Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Black History Inventors Encore

The free Black History Inventors reference profiled in this short video includes many amazing individuals. Many have received US patents.

You can listen to black history inventors historical facts through your speaker or headphones spoken by a real person in this app.

An excellent reference about black history inventors in the Amazon App Store, not just for Black History Month, but for anytime.  Developed by for Android.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 01/09 at 09:42 PM
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Real African American Cowboys

Nat, “Deadwood Dick,” Love, (1854-1921), was a famous cowboy.  He first made a name for himself when he journeyed from his native Tennessee to Dodge City, Kansas.

Love was a scout and range boss.  He led cattle drives, participated in rodeos, fought the native American Indians, and developed into quite a legend.  In 1907, he wrote his autobiography.

Rodeo cowboy Bill Pickett, (1860-1932), was born in Texas.  He developed the art of “bulldogging,” the technique of twisting the neck of a steer by the horns and wrestling it to the ground.

The brazen cowboy gained fame from his bulldogging practice of biting the lip or nose of steers.  Pickett was a super star on the wild west rodeo show circuit.

He toured with the 101 Ranch Wild West promotion throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, and England.

Pickett was kicked by a stallion and died in 1932.  He was the first African American cowboy inducted into the National Rodeo Hall of Fame in Oklahoma (1971).

These are the Real African American black history cowboys.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 08/22 at 07:02 PM
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Black History Inventors App Celebrates Ingenuity

Clever inventions, creative solutions, and smart answers to fix all kinds of problems.  African American inventors throughout black history have dreamed up the impossible through innovation and hard work.

Marjorie Stewart Joyner came up with the wave curl in 1928.  Lewis Temple constructed a whaling harpoon in 1848.  Valerie Thomas tackled the illusion transmitter 1980.

It’s a revelation reviewing these resources in Black History Inventors, a free Android smart phone App with sound narration, developed by Hugh Smith,, and Quikthinking Software, available in the Amazon App Store, and from Google Play.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 07/31 at 09:48 PM
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuskegee Airmen In their own words

The Tuskegee Airmen National Historical Museum in Detroit, Michigan is a great online black history resource for all things Tuskegee Airmen.  Discover more!

Posted by Hugh Smith on 06/13 at 06:50 PM
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Harry Belafonte My Song: A Memoir

What can you expect to discover when you dive through the pages of the just released Harry Belafonte My Song: A Memoir?

You’ll encounter the inspiring life of a great singer, actor, artist, activist, and black history pioneer.

Belafonte is a World War II U.S. Navy veteran, who conquered racism while navigating life’s road through Jamaica, W.I., Harlem, New York, and Hollywood.

He became enthusiastic about theater while working odd jobs after the war.

The Belafonte 20th century timeline covers friendships with Paul Robeson, Sidney Poitier, President John F. Kennedy, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Nelson Mandela, Robert Kennedy, Marlon Brando, President Bill Clinton, Robert Kennedy, and Fidel Castro are discussed with respect, reverence, and honesty.

Harry Belafonte’s passion for activism cuts right to the core of his community awareness.  This part of his persona transcends what he may be most famous for: his calypso singer image.

As an African American history original, Harry Belafonte will leave a lasting legacy.

Watch his one minute video as he reflects on the metaphor of song, used in the title of Belafonte’s new October, 2011 book.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 10/26 at 07:30 PM
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Opens

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is the only monument dedicated to an African American on the National Mall in Washington DC.  Find out more by watching and listening to this 60 second video we recorded and produced at the King Memorial on the 2nd day the new shrine was open to the public.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 08/23 at 11:00 PM
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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Black History Month The Power of Word Poets

Here’s our special video feature for Black History Month, 2011.  Discover the power of words from the masters, including W.E.B. DuBois, Nikki Giovanni, Ntozake Shange, and others.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 02/22 at 08:00 AM
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Let Freedom Sing: Songs from the Movement

If you missed the live 2010 White House Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement, here’s the next best thing.

In January, 2009, Time Life released Let Freedom Sing: The Music of the Civil Rights Movement.

The outstanding 3 CD box set includes 2 pages of provocative liner notes written by Public Enemy front man Chuck D.

His comments are part of a large, colorful, 40 page booklet that includes lots of facts about all the songs.

Chuck says “there’s a reason why listening to the past 100 years of black music can bring a sense of voice, sound, meaning, joy, and well as a historical timeline."

He adds “way before an iPod, these songs rang in my head as they navigated me through my near half a century of life."

What’s great about this collection is the representation of each of the post 1930 - 20th century decades.

Historical facts acknowledging key years pertaining to the civil rights movement are also included in their own highlighted paragraphs weaved between the elaborate music notes.

