The Associated Press
Tuesday, , 2009; 12:52 PM
The Associated Press
Tuesday, , 2009; 12:52 PM
The history of Black women remains shrouded in obscurity and ignorance. What little there is that is known of Black women’s heroic efforts to combat enslavement is still largely very little written about.
Asemphasized in her book Black Women in White America, “History, in the past largely written by white male historians, has simply failed to ask those questions which would elicit information about female contribution, the female point of view. . . [‘Black women’s] records lie buried, unread, infrequently noticed and even more seldom interpreted.”
Just as that is true, so is the lost and unknown contribution that Amy Spain made in the history of Black women’s resistance against racist oppression and sexist tyranny. Here, in an article that miraculously resurfaced some years ago from the press of that time, after more than a century of having the waves of indifference wash over it, is the story of Amy Spain:
View of Darlington Court-House and the sycamore-tree where Amy Spain, the negro slave, was hung by the citizens of Darlington, South Carolina
Contributing and Advisory Editors
Kimberly Benston, Faedra Chatard Carpenter, Stephen Carpenter, Joseph Clarke, Lucille Clifton, Maryse Condé, Angie Cruz, Edwidge Danticat, Toi Derricote, Rita Dove, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Susan Fraiman, , Farah Jasmine Griffin, Saidiya Hartman, Terrance Hayes, Shona N. Jackson, Marcus D. Jones, Meta Jones, Jamaica Kincaid, Yusef Komunyakaa, , Valerie Cassel Oliver, Marco Portales, , Emily Raboteau, Caroline Rody, Marlon Ross, Franklin Sirmans, Robert B. Stepto, Sharan Strange, Natasha Trethewey, Ben Vinson III, Derek Walcott, Alvia J. Wardlaw, Steven F. White, John Edgar Wideman, Judith Wilson,
Callaloo, the premier African-American and African literary journal, publishes original works and critical studies of black artists and writers worldwide. The journal offers a rich mixture of fiction, poetry, plays, critical essays, interviews, and visual art from the African diaspora. Frequent , special thematic issues drawing on people and place, original art and photography are some of the features of this highly acclaimed international showcase of .
The Winter 2001 issue recieved honorable mention recognigiton for “Best Special Issue of a Journal in 2001” by the Professional/Scholarly Publishing (PSP) Divison of the American Association. The Winter 2002 issue, entitled “Jazz Poetics” has been recognized by the Council of Editors for Learned Journals as one of the best special issues of 2002.
Callaloo was founded by current editor Charles H. Rowell in 1976 at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA. The journal moved to the University of Virginia and then Texas A&M.
CLICK HERE to read “Making CALLALOO: Past, Present, and Future” by Charles H. Rowell for a full history of the journal.
CLICK HERE to read more about Callaloo‘s history in NOT NAMING THE RACE: An Interview with Charles Henry Rowell, which was conducted by Shona N. Jackson and featured in 30.1 – Reading Callaloo, Eating Callaloo.
#1 Song 1957: “Get A Job,” the Silhouettes
1967 Martin Luther King, Jr. presented Aretha Franklin with the Southern Christian Leadership Award at Cobo Hall in Detroit when the city declared it Aretha Franklin Day.
1973 Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song” topped the pop charts for the first of five weeks. Flack first heard the song as sung by Lori Lieberman (it was inspired by Lieberman’s response to having seen a performance by Don McLean), on a TWA flight from Los Angeles to New York.
1978 Ray Charles performed “One Of These Days” and a duet on “It’s A Miracle” with Barry Manilow on The Second Barry Manilow Special TV show.
1982 James Ingram won a Grammy for best Vocal R&B Performance, Male with his hit “One Hundred Ways.” Of all the awards given out that night, his was the only one for an artist who never had an album out.
1987 Robert Cray performed with a collection of blues greats including B.B. King, Willie Dixon, Albert King, Dr. John, and others at the twenty-ninth annual Grammy Awards. He also won the Best Traditional Blues Recording category for the song “Showdown.”
