Tag Archives: History

The M(N)STRY: Alternative Memorial Day


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“Heavy Weight” by William Myles, a veteran who served in Vietnam from 1964-1965

It is a surreal feeling to know that you could go to war and fight for your country, survive the war and instead of coming back as a celebrated hero, be assaulted and lynched by the people whose freedom you fought for them to have. That was the reality of many black veterans who returned from World War I and World War II, a history that is not taught. For fear of black people becoming to “uppity” and demanding their rights after coming back from war, there were white people who needed to make examples of black veterans and keep them in their place, that they owed nothing to these soldiers who went off to fight a fight for them.

Continue reading The M(N)STRY: Alternative Memorial Day

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The M(N)STRY: Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round


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Carolyn Mazloomi‘s Quilt “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Round”

This week, this country has elected a egotistical bigot to become the next president of the United States. I am saddened, scared and sobered by it but I am not shocked. This country was founded on favoring white male landowners. The founding fathers were racist slaveowners who though the only men who should be seen as their equals were white, landowning men. I was not included as equal in their vision of the future of this country. This is the country where in 1915, Woodrow Wilson showed the racist film Birth of a Nation at the White House. Jim Crow, segregation, Japanese internment camps, immigrant quotas and exclusion acts, and the like were not that long ago. There are people still alive who lived through those times.

 

I am not going to pretend to be shocked that this country could elect someone like Trump. It feels surreal. It feels like a reality TV show and it makes sense he is now the leader of this show. But as Colson Whitehead said in The Underground Railroad, America was built on a delusion. It is a grand delusion, built on white supremacist, patriarchal ideals, like manifest destiny. I am not going to pretend otherwise. The mask has been uncovered and we need to accept it in order to move forward. This is what we are dealing with still.

I want to keep moving forward. I want to keep that spirit that kept my ancestors moving forward. Because despite all that history of them telling us we did not deserve a future that we wanted, we are still here. Maybe I am delusional as well, just like Valentine farm in Whitehead’s book, but sometimes we need to fight delusion with delusion, myth with myth. That is why I will continue fighting, continue writing stories that reflect who we really are and can be, not who they tell us we are and can be, continue having this platform to share voices who advocate for alternative presents and futures. We are not going to aid in making American great again for the select few. As Jay Smooth said, the only glimpse of America’s true greatness was our resistance and through that resistance America has reached closer to its ideals. We will continue to fight to create a new vision for America, one that lives up to its ideals, as we have always done.

And I leave you with this line from Parliament’s “Mothership Connection:” “You have overcome because I am here.”

We are here.

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Sean Geer Artwork

(BTW: The My-Stery series title is now changed to The M(N)STRY.)

Moving on the Wires: Fundraiser for Atlantic Impact’s Abroad for a Cause Challenge


Atlantic Abroad

Futuristically Ancient for Atlantic Impact’s Abroad for a Cause Challenge

“I recently decided to participate in a fundraiser for “Atlantic Impact’s Abroad for a Cause Challenge” who is inviting two bloggers to join them in a trip abroad to Barbados. Atlantic Abroad is a nonprofit organization that provides low-income and at-risk youth “with year-round programming so they can better understand the state of their communities, which includes community exploration and international travel.” I know as someone who comes from a financially disadvantaged background, study abroad organizations, like YFU, and college study abroad, gave me the opportunity to travel to both Japan and London. If they did not exist, I would not have been able to travel and those experiences helped me to expand my imagination and grow as a person.

Here are Atlantic Impact’s Goals:

  • To create a national movement which impacts urban youth across the country surrounding an experience which has shaped our nation’s past, present, and future – the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade.
  • To bring awareness to youth on a personal level as to how a nationally and globally significant experience impacts their lives and individual communities.
  • To use historical and cultural examples as a model for success in the lives of at-risk urban youth.
  • To self-empower youth through understanding that they are capable and ready to become agents of change in their communities, nation, and in the larger global society.
  • To connect and engage youth in dialogue throughout impacted countries through this globally shared experience which was directly felt across four continents, promoting important intercultural exchange for global competency.

Read more about their purpose and how the program has impacted youth here.

Barbados Flag Source: Bim Worldwide

Why is Atlantic Impact going to Barbados this year?

“We love global historical connections! Atlantic Impact shows youth how the world is truly interconnected and how history from long ago has a lasting and significant impact around the world to this day. Last summer, when our previous group met with a British nonprofit leader in England, she talked about how she was a fierce advocate for Barbados. She had recently returned from the country herself and was amazed at the strength of connection between the UK, Barbados, and US. And so are we! Our kids are currently reading the book Sugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story of Slavery and Empire written by Andrea Stuart, which provides constant reminders of global ties, with a focus on Barbados.”

Personally, I greatly desire to go to Barbados because it is where my mother is from and I have never been. It would be a chance for me to discover her homeland and its history. Within the past few years, I have been studying more about the history of the Caribbean, including my parents’ islands of Dominica and Barbados. Specifically for Barbados, I have learned about cultural figures like Bussa, and musical traditions like Tuk (thanks Curwen Best). It would be great to experience more of the culture in person. Also, it will be great to document my travels on this blog and connect with the others on this trip.

So, I am glad to take part and raise money for this organization. For this fundraiser, I have to raise at least $250 to get a chance to be one of the bloggers to go to Barbados. If I raise the most, I definitely will go, but if I raise over $250, I will be in pool of possible bloggers to be the second choice. I have to raise as much money as possible by June 9th.

For the next few weeks until June 9th, I will be posting interesting cultural and historical facts about Barbados in separate blog posts, with other blog posts and reblogging Barbados-related blog posts on here, and my other social media (which you can find on the contact page) as a reminder for the fundraiser!

Any donation will be appreciated! If you are unable to donate, please share! Thank you!

Clarke and Krishnamurti and Thoughts on History


While I was on Tumblr, I came across a blog post that had quotations from John Henrik Clarke and Jiddu Krishnamurti about how we should think about our history, our past, our present and our future:

“The events which transpired five thousand years ago, five years ago or five minutes ago, have determined what will happen five minutes from now, five years from now or five thousand years from now. All history is a current event.”
Dr. John Henrik Clarke

“History is a clock people use to tell their historical culture and political time of the day. It’s a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. The history tells them where they have been, where they are and what they are. But most importantly history tells a people where they still must go and what they still must be”
Dr. John Henrik Clarke

“The hope that tomorrow will solve our problems prevents our seeing the absolute urgency of change. How does one deal with this?” Question to Jiddu Krishnamurti

Answer: “What do you mean by the future, what is future? If one is desperately ill, tomorrow has meaning; one may be healed by tomorrow. So one must ask, what is this sense of future? We know the past; we live in the past, which is the opposite movement; and the past, going through the present, modifying itself, moves to that which we call the future.

First of all, are we aware that we live in the past – the past that is always modifying itself, adjusting itself, expanding and contracting itself, but still the past – past experience, past knowledge, past understanding, past delight, the pleasure which has become the past?

The future is the past, modified. So one’s hope of the future is still the past moving to what one considers to be the future. The mind never moves out of the past. The future is always the mind acting, living, thinking in the past.

What is the past? It is one’s racial inheritance, one’s conditioning as Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Catholic, American and so on. It is the education one has received the hurts the delights, as remembrances. That is the past. That is one’s consciousness.

Can that consciousness, with all its content of belief, dogma, hope, fear, longing and illusion, come to an end? For example, can one end, this morning, completely, one’s dependence on another? Dependence is part of one’s consciousness. The moment that ends, something new begins, obviously.

But one never ends anything completely and that non-ending is one’s hope. Can one see and end dependence and its consequences, psychologically, inwardly? See what it means to depend and the immediate action taking place of ending it. Now is the content of one’s consciousness to be got rid of bit by bit? That is, get rid of anger, then get rid of jealousy, bit by bit.

That would too long. Or, can the whole thing be done instantly, immediately? for taking the contents of one’s consciousness and ending them one by one, will take many years, all one’s life perhaps. Is it possible to see the whole and end it – which is fairly simple, if one does it? But one’s mind is so conditioned that we allow time as a factor in change.”

Jiddu Krishnamurti

It’s Been Done Before


I was reading a post on Afropunk about Tyler the Creator from the group OddFuture and came across this comment CompoundEgret made in response to calling Tyler the second coming of a charismatic artist to change the industry. He said, “Not really the second coming. Maybe the third, fourth, or fifth. Please check the Horrorcore entry. Like my Dad used to say: “Like who you like, but don’t think they’re the first people that did it.” I agree completely with that last statement. As I grow older, I am less and less interested in putting artists and celebrities on pedestals and worshipping the ground they walk on. I like them, I respect them and I will give them their due praise in putting their own personal perspective on things, but what they do is completely new. We live in a “cult of personality” culture where we are fixated on being absolutely original and new; we do not want to be anything like before, but in actuality we are not. The ability to situate them in relation to those who came before, humanizes those people for me because as it has been done in the past in another form, it will probably be done in the future in another form.

As for the Barenaked Ladies’ song above, it has nothing to do with this post, except for the title, but it is catchy as hell!

Buried Treasure


It’s funny how when you are young and watching your favorite TV shows, you tend to miss some of the subtle messages in them until you are old enough to understand. For example, at the beginning of this episode of Recess, Ms. Grotke gives us a small, insightful lesson on how history is told while giving out history books to her class.

Watch until 0:32

Go, Ms. Grotke!!!! I knew there was another reason why I loved her. Also, is it a coincidence that this episode is called “Buried Treasure?” Hmm.