Black History Fun Fact Friday Returns

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As long as you’re trying to change a system within that system it will never work. If you were never designed to be part of the system, you cannot expect that system to treat you with fairness. If you never intended for a people to be free within your gates there will always be laws in place to ensure that they are never freed. Chattel Slavery, Black Codes, Jim Crow, Convict Leasing, Police Brutality and the like are all examples of America ensuring that a people remain as they were intended to be, slaves.

I am just a week in my new place and still without internet and have been blogging from my phone, but Black History Fun Fact Friday is returning soon.

We’ll be starting a series (because it’ll take multiple posts) on:

The History of Oppression in America

We’ll touch on the hidden message behind the #TakeAKnee protests, The relocation of Japanese-Americans into internment camps during World War II, the stealing of Native American land, the stigmatizing of Mexicans in the 30s (the origin of the name Marijuana for cannabis to make it seem like a “Mexican Drug”) the Drug Enforcement Act of 1914, the War on Drugs that promoted crack as the Black man’s drug and the association of Heroin with Chinese American Immigrants in the late 1800s, early 1900s.

Meanwhile, you can catch up on previous Black History Fun Facts by visiting the page HERE.


Stay tuned and enjoy the weekend.

 

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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Emunah Y’srael

* I am away. This post is scheduled. Your support in sharing this author’s interview is appreciated. Emunah, enjoy your day of shine hun! Chat soon.*

Introduce+Yourself

 

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Emunah Y’srael. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Emunah Y’srael and I was born in Brooklyn, NY. First generation Carib-American with Hebraic roots.

Your name is beautiful. What does it mean?

My name Emunah means Faith in Hebrew.

Beautiful. What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

Ah, the thought is so relaxing. The room would have a huge bay window overlooking nature (beach, lake, meadow) something breath-taking. Lots of natural light, a comfortable chair for me to recline and write. I am old school and love writing my first drafts with pen and paper. Oh, yes and lots and lots of pens for some reason they tend to wander off from time to time. ​

Lol. Don’t they? Emunah, what was your childhood dream?

My Childhood dream was raising a family in a quiet, peaceful, natural environment filled with love and laughter. No, really, I always dreamt of the simple life and still do. As we speak I am writing it into existence.

 

Island Love is Available Now on Amazon

 

“Writing it into existence”. I like that. In your own words, what is humility?

Humility in my estimation is the ability to accept wrongs, take advice, understand that not everyone knows everything. Humility is being comfortable with giving and receiving. and accepting we are not perfect.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

I am already on it, the wildest most amazing adventure for me has been and continues to be the journey to the center of my soul. Wherever that takes me physically adds to and helps to unpack the things that have been there all along.

Nice. Does blogging help you to write?

​Yes, I started blogging more lately and it helps to keep my creative juices flowing. A lot of my work is historical research and blogging helps me share my findings. ​

Speaking of research, what genres do you write in?

​Historical Non-Fiction, Fiction Romance, Coming of Age Fiction, Women’s, Fiction, Self Help​

Emunah, we like to jam out here on Throwback Thursdays. What kind of music do you like?

Depends on my mood, reggae, blues, country, jazz, classical it all depends.

Angry Black Woman Syndrome, Emunah Y’srael

When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

Even to this day, that first published book gives me shivers. Back in 2005, I started on a journey of healing. I wrote my autobiography still unpublished but, I did publish a self-help tutorial inspired by the book in 2010.  I tried to do it myself, laying it out was like plucking hairs one by one. It was stressful but once I got it done and published it took another five years before I published again.

What takes up too much of your time?

I would say research, I love researching and sometimes I delay writing because I’m concerned about not knowing enough on the subject matter. This is why lately writing fiction has added balance to my research obsession. I can express myself and write interesting stories without having to quote sources. I like both genres and feel they both have value.

What do you think of the world we live in?

The world we live in is beautiful and ugly, it is peaceful and chaotic, it is hopeful and hopeless it all depends on how we choose to look at what we see.