1993 L.A. Reid and Babyface received the Producer of the Year Award (which they had to share with Brian Eno Danie Lanois) at the thirty-fifth annual Grammy awards in Los Angeles, mostly due to the success of Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” hit. The Boyz got their own award for “End” when they were named Best R&B Vocal Duo or Group. Meanwhile, Janet Jackson presented her brother Michael with the Grammy Legend Award.
1993 A justifiably disgruntled Little Richard stated at the Grammys, “I’m the innovator, I’m the emancipator, I’m the originator, I’m the architect of rock ‘n’ roll,” when he was denied the opportunity to receive his award onstage. NARAS president Michael Greene, who told Richard there wasn’t time enough during the telecast to make the presentaion, did have enough time to make an incoherent, boring ten-minute speech himself.
1999 Sam Cooke was honored posthumously with the NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award at the forty-first annual Grammy Awards. Also honored were Smokey Robinson and Otis Redding, while Lauryn Hill received five Grammys including Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (for “Doo-wop (That Thing)” ), Best New Artist, Album of the Year, and Best R&B Album (for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill).
In 1858, two years before Abraham Lincoln was to be elected president, he declared: “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe the government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.”
In 1861, the South engaged in hostilities against the North, which had been challenging its sovereign and divine right to expand slavery into the territories of the American West. The Civil War that ensued lasted four bloody years.
Despite promises and formal agreements, black men were not immediately authorized to fight on the side of the free states. They were first obliged to follow the white troops as porters and servants. Then, after the North suffered several setbacks, colored regiments were formed and soon proved themselves illustious on all fronts. In all, 178,895 black soldiers wore the blue uniform, and 38,000 of these men died in it as well.
The 1ST South Carolina Volunteers were the first black troops to fight in the Civil War. Their first mission was to take Jacksonville, Florida, a city deep in the South.
Many black women followed the troops—in the canteen, as cooks and nurses. Most of them were runaway slaves. Probably the youngest among them, “closer to childhood than adolescence,” was a girl “with big, wide, hazy eyes,” who accompanied the black soldiers until the very end, through the blood, the sweat, and the glory: Susie King Taylor.
Historians of the Civil War have not always drawn the clearest picture of the role of black soldiers. As for the deeds of young Susie, they—as those of other black women—have been completely ignored. She would have been erased from the world altogether had we not been left a small book that she wrote before her death, half a century later: Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the.
Born a slave in 1848, Susie was raised by her grandmother in Savannah. Susie’s mother, known only by her last name Baker, was a domestic enslave. Susie’s grandmother, who went by the name of Dolly, was one outstanding lady, and she could see beyond the appearance and the vicissitudes of the time. As soon as the child could walk, Dolly sent her to a secret school kept by a freed slave woman, the Widow Woodhouse. Susie went there early every morning after having hidden her textbooks in brown packaging paper, so that neither the paddy rollers, nor the militia, nor even the simple white pedestrian should notice those most forbidden treasures: books.
The school took place in Mrs. Woodhouses’ kitchen. The black children would go in one by one under the porch, cross the yard without a sound, and learn to read and write in a kind of low murmur.
Susies progress was quick. Two years later, her grandmother sent her to a certain Ms. Beasley, who was a bit more learned than the Widow Woodhouse. Then, in May 1860, Ms. Beasley said to Grandma Dolly that she had taught the child everything she knew and could teach her nothing more. The child knew as much as the woman did, and that was all there was to it.
Susie had particularly good penmanship and soon Grandma Dolly’s friends and neighbors went to the little girl to get her to forge their night passes, which she did with care and competence. Grandma Dolly herself sought out the talents of her young granddaughter.
One of these documents has in fact been found. It was forged, not without some spite, with the name of the owner of Susie’s grandmother:
Savannah, Ga. March 1st, 1860
Pass the Bearer—from 9 to 10:30 P.M.
Then came the Civil War. Rumors were spread in order to frighten the enslaves. Word went around that the people from the North, the Yankees, were full of fierce hatred for the blacks—that they harnessed them like horses and made them pull barrows, just for laughs.
But Susie knew who the real bogeymen were. She did not care for such tales. By then, she was already a big girl of fourteen who had learned much from those three women of Savannah: Grandma Dolly, Widow Woodhouse, and dear Ms. Beasley, who had taught her every last thing she knew.
