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African American History

Carter G. Woodson – Quote

Title at top of graphic is Carter G. Woodson - Quote.  Below the title is a picture of Carter G. Woodson. Next to his photo is a quote:  We have a wonderful history behind us...and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements. - Carter G. Woodson

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Where we bring you Black History, Special Delivery.

We close out Black History Month with a quote from the Father of Black History Month, Dr. Carter G. Woodson.

“We have a wonderful history behind us…and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements.”

-Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Woodson is so right! Our history is rich and wonderful, and it will propel present and future generations to higher heights and greater achievements. Thank you for rocking with Black Mail for another month of Black History….Special Delivery!

But, y’all know one month can’t hold our history! We’ll be back!

The Southern Manifesto: Attempt By Southern Politicians To Maintain Jim Crow Segregation

Top of graphic says, "The Southern Manifesto". Below is a picture of white protestors with picket signs.  Next to the picture are the following words, "In 1956, the House Rules Committee chairman, Howard Smith, announced the Southern Manifesto. Brought forth as an act of defiance, the Manifesto challenged Brown v. Board of Education with the hope of maintaining Jim Crow segregation. "

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On March 12, 1956, the House Rules Committee chairman, Howard Smith, announced the Southern Manifesto in a speech on the House Floor. The document’s formal name was the “Declaration of Constitutional Principles, ” Seventy-seven representatives signed it, and 19 Senators, totaling approximately one-fifth of the membership of Congress, and all from Confederate states. Brought forth as an act of defiance, the Manifesto challenged the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, which outlawed separate school facilities for black and white students.

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Dennis Weatherby: Developer Of Cascade Dish Detergent Chemical Formula

At the topic of the graphic is the name, "Dennis Weatherby" an African American scientist. Below this is a picture of Dennis Weatherby with the text, "African-American scientist Dennis W. Weatherby created the chemical formula for Cascade detergent."

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African American scientist Dennis Weatherby is responsible for the Cascade dish detergent chemical formula. He was born in Brighton, Alabama, on December 4, 1959. Weatherby developed a love for science as a child. Following high school he attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, on a football scholarship. He graduated with a bachelor of arts in chemistry in 1982.

Following graduation, Weatherby was employed by Proctor and Gamble as a process engineer. Within two years, he led a consumer products team focusing on developing a new detergent. Previous detergents stained both dishes and dishwashers. Weatherby and a co-developer Brian J. Roselle developed a dish solution with a lemon-yellow pigment that did not stain dishes. Weatherby patented the “automatic dishwasher detergent composition” formula on December 22, 1987. He was 27 years old. The formula is still used for all lemon-scented cleaning products containing bleach. 

Weatherby left Protocor and Gamble and was briefly employed by The Whittaker Corporation. He then returned to his alma mater, Central State Univesity, in 1989 as a faculty member, advisor, recruiter, and counselor. He then joined the faculty of Auburn University in 1996 to launch the school’s new minority engineering program. After leaving Auburn, he was employed by the Univesity of Notre Dame in 2004, serving as an associate dean in the graduate school. He then accepted a position at Northern Kentucky University in 2006 as Associate Provost. 

Weatherby experienced chronic high blood pressure throughout his life. In August 2007, he was recovering at home after a period of illness related when he hit his foot and developed a blood clot that traveled to his brain. Weatherby died on September 15, 2007. He was 47 years old, leaving behind a wife, four daughters, and two sons. 

Another installment of melanated mail has been delivered. Ponder, reflect, and pass it on!

Mothers On A Mission: Mae Mallory And The Harlem Nine

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Willie “Mae” Mallory (1927 – 2007) was the founder of and spokesperson for the Harlem Nine. The group of nine Black mothers sued the New York City Board of Education for the poor conditions of Black schools. Mallory took action after her children, Patricia and Keefer, Jr., informed her of the deplorable conditions in their segregated school, P.S. 10, in Harlem. She joined the Parent’s Committee For Better Education, becoming a dedicated and vocal advocate for Black children to have safe environments and high-quality education.

Founded in 1956, the Harlem Nine demanded improved conditions and school integration. The group encountered many obstacles in bringing the lawsuit. Several unsuccessful attempts were made to jail the mothers during the case. The Harlem Nine received support in their efforts from the local NAACP and civil rights activist Ella Baker, and political activist and clergyman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Remember that the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision which called for school desegregation, had been passed three years before this case. During this time, a group of high school students known as the “Little Rock Nine” attempted to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas as well. Both of these desegregation efforts took place in the south. The Harlem Nine case took place in the north, thus highlighting that school segregation was still occurring even in the supposedly more liberal north.

