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The Legacy Of Ntozake Shange

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Author, poet, spoken-word artist, and playwright Ntozake Shange (pronounced en-toh-ZAH-kee SHAHN-gay) died on October 27, 2018. She was 70 years old. Shange is best known for her prolific play, “For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf”.

At the time, the play was only the second by an African American woman on Broadway after, Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin In The Son”. Shange was just 27 years old when the play premiered. Over 750 Broadway performances were held.

Shange has been referred to by Maiysha Kai as, “One of the original conjurers of what we now know as black girl magic“. Born Paulette Williams in 1948, she eventually changed her name to Ntozake Shange to identify with her African roots. Ntozake translated, in Zulu means “she who comes with her own things. Shange means, “she who walks like a lion.”

Shange graduated from Trenton High School in New Jersey. She also graduated from Barnard College and the University of Southern California, earning a master’s degree in American studies.

Sara Bellamy said of Shange, “Ntozake Shange invited us to marvel at the resiliency and power that women of color harness in order to survive a hostile world. She invited us to practice the ritual of loving ourselves.”

Certainly this queen used the power of her pen to elevate the voices and experiences of black women. May she rest in power!

Sources:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/theglowup.theroot.com/in-memoriam-for-colored-girls-who-grew-up-on-ntozake-s-1830060936/amp

James Baldwin Quote

Black History: Special Delivery!!

A child cannot be taught by anyone that despises him.”

-James Baldwin

Harriet Wilson: 1st African American Woman To Publish A Novel In the United States

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Harriet Adams Wilson (1825-1900)

On September 5, 1859, Harriet E. Wilson, (1825-1900) published, “Our Nig” making her the first African American woman to publish a novel in the United States. Wilson was born in Milford, New Hampshire. Her father was African American and her mother was white. When her father died, her mother abandoned her; leaving her at the home of a family where she worked as an indentured servant. She would remain with the family until the 1840’s. Wilson was married in 1851 and had a son named George. After being abandoned by her husband, she left her son in the care of foster parents and left to seek work in Boston. George died at the age of 7.

 

Wilson is said to have gone by the name, “Dr. Hattie E. Wilson” and worked as clairvoyant and psychic healer. She traveled across the U.S. making speeches on the spirit world and race relations. Wilson’s novel, “Our Nig” was a fictional story about her experience as an indentured servant, as well as her experiences with racism and prejudice. Continue reading “Harriet Wilson: 1st African American Woman To Publish A Novel In the United States”

Celebrate The Skin You’re In!!

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Quote: “My color is my joy, not my burden.” -Bebe Moore Campbell

54th Anniversary of “I Have A Dream Speech”

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Photo Credit: Library of Congress

August 28, 2017 marks the 54th anniversary of the historic “I Have A Dream Speech” given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, in Washington, DC during the March on Washington.  More than 200,000 flooded the capital for the historic speech.  Below are some little known facts about the March that you may not know.

  • The March on Washington along with the speech given by Dr. King was said to pressure President Kennedy to approve federal civil rights legislation in Congress.
  • Dr. King was not the “originator” of the “I have a dream” language contained in his speech. It is likely that this language was first used by then 22 year old Prathia Hall after the burning of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in 1962.  King had preached at a church service following the bombing.  Prathia Hall prayed during the service.  During her prayer she shared the “I have a dream” language.  Check out our previous Black Mail post for more information on Prathia Hall.  https://wordpress.com/post/blackmail4u.com/169
  • Originally, the speech was entitled, “Normalcy – Never Again” and did not contain any “I have a dream” wording. Dr. King was encouraged by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson who whispered to him during the speech, “Tell ‘em about the dream Martin.  Tell em’ about the dream.“
  • Dr. King was the last speaker of the day. Many of the march participants, had already left to return to their homes and missed the historic speech.
  • William Sullivan, head of the FBI’s domestic intelligence division wrote a memo after the speech labeling Dr. King “as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”
  • King’s speech, initially did not get much attention in the media. The march itself received most of the media attention.  By the time of King’s death in 1968, the speech, had been largely forgotten.
  • Dr. King first shared, “I have a dream” during a speech in Detroit two months before the March on Washington. Several of his staffers actually tried to discourage him from using the language again.

Check out a video excerpt of the speech:

Source(s):

Blackmail4u.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I47Y6VHc3Ms&feature=yout

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/08/i-have-a-dream-speech-facts-trivia.html

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/28/us/mlk-i-have-a-dream-9-things/index.html

Holla Back? Time To Drop Da Mic?

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

drop-the-mic

Black Mail Readers:

Check out the quote below from Boyce Watkins.  Watkins is an African American economist, author, political analyst and commentator.  A strong supporter of financial literacy and entrepreneurship, he is considered one of the founding fathers of “Financial Activism”, which has as its objective “creating social change through the use of conscientious capitalism”.  The quote below by Boyce Watkins calls us to reflect on the music industry and its impact on black men.  It was tweeted by Watkins on February 13, 2017

“For the last 20 years, the music industry has consistently rewarded black men for promoting music that celebrates our extinction.  -Boyce Watkins

We want to hear from you Black Mail readers!  Do you agree with his statement?  Why or why not?   Comment and let us know what you think.

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