Archives for the month of: February, 2017

So this one time I was at a bar watching football and talking smack to the bartender (because YES, I DON’T CARE IF THE STEELERS ARE LOSING, THEY ARE STILL MY TEAM, SIR, AND THEY COULD TOTALLY TURN THIS GAME AROUND), and this black lady who ALSO was a Steelers fan walks in:

Bartender says hello to her and then turns to me: Hey! She’s also a Steelers fan.
Me: AAAYYYYEEE!!
Bartender: Oh, do you two know each other?
Me: Why yes, I do. All black people know each other.
Bartender::: looks shamed ::::
Me::: is highly amused:::

The moral of the story is that NOT ALL BLACK PEOPLE KNOW EACH OTHER.

Unless of course you are John Mercer Langston and Langston Hughes:

John Mercer Langston was born free in 1829 in Louisa County, Virginia the youngest of Lucy Jane Langston (a freedwoman of mixed decent – African and Native American) and Ralph Quarles, a white planter from England. Quarles had freed Lucy and their daughter Maria in 1806, in the course of what was a relationship of more than 25 years. Their three sons were born free, as their mother was free. After his parents died, John was moved to Chillicothe, Ohio with his guardian and his brothers. He enrolled in the preparatory program at Oberlin College (following after his brothers who were the first black students to be admitted) at the age of 14. John Langston earned a bachelor’s degree in 1849 and a master’s degree in theology in 1852 from Oberlin. Denied admission to law schools in New York and Ohio because of his race, Langston studied law (or “read the law”, as was the common practice then) as an apprentice under attorney and Republican US congressman Philemon Bliss; he was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1854.

With his brothers, helped runaway slaves to escape to the North along the Ohio part of the Underground Railroad. In 1858 he and Charles partnered in leading the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society, with John acting as president and traveling to organize local units, and Charles managing as executive secretary in Cleveland.

In 1863 when the government approved founding of the United States Colored Troops, John Langston was appointed to recruit African Americans to fight for the Union Army. He enlisted hundreds of men for duty in the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth regiments, in addition to 800 for Ohio’s first black regiment. Even before the end of the war, Langston worked for issues of black suffrage and opportunity. He believed that black men’s service in the war had earned their right to vote, and that it was fundamental to their creating an equal place in society.

In 1864 Langston chaired the committee whose agenda was ratified by the black National Convention: they called for abolition of slavery, support of racial unity and self-help, and equality before the law. To accomplish this program, the convention founded the National Equal Rights League and elected Langston president. He served until 1868. Like the later National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League was based in state and local organizations.

In 1868 Langston moved to Washington, D.C. to establish and serve as dean of Howard University’s law school; it was the first black law school in the country. Appointed acting president of the school in 1872, and vice president of the school, Langston worked to establish strong academic standards. He also engendered the kind of open environment he had known at Oberlin College. Langston was passed over for the permanent position of president of Howard University School of Law by a committee that refused to disclose the reason.

During 1870, Langston assisted Republican Senator Charles Sumner from Massachusetts with drafting the civil rights bill that was enacted as the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The 43rd Congress of the United States passed the bill in February 1875 and it was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1875.

In 1888, Langston was urged to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives by fellow Republicans, both black and white. Leaders of the biracial Readjuster Party, which had held political power in Virginia from 1879 to 1883, did not support his candidacy. Langston ran as a Republican and lost to his Democratic opponent. He contested the results of the election because of voter intimidation and fraud. After 18 months, the Congressional elections committee declared Langston the winner, and he took his seat in the US Congress. He served for the remaining six months of the term, but lost his bid for reelection as Democrats regained control of Virginia. Langston was the first black person elected to Congress from Virginia, and he was the last for another century.

From 1891 until his death in 1897, he practiced law in Washington, DC. He died at his home, Hillside Cottage at 2225 Fourth Street NW in Washington, DC, on the morning of November 15 from malaria induced acute indigestion.

So.

