The Desk Annex -  In Honor of Black History Month (4569 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/9/18 2:33 AM 
To: All  (4 of 40) 
 4286.4 in reply to 4286.3 

There are several versions of the history of the Underground Railroad. There are two children's versions. The information is good, though a bit superficial. Another page that seems to be geared toward even younger children is useful because of the images it provides, an audio clip, and a brief quiz at the bottom of the page.

But what happened to Harriet Tubman? She is given credit for helping free 300 slaves out of the 100,000 who are said to have escaped. Who were the other conductors and what happened to them?

Ever wonder about the lyrics in some of the songs and spirituals sung in church? The section called "Interesting Facts About the Underground Railroad" from the Kids History page should help. I especially like the suggested activities the page offers for learning more and appreciate the subject.

An excerpt from that page provides information about the code words used in not only the quilts but also the songs, words such as:

Words, Signs and Symbols - Meaning and Definition

Canaan - Canaan was a biblical term used to mean Canada
Heaven - The word used to describe the destination of a fugitive, usually referring to Canada

Preachers - Abolitionists or leaders of the "Underground Railroad"
River Jordan - The secret code word for the Ohio River

Shepherds - Shepherds were alternative names for Conductors meaning those who guided fugitive slaves between safe houses
Moses - Moses was the code name of Harriet Tubman, the most famous conductor

Gospel Songs - Gospel songs like "Steal away, steal away, steal away to Jesus", "Swing low, sweet chariot" and "Wade in the Water" were used to indicate that an escape plan was about to be carried out or give reminders to use water to travel by. The song "Follow the Drinking Gourd" was a reminder to follow the North Star - as this would always lead the way to freedom

Words, Signs and Symbols - Meaning and Definition

Underground Railroad Symbols for kids - Religious

Underground Railroad Symbols: Other Code words and phrases
Other secret words, phrases and symbols relating to the "Underground Railroad" were also used to extend the vocabulary of the network as follows:

Underground Railroad Symbols and Phrases

History Net is also replete with information about the Underground Railroad. Another excellent resource is PBS's page.

There was a methodology and meaning in the quilt patterns along the Underground Railroad. Learn a little about them. (opens as a Google Doc) National Geographic is a bit skeptical about this but provide information about the practice. Do any of your quilts have these patterns? The codes were many but useful for those who were not allowed to learn to read or write formal language. And then there's a history of the quilts.

There are several other pages of interest that are PDFs. I'll attempt to share the references here:

A timeline of the African American history can be found on Black Past's pages. The Constitutional Rights Foundation also captures an overview of the history. Seldom discussed, Marcus Garvey is one of the figures discussed on the CRF page. Why seldom discussed? Because he supported separation of the races rather than integration. Find out why.

While we're talking about notable people, visit United States History. It even has quizzes and a great glossary.

Would you like a
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  • Edited January 29, 2018 4:37 pm  by  Entrances
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From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/9/18 8:02 PM 
To: All  (5 of 40) 
 4286.5 in reply to 4286.4 

What do you know about the NAACP? Do you believe it's been effective in addressing its targeted issues and achieving its goals? Perhaps a member of the organization is in your sphere of colleagues or leadership where you work.

Perhaps you can name the founders of the organization or discuss why it was born.


From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/10/18 3:05 PM 
To: All  (6 of 40) 
 4286.6 in reply to 4286.5 

What do you know about Carter Woodson? Why is he so important? The NAACP has an inspiring description of the man and his beliefs. A search on Google turns up inspiring accounts of the man and his accomplishments. Unfortunately, they are rather repetitive, that is, they repeat the same story. However, one enjoyable discovery was the fact that there is now a museum dedicated to the man and his work. The question that comes into my mind, in this regard, is how the Woodson Museum differs from the National Museum of African American Culture and History that recently opened in Washington, D.C.

You may be interested in what The Freeman Institute has to say about Woodson's accomplishments:

Who was Dr. Carter G. Woodson?

  • Launched Negro History Week in 1926, chosen in the second week of February between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, which evolved into Black History Month in 1976

  • Known for writing the contributions of black Americans into the national spotlight, received a Ph.D at Harvard University

  • Founded the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History in 1915, founded the Journal of Negro History in 1916

  • Author of the book, "The Miseducation of the Negro", published in 1933


Carter G. Woodson. (Credit: Library of Congress)
Image from

National Museum of African American History and Culture. Image available from


  • Edited January 10, 2018 8:39 pm  by  Entrances

From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/14/18 4:16 PM 
To: All  (7 of 40) 
 4286.7 in reply to 4286.6 

There are concepts that gave rise to many parts of the Negro experience, and therefore the Civil Rights Movement. Which concepts? Things such as

In many instances, there was no right to pursue inclusion in certain places. Therefore, there were things such as "Colored Entrance". Sometimes there was no entrance at all; remember the days of no ramps on which wheelchairs could easily be navigated, just stairs. In other situations, one needed permission to even consider aspiring to doing something.

There was an assumption that if you were a person of color, the quality of your contribution was going to be of low quality and not usable or only marginally so at best. There was also an assumption that the education of the Negro would be lacking in quality thereby meaning comprehension would be low and resulting performance not up to par. That was also true for women of whatever race or ethnicity.

Why were Negroes required to sit at the back of the bus before the Civil Rights Movement? Part of the issue was that their stench from sweat, dirt, possibility of bugs, lack of hygiene would not waft from the front to the back and thereby overwhelm the entire bus.

Negroes were for the sake of serving and entertainment. Few merited recognition or reward. Consider Hattie
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  • Edited May 6, 2018 2:52 pm  by  Entrances

From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/14/18 4:38 PM 
To: All  (8 of 40) 
 4286.8 in reply to 4286.7 

To be sure, there is not universal hate and discrimination. It is not confined to one race nor one demographic. In fact, many who are White as well as other races and ethnicities who believe in equality and freedom. We should be thankful for their vision of a landscape open to humanity. It is through all hands participating together that we derive the bounty that is possible.

Black History (Month) is just the beginning of the story.

Rochester Institute of Technology has some very useful suggestions for creating a healthy and inclusive environment.

  • Edited January 14, 2018 5:37 pm  by  Entrances

From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/15/18 2:13 PM 
To: All  (9 of 40) 
 4286.9 in reply to 4286.8 

In order to keep things in one location and findable, here is a wonderful comment from a FaceBook friend who responded to my request for notes about significant points in time or people to be mentioned in relation to Black History Month

Cat Zultner never apologize for sharing your interests or having a passion, my friend!!

For Black History month, I like Maya Angelou, Kathryn Johnson, Condoleeza Rice, Mae Jemison, Bessie Coleman, AF Major Shawna Kimbrell, Beverly Greene (she got her architecture degree same place I did and has strong ties to Chicago)

How can we overlook the significance of Anita Hill? There are also Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, Rita Walters, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan (the Ms. Magazine interview), Loretta Glickman. Those are the more contemporary names (to which the list continues to grow) that are juxtaposed against names from the early days, names such as Phillis Wheatley, Hannah M
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  • Edited March 16, 2018 4:08 pm  by  Entrances

From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/16/18 3:51 PM 
To: All  (10 of 40) 
 4286.10 in reply to 4286.9 

Some people want to believe that all of the American Negro history is of bondage and persecution. Yes, and no. This country was founded by free Negroes in addition to the others who immigrated here.

Some people want to believe (and exist with the myth) that the American Negro has had a difficult time amassing any type of significant wealth and prestige. Few know the story of Tulsa, Oklahoma's Black Wall Street. It was a gemstone and populated by thriving Negro businesses in many industries. But the other thing that has plagued the race is the other myth, that of violating White women, which then justifies punishment. A race riot burst forth after what may have been a mere stumble on an elevator. The #Me2 of 1921 destroyed the gem that was Wall Street. Official Black Wall Street is the most significant recount of what happened. You may be wondering how it came to be dubbed the Negro Wall Street of Oklahoma. That distinction goes to Booker T. Washington while he visited the city after a school was named for him.

Prior to the Greenwood devastation came the riots and destruction in Atlanta, GA (1906). There, too, was accusation of molestation and violation of a White woman (actually, the rumor was that there were several). And all of this was predicated on two men who sought to be elected to office, each wanting to preserve the institution of segregation and exclusion. Reading the account that relates to the two candidates, it appears the phrase "fake news" was being born not by #45 but by the two news publishers who aspired to be governor of the state.

There was an attempt at reparations for the victims of the Greenwood massacre in 2000. What was the outcome?


