Saturday, February 22, 2020

Frances E. W. Harper - Journey Through Blackness

“We want more soul, a higher cultivation of all spiritual faculties. We need more unselfishness, earnestness, and integrity. We need men and women whose hearts are the homes of high and lofty enthusiasm and a noble devotion to the cause of emancipation, who are ready and willing to lay time, talent, and money on the altar of universal freedom.” --Frances E.W. Harper, The Anglo-African Magazine, 1859 

Echoing the truth
Across centuries that we
Are "bound together."

Frances E.W. Harper
(b. September 25, 1825 - d. February 22, 1911)

Abolitionist, feminist, poet, essayist, and novelist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper was the author of the first short story published by an African American. The Two Offers was published in 1859 in the Anglo-African. Just click on the links below to read the short story, as well as important poems and essays by Harper.

“The Two Offers” (1859)

Poems by Frances E.W. Harper

Speeches by Frances E.W. Harper

Friday, February 21, 2020

Malcolm X - Journey Through Blackness

Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. I would urge folks to watch the new documentary, Who Killed Malcolm X?, now showing on Netflix. It is an absorbing, 6-part series that has raised enough questions to prompt a new look at the case by the Manhattan district attorney. Click here for an article on the series.

Malcolm X proved that
Intellect is a potent
And lasting resource.

Malcolm X
(b. May 19, 1925 - d. February 21, 1965)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Frederick Douglass - Journey Through Blackness

Frederick Douglass, born ca. 1818, d. February 20, 1895.


If we must speak of heroes
Let us remember Douglass
Abolition’s soul.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Performing "Race" - Juanita Hall - Journey Through Blackness

Several years ago, I started posting images of prominent African American artists (writers, performers, dancers, painters, sculptors, etc.) from the Van Vechten archive at Yale University. Many of the portraits were newly digitized back then, so they had not been seen in volume prior to that time. For Black History Month, I thought I would revisit some of these images. This first one is of Juanita Hall, a New Jersey native and musical performer perhaps best known for her portrayal of "Bloody Mary" in Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific. I would suggest readers check out more on Hall and some of the other African American figures that I will be posting images of over the next few weeks.

“South Pacific” and/
The racial implications/
Of “Bloody Mary.” 

Juanita Hall (1901-1968), by Van Vechten, 1953.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Frances Harper & Camden Slave Auction - Journey Through Blackness

Last month, my Journey Through Blackness took me to Frances Harper's house in Philadelphia, and then to Eden Cemetery where she is buried. The cemetery was closed, so I will have to go back on another day. 

Today's Journey through Blackness culminated at Cooper’s Point Ferry (pictured below) on Camden's waterfront, which has now been marked as one of three slave auction sites. New Jersey was the last northern state to end slavery. It's right in front of the aquarium, at the intersection of Delaware and Federal.

Friday, February 7, 2020

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - We're In This, Together!

Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, held annually on February 7. This year's theme is “We're In This, Together.” Here in the United States, even as we have seen some decreases, the statistics remain alarming for African Americans. Black people continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, and today is a day that we can use to talk about HIV/AIDS. Click here for the black awareness day home page: NBHAAD

As noted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2018, blacks/African Americans accounted for 13% of the U.S. population but 42% of the 37,832 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas.” Click here for the Centers for Disease Control's most recent statistics on the HIV rates in the black community: HIV and African Americans

So please use this awareness day (but not only this day!) to encourage folks to get tested. There are testing sites in Union County and throughout the state--here are just a few--click on the organization name to be taken to its website: 

Hyacinth AIDS Foundation 107 Park Avenue, 3rd Floor in Plainfield: 908-755-0021
Iris House 630 E. Front Street, Ste. 100 in Plainfield: 908-561-5057
Planned Parenthood/HIV Testing Elizabeth 1171 Elizabeth Avenue in Elizabeth: 908-351-5384
Proceed, Inc. 1126 Dickinson Street in Elizabeth: 908-351-7727

Click on the link below for a comprehensive list of sites in the area and in other communities:

Note: Cross-posted on both blogs.