Perspective. I like that. What do you love about yourself?

​I love my resilience. ​

What don’t you like about yourself?

​My tendency to be consistently inconsistent. ​

Why is writing important to you? ​

Writing is important to me because it captures my thoughts, allows me to see my words, refine my message and share it with the generations to come. It also allows the audience the privacy to receive the message, thought or story in their own time. ​

Alrighty then Ms. Emunah. You have a way with words. I’d have to check out your books! In your own words, what is love?

Love, oh wow love is giving, helping to restore, support or establish balance. Love allows us to be in alignment with the universal laws that govern creation and when we love it transcends our feeling. Love is an action word.

“Love allows us to be in alignment with the universal laws that govern creation.” Yaasss!

OK, had a moment. I’m back. Lol In your own words, what is truth?

Truth is complete, it has not holes or gaps, it is 360 like a circle from point to point.

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What a pleasure to have you, Emunah! We enjoyed you beautiful. Thanks for spending this time with us today.


Emunah Y’srael

Bio.

Emunah Y’srael is an expert in DIY Soul Improvement with over 20 years actively dedicated to her own soul journey. She is the creator of the a myriad of self improvement projects. Emunah has authored to date four books, all available on amazon.

Additional Info from the Author.

New Release – Island Love:

What could be more innocent than a good girl’s first crush? Jackie Brown was a sheltered teen who only knew sports and school, but when the new boy piques her interest she makes up her mind to take a chance at the game of love. But when her not so secret admirer decides to up the ante, the deck is shuffled and something goes terribly wrong. As secrets pile up a mistake she made in high school may cost her real love in the future. Will she reveal her hand in time or will her secret destroy her chance for true love forever?

Emunah Y’srael delivers a tale that is reminiscent of the writing styles of Mary Monroe, Brenda Barret, and Sista Souljah just to name a few. Island Love is her debut novella the first of a four part series, inspired by a Toni Morrison quote Emunah decided to write the book she wanted to read. Island Love is funny, culturally transparent and speaks to the awkwardness of coming of age and falling in love.

Intrigued? Get Island Love HERE

…And Be Sure to Follow this Author Online!

Twitter @emunah_ysrael
Instagram @emunah_ysrael
Blog:

Are you a new (or not so new) author looking for more exposure? Introduce Yourself! CLICK HERE to learn more and to sign up.

Black History Fun Fact Friday – A Brief History of Race Riots in America

New Orleans Riot, 1886 – On July 30, 1886, white men attacked blacks parading outside the Mechanics Institute in New Orleans, where a reconvened Louisiana Constitutional Convention was being held. Republicans in Louisiana had called for the convention as they were angered by the legislature’s enactment of the Black Codes.

Wilmington North Carolina, 1898 – The most popular accusation in history was that Black men raped white women. So much so that most of the lynchings that took place was because of it. And when D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film “Birth of a Nation”, portrayed black men as savages seeking to rape white women contrasted against the positive portrayal of the Klan, it produced a second wave of the organization that began in Atlanta, Georgia, and quickly spread to a peak membership of millions by the 1920s. So, when a prominent black newspaper editor named Alex Manly wrote an editorial suggesting that relations between White women and Black men were consensual, 500 white men burned Manly’s office and fourteen African Americans were killed in the riot.

East St. Louis, 1917 – On July 1, 1917, a Black man was rumored to have killed a white man. A riot thus followed with whites shooting, beating and lynching African Americans. The violence continued for a week and the deaths range from 40 – 200. As a result, some 6,000 Blacks fled St. Louis.

