Black Mail Blog

Black History: Special Delivery!!


August 8, 2015

“Disruption Is Necessary For Change”

Black History: Special Delivery!!


Disruption Is necessary for change” -Bree Newsome

Some of you may remember Bree Newsome the courageous, African American Activist who was arrested for removing the confederate flag in South Carolina. 

She recently published an article on “The Root”.  The title of the Article is:

“When Oppression Is the Status Quo, Disruption Is a Moral Duty”

Article focuses on why  strategic “disruption” is necessary to achieve change.  Ms. Newsome reminds us of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In his Letter From Birmingham Mail. They still ring true today!

I’m struck by the way society can commemorate the movement of the past while condemning the movement of the present.”

Ms. Newsome shares her perspective on Black Lives Matter movement and why it’s necessary to address issues of oppression and violence in the black community.

Read the article:

Sphinx Orchestra: Changing The Face of Classical Music

Black History:  Special Delivery!!


Sphinx is a national non-profit organization, headquartered in Detroit, MI. It was founded by Dr. Aaron Dworkin and Carrie Chester. The organization was founded when both were students at U of M.  Dr. Dworkin, who started playing the violin as a child often noticed that few performers or audience members were people of color.

Dr. Aaron Dworkin
Dr. Aaron Dworkin

Seeking to create more diversity in the field of classical music, Sphinx was founded. Sphinx held its inaugural “Sphinx Competition” in 1998. The competition gives opportunities for young musicians of color to compete, receive mentorship and education from nationally acclaimed musicians.  Sphinx also provides the Sphinx Overture Program which offers free violin lessons to students in underserved communities. Also offered is the Sphinx Performance Academy a summer chamber music program for Black and Latino musicians ages 12-17. Sphinx is committed to transforming lives through increasing diversity in the arts. The organization has made some impressive inroads in the field of classical music. In its first 10 years, according to the League of American Orchestras, orchestras that were part of their membership that reported an increase in diversity of people of color had some relationship with the Sphinx Organization. Sphinx also reports that their graduates are represented at all of the top 10 music schools in the U.S. Sphinx is constantly working toward fulfilling its mission of transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

Click on the link below to see a short video about Sphinx:

Dr. James West: Co-Inventor Of The Electric Microphone

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Dr. James West
Dr. James West

We have African American inventor, Dr. James Edward West to thank for inventing the microphone. 90% of electric microphones used today are a result of his invention. This includes telephones, tape recorders, camcorders, baby monitors and hearing aids.

West was born in 1931 in Prince Edwards County, VA. Dr. West had an interest in science dating back to his childhood. However, his parents, concerned about racism felt it would be better for him to pursue a career as a physician rather than a scientist. Dr. West and his colleague, Gerhard Sessler, invented the mic (officially known as the Electroacoustic Transducer Electret Microphone) while with Bell Laboratories. They received a patent in 1962. By 1968, the microphone was being mass produced. Dr.West began his career at Bell Labs as an intern and joined the company full time in 1957. He has received many awards and honors for his invention. During his career, Dr. West was an advocate and supported programs that encourage students of color to pursue science related careers. James Edward West now works with Johns Hopkins University as a research professor