John Cole, Scranton, PA. The Times.
John Cole, Scranton, PA. The Times.
Much has been written of the daring and patriotic exploits of Black American men who have served in World War II.
But, less known are the stories of Black American military women of WW II who joined in the fight to “make the world safe for democracy”. Here are just a few of the stories of these women whose valor, whose loyalty to their country, and whose courage under fire showed forth their patriotism.
Not known to many people in the history of WWII are the Black women who served in the military. Yes, they did not fight on the battle lines as the men did, but, they still made a major impact in their dedicated service in WWI II. Black American women also fought to serve in the war effort as nurses. Despite early protests that black nurses treating white soldiers would not be appropriate, the War Department relented, and the first group of Black American nurses in the Army Nurse Corps arrived in England in 1944.
Not well known is the important efforts of the famous 6888TH Central Postal Battalion:
-6888TH (aka the “Six Triple Eight”) Central Postal Battalion:
148. “The first Negro WACs to arrive [on] the continent of Europe were 800 girls of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Bn, who had also been the first to arrive in England. After the battalion had set up its facilities at Rouen, France, it held an `open house’, which was attended by hundreds of Negro soldiers. Pvt. Ruth L. James,…of the battalion area is on duty at the gate.” May 26, 1945.Pfc. Stedman. 111-SC-23707. (african_americans_wwii_148.jpg)
Lt.(jg.) Harriet Ida Pickens and Ens. Frances Wills, the first African-American Waves to be commissioned. December 21, 1944
147. “Capt. Della H. Raney, Army Nurse Corps, who now heads the nursing staff at the station hospital at Camp Beale, CA, has the distinction of being the first Negro nurse to report to yuty in the present war…” April 11, 1945. 208-PU-161K-1. (african_americans_wwii_147.jpg)
145. “Auxiliaries Ruth Wade and Lucille Mayo (left to right) further demonstrate their ability to service trucks as taught them during the processing period at Fort Des Moines and put into practice at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.” December 8, 1942. Oster. 111-SC-16246. (african_americans_wwii_145.jpg)
152. “Lt. Florie E. Gant…tends a patient at a prisoner-of war hospital somewhere in England.” October 7, 1944. 112-SGA-Nurses-44-1676. (african_americans_wwii_152.jpg)
158. “Cmdr. Thomas A. Gaylord, USN (Ret’d), administers oath to five new Navy nurses commissioned in New York…” Phyllis Mae Dailey, the Navy’s first African-American nurse, is second from the right. March 8, 1945. 80-G-4836. (african_americans_wwii_158.jpg)
There were also Black women pilots as well. Many of you may know of the valiant courage under fire that was exemplified by the Black men of the Tuskegee Airmen fame, but, how many of you know of Ms. Janet Harmon Waterford Bragg? She was one of the few Black women pilots who became a pilot through the Tuskegee Airmen pilot program.
In addition to being denied entrance into the WASPS, where one White woman (Vice President of the Ninety-Nines) stated that she “did not know what to do with a Black woman”, Ms. Bragg was also denied her licence by the first examiner because as he put it, he had never given a Black woman a licence to fly, and he was not going to start doing it then. Ms. Bragg later went on to receive her licence from another instructor.
I’m not afraid of tomorrow because I’ve seen yesterday, and today is beautiful.” – Janet Bragg (1991) In 1939, when the National Airmen’s Association of America was formed, two women were among the founding members, both determined young African- Americans eager to learn and enter the still evolving world of aviation. One was Willa Brown, the other Janet Bragg. Born Janet Harmon in Griffin, Georgia on March 24, 1907, she gained her interest in aviation while still in her formative years. “As a child I always wanted to fly . . . I used to watch the birds – – how they would take off and land,” she said in an interview with the Arizona Historical Society in 1989. One day in 1933 in Chicago, she saw a billboard across the street with a drawing of a bird building a nest with chicks inside. The caption on the billboard read: “Birds learn to fly. Why can’t you” That day she knew where her future lay. A registered nurse who received her degree and training from Spellman College and MacBicar Hospital, both Black institutions respectively, Bragg enrolled at Curtis Wright School of Aeronautics in 1933. Despite constant harassment by fellow students, she completed her course work and helped build an airport and hangar in Robbins, Illinois. She bought the hangar’s first plane.
Like many African Americans during a time of rigid segregation, Bragg continued to meet opposition in her pursuit of a career in commercial and military aviation. She was denied entry into the Women’s Auxiliary Service Pilots (WASPs), being told by Ethel Sheehy, then vice president of the ’99s and Women’s Flying Training Detachment executive officer, that she didn’t know what to do with a Black woman. Undaunted, she flew to Tuskegee, .Alabama to train with Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson and his instructors in the civilian program so that she could be given an exam for her commercial pilot’s license. However, the white examiner denied her this right after she landed from her trial flight. He exclaimed to Anderson that, “Well, I tell you Chief, she gave me a ride I’ll put up with any of your flight instructors. I’ve never given a colored girl a commercial pilot’s license, I don’t intend to now-.” The same year (1942), however, she was awarded her license by another examiner after 30-40 minutes of flight.
Even more left out of the picture, are the thousands of Black women “Rosie the Riveter” workers back home in America doing their part to help the war effort along. The White face of Rosie the Riveter is well-known, but, as seen here, the Rosies came in many racial groups.
But, there were many Black women who helped in the production of armaments for the war. Many Black women left the menial life of domestic servitude to earn better salaries, provide for their families, and help the men fighting overseas in Europe, North Africa and Asia.
