Archives for the month of: February, 2016

Have you guys seen this making the rounds?

Of course you have. Because that tiny lady in blue is 106 years old.
And for Black History Month, Virginia McLaurin was invited to the White House to meet our first
(and probably only in my lifetime at least) Black President and his equally Black First Lady.
Whew. So much progress in one picture.

I mean… Ms. Virginia was born in 1909
As a child growing up in the South, she said she didn’t imagine that there could ever be a world where white and black people were integrated.
“This was white and this was black. There were so many things we weren’t allowed to do, we were raised up like that,” she said.
“I felt like it would always be that way.”

Hmm. If I were the kind of person who provided commentary, I would comment that there are people who are fighting like hell RIGHT NOW to return to the “Bad Old Days”
But. I’m not. I’m just here to provide Black History Facts.

Which. That wasn’t. The actual BHFOTD is about Booker Taliaferro Washington.
Taliaferro, huh? I had no idea.

Booker T. was the first African American to be invited to the White House for dinner.
In the autumn of 1901, Booker T. Washington was on a speaking tour.
In Mississippi, he received a telegram from President Theodore Roosevelt.

The telegram asked Washington to come to the capitol for a conference.
When Washington arrived, he received an invitation to dine with the President.
According to Roosevelt biographer, Edmund Morris (author of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt),
the dinner proceeded “behind closed doors, under the disapproving gaze of a negro butler”.
[Whatever, Uncle Ruckus]

The next day, the Memphis-Scimitar reported: The most damnable outrage which has ever been perpetrated by a citizen of the United States was committed by the President,
when he invited a nigger to dine with him at the White House…

AND THEN. A U.S. Senator from South Carolina proposed a retaliatory measure:
“The action of President Roosevelt in entertaining that nigger will necessitate our killing a thousand niggers in the South before they will reach their place again.”

[Thinks about prison pipeline, and cops unnecessarily killing black people at a higher rate than any other race]
[Still makes no comment]
[Not even that it seems like some people are still pretty intent on putting black folks “in their place”]

For the remainder of his term as U.S. President (1901-1908), Theodore Roosevelt was never again to invite a black person to dinner at the White House.
However, Roosevelt later stated on the issue of race something that would later be echoed, albeit in his own words, by Martin Luther King Jr. Roosevelt stated:

“…the only wise and honorable and Christian thing to do is to treat each black man and each white man strictly on his merits as a man, giving him no more and no less than he shows himself worthy to have.”

And it turns out when you do that, we end up here.
And you end up with Republicans racists AGAIN losing their collective shit because you put a Black man in the White House twice
And since (in theory) you can’t just go ‘round killing up black folks until they “reach their place”, they’re just gonna try to vote in the most racist person since Hitler into Office.
[But I’m not makin’ no comments though]

So this weekend was Oscar Movie Madness you guys.
Even though I feel some kind of way about the fact that the Oscars would like to pretend that there were no viable black candidates for Oscar nominations,
Oscar Movie Madness (OMM for short) is tradition. And includes booze, food things, card games, and me in pajamas on Lex’s couch all weekend.
AND! Because my friends love me they added movies that SHOULDA been best picture noms, but weren’t: Creed and Straight Outta Compton.
10/10 Recommend them both.

BUT! Both movies DID receive other Oscar nominations:
Creed (Best Supporting Actor): The (white) co-star.
Straight Outta Compton(Best Original Screenplay): The (white) writers.
With an extra FUCK YOU to the CAST who were NOT invited to the Award Show.
I mean, I could talk about how hard you gotta reach to find a non-black person to nominate in some of the blackest movies ever.
But I won’t. Because my boss is not here today, so I’m super busy and don’t have time to go on a 17-point Kanye-style rant.

We were supposed to play Cards Against Humanity afterwards. Because we were supposed to finish early-ish.
But we didn’t. Things happen.
Have you guys every played that game? It’s like apples to apples. Only, imagine that nothing is sacred.
For INSTANCE – I played the winning card for this fill in the blank:

But before I kill you, Mr. Bond, I must show you ________.


And with that, let’s get to the BHFOTD about the owner of said vagina:
Toni Morrison. Novelist, editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University
First African American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature

Ta-daaaaa! I’ll see myself out. And I’ll see y’all tomorrow.

