Louis Charles Roudanez (1823-1870) founded one of the first black daily newspapers for Blacks in the U.S in New Orleans, Louisiana. (The first Black Newspaper published by a black person was Freedom’s Journal in 1827). Roudanez used the publication to advocate for the abolition of slavery, voting rights for all, desegregation, and land ownership rights for those formerly enslaved. Roudanez was also an accomplished physician respected by both blacks and whites in his community.
During the 1800s the city of New Orleans was very different from the rest of the country. New Orleans was home to a large number of free black Creoles (free people of color of French or Spanish descent and mixed heritage). Creoles enjoyed privileges that were not given to slaves or even most free blacks. Creoles comprised about ten percent of the black population in Louisiana. They were typically affluent, educated, and often business owners. Many used their affluence to advocate for abolition and civil rights. Continue reading “Dr. Louis C. Roudanez: Physician, Journalist & Activist”→
R & B singer, James Ingram has died at the age of 66. A native of Akron, Ohio, Ingram was a double Grammy award winner and two time Oscar nominee.
In the 1970’s Ingram got his start performing with the Akron Ohio group, Revolution Funk before becoming a session artist working with artists such as Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye. Although a talented musician who played multiple instruments, his signature baritone voice ultimately became his claim to fame. Ingram’s soulful voice dominated the R&B scene during the 80’s and early 90’s. News outlet TMZ reports that Ingram was suffering from brain cancer. During his career, he achieved 8 top forty hits, including his 1982 duet with Patti Austin, “Baby Come To Me”, and “I Don’t Have A Heart” released in the 90’s which went No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. His songwriting abilities caught the attention of Quincy Jones.
“So the Dr. King that we celebrate on the third Monday of January keeps getting smaller and smaller.” -Jean Theoharis
A powerful quote from Jean Theoharis; who also went on to remind us that:
“……. the King memorial in Washington, DC. Part of the memorial showcases quotes from King, and none of the quotes that were chosen include the words “segregation” or “racism.” It’s extraordinary — we have a monument to Dr. King that doesn’t speak to race.”
As we remember the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we must be careful not to sanitize and water down his legacy. Many misuse his legacy, attempting to “rebrand” and “repackage” his message to make it more passive and palitable. We must sit with and learn from his life in totality.
Check out this article by PR Lockhart where Jean Theoharis is interviewed.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded on January 13, 1913 by 22 African American women at Howard University. DST was the only African American women’s organization to participate in the historic march for women’s suffrage that took place in Washington DC.
March organizers did not want black women to participate. They were told to march in back of the procession. African American anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells Barnett, also a member of Delta Sigma Theta, to march in the back of the procession with her sorority sisters. Instead she joined the delegation of white women from her home state of Illinois refusing. Bravo to the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta for their activism past, present, and future.
Nikki Howard, with the FDA, and sister Jaqi Wright, with DOJ, have started “The Furlough Cheesecake” company to help pay the bills during the government shutdown. Shout out to these two queens!! We see you! We support you!! Check out their website: https://thefurloughcheesecake.com
Golden Asro Frinks (1920 – 2004) was a field secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and a civil rights activist. Frinks was born in Wampee, North Carolina but lived mainly in Edenton, SC where he resided since the age of 17. He was named, “Golden” by his mother because of a “golden text” of scripture that was read at a church service she attended on the day of his birth.
Frinks was an unsung hero of the civil rights movement for 30 years; leading countless youth and adults; many of whom were African American and Native American. He was arrested eighty-seven times for his civil rights activities. A veteran of the United States Army, he served during World War II as a staff sergeant at Fort McCullough, Alabama. After his military service, he returned to Edenton and married Ruth Holley. They had one daughter, Goldi Ann Frinks Wells.
Frinks became involved in civil rights activism and organizing in 1956 in an effort to desegregate restaurants, theaters, stores, and other public spaces. He also led the fight to end Jim Crow practices. He used many of the same nonviolent tactics of civil disobedience used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. such as sit ins, demonstrations, protests, and marches. Frinks was selected by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to become Field Secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); a position he held until 1977.
His unorthodox style was extremely effective and earned him the nickname of “The Great Agitator”. Frinks lead over a dozen civil rights movements during his career as an activist; three of which were on par with movements led in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. His activism was not limited only to North Carolina. A great deal of the organizing for the civil rights organizing in Selma, Alabama was conducted in in Frinks’ home. He also assisted with organizing the March on Washington. Leading efforts to advocate on behalf of individuals experiencing racial discrimination was also a hallmark of Frink’s activism. Joann Little was one such individual. She was an African American woman accused of killing the jailer who had assaulted her while she was in prison in the 1970’s. Frinks also advocated on behalf of the Tuscarora Indians in 1973; marching to the state capital to support the group in gaining tribal recognition as well as representation on the Robeson County School Board.
Frinks is remembered as having some unorthodox ways; frequently dressing in a gold colored jumpsuit or sometimes a dashiki adorned with gold chains with a cross. To energize meetings, he might jump on a table. At one time, Frinks set a coop of chickens free around a courthouse building in Alabama to delay the start of a court hearing; a strategy he may have employed on more than one occasion.
He also played an integral role in advocating on behalf of four black teenagers in 1993. The teens were arrested after a fight at a bowling alley in Hampton, Virginia. Frinks became involved on behalf of the NAACP over concerns that the charges against the teens were excessive. One of the youths being charged, was a local football and basketball standout, Allen Iverson. Iverson maintained his innocence; stating that he left the area as the fight started. Iverson felt he was being targeted because he was a “star”. He had been sentenced to five years in prison. Frinks involvement was instrumental in bringing national attention to Iverson and the incident. 60 Minutes covered the story and Governor Douglas Wilder would eventually commute his sentence. Iverson was then able to attend Georgetown University and play basketball. He went pro just two years later and experienced great success as shooting guard in the NBA.