Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Tuskegee Airmen Clifton Brooks Sr. dies at 99

Cliffton E. Brooks Sr., who served as a cryptologist with the famed all-Black Tuskegee Airmen, passed away Friday night at the age of 99.

He was the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen in the state of West Virginia.

Many who knew Brooks in his post-military years knew him as a community fixture - dedicating time to Washington Smith Post 152 American Legion, serving as a Mason in Potomac Lodge 41 and a member of Keyser Moose Lodge 662, and keeping active as a member of Janes United Methodist Church in Keyser.

Most recently, Brooks has been the recipient of several honors in his hometown, including Mineral County Day citations from the West Virginia Senate and House of Delegates, Black History Month honors from WVU Potomac State College, and having the South End Park - where his children often played when they were growing up - renamed the Clifton E. Brooks Sr. Park.

The barrier-breaking Tuskegee Airmen Squadron was formed in 1941 as a result of pressure by various civil rights groups, and included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, and maintenance and support staff, including the cryptologists who coded and deciphered top secret messages.

Thursday, October 17, 2019


On Friday, Oct. 11, ABFF Ventures, LLC., announced that objects, photographs, documents and other memorabilia from The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) archives have been acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The items will join the museums’ permanent collection and commemorate the ABFF’s rich 24-year history.
The American Black Film Festival (formerly Acapulco Black Film Festival), was first held in June 1997 by its originalfounders, Jeff Friday, Byron E. Lewis and Warrington Hudlin. In 2002, the Festival moved stateside to continue its commitment to community, providing a platform for up-and-coming filmmakers of color and bringing together creatives in appreciation of one another’s work, to challenge, encourage and uplift each other.  ABFF is dedicated to recognizing black talent and showcasing quality film and television content by and about people of African descent, and continues to be a vehicle to strengthen the black entertainment community by fostering resource sharing, education and artistic collaboration.
Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther”), Stephen Caple, Jr. (“Creed II”), Will Packer (“Girls Trip”), Issa Rae (“Insecure”), Omari Hardwick (“Power”) and Kevin Hart (“Night School”), are among the beneficiaries of ABFF’s unique and prestigious talent pipeline programs designed to identify, introduce and showcase artists — including directors, actors, writers and other content creators — to the industry at large.
The museum has selected 10 American Black Film Festival artifacts to join its historical collection:
• Awards: ABFF Wood Trophy/Award designed by fine artist and sculptor Cheryl R. Riley, presented to Bill Duke in 1997 for Distinguished Career Achievement as a Filmmaker
• Documents:  1997 ABFF Program Guide, 1997 ABFF All Access Pass and VIP Pass, “Hav Plenty” VHS video tape (1997)
• Photographs:  A collection of six (6) photographs of celebrity attendees by photographer Karl Crutchfield. Celebrities include Bill Duke, Halle Berry and Denzel Washington.
• Objects: Watch, Sterling Silver Necklace, Sterling Silver Bracelet. Items given to VIP attendees at the 1997 Festival. Recipients included: Debbie Allen, Morgan Freemen, Halle Berry and more.
These items were donated by Nicole and Jeff Friday.
“Recognizing the cultural significance and historical import of the long-standing American Black Film Festival, it is thrilling to have objects from ABFF join the museum’s permanent collection. For nearly a quarter century, ABFF has been at the forefront of celebrating the history and cultural value of African American storytelling and image-making, so receiving objects that highlight the vision and creative spirit of ABFF was deeply important,” said Rhea Combs, Supervisory Museum Curator of Photography & Film, Smithsonian, National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“Being a part of the NMAAHC’s prestigious collection of historical artifacts is an amazing honor and significant milestone for the ABFF.  It brings a great sense of pride and excitement that ABFF’s legacy is recognized as an important piece of African American history and culture,” said Jeff Friday, ABFF Ventures CEO.
The American Black Film Festival has been helmed a “top Festival” by reputable media outlets, including One of the Coolest Festivals in the World by MovieMake Magazine; 10 Best Film Festivals by USA Today; Top 100 Events in Miami by BizBash Magazine and One of the Best Events Around the World by PROHBTD.
ABFF Ventures continues to expand the Festival programming initiatives and will grow its brand year-round to include the About Women Conference, ABFF Global Series (ABFF London debuted September 2019), ABFF Fit (Health and Wellness series) and ABFF Honors (annual awards show honoring Hollywood creatives).

Sunday, May 12, 2019

New Book “Sweet Georgia Brown: Impact, Courage, Sacrifice, and Will” Is a Chronicle of the Military Achievements of Black Women During World War II

Lawrence E. Walker is a native of New Jersey, president and CEO of, an online social search engine and media network focusing on American History and around the World, and recipient of the Army Person of the Year award in 1997 for his groundbreaking research on the history of black women who served during World War II. He has completed his book “Sweet Georgia Brown: Impact, Courage, Sacrifice, and Will”: an inspiring work the celebrates the lives, accomplishments, and perseverance of black American women who served their nation during the Second World War despite significant endemic racial and gender discrimination.

Walker writes, “Charity Adams Earley, commander of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion in World War II, summarized the history of women in the military when she wrote in 1989: ‘The future of women in the military seems assured... What may be lost in time is the story of how it happened. The barriers of sex and race were, and sometimes still are, very difficult to overcome, the second even more than the first. During World War II women in the service were often subject to ridicule and disrespect even as they performed satisfactorily... Each year the number of people who shared the stress of these accomplishments lessens. In another generation young black women who join the military will have scant record of their predecessors who fought on the two fronts of discrimination segregation and reluctant acceptance by males.’”

Published by New York City-based Page Publishing, Lawrence E. Walker’s book is a fascinating record of the intersection of African-American, women’s, and modern military history in the United States.

Readers who wish to experience this engrossing work can purchase “Sweet Georgia Brown: Impact, Courage, Sacrifice, and Will” at bookstores everywhere, or online at the Apple iTunes store, Amazon, Google Play, or Barnes and Noble.


For additional information or media inquiries, contact Page Publishing at 866-315-2708.

About Page Publishing:

Page Publishing is a traditional New York-based, full-service publishing house that handles all the intricacies involved in publishing its authors’ books, including distribution in the world’s largest retail outlets and royalty generation. Page Publishing knows that authors need to be free to create - not overwhelmed with logistics like eBook conversion, establishing wholesale accounts, insurance, shipping, taxes, and the like. Its roster of accomplished authors and publishing professionals allows writers to leave behind these complex and time-consuming issues to focus on their passion: writing and creating.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Barracoon: The Story of the Last Black Cargo by Zora Neale Hurston

A major literary event: a newly published work from the author of the American classic Their Eyes Were Watching God, with a foreword from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade—abducted from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, just outside Mobile, to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.

In 1931, Hurston returned to Plateau, the African-centric community three miles from Mobile founded by Cudjo and other former slaves from his ship. Spending more than three months there, she talked in depth with Cudjo about the details of his life. During those weeks, the young writer and the elderly formerly enslaved man ate peaches and watermelon that grew in the backyard and talked about Cudjo’s past—memories from his childhood in Africa, the horrors of being captured and held in a barracoon for selection by American slavers, the harrowing experience of the Middle Passage packed with more than 100 other souls aboard the Clotilda, and the years he spent in slavery until the end of the Civil War.

Based on those interviews, featuring Cudjo’s unique vernacular, and written from Hurston’s perspective with the compassion and singular style that have made her one of the preeminent American authors of the twentieth-century, Barracoon masterfully illustrates the tragedy of slavery and of one life forever defined by it. Offering insight into the pernicious legacy that continues to haunt us all, black and white, this poignant and powerful work is an invaluable contribution to our shared history and culture.


Hardcover----- Kindle ----- Paperback

Monday, January 01, 2018

Experts say black Confederate soldiers didn't fight for South Carolina

Two South Carolina lawmakers want to erect a monument on the State House grounds to African-Americans who served the state as Confederate soldiers. But records show the state never accepted nor recognized armed African-American soldiers during the Civil War.

“In all my years of research, I can say I have seen no documentation of black South Carolina soldiers fighting for the Confederacy,” said Walter Edgar, who for 32 years was director of the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Southern Studies and is author of “South Carolina: A History.”

“In fact, when secession came, the state turned down free (blacks) who wanted to volunteer because they didn’t want armed persons of color,” he said.

Pension records gleaned from the S.C. Department of History and Archives show no black Confederate soldiers received payment for combat service. And of the more than 300 blacks who did receive pensions after they were allowed in 1923, all served as body servants or cooks, the records show.

