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Negritude: Disorder Of Being Black

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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Dr. Benjamin Rush is known as the “Father Of American Psychiatry”. He was also an abolitionist.  Rush believed that blacks suffered from a disorder he called “Negritude” due then having dark skin.   He described this condition as being akin to leprosy.  The only cure for the condition was to become white.

Dr. Rush sited the case of Henry Moss, a slave who lost his dark skin color (probably through vitigulo),  to support his claim of Negritude being a medical condition.  He thought being black was a curable skin disease.  Rush wrote that “Whites should not tyrannize over [blacks], for their disease should entitle them to a double portion of humanity. However, by the same token, whites should not intermarry with them, for this would tend to infect posterity with the ‘disorder’… attempts must be made to cure the disease.”

Some of our Black Mail readers may remember our previous post about “Drapetomania”, a condition used to that characterized the desire of slaves to run away and seek freedom as an illness.

Scientific racism is institutional and systemic. It exists today.

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NASA Mathematician Recieves Medal Of Freedom

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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Katherine G. Johnson is African American mathematician and physicist. In 1969 she calculated the flight path for NASA’s historic Apollo space mission to the moon.  Employed by NASA for over 30 years, she retired from  in 1986.

Johnson’s love for math dates back to her childhood. She recalls that she loved to “count everything”.  A gifted student, she graduated from high school at age 14.

On November 24, 2015, she was one of 17 individuals to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  She is truly a pioneer!  She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc!  We salute you Soror Jackson!! Well done!

Click here to view the video of the event on NBCBLK.COM

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nasa-mathematician-recieves-medal-of-honor-573771331621

 

Mississippi Appendectomy: History of Involuntary Sterilization of African American Women

Black History: Special Delivery!!

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Fannie Lou Hamer 1917-1977

The term, “Mississippi Appendectomy” was popularized by Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. It refers to involuntary sterilization procedures that were performed on African American women. While having surgery to remove a tumor, in 1961 Hamer was given a hysterectomy without her knowledge or consent by a white doctor as a part of the state of Mississippi’s plan to reduce the number of poor blacks in the state. Hysterectomies or tubal ligations were performed on many other poor black women against their will and without their knowledge. Due to rampant discrimination and prejudice there was a belief that certain individuals of color or poor women in general were “unfit” to reproduce.

These forced/coerced sterilizations took place across the country but were considered particularly frequent in the deep south. Poor women, women with physical disabilities, or characteristics for which physicians deemed these women “unfit to reproduce” were often targeted for sterilization. Poor white women and Native Americans were also subjected to these types of coercive sterilization practices. Women outside the U.S. were also subjected to these involuntary sterilization procedures.

Annie Lee: African American Artist Who Captured Black Americana Through Her Paintings

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Artist Annie Frances Lee (1935-2014) was born in Gadsen, Alabama and grew up in Chicago, IL. She began painting as a young girl and won her first art competition at age 10. Lee was offered a four year scholarship to Northwestern University after high school. However, she married instead and began to raise a family. Tragedy struck Lee with the death of her 1st and 2nd husbands with whom she had 2 children; a daughter and a son respectively. It would not be until age 40 that she would begin to pursue a career as an artist. Lee took night classes for 8 years to earn her masters degree in Interdisciplinary Arts Education from Loyola University. She also worked full time at Northwestern Railroad while going to school. Her employment with Northwestern Railroad inspired one of her most popular paintings, Blue Monday. The painting features a woman struggling to get out of bed on a Monday morning. Lee described Blue Monday as her “self portrait’.

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Blue Monday

 

Lee held her first gallery show in 1985 at age 50. The show was highly successful for Lee and she sold all her available pieces at the show within 4 hours. In addition to artwork, Lee also had some of her most popular paintings produced as figurines, dolls, and housewares. A hallmark of Lee’s artistic style, was that faces in her artwork were painted without features. Following the death of her son in 1986, Lee decided to pursue an art career full time. She eventually opened her own gallery, “Annie Lee and Friends Gallery”. Her own artwork as well as the artwork of friends was displayed there. Several of her paintings were part of the sets for popular shows and films such as 227, Coming To America and A Different World. The appearance of her work on these shows greatly increased her exposure. Lee died in Las Vegas on November 14, 2014 at the age of 79.

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You Next Sugar
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Melody

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Miriam Benjamin: Black Inventor

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

MARIAN BENJAMIN PATENT DRAWING
The Gong and Signal Chair – Patent Drawing

Black Mail Fast Fact: Miriam Benjamin created an invention which would improve customer service within the hotel and restaurant industries. Her invention would also help these industries be more efficient with their staffing. Benjamin developed a system for customers to quietly alert staff when they were in need of service. She called her invention, “The Gong and Signal Chair”.  It was first patented in 1888. Using her invention, the customer was able to press a button on the back of their chair which would relay a signal to hotel or restaurant staff. A light on the chair would also illuminate to show staff where the customer was seated. The invention became so popular that a number of them were even installed in the House of Representatives.  Miriam Benjamin was the second black woman to receive a U.S. patent.

Benjamin Thornton: Invented Telephone Message Recorder

 Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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Benjamin Thornton Patent Drawing

Black Mail Fast Fact: Black inventor, Benjamin Thornton developed a device for recording voice messages from telephones in 1936. His invention was outfitted with a turntable for a record disc, an electric motor to operate the table, and an electric switch that connected it to the phone line. Utilizing a clock attachment, the machine could also forward messages as well as track what time a call was made. The recorder also had an apparatus that allowed the user to record an outgoing message. Devices invented to record phone messages date back to the late 1800s. So Thornton’s invention was not the first of its kind. However, the devices’ ability to both record and send messages, along with its ability to record the time of messages was quite significant. Thornton’s invention was a predecessor to the answering machine.

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Click here to view other recent posts:

Barrington Irving – African American Pilot:

https://blackmail4u.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/barrington-irving-first-african-american-to-fly-around-the-world-solo-at-age-23/

Book of Negroes:

https://blackmail4u.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/the-book-of-negroes-a-record-of-enslaved-blacks-who-fought-for-the-british-during-the-american-revolutionary-war-in-exchange-for-freedom/

“Faith Is Taking The First Step Even When You Don’t See The Whole Staircase.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Trivia Answer

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

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Maya Angelou

Earlier today, we asked our Black Mail Readers  Which African American Woman Was First To Author A Non-Fiction Bestseller?  The answer is B) Maya Angelou.  “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” published in 1969 would make her the first African American woman to author a non fiction best seller. 

A)Zora Neal Hurston

B) Maya Angelou

C)Alice Walker

D)Toni Morrison

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It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done. -Nelson Mandela

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Quote: “It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela

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