HOW DO JOHN MERCER LANGSTON AND LANGSTON HUGHES KNOW EACH OTHER?
John Langston was the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, poet.

Happy Wednesday kids! See you tomorrow. Maybe. If I’m not swamped.

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Everyone is at home, with a paid day off, and I am at work. DAMMIT.
I didn’t think to take today off because I never remember holidays that don’t apply to me.
But also, since I’m off on Friday and NEXT Monday (so don’t be looking for a fact), I guess I won’t complain too loudly.

NORMALLY, I’d just do a random black fact because after all, that’s what I do.
BUT TODAY IS PRESIDENTS’ DAY.

And really, I COULD talk about our only black President to fulfill this requirement…
For instance: I looked up little known facts about my President, and did you know he says he says he hasn’t liked ice cream since working at Baskin-Robbins as a teenager?
It also said that his childhood nickname was Barry and let’s be honest, that is NOT a little known fact, nor is that at ALL surprising. His name is BARACK FFS. What the hell ELSE would they call him?

ANYWAYS. I’m not counting those as THE fact. Even though, those ARE facts.

Today, I’ma talk about President John F. Kennedy. And his part in Black History.

On this day in 1962 , President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order 11063, which mandates an end to discrimination in housing. The order, which came during the burgeoning Civil Rights movement, prohibited federally funded housing agencies from denying housing or funding for housing to anyone based on their race, color, creed or national origin.

Since the 1950s, American minorities, particularly African Americans, had been largely relegated to living in overcrowded inner-city ghettos or impoverished rural areas. The “American Dream” of owning a house in the suburbs, or even a small apartment in a safe city neighborhood was unobtainable for many minority families because federally funded lending agencies often refused to give minorities home loans. Although Kennedy’s order was largely a symbolic landmark for ending de facto segregation in housing, the policy was never enforced. The order left it up to the individual housing and funding agencies to police themselves, leaving much room for non-compliance from state to state. After his assassination in 1963, civil rights activists continued to lobby for integrated neighborhoods*. It took Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, until 1968, however, to get a majority of Congress to support a fair housing law.

ALSO.
Speaking of this being Presidents’ Day and The Fair Housing Act and alladat, I have another President that I want to talk about and HIS part in Black History:

In 1973, Justice Department lawyers filed a case against y’all’s (NEVER MY) president (us v. fred trump, donald trump, and trump management, inc) for a constant pattern and practice of discrimination. The Justice Department then issued a news release that said the trumps violated the law “by refusing to rent and negotiate rentals with blacks, requiring different rental terms and conditions because of race, and misrepresenting that apartments were not available.” The suit was settled after almost two years, and on June 10, 1975, the trumps signed an agreement prohibiting “discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or priveleges of sale or rental of a dwelling.” The agreement also required the trumps to place ads informing minorities they had an equal opportunity to seek housing at their properties.

Another fun fact: Did you know that donald trump did not want to pay for the ads? “This advertising, while it’s, you know — I imagine it’s necessary from the Government’s standpoint, is a very expensive thing for us,” Trump said, according to a court transcript. “It is really onerous. Each sentence we put in is going to cost us a lot of money over the period we are supposed to do it.” [funny, he wasn’t so worried about the cost of ads when he did this.]

So there you go. I know I usually focus on black folks ‘cause the lordt only knows we only have one (very short) month to show off all the shit black folks be doin’ for the culture. But every once in a while, I want white people to know that y’alls names be going down in black infamy history too. You’re welcome!

Happy Monday, guys! You’ve almost made it to the end of another black history month.
*white flight: migration of middle class white populations out of cities to avoid the influx of minorities and return to more racially homogeneous suburban regions. However, some historians have challenged the phrase “white flight” as a misnomer whose use should be reconsidered. In her study of Chicago’s West Side during the post-war era, historian Amanda Seligman argues that the phrase misleadingly suggests that whites immediately departed when blacks moved into the neighborhood, when in fact, many whites defended their space with violence, intimidation, or legal tactics.

*see also: Gentrification: The Same. Only, backwards.

