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Yes! Black People Can Get Skin Cancer

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Time to spill the tea on skin cancer! If you have skin, you can get skin cancer. 3 Million+ people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. While it’s true that black people have a lower risk of developing skin cancer, it is also true that they are more likely to have lower survival rates when they are diagnosed. The Skin Cancer Foundation defines skin cancer as “the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis, the outermost skin layer, caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutations. These mutations lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70.” The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), melanoma and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

People of all skin tones get skin cancer. And, yes, you can get skin cancer even without having prolonged sun exposure or sunburn. Skin cancer is often diagnosed in Black people at later stages. Even when found at an early stage (before it had spread), on average, statistics show that Black people don’t survive as long as White people. Later diagnosis can be deadly when a person has the type of skin cancer known as melanoma. Melanoma is less common than other skin cancers but is more dangerous because it can spread to other parts of the body if untreated. In general, any skin cancer can be challenging to treat in later stages. Fortunately, most skin cancers, including melanoma, can be cured with early detection.

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Jennifer King: 1st Black Positions Coach in NFL

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In December 2021, Jennifer King made history when she was named assistant running backs coach for the Washington NFL franchise. King is the second female assistant coach in the NFL. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line coach Lori Locust is the first. 

Born in 1984, King is a native of Reidsville, North Carolina, her professional coaching career began with coaching basketball. She is the former head coach of the women’s basketball team at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina. She led the team to a national championship in 2018. King previously played football with the Women’s Football Alliance. While coaching basketball, she was introduced to former Carolina head coach Rick Rivera. After expressing her interest in coaching football, he invited her to join the team as an intern. She also completed an internship with Rivera as part of the Washington franchise. The team then hired her as an assistant running backs coach in 2021. As a black woman in a male-dominated sport, King says that a woman doesn’t feel excluded or “othered”. She feels she has earned the respect of the team.

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Slavery & The Trail Of Tears

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Before it was “The South,” it was a native homeland. The southern United States is steeped in indigenous history. The history of Native people has often been muted in Southern American history. The 1830 Indian Removal Act aimed to remove Native Americans from their Southern homelands. U.S. Southern territory had the highest Native population density north of Mexico. 

European settlers coveted native lands because the soil was ideal for growing cotton. Many associated the Indian Removal act as being targeted at the Cherokee Nation. However, this legislation was widespread as it sought to remove all Native Americans west of the Mississippi River. 100,000 Indians were forced to leave their homelands.   

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Before The NBA:  The Black Fives Basketball Era (1904-1950)

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Welcome To Black Mail…..where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!

The game of basketball was invented in 1891. Teams were called “fives” because games were played with five players on the floor. Like the rest of society at the time, the sport was segregated. All black squads were called “Black Fives.” Between 1904-1950 is known as the “Black Fives Era” when the first all-black basketball teams began to play. The era ended when the NBA began to accept black players in 1950. Basketball was first introduced to the black community by Dr. Edwin B. Henderson in 1904. Due to Jim Crow segregation and discrimination, black teams were forbidden to play in white establishments. Black teams played in dance halls, churches, and other venues that would accept them. The games were popular social events in the black community. Often dances would be offered before and after games. 

Though stories about all-black male teams abound, dozens of African American female basketball teams also played during the Black Fives Era. The New York Girls was one of the first independent African American female teams. It was formed in 1910 in Manhattan and was a sister club affiliated with the Alpha Physical Culture club mens team. Their first game was played in February 1910 against The Jersey Girls

Both mens and womens teams received national coverage in the black press. The sport continued to grow in popularity with women despite “warnings” by many that basketball was dangerous for women. In 1911 one male physician declared that “basketball is injurious and should not be engaged in by girls or women…the nature of women should keep them from this dangerous sport.”

Click here to check out an informative short film from the New York Historical Society about the Black Fives Era.

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

Mind The Gap: Clinical Signs & Symptoms Handbook For Black & Brown Skin Created By Medical School Student, Malone Mukwende

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Malone Mukwende

Malone Mukwende was born in Zimbabwe.  His interest in science and medicine developed at an early age.  After entering medical school at St. George’s University of London, 3 years ago, Mukwende observed that representations of black and brown patients were largely left out of study materials and textbooks.  This concerned because he and his classmates were only being taught how to diagnose conditions on white patients. Mukwende noted, “There was a lack of signs and symptoms on Black and Brown skin… and I didn’t understand why we weren’t getting taught the full spectrum of people. I’d ask people for answers and I couldn’t get the answer… I decided I needed to do something to challenge this issue myself.”

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Black Mail Quote

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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

Barber History: Roots In Ancient Egypt

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Antique Barber Chair Types and Values | LoveToKnow

The barber profession originated in ancient Egypt, where razor blades from as early as 3500 BC have been discovered.  Barbers played important health care and spiritual roles.   Many people preferred to remain clean-shaven to avoid skin diseases.  It was also believed that evil spirits would enter the body through the hair and that the only way to remove the spirits was by cutting the hair.  Barbers would also frequently perform religious ceremonies such as weddings and baptisms as well. 

In the US during the 19th century, barbershops that were black-owned would often cater to white clientele exclusively because white patrons would not want to have their hair cut if the instruments had been used on black people.  This was also true in the north. Following emancipation, black barbers began to serve both black and white clients.  Over time, the barbershop would firmly establish itself as a place of community and connection for Black men.  The number of barbershops slowly began to decline as education requirements licensure requirements increased. 

Henry M. Morgan established Tyler Barber College in 1934, in Tyler, TX.  It was the first national chain of barber colleges for African Americans.  The school grew rapidly until close to 80% of all black barbers in America received training at Morgan’s schools.  In 1934, Henry M. Morgan established Tyler Barber College, the first national chain of barber colleges for African Americans, in Tyler, Texas.

Henry Miller Morgan Tyler Barber College Museum - Photos | Facebook
Henry Morgan Barber College
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Dr. Robert Bullard: The Father Of Environmental Justice

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Robert Bullard (1946 – ) is known as the “father of environmental justice.”  Bullard is the former dean of Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University.  He currently serves as Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy. Bullard was the founding director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University.  He received a Ph.D from Iowa State University and is also a Marine Corp veteran. 

Bullard is widely recognized in the United States for his trailblazing efforts in the 1970’s when he worked tirelessly to highlight the negative impacts of pollution on communities of color.  He has been a leading advocate fighting against environmental racism since the 1980’s.  Bullard is also the author of 18 environmental justice books.  Environmental justice promotes the principle that everyone is entitled to equal environmental protection regardless of race, color, or national origin and that everyone has the right to live, work, and play in a clean environment. 

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Celebration In Lieu Of Transformation: Reflections On Black History Month

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Celebration In Lieu Of Termination: Reflections On Black History Month

Celebration in lieu of transformation is embodied in individual and collective tendencies to prefer the aesthetics of giving “accolades” over and above, embracing the accountability to take action against

The celebration of historical figures and events in place of taking a stand against present-day oppression reveals these overtures and acknowledgments for what they really are……

Performative transactions, posted, peddled, and positioned with precision on social media in
January/February to a chorus of likes and loves. 

Rosa, Martin, Fannie, Harriet…… If you really want to honor their legacy, do what
they did……


Retreating to the safety of the “symbolic” leaves the call to action unanswered.     

Celebration centers comfort while transformation centers accountability. 

I can think of no better way to celebrate the contributions of black lives past, present, and future, than to act with intention in ways that disrupt and dismantle systems of oppression

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