Red Summer, 1919 – As you can ascertain, this year was referred to as Red Summer because of the mass blood spill of race riots this year. Twenty-six cities experienced riots including, but not limited to: Longview TX, Washington, DC, Knoxville, TN, Omaha NE, and Chicago. As I speak of often, the racial tension did not just occur in the South and in 1919 particularly, racial tensions were especially high in the North. Chicago experienced the most violence when on July 27, 1919, seventeen-year-old Eugene Williams was swimming with his friends in Lake Michigan and entered a “Whites Only” area. White men threw rocks at Williams and hitting him in the head, he drowned. After police refused to arrest the murderer, fights between White and Black gangs became the spark that started a race riot that lasted through August 3rd. It escalated so that the state militia had to be called in.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1921 – Of course, the renowned Tulsa Race Riot. A young white woman accused Dick Rowland of grabbing her arm in an elevator. After arresting Rowland, accounts of the assault were exaggerated and a mob gathered outside the courthouse. A mob of Black men went to the courthouse, armed, to protect Rowland and after gunfire exchanged, as they say, it “all hell broke loose.” The Greenwood neighborhood of North Tulsa, the wealthiest Black community in the country, was systematically burned to the ground. Thousands of homes were destroyed, bombs fell from the sky, and The Oklahoma National Guard was called in. Lost forever was over 600 successful businesses.

Rosewood, 1923 – A neighborhood of predominantly Black entrepreneurs, trouble started in Rosewood when a white woman from a nearby town called Sumner said (once again) that she had been raped and also beaten by a Black man. White men from several nearby towns lynched a random black man in Rosewood in response, causing an outcry among blacks who rallied together. A full on riot was the end result with mobs of whites hunting for black people, lynching them and burning Rosewood homes and structures.

The incident was the subject of the 1997 film, “Rosewood”, directed by John Singleton staring Ving Rhames and in 2004, the state designated the site of Rosewood as a Florida Heritage Landmark.

Harlem Race Riot, 1943 – On August 1st and 2nd, a race riot broke out in Harlem, New York when officer James Collins, shot and wounded Robert Bandy, a Black soldier. It was one of six riots that year related to black and white tensions during World War II.

Detroit, 1943 – Considered one of the worst race riots of the WWII era, The Detroit Riot of 1943 started with a fist fight. (Racial tensions were already high due to confrontations between white and blacks when the Sojourner Truth Housing Projects opened (1942) in a white neighborhood and whites tried to stop blacks from moving in.) A White man and a Black man got into a fight at the Belle Isle Amusement Park in the Detroit River. This turned into a fight between a group of whites and blacks and spilled over into the streets. The violence ended when 6,000 federal troops were ordered in the city. Twenty-Five Blacks and nine whites are reported killed with seventeen Blacks killed by the police.

By now I hope that you are starting to see a trend. A race riot ensues and following is usually some kind of military intervention. (…pay attention.)

The Groveland Four, 1949 – On July 16, 1949, a white couple was traveling and their car stopped on a rural road in Groveland, Florida. The next day, 17-year-old Norma Padgett accused four Black men of raping her. Sheriffs arrested Charles Greenlee, Sam Shepherd, and Walter Irvin. The fourth man, Ernest Thomas, fled the county and was hunted down and killed by a mob of over 1,000 armed Sheriffs. When word spread about the arrest of “The Groveland Four”, an angry crowd of white Klansmen surrounded the jail and the men were hidden and transported to Raiford State Prison. The mob was not pleased. They went on to attack the black section of Groveland, a small town in South Lake County where two of the accused men’s families lived. Black residents were urged to leave town and The National Guard was called in. Meanwhile, the accused men were severely beaten, two sentenced to death (Shepherd, Irvin) and one (Greenlee) to life in prison because of his age.

Watts, 1965 – August has had its share of historical events for sure. From Emmet Till (8/28/55) to the Watts Riots. The Watts Riots began August 11th through August 17th after a white patrolman arrested 21-year-old Marquette Frye, a black motorist. A fight broke out involving Frye, his brother, mother, and the police. Both his mother and brother were arrested and the number of people gathered increased. Almost 4,000 National Guardsmen were deployed, in addition to about 1,600 police officers. Martial law was declared and a curfew implemented. More than 30,000 people participated in the riots, fighting with police, looting white-owned homes and businesses, and attacking white residents. The riots left 34 dead, more than 1,000 injured, and about 4,000 arrested.

