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The Silver Lining Of Covid-19 Is Going Back To Basics

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

The world is in mourning and lockdown. There isn’t a decent human soul not feeling the pain and burden of the Coronavirus pandemic. And, you’re absolutely right. Donald Trump and his minions didn’t make the human decency list. They were too busy injecting bleach into their veins and feverishly working on anti-immigration policies with Steven “Gargamel” Miller to be considered. Unfortunately, this pandemic only represents an opportunity for this administration to force inhumane and un-American values down our throats and feeding into our unraveling as one nation beholden to certain unalienable rights. And it always works when people are living in fear and with a sense of uncertainty.

This collective hurt is monumental and crippling. One can only find a small piece of solace in the shared blow of losing loved ones, jobs and life’s basic rhythm. Most of us would give up all material possessions to reverse this mess we’re stewing in. But, there are silver linings in the dark skies if you look for them. Here are some examples: animals are venturing back into deserted towns, the environment is losing some of its human stain built up from thousands of years of our carbon footprints. Mountains are peaking through clouds to see the cause of the fresh air surrounding them. Recently jellyfish and pink dolphins were seen frolicking in clear boat canals in Venice. Grass is growing between Rome’s historic cobblestone roads again due to the decrease in human activity. Goats are showing off all over Europe, as they take advantage of their new strange world without people unfolding before their eyes. Scientists keeping watchful eyes on our ozone layer are reporting good news for Mother Earth. Pollution is down across the world. Families are rediscovering the value of their tribes and reconnecting in ways unheard of. Many are taking up hobbies and venturing into areas of their lives they only dreamed of exploring after retiring the human rat race. Streets all across the world are empty and people, despite the pandemic that stopped us in our ruthless track on Earth, are experiencing life in ways never imagined.

Although there’s nothing to celebrate about Covid-19, it’s important to focus on the light in the middle of this storm to get us all through it. We’re going back to the basics. And there’s never been more value in the basics now that it’s the only option for most of us. Cheap wine tastes better, cooking skills are improving, and even the way we’re taking in the arts is changing. Musicians and other artists from all walks of life are taking their skills to the internet to continue sharing their gifts with the world. We’re finding our way through this pandemic by embracing each other and the basics as never before. And that’s a beautiful silver lining in the midst of the dark cloud that is Coronavirus.

This pandemic is a test of our determination to improve our human activities, reverse our destructive behaviors and ultimately save the world and her inhabitants. And this load can’t be carried by the poor, middle class, the underserved and powerless alone. The powerful and rich elites among us must find their way back to a sense of humanity, and the basics too, by curbing their greed and instinct to take advantage of a bad situation. There is no planet B and so it behooves us all to take this moment, as tragic and painful as it is, to be better human beings. Not just at home, but everywhere we roam.

 

Anderson Cooper’s Faux Journalistic Push Of Las Vegas Mayor Is A Problem

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

This is not going to be a popular opinion. Most of us have already seen the disastrous interview between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Las Vegas Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, an independent politician in her seat since 2011. The title of the show down, “Anderson Cooper presses Las Vegas mayor over wish to reopen” gives you an idea of what’s to go down. Unfortunately, what is seen is Cooper using all his journalistic might to antagonize and corner the mayor into sound bite news that have taken on a life of their own. And, making matters worse like a bona fide snitch, Cooper brings his phony assertion of what he desperately tried to get out of the mayor’s mouth to her boss: the Governor on Nevada, Stephen F. Sisolak. He gave Cooper his next big ticket interview to ensure the people of his state that no one will be forced to kiss the Coronavirus like the mayor clearly suggested.

This display of so called journalism is exactly what’s wrong with the media today. You see, Cooper was not interested in informing people about Las Vegas’ plan to reopen after the Covid-19 shutdown, but to create havoc for ratings. Unfortunately, these attempts for high numbers only confuse and hurt the very people he’s pretending to work for. His behavior during the combative interview serves no useful purpose as far as public information is concerned. It’s certainly entertaining similar to YouTube videos that depict animals acting like humans, cats playing pianos or neighborhood brawls caught on camera. At the start of the video Cooper asks, “You assume everyone has the virus and is just asymptomatic. You want casinos open, Vegas back in business, is that a responsible call to make?” The mayor answers, “That wasn’t the call that I was really making. It was to get people back to work. We have so many in our hospitality crew. We’re 2.5 million people down here in Southern Nevada and we have so many out of work because of the casino shutdowns…” Goodman was then interrupted with Cooper’s laser-eyed death stare that showed his clear intent to take this woman to task using her own words against her. Never mind that she answered him clearly when first asked, that she was NOT calling for the city to open the next day, but expressing her desire to open her city sooner rather than later. Let’s not forget these are the same media tactics that have been used to demonize black people and even the continent of Africa, even to this day. “They take one little word out of what you say, ignore all the rest, and then begin to magnify it all over the world to make you look like what you actually aren’t,” Malcolm X said during a speech in Detroit the day after his house was firebombed by the Ku Klux Klan. He was talking about being condemned as a racist when he advocated for black people to fight back against their oppressors and lynchers.

