002 – Shooting outside a beauty shop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, kills 45-year-old Hong Im Ballenger, the shop manager. Malvo and Muhammad are charged with capital murder and armed robbery on October 31 when ballistics match the Bushmaster .223 rifle.

September 26, 2002 – Wright Williams is injured at his grocery store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Research more about The BeltWay Shootings and sahre with your babies. Make it a champion day!

October 15 1890- The Alabama Penny Savings Bank Founded

GM – FBF – Today let’s remind you that blacks are still operating in American. It was challenging for you to Invest in a bank at all during this time in America. The people of America in the state of Alabama did take advantage of this. Enjoy!

Remember – “The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil water-way leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky–seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.” – W. W. Cox

The Alabama Penny Savings Bank, founded October 15,

1890, was the first African-American owned and operated financial institution in Birmingham, and one of the first three in the United States. One of the organizers of the Penny Savings Bank was 16th Street Baptist Church pastor William Pettiford, who provided the initial $2,000 in capital. Other officers included physician Ulysses Mason, Indianola banker W. W. Cox, and an unnamed saloonkeeper. In its early years the bank’s officers did not take salaries, helping the bank survive the 1893 panic which spelled failure for other institutions.

Educator Booker T. Washington said this about the institution in an address given in Birmingham on January 1, 1900:
“I wish to congratulate you among other things upon the excellent and far reaching work that has been done in Birmingham and vicinity through the wide and helpful influence of the Alabama Penny Savings Bank. Few organizations of any description in this country among our people have helped us more, not only in cultivating the habit of saving, but in bringing to us the confidence and respect of the white race. The people who save money, who make themselves intelligent, and live moral lives, are the ones who are going to control the destinies of the country.”

The bank’s first building, a three story stone and brick structure, was located at 217 18th Street North. In 1913 the bank constructed a new six-story building one block north, now known as the Pythian Temple. It was built by the black-owned Windham Construction and some have identified its style with the work of African American architect Wallace Rayfield, who kept an office in the building for a time. The bank did provide financing for many of the homes that Rayfield designed for Birmingham’s black professionals.

In 1915 both black-owned banks operating in the city, the Alabama Penny Savings Bank and the Prudential Savings Bank, founded by Ulysses Mason in 1910, were faced with bankruptcies. Washington helped to coordinate assistance in the form of secured loans and a last-minute effort to effect a merger. Later that year the Penny Savings Bank closed. The building was purchased by the Grand Lodge of the Knights of Pythias, and. since then, their building has been known as the Pythian Temple. Research more about Black banks in American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

September 29 1908- Edward “Eddie”

GM – FBF – On this day a story happened in our History that many people don’t know about not that you missed it but the story was never shared with you. If I say the name Usain Bolt, Carl Lewis or Jesse Owens you can quickly give me the answer of the fastest man in the world for Olympic sprinters.

If I told you there was a black man before all of them would you know his name? I ask you that question because it was asked of me when I participated as one of the public address announcers for woman’s softball in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, GA. as I was being interviewed by a Chinese reporter and he knew the answer while I had to think and came up with Marquette sprinter Ralph Metcalfe which I knew the story from going to school in Wisconsin but the “Midnight Express”, would go unsung in sports as four years later Adolph Hitler would help make Jesse Owens a worldwide name but even Jesse would find himself racing horses just to feed his family. Learn and remember this great American athlete. Enjoy!

Today in our History – September 29, 1908 – Erward “Eddie” Tolan was born, He was the first non-Euro-American to receive the title of the “world’s fastest human” after winning gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters events at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He passed in 1967 at age 59.

Modern Sprinting, as epitomized by Olympic champion Usain Bolt, is a radically different proposition from what it was in the early 20th century. Then, it was raw talent rather than technique that made champions, whereas today natural ability is augmented with science, biology, nutrition, psychology and vastly improved equipment, all designed to shave every possible microsecond off a sprinters time. While this has led to the excitement of more world records, it has also quashed the individualism that once characterized some of the sports early craftsmen.

The 1932 double Olympic champion, African American Eddie Tolan, was a case in point. Born in Denver in 1908, he started off as a football player, until a knee-ligament injury ended his hopes and left him with a limp. After this he took up sprinting, eventually securing a scholarship to the University of Michigan, which had produced Olympic sprint, champions Archie Hahn and Ralph Craig? But these were the days of American segregation, and so Tolan was one of only two black athletes on campus. Nevertheless, he rose above the harsh discriminations of the time and qualified for the 1932 Olympic Games, held in Los Angeles.

Tolan cut a figure like no other sportsman of his era — he was just five-foot-four and 145 pounds, with center-parted short Afro hair, and round spectacles that he wore taped to the sides of his head while running. He had the look of a Baptist minister. He also liked to chew gum while he sprinted, in sync with each step, which he claimed relieved stress and improved his acceleration.

Going into the Olympic games, Tolan, otherwise known as the “Midnight Express”, (sprinters had stage names in those days), was ranked number two behind fellow African American sprinter Ralph Metcalfe, who had won both sprint distances in the Olympic trials. The pair were scheduled to line up against each other in the 100m and 200m sprint finals, in what would become the most talked about rivalry of the 1932 games.

On August 1, 1932, Tolan, a compact, powerful runner with lightning reflexes and a low center of gravity, pipped Metcalfe at the post in the 100m, taking the title in 10.3 seconds, equaling the world record. There was a nothing to separate both athletes at the line, and Metcalfe’s time was also given at 10.3. Metcalfe felt aggrieved, and maintained to his dying breath that the race should have been a dead heat.

But even Metcalfe had to concede two days later, when Tolan beat him in the 200, in a new world record of 21.2 seconds. Metcalfe was magnanimous in defeat, although he claimed that he had inadvertently dug his starting blocks into the wrong place on the track, giving Tolan an advantage of some four-feet.

Although Tolan became the only American track athlete in history to win two gold medals at the Olympic Games, he was never able to exploit his success financially. Back home in Michigan he was supported by his mother. In desperation he finally accepted a job touring the Vaudeville circuit, telling stories about his Olympic career along with the Great Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. The pay was supposed to be $1,500 a week, but the money never came, as the show closed after a few weeks. He also was hired as a high school teacher and track coach in Detroit City Schools but only lasted one school year and was let go After that he drifted through a series of mundane jobs. In 1967 he died of a heart attack at the age of 57. During my research on writing this story I found this article: in the newspaper THE OAKLAHOMAN out of Oklahoma City, OK it reads: The sign is gone.

There used to be a sign on the Southside of Reno near Blackwelder that said “Tolan Park.” The land is still there, with beautiful old trees and neatly mowed grass. It looks like it could be a park. And, once it was. In 1934, the city park board recognized the need for a new park for black residents in Ward 3. A location was chosen, and a naming contest was held. Neighborhood residents voted to name the park for Eddie Tolan. The story from The Oklahoman read: “Eddie Tolan, Negro Olympic champion sprinter of the University of Michigan has been honored by his racial brothers in Oklahoma City. “The new Negro park at West Reno and South Blackwelder avenues Wednesday was officially named the “Eddie Tolan Park” on vote of the city park board. “As the result of a name contest conducted by Negroes in the section, the park board voted favorably on the group’s recommendation.”

Eddie Tolan was a black athlete who in 1932 won two gold medals for sprinting at the 1932 Olympics held in Los Angeles. According to his biography at the African American Registry online, Tolan won 300 races in his track career and lost only seven (one to Oklahoma A&M’s Peyton Glass). He set a world record in the 100-meter of 10.3 seconds. Tolan became a schoolteacher and died in 1967 in Detroit, Mich. Tolan Park had a sorry sort of beginning. The Oklahoman on Dec. 29, 1935, gave this description: “’Tolan park, which at present consists mainly of an old river channel and the vestige of the city junk heap, may yet develop into a recreational center,’ Donald Gordon, city park superintendent, indicated Saturday.
(I have a picture of the park and Eddie Tolan knew nothing of it)

Over the course of his short sprinting career Eddie Tolan won 300 races, and lost only seven — in the process paving the way for a long line of high-achieving black sprinters, the next of whom would be the great Jesse Owens. But despite his incredible achievements he remains largely unknown within black history and sporting circles, and sprinting is all the poorer without his unique brand of funky running. Research more about this great American black athletes and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!