Newark, 1967 – On July 12th, a Black cab driver, John Smith, was arrested for illegally passing a police car. He was taken to a police station that happened to also be across the street from the projects. These residents reported that the police beat this man and dragged him from the cab into the station. Word got to Civil Rights Leaders who organized a protest but the protest turned violent. Rioting followed for the next several nights, and the National Guard was deployed. Still, even with the Nations Guard present, the rioting continued.

MLK Riots, 1968 – For those of you under thirty, you may not fully understand the extent to the outcry in the Black community over the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It was huge. Riots broke out in 125 cities following the April 4, 1968, assassination. The worst riots occurred in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Chicago. I remember my Aunt telling us stories about it. I am originally from Chicago and my Aunt (born and raised in Chicago as well) was saying that they had to wear paper bags over their heads going home from school the day the world found out King was dead. Black people were beyond outraged. It was simply dangerous to be on the street. On April 5, looting, arson, and attacks on police increased, and as many as 20,000 people participated in the riots. The National Guard and Marines were dispatched. The riots reached within two blocks of the White House. Twelve people were killed, and more than 1,200 buildings were destroyed.

Crown Heights Race Riots, 1991 – August, this month makes history again. On Aug. 21, 1991, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn New York, a car driven by Yosef Lifsh hit another car and then crashed into two black children, both age 7. Residents of Crown Heights gathered and began attacking Lifsh and other Hasidic Jews. A city ambulance crew and the Hasidic-run Hatzolah ambulance service arrived on the scene. The Hatzolah service brought injured Jews to the hospital, and the black children were transported by the city crew. Gavin Cato, one of the black children, died. Black residents felt the Jews were given preferential medical treatment and began throwing rocks and bottles at police and at the homes and businesses of Hasidic Jews. The riots raged for three days. More than 150 officers about 40 civilians were injured in the rioting.

Rodney King Riots, 1992 – On March 3, 1991, Rodney King was pulled over for driving recklessly and someone videotaped the encounter with the police from his apartment balcony. The video shows the officers severely beating Rodney King. On April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted three of the officers and predominantly Black areas of Los Angeles erupted in violence, and six days of riots led to 50 deaths, thousands of arrests and an estimated one billion dollars in property damage.

Ferguson, Missouri, 2014 – On Aug. 9th, officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old teenager in Ferguson, Mo. Details of the shooting have been under dispute since the incident. Police said that Brown was shot during an altercation with Wilson. However, a friend who was with Brown at the time said that Wilson shot Brown when he refused to move from the middle of the street and that Brown’s hands were over his head at the moment of the shooting. The following night, protesters filled the streets near the shooting. Police officers arrived on the scene with riot gear, including rifles and shields. The protest turned violent and images from cell phones went viral on social media, including several accounts of looting.

Baltimore, MD, 2015 – After the funeral of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African American who died of a severe spinal cord injury suffered while in police custody, angry residents took to the streets of northwest Baltimore to protest another death of a black man at the hands of police. Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, called in the National Guard, and set a curfew as rocks were thrown, cinder blocks and buildings and cars set on fire.

***

I’ll stop here as there is no time for the countless historical accounts of race wars and riots in this (U.S.) country. What is happening is very much American and there is nothing new about it. In fact, it has been going on nearly 400 years. What is happening is what has been happening for a long time and the fact that people are outraged is just proof that we have not been paying attention, and have thus bought into the hype that “those days” were over. (There’s been Lynchings as late as 2010, such as 26 year old Frederick Jermaine Carter, a Black man found hanging in a Mississippi tree in a white suburb on Friday, December 3, 2010.) What has been done, is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Don’t marvel, just pay attention.

The PBS Blog Podcast Ep 3 – Keep Being Excellent

Inspired by Nicole Walter’s periscope video, today’s podcast is about being excited about your accomplishments big OR SMALL. Whatever it is that may seem, in the grand scheme of things, less significant, celebrate it anyway. We tend to downplay a lot of good in our lives because of other’s expectations or perceptions (people thinking we’re doing something bad or wrong) when we should be rejoicing in everything GOOD that we achieve no matter what. Notice all growth because it’s all part of the process. Keep being excellent!

I’ve created a new page for the podcast that you can now find on the sidebar HERE. Go here anytime you want to catch up on an episode.

Episode 3 – Keep Being Excellent

(Don’t forget to subscribe on Soundcloud for notifications of new episodes)

 

Black History Fun Fact Friday – Historic Rivals: W.E.B. Dubois vs. Booker T. Washington

Today, I thought I’ll do something fun. I would like to do a few of these so let’s call this part one. Let’s see who was at war and why. Of course, we have to start with the famous rivalry of all time:

W.E.B. Dubois vs. Booker T. Washington

Yecheilyah sits in a chair with papers as W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington step into the ring. Dubois adjusts his tie, shaking hands with members of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People….am I the only one who finds it odd this organization still refers to us as Colored people?? Deuteronomy 28:37…anyway, as usual, I digress lol).

Washington sits in a chair. Surrounded by students, he crosses his legs and flips through a book.

“Ya know,” Washington looks up, “I’ve read The Souls of Black Folk. I must say I am not very impressed.”

Dubois brushes lint from his jacket, “I didn’t think you would be.”

EC: *Clears throat*. Alright gentlemen. We’re about to start.

NAACP members and students step down from the ring and sits in the audience with those reading this blog.

Washington puts his book to the side. “Noted”, he said staring at Dubois. “Besides, I must say Yecheilyah, I love what you’re doing with your work. It is my belief that we should be accountable for ourselves in every way.

EC: “Than…”

“Booker, your proposal”, interrupted Dubois, “that we should take accountability for ourselves is not only unfounded but also paradoxical. It would be difficult for Negros to gain any real power, for instance, if they are denied the right to vote.”

Washington put up a hand, “IF, Negros had real power, it would be in education in the crafts, industrial and farming skills and ownership of their own businesses.”

“And how, Mr. Washington, do you suppose Negros could operate these businesses sufficiently without an education?”

Washington sighs, “I do not care to venture here an opinion about the nature of knowledge. It is clear to anyone who reflects on the matter that the only kind of knowledge that has any sort of value for a race is knowledge that has some definite relation to the daily lives of the men and women who are seeking it.”

Dubois throws his hands into the air, “You’re promoting submissiveness by asking the Negro to relinquish fundamental privileges. First, you ask him to relinquish his political rights and then his civil rights. This only speeds up the process to which Negros have regressed.”

Washington stands, pointing his finger at Dubois “You’re taking my words out of context. I am simply stating that it is my aim to teach students to live a life and make a living by which after they graduate they can return to their homes and find profit and satisfaction in building up the communities from which they’ve come.”

EC: Gentlemen, please. We don’t have time for this. I respectfully ask for you to both be silent so that we can give the people a little bit of a background on you. Is that alright?

NAACP member runs up to ring, hands Dubois a drink of water as he loosens his collar and takes a drink. Member returns to his seat among the bloggers, “I concur. Let’s move on”, said Dubois.

Washington returns to his seat, crosses his legs, “Indeed.”

As you can see, these two were not besties. Tensions always existed among Black intellectuals and Blacks who were more grassroots and this separation exists today. W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington are great examples of this.

William Edward Burghardt DuBois was born free in 1868 in Great Barrington, Massachusetts in an integrated community. He attended local schools and excelled in his studies. When Dubois finally encountered racism, the experience changed him and he decided to further his education with a focus on equal rights for Black Americans. Dubois was the first Black man to earn his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1895.

Cheers erupt from members of the NAACP. Dubois takes a bow.