So this one time a favorite patient gave me tickets to see the Foo Fighters when they were doing their acoustic tour at the Pantages.
[I bet some of you were wondering was I gonna manage to sneak my favorite band into a BHFOTD. Don’t I always?]
It was amazing. As usual. And fun.
Afterwards, I somehow got separated from my concert buddy and I was looking for her and somehow I wandered back to the “industry party”
And as I was looking around trying to figure out why I’m standing next to rock stars and other people who looked appropriately rock and roll,
I realized that I was NOT supposed to be there.
Strangely enough though, nobody ever said anything at all to the random person just walking around not looking very rock star at all.
[I’ve found that if you are ever “the only” of a person, people just assume you belong there because why ELSE would you be there, sore thumb?]
[Except that one time that me and a friend crashed a BET pre-party for the Grammys. We definitely got kicked out of there]
[Which is kinda weird because I was DEFINITELY not the only black person. But I guess I was the only one who had a lunch bag. And a work badge]
Which is COMPLETELY unlike the one time Nesto wandered into a place he didn’t belong.
The story as I heard it:
“This club had two rooms: one that played top 40 (which was the best this little club could do) and the country western music room.
I went over to the other room because I wanted to see what kind of music they played in there.
When I walked in, it was like a record scratch:
A bunch of dudes, complete with cowboys hats all turned around in unison to look at me.
I could actually HEAR the nooses fall to the floor.”
This was before yelp, obviously.
I mean, how do you rate that?
“Mixed crowd on one side; Klan rally on the other. 3 out of 5 stars.
Extra star because it was the only civilian bar you could go that played something besides country”

I should also mention this was 1990-something.
Not 1960.
Because THEN he could’ve bought The Negro Motorist Green Book
What’s that, you ask?

WELL. The Green Book, as it was called, was an annual guidebook for African-American road trippers.
It was originated and published by New York City mailman Victor H. Green during the Jim Crow era, when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against non-whites was widespread.

Although pervasive racial discrimination and black poverty limited ownership of cars among African Americans, the emerging black middle class became car owners.
Many black folks took to driving, in part to avoid segregation on public transportation. As the writer George Schuyler put it in 1930,
“all Negroes who can do so purchase an automobile as soon as possible in order to be free of discomfort, discrimination, segregation and insult.”


Until long after the Civil Rights era (1955–1968), black travelers in the United States faced major problems to which most whites were oblivious. [quelle surprise!] White supremacists had long sought to restrict black mobility. As a result, simply going for a drive was potentially a dangerous undertaking for black people.
They were subjected to racial profiling by police departments (“Driving While Black”), faced being punished for being seen as “uppity” or “too prosperous” if they were driving a car (an act that many whites regarded as a white prerogative), and risked harassment or worse on and off the highway.
Black Americans employed as athletes, entertainers, and salesmen also traveled frequently for work purposes and faced a variety of dangers and inconveniences, such as:
• white-owned businesses refusing to serve them or repair their vehicles
• being refused accommodation or food by white-owned hotels,
• threats of physical violence and forcible expulsion from whites-only “sundown towns”

Green founded and published The Negro Motorist Green Book to tackle such problems, compiling resources “to give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulties, embarrassments and to make his trip more enjoyable.” While the Green Book was intended to make life easier for those living under Jim Crow, its publisher looked forward to a time when such guidebooks would no longer be necessary. As Green wrote, “there will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go as we please, and without embarrassment.

*taps foot and looks at watch*
*stares off into the distance and continues to wait*


The 1966 edition was the last to be published after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made the guide effectively obsolete, by outlawing racial discrimination in public accommodations.

And since racial discrimination was outlawed, we were all free to move about the country.
I’m not even gonna crack a joke about racial profiling.

I’m just gonna say WOO! Post racial America! Fuck you Yeah!

“Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.”
[Aside from that whole building THIS ENTIRE COUNTRY from the ground up, BY FORCE]
[That last part wasn’t in the “official blurb” of the website I looked it up from. But. I mean…]

If you haven’t already figured out how I roll during Black History month,
I am not likely to mention:
Martin Luther (the) King Jr, aside from his own special day that is NOT in February
Harriet Tubman
George Washington Carver, and not just because I HATE PEANUTS
Blah blah blah…slaves…blah blah blah Harriet Tubman..yakety smakety MLK Jr (and MAYBE Malcolm X if your teacher was edgy), and Peanuts*!
I won’t mention them because there is SO MANY MORE Black people to mention.
People are STILL making Black History because Black people have been purposely kept out and we are just NOW kicking the doors in to places that were closed whether they want us there or not.

If I’m gonna be honest, which I pretty much always am (and serious, but not for long so don’t get used to it) America (and other countries, but I’m American, so I’m only CURRENTLY talmbout where I live) has treated  its Black people horribly unless laws get passed to make them stop in which case they try to figure out a way to go around and has a terrible habit of pretending slavery couldn’t possibly be as bad as the stories passed down from actual Black people through generations have described it to be.
But it was. Ain’t no way to church that up to make it more pleasant. It is a thing that happened. And America did it.
And while I prefer to keep my e-mails lighthearted, don’t ever think I have no idea where I come from.
Anyways. The moral of this story is… slavery was awful, and not at all funny.
So if I go to an Exhibit (still open folks! and still free!) that contains history about The Middle Passage
And they show how slaves were stacked in ships.
AND they show how much space each slave was allotted
(a man was given a space of 6 feet by 1 foot 4 inches; a woman 5 feet by 1 foot 4 inches and girls 4 feet 6 inches by 1 foot)

[In case you were interested, and even if you weren’t, I’m 5’4. YES I AM, GUYS]

how high
AND THEN I ask my friend to take a picture because I knew at some point I was going to use this for a BHFOTD
[Is now a good time to mention that this part of History makes me super angry and I HATE HAVING EMOTIONS?]
[Because WOW America you guys do have done some really shitty things]

[The face of a person who is trying not to squirrel jump some asshole who is trying to tell me what to do]
[I would like to take this time to thank God for reminding me that I don’t have time to go to jail because I have plans and thangs, none of which include fighting somebody for cornbread]

And that’s it for today’s Black History [because we did not do this to ourselves] Fact of the Day.
** I don’t want you to go away all sad and mopey because Black History is not always amusing, So I’ll tell you a completely ridiculous story about Peanuts!
I ran into my brother and his family at the Ren Faire (2 more months, you guys!) and they have a 17+ section. Where they were singing bawdy songs because of COURSE THEY WERE!
And because my brother wasn’t paying attention, so he took his daughters (all under the age of 10) over to listen to the songs.
And then he came back TOUT DE SUITE.
Me: That was fast.
When he realized it, he brought them back but not before the oldest could ask, “What did they just say?”

Long looooong ago, when I was in high school, Nesto taught me how to drive a stick shift.
[Yes. I’ve known my husband so long that he taught me how to drive]
[SOOOO many things I could say here, but I won’t because both of my parents get these facts]
[Hi Mommy! Hi Daddy!]
[Hi kids!]

He taught me in his sister’s car.
Until she found out that he had his lil’ girlfriend driving all over the city in her car.
She put a stop to that quick fast and in a hurry.
I’m not even mad. How was she to know that he’d end up marrying me?

Fast forward to me going to Hawaii to visit (and elope with) Nesto.
We were staying with friends of his because he lived in the barracks.
And staying with friends was free.99.
They even lent him a car to drive so he could show me the island!

But one day Nesto got a ride in, and his friend tells me that I need to go pick him up at work.
He drew me a map. A map!
[Turn left at the gas station, make another left at the projects, on to the Highway, you can get to the base from there, yeah?]
Oh yeah, my wife’s car is a stick. You know how to drive a stick?
Me: Um. Yes?
Okay then! See y’all later.

And I was pretty sure I was gonna roll back and smash up somebody’s car.
I also stalled several times because I’M DRIVING BY MYSELF AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’M GOING AND….
It was terrifying.

ANYWAYS. I finally made it to the base.
NOW I had to find the location drawn on my fancy map to find my boyfriend so I could stop driving and curl into a ball in the passenger seat and stare silently out of the window until I could stop screaming on the inside

I had no idea. So I stopped a military policeman and asked for directions.
And because I’m me and all of the weird things happen to me, he tells me to follow him.
And then he takes off at rocket speed.
SO NOW, I’m doing 70 in a 30 chasing an MP.
I’m guessing Nesto’s friend called him and said “Hey, I sent your girlfriend to pick you up be on the lookout” because when I got there, the MP pointed in the general direction to let me know I made it and took off at warp speed.
And Nesto is standing outside trying to figure out WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK JUST HAPPENED.
And why I was not just speeding, but apparently getting a police escort.

Him: Well, hello Wendell Scott*
Me: Here he comes, here comes speed racer…..

(yes boys and girls, like me, today’s fact is short and sweet)
(and also pretty fucking awesome)

*no, he didn’t actually call me Wendell Scott because he didn’t know about the first black NASCAR driver. But I bet he will now


I actually did not have plans to watch the Grammys.
Because GET OFF MY LAWN *shakes fist*
(Hi! I’m Briya and I loooooooove musicals!)
(I love music in general)
(something something stereotypes about black people and music)
(and watermelon. Which I also love)

Like, LOVE.
Which, growing up, I got a lot of flack for.
I’m not sure why though.
::whispers:: Yes, I am. Because people who don’t know the history of rock and roll think it’s not music for black people.
But that’s not so!
The phrase “rocking and rolling” was originally used to describe the spiritual fervor of black church rituals and as a sexual analogy as early as the 1920’s.
In fact, the word “rock” has long been used in gospel songs (Rock My Soul, Rock Me, Rock Daniel and so on).
I could make a comment here, but I’m not going to. I’m just going to give you a few minutes to re-read the list of gospel songs. OR ARE THEY?
IN FACT, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (born in 1915) became gospel music’s first crossover artist and its first great recording star, referred to later as “the original soul sister” and “the godmother of rock and roll”. Tharpe recorded for the first time – four sides with Decca Records backed by Lucky Millinder’s jazz orchestra. The first gospel songs ever recorded by Decca, “Rock Me,” “That’s All,” “My Man and I” and “The Lonesome Road” became instant hits, establishing Tharpe as an overnight sensation and one of the first commercially successful gospel recording artists. Her records caused an immediate furor: many churchgoers were shocked by the mixture of gospel-based lyrics and secular-sounding music, but secular audiences loved them.

Tharpe’s appearances with jazz artist Cab Calloway at Harlem’s Cotton Club and in John Hammond’s “Spirituals to Swing” concert at Carnegie Hall, gained her even more fame, along with notoriety. These performances, which both shocked and awed the crowds, were controversial as well as revolutionary in several respects. Performing gospel music in front of secular, ‘nightclub’ audiences and alongside blues, jazz musicians and dancers was highly unusual, and within conservative religious circles the mere fact of a woman performing guitar music, particularly in those settings, was frowned upon. For these reasons, Tharpe was often falling out of favour with segments within the gospel community.
(Guess who had a guitar and didn’t give a fu…damn? This fine upstanding gospel singer. That’s who)

Other late 1930s hits, which combined gospel themes with bouncy up-tempo arrangements, continued to become hits among audiences with little previous exposure to gospel music. Tharpe continued recording during World War II. Her song “Strange Things Happening Every Day”, was the first gospel song to make Billboard’s Harlem Hit Parade (later known as Race Records, then R&B) Top Ten. This record made in 1944 has been credited by some as being the “First rock and roll record”. Tharpe’s performances were curtailed by a stroke in 1970, but she is cited as an early influence on figures such as Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.

And I’m also gonna guess she made an impression on this pretty fucking talented lady

Brittany Howard. Lead Singer of the Alabama Shakes.
Winner of Best Rock Song
SECOND Black woman to ever win in this category.

And it’s probably because of Sister Tharpe that she can.

I bet she played the HELL outta that guitar. See what I did there? Anybody? No?


**Really, guys? Is it really us that keeps “playing the race card”?
Anyways. That’s all.
See y’all tomorrow.

Y’all. I’m tired.
I took baby sissie (/Sister in Law) to see Lianne La Havas at Largo at the Coronet last night.
I mentioned it yesterday, but lemme tell you:
I found her by accident because Pandora did it again
but this time I was all

A few months later, The Fonda e-mailed me like, Yeah, hey, so she’s gonna be here tomorrow.
I was like, “No shit?! I’m gonna buy me some tickets and go”

So I did.

And because this is the 21st century, I also instagrammed it.


Answer: Because I’m impulsive and didn’t know I was gonna go ‘til I went
Also true: I had no idea that anybody even knew who she was.
ANOTHER TRUTH: My brother married a combination of his sisters, so I totally SHOULDA known that she’d either heard of her or would like her.

I try to buy gifts that I know people will like, since I’m not especially a fan of gift cards unless you’re a pre-teen because they are quite possibly
the hardest people in the entire world to shop for because they liked it yesterday but today they don’t because they’re not babies, they’re 12 FFS and I couldn’t possibly know about anything cool.
(“For Freaks Sake” because I would pop a 12 year old dead in the mouth for saying FUCK)
(Yeah, I said it. And I totally mean it. Ask any one of my nieces. Or nephews. Or even/especially? my kids.)

So when I was frantically buying Christmas gifts because of COURSE I wait to the last minute to do my shopping, I got ANOTHER e-mail.
This time from Largo at The Coronet. “Hey, so Lianne La Havas is BACK in town next year and you should maybe come see her”
And I was like, FUCK YEAH ( ‘Cause I’m grown)
[I don’t know about you, but I am of the “one gift for you, one gift for me” kind of shopper]

We had a GREAT time.
I’d post video only the Largo has a no phone/camera policy*
Which is awesome because I didn’t have to worry about some asshole who never put his phone down and also didn’t care if he was blocking my view.
But not awesome because she sang this and it was amazing and if I coulda gotten some footage of that I woulda but instead here’s today fact:
In 1987, Aretha Franklin became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Sometimes your facts are short and to the point.
Today is one of those days.
[My stories are always long and rambly. So sorry I’m not sorry]

But I would be remiss if I didn’t leave you with some of the Queen of Soul’s music,
So. Did you know that she once pinch hit for Luciano Pavarotti?
Also please to enjoy one of my favorite songs [She was one hot mama!]

That’s all folks! I’m off to enjoy my weekend which for a change will include Monday.
So don’t be looking for a fact. It won’t be there.

*I have a policy, too. I DO WHAT I WANT.
baby sis
[taken in the venue immediately after he said don’t do that]

And you.
I will always love you too.
And that’s why I share these BHFOTD with y’all.
Or at least part of the reason.

So did you know that aside from BHFOTDs I occasionally do deathiversaries?
I don’t really think that’s a word, but it is now. Because I’m using it.
[that will never apply to irregardless. That will never be a word]
Usually, deathiversaries are because people ask for them,
but this one is because I was listening to Pandora and I don’t know if it’s just me
but they are always dropping random songs into my perfectly curated stations and

And EVERY TIME I hear Whitney Houston song, I think about that time that my cousin’s grandma drove all of us (plus sissie) to Laughlin and she had exactly ONE tape in her car and that album was WHITNEY HOUSTON and once we left civilization (/Riverside county/ outside of regular radio stations because really Riverside county IS NOT CIVILIZED)  we didn’t have any radio stations to listen to and so we listened to THAT ONE TAPE and I don’t know if you know this but it is around 6 hours to drive from Compton to Laughlin, Nevada and by that time I was SAVING ALL MY LOVE FOR YOU’d OUT. OUT, ya hear me?

That’s right kids! Today is the deathiversary of Whitney Houston. (2012)
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (born August 9, 1963) was an African American singer, actress, and producer.
Houston’s crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence on MTV, influenced several African American (and probably just OTHER) women artists to follow in her footsteps
And because I’ve got stuff to do and places to go (tonight I’m goin’ to see Lianne La Havas! Another black singer– a Brit! – who probably was influenced by Ms Whitney) it’s gonna be a lightning round!