The Southern Sons kick things off on disc one with “Go Down Moses,” recorded in 1941.

Six of the tracks are from the 1930’s and 1940’s.  Four are from the 1950’s, including Nat King Cole’s stirring 1956 classic “We Are Americans Too."

As you’ll see from the track list below, no decade is left out. The best songs from the civil rights movement are included.

There are some excellent alternative versions rather than hits you might expect.

Otis Redding, not Sam Cooke sings “A Change is Gonna Come.” Bob & Marcia, not Nina Simone sings “Young, Gifted, and Black."

The liner notes have all the back-stories about why these versions were selected.

Watch our 90 second video to hear clips of 3 of the songs.

Let Freedom Sing: The Music of the Civil Rights Movement:

    Disc One
  1. “Go Down Moses” - The Southern Sons, 1941
  2. “Strange Fruit” - Billie Holiday, 1939
  3. “Uncle Sam Says” - Josh White, 1941
  4. “ No Restricted Signs” - The Golden Gate Quartet, 1947
  5. “Black, Brown, and White” - Brownie McGhee, 1947
  6. “The Hammer Song (If I Had a Hammer)” - The Weavers, 1949
  7. “The Death of Emmett Till” parts 1 & 2 - The Ramparts, 1955,
  8. “When Do I Get To Be Called A Man” - Big Bill Broonzy, 1955
  9. “The Alabama Bus” - Brother Will Hairston, 1956
  10. “We Are Americans Too” - Nat King Cole, 1956
  11. “Why Am I Treated So Bad” - The Staple Singers, 1966
  12. “I Shall Not Be Moved” - The Harmonizing Four, 1959
  13. “Oh Freedom” - Harry Belafonte, 1959
  14. “Ride On, Red, Ride On” - Louisiana Red, 1962
  15. “Mississippi Goddam” - Nina Simone, 1964
  16. “ Blowin’ In The Wind” - Bob Dylan, 1962
  17. “We Shall Overcome” - Mahalia Jackson, 1963
  18. “Too Many Martyrs” - Phil Ochs, 1964
  19. “Alabama Blues” - J. B. Lenoir, 1965
  20. “Our Freedom Song” - The Jubilee Hummingbirds, 1965
  21. “A Change Is Gonna Come” - Otis Redding, 1965

    Disc Two
  1. “Forty Acres and A Mule” - Oscar Brown Jr., 1965
  2. “People Get Ready” - The Impressions, 1965
  3. “Nobody Can Turn Me Around” - The Mighty Clouds of Joy, 1966
  4. “I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free)” - Solomon Burke, 1968
  5. “Respect” - Aretha Franklin, 1967
  6. “The Motor City is Burning” - John Lee Hooker, 1967
  7. “Cryin In The Streets” part 1 - George Perkins & The Silver Stars, 1968
  8. “Abraham, Martin, and John” - Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, 1969
  9. “The Prayer” Ray Scott, 1970
  10. “Say It Loud - I’m Black and I’m Proud” part 1 - James Brown, 1968
  11. “And Black is Beautiful” - Nickie Lee, 1968
  12. “Sock It To ‘Em Soul Brother” - Bill Moss, 1969
  13. “Why I Sing The Blues” part 1 - B.B. King, 1969
  14. “I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothin (Open Up The Door, I’ll Get It Myself)” part 1 - James Brown, 1969
  15. “Stand!” - Sly & The Family Stone, 1969
  16. “Message From A Black Man” - The Temptations, 1969
  17. “Is It Because I’m Black” - Sly Johnson, 1969
  18. “I Was Born Blue” - Swamp Dogg, 1970
  19. “Yes, We Can” part 1 - Lee Dorsey, 1970
  20. “We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue” - Curtis Mayfield, 1970
  21. “Young, Gifted, and Black” - Bob & Marcia, 1970

    Disc Three
  1. “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” - Gil Scott-Heron, 1971
  2. “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People” - The Chi-Lites, 1971
  3. “Smiling Faces Sometimes” - Undisputed Truth, 1971
  4. “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” - Marvin Gaye, 1971
  5. “Hercules” - Aaron Neville, 1973
  6. “Get Up, Stand Up” - Bob Marley and The Wailers, 1973
  7. “Fight The Power” part 1 - Isley Brothers, 1975
  8. “Give The People What They Want” - O’Jays, 1975
  9. “Black Is Black” - Jungle Brothers, 1988
  10. “Sister Rosa” - The Neville Brothers, 1989
  11. “The Pride” - Chuck D., 1996
  12. “Unity” - Sounds of Blackness, 2005
  13. “None of Us Are Free” - Solomon Burke, 2002
  14. “Eyes On The Prize” - The Sojourners, 2007
  15. “Down In Mississippi” - Mavis Staples, 2007
  16. “Free At Last” - The Blind Boys of Alabama, 2008

As you can see, this 3-disc box set is excellent.  Don’t know some of the artists?  Discover the songs by checking out Let Freedom Sing: The Music of the Civil Rights Movement.

