Monday, April 24, 2017

Maxine Waters

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today. She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor.
Elected in November 2014 to her thirteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives with more than 70 percent of the vote in the 43rd Congressional District of California, Congresswoman Waters represents a large part of South Central Los Angeles including the communities of Westchester, Playa Del Rey, and Watts and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County comprised of Lennox, West Athens, West Carson, Harbor Gateway and El Camino Village. The 43rd District also includes the diverse cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita and Torrance.
Congresswoman Waters serves as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services. An integral member of Congressional Democratic Leadership, Congresswoman Waters serves as a member of the Steering & Policy Committee. She is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and member and past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Legislative Leadership
Throughout her 37 years of public service, Maxine Waters has been on the cutting edge, tackling difficult and often controversial issues. She has combined her strong legislative and public policy acumen and high visibility in Democratic Party activities with an unusual ability to do grassroots organizing.
Prior to her election to the House of Representatives in 1990, Congresswoman Waters had already attracted national attention for her no-nonsense, no-holds-barred style of politics. During 14 years in the California State Assembly, she rose to the powerful position of Democratic Caucus Chair. She was responsible for some of the boldest legislation California has ever seen: the largest divestment of state pension funds from South Africa; landmark affirmative action legislation; the nation’s first statewide Child Abuse Prevention Training Program; the prohibition of police strip searches for nonviolent misdemeanors; and the introduction of the nation’s first plant closure law.
As a national Democratic Party leader, Congresswoman Waters has long been highly visible in Democratic Party politics and has served on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) since 1980. She was a key leader in five presidential campaigns: Sen. Edward Kennedy (1980), Rev. Jesse Jackson (1984 & 1988), and President Bill Clinton (1992 & 1996). In 2001, she was instrumental in the DNC’s creation of the National Development and Voting Rights Institute and the appointment of Mayor Maynard Jackson as its chair.
Following the Los Angeles civil unrest in 1992, Congresswoman Waters faced the nation’s media and public to interpret the hopelessness and despair in cities across America. Over the years, she has brought many government officials and policy makers to her South Central L.A. district to appeal for more resources. They included President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Secretaries of Housing & Urban Development Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo, and Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve System. Following the unrest, she founded Community Build, the city’s grassroots rebuilding project.
She has used her skill to shape public policy and deliver the goods: $10 billion in Section 108 loan guarantees to cities for economic and infrastructure development, housing and small business expansion; $50 million appropriation for “Youth Fair Chance” program which established an intensive job and life skills training program for unskilled, unemployed youth; expanded U.S. debt relief for Africa and other developing nations; creating a “Center for Women Veterans,” among others.
Rep. Waters continues to be an active leader in a broad coalition of residential communities, environmental activists and elected officials that aggressively advocate for the mitigation of harmful impacts of the expansion plan for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Furthermore, she continues initiatives to preserve the unique environmental qualities of the Ballona wetlands and bluffs, treasures of her district.
She is a co-founder of Black Women’s Forum, a nonprofit organization of over 1,200 African American women in the Los Angeles area. In the mid-80s, she also founded Project Build, working with young people in Los Angeles housing developments on job training and placement.
As she confronts the issues such as poverty, economic development, equal justice under the law and other issues of concern to people of color, women, children, and poor people, Rep. Waters enjoys a broad cross section of support from diverse communities across the nation.
Throughout her career, Congresswoman Waters has been an advocate for international peace, justice, and human rights. Before her election to Congress, she was a leader in the movement to end Apartheid and establish democracy in South Africa. She opposed the 2004 Haitian coup d’etat, which overthrew the democratically-elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, and defends the rights of political prisoners in Haiti’s prisons. She leads congressional efforts to cancel the debts that poor countries in Africa and Latin America owe to wealthy institutions like the World Bank and free poor countries from the burden of international debts.
Congresswoman Waters is the founding member and former Chair of the ‘Out of Iraq’ Congressional Caucus. Formed in June 2005, the ‘Out of Iraq’ Congressional Caucus was established to bring to the Congress an on-going debate about the war in Iraq and the Administration’s justifications for the decision to go to war, to urge the return of US service members to their families as soon as possible.
Expanding access to health care services is another of Congresswoman Waters’ priorities. She spearheaded the development of the Minority AIDS Initiative in 1998 to address the alarming spread of HIV/AIDS among African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities. Under her continuing leadership, funding for the Minority AIDS Initiative has increased from the initial appropriation of $156 million in fiscal year 1999 to approximately $400 million per year today. She is also the author of legislation to expand health services for patients with diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Congresswoman Waters has led congressional efforts to mitigate foreclosures and keep American families in their homes during the housing and economic crises, notably through her role as Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity in the previous two Congresses. She authored the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which provides grants to states, local governments and nonprofits to fight foreclosures, home abandonment and blight and to restore neighborhoods.  Through two infusions of funds, the Congresswoman was able to secure $6 billion for the program.
She is lauded by African American entrepreneurs for her work to expand contracting and procurement opportunities and to strengthen businesses. Long active in the women’s movement, Rep. Waters has given encouragement and financial support to women seeking public office. Many young people, including those in the hip-hop music community, praise her for her support and understanding of young people and their efforts at self-expression. One testament to her work is the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center, a multimillion dollar campus providing education and employment opportunities to residents of the Watts area.
Personal Background
Maxine Waters was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the fifth of 13 children reared by a single mother. She began working at age 13 in factories and segregated restaurants. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked in garment factories and at the telephone company. She attended California State University at Los Angeles, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She began her career in public service as a teacher and a volunteer coordinator in the Head Start program.
She is married to Sidney Williams, the former U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. She is the mother of two adult children, Edward and Karen, and has two grandchildren.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Queen Amanirenas was a ruler of the Kush Kingdom of Nubia, which is now Sudan, who famously took on Roman occupiers of Egypt in a short-lived war. While the Kushite queen’s forces faced serious contention from the Romans, the nations negotiated a peace deal that lasted for centuries.
Queen Amanirenas was born some time between 60 and 50 B.C., and was the wife of King Teriteqas. The pair had a son, with the “kandake” (ruler or queen) outliving them both. While not officially documented, Amanirenas was said to have lost an eye to battle, which gained her respect from the Romans.
Reports of how the Rome-Kush war started differ, but what is generally accepted is that Amanirenas attacked when Roman soldiers vacated Egypt. Her forces took the cities of Syene, now known as Aswan, and Philae in 24 B.C.
The Romans struck back and drove the Kushites away while establishing new borders. Instead of fighting, Amanirenas decided to enter peace talks that proved to be profitable for the nations for 300 years.
A new film about Queen Amanirenas is now in development with script writer Mike Rosenthal and producer Will Packer working in conjunction to bring the Kush warrior queen’s story to the big screen.
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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Esther Afua Ocloo: Ghana's inspiring businesswoman

Founder of Nkulenu Industries, Ocloo started her business with less than a dollar and grew into a global inspiration.

Esther Afua Ocloo launched her entrepreneurial career as a teenager in the 1930s on less than a dollar.
She quickly became one of Ghana's leading entrepreneurs and was an inspiration around the world.
Known as "Auntie Ocloo", Esther dedicated her life to helping others like her succeed.
In addition to her own business, she taught skills to other women and co-founded Women's World Banking, a global micro-lending organisation.
"Women must know that the strongest power in the world is economic power," she said in a speech in 1990.
"You cannot go and be begging to your husband for every little thing, but at the moment, that's what the majority of our women do."

How she started

As a high school graduate with only a few Ghanian shillings given to her by an aunt, she bought sugar, oranges and 12 jars to make marmalade jam.
Ocloo sold them at a profit, despite the ridicule of her former classmates, who saw her as an "uneducated street vendor".
Soon she won a contract to supply her high school with marmalade jam and orange juice, and later managed to secure a deal to provide the military with her goods.
On the basis of that contract, she took out a bank loan.
In 1942, she established a business under her maiden name, "Nkulenu".
Ocloo then travelled to England to take a course in Food Science and Modern Processing Techniques at Bristol University.
In 1953, determined to grow her business with her newly acquired knowledge in food processing and preservation, she returned to her homeland with a mission to help Ghana become self-sufficient.
Nkulenu Industries still makes orange marmalade today and exports indigenous food items to markets abroad.
In 1962, the company relocated to its present location at Madina, a suburb of the capital city, Accra.