DID YOU KNOW…She released seven studio albums and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification? AND:
1. Houston is the only (black/white/or any other color) artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits.
2. She is the only (black/white/or any other color) woman to have two number-one Billboard 200Album awards (formerly “Top Pop Albums”) on the Billboard magazine year-end charts.
3. Houston’s 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a (black/white/or any other color) woman in history. Rolling Stone named it the best album of 1986.
4. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a (black/white/or any other color) woman to debut at number one on the Billboard200 albums chart.
5. Houston’s first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film’s original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year
a. Her lead single from the movie The Bodyguard, “I Will Always Love You”, became the best-selling single by a (black/white or any other color) woman in music history.
b. With the album, Houston became the FIRST act (solo or group, male or female, black/white/or any other color) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen SoundScan system
6. At the age of 15, she sang background vocals on Chaka Khan’s hit single “I’m Every Woman” (See what I did there?)
7. She started out as a fashion model in the early 1980s, and became ONE of the first African American women to cover Seventeen magazine

Look at that! Whitney at 17 on the cover of seventeen!

And that’s today’s lightning round of facts and firsts about Ms. Whitney Elizabeth Houston Brown.
Hope you enjoyed that walk down memory lane. And if you didn’t, I guess you can try again tomorrow.
When I send you another fact. Because sharing is caring guys. And I love you.
[I’m not sorry. I also can never resist]

I’ve lived in a bunch of places. A BUNCH.
And because of that I’ve also worked in a bunch of places. A bajillion.
Or at least it feels that way.
I even worked for my current employer’s doppelganger (can non-people have doppelgangers?) in Boston. .
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital.
Non clinical staff, of course.

It’s just like my current big fancy hospital.
With less famous people.
To be fair though, I didn’t work on campus.
In fact, the only famous people I even met in Boston were Celtics
(I lived down the street from where the Celtics used to practice)
(and by met I mean, I saw them from afar. Because NO)
And famous political folks.
I mean, IT’S BOSTON.

So why wouldn’t I have a completely ridiculous story to tell you about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s grandson?

I used to work at this place and this attorney named James used to come in and get subway passes.
I’m assuming they were for his kids or something because DOES THE PRESIDENT’S GRANDSON TAKE THE T?
I dunno. I never asked, I just handed them out when they showed up.
So one day he shows up and he has something on his forehead
Me: Hey you got a little shmutz on your forehead.
Him: …what?
Me: :::reaches up to wipe it off:::
Me: :::pauses mid reach:::
Me: :::thinks about what DAY it is:::
Me: UM. Nevermind
Me: See you next month! [internal screaming continues]

I also kinda looked around because I was a little concerned that I was gonna get struck by lightning where I stood. But I didn’t. Hallelujah!

Yeah. I’m no saint. Unlike Servant of God (did you know that was an actual title?) Augustus Tolton.
He was the first Roman Catholic priest in the United States publicly known to be black when he was ordained in 1886*.
A former slave who was baptized and reared Catholic, Tolton studied formally in Rome.

He was ordained on Easter Sunday of 1886 at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. Assigned to the diocese of Alton (now the Diocese of Springfield).
Tolton celebrated his first public Mass at St. Boniface church in Quincy. He attempted to organize a parish there, but over the years met with resistance from both white Catholics (many of whom were racists ethnic German) and Protestant blacks, who did not want him trying to attract people to another denomination
After being reassigned to Chicago, Tolton led a mission society, St. Augustine’s, that met in the basement of St. Mary’s Church.
He led the development and administration of the Negro “national parish” of St. Monica’s Catholic Church, built at 36th and Dearborn Streets on the South Side, Chicago.
The church grew to have 600 parishioners. Tolton’s success at ministering to black Catholics quickly earned him national attention within the Catholic hierarchy.
“Good Father Gus”, as he was called by many, was known for his “eloquent sermons, his beautiful singing voice and his talent for playing the accordion.”

At the age of 43, he collapsed and died as a result of a heat wave in Chicago in 1897. Tolton was buried in Quincy in the priests’ lot in St. Peter’s Cemetery, which had been his expressed wish.
After Tolton’s death, St. Monica’s was made a mission of St. Elizabeth’s Church. In 1924 it was closed as a national parish.

On 2 March 2010 Cardinal George of Chicago announced that he was beginning an official investigation into Tolton’s life and virtues with a view to opening the Cause for his canonization. This Cause for sainthood is also being advanced by the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, where Tolton first served as priest, as well as the Diocese of Jefferson City, Missouri, where his family was enslaved.
And on September 29, 2014, at Saint James Chapel at the Archbishop Quigley Center in Chicago, Illinois, Cardinal George formally closed the investigation into the life and virtues of Father Augustus Tolton. The dossier of research into Tolton’s life moves to the Vatican where the documents collected which support his cause will be analyzed, bound into a book called a “positio,” or official position paper, and evaluated by theologians, and then, supporters hope, passed on to the pope, who can declare Tolton “venerable” if the pope determines he led a life of heroic virtue.

