i am

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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Black Inventors/Brilliant Inventions

people of african ancestry have made extraordinary contributions throughout the course of hue-man history. these brilliant inventors realized their god-given talents to create useful products we probably take for granted everyday. in the spirit of african heritage month i've listed some of their inventions which simplify the lives of folks all over the world.

a.p. ashbourne - biscuit cutter. l.c. bailey - folding bed. james a. bauer - coin changer. andrew j. beard - car couple; rotary engine. g.e. becket - letter box. alfred benjamin - stainless steel pads. h. bradberry - torpedo discharger. phil brooks - disposable syringe. marie brown - home security system. henry blair - corn planter; cotton planter. sarah boone - ironing board. l.f. brown - horse bridle bit. oscar e. brown - horse shoe. otis boykin - guide missile; pacemaker. john a. burr - lawn mower.

burridge & marshman - typewriter. r.a. butler - train alarm. george carruthers - radiation detector. george washington carver - lotion & soaps; paints & satins; peanut butter. george cook - automatic fishing reel. a.l. cralle - ice cream mold. william d. davis - horse riding saddle. w.a. detiz - shoe. joseph dickinson - arm for recording player; player piano. o. dorsey - doorknob; doorstop. clatonia j. dorticus - photo embossing machine; photo print wash. p.b. dowing - postal letter box. dr. charles drew - blood plasma.

t. elkins - toilet. david a. fisher - furniture caster. robert fleming, jr. guitar. george f. grant - golf tee. j. gregory - motor. micheal harney - lantern. soloman harper - thermo hair curlers. b.f. jackson - gas burner. h.a. jackson - kitchen table. joseph n. jackson - remote controllers; video commander. isaac r. johnson - bicycle frame. jerry johnson - sani-phone. lonnie johnson - super soaker. william harwell - space shuttle retrieval arm. w.a. lavallette - printing press. lester lee - laser fuels. maurice w. lee - pressure cooker.

f.w. leslie - envelope seal. a.l. lewis - window cleaner. john l. love - pencil sharpener. hugh macdonald - rocket catapult. tom j. marshall - fire extinguisher. w.a. martin - lock. jan matzeliger - shoe lasting machine. elijah mccoy - lubricators. alexander miles - elevator. garrett morgan - gas mask; traffic signal. lyda newman - hair brush. alice h. paker - heating furnace. j.f. pickering - airship. purdgy & sadgwar - folding chair. w.b. purvis - fountain pen; hand stamp. l.p. ray - dust pan. a.c. richardson - insect destroyer gun.

w.c. richardson - baby buggy. n. rillieux - sugar refinement. walter sammons - pressing comb. g.t. sampson - clothes dryer. henry sampson - cellular phone. dewey sanderson - urinalysis mchine. ralph sanderson - hydraulic shock absorber. s.r. scottron - curtain rod. j.w. smith - lawn sprinkler. r.b. spikes - automatic gearshift. j. standard - refrigerator. t.w. stewart - mop. rufus j. weaver - stairclimbing wheelchair. paul e. williams - helicopter. j.b. winters - fire escape ladder. granville t. woods - auto air brake; electric cutoff switch; electric railway system; galvanic battery; relay instrument; roller coaster; telephone system; telephone transmitter.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

President Obama Names 15 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients

president barack obama today named 15 recipients of the presidential medal of freedom. the medal of freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the national interests or security of the united states, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant private or public endeavors. the awards will be presented at a white house ceremony early next year.

obama said, "these outstanding honorees come from a broad range of backgrounds & they've excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture & made our country & our world a better place. i look forward to awarding them this honor."

the recipients are: 1) george h.w. bush, 41st us president, vp during the reagan administration & former cia director; 2) chancellor angela merkel, the 1st woman & 1st east german to serve as chancellor of a unified germany, which this year marks its 20th anniversary; 3) congressman john lewis (d-ga), an american hero & freedom fighter during the civil rights movement who served as chairman of the student nonviolent coordinating committee at age 19 & continues to serve georgia's fifth district since 1987.

4) john h. adams, who co-founded the national defense resources council in 1970, served as executive director & later, as president of the nonprofit environmental advocacy group until 2006; 5) dr. maya angelou, activist, actress, author, educator, filmmaker, humanitarian, poet & producer who is currently the reynolds professor of american studies at wake forest university; 6) warren buffett, an american industrialist, investor & philanthropist, he's one of the most successful investors in the world.

7) jasper johns, an american artist who produced a distinguished body of work dealing with themes of identity & perception since the mid-1950's whose work has influenced pop, minimal & conceptual art; 8) gerda weissman klein, a jewish holocaust survivor who's written several books about her experiences & recently founded citizenship counts, a an organization teaching students to cherish the value of their american citizenship; 9) dr. tom little, an optometrist who was brutally murdered 8/6/10 by the taliban in the kuran wa munjan district of afghanistan along with nine other members of a humanitarian team on a mission to provide vision care in nuristan.

