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    Book chronicles ‘The Forgotten People’ of Plaquemines Parish

    Tyronne Edwards wanted to ensure the rich contribution of Blacks in Plaquemines Parish, which is part of the history of Plaquemines, the state of Louisiana, the nation and the world for present and future generations. It prompted him to write The Forgotten People: Restoring a Missing Segment of Plaquemines Parish History.

    This book chronicles the specific achievements of leaders who dismantled institutional racism and outwitted Judge Leander Perez, Plaquemines Parish’s segregationist and dictator. It also educates readers to the battles waged by residents to knock down doors in schools, businesses, and government that were closed to them.

    In “The Forgotten People,” Edwards breathes life into the important historical record of Blacks’ self-determination and perseverance that should never be forgotten.

    Edwards, a native of and pastor in Phoenix, La., has 47 years of human service experience and community development. He is the founder and former executive director of the Zion Travelers Cooperative Center, Inc. in Plaquemines Parish which was organized in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. For 37 years as a trainer for the People’s Institution for Survival & Beyond, he has conducted Undoing Racism workshops throughout the country.

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    Museum presents ‘The Strange Origins of Jim Crow’

    Join the West Baton Rouge Museum in welcoming  Aaron Sheehan-Dean on Wednesday, December 7 at noon for a Lunch Time Lecture. He will explore the origins of Jim Crow, an era with roots in Louisiana from the Plessy vs. Ferguson railroad segregation case and living with Jim Crow.

    The museum is located at 845 N. Jefferson Avenue, Port Allen, LA 70767 .

    This program is offered in conjunction with the traveling exhibit, “For All the World to See,” organized by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County in partnership with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. This exhibit examines the role that visual culture played in the civil rights movement. Through a compelling assortment of photographs, television clips, art posters, and other historic artifacts, For All the World to See traces how images and media disseminated to the American public transformed the modern civil rights movement and jolted Americans, both Black and white, out of a state of denial or complacency.

    Sheehan-Dean is the Fred C. Frey Professor of Southern Studies at Louisiana State University. He is also author of Why Confederates Fought: Family and Nation in Civil War Virginia, The Concise Historical Atlas of the U. S. Civil War and the editor of several books. He teaches several courses on nineteenth century U.S. History, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and Southern History.

    This lunch time lecture program is free and open to the public. Participants are welcome to bring a bag lunch. 

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    Navy destroyer to be named after first Black aviator

    CHERRY POINT, N.C.—-

    In a ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, DDG 121, will be named Frank E. Petersen  Jr., in honor of the Marine Corps Lieutenant General who was the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general officer.

    In 1950, two years after President Harry S. Truman desegregated the armed forces, Petersen enlisted in the Navy.

    In 1952, Petersen was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He would go on to fly 350 combat missions during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He also went on to become the first African-American in the Marine Corps to command a fighter squadron, an air group and a major base.

    Petersen retired from the Marine Corps in 1988 after 38 years of service. At the time of his retirement he was, by date of designation, the senior-ranking aviator in the Marine Corps and the United States Navy.

    Petersen died last year at his home in Stevensville, Md., near Annapolis, at the age of 83.

    This is the first ship to be named for Frank E. Petersen Jr.

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    Lafayette Juneteenth Fathers day fun fest Jun 19

    The SWLA Juneteenth committee will be celebrating Juneteenth at Heymann Park, 1500 S Orange Street in Lafayette, Louisiana on Sunday, June 19, 2016 (Father’s Day) from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

    The Festival is free to the public. There will be live entertainment including Gospel, Zydeco, R&B, Blues, Jazz and Reggae and live performers. There will also be fun jumps, face painting and games on wheels for the youth.

    The line up of entertainers is coming soon. Please check back often.

    For more information or if your group would like to perform, please contact Jackie McNulty at 337.781.1235.

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    Entergy supports Tangipahoa’s Black heritage museum

    PONCHATOULA–Eunice Harris, Entergy customer service representative, recently presented Delmas Dunn Sr., president of the Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum & Veterans Archives (TAAHM&VA), with a $1,000 check.  The funds will be used toward a joint community development project whereby the board members will partner with community volunteers to landscape the grounds of the TAAHM&VA.  They will purchase live oak trees, stakes, fertilizer, mulching soil, garden hose, etc., and develop the area along the 1600 block of Phoenix Sq.

    The mission of the TAAHM&VA is to preserve, maintain, and educate the public about the history of Black ancestors in the State of Louisiana and the U.S.; to collaborate with other organizations with a common vision, both nationally and internationally, through artistic endeavors.