Maybe in another few years, if I ever repeat a fact, I can talk about SAINT Augustus Tolton. Although quite honestly any person born a slave who managed not to kill his “owners”, or overseers, or anybody else who stood in the way of being free is already a saint.
But that’s just me.
*James Augustine Healy, ordained in 1854, and Patrick Francis Healy, ordained in 1864 were of mixed-race, which probably means they was white passing

Nesto likes to tell me horrifying stories of how he almost died. Then he’ll be all: Oh, I never told you that?
Like, nah. I would definitely remember a story where you almost died.
To date there have been three. In case you were wondering.
[And these are just the deployment stories. Not the “growing up as a black boy/teen/man in Los Angeles” stories]
I feel like you don’t FORGET stories where you almost died.
Or at least I don’t. I save them for BHFOTD!
Let’s get to it, shall we?

I hate pjs.

This is only important because Nesto is always complaining about wearing clothes around the house because what if somebody comes by and really honey, I DON’T CARE THEY SHOULD CALL FIRST because I’m empty nesting and apparently this means that I’m always throwing a no pants party at my house and none of you are invited so please call before you drop in or I’ll never hear the end of it.


I love bacon. So if I’m gonna fry me up some bacon, I put on a robe* ‘cause bacon grease hurts like a mofo.
And I have never NOT regretted it when I got all cocky and decided I didn’t need protection.
[I feel like maybe there’s a joke there somewhere]
And I reach over the stove to grab something, and a tiny little string catches fire.
And because it’s early (and it is, I’m up before everyone in my house always), I’m not thinking.
And because I’m not thinking I just kinda shake my arm to put the fire out.
No. I did not stop drop and roll.
But I did finally have enough sense to take off my robe of death and stomp out the flames with my bunny slippers.
What does this have to do with the BHFOTD?
I’m glad you asked!
So last week I went on a field trip with Lexie.
To Olvera Street. For taquitos! And Margaritas!
And also for “Forgotten Founders: The Hidden African Ancestry of Los Angeles” Exhibit & Opening Reception
(My friends are fancy, guys. She gets invites to stuff)
My guess is that they weren’t so much FORGOTTEN as they were LET’S PRETEND THAT THIS WHOLE COUNTRY WASN’T BUILT ON THE BACKS OF BLACK PEOPLE, but whatever.
It was interesting (and free, Los Angeles people!)

One of the “forgotten” people in this exhibit was Sam Haskins.
Call Fireman Sam Haskins is the earliest known black man to work on the Los Angeles Fire Department. Born a slave in Virginia, Haskins came to Los Angeles sometime in 1880.
In 1892 Haskins worked as a “Call Fireman”, a paid position that was part time, filling in for members off sick or on vacation. Most call firemen eventually filled a permanent position when one became available.
Not only was Sam the first black firefighter, he was the first firefighter in the history of the city to die in the line of duty.

Strangely enough though, it wasn’t until 2002 that he was acknowledged/discovered as the first black member of the department
Fire Department documents have long recorded George Washington Bright as the first black member of the department. Bright was appointed as a volunteer in 1897 and, a month later, promoted to a full-time firefighter.
A crime analyst stumbled across Haskins while doing genealogy research for someone else who died in that same year. Up to that point, Haskins’ existence had been unknown
But the evidence found includes 1895 newspaper stories about Haskins’ death, but no photograph.

A ceremony was scheduled to commemorate Haskins’ death, and a headstone was placed on his grave at Evergreen Cemetery in Boyle Heights, where he was buried in 1895.
That marker didn’t just give a long-dead firefighter his due; it rewrote the history of the LAFD.

That’s today’s story folks. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend the exhibit. It’s small and kid friendly. It even has pages for coloring!
And when you’re done, stroll around Olvera Street. That’s ALWAYS fun! I’ve been going since I was a kid.
Only learn from my parent’s mistakes: those feather roach clips are NOT for your hair.