Monday, December 19, 2016

Culture and History.

Today, we honor a legend and an icon. He was Steve Biko and yesterday was his 70th birthday. He lived from December 18, 1946 to September 12, 1977. He lived for 30 years on this Earth. Steve Biko was of Xhosa heritage. He was the founder of the Black Consciousness movement in South Africa, which was about black people growing their human consciousness to love their Blackness and to stand up for justice in the world. Sacrifice was always part of Biko's life as he heroically resisted the tyrannical system of apartheid. His words were powerful and Almighty God gave him a voice to unite people, to speak eloquently on the need for change in the world, and to organize progressive South Africans to end injustices. Young people are motivated by his legacy. People, among many ages and backgrounds, honor his legacy too by doing what is right and to adhere to the principles of altruism and courageousness. He was murdered by racist Afrikaner security forces, but his soul and his spirit live on. He lived through the Soweto massacre which was when apartheid forces brutalized black South African children during the year of 1976. The anti-apartheid movement was global as people used boycotts, protests, and other forms of activism in order for apartheid to finally be defeated by the 1990's. Steve Biko accurately taught that we must have both psychological liberation and physical liberation. In other words, we have to honor our being and respect our identity in order for us to be free physically. He was a man who stood up as a man for truth and for the liberation of South Africa. Steve Biko loved Africa with all of his heart, mind, and soul. His friends continue in the same work that he has made. Today, South Africa still experiences the injustices of poverty, neoliberalism, racism, corporate exploitation, etc. Nelson Mandela recently passed away years ago. The 1987 "Cry Freedom" film outlined the passion and strength of the late Brother Steve Biko. Yet it is important to emphasize that many progressive voices in South Africa are continuing unrelentingly to oppose evil and to advance goodness. So, the struggle continues and we certainly have great admiration for Brother Steve Biko.
Rest in Power Brother Steve Biko.

There has always been a strong African American culture in Dallas, Texas. It is important to cite the fact that Dallas has a long history of African American doctors including surgeons who made history and broke down barriers. St. Paul’s hospital was integrated in 1954 and it caused no furor. Antonio Maceo Smith was a black entrepreneur too in Dallas. William H. Wilson wrote a book entitled, “Hamilton Park: A Planned Black Community in Dallas.” The book described information about how many middle class black people lived in that community. The book also wanted to show how the community desired better bus service and they wanted better shopping needs as people traveled long distances to just to shop. Back in the late 1950’s, Hamilton Park formed many community organizations. One was the IOC or the Interorganizational Council. This group was heavily influenced by the Black Church as the black church then and now has a powerful influence in the black American experience in general. There was the secular Civil League. Both organizations worked in the community from the late 1950’s to the 1980’s. The Hamilton Park residents allied heavily with the Democratic Party as the IOC gave endorsement lists to residents. They wanted to ally with candidates who respect the concerns of human beings from the Hamilton Park area.   One of the greatest landmarks of African American Culture is Freedman’s Cemetery. It is a place of a graveyard for African Americans being created in 1869. At first, it was part of one acre of land purchased by trustee Sam Eakins. There was another 3 acres of land used for cemetery purposes in 1879 by many trustees including the Rev. A. R. Griggs (who was a former slave and later became a prominent local church leader and an advocate for early public education for the African American community). Today, Freedman’s Cemetery is a protected state Archaeological landmark. It is found on N. Central Expressway and Lemmon Avenue. Descendants of persons buried there and the City of Dallas agreed in 1965 to establish the Freedman's Memorial Park and Cemetery at its current site. There are statues, poems, and a plaque to show the purpose of the historic Freedman Memorial Park. We recognize the sacrifice of our ancestors and we honor the heroism also of our black ancestors too.

Dallas, Texas has a diverse, vibrant music cultural influence in the world. During the 1960’s, there were many entertainers like Trini Lopez and Stevie Ray Vaughn. The Deep Ellum area in Dallas is made up heavily of the arts and entertainment. It’s located near downtown in East Dallas. It is a very important neighborhood in the city. It was developed by the late 19th century. Back then, African Americans and European immigrants lived in the area. Its entertainment district is very famous with dozens of restaurants, bars, diverse retail shops, and more high rent residential loft space. During the 1920’s, the neighborhood was heavily a place where jazz and blues musicians performed. It hosted Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, and Bessie Smith in Deep Ellum clubs like The Harlem and The Palace. From 1920 to 1950, the number of nightclubs, cafes and domino parlors in Deep Ellum jumped from 12 to 20. Toadies and the Old 97’s are music groups either based in Dallas or Fort Worth, Texas. The famous singer Norah Jones went to the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. The famous singer Willie Hutch was raised in Dallas, Texas too. He was a songwriter and was known for his famous records. MetLoaf (or Michael Lee Aday) is also from Dallas. One of the most talented and well-known artists from the Dallas area is Erykah Badu. She is an African American singer, songwriter, record producer, disc jockey, activist, and actress. She has worked hard for decades to show inspiring music that deals with love, romance, consciousness, and a passion for developing the arts. Her friend is of course Janelle Monae, who is a human being with amazing talent too. Erykah Badu opened a show for D’Angelo in 1994. Her first album was Baduizm which was released on February 11, 1997. I remember when it came out. She performs neo soul, funk, soul, hip hop, R&B, and other genres of music. She can use keyboards, a guitar, drums, theremin, and the drum machine. Also, in real life, she has promoted fashion and education as she was at the Africa Care Academy 10th Annual Educational Awards Banquet in Dallas, Texas. In the Nation19 Magazine, Badu talked about why she set up her own charity organization, titled Beautiful Love Incorporated Non Profit Development (B.L.I.N.D. 501c3). The charity was established in 1997 and it aims to provide "community-driven development for inner-city youth" through the use of music, dance, theater and visual arts. The organization's first endeavor was to establish a base of operations. Erykah chose to renovate and reopen the Black Forest Theater in South Dallas. The Black Forest serves as a community center, bringing people together in order to celebrate the art and culture of south Dallas. The Black Forest’s stage has shows and performances. It has hosted both free and fundraising concerts from many artists from the late Prince to Talib Kweli plus Questlove from the Roots.