Women workers at quartermaster depot. The tradition of Betsy Ross is being kept alive in this quatermaster corps depot where this young woman worker assists in the creation of American flags for military activitities. Philadelphia Quartermaster Corps. (SOURCE)
New Britain, Connecticut. Women welders at the Landers, Frary, and Clark plant. (SOURCE)
D-Day. V-E Day. V-J Day. Battle of the Bulge. Pacific Theater.
So many battles that still wear a whiteface.
The dedication that many Black American women showed during WWII is exemplary.
That they fought two enemies—–overseas, and back in America—-is a true testament to their courage and bravery.
Patriotism has no color.
BOOKS GOOGLE: “BITTER FRUIT: AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN IN WORLD WAR II“
“THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ROSIE THE RIVETER: INVISIBLE WORKING WOMEN“, BY SUE DAVENPORT
This past July 25, would have been the 70th birthday of Emmett Louis “Bobo” Till. His young and innocent life was savagely taken from him by J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, two racist murderers who were set free by an all-White, all-male jury in Sumner, Mississippi in 1955.
This year marks the 56th anniversary of the death of Emmett.
Emmett’s death mobilized the Civil Rights Movement, galvanized a people who had more than had enough of the dehumanizing reign of Jane Crow segregation, as well as revealed to the world the brutality of America’s mistreatment of her Black citizens.
Emmett Louis Till.
Rest in peace, Emmett.
Rest in peace.
ESTHER GORDY EDWARDS, SISTER OF MOTOWN RECORDS FOUNDER
By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
August 28, 2011
As Motown and its Detroit headquarters turned into a pop-soul powerhouse, she served as a company executive who guided a young Stevie Wonder and managed the careers of such era-defining artists as Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and the Supremes.
As Motown and its Detroit headquarters turned into a pop-soul powerhouse, Esther Gordy Edwards served as a company executive who guided a young Stevie Wonder and managed the careers of such era-defining artists as Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and the Supremes.
Yet Edwards made her most enduring mark after the company moved to Los Angeles in 1972. She stayed behind and in 1985 turned the original offices known as Hitsville USA into the Motown Historical Museum. Then she packed it with the artifacts she had pointedly saved along the way.
Edwards died Wednesday in Detroit of natural causes, the museum announced. She was 91.
“Whatever she did, it was with the highest standards,” her brother said in a statement. “She preserved Motown memorabilia before it was memorabilia, collecting our history long before we knew we were making it.”
Wonder said he was “taken back by the loss” of Edwards, whom he regarded as “another mother.”
When Wonder came to Motown as a boy, Edwards helped him manage his money, arranged for tutors and enrolled him at the Michigan School of the Blind.
“She believed in me — when I was 14 years old,” Wonder said in a statement. “She championed me being in Motown. I shared with her many of my songs first before anyone else.”
Edwards played a key role managing young acts in the 1960s. Eventually she rose to vice president and directed Motown’s international operations.
“Poor kids from broken homes would rush here after school and hang out all night,” Edwards said of Hitsville in a 1989 Times article. “Between 1959 and 1972, this little house was like home for a lot of kids. Without Motown, most of the talent discovered in this building would have been overlooked by society.”
Edwards was “born bossy,” her brother once said, on April 25, 1920, in Oconee, Ga. She was one of eight children of Berry and Bertha Gordy and as a toddler moved to Detroit with her family.
Esther attended both Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Wayne State University in Detroit.
She married in the early 1940s and had a son before divorcing.
In 1951, she married George H. Edwards, who went on to serve in the Michigan Legislature. He died in 1980.
She had helped set up the Gordy family savings club as a source of financing for business ventures when her brother sought the loan that led to the “Motown Sound.”
Inside Motown, the 4-foot-10 Edwards was called a “pack rat,” teased for squirreling away everything she could — concert posters, fliers, stage costumes and other would-be collectibles — during her 30 years with the company.
“We used to laugh at Mrs. Edwards because everywhere we went on those tours, she saved everything. She saved all the pictures, all the placards,” Robinson told the Detroit Free Press in 2005. “But what a wonderful thing she did. Because of her we have that museum, we have that place where people can go and see that history.”
More than 40,000 people visit each year, according to the museum. Exhibits have included girl-group gowns, record covers, Michael Jackson’s sequined glove and the upstairs quarters where Berry once lived.
The need for such a museum dawned on Edwards over time as tourists dropped by the offices she kept at Hitsville after the company had moved west.
Once about 50 men sporting white sailor uniforms and British accents showed up, explaining that they had rented vans to drive the 60 miles to Motown after their ship had docked in Toledo, Ohio, she told Smithsonian magazine in 1994.
“That was the turning point,” Edwards said. “I thought, ‘Well, gosh, maybe we did make history here.'”
In addition to her brother, Berry, Edwards is survived by her son, Robert Berry Bullock; stepson Harry T. Edwards; two other siblings, Anna Gordy Gaye and Robert L. Gordy; three granddaughters; and six great-grandchildren.
NICK ASHFORD, SINGER-SONGWRITER OF ASHFORD & SIMPSON FAME
Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson performing in 2006 at the Regency Hotel in Manhattan.
By BEN SISARIO
Published: August 22, 2011
Mr. Ashford had throat cancer and was undergoing treatment, but the cause of his death was not immediately known. His death was announced by Liz Rosenberg, a friend who is a longtime music publicist.
One of the primary songwriting and producing teams of Motown, Ashford & Simpson specialized in romantic duets of the most dramatic kind, professing the power of true love and the comforts of sweet talk. In “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” from 1967, their first of several hits for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, lovers in close harmony proclaim their determination that “no wind, no rain, no winter’s cold, can stop me, baby,” but also make cuter promises: “If you’re ever in trouble, I’ll be there on the double.”
Gaye and Terrell also sang the duo’s songs “Your Precious Love,” “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” and “You’re All I Need to Get By.” Diana Ross sang their “Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand,” and when she rerecorded “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough“ in 1970, it became the former Supreme’s first No. 1 hit as a solo artist.