So for the last few weeks I have been BEYOND STRESSED. And it was completely “so-called ruler of the united states (SCROTUS)” work related.
Because of the Muslim Terrorist ban (that bans ZERO people from the countries where terrorists have so far resided) I had been internally screaming/worrying that one of my researchers wasn’t going to be let back into the country. She went home to her family in her primarily Muslim country while Obama was still our President and was due to return AFTER y’all’s (NEVER MY)president called all Muslims terrorists except for the countries where he has business dealings, but I’m sure that’s coincidental.

I can’t even tell you how low-key (and HIGH KEY) stressed some of our researchers (and the people who employ them) were/are. We got an e-mail from the higher ups requesting that maybe some of our international researchers should chill on travel until this was all straightened out.
Relatedly: I gotta say it’s nice to know that my place of employ understands that this is upsetting, and provided some recommendations to help relieve their concerns.

ANYWAYS. The other day I ran into said researcher in the breakroom.
And I was VERY excited to see her.
I mean…not excited enough to show emotion, because that’s not my jam
but I *DID* let her know I was glad to know she made it back safely.
[And by safely, I meant AT ALL]

I mean, these researchers are kinda like my kids.
I make sure they care of the things they need to take care of that aren’t research related because researchers are only interested in research not making sure that all their paperwork is turned in on time. AND I smack them around when they sass me. I’m kidding. They know better than to sass me.

Also. I’m not really in charge of them*
But I could be one day.

Because of Mary Frances Berry, Birthday Girl.

Berry attended Nashville’s segregated schools, graduating with honors from high school and attending Fisk University in Nashville. She transferred to Howard University, where she received her bachelor’s degree. [whew. Come THROUGH, HBCUs!] Following this, Berry studied at the University of Michigan, received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Berry spent the next six years working at the University of Maryland, eventually becoming interim provost of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences. In 1976, she became chancellor of the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, the first black woman to head a major research university.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. She also:

1. Took a leave of absence from the University of Colorado when President Jimmy Carter named her assistant secretary for education in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1977).
2. Returned to Howard University as a professor of History and Law. (1980)
3. Was appointed to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, where during her tenure, she became involved in legal battles with Ronald Reagan, INCLUDING keeping her seat when Reagan attempted to remove her from the board. ( Sally Gates, are you listening?) AND banging on fellow African American Clarence M Pendleton Jr, when he tried to fall in line with Reagan’s social and civil rights views that pissed off the liberals and feminists. (Checks the date. MAN, y’all Republicans been pissing off liberals and feminists for a long ass time)
4. Co-founded the Free South Africa Movement, dedicated to the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. (1984)
5. Took a tenured chair at the University of Pennsylvania, while continuing to serve on the Civil Rights Commission. (1993)
a. She was also appointed chair of the Civil Rights Commission by President Bill Clinton, who reappointed her for another term in 1999.
6. She also wrote NINE books. (When the hell she have time to do that?! I can’t even get these effing facts out on time.)

And unlike Frederick Douglass, she’s still alive! According to her website, “As Berry continues her research, writing and activism, she insists that each generation has the responsibility to make a dent in the wall of injustice.”

Guess that means we better get crackin’!

*No. I’m not in charge of them. But let’s face it, you never want to be on the wrong side of the person who makes sure you get paid.

 

Many African Americans moved to Oklahoma in the years before and after 1907, which is the year Oklahoma became a state. Oklahoma represented change and provided a chance for African Americans to get away from slavery and the harsh racism of their previous homes. Most of them traveled from the states in the south where racism was very prevalent, and Oklahoma offered hope and provided all people with a chance to start over. They traveled to Oklahoma by wagons, horses, trains, and even on foot.

Many of the African Americans who traveled to Oklahoma had ancestors who could be traced back to Oklahoma. A lot of the settlers were relatives of African American slaves who had traveled on foot with the Five Civilized Tribes (Well, would you look at that? Turns out I *AM* civilized. Or at least partially.) along the Trail of Tears. Others were the descendants of runaway slaves who had fled to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) in an effort to escape lives of oppression.

