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.
Eating black eyed peas and/or collard greens is a New Year’s Day holiday tradition for many African Americans. But what’s the story behind these two food staples? Collard greens and black-eyed peas have long been hailed as symbols of prosperity and good luck; the tradition being that black eyed peas represent money in the form of coins and collard greens represent paper money.
Black eyed peas (which are actually beans by the way) were a food staple that was grown in Africa over 5,000 years ago. They have been cultivated since pre-historic times; perhaps first cultivated in China and India. During the 1700’s black eyed peas were exported to the Americas during the transatlantic slave trade and were give as food rations to the enslaved as well as being used to feed livestock. Once black eyed peas began being cultivated in the U.S., they were initially a food that was largely consumed by enslaved peoples and poor whites. However, the staple dish would eventually find popularity in more affluent households.
There is an oral tradition widely shared that during the Civil War, when the Union Army raided Confederate army food supplies, the only thing that they left behind was black eyed peas and a few other crops that they deemed beneath their station. It is believed that the Confederate army was able to use black eyed peas as a food source that helped them survive the winter.
We should also recognize that black eyed peas also represent good fortune in the Jewish culture as well. Black eyed peas were eaten for good luck in North Africa to celebrate the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashannah) and also dating back to the era of the Babylonian Talmud. The Sephardic Jewish tradition also encouraged eating black eyed peas for fertility and good fortune. It is also a Jewish tradition to eat bitter greens during Passover as a reminder of the hard times endured by the Jews during their captivity.
Quote: “If you want me to sing this Christmas song with the feeling and the meaning, you better see if you can locate that check.”
Mahaila Jackson (1927-1971) is celebrated as one of the greatest gospel singers of all time. She is referred to as “The Queen Of Gospel”. As a child she shared a small “shot gun” house with 13 people. Raised by an aunt after the death of her mother, Jackson quit school in 4th grade to help out at home. Her amazing vocal skills were evident even when she was a young child. She moved to Chicago at age 16 looking for better opportunities. Instead she found only low income domestic work. While in Chicago she joined Greater Salem Baptist Church and began touring with the Johnson Brothers as a “fish and bread” singer (singing for donations). She would later sell 10 cent tickets for her performances and also found work singing at funerals and revivals. She promised to live a pure life and not use her vocal skills for secular entertainment….a promise she kept.
She made her first recording in 1937, “God’s Gonna Separate The Wheat From The Tares”. She would later partner with Thomas Dorsey, a gifted African American composer. Together they issued ushered in the golden age of gospel. In 1954 she launched her own radio show, “The Mahalia Jackson Hour”. It was the first all gospel radio hour. When she wanted to move into TV, executives declined feeling that a “negro” would not be well received in southern markets. Her radio show was canceled after 5 months because it failed to secure a national sponsor.
By 1960 she was an international singing sensation. Her financial success resulted in a racist backlash. She received threats from whites who didn’t want a black woman living in their community. Her own challenges with racism fueled her participation in the Civil Rights Movement. She lended her voice and finances to the movement. She soon became friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Her final performance took place I’m 1971 in Germany. She died at 60 of heart failure in 1972 after a surgery on her abdomen.
Christmas Eve 1854 – Harriet Tubman returned to her Maryland home to free her brothers Ben and Henry. Her coded message: “Tell my brothers to be always watching unto prayer and when the good old ship of Zion comes along, to be ready to step on board.” This was the second time that she attempted to help them escape. The first time was 1849 when she escaped. Ben and Henry became scared and turned back.
Traveling more than 100 miles, they arrived at William Still’s Anti-Slavery office in Philadelphia on Dec. 29, 1854.
Iconic vocalist Nancy Wilson died on December 13, 3018 at the age of 81. Her career spanned five decades. Well known known hits included, “Love Won’t Let Me Wait”, “If I Had My Way”, and “How Glad I Am”. Wilson was born in Chilcothe, OH and began singing as a young child. She retired in 2011. Many don’t know that Wilson was active in the Civil Rights Movement and that she participated in the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. Suprisingly she did not consider herself to be a traditional jazz singer; but rather an “interpreter” of lyrics she sang. She was the epitome of style and grace. It was said of Wilson that she, “turned songs into to stories”……and that she did!! May she rest well.