    The TAAHM&VA welcomed/hosted 3,890 visitors in 2014 and 2,530 visitors in 2015 from Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, St. Helena, Livingston, East and West Baton Rouge, Jefferson, and Orleans parishes.  The halls are lined with nearly wall-sized, colorful paintings and murals depicting Black American history, inventors, entrepreneurs, culture, musicians, war heroes, pioneers, slavery, leaders, historians, buffalo soldiers, civil rights activists, underground railroad, family, and kings and queens of Africa.  It also has on display Black American and African artifacts and inventions such as the butter churn, traffic light, smoothing iron, cow bell, ice scraper, meat tenderizer, kerosene lamp, brownie camera, to name just a few.

    “Entergy is proud to reinvest in its vast diversity of cultures within the communities it serves,” said Harris.  “And it’s always a good thing when volunteers come out and participate in community development projects – it shows joint ownership” Harris continued.

    To schedule a class, group, or individual tour, please call 985-542-4259.  ONLINE: http://www.taahm.org/ 

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    Shabazz presents ‘Growing Up X’ at BREC event Feb 19

    The Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC) will celebrate Black History Month, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at the Independence Park Theatre, 7800 Independence Blvd. This event is free and open to the public.  

    BREC will present “Growing Up X” featuring guest speaker, Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of historical figures Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. She is a community organizer, social activist, motivational speaker and author of the critically acclaimed Growing Up X. Ilyasah promotes higher education, interfaith dialogue and building bridges between cultures for young leaders of the world.

    She produces The WAKE-UP Tour, an exclusive youth empowerment program and participates on international humanitarian delegations. She is the founder of Malcolm X Enterprises and is a trustee for The Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. She also serves on the Board of the Harlem Symphony Orchestra, is a member of the Arts Committee for the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center and a project advisor for the PBS award-winning documentary, Prince Among Slaves.

    The program will also feature theatrical performances, musical selections and an interview with Shabazz.

    “We are pleased to welcome Ms. Shabazz to BREC as part of our annual celebration. We hope that by offering programs like this, we can honor those who played such important roles in the Civil Rights movement while reflecting on the progress that has been made over the past few decades,” said BREC Superintendent Carolyn McKnight. “Our hope is that we can use experiences like this to bring us closer together as a community,” said McKnight.

    This event is sponsored by the BREC Foundation, Cumulus Media, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, AmeriHealth Caritas of Louisiana, Main Street Pilot Club of Baker, Louisiana NAACP, NAACP Baton Rouge, Capital City Collision, Hotel Indigo, Dr. Leah S. Cullins, Apex Collegiate Academy, Dawn Collins for School Board, Senator Regina Barrow, Xi Nu Lambda Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., AARP Mid-Town LA Ch. #5433, Councilwoman Erika Green, WTQT Radio, Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and Representative Patricia Haynes Smith.

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    Work begins on Hicks Museum

    BOGALUSA – Students, volunteers and elected officials celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 18, by giving back to the community.

    They converged on the Robert Hicks Civil Rights Museum to begin remodeling. Former NBA player Nikita Wilson (at left), Valeria Hicks, Edward “Shaka” Butler, and Barbara Collins Hicks show a woodcarving created by Butler and donated to the museum.Hicks Museum web

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    What did Che’dra Joseph say?

    “Can everybody give Che’ a big round applause”? said President Barack Obama, to a crowd of more than 700 citizens who gathered at McKinley High School in Baton Rouge, Thursday, Jan. 14, for a town hall meeting.

    Che’Dra Joseph, the daughter of Jessica Bornholdt and granddaughter of Mary E. Joseph, welcomed the crowd to McKinley
    and introduced the president.

    “We could not be more proud of her. I was backstage; I asked her, ‘Are you nervous?’ She said, ‘No, I got this. I’m fine.’ That is a serious leader of the future. And we are so proud of her,” said President Obama.

    So, what did this Student of the Year with a remarkable 4.6 grade point average tell the world as she introduced the President?