“They had magic, and that’s what creates those wonderful hits, that magic,” Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire told The Associated Press after learning of his friend’s death. “Without those songs, those artists wouldn’t have been able to go to the next level.”
Nickolas Ashford was born in Fairfield, S.C., and raised in Willow Run, Mich., where his father, Calvin, was a construction worker. He got his musical start at Willow Run Baptist Church, singing and writing songs for the gospel choir. He briefly attended Eastern Michigan University, in Ypsilanti, before heading to New York, where he tried but failed to find success as a dancer.
In 1964, while homeless, Mr. Ashford went to White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem, where he met Ms. Simpson, a 17-year-old recent high school graduate who was studying music. They began writing songs together, selling the first bunch for $64. In 1966, after Ray Charles sang “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” a song Ashford & Simpson wrote with Joey Armstead, the duo signed on with Motown as staff writers and producers.
They wrote for virtually every major act on the label, including Gladys Knight and the Pips (“Didn’t You Know You’d Have to Cry Sometime”) and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (“Who’s Gonna Take the Blame”).
While writing for Motown, Ashford & Simpson nursed a desire to perform, which Berry Gordy Jr., the founder and patriarch of the label, discouraged. They left the label in 1973 and married in 1974.
Ashford & Simpson’s initial collaborations sold poorly, but by the late ‘70s, songs like “Don’t Cost You Nothing,” “It Seems to Hang On” and “Found a Cure” became hits on the R&B charts. Their biggest hit as a solo act was “Solid,” which reached No. 12 on the pop chart and No. 1 on the R&B chart in 1984.
They also continued to write hits for other people. “I’m Every Woman“ was a hit for Chaka Khan in 1978, and later for Whitney Houston on the soundtrack to the 1992 film “The Bodyguard.” In 1996, they opened the Sugar Bar on West 72nd Street in Manhattan, where they often presided over open mic nights. Recently, they received a songwriting credit on Amy Winehouse’s song “Tears Dry on Their Own,” which contains a sample from “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
Besides his wife, Mr. Ashford is survived by two daughters, Nicole and Asia; his brothers Paul, Albert and Frank; and his mother, Alice Ashford.
Ashford & Simpson toured throughout their career, their harmony and vocal interplay illustrating the passion of their lyrics and of their life together.
“When Ms. Simpson sits down at the piano and begins to sing in a bright pop-gospel voice, unchanged since the 1970s,” Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote in a review in 2007, “she awakens the spirit and tosses it to Mr. Ashford, whose quirkier voice, with its airy falsetto, has gained in strength from the old days. Soon they are urging each other on. By the time their romantic relay winds to a close, both are sweating profusely, and the audience is delirious.”
They were always “Solid as a Rock”. Nick and Valerie—the epitome of class, style, and distinction.
Mr. Ashford was a singer/songwriter who wrote beautiful songs of love and devotion. He and his wife, Ms. Valerie Simpson, proved “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”.
My condolences to Ms. Valerie Simpson-Ashford. May she have strength to weather this time of grieving in her loss.
Rest in peace, Mr. Ashford.
Rest in peace.
JERRY LEIBER, ROCK ‘N’ ROLL PIONEER LYRICIST
From left, Mike Stoller, Elvis Presley and Jerry Leiber at MGM Studios in 1957.
Published: August 22, 2011
Jerry Leiber, the lyricist who, with his partner, Mike Stoller, wrote some of the most enduring classics in the history of rock ’n’ roll, including “Hound Dog,” “Yakety Yak,” “Stand By Me” and “On Broadway,” died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 78.
Mr. Stoller, left, and Mr. Leiber at an awards ceremony in 2008.
The cause was cardio-pulmonary failure, said Randy Poe, president of Leiber & Stoller Music Publishing.
The team of Leiber and Stoller was formed in 1950, when Mr. Leiber was still a student at Fairfax High in Los Angeles and Mr. Stoller, a fellow rhythm-and-blues fanatic, was a freshman at Los Angeles City College. With Mr. Leiber contributing catchy, street-savvy lyrics and Mr. Stoller, a pianist, composing infectious, bluesy tunes, they set about writing songs with black singers and groups in mind.
In 1952, they wrote “Hound Dog” for the blues singer Big Mama Thornton. The song became an enormous hit for Elvis Presley in 1956 and made Leiber and Stoller the hottest songwriting team in rock ’n’ roll. They later wrote “Jailhouse Rock,” “Loving You,” “Don’t,” “Treat Me Nice,” “King Creole” and other songs for Presley, despite their loathing for his interpretation of “Hound Dog.”
In the late 1950s, having relocated to New York and taken their place among the constellation of talents associated with the Brill Building, they emerged as perhaps the most potent songwriting team in the genre.
Their hits for the Drifters remain some of the most admired songs in the rock ’n’ roll canon, notably “On Broadway,” written with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. “Spanish Harlem,” which Mr. Leiber wrote with Phil Spector, gave Ben E. King his first hit after leaving the Drifters. Mr. King’s most famous recording, “Stand By Me,” was a Leiber-Stoller song on which he collaborated.
They wrote a series of hits for the Coasters, including “Charlie Brown,” “Young Blood” with Doc Pomus, “Searchin’,” “Poison Ivy” and “Yakety Yak.”
“Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” a 1954 hit written for the Robins, became the title of a Broadway musical based on the Leiber and Stoller songbook. In 1987, the partners were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller have written some of the most spirited and enduring rock ’n’ roll songs,” the hall said in a statement when they were inducted. “Leiber and Stoller advanced rock ’n’ roll to new heights of wit and musical sophistication.”
Jerome Leiber was born on April 25, 1933, in Baltimore, where his parents, Jewish immigrants from Poland, ran a general store. When Jerry was 5, his father died and his mother tried, with little success, to run a small store in one of the city’s worst slums. When he was 12, she took him to Los Angeles.
It was while attending Fairfax High in Los Angeles and working in Norty’s Record Shop that he met Lester Sill, a promoter for Modern Records, and confessed that he wanted to be a songwriter. After Sill urged him to find a pianist who could help him put his ideas onto sheet music he met Mr. Stoller through a friend, and the two began writing together
“Often I would have a start, two or four lines,” Mr. Leiber told Robert Palmer, the author of “Baby, That Was Rock & Roll: The Legendary Leiber and Stoller” (1978). “Mike would sit at the piano and start to jam, just playing, fooling around, and I’d throw out a line. He’d accommodate the line — metrically, rhythmically.”
Within a few years they had written modestly successful songs for several rhythm-and-blues singers: “K.C. Lovin’ ” for Little Willie Littlefield, which under the title “Kansas City” became a No. 1 hit for Wilbert Harrison in 1959.
In 1952, Sill arranged for Mr. Leiber and Mr. Stoller to visit the bandleader Johnny Otis and to listen to several of the rhythm-and-blues acts who worked with him, including Big Mama Thornton, who sang “Ball and Chain” for them. Inspired, the partners went back to Mr. Stoller’s house and wrote “Hound Dog.”
“I yelled, he played,” Mr. Leiber told Josh Alan Friedman, the author of “Tell the Truth Until They Bleed: Coming Clean in the Dirty World of Blues and Rock ’n’ Roll” (2008). “The groove came together and we finished in 12 minutes flat. I work fast. We raced right back to lay the song on Big Mama.”
In 1953 they formed Spark Records, an independent label, with Sill, but without national distribution it failed to score major hits. Atlantic Records, which had bought the Leiber and Stoller song “Ruby Baby” and “Fools Fall in Love” for the Drifters, signed them to an unusual agreement that allowed them to produce for other labels. The golden age of Leiber and Stoller began.
Their seemingly endless list of hit songs from this period included “Love Potion No. 9” for the Clovers (later a hit for the Searchers).
In the mid-1960s, Mr. Leiber and Mr. Stoller concentrated on production. They founded Red Bird Records, where they turned out hit records by girl groups like the Dixie Cups (“Chapel of Love”) and the Shangri-Las (“Leader of the Pack,” “Walking in the Sand”).
They sold the label in 1966 and worked as independent producers and writers. Peggy Lee, who had recorded their song “I’m a Woman” in 1963, recorded “Is that All There Is?” in 1969.
Mr. Leiber is survived by three sons, Jed, Oliver and Jake, and two grandchildren.
With Mr. Stoller and David Ritz, Mr. Leiber wrote a 2009 memoir, “Hound Dog: The Leiber & Stoller Autobiography.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: August 24, 2011
An obituary on Tuesday about the lyricist Jerry Leiber misstated the given name of a record executive who helped him early in his career. He was Lester Sill, not Leonard. The obituary also referred incorrectly to the recording of the original versions of the songs “Stand by Me” and “Spanish Harlem,” both of which Mr. Leiber co-wrote. They were recorded by Ben E. King — not by the Drifters, for whom he had been the lead singer. (Mr. King recorded both songs shortly after leaving the group.)
JOEY VENTO, FOUNDER OF GENO’S STEAKS INSTITUTION
Published: August 24, 2011
Joey Vento, the founder of Geno’s Steaks, a stand-in-line takeout establishment that is one of the pillars of the cheese-steak mecca of South Philadelphia, died Tuesday at his home in Shamong, N.J. He was 71.
Matt Rourke/Associated Press
Joey Vento, whose Philadelphia restaurant, Geno’s, stands opposite the rival Pat’s.
Geno’s Steaks in Philadelphia.
The cause was a heart attack, said his son, Geno (who was named after the food stand).
The bulging, dripping cheese-steak sandwich, while hardly a rival to the hamburger, the hot dog or the pizza slice, has etched a niche for itself nationally in the last half-century. And the predominantly Italian-American neighborhood that is considered its birthplace is a draw for local devotees and throngs of tourists detouring from Independence Hall.
Geno’s Steaks is considered one of the Big Three of the Philly cheese-steak establishments. It stands at the southern end of the Italian Market, where Ninth Street, Wharton Street and Passyunk Avenue intersect. Diagonally across the way is its chief rival, Pat’s King of Steaks, while the also renowned Jim’s Steaks is closer to the city’s center.
Started by Mr. Vento in 1967, Geno’s — like Pat’s — is open 24-7, its patrons inching up to the windows and usually saying, “Whiz, with,” indicating that they want the paper-thin strips of sizzled beef on a hero topped with Cheez Whiz and grilled onions.
“Without” means hold the onions.
While Pat’s opened in the 1930s, both establishments claimed to have been the first to slather cheese atop the beef.
Still, as R. W. Apple Jr. wrote in The New York Times in 2003: “Geno’s steaks are almost self-effacing. The cheese dissolves into a runny sauce; the strips of beef are laid precisely on the roll, rather than in a tangle; and the onions are sparsely applied.”
So many customers have ordered those belly-bending sandwiches since 1966, when they cost 35 cents apiece, that Mr. Vento became a millionaire. These days, the basic sandwich costs $9.
Mr. Vento was no stranger to controversy. In 2005 he posted signs at Geno’s that read, “This is America: When ordering please speak English.” Critics asserted that the signs were discriminatory. In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Vento said the critics were ignoring the word “please,” adding: “I am not demanding it. It just makes things a lot easier. And the bottom line is, like I said before, nobody gets refused.”
