Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Episode 138: "Pop-Pie a la Mode"

Dang...Popeye too?!? I haven't put out a cartoon in a while, and I'm all about cartoons. So here's an old white supremacist Popeye cartoon from 1945. See, the cool thing to me about cartoons is that they really give you a unique insight into the artistic and cultural attitudes of the time. Even more so than film or television does, just because cartoons can be so "out there"...completely imaginative works of art. So this cartoon really says something about 1945 WWII years America. It's along the same lines of previous episodes (8 and 18...really all of the cartoons previously released on this podcast share similar qualities) with the silly looking, donut-mouthed black people. And in this episode, navy war hero, the all-American Popeye whoops up on a whole tribe! So I had to share this one. Dang...you too Popeye? Peace.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Episode 137: "American Blackout" (parts 1-3)

I feel as though the previous episode (episode 136) and this one are kindred media, as the issue that they highlight was just as relevant in 1963 as it was in 2000 and 2004, and continues to be all the way up until today. Peace to GNN for producing this documentary. "American Blackout" is an important film, and I felt that now was the perfect time to share this with my audience. "American Blackout" (2006) was directed by Ian Inaba, and chronicles the recurring patterns of voter disenfranchisement from Florida in 2000 to Ohio in 2004. What makes this film compelling, to me at least, is that it does this while following the story of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. In producing this podcast, I sometimes try to release episodes in a sequence where they are able to shed some light on specific topics from different historical perspectives. I feel that this episode, following episodes 136 and 135 help me to pay homage to the work of important black women, as well as try and give a different perspective on the work and troubles that have faced Ms. Cynthia McKinney. Through this film, Ms. McKinney sounds very much like a modern day Fannie Lou Hamer...at least to me. Ms. Hamer was also belittled and dismissed in her day, and continued to press on with her work to try and do what was right and necessary, despite the haters. So to me, this film is a must-see in the months before this year's historic presidential election. It touches on so many important issues, that all I can say is that with the efforts being made to increase black voter turnout and elect this country's first African-American President, people ought to pay attention to the ways in which Americans have been disenfranchised back in the day, and in recent years, and begin to prepare ways to prevent these same things from happening in 2008. Truth be told, voter disenfranchisement may be the opposition party's only hope of victory this fall. I usually try to keep away from political commentary on this blog...the topic of African-American history is so much broader than a political issue. But everything that is, is because of everything that was. So in the spirit of political awareness and voter education, I offer up this episode. And in case you would like to see more evidence of modern voter suppression (or are one of those people who only want to believe something is true if it is presented by a certain demographic), I'd also encourage you to watch this documentary, HBO's "Hacking Democracy" once you've finished "American Blackout". Peace.

Episode 136: Fannie Lou Hamer

Sorry congregation, I was off of my blogging game recently, so I have some catching up to do. In this episode, Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer recalls how her efforts to register other black people to vote took a dramatic turn in Winona, Mississippi on June 9, 1963. The story that she tells is heartbreaking, and reminds us of how the ability for black people to be able to cast a ballot was fought for and earned, and why it should not be taken for granted. Mrs. Hamer was a true political pioneer in this country, and her contributions towards making America a better, fairer place cannot go unrecognized. And even though the events that she describes happened over forty years ago, their relevance is still important...especially in this election year. So in honor of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, and everyone else who is actively engaged in expanding the electorate by working to register and empower more Americans to exercise their right to vote...I hope that this episode offers a little bit of inspiration. Thank you all for your hard work and sacrifice. Peace.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slavery After the Civil War

I found this on Newsweek.com today and thought I'd pass the link on. Heartbreaking.
Click here to see for yourself (and make sure to check out some of the comments on the article/interview with the book's author).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Episode 135: Coretta Scott King

Shout out to all of the women in the audience! This episode is especially for all of the ladies in the BMA congregation. I'm not exactly sure where this speech was delivered, but on August 26, 1971 (I believe) on the establishment of Women's Equality Day, Coretta Scott King delivered this short address to the audience. In it she speaks on the important role of Christian women in the ongoing struggle to make this world a better place. It's a beautiful message from an extraordinary woman. Unfortunately, that's about all that I could find out about this episode. But I thought that she spoke brilliantly. I hope that y'all enjoy it too. Peace.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Episode 134: "Let It Burn" (parts 1 & 2)

I haven't put out an episode featuring Robert F. Williams in a while (see episodes 50 and 76), and I've been sitting on this film until now. The documentary/interview "Let It Burn" with Robert F. Williams (1968) is a must see. 'Nuff respect to Robert C. Cohen for having the insight to make this film 40 years ago. If you'd like to see more of Mr. Cohen's work, you can check it out here or you can get a copy of Mr. Cohen's book about Robert F. Williams here. Mr. Williams was a brutha who didn't take no mess...he spoke his mind and stood up for himself and his community...and was promptly run out of the country for it. He is also someone whose voice and opinions need to be heard by the younger generation. So if you don't know who the man was...understand that there's a reason for that...then take this episode as an introduction to the man and his work. There are some great quotes in this film, so even though it's kind of long it's worth a watch. There's not a lot that I can add with this little commentary, so I'll keep it short. Watch this one, and then tell somebody else about it. Peace.

P.S. Thank you oakland babi for your comment on iTunes. It's comments like yours that help motivate me to keep this podcast going. I truly appreciate the kind words and support, and I love to hear how the BMA can help spark family conversations. I couldn't have wished for anything better from this podcast.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Episode 133: "Political Ads"

Ok...I'm a little tardy with this post. But I was trying to cool out and enjoy my shortened holiday work week last week, and long weekend. So now that it's back to business, I can catch up on my blog. So this episode is a pair of old school Presidential campaign ads, the few that I could find in the vaults that feature some black people (actually speaking) in them. It's well known that this is a historic year for presidential politics. But as these ads show, black people have used their influence in the past by publicly participating in presidential campaigns (and in both parties I might add). So maybe this will offer some "shut the heck up" to the people on the web who seem to think that black people have just begun to support a specific candidate this election year. I even offer one more piece of evidence here:

But I digress...episode 133 includes first, an ad from the 1960 Presidential campaign of Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy in which he sits down with Harry Belafonte for a sound bite snippet of all the great things he stands for. Belafonte urges us to cast our vote for JFK, as he plans to do. Pretty standard campaign stuff. The second ad however, doesn't include the actual candidate at all. It is for Republican Gerald Ford's 1976 re-election bid, and stars Pearl Bailey. In this ad she too urges us to cast our vote for Ford, but doesn't seem to offer any specific reasons for doing so. This one was a little strange to me, and seemed to be a pretty blatant advertisement proclaiming, "I'm black and I support Ford...maybe you should too" with little substance to it. At least Kennedy appeared in his ad, and made it a minute long to make his case. Ford on the other hand just offers 30 seconds of Ms. Bailey talking vaguely about how she likes Gerald Ford. This just reminds me of something that Republicans would still try and do (like in the 2004 GWB ad above). Put a black face on the screen to say, "hey, there are some black people who vote for us...why not you?" But that's just my interpretation. Enjoy these ads, and remember to vote (regardless of which candidate you support). Peace.