Booker T. Washington was born into slavery in 1856 in Virginia. After the Civil War, he worked in a salt mine and as a domestic for a white family and eventually attended Hampton Institute, one of the first all-black schools in America. After completing his education, Washington began teaching and in 1881 was selected to head The Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama. The school’s purpose was to give African Americans practical, hands-on skills and would later be known as Tuskegee University.

Whistles come from Washington’s students. He waves.

Dubois wanted to focus on creating an educated black intellectual class he called The Talented Tenth, in which ten percent of the intelligent of the race would lead and guide the direction of the other ninety percent.

Dubois: That is right. Political power and sovereignty should remain important.

*Washington rolls eyes*

Washington on the other hand, born into slavery, thought former slaves and their descendants should be financially independent and that black communities could prosper only by way of owning their own businesses.

Washington: Indeed. Blacks should elevate themselves through hard work and material prosperity.

*Dubois coughs*

Both sought to advance the plight of African Americans and by the early 20th century both Washington and Dubois were two of the most influential Black men in the country. However, their ideologies were very different. Dubois was more focused on education and civil rights as the only way to achieve equality. Washington was more grassroots and focused on fundraising for the Institute and teaching young people how to work with their hands, farm, and entrepreneurship. Dubois and Washington’s differences came to a head in 1903…

Washington: How do you young people say it now? ‘Bring that up.’

Dubois: Let’s hear the entirety of the matter first.

EC: Umm. If I can just finish this real quick. I’m almost done.

Washington: May I ask a question?

EC: Sure, of course.

Washington: What is a Bestie?

EC: Its just short for like Best Friends.

Washington: I see. And I assume one would have to be friends first before they are best friends. Am I correct in this assumption?

Dubois: You are taking up all the time.

EC: We do need to move on but I’d love to explain it to you later.

Washington: I would like that.

*Dubois shakes his head*

The men go silent. Smiles and waves at readers.

Dubois and Washington’s differences came to a head in 1903 when Dubois published The Souls of Black Folk where he directly criticized Washington and his approach.

EC: That’s a little below the belt, don’t you think?

Dubois: Well, Negros should stand up against Washington’s contentions.

EC: Dang.

Washington: I am not going to justify that with a response.

Dubois: Then don’t respond.

Washington: Do not tempt me, Mr. Dubois.

EC: Well, that’s our time. Gentlemen, thank you, both for taking the time out of your super busy schedules to have this discussion. I know you have lives to save. Literally. I do hope you can find some common ground.

Washington: I doubt it.


In the end, Dubois and Washington did agree on something. Though they had two different ways of going about it, they each thought education was important to advancing ones life.

Stay tuned for our next rivals!

On Sacred Ground

Photo Credit: Dorné Marting, Unsplash

We planted songs

In cotton fields

Backs bent down

On our toes, our heels

Our voices prayed

When we could not

We planted songs on sacred ground.

Hope sprang from the callus on our thumbs

Watched as Massa sold our sons

Packed up freedom in the Mississippi dirt

Moved up North where pain wasn’t hurt

Silly us, couldn’t let it be

Thought strange fruit only grew on Southern Trees

Traded our crowns

In for concrete

Stopped growing our food

To buy our meat

Insects we traded for rats

Gave up the land

For the projects

Community tight, though enslaved we were

Gave up the land

To call him sir

He was after all, “The Man”

Suited and booted

like nobody can

But all that glitter, ain’t gold

Just because you don’t see chains

Don’t mean you ain’t sold

Stay true to yourself

Your history, your roots

Let no one come along

And steal your truth

Pay attention to what’s real

What’s sound

And keep your feet rooted

On sacred ground.

Remember, you can listen to some of my poems on Soundcloud:


Reminder: Don’t forget about the poetry contest! Get those poems into yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com before next week, Wednesday  July 19th for a chance to win books and Amazon Gift-cards. There is a $5 Entry fee payable to Literary Korner Publishing Here but you can waive the fee when you sign up for my email list Here.