10) yo-yo ma, recognized as a prodigy since age five he made his carnegie hall debut in nyc at age nine & is considered the world's greatest cellist whose celebrity transcends the world of classical music; 11) sylvia mendez, a civil rights activist of mexican & puerto rican descent whose victorious lawsuit after being denied entry into an all-white school at age eight was a landmark case in the movement against segregation; 12) stan "the man" musial, a baseball legend & hall of fame first baseman for the st. louis cardinals for 22 years who was a 24 time all-star selection, three time most valuable player & member of three world series teams.

13) bill russell, the former boston celtics' captain who revolutionised professional basketball with his defensive prowess leading boston to 11 nba titles in 13 years, including a record eight in a row, five time most valuable player & the first african-american to coach in the nba; 14) jean kennedy smith, who in 1974 founded vsa, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the john f. kennedy center promoting the artistic talents of children, youth & adults with disabilities; 15) john j. sweeney, the current president emeritus of the afl-cio who served as their president from 1995 to 2009, revitalizing the american labor movement by emphasizing social justice, union organizing & workers' advocacy rights.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Power To The People! The Egyptian Revolution Was Televised!

the sounds of freedom continue to ring thru cairo 24 hrs after hosni mubarak was forced to resign by the awe-inspiring courage, determination & resilience of millions of egyptians who poured in2 the streets in unprecedented numbers for 18 str8 days. after 30 yrs of authoritarian rule, the impossible became possible: the hated dictator has left the country & his notorious police force has all but vanished.

for the tens of thousands who were in tahrir (liberation) square friday pm, the explosive news of mubarak's resignation spread like wildfire; within seconds crowds erupted in2 screams of joy & relief. strangers exchanged congratulatory embraces, their eyes moist with tears of disbelief & pride at the historic change they helped create & witness.

all night long every street in cairo lit with celebrations. people streamed in2 tahrir square from across the colossal city, waving egyptian flags, breaking out in2 dance, poetry & song, their faces bursting with a sweet & unknown delight. loud chants of "the people have brought down the regime" & "hold your head up, you are egyptian" echoed late in2 the night.

egypt's revolutionaries defy trivial generalizations. they are men & women, young & old, rich & poor, educated & illiterate, muslim & copt, atheists & believers, capitalists & workers, peasants & techies, artists & state employees, housewives & professionals, salafists & socialists, long-time activists & apathetic citizens.

after their long night of jubilation the revolutionaries returned to the square saturday, now armed with brooms, garbage bags & a new found sense of national pride. thousands dutifully swept the dusty streets in & around tahrir square, pausing at different intersections to recall the bloody battles with state security & thugs unleashed by mubarak's oppressive regime. others applied a fresh coat of paint to the pavements while talking about the freedoms they wanted to enshrine in their rejuvenated country.

the january 25th uprising in egypt has set an inspiring example to people globally. three days in2 the shift of power tens of thousands of peaceful protesters on cairo's qasr-al-nil bridge shattered the invincibility of egypt's security forces empowered with their bodies & a neo-gandhian fearlessness in the face of extreme brutality. when the panicked regime took the police off the streets to intimidate people in staying at home, the people responded by organizing committees to guard their neighborhoods.

when the regime unleashed hired thugs to stage pro-mubarak demonstrations & attack journalists & pro-democracy protesters in the square, thousands fought back with rocks while others set up make-shift clinics to treat the wounded & distribute blankets, food & water, as well as tents to those inside the square. when state television framed the demonstrators as directed by "foreign elements," folks waved egyptian flags, asserting a patriotic struggle. employees of state media outlets & well-known media personalities soon began to speak out in protest.

challenging mubarak's power has been fatal. according to estimates by the human rights watch & united nations, at least 300 people were killed in the uprising. many others have been detained & possibly tortured by egypt's intelligence & military force. every time mubarak or his recently deputized vice president omar suleiman appeared on television, they expressed contempt for the protesters, announcing piecemeal reforms to try & appease the millions in the streets.

indeed, each day brought a litany of new reasons for the people's frustrations & rage against the regime to swell. but despite the lack of restraint on the part of mubarak's hostile regime, the pro-democracy protesters did not respond to the constant provocations with violence. instead, the diverse & united people in the square delivered periodic chants of "ours is a peaceful revolution, ours is a popular revolution."