  • Edited January 16, 2018 4:01 pm  by  Entrances

From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/18/18 11:36 PM 
To: All  (11 of 40) 
 4286.11 in reply to 4286.10 

The Black National Anthem is "Lift E'vry Voice and Sing." The chords are set to a very strong 4/4 meter. While it's usually sung by a choir, some have attempted to sing it as a solo. Doing it as a solo takes a tremendous amount of skill and artistry because the song's range includes nearly every voice, from baritone to soprano. It would be such a delight to hear it sung by an ensemble with the distinct registers performed by that particular voice and then seguing to the next person who is that voice range. What a performance that would be!

There are things that are useful (if not important) to know about the song.



From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/27/18 11:19 PM 
To: All  (12 of 40) 
 4286.12 in reply to 4286.10 

In the world of entertainment, there are many names and events that need to be recognized. Primarily because of the talent exhibited by the performers. Then because of the obstacles that were intended to prevent these individuals from gaining recognition and compensation for their endeavors. Yet, they succeeded. While attempting to communicate the name of one tap dancing duo, I found their name (The Nicholas Brothers) but was overwhelmed by the others throughout time who have achieved greatness, in spite of the disrespectful jabs from comedians of this time. There was page after page of notables. And there's even a YouTube video dedicated to The Best of Tap. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson is designated the best in this video. For more recognitions, just use the the search string "negro tap dancers". Hold onto your seat when you find the results.

If we're just talking about tap as a dance form, there are places to visit such as the International Tap Association in order to learn about the legends of that form. There's also Tap Dance History, which also tells the history of tap and the rigors of trying to get paid for your work. They note:

Tap dancing started with the Negro slaves who would beat out rhythms and dance on river boats. Plantation owners called these dancers "Levee Dancers" thru out the south, these 'levee dancers' would wear shoes as well as not. Levee dancers would find fame with the minstrel shows around 1830 and would hire them to perform to the "Negro ditties" as they were called at the time, however, most of these Negro performers were actually white men who would wear face paint, (known as "Blackface") and acting or perform these dances due to racism. Eventually thru competition amongst the Minstrel show ... the black man had to paint his face, 'if' they could even get hired, which eventually they did.

There is a reference to Savion Glover as a contemporary tap dancer, choreographer, and actor. Unfortunately, the link to the site is broken. However, Time, Inc. shows us their selections of the 10 best tap dance scenes in film.

Gregory Hines soared to great heights with his abilities and then crossed over to ballet with Baryshnikov in White Knights. Let us also remember the struggles of even being accepted as a serious dancer of the ballet for Blacks. And now we have Misty Copeland has stepped into Prima Ballerina for the ABT as well as others who are changing the face of ballet. Misty Copeland isn't the only prima hitting the stage. We need to recognize the others holding that prestigious title. And there are choreographers we should know about. Alvin Ailey and Twyla Tharp aren't the only ethnic choreographers around.

  • Edited January 27, 2018 11:38 pm  by  Entrances

From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/28/18 12:28 AM 
To: All  (13 of 40) 
 4286.13 in reply to 4286.12 

The 1950s and '60s were the dawning of a new American experience. It was the birth of the Civil Rights Movement. It was the beginning of the Muslim religion under Elijah Mohammad. It was a time when the Negro voice began to express its dissatisfaction with the status quo. Many spoke with many voices and expressions. Because the Muslims under the guidance of Mohammad vigorously and blatantly endorsed hate, there were few in the mainstream who would listen.

Out of that organization came the most vocal and the most compelling. It was Malcolm X (Shabazz). In his early days, he too advocated hate and many turned away. Then his pilgrimage to Mecca happened and his voice and message changed. In the end, he and Martin Luther King, were basically advocating for the same thing but in the language of their constituency so that the message could be understood. Because I refrained from listening to his message while he was alive, I've been very uneasy about saying anything positive or negative about the man. It's only been in the last 20 or so years that I've finally allowed myself the education of hearing what the man had to say. Amazingly, what I learned was what he described in the early '60s is what now exists in the 21st Century, more than 50 years later, which leaves me wondering whether we've actually made any progress whatsoever with regard to true equality.

Instead, they turned to figures leading the Southern Christian Leadership Conference or SCLC. From that organization came leadership by Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Bayard Rustin, and Fred Shuttlesworth.

Then came Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, SNCC for short. But it, too, became radicalized and promoted violence in order to meet its ends. It's demise was inevitable although its founding ideas were admirable. Names we should remember from that organization are Ella Baker, John Lewis, Stokely Carmichael, Hubert "Rap" Brown.

Collectively, the SCLC, SNCC, CORE, NAACP, and the National Urban League became known as the Big Five, each with a special focus for bringing equality to the land.


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