During the oil boom of the 1910s, the area of northeast Oklahoma around Tulsa flourished, including the Greenwood neighborhood, which came to be known as “the Negro Wall Street” (now commonly referred to as “the Black Wall Street” …not to be confused with these guys) The area was home to several prominent black businessmen, many of them multimillionaires. Not only did African Americans want to contribute to the success of their own shops, but also the racial segregation laws prevented them from shopping anywhere other than Greenwood.

The buildings on Greenwood Avenue housed the offices of almost all of Tulsa’s black lawyers, realtors, doctors, and other professionals. In Tulsa at the time of the riot, there were fifteen well-known African American physicians, one of whom was considered the “most able Negro surgeon in America” by one of the Mayo (as in the Mayo Clinic) brothers. Greenwood published two newspapers, the Tulsa Star and the Oklahoma Sun, which covered not only Tulsa, but also state and national news and elections.

Greenwood boasted a variety of thriving businesses that were very successful up until the Tulsa Race Riot.

Post Riot, The community mobilized its resources and rebuilt the Greenwood area within five years of the Tulsa Race Riot and the neighborhood was a hotbed of jazz and blues in the 1920s. However, the neighborhood fell prey to an economic and population drain in the 1960s, and much of the area was leveled during urban renewal in the early 1970s to make way for a highway loop around the downtown district. Several blocks around the intersection of Greenwood Avenue and Archer Street were saved from demolition and have been restored, forming part of the Greenwood Historical District.

And this makes for today’s somewhat somber MOMENTS IN BLACK HISTORY-Ry-ry….

Just so I don’t leave you all sad and depressed on this gloomy Friday afternoon, here’s a fun fact:

The Gap Band , comprised brothers Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson, the band first formed as the Greenwood, Archer and Pine Street Band in 1967 in their hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The group shortened its name to The Gap Band in 1973.

And lucky you. This fun fact also comes with a song! You’re welcome. Feel free to shake your groove thang.

It’s ‘cause black people LOVE music. Probably as much as we love watermelon.
(well, cept Nesto, hater of watermelon, but eater of pig’s feet.)
*shudders and makes gagging noises*

BUT. In my case BOTH OF THE ABOVE THINGS ARE TRUE.
And I raised my kids to love these things too.
Music and Watermelon, that is. Pig’s feet are gross.
My kids have excellent musical tastes.
I will concede this isn’t JUST me. Nesto loves all the music tings too.

So anyways, when Spanky told me that I should give Chance the Rapper a listen, I did. Because, while we don’t always agree on what’s good and what’s not ( I will never forgive you for Pain and Gain, little girl. EVER), she knows my musical taste well enough to able to provide me with musical suggestions from time to time. And I would like you to know three things:

1. If you haven’t listened to Coloring Book (and you like hip hop), you should.
2. Chance The Rapper made Grammy history by becoming the first artist (black, white, or whatever) to win for a streaming-only album release.
3. Turns out rapping isn’t all Chance does. Looks like praise is what he does too.
a. I promise that’s a different song.
b. WOO. That Tamela Mann. Come through, liturgical latex!!
c. Yes. I already know I’m going to hell.

Happy Monday, guys!

And we were (‘member yesterday’s fact?)…

WHY are we STILL talking about movies? Because the Oscars are a’comin, y’all! And it’s almost time for Oscar movie madness!
(new people: I’m going to spend this weekend watching every. single. movie. that is nominated for Best Picture. In my sweats. On my friend’s couch)
Relatedly, this may mean that tomorrow’s fact is a flashback fact because I’m only here for a half a day.
And half days mean I’m busier than a cat coverin’ up shit on a marble floor (that’s CRAZY BUSY)before I skate out of here.

Back to my story, though.

When I found out TCM was showing all those Oscar nominated/winning musicals for 31 days, I got all excited and started looking up movies.
What I learned was that most of my favorites were not nominated/didn’t win an Oscar*.
No Rent. No Hairspray. And no Sarafina!