The Russian Civil War was one of the most important events of the 20th century. It lasted from November 1917 to October 1922. It was a brutal war and it was complex. The 2 major factions that fought in the War were the Red Army and the White Army. The Red Army were made up of Bolsheviks while the White Army was made up of a diverse amount of people (like pro-Tsarists, social democrats, other socialists, monarchists, and other opponents of the Bolshevik order). Also, there were the rival militant socialists and noniedological Green armies who fought against both the Bolsheviks and the White Army. There was the anarchist Black Army who fought the Bolsheviks and the White Army too. The war covered a wide spectrum of lands from Ukraine to Siberia. 8 foreign nations intervened to ally with the White Army as a way to try to defeat the Red Army. The Red Army defeated the White Armed Forces of South Russia in Ukraine and the army led by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak in Siberia in 1919. The remains of the White forces commanded by Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel were beaten in Crimea and evacuated in late 1920. Lesser battles of the war continued on the periphery for two more years, and minor skirmishes with the remnants of the White forces in the Far East continued well into 1923. Armed national resistance in Central Asia was not completely crushed until 1934. There were an estimated 7,000,000-12,000,000 casualties during the war, mostly civilians. The Russian Civil War has been described by some as the greatest national catastrophe that Europe had yet seen (before World War II). The Red Army was victorious. Also, new nations were formed in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland as there were independence movements during this time period. The Soviet Union would continue to exist for decades to come. The civil war started after the defeat of the Russian Provisional Government. After the October Revolution, the Red Guard was formed and the Cheka existed or the Bolshevik state security group. Leon Trotsky formed the Red Army made up of peasants and other workers. He used conscription since the army at first was very small. The problem was that Trotsky allowed the Red Army to use hostages and shooting at people to make sure people complied in the Red Army. These same actions were also done by the White Army officers too. 83% of the Red Army divisional and corps commanders were ex-Tsarist soldiers. The war was ultimately a battle between pro-Bolshevik forces and anti-Bolshevik forces. The war definitely was on when the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk existed and the political ban formed. Anti-Bolshevik groups were diverse and were loosely confederated. They included landowners, republicans, conservatives, middle-class citizens, reactionaries, pro-monarchists, liberals, army generals, non-Bolshevik socialists who still had grievances and democratic reformists voluntarily united only in their opposition to Bolshevik rule. This group formed the White Army via forced conscriptions and terror. Another problem with the White Army was that it was supported by overt imperialists who wanted Russia to be a Western client state. Many leaders of the White Army were Gen. Yudenich, Adm. Kolchak and Gen. Denikin. An Ukrainian independence national movement existed. One leader of the Black Army was Nestor Makhno. Many Jewish people and Ukrainian peasants were in the Black Army. They played a role in halting General Denikin’s White Army offensive towards Moscow during 1919 while rejecting the White forces from Crimea. The European part of the Russian war was fought on three main fronts which were the eastern, the southern, and the northwestern front. There were three major periods of the war.

London has diverse demographics. The 2011 census recorded that London has 2,998,264 people or 36.7% of London’s population being foreign born. That means that London has the second largest immigrant population in terms of absolute numbers in the world (New York City is number one). The foreign born citizens from London are from India, Poland, Ireland, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, France, etc. Industrialization has caused London’s population to grow rapidly too during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its metropolitan area is big too. According to the Office for National Statistics, based on the 2011 Census estimates, 59.8 per cent of the 8,173,941 inhabitants of London were White, with 44.9 per cent White British, 2.2 per cent White Irish, 0.1 per cent gypsy/Irish traveler and 12.1 per cent classified as Other White. 20.9 per cent of Londoners are of Asian and mixed-Asian descent. 19.7 per cent are of full Asian descent, with those of mixed-Asian heritage comprising 1.2 of the population. Indians account for 6.6 per cent of the population, followed by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis at 2.7 per cent each. Chinese peoples account for 1.5 per cent of the population, with Arabic people comprising 1.3 per cent. A further 4.9 per cent are classified as "Other Asian". 15.6 per cent of London's population are of Black and mixed-Black descent. 13.3 per cent are of full Black descent, with those of mixed-Black heritage comprising 2.3 per cent. Black Africans account for 7.0 per cent of London's population, with 4.2 per cent as Black Caribbean and 2.1 per cent as "Other Black". 5.0 per cent are of mixed race. In London, Black and Asian children outnumber white British children by about six to four in state schools. Almost 50 percent of the citizens of London are Christians, 20.7 percent have no religion, and Muslims make up 12.4 percent of the city. It is very common to witness large Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish communities. Muslim mosques, Sikh temples, and Hindu temples are commonplace in the city. It is a fact that London is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. By 2015, it has been ranked as the most visited city in the world with over 65 million visits. Tourism is a major industry in the city.

By Timothy

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