In 2008, the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations ruled, 2-to-1, that the signs did not violate the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance.
Joseph Anthony Vento was born in Philadelphia on Dec. 18, 1939, to James and Eva Vento. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade and went to work at his father’s restaurant. With $6, two boxes of steaks and some hot dogs, the family says, he opened Geno’s — a name that he took after spotting it on the building’s back door.
Besides his son, Mr. Vento is survived by his wife of 51 years, the former Eileen Perno; his sister, Marie Vento; and his brother, James.
The rivalry between Geno’s and Pat’s never waned. But in an interview with Fortune magazine in 2003, Frank Olivieri, the owner of Pat’s, was asked what he would do if Geno’s ever closed.
“I’d feel a void — that’d be hard,” he said. Then he added: “I’d buy the place and open it up again. And call it Geno’s. And fight with myself.”
Swinburne Astronomy Productions
Bulletin at a Glance
August 25, 2011 | Astronomers have discovered another weird exoplanet – this one made of diamond. What’s more? The planet may have once been a massive star. > read more
August 26, 2011 | Despite threats by the House of Representatives to cut funding, the James Webb Space Telescope plans move ahead. > read more
August 23, 2011 | Is the lunar crust only 4.36 billion years old, as new results suggest, or at least 4.43 billion years old, as most researchers believe? The difference isn’t much — but the implications for early lunar history are profound. > read more
August 25, 2011 | An exploding star, apparently captured just hours after its destruction, is already within reach of medium-size backyard telescopes and still brightening. The host galaxy is M101, perched just north of the Big Dipper’s handle. > read more
May 20, 2011 | The two brightest asteroids are in fine view for binoculars or a telescope. Here are instructions and charts to find them. > read more
Sky & Telescope diagram
August 26, 2011 | Jupiter rises earlier and higher week by week. The crescent Moon returns low in twilight and occults a 2nd-magnitude star. And there’s the new supernova in M101…. > read more
Todd Hargis / Ron Ronhaar
April 14, 2011 | Want to gaze at the Milky Way all night or peer into the eyepiece of a 12-foot-tall telescope? Then escape the city lights and head for the nearest “star party.” > read more
Cherokee Nation Revokes Tribal Citizenship From Descendants of Slaves
by Jorge Rivas
Wednesday, August 24 2011, 10:54 AM EST
On Monday the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court reversed and vacated a district court decision that granted equal tribal citizenship rights to descendants of freedmen — former slaves who had been owned by Cherokees. The decision will immediately terminate the tribal citizenship of about 2,800 so-called “non-Indians.”
In 2007, the Cherokee Nation ruled it would no longer recognize the descendants of freedmen as members of the Cherokee Nation. But in January, Cherokee Nation District Judge John Cripps ruled in favor of the freedmen descendants, citing an 1866 treaty between the United States and the tribe that granted equal rights to the freedmen.
In Monday’s 4-1 decision, the court maintained that citizenship was extended to the freedmen by an 1866 Cherokee constitutional amendment — not the treaty — and that Judge Cripps did not have the authority to overturn its results.
The attorney representing freedmen in their case against the Cherokee Nation said Tuesday that he was shocked the tribe’s Supreme Court ruled against the freedmen so close to the special election to pick a new chief, according to the Oklahoman.
The ruling came a day before the tribe’s election officials sent out absentee ballots for the election between Chad Smith and Bill John Baker.
The freedmen, who have been fighting for citizenship in the Cherokee Nation, consider the incumbent principal tribal chief Smith one of their adversaries.
It no longer surprises me that this revocation of the citizenship of the Black Freedmen/Women Cherokees occurred.
Just a few months ago, the Cherokee Nation Court voted to return citizenship back to the 2,800 Freedman/Women who were stripped of their citizenship in 2007.
Nevermind that the ex-enslave Freedmen/Women lived under race-based slavery in the Cherokee Nation. Nevermind that the Freedmen/Women walked the Trail of Tears with the evicted Cherokees, as well as some Freedmen/Women dying along the Trail with Cherokees. Nevermind that the Cherokee Constitution itself clearly stated that ex-enslaves were given citizenship.
There will be those who will state the hateful cognitive dissonance of “Hey, it’s their country. Let them do as they please.”
And what is the difference in stating the obvious on the flip side, if it was the United States and the citizenship of Black Americans? The same could also be said about America: “Hey, it’s their country. Let them do as they please.”
That the Cherokee Nation has re-written its constitution more than once to sabotage the rights of citizenship for the Freedmen/Women is no secret. Taking the citizenship from the Freedmen/Women who were citizens of the Cherokee Nation is sick, repulsive, and racist.
Yeah, I said it. And to hell with whomever hates to hear the truth.
As for those who feel that the Cherokees have “paid their debt” to the Freedmen/Women; that the Cherokee Nation has done right by stripping their citizens of this constitutional right; that the Cherokee nation acted legally and humanely in its mistreatment of its citizens–I say that those who utter and believe such hate are just as less than as this so-called nation that worships race hatred. The Cherokee Nation will never be able to live this venomous episode down. It has shown its true colors in out-whiting the most racist of Whites in the United States. And hey, the CN is only doing what the United States wishes it could do–and get away with.
There are those who bleat that the White man and White woman have done soooo much for Black Americans. That the Cherokee Nation has done soooo much for the Freedmen/Women.
The Cherokee Nation has been just as racially savage against the Freedmen/Women just as the United States has been racially savage against her Black citizens.
Both so-called nations are nothing but Whores of Babylon, and like the Great Whore, the Cherokee Nation worships the abominations of hate, cruelty, and vile trickery.
Nations which shit on their citizens like the Cherokee Nation are on borrowed time anyway.
