Black History

Summer Evans

It's Juneteenth, also known as "Freedom Day"  — commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. It was on June 19, 1865, when union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce slavery had been abolished. That was two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation of Proclamation.

On Second Thought looked at Juneteenth traditions and history with Daina Ramey Berry. Berry is professor of history and African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She's also author of four books that detail the history of slavery, including "The Price for Their Pound of Flesh."


Credit: George Fadil Muhammad

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the official end of slavery in the U.S. in 1865, more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced the end of the American Civil War to the last group of enslaved people in the country.

The day itself is June 19, but celebrations kick off across Georgia this weekend, from big festivals to more intimate evening conversations.


A'Lelia Bundles

Madam C.J. Walker died 100 years ago this month.

In the early 20th century, she cemented her legacy by creating a hair salve designed for African American women. Her contributions to black beauty products are still felt in Georgia and across the country. 

GPB's Morning Edition host Leah Fleming spoke with Walker's great-granddaughter, A'lelia Bundles. Bundles is also a black hair and journalist. 


COURTESY YALE LAW SCHOOL/HENRY HOLT AND CO.

Eunice Hunton Carter was New York's first African-American assistant district attorney. The Atlanta native was the granddaughter of slaves, and now her grandson, Stephen Carter, is bringing her story to light. 

Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster tells the story of Eunice, the black woman and prosecutor who helped take down Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Eunice was born in Atlanta during a time when race riots were on the rise in the city. Her family eventually moved to Brooklyn in 1906. By 1936, Eunice found evidence linking organized crime to Luciano. On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott spoke with Eunice's grandson Stephen about his family's history. 


Courtesy of Karen Lawson

Before Atari, Nintendo and PlayStation there was Fairchild Channel F. The 1976 model heralded an innovation that changed the gaming industry forever: interchangeable cartridges for consumer gaming consoles. The literal game changer was the brainchild of Jerry Lawson. 

Over two rainy days in Savannah, 436 people were listed for sale to pay off the debts of the man who owned them. The 1859 event, now known as the “Weeping Time,” was the largest sale of enslaved people in American history.

This weekend, the Georgia Historical Society remembers with events in coastal Georgia.

I spoke with Weeping Time historian Dr. Kwesi DeGraft-Hanson to learn more.


wikipedia

When you hear the name Rosa Parks, you probably flash back to your black history month education.

 

She's often credited as the woman who refused to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, leading to a series of boycotts.

But before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin.  

 

 


Black Girls Golf Is Leveling The Playing Field In Georgia

Feb 27, 2019
Kim Burrows / BlackGirlsGolf.net

Tiffany Fitzgerald worked in the same Atlanta-based corporate office for two years before she realized colleagues didn’t know her name. As the only African-American woman in her department, colleagues just referred to as the “black girl in marketing.”

The moniker worked, until the department hired another black woman.

It was then Fitzgerald realized she was indecipherable from a woman she didn’t even resemble. She realized she was invisible — and, to her shock, had been the entire time.

La'Raven Taylor/GPB

The Super Soaker toy gun was on the top of nearly every kid's wish list in the '90s, and it made summer heat a literal blast. The game-changing toy has racked up more than $1-billion in sales. It was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2015. 

The man who invented the Super Soaker is Lonnie Johnson. While the toy water gun may be Johnson's most widely known invention among consumers, he has made contributions to the world of nuclear and mechanical engineering far beyond pump action toy. 


As you look back over the black history education you received in your childhood, you definitely heard about Dr. Martin Luther King and his movement of non-violent protest.  

 

 

But that wasn't case for every freedom fighter during the civil rights movement. Instead of turning the other cheek, some people were hiding guns in the countryside in case they had to literally shoot back.

 

 


Courtesy of AP Images

In 1832, playwright and peformer Thomas Dartmouth Rice used theatrical make-up to create a supposedly black character. The character's name was Jim Crow. That name later came to represent a system of extra-judicial terror and racial segregation laws that ended in 1965, but the recent political crisis in Virginia shows dressing up in blackface did not.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

Andrea Lewis said that, as a pilot, her favorite part of flying is actually putting the aircraft back on the ground.

“I love just being able to travel,” Lewis said. “Basically with the Georgia Air National Guard I've been able to travel around the world in this jet.”

Courtesy of AP Images

A new radio documentary will highlight the roots of gospel music during Black History Month. The four-part documentary is called "Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul," and Grammy Award-winning gospel musician, Cece Winans will host the program. 

Bob Marovich is a historian and founder of the Journal of Gospel Music. He spoke with "On Second Thought" host Virginia Prescott about his contributions to the project. Marovich also told how Rosetta Tharpe, Aretha Franklin and Chance the Rapper have all incorporated praise music into hip-hop and rhythm and blues.


Youtube

Former Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams became the first African-American woman to deliver a response to the State of the Union Tuesday night.

Luis Sandoval, Simon David

An upcoming documentary aims to highlight Atlanta soul musician Lee Moses for a new era. The documentary, "Time and Place," focuses on Moses' life and the soul scene in Atlanta during the 1970s. The documentary takes its name from Moses' solo album. The album has become a staple of Southern soul despite not finding commercial success when it was released. 

 

Filmmaker Simon David stopped by "On Second Thought" to discuss the documentary and how it traces Atlanta's soul scene through those who remember it. Doris Moses, Lee Moses' widow, also joined the conversation.

 

wikipedia.commons

One night in 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was visiting his family in Mississippi when he was kidnapped by a gang of white men and killed after he whistled at a white woman in a grocery store.

 

The two men behind the crime were eventually acquitted by an all-white jury.

But the pictures of Emmett Till’s body during his open-casket funeral sparked outrage across the country and fueled the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s.