Because of COURSE one of my favorite musicals is about #Resistance.
Sarafina, which was shot on location, is a musical based on the students involved in the Soweto Riots in South Africa.
:::clears throat and pushes up my glasses:::

Black South African high school students in Soweto protested against the Afrikaans Medium Decree of 1974, which forced all black schools to use Afrikaans and English in a 50–50 mix as languages of instruction. The Regional Director of Bantu Education told Circuit Inspectors and Principals of Schools that from 1 January 1975, Afrikaans had to be used for mathematics, arithmetic, and social studies from standard five (7th grade), according to the Afrikaans Medium Decree; English would be the medium of instruction for general science and practical subjects. Indigenous languages would only be used for religious instruction, music, and physical culture.

The association of Afrikaans with apartheid prompted black South Africans to prefer English. While all schools had to provide instruction in both Afrikaans and English as languages, white South African students learned other subjects in their home language. (that is SOME kinda privilege. I bet that if that privilege had a color it would be…white) The decree was resented deeply by blacks, because Afrikaans was widely viewed—in the words of Desmond Tutu, bishop of Lesotho and later Dean of Johannesburg—as “the language of the oppressor”.

The resentment grew until April 1976, when children at Orlando West Junior School in Soweto went on strike, refusing to go to school. Their rebellion then spread to many other schools in Soweto. Black South African students protested because they believed that they deserved to be treated and taught equally to white South Africans (wow, I guess nobody told the people in charge that separate but equal is BULLSHIT). Students formed an Action Committee (later known as the Soweto Students’ Representative Council), which organized a mass rally for June 16, 1976, to make themselves heard. On that morning about 10,000 black students walked from their schools to Orlando Stadium for a rally. The students began the march only to find out that police had barricaded the road along their intended route. The crowd of between 3,000 and 10,000 non-violent students made their way towards the area of the school. Students sang and waved placards with slogans such as, “Down with Afrikaans”, “Viva Azania” and “If we must do Afrikaans, Vorster must do Zulu”

The police set their dog on the protesters, who responded by killing it. The police then began to shoot directly at the children. Emergency clinics were swamped with injured and bloody children. The police requested that the hospital provide a list of all victims with bullet wounds to prosecute them for rioting. The hospital administrator passed this request to the doctors, but the doctors refused to create the list. Doctors recorded bullet wounds as abscesses. (ACCOMPLICES. Not allies. THAT’S what’s up.)

Many white South African citizens were outraged at the government’s actions in Soweto, and about 300 white students from the University of the Witwatersrand marched through Johannesburg’s city center in protest of the killing of children. Black workers went on strike as well and joined them as the campaign progressed. Riots also broke out in the black townships of other cities in South Africa.

The politicization and activism of young South Africans in Soweto and beyond galvanized the liberation movements and set in motion a series of transformations that ultimately led to the demise of apartheid. In remembrance of these events, the 16th of June is now a public holiday in South Africa, named Youth Day.
As you can see, I really enjoy uplifting, heartwarming musicals.

ANYWAYS. That’s today’s fact. I know that with all that’s CURRENTLY happening in the “wonderful” u. s. of a, this may seem like I’m saying that it turns out that all over the world, people view children (and their education) as a threat. But clearly that isn’t what I’m doing. I’m just discussing BLACK HISTORY. And the fact that police in every country are garbage human beings.

*Except Music Man. That’s scheduled for Feb. 18th. West Side Story is March 2nd.
In case you’re interested. And even if you aren’t.
(But if you aren’t, were you raised by savages? Why wouldn’t you want to watch The Music Man or West Side Story? Find you some damn culture. SHIT.)

 

IT IS!