Just goes to show Black people:
We are in this alone. The world is not in our corner no matter how many of us self-delude ourselves into thinking that many non-Blacks give a damn about us. Very few do. Very few lift a finger. Very few speak up.
As for what the Cherokee Nation has been itching to do since 2007, I will say the same thing I would say to any nation that fits the Whore of Babylon tag:
Nativist Leader Says Violence May be Needed to Save ‘White America’
by Leah Nelson –on August 23, 2011
While much of the political rhetoric on the right these days is laden with violent imagery and gun-based metaphors, outright suggestions of political violence remain relatively rare. But in the wake of President Obama’s executive order last week that sharply limits deportations of non-criminal undocumented immigrants, that is changing.
Yesterday, speaking with far-right radio host Janet Mefferd, William Gheen, the leader of the nativist group Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), said that legal political activity may no longer be sufficient to protect America from immigrants — in particular, he made it clear, from non-white immigrants. Gheen, who in the past tried to appear a moderate on the nativist scene, said that in order to save “white America,” it may be necessary to engage in “extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re all illegal and violent.”
His full quote: “We’re no longer referring to him as President Barack Obama, our national organization has made the decision and made the announcement, we now refer to him as dictator Barack Obama. That’s what he is. And, basically, at this point, if you’re looking for a peaceful, political recourse, there really isn’t one that we can think of, and I’m really not sure what to tell people out there than I guess they need to make decisions soon to just accept whatever comes next or some type of extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re illegal and violent.”
Such rhetoric marks a sharp rightward lurch for Gheen, who has often been quoted on immigration matters by mainstream news organizations, including The New York Times, which quoted him as a legitimate commentator on the issue just two weeks ago. Last May, Gheen pulled ALIPAC out of rallies backing Arizona’s controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070, after hearing that their organizers were connected to racist skinheads and neo-Nazis. “The neo-Nazi connections and this disaster they have cooked up in Arizona … puts our issue at risk,” he proclaimed, excoriating the organizers for making a “huge” and “terrible” mistake.
After Minuteman American Defense leader Shawna Forde was accused of the slaying of a Latino man and his 9-year-old daughter in Pima County, Ariz., Gheen warned his followers to have nothing to do with Minuteman groups. (Forde and two co-conspirators were found guilty this year. Forde was sentenced to death.)
Newfound racial radicalism aside, however, Gheen is no stranger to more garden-variety bigotry and fear-mongering. He has accused Mexican immigrants of carrying infectious diseases and plotting to take over the Southwest. In April 2010, he targeted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), claiming that the 56-year-old bachelor is gay and saying he should come out to avoid being blackmailed into working with Democrats on immigration reform. In July 2010, Gheen told revisionist “historian” David Barton that LGBT people secretly want to import undocumented immigrants as a way of “replacing many core Americans and American values,” part of an overall “war” against Americans.
Gheen’s hysteria has seemed to amplify of late. A few months ago, he launched an “impeach Obama” campaign, accusing the president of treason. He urged his followers to “demand” action from their representatives and followed up with a threat: “If Congress does not respond by July 15, ALIPAC will move to call for public protests across the nation calling for the ouster of this authoritarian regime.” He has since sent out numerous dire warnings about the inevitable misery that will follow if Obama remains in office.
Yesterday, Gheen went one further, announcing that ALIPAC will henceforth refer to the president as “Dictator Barack Obama.” He also accused the Department of Homeland Security of spying on ordinary Americans’ everyday activities, and of “putting out videos and propaganda telegraphing what I believe to be a conflict with White America they’re preparing for after they get another 10 or 15 million people in the country to back them up.”
Gheen wasn’t the only one fretting about a looming Obama-led race war. Discussing the prospects of various Republican presidential candidates, Glenn Beck on Aug. 11 predicted that if Obama loses next year’s election, the administration would try to destroy America on its way out the door. “I firmly believe race riots are on the way,” he said.
Violence—racist, hateful, vitriolic violence—has been destroying America for centuries.
If a Black person stated such treasonous hate as this Gheen, she would have been arrested for attempted murder of the President of the United States.
“And, basically, at this point, if you’re looking for a peaceful, political recourse, there really isn’t one that we can think of, and I’m really not sure what to tell people out there than I guess they need to make decisions soon to just accept whatever comes next or some type of extra-political activities that I can’t really talk about because they’re illegal and violent.”
“He has since sent out numerous dire warnings about the inevitable misery that will follow if Obama remains in office.”
But, that’s good ‘ol America for ya.
Yeah, let’s hear it for screaming-Fire!-in-a-crowded-theater-freedom of speech.
Many people are familiar with the now infamous 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Study. For forty years, the state, federal and local government allowed syphilis-infected Black men of Macon County, Alabama to go untreated for their “bad blood” to see the effects of primary, secondary and tertiary syphilis on them. During the time of the so-called study, the discovery of penicillin in 1947, a cure for the treatment of syphilis occurred, but, this treatment was withheld from the infected men. The “research”, conducted by the Macon County Public Health Service (PHS) included the official condonement by Tuskegee for the study, the key physicians (“The Syphilis Men”): Drs. Taliaferro Clark, Oliver Wenger, John Heller and Raymond Vonderlehr; Dr. Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee Institute and Dr. Eugene Dibble, head of the John Andrew Hospital at the Institute; sociologist Charles Johnson who conducted the study to obtain data on the poor Black citizens of Macon County; and Nurse Eunice Rivers.
Nevermind the health of their wives and girlfriends. Never mind the devastation of allowing syphilis to run rampant in the Black community when there was a treatment for it. Just to see human beings as experiments in the eyes of America’s Josef Mengele medical community was enough.
One person often cited in this case is Nurse Eunice Rivers (her maiden name at the time of the study).
The spinal taps on the Black men (insultingly called “back shots”), the lies told to the men that they were being treated, and the signing of documents they were led to believe were burial policies, which were in fact signing away their bodies for medical research when they died from the disease, all point to a long history of medical experiments on Black people since they have been in this nation.
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is one of the most hateful acts of government brutality against its citizens. When the case broke via the Washington Star in 1972 to the public, 30 of the men had died directly of syphilis, 100 were dead of tertiary complications, 40 of the men’s wives were infected, and 19 of their children were born with congenital syphilis. Lawsuits were filed by the surviving men and their families, and the federal government enacted the National Research Act (July 12, 1974), which along with the Belmont Report (April 18, 1979), was created “to identify the basic ethical principles that should underlie the conduct of biomedical and behavioral research involving human subjects and to develop guidelines which should be followed to assure that such research is conducted in accordance with those principles”. The legacy of the Tuskegee Study remains a barbaric episode in America’s long and continued insults against the sanctity and humanity of her Black citizens.
As for Nurse Rivers: villain or defenseless pawn?
You, readers, can decide after reading her story.
Eunice Verdell Rivers ( b. November 12, 1899 – d. August 28, 1986): nurse, public health advocate. Eunice Rivers may have been America’s most controversial and frequently discussed Black public health nurse. In 1958 she was given the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s highest honor, the Oveta Culp Hobby Award, for her “notable service covering 25 years during which through selfless devotion and skillful human relations she has sustained the interest and cooperation of the subjects of a venereal disease control program in Macon County, Alabama.”
Fourteen years later, media coverage revealed that the control program was in reality what would be considered the United States’s longest-running unethical medical experiment. Nurse Rivers, as she was called in her community, had been crucial in sustaining the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. It was a forty-year “study” (1931-1972) by the U.S. Public Health Service for late-stage syphilis in 399 Black American men (and 201 others as controls) that kept its subjects ignorant of their disease and their experimental status while working to deny them treatment. When Black Americans express their concerns and fears of treatment at the hands of health care practitioners and scientists, “Tuskegee” becomes the one-word symbol for centuries of abuse. Nurse Rivers’ role in the study would remain a subject of debate among the public, media, artists, and scholars for generations.
Eunice Verdell Rivers was born in Early County, Georgia, the oldest child of three in the family of Albert and Henrietta Rivers. Ms. Rivers’ mother died when she was fifteen, and her father gained a modicum of independence by working a small farm as well as toiling in a sawmill. This kind of independence could be dangerous. A Ku Klux Klan bullet whizzed into their home after Albert Rivers was wrongly accused of aiding in the escape of a Black man wanted for the murder of a White policeman. To save the family, Albert Rivers moved them away and stayed to protect his home.
Eunice Rivers’ father also took a stand for her education. He sent her off to a school under the tutelage of a cousin in Fort Gaines, Georgia, and then to a mission boarding school in Thomasville. When Albert Rivers discovered that the mission school had only White teachers in the upper grades, he pulled his daughter out (one year shy of high school graduation) and sent her on to the Black-run Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in 1918.
Eunice Rivers spent her first year at Tuskegee learning handicrafts, in keeping with the school’s philosophy of vocational education. But Albert Rivers wanted more for his daughter, and he encouraged her to switch to nursing. Graduating in 1922, she did some private nursing and was subsequently hired to travel to Tuskegee Institute’s Moveable School, a truck that carried an agricultural extension and home demonstration agents, a public health nurse, and their equipment into Alabama’s countryside. Nurse Rivers focused primarily on the health needs of Black women and children, teaching basic health education, simple sanitation methods, and childcare. She also demonstrated cleanliness techniques to Alabama’s extensive network of midwives. At the timer, she was one of only four Black public health nurses in the entire state. She also worked for the state’s Bureau of Vital Statistics and devised techniques for midwives to report births accurately.
Nurse Rivers’ great skill was her non-judgemental understanding of the medical beliefs of rural Black Americans and her support of their dignity and individual needs in medical encounters. By 1931, however, the state had to cut its workforce, and Nurse Rivers lost her position. She was then hired as a night supervisor at Tuskegee’s John A. Andrew Hospital.
Eight months and many sleepless nights later, Nurse Rivers was offered a new half-time day position as a scientific assistant to what was referred to in the medical literature as a “study of untreated syphilis in the male Negro”. The racist belief of the time held that syphilis manifested itself differently in Blacks as compared to Whites. The study was done because of the belief of racists in the medical field and in much of American society that Blacks were “a nototriously syphilis-soaked race”. Nurse Rivers’ job for the next forty years was to find men for the study, follow-up on their condition; assist in their examinations, which included painful spinal taps; provide aspirin and tonics; gain agreement from many of their families for autopsies; and modify the primarily White physicians’ behaviours towards their “subjects”. She also helped the men’s families in numerous ways, providing referrals to doctors and food for the hungry.
The Tuskegee Study Group Letter inviting subjects to receive “special treatment”, actually a diagnostic lumbar puncture.
Document from Tuskegee Syphilis Study, requesting that after test subjects die, an autopsy be performed, and the results sent to the National Institutes of Health
Taliaferro Clark (Credited with the origin of the study. Disagreed with the plan to conduct an extended study. He retired the year after the study began.
Oliver Wenger (Director of the regional PHS Venereal Disease Clinic in (Hot Springs, Arkansas.) Advised and assisted the Tuskegee Study when it turned into a long-term, no-treatment observational study.
