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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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Crisis in USA Black History Education

A memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. is great, but beyond King and Rosa Parks, a black history knowledge gap is growing among USA high school students, as only 2% of seniors in 2010 knew important facts about Brown versus the Board of Education, the landmark US Supreme Court decision from 1954.

what’s behind this pathetic statistic?  State education standards are ignoring civil rights history.

Southern states are doing the best.  Northeast and western states are doing the worst.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has conducted a first of its kind study (September, 2011) about how African American history relating to civil rights is taught in high school.

Take a look at the graph to see who is at the head of the class.

Each state sets different expectations for teachers and students.  Only 35 states (including the District of Columbia) required study of the civil rights movement as part of their state-mandated standards, framework or curriculum.

To compare state performance, the SPLC study stressed knowledge content across 6 categories resulting in 85% of a state’s score:

  1. Events
  2. Leaders
  3. Groups
  4. Causes (history)
  5. Obstacles
  6. Tactics

So what specifics should high school students know according to the SPLC framework?

  1. The civil rights movement was a movement composed of many individuals and was not the initiative of any single person or small group of people.
  2. All students should learn about Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, but students should learn about at least six additional figures in the civil rights movement.
  3. Students should be able to identify major groups involved in the civil rights movement, including CORE, SCLC and SNCC.
  4. Students should be able to identify key events in the civil rights movement and place them in the correct order (Brown v. Board of Education, Little Rock, Freedom Rides, Montgomery Bus Boycott, 24th Amendment, Birmingham bombings and protests, March on Washington, 1964 Civil Rights Act, Freedom Summer, Selma-to-Montgomery march, 1965 Voting Rights Act, Watts and other uprisings, 1968 Civil Rights Act and assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Many more elements are included in the SPLC recommendations.  You can read Teaching the Movement: The State of Civil Rights Education in the United States 2011 or download a pdf version of the document.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 09/28 at 09:30 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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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Black in Latin America

Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, and Peru are 6 countries that reflect the South American legacy of 12.5 million Africans who were shipped to the New World during the Middle Passage.

Only 11 million survived the journey, according to historian - educator - author ‘Skip’ Gates.

Black in Latin America by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., reveals the history of African-South Americans through religion, art, music, cuisine, dance, and politics.

I’ve been enjoying this book on a smart phone Kindle reader, but a traditional paper book version will work just as well too!

Even If you’ve watched the Black in Latin America television specials documenting this research, Gates’ book offers many additional compelling stories.

Discover more about the complex cultural differences between people of color in North and South America.  The similarities will also be striking. Black in Latin America is highly recommended.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 07/20 at 09:15 PM
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Broadcast Pioneer Seeks a Home for African American Artifacts

Why is this legendary DJ, who coined the phrase on the radio “Burn Baby Burn,” standing in front of his very rare black history collectable collection?

His pieces have gotten the attention of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.

Find out why the Magnificent Montague seeks a home for African American artifacts.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 06/22 at 07:30 PM
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Black History People Android App

Black History People Android AppDiscover the profiles of nearly 100 black history people in the free Black History People App for Android smart phones.

Authors, poets, civil rights, politics, education, sports, entertainment, art, business, inventors, law, medicine, science, aviation, and music are categories you can explore in the app.

You can Download the Black History People App directly to your Android smart phone using the web browser in your phone.  Install it after downloading.

If you use a Blackberry, iPhone, or a full featured cell phone with a web browser…no problem.  The app exists as it’s own website at

Posted by Hugh Smith on 05/11 at 09:45 PM
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

The John H Johnson Vision

John H. Johnson

John H. Johnson was a publishing pioneer way ahead of his time. Download and listen to the John H. Johnson story from  Enjoy the truth about his creative stroke of genius that paved the way for a targeted mass media empire.

Read all the back issues of Jet from Johnson Publishing, (courtesy of Google Books):

Posted by Hugh Smith on 04/14 at 08:00 PM
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Manning Marable Reinvention Of Malcolm X

In 1965, in New York City, at the age of 39, Malcolm X was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom.  Discover his legacy by listening to and reading about Manning Marable’s ‘Reinvention’ Of Malcolm X.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 03/31 at 07:30 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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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Black History Month People Projects 2011

While our main search engine at is being repaired, you’ll want to grab our most popular free resource ever.  With over 5,000 downloads in a very short period of time, Black History People for Black History Projects is a terrific tool that links you to hundreds of pages at our website!

Posted by Hugh Smith on 02/01 at 09:30 PM
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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service is the official website of the US government that offers ideas, chronicles initiatives, and presents community service outreach relating to the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 01/15 at 08:00 AM
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dr. Carl R. Gross recorded the history of black medical professionals

While he practiced medicine, Dr. Carl R. Gross spent six years compiling a list that tells a New England story about a black medical community — doctors, dentists, pharmacists and nurses.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 12/15 at 09:30 PM
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Artful Dr. Margaret Burroughs

Frustrated by the lack of options for African-American artists to showcase their work and hoping to bring Black history to the forefront, Dr. Margaret Burroughs founded the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art in Chicago.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 11/24 at 08:30 AM
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Black History Month with The Color Purple and Malcolm X

Warner Home Video will celebrate Black History Month 2011 by releasing re-mastered versions of Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple starring Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg

Spike Lee’s Malcolm X starring Denzel Washington and Angela Bassett will also be released on Blu-ray Disc for the first time.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 10/13 at 07:30 PM
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Barack Obama Profiles 13 Americans for A New Kids Book

A new book by President Barack Obama is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, November 16, 2010.

of Thee I Sing, expresses traits Obama sees in his own children, illuminated through the lens of 13 interesting stories about notable Americans, including Jackie Robinson, George Washington, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Loren Long is the illustrator.

Obama’s daughters Malia and Sasha, inspired President Obama to create this work.

Posted by Hugh Smith on 09/14 at 07:30 PM
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