Showing posts from February, 2011

Connecticut's Black Governors

I've been working on this one kinda hard because I wanted to do this subject justice,.. since it has been widely underrepresented in schools and history books. I'm of course talking about the great Black Governors. It's amazing to me that there have only been four black Governors in the history of the United States (if you don't count the U.S. Virgin Islands.)    David Paterson, Deval Patrick, Douglas Wilder and PBS Pinchback.  Unless you count the two dozen or so Black Governors of Connecticut. That's right, long before slavery was abolished Connecticut had a long list of black governors who were elected by their peers. So, essentially prominent slaves were elected to office. Slave masters would travel to Hartford for the elections.. one week after the general elections for each county. They would even hold a parade for the black governors.
       Their role in the state probably wasn't a desirable one. They were charged with keeping slaves in order. They we…

Busy Friday: Black History Month Concert New Haven

Join us tonight at 7 O'Clock at  Elm City College Prep on Dixwell Avenue. Grace Chapel is holdings its first Black history month concert. Expect a great praise and worship experience with Tapestry Worship Jazz Band and the University of New Haven Gospel Choir along with our own local choir and talent from the kids. Help us celebrate Black History month. Find more information on our  church Facebook page

The Greatest black Inventors (part II) Cataract Surgery, The PC & Supersoaker

In compiling my first list of great African American inventors, it was hard for me to determine who made the greatest impact on society. I knew that I'd miss someone. I also knew that there would be some great and still living inventors that I wouldn't mention. So, here we go.

     Cataract surgery is now one of the most common surgeries in the world. More than one million people get the surgery every year in the United States along. Thanks to one African American woman, that surgery is far less risky. in 1985, Dr. Patricia Bath invented a tool and procedure for the removal of cataracts.
    It's called the Laserphaco Probe and procedure.
    The Procedure combines the accuracy of an optical laser with an irrigation system and suction tubes. Before her invention the surgery was done manually with a mechanical grinder.
     Dr. Bath's personal belief is that everyone has the "Right to Sight." she personally was able to restore the "Right to Sight" fo…

Black History Month: The Celebration Continues

Black history month is coming to an close for this year. But, that doesn't mean the celebration of our history or search for our own roots in this country has to stop. I know I won't stop after February 28th. It's been interesting monitoring twitter comments through the #blackhistorymonth hashtag.

The hashtag spent one --maybe two- days on top of twitter's trending topics. There have been a lot of complaints within the hashtag that it had stopped trending, although there were some valiant efforts to keep things going from "some" notable stars and the fake "chris rock" twitter account. I think there were probably too many ignorant tweets, some with the "N" word, others with i guess gag pictures that would make some of our civil rights leaders turn over in their graves. I think the people posted them don't know, care or understand the significance of marking month. There were very few if any blatantly racist tweets. Although, there was a…

King, Garvey, Woodson, Dubois- Fighting Hate

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
-Martin Luther King, Jr

Every student of Political Science, every student of Economics knows, that the race can only be saved through a solid industrial foundation. That the race can only be saved through political independence. Take away industry from a race; take away political freedom from a race, and you have a group of slaves.
Marcus Garvey, The Philosophy and Opinions of Marcus Garvey

As another has well said, to handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst form of lyn…

First African American to Graduate Yale College

Edward Alexander Bouchet was the first African American to graduate from Yale college in 1874 and then became the first African American to receive a PhD from an American University in 1876. He was also a student at Hopkins Grammar School in New Haven, one of the oldest still around.


Edward Alexander Bouchet was born on September 15, 1852 in New Haven.  Edward attended the segregated primary school in New Haven and later finished his secondary education at Hopkins Grammar School in 1870. Edward’s academic accomplishments included serving as the valedictorian of his high school class. In addition to holding the position of deacon in the church, William Francis Bouchet was also employed at Yale College as a janitor. 
When he was admitted to Yale in 1870, Edward Bouchet became the first to break the “color line” at Yale College. Bouchet took courses in German, French, Greek and Latin. His main interests were in the sciences and mathematics. Bouchet took cla…

Saving the Oldest Homes Built by African Americans in CT

The "Freeman" homes in Bridgeport are responsible for really getting me started on the road toward digging for more information about Connecticut's history.  It's a little section of Bridgeport that was called "Little Liberia."  It was named after Liberia -- the oldest country in Africa. 
     The Country was established in 1947, one year before slavery was abolished in Connecticut. The country was established by Americans as a part of the "Colonization Movement." Colonization is what they thought was a humane way to free slaves and end slavery.  Imagine taking someone from the fields of Alabama, Florida, Virginia and just dropping them off in a country that they've never known or seen.  That's an argument for another day-Crazy.

The vision for the 1st Black College that wouldn't be

According to UNCF (the United Negro College Fund,) the first HBCU was and is Cheney University of Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1837 as the Institute for Colored Youth. It moved from Philadelphia to the George Cheney farm 25 miles west of Philly in 1902. 
      What if I were to tell you that Cheney was not the first attempt at creating a college for African Americans. I was shocked to find out that in 1831 there was a proposal to build a college for African Americans in New Haven, CT along side the prestigious Yale University. 
      That's a full six years before the Formation of Cheney University.
    The man with the vision was Simeon Jocelyn, a local pastor together with a lawyer out of New York, Arthur Tappan and others.
Simeon Jocelyn attended Yale briefly in 1823. He writes in the "New Haven Advertiser" on October 4th that he had come up with the idea of a Negro or "African College" two years before a City meeting in 1831.  
    But he says it only start…

Maafa:The Age of African-American Genocide

This has been a month of discovery for me. It's not that I didn't know anything about Black History (my history,) but I didn't know my Black History in such detail. Through some of the stories of great African Americans you feel their pain, their determination, their joy and sorry. It's kinds of like knowing the national anthem: you think you know the words until its Super Bowl Sunday and you have to sing it in front of 300 million people. In just researching this topic alone (Slave Trade,) I found some interesting tidbits that I wanted to explore further.

        Today, I am discovering more about the Transatlantic slave trade. Some even call it Maafa- the Swahili word for Holocaust or great disaster. Holocaust is from the Greek  hólos meaning "whole" and kaustós meaning  "burnt."

      Yes,  there were slaves in Africa before Europeans showed up.They would sell criminals, war captives and others to other tribes. There is a difference though. Once s…

The Underground Railroad: Stories of Victory from Tragedy

I've always been intrigued by the mystery of the Underground Railroad. Like the black inventors I featured earlier this week, these are stories of people who beat the odds stacked against them to reach a goal- their freedom. They all risked their lives for freedom, preferring almost certain death and a chance to be free over slavery. Some cases were more extreme than others.. traveling in shipping boxes to safe houses on the UGRR. 
      A lot of those travels were documented in the account of The Underground Railroad Records. These are not sad stories. They are testimonies of triumph written sometimes in their own word in letters to "The Father of the UGRR(Underground Railroad) William Still. 
     Still often used his Philadelphia home to help hundreds of slaves to escape. He kept detailed records and maintained stayed in contact with man of them.. becoming a contact between escaped slaves and those left behind.
     These people exhibited tremendous courage escaping a l…