Raymond A. Vonderlehr (medical doctor)
John Heller (medical doctor)
Eugene Dibble (medical doctor)
When the story of the “study” broke on the Associated Press wire on July 26, 1972, it caused an uproar across the nation. Charges of racism, genocidal medicine, and paternalism gone awry were among the outraged criticisms of the health care system’s notorious willingness to use poor people, especially Black Americans, for experimentation without any kind of consent. Senator Edward M. Kennedy convened hearings in the United States Senate, a federal investigation condemned the study, the institutions and governmental units involved offered varying justifications, and a class-action civil suit filed by the prominent civil rights attorney Fred Gray ended in a $10 million out-of-court settlement for survivors and their families. The outcry was instrumental in the creation of institutional review boards (IRBs) to monitor human subject research. Nurse Rivers, however, was never called before the Senate panel hearings, or named in the lawsuit.
Different interpretations of Nurse Rivers’ role were put forward. The attorney Fred Gray argued that she was as much a victim as were the male subjects. In Miss Evers’ Boys, a widely produced play and television movie that is a fictionalization of the story, the playwright and physician David Feldshuh showed Nurse Rivers torn between her devotion to the men and the Black and White physicians’ assurances that what she was doing was proper. Nursing ethicists have pointed to her lack of power.
Historians found evidence that Nurse Rivers may have helped some of the men to get treatment and leave the study.
Based on the available health care resources, Nurse Rivers believed that the benefits of the study to the men outweighed the risks. She knew the men recieved no treatment for syphilis, but she explained:
Honestly, those people got all kinds of examinations and medical care that they never would have gotten. I’ve taken them over to the hospital and they’d have a GI series on them, the heart, the lung, just everything. It was just impossible for just an ordinary person to get that kind of examination.
She continually asserted that the men recieved good medical care despite the fact that the men received mostly diagnostic, not curative, services. The most basic of medical care done to gauge the development of syphilis in the men, after she had earned their utmost trust. Trust in her while the disease worked it ravages on them in body and mind. Trust in her while the men in their infectious state were infecting the women in their lives. Yet Nurse Rivers maintained:
….they’d get all kinds of extra things, cardiograms, and . . . .some of the things that I had never heard of. This is the thing that really hurt me about the unfair publicity. Those people had been given better care than some of us who could afford it.
After public censure forced the halt of the experiment, Nurse Rivers declared her innocence in the face of criticism, on the grounds that she insisted that she had acted on her own convictions. She emphasized:
I don’t have any regrets. You can’t regret doing what you did when you knew you were doing right. I know from my personal feelings how I felt. I feel I did good in working with the people.
I know I didn’t mislead anyone. (7) (8)
Nurse Rivers remained convinced that she had acted in the best interests of the poor Black men.
Table depicting number of subjects with syphilis and number of controlled non-syphlitic patients, and how many of the subjects have died during the experiments, 1969
The physicians who headed the experiment unanimously agreed that the experiment was worth doing. Dr. Taliaferro Clark was happy when they began work on the study, and he confided to a friend: “I am confident the results of this study, if anywhere near our expectation, will attract worldwide attention.” Dr. Oliver Wenger’s hopes ran even higher. With more foresight than he could have possibly realized, he predicted: “It will either cover us with mud or glory when completed.” (4)
Nurse Rivers died in Tuskegee.
On May 16, 1997, more than a decade later, President Bill Clinton apologized to the last eight survivors and the nation for the federal government’s role in the study.
America never had a chance to hear Nurse Rivers tell the public what she really thought of her involvement in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
Memo released in 1972 from the Assistant Secretary of Health, to the Director of the Center for Disease Control, ordering the termination of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
The United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is held on August 23 each year to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade.
|International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||English|
|Día Internacional del Recuerdo de la Trata de Esclavos y de su Abolición||Spanish|
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Thursday, August 23, 2012
List of dates for other years
Each year the UN invites people all over the world, including educators, students and artists, to organize events that center on the theme of this day. Theatre companies, cultural organizations, musicians and artists take part on this day by expressing their resistance against slavery through performances that involve music, dance and drama.
Educators promote the day by informing people about the historical events associated with slave trade, the consequences of slave trade, and to promote tolerance and human rights. Many organizations, including youth associations, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, actively take part in the event to educate society about the negative consequences of slave trade.
The UN’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is a United Nations observance worldwide but it is not a public holiday.
In late August, 1791, an uprising began in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that would have a major effect on abolishing the transatlantic slave trade. The slave rebellion in the area weakened the Caribbean colonial system, sparking an uprising that led to abolishing slavery and giving the island its independence. It marked the beginning of the destruction of the slavery system, the slave trade and colonialism.
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in many countries, in particular in Haiti, on August 23, 1998, and in Senegal on August 23, 1999. Each year the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reminds the international community about the importance of commemorating this day. This date also pays tribute to those who worked hard to abolish slave trade and slavery throughout the world. This commitment and the actions used to fight against the system of slavery had an impact on the human rights movement.
UNESCO’s logo features a drawing of a temple with the “UNESCO” acronym under the roof of the temple and on top of the temple’s foundation. Underneath the temple are the words “United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”. This logo is often used in promotional material for the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
|Weekday||Date||Year||Name||Holiday type||Where it is observed|
|Sun||Aug 23||1998||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Mon||Aug 23||1999||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Wed||Aug 23||2000||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Thu||Aug 23||2001||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Fri||Aug 23||2002||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Sat||Aug 23||2003||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Mon||Aug 23||2004||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Tue||Aug 23||2005||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Wed||Aug 23||2006||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Thu||Aug 23||2007||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Sat||Aug 23||2008||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Sun||Aug 23||2009||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Mon||Aug 23||2010||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Tue||Aug 23||2011||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Thu||Aug 23||2012||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Fri||Aug 23||2013||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Sat||Aug 23||2014||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|
|Sun||Aug 23||2015||International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition||United Nation day|