Confederate law prohibited blacks from bearing arms in the war, records show, until that edict was repealed in 1865 at the very end of the conflict.

That repeal resulted in a handful of African-American units in states such as Virginia and Texas. But there were none in South Carolina, which prohibited African-Americans from carrying guns in the state’s service throughout the war for fear of insurrection, according to the archives.

Read more: A monument to SC’s black Confederate soldiers? None fought for the South, experts say

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Octavia Spencer to play millionaire Madam C.J. Walker in new biopic

Octavia Spencer has signed on to play America’s first black millionaire in a new movie.

The “Hidden Figures” star, who is up for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar later this month, is heading back to the early 1900s to play Madam C. J. Walker.

“That’s another story that’s yet to be told and she’s an icon for the African-American community as well, definitely for women in the African-American community,” Octavia tells WENN. “I think it’s time that her story gets told in a manner that I think people will enjoy.

“She was the first African-American millionaire and she was self-made, and it was all through beauty products. She was also a philanthropist and an activist in the reconstruction era.”

The bio-pic will be a limited series and as of now has no network attached. The series will be directed by Kasi Lemmons (Black Nativity, Eve's Bayou) from a script penned by Nicole Asher.

Spencer is also producing along with Zero Gravity Management (“The Accountant”).


Monday, November 21, 2016

Oldest remaining Tuskegee Airman, Willie N. Rogers , dies at 101

We have lost another one, another hero, another example of excellence, we have lost another Tuskegee Airmen. God bless his soul.

Willie N. Rogers was an American hero, and at age 101, he was a living example of the nation's history.

He was a member of the "Greatest Generation," which defeated the Axis powers in World War II, doing his part as a master sergeant in the all-black Tuskegee Airmen during the era of racial segregation in the U.S. military.

The longtime St. Petersburg resident died Friday, 11/18/2016 from complications of a stroke.

He was the oldest surviving member of that original legendary 100th Fighter Squadron, The Tuskegee Airmen.

Mr. Rogers received his Congressional Gold Medal in November 2013.

Also in recent years, he was presented with the keys to the cities of Lakeland and St. Petersburg. His portrait hangs in the St. Petersburg Museum of History.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Did you know that William Henry Hastie was the first black federal judge?

Hastie received a BA from Amherst, where he finished first in his class, and then received a law degree (1930) from Harvard, becoming the second African American to serve on the Harvard Law Review. He then taught at Howard University Law School, where he worked with his friend, Charles Hamilton Houston, and his student, Thurgood Marshall, among others, to develop legal challenges to segregation. In private practice, as part of the law firm Houston, Houston, and Hastie, he argued a number of civil rights cases.

In 1933, Hastie was appointed Assistant Solicitor in the Department of the Interior by President Franklin Roosevelt, and in 1937 Roosevelt appointed him judge of the Federal District Court in the Virgin Islands, making him the country's first African-American federal magistrate. He left that position in 1939 to become Dean of Howard Law School. In 1941 Hastie became an aide to Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, and worked to reform the military's segregationist policies. But Hastie resigned from that position in 1943 to protest the military's entrenched “reactionary policies and discriminatory practices.” That year he was awarded the Springarn Medal “for his distinguished career as jurist and as an uncompromising champion of equal justice.”

In 1946, Hastie became the first African-American governor of the Virgin Islands, and in 1949 President Truman appointed him judge of the Third United States Circuit Court of Appeals, making him the first African American to be appointed as a federal circuit judge.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Smithsonian opening African-American history museum Sept. 24, 2016

UPDATES: Grand Opening Schedule for the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Denzel Washington Event Raises Millions For African American Museum

The Smithsonian Institution will open the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Sept. 24 in Washington.

Smithsonian chief spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said Monday that President Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, will lead the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

St. Thomas says a weeklong celebration will follow, including an outdoor festival and a period in which the museum on the National Mall will be open for 24 consecutive hours.

The museum has built a collection of 11 exhibits to trace the history of slavery, segregation, civil rights and African-Americans' achievements in the arts, entertainment, sports, the military and the wider culture.

Artifacts on loan from other institutions will also be on display, such as two documents signed by President Abraham Lincoln: the 13th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation.