The Chitlin’ Circuit

Before Rock and Roll in the 1950’s, before arenas began to integrate, black performers traveled what was known as the Chitlin’ Circuit. Not to be confused with the Chitlin’ Strut. The Chitlin’ Strut is a food festival. If you ever traveled through the Southeastern United States, South Carolina or more specifically, in the Aiken area, in the fall, mostly in November, the unforgettable smell of pig innards fill the air. The tiny town of Sally, …

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The Sounds of Protest

Songs set the tone. Lyrics and beats set the mood. The Sound of the Times have been used to express opinions and feelings in difficult times. Protest songs have been important to Blacks since our struggle began. No matter if it was slavery, human rights, civil rights, wars, lynching or police brutality, we have expressed feelings in songs. June is when we commemorate Black Music Appreciation Month (the decree first issued by President Carter in 1979), one cannot …

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The Sound of the Times

Whether it was the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, anti-war protests, riots after the untimely death of iconic figures, it was music that set the mood of our people and indeed the country and world. Music calmed anxieties and eased some pain. Marvin Gaye’s, Ecology Song (Mercy Mercy Me), a prayer for the land and air, man’s dominion. Marvin knew we had abused the earth, he said it in a song. Edwin Starr didn’t …

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President Carter & Black Music

Black Music Association Remarks at a White House Dinner Honoring the Association. June 7, 1979   How many of you know what month this is? Somebody said June. Right on! This is Black Music Month. As you know, the purpose of the Black Music Association is to preserve, protect, and perpetuate black music on an international basis. And the time to do it on an international basis is right now at the White House, the …

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Brown v. Board of Ed.

The United States Constitution guarantees its inhabitants liberty and equal opportunity. Historically, however, these fundamental rights have not always been provided as pledged. The American system of education is one such example. From the earliest times in American history, the U.S. educational system mandated separate schools for children based solely on race. In many instances, the schools for African American children were substandard facilities with out-of-date textbooks and insufficient supplies. Court cases against segregated schools …

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Thurgood & the Team

Attorneys representing the Plaintiffs in the landmark United States Supreme Court case of: Oliver L. Brown et al v. Board of Education of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas   Thurgood Marshall, Chief Counsel, NAACP/Legal Defense Fund (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993); One of America’s premier attorney’s, Thurgood Marshall was born in Baltimore, Maryland, he was a great-grandson of a slave. Marshall at the age of 32 won a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. …

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Robert L. Carter, Desegregation Architect

“In the United States, we make progress in two or three steps, then we step back, and blacks are more militant now and will not accept second-class citizenship as before.” – Robert L. Carter. The above quote was given to the New York Times in 2004 by one of America’s leading legal minds, practicing law in primarily human rights, civil rights an First Amendment cases. Robert L. Carter was a graduate from Columbia Law School, …

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America’s Missing Black Men

One and a half million Black Men are missing. For nearly 50 years, census data has shown alarming statistics for cities throughout the United States that have had a dramatic disappearance of African-American males. A recent report by the New York Times targets three main reasons for the substantial disproportionate gap in genders in the African-American community. The New York Times report in a section called “The Upshot” (April 20, 2015). Staggering information regarding missing …

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Zelma Henderson & the Board of Ed

At 12:52 p.m. on May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, commonly known as Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka. The opinion stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” and that the separate but equal doctrine, which allowed states to maintain racially segregated schools, had “no place” in public education. The team of lawyers included Chief Legal Counsel for the NAACP, …

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Homer Plessy’s Legacy

Homer Plessy was an Octoroon, he was also a soldier in the war for African-American civil rights. That war began before the Civil War and before Homer Plessy challenged the segregation laws in Louisiana in 1892. Plessy, like Rosa Parks, was chosen to challenge the segregation laws in public transportation. He boarded a train and sat in a car that was reserved for whites, then ordered to leave the train but refused. Policemen arrived and …

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