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 02/24 at 08:00 PM
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The White House to Host A Civil Rights Music Review

First Lady Michelle and President Barack Obama will host another “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement."

You’ll be able to see the show on TV across the USA.

WETA television Washington, DC is producing it for PBS.  It’s scheduled for broadcast on Thursday, February 11, 2010, at 8 pm Eastern.

NPR will also air a one hour concert special of the event (for radio) during February, Black History Month.

Here’s an early list of performers:

  • Natalie Cole
  • Bob Dylan
  • Jennifer Hudson
  • John Legend
  • John Mellencamp
  • Smokey Robinson
  • Seal
  • Blind Boys of Alabama
  • Howard University Choir

Morgan Freeman and Queen Latifah will be the happy couple hosting the show.

Since the theme of the event is music that inspired the Civil Rights Movement, you’ll hear plenty of songs of inspiration.

I especially like the collaboration with The Grammy Museum.

They’ll be offering a downloadable “Music that Inspired the Movement” curriculum for middle and high school teachers, available at

"A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” is the third “In Performance at the White House” program President Obama has offered.

Watch the slide show below featuring a few of the artists who will perform, and listen to 1 minute of a civil rights movement favorite, Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changing."

This version is performed by The Brothers and Sisters of Los Angeles.

The track is from the album, Dylan’s Gospel, courtesy of Powerhouse Radio. Visit Powerhouse Radio on Facebook.

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 01/27 at 08:00 AM
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Cosby Show Anniversary - 25 Years Later

September 20, 2009, is the 25th anniversary the Cosby Show on television.

Bill Cosby was the first African American actor to receive an Emmy Award (1966) for his role in the television series I Spy.  The Philadelphia native has been extremely successful as a comedian, actor, writer, producer, and social activist.

Listen to 1 minute of Bill Cosby being very funny.  Enjoy the 4 vintage Cosby album covers in the video.

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 09/16 at 01:00 AM
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Friday, February 13, 2009

A Graphic History of African Americans

Over 200 pages spanning 400 years of intriguing stories captures your attention in Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans.

Graphic in this case stands for honest, as author Roland Laird tells the real story of African Americans from the dawn of slavery to the present.

I traveled to Trenton, New Jersey to talk with Roland face-to-face about the creation of Still I Rise and the unique angle governing the presentation of this book.

Watch the 6 minute video to discover much more.

You can reserve your copy of Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans.

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 02/13 at 02:30 PM
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Black History People for Black History Month Projects

Even though Black History Month began in 1976, Dr. Carter G. Woodson created what was once known as Negro History Week in 1926.

Dr. Woodson selected the second week of February between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln to honor African American culture, sacrifice, achievement, and societal contributions.

Now generating global interest, black history is saluted internationally.  For instance, October is Black History Month in the United Kingdom.

If you are looking for some interesting people to spotlight for your projects and celebrations, you’ll want to grab Black History People for Black History Projects, a new tool from

Turn on your computer speakers, watch the short 30 second video, and discover more!

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 01/28 at 07:30 PM
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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Martin Luther King Jr. Saluted with Song

Friday, April 4, 2008 marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Here are 2 video tributes we created using a couple of albums, now out of print, that salute the Martin Luther King Jr. legacy.

Here’s more background about this 1973 Martin Luther King Jr. Classic Soul Dream Concert.

Read the notes from playwright Tommy Butler about the Martin Luther King Jr. Selma Musical.

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 04/02 at 07:30 AM
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Black History People Video Quiz

Can you name all 5 black history people featured in our video quiz?

The quiz is 30 seconds long.  Good Luck!  Enter your answer in a comment.

For more Black History Month quizzes, visit

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 02/13 at 08:00 PM
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Monday, January 21, 2008

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Saluted with Selma the Musical

In 2008, we’ll mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr.

In June of 1972, inspired by the life of Dr. King, Tommy Butler began a 9-month effort to write Selma, the musical.

After opening in a small theater in Los Angeles in 1976, Selma was brought to the attention of comedian Redd Foxx, who thought the production would be perfect for the 1976 bi-centennial celebration.

Selma the musical, who’s title comes from the famous march between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, chronicles the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as other civil rights activists of the era.

Watch the story of Selma, the musical tribute to Martin Luther King Jr, produced by for Black History Month 2008.

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Posted by Hugh Smith on 01/21 at 01:02 AM
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