Ahem.
My sister loves to sing, you guys.
LOVES. Which is nice, I guess, because she’s pretty good at it.
But also terrible because this means she makes me go to karaoke a LOT.
Less than she used to because she’s fancy and works all the time, but still.
She ain’t one to turn down karaoke night especially if Monday is a holiday.
(Her fave spot has karaoke on SUNDAY NIGHTS FFS. What kinda don’t-y’all-know-I’m-old-and-need-my-sleep-BULLSHIT is that?!)

ANYWAYS.

The fun thing about going is that my sister occasionally picks fairly random songs.
Like FAME. That song is 30 damn years old. At least.
I really think she picks it because of the Debbie Allen quote:
“You’ve got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying … in sweat.”
(my sissie is better than yours so extra, y’all. I dunno where she gets it)

Why am I poking at my sister and her musical selections? Because it’s what I do. (Aside from praise. Apparently that’s also what I do. No? FINE).
So, anyways, Fame was on last night! Apparently Turner Classic Movie Channel is showing Oscar movies this month! In alphabetical order*
(Thanks Momo, for providing this very important information)

ALSO: Did you know that Irene Cara (Afro-Latina) helped make history at the Academy Awards the year Fame came out? it was the first time two songs from the same film were nominated in the same category and both sung by the same artist. AND. Cara had the opportunity to be one of the few singers to perform more than one song at the Oscar ceremony.

Well now you do.

See you tomorrow folks!

 

*In case you’re interested, tonight’s musical is 42nd street. You’re welcome!

At band camp I had to mail Spanky a package overseas (because she likes to wait until the last minute to tell me that she needs something and “could you please mail it to me, mommy, right now immediately?) and I worked a couple blocks from this janky ass post office (really it was just a counter and one grumpy dude with a scale, a cash register, and a bin to dump mail in, but whatever. I was really grateful because getting to the post office when you work where I work is HARD TO DO because they’re mostly closed by the time I get off work, so only having to walk a block or so on my lunch was clutch) and my co-worker asked me to pick her up some stamps. 100 of them. Because apparently she still REGULARLY mails things out. She gave me $40. Which SHOULD have been enough, but apparently stamps have gone up by A LOT. So I got her as much as $40 would get her and brought back change. I got her the most ridiculous stamps that they had because if you send me to do something you should expect that I’m going to find a way to embarrass you if at all possible, ESPECIALLY since they didn’t have any black history stamps which is basically what this whole rambling e-mail is about:

On April 7, 1940, the Post Office Department (POD) issued a stamp honoring African-American educator Booker T. Washington (founder of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, now called Tuskegee University, and former dinner guest of President Theodore Roosevelt) as part of its Famous Americans Series. He was the nation’s first stamp to honor an African American.

TA DAAAA!!!! Sometimes I keep it simple. But only because I’m busy and got too much to do to be writing long ass paragraphs before I get to my point.
SOMETIMES.

But. Because I care (and I hate the post office), I would like you to know that you can NOW make your OWN stamps. Of anything you like. Mailed directly to you. ORIGINALLY, I power puffed myself and I was gonna turn THAT into my stamp because LOOK. AT. IT.

power-puff-me

It’s so cute! It even has my kitty!

But then I remembered it’s Black History Month so I changed my mind:

blm-stamp

CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT STAMPS ARE 49 DAMN CENTS?!

But I hate the Patriots. HATE. Have ever since my time in Boston.

So, we can talk about other stuff about the Super Bowl.
Like that whole segment on HBCUs. Because WHAT?
I been watching plenty of Super Bowls since they moved it to make more money February and I don’t remember anything like this.
AND the cherry on top?
My sissie’s school (Tennessee State University) got mad love in that segment.
(For reals. I’m so glad she went to TSU)

But here’s the thing. I’ve already done some facts on some TSU Alumni.
Some non-famous ones, like this dude.
AND some famous ones like Orpah Winfrey. (NO, I didn’t misspell it, her mama did).
That one was long before I started being forced to blog them.
I been doing these for a surprisingly long time, you guys.
And every once in a while I learn something that I didn’t already know.
Okay, ALL the time. I do these facts randomly, so when I go looking I almost always find new information that I pass along to you.

