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Monday, April 20, 2009

HOW DID CALIFORNIA GET NAMED AFTER A BLACK WOMAN


The history of the state of California is intricately connected to the history of the Mali empire? Say what, how can that be?

At first glance they appear to be totally unrelated. However, on the examination of the history it has been revealed that they have a lot more in common than one would expect. We were taught in school that the year 1492 was the year that Columbus sailed the ocean blue. What we were not told is that it was also the year the king of Aragon was able to complete the expulsion of the Muslim caliphs from Al Andalusia (Spain), as well.

Mind you these Muslims were primarily from the African nations along the Northern Mediterranean, as well as West Africa proper. They came from the countries now known as Morocco, Mali, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Egypt and even Ethiopia. Therefore, from all historical evidence we know for sure that a large majority of them were of the African racial type.

The occupation of Spain lasted for 700 years. During that time Spainish culture was alive and vibrant, while the cultures of Europe, as a whole were stagnant and dead, hence the name we've that era, the Dark Ages, meaning there was no significant learning or serious thought going on during that time.

Spain or as the Muslims called it Al Andalusia was just the opposite, with lit streets, indoor plumbing, aquaducts, courtyard fountains and magnificient architectural structures that remain among the most popular tourist attractions in the world. The University of Salamanca was the most prestigious institution of learning in the known world. Under the rule of the Abbasid Caliphate science and learning flourished, while the Dark Ages formed a cloud over Europe, where only the priestly class was even allowed, or enouraged to read. In fact, the same kinds of restrictions that were placed on African slaves in the U.S., following the rebellion of Nat Turner, were placed on the entire population of Europe, with punishments which were just as severe.

I'd like to note here that there was some evidence of the mechanical genius of the inhabitants of Europe that came out at that time, unfortunately, it seemed to be mostly in the area of torture. The implements of torture that were devised during this time for the use of the clergy in carrying out the Inquisition were truly ingenious. We've all heard of The Rack, thumbscrews, The Pear, The Iron Maiden, The Gibbet (gallows), The Whipping Post, Stocks, etc. Of course, we wouldn't want to forget the most humane instrument of death every devised, The Guillotine. These are inventions, which are wholly European and I believe unique in the annals of history.

The stated purpose of these Inquisitions as detailed in a 1578 handbook for inquisitors was: ... quoniam punitio non refertur primo & per se in correctionem & bonum eius qui punitur, sed in bonum publicum ut alij terreantur, & a malis committendis avocentur. [Translation from the Latin: "... for punishment does not take place primarily and per se for the correction and good of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit."] Note the use of the word terrified in describing the purpose of this practice.

TO BE CONTINUED

RITA DOVE'S LATEST WORK: "SONATA MULATTICA"



Her latest book is called "Sonata Mulattica" and it's a tour-de-force. Written, as only Rita Dove could write it, we learn about the life of George P. Bridgetower, a virtuoso musician who grows up in Poland and becomes the toast of European royalty. His exquisite performances on the violin inspire Beethoven to write a piece dedicated to him, which they perform before a concert audience, only hours after Beethoven completes it.

That she would pick someone to write about who is a virtual unknown to Americans is not as odd as it may appear, for her subject and her have a lot in common. Rita played the cello when she was going to school right here in Akron, Ohio; she's known for being fluent in German, which was a language Bridgetower undoubtedly spoke and they're both descendants of African immigrants.

Much of the story is told in the title of the book. "Sonata Mulattica" is an abbreviation of the title Beethoven gave to what's been called his penultimate violin sonata (opus 47). The full title was "Sonata mulattica composta per il mulatto Brischdauer, gran pazzo e conpositore mulattico," meaning "Sonata composed for the mulatta mulatto Brischdauer, big wild composition and mulatto."

The idea of the "tragic mulatto" came into existence during Bridgetower's lifetime. However, his own story was not quite so ill fated. He actually had quite a bit of success as a musician. The patronage of the young English prince, who continued to support him as the King of England, certainly helped. His affiliation with Beethoven, Haydn and other musical geniuses of his time certainly helped.

But, there was still a cloud of racism hovering over his head, which became even more apparent upon his death, as this book is one of only three full length treatments of his life. Dove's presentation is totally unique, however in that it gives us an entirely new path to Bridgetower. This is the surprise in store for anyone who decides to go on this adventure to discover, just who was this African prince of Poland.

To be continued tomorrow, with a video of Rita reading a selection from her latest work.

KSU ALUMNI ORGANIZE REUNION IN CYBERSPACE



The 4th Annual Black Alumni Reunion was held last weekend at Kent's Rathskeller. It was a very successful event with approximately 300 Black Alumni in attendance. Members came from all over the country. The member who came the furthest distance was Adisa Alkebulan from San Diego, CA.

Event organizers Andrea Wright and Kellea Tibbs brought the event into the 21st century by notifying attendees via a new network on Ning.com a relatively new networking website. Ning allows members who sign up to communicate with each other 24/7 using a variety of user created networks for free.