When the Civil War erupted, Susie and Grandmother Dolly returned to the plantation on which they lived, after having lived in Savannah, but soon thereafter Susie departed for the Sea Islands of South Carolina with her maternal uncle and his family. Susie accompanied the regiment when it attacked Jacksonville, making herself more and more useful. Susie was only fourteen at the time, but even in old age she vividly recalled her first sight of the Yankees who were then fighting to take over the coastal areas. Susie was immediately pressed into service by the Union forces, first as a teacher to freed enslave children (and some adults). Later, after marrying Sgt. Edward King of the 1ST South Carolina Volunteers, Susie worked as both a laundress and a nurse for the union.
Most of her wartime activities were centered in South Carolina, moving up and down the coast to Florida and Georgia. Susie learned how to handle a musket (becoming adept at taking it apart, putting it back together in record time, and then to shoot like a veteran), as well as bandage and care for the dying—both black and white. In 1863, Susie worked forduring the eight months Barton practiced her nursing skills in the Sea Islands. In late 1864, Susie’s nearly died as a result of a boating accident, but after a few weeks of recovery she was back at work and remained with her regiment until the fall of Charleston in February 1865.
After the war, Susie’s movements exemplified those of many freed people during Reconstruction. She and her husband first settled in Savannah, where she opened a school. In 1866, upon the death of her husband Edward, Susie moved to rural Georgia. Finding that country life did not agree with her, however, she returned to Savannah and opened a night school for freed people where she taught until 1872. Then, using her husband’s military pension, she traded her poorly paid career in education for service as a laundress and cook for a wealthy white family in Savannah.
When the family journeyed to New England on summer holiday, Susie accompanied them and soon after moved to Boston. There she married Russell Taylor and became involved in civic activities as a founding member of the Corps 67 Women’s Relief Corps. She was elected president of the organization in 1893.
In 1898, when her son lay dying in Louisiana, Susie ventured to the South one last time. To her dismay, the freedom she had experienced had been replaced by rigid segregation—she experienced this firsthand not only on the train taking her South, but also in myriad ways during the period in which she renewed her Civil War days by nursing her son. Susie even witnessed a lynching in Mississippi. But in her old age she chose to overlook the devastation of the post-Reconstruction era and harked back instead to 1861’s “wonderful revolution”—the phrase she used in the closing words of her brief memoir.
During her four years and three months of service, Susie King Baker Taylor, possibly the youngest soldier in the, saw no salary.
She was. it was true, but a black volunteer, a simple black volunteer for the cause of freedom.
Hers, and her peoples.
“In Praise of Black Women: Black Heroines of the Slavery Era,”, by Simone Schwarz-Bart.
“Army Life in a Black regiment,” by Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Boston: Osgood Fields, 1870.
“The Negro in the Civil War,” by Benjamin Quarles. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968.
“Black Women In America – Second Edition, Volume 3,” Darlene Clark Hine, Editor-in-Chief. Oxford University Press, 2005.
Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33d United States Colored Troops Late 1st S. C. Volunteers. Boston: The author, 1902.
It hardly seemed possible, but things are getting ever weirder in the case of Dymond Milburn, the 12-year-old African-American girl whose mother claims in court that several Galveston cops jumped out of an unmarked van, tried to kidnap Dymond and then beat her up in her front yard for no real rea … More >>
February 10, 2009
A deadlocked jury resulted in a mistrial for Dymond Milburn, the black girl who — when she was 12 years old — was charged with assaulting police officers who tried to arrest her in her front yard.The cops had been looking for three white hookers. Milburn was hospitalized and later arrested at her … More >>
February 9, 2009
Final arguments are expected to begin today in the criminal trail of Dymond Milburn, the 12-year-old Galveston resident who is accused of assaulting cops who tried to arrest her outside her home after mistaking her for a hooker.We first wrote about her here, in a story that rocketed around the web. … More >>
January 28, 2009
In December, Hair Balls brought you the story of Dymond Milburn, a 12-year-old girl whose family is suing several Galveston police officers after the cops allegedly beat and injured her while trying to arrest her for suspected prostitution. The lawsuit claims that the police hopped out of an unmarke … More >>
Quintanilla declared a mistrial in the case, and Galveston County Criminal District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk said that, based on discussions with jurors after trial, the state won’t prosecute the case again.