EVENTUALLY.

FOR INSTANCE: Orpah is always billed as the first Black woman to have a talk show, which…NOPE*.
That person was Delloreese Early. Changed to Della Reese in the 1950’s.
(see? Finally got around to the fact)

Della Reese (born Delloreese Patricia Early – wow, that’s a mouthful. And probably what she said) is an American nightclub, jazz, gospel and pop singer, film and television actress, one-time talk-show hostess and ordained minister, whose career has spanned six decades.

Della was discovered by the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, and her big break came when she won a contest, which gave her a week to sing at Detroit’s well-known Flame Show Bar. In 1953, she signed a recording contract with Jubilee Records, for which she recorded six albums. Later that year, she also joined the Hawkins Orchestra. In 1957, Reese released a single called “And That Reminds Me.” After years of performing, she gained chart success with this song. It became a Top Twenty Pop hit and a million-seller record. That year, Reese was voted by Billboard, Cashbox and various other magazines, as “The Most Promising Singer.” Motown singer Martha Reeves cites Reese as a major influence and says she named her group The Vandellas after Van Dyke Street in Detroit and Della Reese. (Another thing I did not know)

In 1969, she began a transition into acting work which would eventually lead to her greatest fame. Her first attempt at television stardom was a talk show series, Della, which was cancelled after 197 episodes (June 9, 1969 – March 13, 1970). Then in 1970, Reese became the first black woman to guest host The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. She appeared in several TV movies and miniseries, was a regular on Chico and the Man and played the mother of B. A. Baracus in The A-Team (TV Show, not the movie), and in 1989 she starred alongside Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Arsenio Hall in the movie Harlem Nights, in which she performed my favorite part of this entire movie.

After the death of one of her BFF’s (Redd Foxx), she went on to be a lead character in Touched by an Angel in 1994, the show was cancelled in 2003, but it continued re-running heavily in syndication and on The Hallmark Channel. In 2014, she retired from acting after filming for the TV Series Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Touched by an Angel spinoff) and unlike Frederick Douglass is very much alive and living her life.

And that’s how I’m starting week two of Black History Month, by being petty about a Patriots win.

But if you really need me to say something nice about the Patriots, here it is: Martellus Bennett is NOT going to celebrate his win at the White House.

(boop. Still petty)

*Orpah WAS the first Black Woman to have a nationally syndicated talk show, doe. SO. She’s still got that #1 slot. Along with first black woman to own a billion (BILLION) dollar company. Woo!

Shaddup. I am too.

Anyways.

Did I ever tell you that Nesto tried to get me to join the Marine Corps? Because recruiters love it when you do their work for them and sucker one of your friends into joining with you on some buddy plan BS(plus I’m a black woman AND I took the ASVAB and as long as I didn’t wanna touch their planes I probably coulda wrote my own ticket), only:

  1. I’m hard headed and never would’ve made it1 through boot camp. #idowhatiwant
  2. I was pregnant with Adam.
  3. Honestly, I’m not crazy enough to have joined the Marine Corps. Yes. They are all crazy. All.
  4. IF I were go into the military, I would have chosen the Air Force.

And they woulda had to take me too, because…

On today’s date in 1981 (Nineteen hundred and eighty-one which is only 35 years ago), The Air Force Academy drops its ban on applicants with sickle cell trait.

I have no idea why this would be considered a Black History Fact. I’m sure it’s just coincidence that the sickle cell trait is most common among African Americans2.

Relatedly, or maybe not: Isn’t it interesting how you can discriminate against an entire people without ever specifically mentioning them?

Like say…banning a country’s citizens without EVER mentioning that the most people from that country practice specific religion?

And just like that, we’ve gotten through the first week of Black History Month! Happy Friday! See y’all on Monday!

  1. Doing what I want includes sticking random gospel songs in places you don’t expect. Jesus is everywhere, guys. Even in my BHFOTDs. But not boot camp. Boot camp is hell.
  2. As agreed comic sans = sarcasm font