Whether one agrees with her or not, Goodman does not have the authority to act unilaterally to reopen her city. And, frankly, she’s wrong to want to rush reopening during a pandemic, especially against the advice of health officials. But what makes Cooper the bad guy in this interview is his shameful and blatant attempt to bait Goodman into saying what he wants her to say, which can then be used as a weapon to further raise tensions in an already tense world. He brought fire and water to this interview and used each bucket for his needs; inflame, rescue. Cooper is an excellent journalist. I was incredibly proud of his powerful interview with former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich after his release from prison. He held him to account and didn’t let him get away with lying to the public, or even himself. It was epic. Unfortunately, that’s not what he did with his interview with Goodman. He cornered her, chastised and pushed her to perform exactly as he needed her to. And unfortunately, she did. How does this make us a better more informed society?  What did we get out of the interview? Absolutely nothing, other than a dose of reality TV that should have been titled: When Journalists Attack.

Media darlings like Cooper are known for their hard-hitting questions. He’s loved and valued for holding powerful people accountable. But who will hold the Anderson Coopers of the world accountable when they commit a foul? Take this similar circumstance out of the media arena and anyone with common sense would have stepped in to say, “Back off!” It’s important that in this era of Fake News that we take our time to really process the information we’re being served. We can no longer afford to take anyone’s word at face value, or depend on a headline for clues. The title for his combative and nasty exchange with Goodman suggests that he really did something to help The People stay informed, when in actuality, he exposed himself as part of the problem with today’s media business. I listened to the interview. I heard exactly what she said and tried to explain. I understood what she was trying to do; getting people quickly back into the swing of life again. I don’t agree with her. But I understood her position. There’s no fight here. Just Cooper yelling “Fire” in a crowded movie theater, while his camera crew film people’s reactions as they flee for the doors. Anderson Cooper’s interview with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is exactly what media manipulation looks like. And we must call it exactly what it is: Fake News.

Marking Earth Day In The Era Of Mass Industrialization And Global Disease

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

Can we love the Earth? That’s the fitting Socratic response to the famous soliloquy, “To be, or not to be” uttered by Hamlet so many moons ago. But yet, here we are playing the role of lover as we celebrate another Earth Day. A day of Man’s professed love and appreciation for the planet they inhabit. What a farce. Our illusion of self and our destruction of the planet knows no bound. And yet, here we are pretending to care about our only source of life while smoke billows behind us from massive machines and factories, inhabiting life next to pits steadily being dug deeper into the Earth’s crest in search of more riches for Richie Rich, while fracking is having a field day smashing through Mother Earth’s platelets. Happy Earth Day, fools!

Since 1970, at the height of the Vietnam War and two years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when certain people started to gain a level of conscientiousness of nature and its value, Earth Day became an annual celebration around the world to demonstrate love and support for the environment. I say certain people because indigenous and tribal peoples have always known and understood the value of nature. That’s why they respect Mother Earth and only take what they need. But not the rest of mankind with their unsatisfied appetite for the riches embedded in her bosoms.

During a webinar on Earth Day, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr. said, “Every day should be affirmed as Earth Day.” Dr. Chavis, Jr., an assistant to Dr. King, Jr. in his youth, coined the term “environmental racism” which is, “racial discrimination in the deliberated targeting of ethnic and minority communities for exposure to toxic and hazardous waste sites and facilities, coupled with the systematic exclusion of minorities in environmental policy making, enforcement, and remediation.” The civil rights movement and the environmental movement intersected during this era to combat the destruction of underserved and poor communities across the country and the world. And that fight is still ongoing as landfills, mine pits and fracking stations litter the places were only the poor call home. Dr. Chavis says this day is a time to be reminded of the oneness of humanity adding, “Earth Day is also liberation day.” He says, “The Earth needs to be liberated from all the climate change deniers and from all the polluters who are damaging and destroying the lives of millions of people.” He also points to Native Americans who have long worked to get their European conquerors to see value and affirm the sacredness of Mother Earth … of little, or no avail.

Human beings must resist the evils of environmental destruction or face extinction. It’s unimaginable witnessing the Coronavirus pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, in turn, clearing the polluted waters of Venice, encouraging wild animals out from hiding to venture into formerly crowded streets and towns. Even jellyfish and dolphins are floating through clear canals in Europe again. It took death by an unknown disease to resuscitate environmental life. Why must it take disease, death and destruction to curb our enthusiasm for pollution? Our carbon footprint is killing the only planet we have and yet we have the audacity to celebrate Earth Day like lunatics. Charles Simmons said, “No man has a right to do what he pleases, except when he please to do right.” It’s time to do right by Mother Earth. And an annual celebration marking our love for her won’t cut it. We must face the reality of the role each and every one of us plays in the destruction of the Earth and change. Or, we can keep the “party” going … while we can.

 

America Needed Bernie Like A Drowning Man Needs A Lifebuoy

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

A little birdie told us, but we didn’t listen. And now the gap to enter the portal to take us to the promised land Dr. King envisioned is permanently closed with the end of Senator Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. We may never get the chance to equal the playing field of our times because the political structure supported by both Republicans and Democrats benefits the status quo: the powerful against the powerless. And as the source of cheap labor that allows rich corporations to prolong their feeding frenzy on Wall Street, we might as well accept our fate as 21st century slaves.

As we journey along the COVID-19 highway of death, it’s important to take note of how inequality and racism will impact the response to this pandemic by simply paying attention to those who help, and those who help themselves. While government officials and lobbyist fight for their take of the $2.2 trillion relief aid, the first of several promised, essential workers and communities across America are pulling together to help each other, coming up with inventive ways to survive this pandemic, all while they continue to fill the belly of the beast with gold coins as “essential workers.” It has become more evident how profoundly dependent the rich are on working class and poor people. And all along, Sen. Sanders has been fighting for, and alongside us, to bring about the equality, reform and justice this country’s working-class people desperately need. I’m sorry we failed him, again.

Sen. Sanders was the “come to Jesus moment” we could’ve had. He defended our human rights, workers rights, access to healthcare and education, tirelessly working to usher in opportunities for common, hard-working folks to taste the fruits of their labor that, since Reaganomics, only the wealthy get to enjoy. Sanders was unsuccessful in his bid to unchain us from our economic bondage to our inhumane capitalism structure because the nation is suffering from Stockholm’s syndrome. Some lawmakers even have the audacity to argue against people making a living wage, while defending billion-dollar companies who don’t pay taxes and take American manufacturing jobs to desperately poor and suffering people in developing countries to squeeze all they can from an unsustainable global workforce model. Having your cake and eating it too is more than a proverb for having it all, it’s the reality of our capitalistic system coveted by the rich and powerful. And who gets saddled with the costs of being an American? Poor and working-class citizens that these corporations apparently can’t live without. There is no justice here, just us … 244 years later, still unable to right so many wrongs, especially now with the exit of our last hope, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

It seems as if no one paid attention when Sanders exposed Joe Biden as a fibber and a pawn in the scheme to tighten the grip on power of working class people during one of their debates over freezing government benefits for veterans and the needy. Last week, he was arguing on our behalf on the Senate floor, even shaming Republicans who fought to limit how much money poor people should get from the Coronavirus relief aid. The people of this country, especially those who could have directly benefited from a Sanders White House, clearly forgot who marched, picketed and got arrested along side them. And black leaders throwing their support behind Biden, the man who lied about being part of the black struggle on the front lines of the civil rights movement, the man who publicly shamed and dismissed Anita Hill, the man who helped usher in an era of mass incarceration of black people, is not just misguided and unfortunate, it’s evidence of their failures applying the lessons that come with American history. We aren’t just at war with the Coronavirus, we’re at war with ourselves.

I am reminded of the late brilliant Dr. John Henrik Clarke who said Democrats use black people as political playthings. He argued that black people must not be fooled into thinking that Democrats want to cultivate our strength as a people. He said, “It wasn’t meant to be. No one ever got the simple thing: people never educate you in the technique you can use to take their power away from them. See, education has but one honorable purpose, one alone, everything else is a waste of time. That is to train the student to be a responsible handler of power. No one ever wants us to be responsible handlers of power. It has nothing to do with political lines. The left doesn’t want us to be responsible no more than the right. But they want to dominate us in a different way from the right. And they think they can dominate us better. It’s an argument of not whether or not we will be free, but who will enslave us.”

With Biden as the clear Democratic nominee in this highly contentious presidential race, it’s apparent we are partly to blame for what is happening in the country. If this virus doesn’t kill all the voters among us, I hope it wakes us up to see who our allies are. Not just in words, but in deeds. James Baldwin asked the poignant and still relevant question worthy to be asked today: “how much time do you want for your progress?” And even the peaceful Dr. King talked about reaching the regrettable conclusion that black progress must heel to, “the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace, which is the absence of tension to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice.”

“We are the richest country in the history of the world. Every worker deserves a living wage, paid leave, health care, and a union—at all times, not just during crisis,” said Sanders. What a radical. We should all be grateful we dodged that bullet and stick to what we’ve become accustomed to; modern day slavery with a spoonful of freedom. Sarcasm aside, it’s time to wake up America. We need a lifebuoy. And Biden is not the candidate to ask for mouth to mouth resuscitation as we gasp for air. Despite how “articulate” he is.