The Kent State Black Alumni Association now has a membership of almost 300 people. Their network on Ning was established in 2008 and is now in full force and effect.

Andrea Wright, one of the founders of the association, which just gained and official status at Kent, states on her personal page that,

"I count it a blessing to be able to greet all of the Black Alumni from Kent State University. Thank you for joining the social networking site designed to be a tool to bring us back together to remember our days on the campus in Kent, Ohio. Kent State University is one of Ohio's top public universities. The university played an important role in all of our lives. It's continuing to make a difference in young student's lives and as Black Alumni, we can play an important role.

The ultimate purpose is to reconnect and unify ourselves for one purpose. The purpose is to be officially recognized again as The Black Alumni Chapter. As an official chapter, we will be able to access budgeted funds to do programming designed with not only bringing us together but assisting those students still matriculating at the university.

Our goal is not just to socialize. However, through socializing and networking, we can broaden our goals and maximize our possibilities."

One of the ways that the organization plans to meet this goal is by creating a scholarship fund, financed initially by the admission fees collected by the association at the reunion. Now that the association has been recognized by the KSU Alumni Association they can apply make funding requests from the university and take the organization to the next level.

The party's over, but the beat goes on. We look forward to covering future events sponsored by the Kent State Black Alumni Association.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

SAINT MAURICE & THE THEBAN LEGION


Check out the coat of arms of Pope Benedict the XVI. For those non-Catholics amongst you, he's the current Pope, who hails from Germany.

When I saw the close up of Saint Maurice's statue I did not have to think twice about what happened to his nose. It was all too apparent, that someone had deliberately broken it off. There are many statues all over Europe, especially in cultural havens like Rome. Many of them have missing appendages, typically the arms or even the legs, but most prevalent are the missing arms.

In Egypt, however we see something that doesn't jibe with that whole vibe, missing noses. The question begs to be asked how has it happened that so many of the pharaohs statues have endured earth quakes, inundations, etc. and the only significant damage is to their noses, while other civilizations all over the globe have antiquities which are younger, but with intact noses.

I have to conclude that some body or bodies have gone through the country and systematically removed the noses from the statues in a vain attempt to erase the Black man from the historical timeline of the ancient Egyptians. Why would someone do this? It's really quite simple. The Egyptian civilization is the forefather of Western civilization. In order to maintain the unnatural premise of white supremacy history had to be rewritten.

This is what we see with Saint Maurice, the rewriting of history, where whites have always ruled and Blacks have been their subservient slaves. The problem is that historians like J.A. Rogers and Runoko Rashidi keep pulling off the bedsheets, uncovering a "master race" that worships Black people as gods or at least in a godlike manner.

There's much more evidence of this "hero worship" than there is of our supposed inferiority. We have good examples of this in the numerous European coats of arms with depictions of a coal black St. Maurice or one of the 20 other Black saints, who stood firm with him on the battlefield of Aganaum and refused to slaughter their Christian brothers and sisters, that fateful day in 287 CE (common era).

SAINT MAURICE AND THE THEBAN LEGION


I first heard of Saint Maurice from J.A. Rogers. The stunning picture you see here accompanied the story of St. Maurice of Auganaum. The idea of a Black patron saint of Germany was intriguing, indeed. J.A. Rogers also spoke of the numerous Black Madonnas of Europe. Again, this was a revelation, as who would have thought that white people could worship Black saints and even a Black Madonna and child.

Well, Runoko Rashidi has just returned from visiting some of the sacred sites of Europe dedicated to the Black saints and Martyrs of Christianity and he's brought a picture with him that has stirred a renewed interest in St. Maurice, in particular. This picture shows St. Maurice without a nose. Now, clearly he's Black in skin color and features. The antiquity of the statue is without doubt, but like the statues of the pharoahs of Egypt, the nose is missing.

As is the case with the many shrines and depictions of Africans in Europe today, there's typically been a series of convoluted explanations to explain away such anomalies. It's been said of many of the Black Madonnas that smoke produced by thousands of candles burnt over the years has blackened specific parts of the statues without blackening other parts. For instance, the face, and hands will be black, while Mary's headdress and clothing is pure white and sparkling. I'd be interested in hearing someone actually try to explain how that happens, just for kicks.

I haven't heard Runoko's story of the missing nose of St. Maurice, but I'm sure it's a doozy. The only story I've heard so far that sounds true to form, when it comes to the missing nose of a statue, is the one about Napoleon and the missing nose of the Great Sphinx. It's been said that he blew it off with a cannon, because he went all the way to the home of the ancients, the founders of the philosophical base which is Western civilization and found someone immortalized their that looked like one of his chief rivals and that of a rebel chief in the French colonies. I'm speaking of Thomas Alexander Dumas, the French General and Toussaint L'Overture, the Haitian Revolutionary. It was too much for him.

Look for Part II tomorrow