Award-winning leadership

Besides working on her thriving business, she also set up a programme to share her knowledge with other women who cook and sell products on the streets.
''You know what we found? We found that a woman selling rice and stew on the side of the street is making more money than most women in office jobs - but they are not taken seriously,'' she said. 
In 1990, she became the first woman to receive the Africa Prize for Leadership.
Her work inspired men and women. She proposed alternative solutions to the problems of hunger, poverty and the distribution of wealth - championing the development of an indigenous economy based on agriculture. In 1999 interview, she said:
"Our problem here in Ghana is that we have turned our back on agriculture. Over the past 40 years, since the beginning of compulsory education, we have been mimicking the West".
Ocloo died in 2002 after suffering from pneumonia.
SheShe was a real pillar... worthy of emulation in our efforts to build ouOur nation. Her good works in the promotion of development in ghGhana cannot be measured.
Former Ghanaian President Kufuor
"She was a creator and we need many people of her calibre to build our nation", he added.
Today would have been her 98th birthday. In her honour Google is changing its homepage logo in the United States; Ghana; Peru; Argentina, Iceland; Portugal; Sweden; Australia; Greece; New Zealand; Ireland and the UK to a "doodle" – or illustration – of her empowering the women of Ghana.
Google also recently celebrated Jamini Roy,  Hassan Fathy, and Abdul Sattar Edhi, honouring them with their own doodles.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Black Wall Street Part 1

Here is a video regarding the Black Wall Street of Tulsa Oklahoma.  Part II  will explain how it started. Part II will be posted soon. The video have adult content parent advisory is recommended.  Check out the sources or Google to find out more.

Greenwood, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, was the type of community that African Americans are still, today, attempting to reclaim and rebuild.  Black Wall Street was modern, majestic, sophisticated and unapologetically Black. Tragically, it was also the site of one of the bloodiest and most horrendous race riots (and acts of terrorism) that the United States has ever experienced.
Today marks ninety-two years since as many as 300 African Americans lost their lives and more than 9,000 were left homeless when the small town was attacked, looted and literally burned to the ground beginning in 1921.  It’s impossible, however, to realize what was lost in Greenwood, which was affectionately known as “Black Wall Street.”
The Greenwood community seems almost imagined when we examine it through a historical lens.  The oil booms of the early 1900’s had many moving to Tulsa for a shot at quick economic gains and high life, and African Americans hoped to prosper from the new industry as well.  Tulsa, like many cities and towns throughout the US, was hostilely segregated, with African Americans settling into the northern region of the city.  As we often saw before integration, Blacks in the area created entrepreneurial opportunities for themselves, which housed an impressive business center that included banks, hotels, cafes, clothiers, movie theaters, and contemporary homes.  Greenwood residents enjoyed many luxuries that their White neighbors did not, including indoor plumbing and a remarkable school system that superiorly educated Black children.
It was pure envy, and a vow to put progressive, high achieving African Americans in their place that would cause the demise of the Black Mecca many called “Little Africa”, and its destruction began the way much terrorism, violence and dispossession against African Americans did during that era.  A young White woman accused a young Black man of attempted sexual assault, which gave local mobs and White men acting as police just cause to invade the unsuspecting community. On the malevolent and horrifying attack, Linda Christenson writes the following:
“The term “race riot” does not adequately describe the events of May 31—June 1, 1921 in Greenwood… In fact, the term itself implies that both blacks and whites might be equally to blame for the lawlessness and violence. The historical record documents a sustained and murderous assault on black lives and property. This assault was met by a brave but unsuccessful armed defense of their community by some black World War I veterans and others.
During the night and day of the riot, deputized whites killed more than 300 African Americans. They looted and burned to the ground 40 square blocks of 1,265 African American homes, including hospitals, schools, and churches, and destroyed 150 businesses. White deputies and members of the National Guard arrested and detained 6,000 black Tulsans who were released only upon being vouched for by a white employer or other white citizen. Nine thousand African Americans were left homeless and lived in tents well into the winter of 1921.”
Recently, the mother of a Palestian activist friend of mine asked me why African Americans don’t fight harder for reparations. It was a difficult question to answer, but my most immediate response centered on the historical erasure of communities like Greenwood and the state-sponsored violence against African Americans that created its expiry.  Even after slavery was abolished, any advancements towards the American dream, that Blacks paid most dearly to establish, was met with revulsion and terror, often from those whose legal obligation was to serve and protect.  For that a debt is surely owed.  Further, when we consider the deaths of those Black Tulsans and the inevitable property loss that followed, we again see one example of many that proves how wealth inequities and disparities became a part of the substance of this nation- inequities and disparities that must be considered before we go blaming Black youth for the catastrophes this nation has endorsed.
And as we consider what has become the new face of terror, we should never forget that Greenwood was bombed from the sky by White local and national law enforcement organizations.
To learn more about the attack on “Black Wall Street,” check out Scott Ellsworth’s account here. Never forget.
Josie Pickens is a cultural critic and educator.  Follow her musings on twitter: @jonubian

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Black History Lost, Stolen, Strayed

   Here is a documentary video I came across on YouTube.  Take heed, learn, and remember..

Friday, April 7, 2017

Bamako, Mali (11th Century-- )

Bamako, with a population of 1.8 million, is the largest city in the Republic of Mali. It serves as Mali’s seat of government and the country’s economic and cultural center. The city is located in the southwestern corner of Mali, along the banks of the Niger River.  In the Bambara language Bamako means “crocodile river.” Bamako is connected to other major parts of Mali via the Niger River. Although it first came into prominence as an urban center in the Mali Empire, the precise date of its founding is unknown.

From the 11th through the 16th centuries people throughout the Mali Empire traveled to Bamako to study Islam. At one point Bamako rivaled the more famous Timbuktu as a seat of learning.  Bamako diminished both in size and importance after the collapse of the Mali Empire.

Mungo Park, a Scottish explorer with the British African Association, visited Bamako in 1797 and in 1806, becoming the first European in modern times to enter the city. In 1806 Park estimated Bamako to have a population of 6,000 people, but towards the end of the century the city had become a settlement of a few hundred inhabitants.

In 1883 the French gained control of the city, which now had a population of about 1,000.  They built a fort there that year and in 1908 made Bamako the capital of the French Soudan Colony. In 1923 the French completed a railroad connecting Bamako with DakarSenegal.

As a colonial capital, Bamako ironically emerged as a center of anti-colonial activity. With the intent of ending colonialism in Francophone Africa, in 1946 the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (RDA) was established in Bamako. The RDA became the first French-speaking Pan-African organization in the world.  By 1957, Modibo Keita, the mayor of Bamako, was named leader of the RDA.

With independence in 1960 the French Soudan renamed itself the “Republic of Mali.” Modibo Keita became the country’s first president. As people relocated to the city to escape famine and poverty in the countryside Bamako’s population increased tremendously over the next four decades.

In addition to being the political hub of Mali, Bamako is the economic and cultural center of Mali as well as its capital.  Products from the countryside such as gold, rice, cotton, livestock, and kola nuts are transported to the city and packaged for international trade and domestic consumption. The city also manufactures textiles, ceramics, and pharmaceuticals for local consumption.  Bamako is home to many notable institutions such as the University of Bamako, the National Museum of Mali, the Mali National Zoo, the Grand Mosque of Bamako, and the Bamako-Senou International Airport.

The buildings of Bamako have a unique architectural style.  Bamako’s largest building is the BCEAO Tower, which houses the Mali branch of the Central Bank of West African States. Combining modern building techniques with local indigenous aesthetics, the tower is classified as Neo-Sudanic in design.

Bamako, like other metropolitan capitals, is challenged with issues of urban blight, massive unemployment, and underdeveloped public services.  Mali’s poverty exacerbates the city’s problems.
“Bamako,” New Encyclopedia of Africa 2nd Edition, editors John Middleton and Joseph Miller (Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2008.); Elizabeth Heath, “Bamako, Mali” Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African American Experience, 2nd Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005). 
Wade, Evan
San Joaquin Delta College
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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Claude McKay

Claude McKay(born September 15, 1889, Nairne Castle, Jamaica, British West Indies—died May 22, 1948ChicagoIllinois, U.S.), Jamaican-born poet and novelist whose Home to Harlem (1928) was the most popular novel written by an American black to that time. Before going to the U.S. in 1912, he wrote two volumes of Jamaican dialect verse, Songs of Jamaica and Constab Ballads (1912).
After attending Tuskegee Institute (1912) and Kansas State Teachers College (1912–14), McKay went to New York in 1914, where he contributed regularly to The Liberator, then a leading journal of avant-garde politics and art. The shock of American racism turned him from the conservatism of his youth. With the publication of two volumes of poetrySpring in New Hampshire (1920) and Harlem Shadows (1922), McKay emerged as the first and most militant voice of the Harlem Renaissance. After 1922 McKay lived successively in the Soviet Union, France, Spain, and Morocco. In both Home to Harlem and Banjo (1929), he attempted to capture the vitality and essential health of the uprooted black vagabonds of urban America and Europe. There followed a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932), and another novel, Banana Bottom (1933). In all these works McKay searched among the common folk for a distinctive black identity.
After returning to America in 1934, McKay was attacked by the communists for repudiating their dogmas and by liberal whites and blacks for his criticism of integrationist-oriented civil rights groups. McKay advocated full civil liberties and racial solidarity. In 1940 he became a U.S. citizen; in 1942 he was converted to Roman Catholicism and worked with a Catholic youth organization until his death. He wrote for various magazines and newspapers, including the New Leader and the New York Amsterdam News. He also wrote an autobiographyA Long Way from Home (1937), and a study, Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940). His Selected Poems (1953) was issued posthumously.