Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mardi Gras--Happy Fat Tuesday!

By now everyone knows I’m a proud Louisianan---and it is in that tradition that I celebrate the Great Louisiana tradition that is Mardi Gras!

What is Mardi Gras? The words “Mardi Gras” literally translate into “Fat Tuesday”. Fat Tuesday is a festival day ending a period of celebration and excess before the Lenten season. It is the last chance to eat too much, drink to much….and do whatever else you want to do before we sacrifice our favorite things during lent. It’s sometimes hard to believe that Mardi Gras is a religious holiday…..but it is.

I’m a member of a Mardi Gras Krewe….Here’s a little information about it: The Zulu Social & Pleasure Club was establishing in 1909 by the member of the Tramps Benevolent Aid Society. Zulu is one of the oldest and well–known “Second Line” clubs in New Orleans.

“The club is known for it's antics on Mardi Gras day as well as its famous parades, and has spawned more offspring across the country than it even knows. This club brought second line to it's present cult status, pioneering several of the common icons associated with second lines today, including the sash, and grand marshal to lead the line and/or parade” (From http://www.mardigrasdigest.com/).

When I was a kid, I rode the Zulu queen’s float and it is still one of my most fond memories.

Mardi Gras New Orleans:
Mardi Gras:
Mardi Gras Day:

Sunday, February 11, 2007

MJB Breaks Through!

Congrats to Mary J. Blige for FINALLY breaking through at the Grammy's (and Billboard awards)! It was long overdue! This woman's music defined a generation while others came and went in a revolving door. She's consistant and this last album was genius. I have long believed that MJB would never be appreciated until she was no more....but I'm glad to be wrong.


R E D E M P T I O N !

Congratulations to the Dixie Chicks on their 2007 Grammy's (for Best Country Album & Album of the Year) ! This is redemption! For all the bad press and horrible displays of American intolerance that followed their "ordeal" of self-expression it is nice to see such a public redemption. Sometimes we Americans forget what being an American truly is.....it's not entirely our fault....we have so much freedom it can be easy to forget how much freedom costs. Freedom and the American way, to me, means the right to be an individual. Rebellion is the very definition of American individualism. Freedom of expression is American! Although I was not surprised by he fall-out I was very disappointed by the intolerance to independent thought. I could soap-box on this all day but I won't. I'm glad a few "ugly" Americans have not spoiled the true American spirit.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Black History is American History...Period!

This month as we celebrate the numerous historical contributions of African-Americans to American society at large let's remember that Black History is American History. If history was to be told properly thier would be no need for a seperation and distinction of one culture's contributions from another but alas in this country race has always mattered --to the extent that history was only told from the vantage point of European-Americans. The distinction was and is neccesary--still I am ready for the day when it will no longer be neccesary.

With that said--
Let The Celebration Begin!

When I was in school(In the 90's), I always felt like my teacher knew nothing about black history and were "just getting by" going over the same few names and pictures every year--now I'm a teacher. In this year's celebration I wanted to focus on more obsure black history facts. It is just too much information to contain to a blog....so I'll provide links.

As most of you know I'm a military brat and lover of military history. It's amazing how any group of people who endured such indignity as black people in this country rise up to defend it so valiantly. Black people had to fight for the chance to fight for our country and that should tell you a lot. In fact the fist man to die in thie country's fight to exist as a nation was a black man, Crispus Addicks. Here are a few of my favorite black military men and women.

African -Americans in the Military:

The Buffalo Soldiers-So named by a Native American tribe who once fought them because they fought like the buffalo the native americans revered (which meant they were valiant and fierce) and had wooly hair like the buffalo as well. The Buffalo soldiers coined the the battle cry now used by all American military, "Never Leave a Man Behind". They were also the nations first border patrol.

The Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen & General Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr. (a Tuskegee airman who later became the first African American to attain the rank of four stars and was named commander of the North American Air Defense.)

General Daniel "Chappie" James, Jr.

General Russel Honore'

A Louisiana born general who rose to fame in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This distinguished general and I share an alma mater, Southern University (Baton Rouge, La.)

Rear Admiral Lillian Fishburne, a Maryland born graduate of Lincoln University.

Here are a few of my favorite Black Inventions:
The Elevator (Alexander Mils)
The Traffic Light (Garrett A. Morgan)
Typewriter (Lee Barage)
Refrigerator (John Standard)

Little Known Black History Facts:
Black Inventors:
Buffalo Soldiers:
Black Quest: