Success Can Change Everything

It’s been said that one of Justice Thurgood Marshall’s favorite justices was Justice John Marshall Harlan (1833 – 1911), who was known as the “Great Dissenter”. Harlan’s dissent in the landmark case of Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), set him apart from the prevailing opinion of the time about the abilities of African Americans and their intelligence. John Harlan served on the U.S. Supreme Court from 1877 until 1911. He was born into a slave holding …

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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 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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Protest vs. Riot

Just maybe the remnants of pain and loss linger in St. Louis. The worst race riots in our country’s history took place in southern Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri. The loss of life and property isn’t easy to forget. The New York Times’ chilling headline, “Race Rioters Fire East St. Louis and Shoot or Hang Many Negroes”.  According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the violence stemmed from the hiring of black …

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Clayton Bigsby

We owe so much to Dave Chappelle’s sketch comedies. Those seemingly outrageous parodies in many situations illuminated and parroted real life situations. For those that don’t remember the character, Clayton Bigsby, a blind spokesperson noted for his enthusiastic right wing, minority hating followers. Occasionally leading the chant “white power” for the faithful. The “catch” was that Clayton Bigsby was black. In South Carolina for all to see is the manifestation of the popular Clayton Bigsby …

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