The issue of Milburn’s ordeal the night her mother sent her outside to flip a breaker box switch was as simple as black-and-white, her defense lawyer Anthony Griffin said.
Griffin filed a federal lawsuit last year against three officers, Roark, Sean Stewart and Sgt. Gilbert Gomez, accusing them of violating Milburn’s constitutional rights.
That case could go to trial late this year or next year.
Milburn was 12 years old when the officers about 7:30 p.m. exited an unmarked van and approached her in her Galveston yard.
Narcotics officers were called to 24th Street and Avenue P1/2 to investigate a complaint of three white prostitutes soliciting in the area and two men dealing drugs.
Griffin in Monday morning’srepeatedly told jurors police shouldn’t have mistaken his client, who is black, for three white women.
“They clearly had probable cause to search for three white prostitutes,” Griffin said.
“But when they didn’t find probable cause, they didn’t have the right to detain everyone in the area.”
Prosecutors Veronique Cantrell-Avloes and Ella Anderson told jurors Milburn knew the men were officers, because they wore badges and had “police” displayed on their shirts.
‘I Hate The Police’
“Not only did they have police all over them, but when she yelled, ‘F— you. I hate the police,’ you probably know you’re dealing with the police.”
The officers also identified themselves verbally, prosecutors said.
Milburn ran, possibly 2 feet, from the breaker box to a bush, where she hid while officers tried to pry her away in handcuffs.
Police should have admitted they were wrong to detain Milburn, Griffin said, but prosecutors said it was the officers’ duty to investigate the complaint.
Prosecutors said Milburn hit an officer’s face, but Griffin questioned whether the assault occurred, because both of Milburn’s hands were grasping the base of the bush.
The jury began deliberating at 11 a.m. on the felony assault charge and could have found it to be true that Milburn’s actions were delinquent.
The jury also could have found it true that Milburn committed the lesser-included offense of misdemeanor assault.
Juveniles in the Texas court system face accusations that the charges against them are either true or not true, and if found to be true, then they are considered delinquent.
About 7 p.m., jurors told Quintanilla in a note they were deadlocked.
Five jurors said the charge of assaulting a public servant was not true, Griffin said.
Griffin asked Quintanilla to declare a mistrial from a hung jury, noting it was unlikely one juror would convince five others to change their minds.
Before learning of the state’s intention not to retry the case, the Milburns said they were pleased with the outcome but had hoped for an acquittal.
Dymond said she becomes emotional when seeing pictures of her scratched neck and other photographs taken that night.
“I don’t want to have to go back to that memory,” Dymond said.
Wilfred Milburn said police should have apologized to his daughter.
The state’s first attempt to try Dymond ended in a mistrial Oct. 3, 2007, based on a witnesses’ statement to the jury, which never had a chance to deliberate, Griffin said.
Sistrunk said prosecutors gave jurors every piece of evidence available, and that the state couldn’t ask for more from the jury.
“The facts of this case aren’t going to change for either side in a subsequent trial with another jury,” Sistrunk said.
“And based on what this jury had to say, there is no reason to expect that the outcome would be any different than another split decision.”
#1 R&B Song 1946: “Buzz Me,” Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5
Born: Blues guitarist Johnny Winter, 1944; King Sun, 1967
1946 The Delta Rhythm Boys made their pop-chart debut with what would become their biggest hit (#17), “Just a Sittin’ and a Rockin.’ ”
1952 The Mello-Moods, a dandy doo-wop group if there ever was one, charted with “Where AreYou (Now That I Need You)”, reaching #7 R&B. A mint copy of this classic today would go for $5,000.
1957 The original version of “Little Darling,” by the Gladiolas, was released (#41 pop, #11 R&B). Three years later the group would have the #1 record in America as Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs, singing “Stay.”
1963 The Chiffons’ mega-hit “He’s So Fine,” charted today. It became the first vocal=group #1 in rock history to be produced by another vocal group, the Tokens. The record would remain at #1 for four weeks.
1983 After twenty-one years of solo recording, Marvin Gaye finally got a Grammy when “Sexual Healing” won him the Best R&B Male Vocal Performance at the Grammy’s twenty-fifth awards ceremony. Also finally winning after seventeen nominations was lionel Richie as Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male for the song “Truly.”
1989 Issac Hayes was arrested and put in an Atlanta jail for nonpayment of child support and alimony to the tune of $346,300.
1991 Whitney Houston reached #1 with “All the Man That I Need”—amazingly, her ninth chart topper in five years. Her formula of recording old hits continued to pay off, as the original version was by Sister Sledge in 1982.
1994 Dionne Warwick attended a federal hearing by a Judiciary Juvenile Justice Sub-Committee in Washington, DC, which labeled gansta rap as “pornography.”
Here’s a grade-C horror classic of the most laughable kind.
In this one, a crazed angry carrot-looking alien comes to Earth from Venus to take over the planet and enslave the human race. (And just what is it with the planet Venus? Hollywood had quite a thing going for Venus in the sci-fi/horror department on planets most likely to give Earth trouble; then again, Venus is a beautiful planet, even if it does have sulphuric acid raining down on its surface.) The carrot-alien makes contact with a scientist, played by Lee Van Cleef, who goes out of his way to help the carrot-alien land on Earth, and make it feel right at home, with the carrot taking up residence in a cave, and allow it time to hatch its nefarious plot to take over the minds and bodies of humans.
The carrot-alien breeds flapjack/venus flytrap/moth-looking creatures which bite the backs of people’s necks, thereby infecting them with droid-like behaviour in obediance to the evil carrot-alien. Once bitten, humans are enslaved for life, to the carrot-alien, until death does them part.
The carrot-alien takes over towns, disables electricity, stops automobiles, blows satellites out of orbit, and. . . .
. . . .well, you’ll have to see the rest to believe it.
“It” is a force to be reckoned with, and the terror of a vile-tempered carrot-alien is nothing to play with.
Watch if you dare.
#1 R&B Song 1975: “Lady Marmalade,” LaBelle
Born: Bandleader Big Al Sears, 1910; Ernie K. Doe, 1936; BobbyHendricks (the Drifters) 1938; Robert Edwards (the Intruders), 1942
1951 The Clovers recorded “Don’t You Know I Love You,” their first of twenty-one R&B hits over the next nine years. Written by Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun, he demo’d the song by singing into a Times Square recording booth microphone, since he could neither play an instrument nor write music.
1963 LaVerne Baker headlined a show at Chicago’s Regal Theater.
1964 A year and a half after their debut #1 hit, “Green Onions,” Booker T & the M.G.’s finally had their second chart single with “Mo-Onions,” but it wasn’t spicy enough for the hit list, only risng to #97 pop.
1969 David Ruffin, former lead of the Temptations, began his solo career with his chart debut, “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me),” which reached #2 R&B and #9 pop. He would eventually have sixteen more R&B charters through 1988.
1976 Florence Ballard, the orginal lead singer of the Supremes, (as the Primettes, as they were then known. The Primettes would eventually sign to the Motown label as The Supremes, a name chosen by Florence, on January 15, 1961. The group would become a trio a little over a year later), died of a heart attack nine years after being forced out of the group. Though she sang on numerous hits, including nine #1 singles, Florence passed away penniless, while living on welfare with her three children. The eulogy at her funeral was given by Reverend C.L. Franklin, Aretha Franklin’s father, and the pall bearers were the Four Tops and Marv Johnson. She was only thirty-two.
The cover of the UK release The Supreme Florence Ballard. Despite most of the songs on the album originally being recorded for ABC Records in 1968, the cover photo is actually a Motown publicity photo from 1965.
1992 TLC charted with their debut recording “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg,” reaching #2 R&B and #6 pop. The record consisted of samples from five acts including Bob James, James Brown, Kool & the Gang, Silver Convention, and the Average White Band. One wonders if there was any room left for anything original.
Erik S. Lesser The New York Times
BEAMING ONLINE SERVCES TOWARDS BLACK AMERICANS
David Goldman for The New York Times