18 days of progressive struggle brought power to the people. egypt's revolution was televised but remains far from over. who will shape the post-mubarak era? who will be allowed to guide the transition to civilian rule? as the celebrations in tahrir square continue folks' concerns about the prosperity, restoration & success of egypt are not awash in cynicism. there are more questions than answers. egyptians have tasted the power of a popular uprising whose foremost demand was met & now they can't imagine giving up until all of their conflicts are resolved.

these include the repeal of the emergency law, the dissolution of parliament, constitutional reforms to ensure fair & free elections, the release of all political prisoners & justice for all those killed during the revolution. no one knows how quickly these demands will be met, but affirmed by their monumental victory against mubarak, millions of egyptians now believe if they continue the struggle anything is possible.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Packers Edge Steelers In Super Bowl XLV

the green bay packers defeated the pittsburgh steelers 31-25 to win super bowl 45 & claim the coveted vince lombardi trophy. the thrilling game was witnessed by over 103,000 fans in arlington, texas, home to the dallas cowboys. this was green bay's 4th super bowl title. the packers won the 1st 2 super bowls with vince lomabardi coaching bart starr & they won again in 1997 led by (recently retired) qb brett favre.

super bowl 45 mvp was green bay qb aaron rodgers who completed 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards & three touchdown passes. rodgers' brilliant performance was slightly overshadowed by six dropped passes which would have augmented his numbers & changed the final score. packers cornerback nick collins intercepted a pass for a touchdown, leading an underrated defense to a hard-fought victory in a season many pundits thought was over after 14 regular season games.

when green bay was struggling at 8-6, their hopes for a playoff berth were slim, yet veterans like wide receiver donald driver & cornerback charles woodson - both of whom missed the 2nd half of the super bowl due to injuries - empowered their team to one win after the next. the 6th seeded packers beat the philadelphia eagles, new york giants & chicago bears on the road to earn a super bowl trip against the more experienced steelers.

packers wide receivers greg jennings & jordy nelson caught touchdown passes as green bay dominated the 1st half, leading 21-10, despite a steelers td pass from ben roethlesberger to hines ward late in the 2nd quarter. the game's momentum shifted as the steelers scored again, cutting green bay's 18 point lead to three points but the black & yellow never got closer. the steelers' offense, stifled by costly turnovers, was unable to move beyond midfield in their final possession with less than two minutes in the game. pittsburgh is now 6-2 in super bowl games.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Origins Of Black History Month

black history month, also known as african heritage month, is a time to appreciate, celebrate, reflect and rejoice in the magnanimous beauty and unparalleled brilliance of the motherland. in acknowledging africa's extraordinary contributions to global society, we honor all members of the african diaspora. let us begin by taking an in-depth look at how this unique cultural phenomenon came to be.

in the early 1900's, omega psi phi, one of the oldest african-american fraternities, first celebrated the achievements of black people on february 12, abraham lincoln's birthday. later, in 1916, dr. carter g. woodson, an honorary member of omega psi phi, convinced the association for the study of negro life and history - an organization he started - to sponsor "negro history week." his aim? to reach a larger, more diverse audience.

dr. woodson began the annual celebration in 1926 to increase awareness of, and interest, in black history amongst blacks and whites. he assiduously distributed promotional brochures and pamphlets to various state boards of education, elementary and secondary schools, colleges, universities, women's clubs, white scholarly journals, black newspapers and periodicals: implementing ways to document truth.

unequivocally accepted as the founder of this, now, cultural/national movement and observance, dr. woodson comes from humble beginnings; his parents were enslaved and illiterate. as an adolescent he worked in the west virginia coalmines to support his family; as a result, he started school later than most children, yet earned a high school diploma with honors. his motto in life was, "it is never too late to learn."

dr. woodson continued his education at harvard university where he received his master's and ph.d. he later studied at the prestigious sorbonne in paris, france. while developing as a scholar he recognized a troubling pattern in history and literature books. dr. woodson surmised africans were intentionally omitted from history, and, if they were mentioned at all, it was only done to advance culturally oppressive myths (read: lie) about africa and her people: arbitrarily imparting to europeans a false sense of superiority and to africans a fatal sense of inferiority.

for example, the african ancestry of alexander pushkin, noted father of russian literature, is peculiarly "blacked-out" from standard history texts; in fact, pushkin was castigated for embracing his heritage. another literary giant of african descent, alexander dumas, spent most of his life in france. dumas once publicly stated, "when i discovered i was black, i was determined to act so that men should be beneath my skin."

in germany, the word "mohr" means black. in english, however, that same word is spelled: moor. one of the world's most honored and treasured musicians is a man of african ancestry. we know him in america as ludwig von beethoven. in germany he is referred to as "the blackamoor." beethoven is also known in other countries as "the black spaniard."

contrary to popular belief and contemporary misconception, february was not "given" to blacks by guilt-ridden whites because its shorter than other months. dr. woodson consciously chose the second week in february to memorialize the birthdays of lincoln, and more significantly, frederick douglass. in the early 1970's his vision was extended throughout the entire month and the use of the noun "black," symbolizing power, pride and purpose, was ceremoniously added to the title.

today, dr. woodson is generally best known for his groundbreaking book, the mis-education of the negro. he wanted black history affirmed everywhere it is researched: on every continent and in every culture. like w.e.b. dubois, marcus garvey and malcolm x, dr. woodson clearly understood the power accurate history has on a people's collective self-value and worth. we share his third eye this month - and each day of our lives - honoring our ancestors, cultivating our spirit, expressing our creativity and treating our brothas and sistahs with the love and compassion they so richly deserve.