 

 


Courtesy of Tom Roche/"Alley Pat: The Music is Recorded"

“On Second Thought” began celebrating Black History Month by learning about the man who was nicknamed the “Mouth of the South,” James “Alley Pat” Patrick. Atlantans heard the disc jockey in 1949 on the city’s first black-owned radio station, WERD. Patrick was born on Dec. 2, 1919, in Montezuma, Georgia. His radio career began in 1951 at WERD.  

In addition to hosting a radio show, Patrick was instrumental in the Civil Rights movement. He was friends with activists and leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams and Andrew Young. Patrick was also known as a bail bondsman, as he bailed out activists from jail during the 1960s.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louise_Shropshire#/media/File:Louise_Shropshire_1.jpg
Robert Anthony Goins Shropshire / wikipedia.commons

On Monday, the nation will honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

But today, we remember the woman who inspired one of the most powerful protest anthems of the Civil Rights movement.

  


Michael W. Twitty/@KosherSoul / Twitter

Culinary historian Michael Twitty traces his ancestry through food in "The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South." The memoir won the 2018 James Beard Foundation's Award for Book of the Year. In it, Twitty explores the complex question of who owns Southern food.

 

GPB's Tony Harris spoke with Twitty about why he wanted to wrestle with that question and his passion for food justice.

 

Zora Neale Hurston, the celebrated Harlem Renaissance writer and anthropologist, has a new bestseller out nearly 60 years after her death. She wrote "Barracoon: The Story of The Last 'Black Cargo'" almost a century ago. It’s the nonfiction story of Oluale Kossola, the last survivor of the African slave trade in the United States. Kossola was sold into slavery and taken from West Africa when he was 19.


Courtesy Chelsea Green Publishing

In 1920, African-American farmers owned 14 percent of all American farmland. Today, 45,000 black growers own just two percent of that land and the vast majority of them live in the South, according to census data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A new book encourages a new generation of black farmers and places ownership of land and production of healthy food squarely on the path of self-determination for people of color. Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm and author of "Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land," joined "On Second Thought" for a conversation about farming and food justice.


Rosa Duffy / ForKeepsBooks Instagram

For Keeps, a shop for rare and classic black books, recently opened on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. Owner Rosa Duffy wants to make the shop a community space to explore the history of black literature and publishing.

"Atlanta already has a sense of appreciation for their blackness. We already have a huge community here," said Duffy. "So I feel very humbled and honored to be on Auburn Avenue, which has such a history behind it."

She stopped by "On Second Thought" to discuss her parents' influence on her reading and the process of opening a used bookstore in the city.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

When his sons were still in school, Macon artist Charvis Harrell says he was always frustrated by the lack of Black history in their history classes.  

 

“You know, it's just pick cotton and Martin Luther King,” Harrell said. “In between that time nothing else ever happened, you know?” 

 

Which Harrell knew wasn't true. So he made art inspired by overlooked history to keep around the house. The idea was to get his sons thinking, talking and questioning. 

 

In his show “Monuments For Heroes Which Have None” at the Mill Hill Community Center in Macon, Harrell does the same thing for the rest of us. 

 

 

Joe Jackson

When Joe Jackson started working for Delta Airlines in 1968, he didn't realize he would become the first black flight dispatcher in Atlanta. Jackson's Delta career started in Miami where he entered the field as a ramp agent.


Courtesy Kentucky National Guard

World War I, which ended with an armistice agreement 100 years ago, transformed life in the United States. The "war to end all wars" also introduced a new chapter in African-Americans' fight for equal rights. About one million African-Americans registered for the draft and nearly 370,000 African-Americans enlisted in the U.S. military during World War I. Along with the activist W.E.B. Du Bois, many of those who served hoped that a war fought in the name of democracy would, at its end, make American society truly democratic as well.

David Davis, a professor of English at Mercer University, spoke with us about the atmosphere African-Americans met overseas in the war and the environment to which they returned after the armistice. 


Credit: Jekyll Island Georgia

A slave ship known as "The Wanderer" landed off Georgia's coast at Jekyll Island just 50 years after U.S. law banned the importation of slaves. Its inhumane and horrendous journey contributed to the origin story of Georgia's Gullah Geechee community.


Courtesy Yale Law School/Henry Holt and Co.

Eunice Hunton Carter was New York's first African-American assistant district attorney. The Atlanta native was the granddaughter of slaves, and now her grandson, Stephen Carter, is bringing her story to light. 


Stephen Fowler / GPB News

“The consequences of any of us staying home really are profound, because America is at a crossroads."

That was the message from former President Barack Obama, who campaigned at a historically black college for Democrat Stacey Abrams, who could become the country’s first black female governor.

Mary Frances Early UGA Black African-American Graduate
University of Georgia / Twitter

The first class of women graduated from the University of Georgia in 1918, one hundred years ago. Their resiliency changed higher education, but they were segregated.

 

UGA admitted the first black woman, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, in 1961. She inspired Mary Frances Early to attend the school a year later, and Early became the first black UGA graduate. She graduated in 1962 with a master's degree in music education.

 

We spoke to her about the barriers she faced in admission, the isolation of being the only black student on campus, and the way her legacy inspires students today.

 


Rene Perez / Associated Press

Christina Ham's play "Nina Simone: Four Women" follows the activism and creative legacy of the fiercely talented Nina Simone.

 

The woman known as "The High Priestess of Soul" aspired to be America's first black classical pianist, and left a lasting impression on music that resonates today.

 

We spoke with director Michele Shay and actors Adrienne Reynolds, Wendy Fox-Williams, Jordan Frazier, and Regina Marie Williams on the way the characters each represent a different aspect of Simone's life.

 


Pages