Black Communities Will Bear The Brunt Of The Coronavirus Epidemic

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

From Anacostia to the Marshall Heights neighborhood and beyond, some Washingtonians have to find new ways to stay safe, active and mindful of the deadly virus buckling governments in every corner of the world. It’s no secret African Americans will bear the brunt of the coronavirus illness and lead the death toll despite making up only 14 percent of America’s population. ProPublica, The New York Times and other publications are already documenting the number of people dying from the airborne disease by race and class, and according to preliminary findings, the numbers are not looking good for black people.

“As of Friday morning, African Americans made up almost half of Milwaukee County’s 945 cases and 81% of its 27 deaths in a county whose population is 26% black. Milwaukee is one of the few places in the United States that is tracking the racial breakdown of people who have been infected by the novel coronavirus, offering a glimpse at the disproportionate destruction it is inflicting on black communities nationwide. In Michigan, where the state’s population is 14% black, African Americans made up 35% of cases and 40% of deaths as of Friday morning. Detroit, where a majority of residents are black, has emerged as a hot spot with a high death toll. As has New Orleans. Louisiana has not published case breakdowns by race, but 40% of the state’s deaths have happened in Orleans Parish, where the majority of residents are black,” stated the report by Talia Buford who covers disparities in environmental impacts for ProPublica.

Although a handful of states are keeping track of the disease’s impact, according to ProPublica, the CDC is not keeping track of deaths and infections by race. Thankfully, other institutions like hospitals and city health officials are. While many are running to the aid of hospital workers and other essential employees in the thick of this global crisis, it remains to be seen who will help black communities survive COVID-19.

A New Path For Becoming Mambo: Finding Africa In The Amazon

Editor’s Note: There’s good news and bad news to share. First, the good news … Becoming Mambo: Finding Africa in the Amazon will be published in the near future. The not so good news? Our goal was to release each chapter for weekend reading in an effort to share this incredible story of culture. However, due to interest in the book by a publisher, the rest of the story will no longer be featured here on ePluribus: America. Although this ends a wonderful chapter of quarantined reading, those interested in the rest of the story will be able to purchase the book in its entirety in the future. The author certainly deserves this opportunity to share his experience and stories of black people, including being compensated for his dedication, efforts and incredible hard work to bring this story to life. Please continue to support writers, artists and all those who make life worth living, thanks to their contributions to Culture, the Arts and Humanities.  As developments unfold, ePa will keep readers informed of the new path of Becoming Mambo: Finding Africa in the Amazon.  Thank you for your understanding and support.

 

Ti Mambo

How COVID-19 Is Unfolding The Mighty Eagle’s Paper Tiger Experiment

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Welcome to the new world brought to you by an invisible virus responsible for bringing countries to their knees, forcing people indoors or six feet apart in public to avoid being put six feet underground. We are at war with Coronavirus and the combatants are the common man against their governments and the wealthy corporations politicians are indebted to protect, first. History repeatedly proves gluttony for power and money comes with the license to govern. And it’s been long forewarned our planet has been churning to be in this exact position; a toxically divided space of rich and poor, weak and strong, environmentalists and climate science deniers, the sick and healthy, able and disabled bodies all in their respective corners holding onto the last threat of our common bond; humanity. We just lost our grip on sense and sensibility for fear of taking certain positions. As James Baldwin would put it, we are in the middle of a terrifying senility. To be black in America may be a terrible thing but worse is what America has done to itself as we stew in this disastrous Coronavirus vacuum due to lack of leadership and a firm commitment to human and civil rights.

The American illusion is comparative to a paper tiger. In theory, what this country imagines itself to be is certainly mighty, but tested, our vulnerabilities reveal otherwise. Public health crisis’s like Covid-19, SARS, Ebola and even the 1918 flu pandemic have consistently proven our dislocation to reality and full participation in democracy. As people drop dead without a cure or access to basic equipment and safety items like masks and gloves, Mitch McConnell and the GOP are fully engaged in lobbying on behalf of wealthy corporations and American elites to ensure they get first dibs at the Coronavirus Relief Act or The Cares Act. Unfortunately for those largely impacted by this pandemic, these greedy politicians’ only “Cares” are that the rich, once again, get to feed first from the government trough.

A recent article in The Atlantic, citing the Global Health Security Index—the issuing body of pandemic preparedness report cards for every country—found America holding the world’s highest score of 83.5 percent. So, how is the world’s valedictorian failing so miserably when millions of lives are at stake? Our country is deteriorating under bad management, racism and apathy. When basic human needs during a world crisis aren’t being met, it’s time to face the truth … American agony is American life.

Let’s do some unfolding. Schools are closed. Workers are laid off in mass numbers. Nurses are wearing trash bags to save lives. America doesn’t have enough gloves and face masks, or apparently the green light to mass produce them. We don’t have enough ventilators to help people breathe when they reach the peak of this respiratory disease. The bad blood between the President and journalists serves no good purpose, as their interactions continues to propagate global discontent. Trump is even accusing hospitals and governors of hoarding crucial supplies like masks and ventilators in an effort to smear him and his handling of the health crisis on our hands, surfaces and in droplets in the air. Don’t touch your face!

Honesty, decency, brains and basic trust in government left the White House with Obama, leaving us with a President only capable of passing out PTSD like the paper towels he enjoys throwing into crowds. There’s also the ever present media frenzy to capitalize on the business of tragedy, fueling hysteria and confusion among people they’re “informing.” Healthcare workers are dying from exposure and forced to work long hours to bridge the gap of America’s overburdened, underpaid and exhausted workforce. America needs more than a political revolution to reign in this chaos and breakdown in government. We need a moral and economic revolution to right their wrongs, because we have to exist more than to fill the interests of the rich. James Baldwin said, “Freedom is a dangerous thing but anything else is disastrous.” The sentiment touches the heart of this moment in our history. If our current response to the Coronavirus epidemic isn’t clear evidence we’re confronting it shaped like a paper tiger, the mighty Eagle will continue this trajectory of weakness and never find its way out of our idealistic labyrinth.

The Difference Between The Equinox And The Solstice

 

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

The first day of spring is marked by the spring equinox, which falls on March 19 this year. The equinox happens at the same moment worldwide, even though our clock times reflect a different time zone. 

WHAT HAPPENS ON THE MARCH EQUINOX?

On the March equinox, according to astronomers and even meteorologists the sun crosses the celestial equator from south to north. It’s called the “celestial equator”  because it’s an imaginary line in the sky above the earth’s equator. If you were standing on the equator, the sun would pass directly overhead on its way north.  Equinoxes are the only two times a year that the sun rises due east and sets due west for all of us on earth. While the sun passes overhead, the tilt of the earth is zero relative to the sun, which means that earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the sun. The earth never orbits upright, but is always tilted on its axis by about 23.5 degrees. After the spring equinox, the Northern Hemisphere tilts toward the sun, which is why we start to get longer, sunnier days.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the official first day of spring is March 1 and the last is May 31. Weather scientists divide the year into quarters to make it easier to compare seasonal and monthly statistics from one year to the next. The meteorological seasons are based on annual temperature cycles rather than on the position of earth in relation to the sun, and they more closely follow the Gregorian calendar. Using the dates of the astronomical equinoxes and solstices for the seasons presents a statistical problem, as these dates vary slightly each year. 

 

 

EQUINOX VS. SOLSTICE

An equinox is an event that happens twice a year. The word “equinox” comes from a Latin term meaning “equal night.” That’s because during an equinox, it’s believed that all areas of the earth’s surface experience an equal amount of daylight and darkness; 12 hours each.  In autumn, the equinox is in the northern hemisphere, and in spring, the equinox is in the southern hemisphere.  

A solstice also happens twice a year. The word “solstice” comes from the Latin word “sol” meaning sun, and “sistere” meaning to make stand. It describes the moment that the sun reaches its northern or southernmost point. More specifically, it occurs when the sun’s path is farthest from the equator. 

The biggest difference between the equinox and the solstice is that a solstice is the point during the earth’s orbit around the sun at which the sun is at its greatest distance from the equator, while during an equinox, it’s at the closest distance from the equator. Because of this, one solstice is an extremely long day, and the other is an extremely short day. Comparatively, during an equinox, the days and nights are equal lengths. 

Regardless of the difference, these moments represent the need for restoration and awakening. 

 

 

 

 

29 Facts Black People Should Know In Honor Of Black History Month

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

  1. The Thirteenth Amendment, (Amendment XIII) to the U.S. Constitution made slavery illegal. It was adopted on December 18, 1865.
  2. The 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.  It changed the legal status under federal law of more than 3.5 million enslaved African Americans.  
  3. Harriet Tubman used the Underground Railroad, a secret escape system, to lead hundreds of enslaved people to freedom. She was known as, “Moses of her People.”
  4. Alex Haley wrote the 1976 book, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family.”
  5. The initials NAACP stands for, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
  6. Carter G. Woodson is known as the Father of Black History. He worked tirelessly to establish Black History Month as a nationwide institution. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month.
  7. Opera singer Marian Anderson performed her famous 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial after the Daughters of the American Revolution barred her from singing in Washington D.C.’s Constitution Hall because she was black.
  8. The civil rights protests in the South in which blacks and whites rode together on buses were called Freedom Riders.
  9. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 declared that all people must be treated fairly no matter the color of their skin.
  10. On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man.
  11. The Tuskegee Airmen was an African American fighter pilot group formed during World War II.
  12. Explorer, Matthew Henson, is the first African American to reach the North Pole during his 1908–09 expedition to Greenland.
  13. Thomas Dorsey is considered the Father of Gospel music.  
  14. In 1993 for the induction of President Bill Clinton, Maya Angelou became the first woman and first African American to read a poem at a presidential inauguration.
  15. The Color Purple, a novel by author Alice Walker, earned her the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
  16. Brown v. Board of Education was the name of the Supreme Court case that opened all public schools to black students. The unanimous (9–0) decision was handed down on May 17, 1954.
  17. Charles Drew’s breakthrough work on blood storage and blood transfusions helped saved numerous lives during an era when blood transfusions were denied to black people. He also developed large-scale blood banks during World War II.
  18. Bessie Coleman was the first woman of African-American descent, and also the first of Native-American descent, to hold a pilot license. She was also the first black person to earn an international pilot’s license, which she obtained in France.
  19. Maggie Lena Walker was the first female bank founder and president in the U.S.
  20. Sidney Portiere was the first African American to earn an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie A Raisin in the Sun, a film adaptation of the play written by Civil Rights icon Lorraine Hansberry.
  21. Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to Congress.
  22. Mae Carol Jemison was the first black female NASA astronaut. 
  23. Louis Armstrong, one of the greatest Jazz musicians was nicknamed, “Satchmo.”
  24. Ralph Johnson Bunche, an American political scientist, academic, and diplomat received the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize for helping end the first Arab-Israeli War.
  25. Thurgood Marshall was the first African American Supreme Court Justice. He successfully argued several cases before the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board of Education.
  26. John H. Johnson created Jet Magazine in 1945.
  27. Lewis H. Latimer received a patent on his invention of a longer lasting light bulb in 1881. He made the light bulb more practical and contributed to the invention of the first telephone. Latimer drafted the drawings that Alexander Graham Bell used to patent the first telephone in 1876 and also worked for Thomas Edison.
  28. The tallest structure in DC, The Washington Monument built in 1884, is the oldest symbol of resurrection honoring the traditions of ancient Egypt. The original, (6000 years old) African structure was first created in Kemet, (ancient Egypt) to represent its founding Father, Assad. Today, the Monument is attributed to America’s founding father, George Washington, but its design was taken from Africans.
  29. Anthony Browder is an author, publisher and cultural historian. Browder, founder and director of IKG Cultural Resources, is leading the excavation and restoration of the 25th dynasty tomb of Karakhamun in Luxor, Egypt. He’s unraveling the thread of knowledge, connecting black people to their past, hidden in plain sight across America and especially in Washington, DC, in an effort to empower us with stories of our ancient past and contributions that continue to shape and impact the world today. Knowledge of self is love of self. Make every day a celebration of your black history.

10 Ways Trump Is Inadvertently Making America Be Best

By JEANETTE LENOIR

It’s true; America can’t escape the shame of Donald J. Trump. Like an unruly toddler, the 45th president of the United States is marking up the entire planet with a sharpie, as mother nature and most of her inhabitants tightly cross their fingers hoping he’s not using the permanent kind. Nonetheless, it befits us to see the silver lining in our current affairs at the mercy of our Emperor. So, here are ten ways Trump has inadvertently made us a better country:

  1. A Collective Rejection. Even before taking office, Trump forced Americans from all walks of life to reject him and his brand of politics. His birtherism rhetoric targeting former President Barack Obama, his unapologetic prejudice during his testimony in congress concerning Native Americans and his casinos, accusing a Judge for being unable to be impartial because he’s “Mexican,” discriminating against black renters, the Central Park Five case, mocking people with disabilities, boasting of getting away with murder on 5th Ave and grabbing women by the genitals will forever stain the path toward our nations ideals. Nonetheless, Trump forced Americans to stop and look in the mirror to bear witness to what he inadvertently exposed of us. And that is: our freedom is an allusion, economic and otherwise, and racism is still an institutionalized and structural anomaly.The Klu Klux Klan, today with gnashed gums, have risen from our cultural graveyard where they’ve existed as our haunting ghosts, and exposed their secret operation within our entire system of governance and social structure. Nazi’s and emboldened white supremacists, and other hate groups have taken comfort among us. And Russia’s involvement in our political system was not just telling of our vulnerabilities, but also the problem with career politicians and the pay to play operation of congress. The silver lining, you ask. Thanks to Trump being “Trumpy,” he unintentionally helped usher in movements like The Resistance, Women’s March, March For Our Lives, No Muslim Ban Ever, Stop Trump Movement, Need To Impeach, Impeach Donald Trump Now, Organize Against Trump, Indivisible, The New Civil Rights Movement … the list goes on and on. Trump has galvanized and empowered average Americans to rise in defense of the ideals and promise of this country. And that makes America better. 
  2. Exposing Democratic Vulnerabilities. Another important change 45 ushered in takes direct aim at the Democratic Party. Trump exposed a painful truth about the Party, and that is its ineffectiveness, and disregard of the overall sentiments on issues concerning immigration, healthcare and education. Also, the DNC’s lack of accountability for a flawed system fashioned by Clinton Democrats that created the effect that led to Trump. And taking African Americans and other people of color for granted through their use of transactional politics verses relationship politics. The lack of investment in organizing and investing in communities across the country, and not building on the success of Obama’s presidency after more than twenty years of a Republican majority in congress is evident in the ROI outcome; President Trump. Trump, riding his horse to the old white house, weakened the Democratic Party on the way and forced liberal and middle of the road Americans, high on Obama’s legacy, to see our democracy as it really was; flawed and ill-prepared to stop Trump, the GOP and Russia. The three allies are still swinging to the tune of Old Town Road, as they ride to systematically dismantle Obama’s legacy. Trump killed our Barry buzz, man! But he also woke the Democratic Party up, galvanizing leadership to refocus, listen to and invest in the American people and work to resuscitate our collective humanity. After all, raising our collective conscientiousness and civility can only make America better. 
  3. The Era of Social Media Governing. It’s no secret that our president is always plugged in, leading our nation with tweets, hashtags and emoji’s, and even using his social media platform to antagonize everyone he disagrees with. This includes his flippant involvement in highly sensitive foreign relations matters. The world is changing at a rapid pace thanks to the internet and technology. And Trump has jumped on this band wagon, disregarding long standing practices by applying his own brand of boorish engagement. Trump uses social media to mock and threaten hostile nations like North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran, while FLOTUS Melania Trump struggles to make sense of her Be Best campaign to stop cyber bullying. There’s no telling if Trump will abuse the FCC emergency alert system to mass text the U.S. like an unwanted booty call. And it’s arguably only a matter of time before he starts using AI to project himself across our skies in hologram form as Trumpzilla to boost his bloated ego. The silver lining here is a folklore befitting of an Anansi tale. If one is unwise, they will use social media like Trump does, if one is wise, they will not. Thus, canceling Trump makes America better. 
  4. A Renewed Civil Rights Movement. Despite the many movements that have brought us out of our shameful past into the 21st century, Trump, in his relatively short time as President Twitter Fingers, has forced us to take a harder look at the progress of human rights in America. As a nation, Trump reminds us of how comfortable we’ve become at accepting bits of progress to pull African Americans out of the pit they were shoved in after emancipation and expected to climb out of by sheer will and some magical bootstraps. Even though they were dumped into this metaphorical pit without boots after creating massive wealth for a country that enjoys world superpower status today. Trump’s brand of politics has forced our nation’s leaders to seriously address, not only the current state of racism and discrimination in America, but its influence embedded in workplaces, schools, our government, law enforcement, the justice system and other institutions in the country. Indifference of racism was becoming the norm, especially after the election of Obama. In some circles, the mere mention of racism, pointing it out or boldly expecting equality, was met with flippancy and an attitude of disdain and even disgust. Those who turned a blind eye to the reality of racism in America readily used phrases like, “pulling the race card” or “race baiting” to delegitimize or downplay the truth of discrimination and racism. This moment is a significant turning point in the struggle for equality and justice. The deep pain of racism is being acknowledged by more people because of Trump’s character. It is steadily paving a way for a renewed and emboldened civil rights movement in the country. And for that, Trump is making America better. 
  5. Women and Minority Office Holders. Katie Hill may be exiting stage left after a sex scandal, but there are more women office holders in America today, especially in congress. Women make up 24.16 percent of the 116th Congress, an increase of 2.36 percent since the election of Donald Trump, and there’s also been an increase in racial and ethnic diversity among elected officials. It’s safe to say many ran for office to protect the country from Trump and his ilk; out of touch elites, and the heartless Grand Old Party, better known as RxNRA, I mean, the GOP. Gil Cisneros, a proud Latino and new Congressman from California was galvanized to serve in congress after his predecessor voted against Obamacare. Cisneros ran for office even after winning a $266 million lottery jackpot that could have easily afforded him anonymity. And for that, the country is better off. And not just at being more inclusive of the people that make up our identity, but to regard the lessons from our past. Never forget, ignoring red flags is what led to Bush ’41 being asleep at the wheel. 
  6. Noticing The Red Flags. Trump could easily be our second 9/11 moment if we don’t heed the deafening warning signs and see the man in the mirror for what he is; a bona fide threat. It’s hard to admit that the orange fat man is us, but he is. And Trump has no interest in learning how to land either. The president of the United States cancelled a meeting with the Taliban at Camp David three days before the anniversary of 9/11. Reread the last sentence. Welcome to the Twilight Zone. He’s using military dollars to build the wall he shamefully boasted Mexico would pay for and making appearances at rally’s threatening to stay in office longer than the Constitution allows. It’s simply unreal this is our current trajectory as a country. If the 45th G7 summit held in France didn’t give you a clue about our global economic standing, you’re either Diamond or Silk planning to attend the next G7 summit at Doral. Trump appointed all his key players, I mean his best people, to hold high office in his Administration; a handful of individuals worth billions in a country where over half the population is experiences some level of poverty. He’s leapfrogging us into the greedy hands of corporations only interested in their bottom line. The wheels are hard turning toward an inhumane direction the country hasn’t seen since the first American slave ship, the Desire, set sail from Marblehead. Trump gets credit for driving us into a ditch. Will it make America better? Yes. If we fire him, get out of the ditch and work toward a more just Republic. 
  7. The NFL Culture. Trump brought to the surface the ugly truth about the NFL and its longstanding colonial system, including its ever-successful divide and conquer strategy that snagged the voracious snakehead, Jay-Z. Hook, line and sinker. How many black NFL team owners do you know of? Me either. And, it wasn’t that long ago when the president was disparaging NFL athletes, calling a league of mostly black athletes “bastards” and condemning the peaceful and just police brutality protest started by Colin Kaepernick. The president and his supporters’ efforts to turn the aim of the protest into an attack on the flag and law enforcement is disturbingly telling of the harsh truth many don’t want to accept; America is overwhelmingly controlled by a government deeply invested in solidifying and advancing white dominance and white prosperity. The NFL is symbolic of this truth like Obama and Trump are symbolic of the reality of being black or white in America. But change is inevitable, and although the entire Trump family are representative of the sickness infecting our collective humanity, they’re also a reason to hope, because it’s not despair that make successful revolutions as the anti-Trump one seems to prove.  Hope makes America better. 
  8. The Chest Game. The NRA and wealthy corporations’ choke hold on congress is maddening to comprehend in a “Woke” world. Tragedy after tragedy and congress still can’t pry the tight grip of the gun lobby from its neck. It’s no secret they have a running tab that pays for numerous elected officials like Ted Cruz and Marsha Blackburn to occupy powerful Senate seats. In turn, those feeding at the trough are helping the powerful gun group maintain the status quo on gun laws, blaming the mentally ill for mass shootings all while making money selling their precious guns under the guise of shielding The Second Amendment. The winning move on the board should be sensible and modern gun laws that won’t infringe on a person’s right to bear arms. Trump’s lust for a more white dominant country, a romantic and nostalgic throwback of the past when elites lived comfortably above the laws they wrote, is perhaps why the president and the GOP have shamefully put Party over country by co-signing his behavior and the complete debauchery that his administration represents. Trump ushered in this unfortunate truth and for that, we’re certainly better off knowing the real devil this country is up against is structural racism and a corporate run government. 
  9. The Big Money Grab. Yes, it’s still shamelessly underway since this administration took root. From Ivanka’s Chinese trademarks, billionaire Betsy Devos’s disregard for realistic education standards and needs, to Mnuchin and his wife sycophantic gripping of an enlarged image of the all mighty dollar. This white house loves capitalism and wealth so much, they’ve become experts at spending our tax dollars to enrich themselves. During his last visit to congress Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, was grilled on his knowledge of some backroom dealings involving Senator Mitch McConnell and the second largest aluminum company in the world, RUSAL, owned by Russian tycoon, Oleg Deripaska. Mnuchin denied giving preferential treatment to the company after lifting sanctions 8 months after they were imposed. Coincidentally, and shortly after, RUSAL announced it was investing $200 million into a project in Kentucky. Deripaska is detailed in the Mueller report to have dealings with Paul Manafort who is now in jail. Shirley Graham Du Bois once said that if a country’s economy is controlled by outsiders, it cannot claim to be an independent state, no matter how many national anthems and flags it has. Trump exposed our delusion of economic freedom. From the threat of a recession to our trade war with China, the aftermath of which is still building up like a tsunami for American farmers, we can congratulate Trump’s recklessness for bringing attention to his Administrations’ handling of international trade, and their collusion with Putin to advance his interests in the U.S. Nonetheless, evidence of Trump’s crimes and collusion is half the battle, and impeachment makes clear that America is better than Trump. 
  10. Risking the Intelligence Community. Exposing our intelligence community’s paranoia and dysfunction, even amongst themselves, has dampened the mood in the country like a heavy, rain soaked medieval cloak. From the Clinton email scandal to the Mueller investigation, we’ve uncovered a trove of misconducts, overlooked outrageous and predatory practices from Trump, his brand, his family and now, his Administration. The president and his Attorney General, William Barr, are working to overturn Mueller’s investigation findings. Evidently, they’ve been on a world tour asking foreign governments for help investigating the FBI and CIA. Our intelligence service is under scrutiny from within, showcasing deep divisions and distrust amongst our highest ranked. These are ever changing times, indeed. Today, the world belongs to those who stand to lose it tomorrow. And like Jim Thorpe, we have to do something about it now, regardless of what stands in the way. Thorpe, the first Native American to win a U.S. gold medal despite the obstacles he faced, embodied the spirit of what truly makes America great. And although Trump is the antithesis of this holy Sa ki wa ki man, he serves as a reminder of what America can’t afford to see; a hateful orange fat man in the mirror. And that makes America … Be Best? Don’t try to blame that on the young. It’s time for all of us to be better and the Trump clan is mnemonic of that.