The Desk Annex -  In Honor of Black History Month (4565 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/7/18 5:18 PM 
To: All  (1 of 40) 

Less than a month away, I'm beginning the research for Black History Month. It seemed a good starting point would be to learn the origins of the American Negro because not all were slaves. Some were here as free, independent people.

While not directly answering the question, Montagu, in "Origins of the American Negro," tells us that those who did arrive in America because of the slave trade were from all over the African continent (including upper Saharan countries) and included Arabs.

Evolution of the name for the ethnic identity of a person who is part of the African Diaspora is still in controversy. Some still cling to being called Negro while others vacillate between preferring African American, Afro-American, and Black. It's confusing. And then there are those who choose to recognize the other ethnicities that have invaded their genetic composition and check the demographic box that says "Other" and thereby subtly acknowledge their heritage that includes Native American, Latin American, Euro-American, Asian and Pacific Islands - and others. And why not? Few, if any, of us are of pure racial stock. Just by the fact that there have been raids and conquers of one civilization over another and the seeding of the conquering nation into the vanquished one from time immemorial, says we have evolved from many origins.


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From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/8/18 1:58 AM 
To: All  (2 of 40) 
 4286.2 in reply to 4286.1 

Interesting history of Black America becomes evident when other ethnic histories are included in it. Native American history shows how the two races are treated in a similar way when it comes to seeking revenge or blaming for a wrong. The same source claims there were free blacks in America well before 1619, the date on which settlement of the new continent is claimed to have occurred.

Black has timelines that start at 1492 and trace the migration of the Negro into the New World in various capacities. It is interesting how many chose to leave their original commissions to stay in the new land and live with and among the Native Americans. The 1492 - 1600 timeline may not seem relevant to Black History. A closer examination will show incursions by free black men into Southwestern America and other territories.

The timeline for 1601 - 1700 traces the induction of Negroes into the colonies. There is a mention of indentured workers which means these people were not slaves but arrived on contract to pay off a debt and then be released from servitude. The mixture of laws shows how the new nation was comprised of many interests and motives. Of particular note is the liberation enacted in Maryland by 1681. Ten years later, Virginia legislates against interracial marriage and makes offspring of such unions the property of the church for 30 years.

World War II was not the first time that nonwhites served in defense of the nation. During 1701 - 1800 there were many inroads toward recognizing and rewarding the Negroes, free as well as formerly enslaved, for their aid in establishing an nation independent of England.

How can this period of time be discussed without consideration of the founding documents of this country. By this time, slavery had taken root in the colonies. Benjamin Bannecker, a free Black man, scientist, inventor, and farmer, petitioned Jefferson to remove slavery from the language of the Constitution. It seems Jefferson was moved by the words and attempted to do so, but the Continental Congress overrode his arguments. Politics and economic advantage even got in the way of creating a country where freedom was available to ALL inhabitants of the new country. Perhaps they forgot the lessons of why leaving the Mother Country became an imperative. Hear the narration of the little-known deleted slavery clause to the Constitution.

Quite interestingly, slavery was not limited to African Negroes. Indians who were already occupying the new land were also enslaved.

With all these nuances at play, the overall design of this event became apparent. There's a 400-year history that needs to be divided into segments. Thus, each week has themed content that blends into the succeeding week's unfolding of the story. The vision is:

  • Week 1: In light of the fact that it's a history of 400 years, I see it best handled as an evolving display that is not static (except for a few foundational items). The first Sunday in February will be from entry into the New Country (1492) up to the Civil War (1865).
  • Week 2 (which will be the official observance week): will encompass from the Civil War (1865) to the Civil Rights Movement (1955).
  • Week 3: will focus on events starting from a point in the Civil Rights Movement to the present (2005).
  • Week 4: Moving from 2005 to current accomplishments and where we go from here - holding the torch.


  • Edited March 7, 2018 10:31 pm  by  Entrances

From: Entrances DelphiPlus Member Icon1/9/18 1:19 AM 
To: All  (3 of 40) 
 4286.3 in reply to 4286.2 

I don't dare to try to summarize the information available at Black History Net. it's simply too comprehensive, even though it only provides quick sketches of the subject. What it does is break the history into segments and provides pointers to additional reference sources.

There's a discussion of the history of Blacks in the military as well as in sports. The Voting Rights Acts that have strained to provide free and unfettered voting by Blacks (and other minorities). The birth and growth of the NAACP is also in this page (and it should be) as well as the growth of educational institutions for the training of Black teachers and professors.

Suffice it to say, this page alone will provide some good reading and education. Yet it isn't as thorough as a documentary. However, for the inquiring mind, it's a great start.


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

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

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