    Che'Dra and President Obama. Photo by Yusef Davis

    Che’Dra and President Obama. Photo by Yusef Davis

    Good morning, McKinley alumni, students, faculty, town hall participants, esteemed guests, and viewers at home. I am Che’dra Joseph, McKinley High School’s 2015-2016 Student of the Year and a finalist for East Baton Rouge Parish Student of the Year. Neither my experiences nor my environment have always been conducive towards forming a foundation for my ambitions. My upbringing has given me the insight that hardships do not limit
    opportunities. A journey towards self-actualization is not as easy for all of us, as it is for some. It is challenging for marginalized Americans to succeed. However, remaining focused
    on ambitions and education allows opportunities for moments of surrealism, similar to this one. I am here, in spite of, not because of, my circumstances. I have defied statistics, and I will not falter in my aspirations to dismantle the glass ceilings
    imposed on women, people of color, and minority groups. McKinley has been a significant factor in my personal development due to its ever-present, but often unacknowledged historical value. In 1907, McKinley became the first institution in Louisiana to offer
    Black students academic advancement. Furthermore, its first graduating class of 1916 was all female. McKinley was a win
    for Black excellence, and a win for women. Today, McKinley is home to educational opportunities that allow for a progressive,
    inclusive environment that stimulates informative and insightful dialogue among people who exhibit diversity in everything from skin color, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion. I am honored for the opportunity to introduce myself and the President. As a representative of McKinley High School,
    Baton Rouge, and Louisiana, I offer the President our gratitude for giving America a nontraditional model of success that proves
    adversity does not restrict opportunity and for choosing McKinley High School to make history. Ladies and gentleman, McKinley High
    School proudly welcomes, The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

    The gym erupted with applause.

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    COMMENTARY: Dr. King and the gospel of action

    There is no shortage of words in the English language to describe Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. By now —more than five decades after his fiery delivery of the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.— you may feel as though you have heard them all: leader, hero, visionary, champion, inspiration, pacifist, orator and preacher, to name a few.

    Of all the possible descriptions and titles that have been assigned to Dr. King, history has proven that his legacy endures in our collective American imagination and our national politics not because of what he was, or who he was, but because of what he did. Dr. King changed our society with action. Soaring rhetoric may move our hearts and imagination, but it is action that translates our seemingly impossible dreams into reality.

    Dr. King’s all-too-short life was a monumental one that moved our nation to enact large-scale, course-correcting policies like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act, and genuinely contemplate a day when we would “transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood,” but he departed from this earth with unfinished business.

    Our nation has made undeniable progress since Dr. King described his dream of an America set free from the bondage of racial animosity, injustice and economic inequality. Today, people of color are achieving milestones that would have been impossible without the decades-long accumulation of constant acts of courage to make change happen. But Dr. King did not dedicate himself to a life of action only to create wealth and opportunity for a privileged few, to diversify the palette of America’s corporate offices, or even the White House. While Dr. King would have likely been proud to live in a country that judged an African-American not on the color of his skin, but the content of his character, and elected him president, he would be disheartened to witness the mounting rollbacks in voting rights, disappointed to stand at the cusp of the ever-widening chasm of economic inequality, and disillusioned at the loss of Black lives at the hands of law enforcement. Progress must not grow into passivity. Complacency will only serve to erode the gains our nation have made and can make under the constant vigilance and activism of its citizenry.

    In his last State of the Union address to Congress, President Barack Obama acknowledged the necessity of every day acts of courage and quiet citizenship to move our nation closer to fulfilling its founding promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all its people. “What I’m asking for is hard. It’s easier to be cynical; to accept that change isn’t possible, and politics is hopeless, and to believe that our voices and actions don’t matter. But if we give up now, then we forsake a better future.”

    That better future is what Dr. King saw on the mountaintop. He did not live to get there with us, but his clarion call to justice lives on. We, as the heirs of the change he sought, can make this holiday a more meaningful one by engaging in civic, community and service projects. We can spend the day doing what Dr. King did for a lifetime: serving others. But this is about more than a day. Full, unfettered access to voting will not be restored in one day. Police brutality in communities of color will not end in one day. Economic inequality will not be resolved in one day. It will take days, years, decades and perhaps generations, but if we are wedded to the idea of a more perfect union, it is imperative that we continue Dr. King’s long and worthy climb to the mountaintop.

    Marc Morial
    President, National Urban League
    New York

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    150th anniversary of Freedman’s Bank commemorated

    Liberty Bank’s Alden McDonald will deliver remarks and reflect on the legacy of the Freedman’s Bank

    NEW ORLEANS –  On Thursday, January 7, 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department will host a ceremony to mark the 150th anniversary of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (Freedman’s Bank) and name the Treasury Annex building the Freedman’s Bank Building. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, Assistant Secretary for Management Brodi Fontenot, Howard University Department of Economics Chair Dr. William Spriggs, and Liberty Bank and Trust President and CEO Alden McDonald will deliver remarks and reflect on the legacy of the Freedman’s Bank.

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    Alden McDonald

    The Freedman’s Bank was established in 1865 to create an opportunity for wealth-building among the nation’s four million newly emancipated Black Americans. During its nearly 10-year existence, approximately 100,000 Blacks and Black institutions amassed $57 million in the bank’s Washington, D.C. headquarters and its branches in 37 cities across 17 states. Despite the closing of the Freedman’s Bank in 1874, it remains a significant part of American history and this event will highlight the historical significance of the bank and its original mission – to promote economic integration and financial inclusion.

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