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Igbo Island Mass Suicide of 1803

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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In 1803 one of the largest mass suicides of enslaved persons occurred on St. Simons Island in Glynn County, Georgia.  Hailing from what is now Nigeria, enslaved Igbo captives were transported to the Georgia coast on the “Wanderer” slave ship.  The average cost paid for each of the enslaved by slave merchants, John Couper and Thomas Spalding was approximately $100. The enslaved were to be resold to plantations on St. Simons Island. 

During their transport to St. Simons Island, approximately 75 of the enslaved Igbo, launched a rebellion and took control of the ship that was transporting them.  They drowned their captors which resulted in the grounding of the ship in Dunbar Creek. The order of events that took place following the ship running aground is uncertain.  What is known, is that the enslaved Igbo, came ashore, singing, led by their high chief.  At the chief’s command, the group of Igbo, walked into Dunbar Creek, committing mass suicide.  A written account of the mass suicide was documented by Roswell King, a white overseer from the Pierce Butler Plantation.  King, along with another man, recovered a large number of the drowned bodies.  It appears that only a portion of the Igbo actually drowned.  In total, only 13 bodies were recovered from Dunbar Creek; while others remained missing.  It is believed that some may have actually survived; making the total number of deaths unclear. 

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The White Rose Mission And Industrial Association

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The White Rose Home For Colored Working Girls was founded in 1897, in New York City.  It later became known as the White Rose Mission or the White Rose Industrial Association.  The organization was founded by Victoria Earle Matthews and Maritcha Remond Lyons. It was located in Manhattan’s upper west side in an area known as San Juan Hill, offering shelter, food, domestic training, and job placement for black women relocating to the area from the West Indies and southern, United States.

Victoria Earle Matthews and Maritcha Remond were deeply concerned about the challenging conditions for young black women who came to New York seeking a better life.  The White Rose Mission and its volunteers would meet female travelers as they arrived in town and offer them assistance.  These women were vulnerable to exploitation and many fell prey to employment scams and other types of coercion or abusive treatment. 

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The Second Emancipation Proclamation (1962)

Black History: Special Delivery

Welcome To The Black Mail Blog and Podcast! At Black Mail, we bring you, Black History: Special Delivery.

Our topic today is the 1962 Second Emancipation Proclamation.

In 1962 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders urged President Kennedy to issue a Second Emancipation Proclamation Order.  The first Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, to free the enslaved.  This second proclamation was being prompted as a call to action for ending racial segregation. 

 King announced the idea in a New York City press conference in 1961.  At the press conference, King reminded the crowd of President Lincoln’s statement that the United States could not exist being “half-slave and half-free.”  Bringing the issue forward to the present-day, King asserted that the Kennedy administration should recognize that the nation cannot continue being half segregated. and half segregation free. 

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Black Mail Quote

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Inequities and disparities are toxins planted with intention and inattention into the souls, soil, and systems within our communities. Our ‘strategies of choice’ in addressing inequities and disparities too often prioritize the comfort of the oppressor over and above the liberation of the oppressed.

Enid Gaddis, ©2021 All Rights Reserved

The Hidden History Of Slavery In Michigan

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Image result for gateway to freedom memorial
Gateway To Freedom Memorial in Detroit, MI, by African American artist, Ed Dwight

Detroit, MI is known for being an important stop on the Underground Railroad.  You may not know that people were also enslaved in Detroit and surrounding areas prior to Michigan obtaining statehood. Many roads, schools, and other institutions in the Detroit area are named after wealthy slave-owning families.  If you live in or near Detroit, you will recognize these names, Macomb, Campau, Beaubien, McDougall, Brush, Cass, Hamtramck, Dequindre, Groesbeck Livernois, Rivard, and many others. From its founding in 1750, slavery existed during Detroit’s existence as a French, British, and then American settlement. The Burton Collection of the Detroit Public Library has an original ledger book of William Macomb.  The ledger lists his property and includes over 20 enslaved individuals.  The first mayor of Detroit, John R. Williams, who has two streets in Detroit that bear his name, also owned slaves along with priests of the Catholic Church in Detroit.  The men who financed the Detroit Free Press were also former slave owners.  The Free Press used its platform to support slavery prior to the Civil War. 

People of African and Native/Indigenous descent were both enslaved in Detroit.  Enslavement of native peoples occurred first. Slavery played an integral role in the relationship between European settlers and Native tribes.  The Native system of enslavement involved taking captives to settle conflicts or build alliances. This would occur by women and children of rival factions being exchanged or given to confirm an alliance or settle a dispute.  When the French arrived, they also adopted this practice to establish trade alliances with Native peoples as well.  Native women were victims of labor trafficking and sexual violence.  The enslaved were used as pawns to help bolster trading alliances between European settlers and Native tribes.  Slavery continued to exist in the Northwest Territory (which included Michigan) even though it was abolished in 1787.  Slave owners used loopholes or flat-out ignored the law to maintain their ownership of the enslaved.

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