October 1, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Nigeria Independence Day


September 30, 2014

Good News Tuesday: Polite Stewart, Jr. (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Polite Stewart Jr. was 3 years old when his parents pulled him out of day care and his father began teaching him at home. The Baton Rouge, La., native loved learning science — and he clearly had an aptitude for it. At 14, he enrolled as a full time student at Southern University, majoring in physics. Polite graduated in December 2012 at 18, and is believed to be the youngest to do so in the university’s history.



He plans to pursue a career in biotechnology that will allow him to apply the science he loves to the real world. He is currently programming for BL7.3.3(SAXS/WAXS),providing user support, completing mechanical work and devising research proposals as a Postbaccalaureate Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


This blog will continue to seek out Good News stories about people of African descent and share them with you each Tuesday. We need to tell the positive and upbeat information about OURstory. We can't depend on others to do it for us. Please pass along any Good News story that comes your way. In the case of bloggers ... we want you to join our Good News parade every Tuesday.

September 29, 2014

Schedule an Hour of Code, December 8-14, 2014

Join the largest learning event in history, December 8-14. The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 170+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event.



One-hour tutorials are available in more than 30 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.

September 28, 2014

Sunday Inspiration: To Realize...

To realize The value of a brother or sister:
Ask someone Who doesn't have one.

To realize The value of ten years:
Ask a newly Divorced couple.

To realize The value of four years:
Ask a graduate.

To realize The value of one year:
Ask a student who Has failed a final exam.

To realize The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a still born.

To realize The value of one month:
Ask a mother who has Given birth to a premature baby.

To realize The value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize The value of one hour:
Ask the lovers who are waiting to Meet.

To realize The value of one minute:
Ask a person
Who has missed the train, bus or plane.

To realize The value of one-second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident.

To realize The value of one millisecond:
Ask the person who has
Won a silver medal in the Olympics.

To realize the value of a friend
Lose one.

Hold on tight to the ones you love!!

~ Author Unknown

This blog will continue to seek out Sunday Inspirations, a meme inspired by Sojourner's Place. Sunday Inspirations is just one way to help get us through the week ahead, the trials we may face, and yes, to say 'Thank You Jesus' and testify! I invite you to participate in this weekly meme as your contribution might serve as an inspiration to someone in need.

September 27, 2014

Happy Birthday: Hiram Revels (1822-1901)


Hiram R. (Rhodes) Revels was born on this date in 1822. He was a Black educator, minister, and politician, and the first African American to serve in the United States Senate.

He was born as a free man in Fayetteville, N.C. Unfortunately, all Blacks in the South, free or slaves, were forbidden to learn to read and write. Revels was secretly taught these basics by a free Black woman. When he was 15, his family moved to Lincointon, N.C., where Revels worked as a barber. In 1844, he moved to Indiana (a free state) and began studying at Beech Grove Seminary, a Quaker school.

At this time Revels became involved with the teachings of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, a significant religious and educational force in the Black community. In 1845, Revels began studying for the ministry in Drake County, Ohio. Later that year, he was ordained as a minister of the AME Church, and made an elder in 1849.

Revels, an itinerant preacher, was imprisoned in Missouri in 1854, for preaching the gospel to Negroes. In the early 1850s, Revels married Phoeba A. Bass, and together they raised six daughters. He attended Knox College in Galesburg, IL, and in 1857, he became a minister became principal of an African American high school in Baltimore, Maryland.

When the Civil War started, He raised two Black regiments during the Civil War and fought at the battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi. He established a school for freedmen in St. Louis, in 1863, and worked with the U.S. Provost Marshall to handle the affairs of ex-slaves.

In 1865, Revels joined the Methodist Episcopal (ME) Church, which offered more opportunities for his work in the South. After the Civil War, the Reconstruction Act of 1867 required the Southern states to write new constitutions permitting African Americans to vote and hold public office. In the following year.  African Americans were officially recognized as citizens of the United States as a result of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution.

Later that year, Revels was appointed for a term on the Natchez city board of aldermen. During the first session of the Mississippi legislature in January 1868, Revels was asked to open the session with a prayer. According to John R. Lynch,
"That prayer-—one of the most impressive and eloquent prayers that had ever been delivered in the [Mississippi] Senate Chamber-made Revels a United States Senator. He made a profound impression upon all who heard him. It impressed those who heard it that Revels was not only a man of great natural ability but that he was also a man of superior attainments."
In 1869, Lynch, a Black political figure from Natchez, encouraged him to enter as a candidate for state senator, representing Adams County. Revels accepted the nomination at the Republican caucus in December 1869.

In January 1870, Mississippi elected Hiram Revels as a U.S. senator. He was seated on February 25, 1870, and held the office until March 3, 1871, becoming the first African American member of Congress. During Revels' short tenure, he introduced several bills, presented a number of petitions, and served on the Committee on the District of Columbia and the Committee on Education. After his term in the senate, Revels became president of Alcorn College from 1871 to 1873.

He then reentered the ministry as the pastor of the Holly Springs, Mississippi, ME church. In 1876, he came back to Alcorn College until 1882, then taught theology at Rust College in Holly Springs. On January 16, 1901, Revels died of a stroke.

To date, six African Americans have served in the United States Senate. Although Revels served in the Senate for just a year, he broke new ground for African Americans in Congress!

September 25, 2014

A Letter to My Younger Brother...

The following letter was written by a young Black millennial to his younger brother. Their generation is experiencing life in America quite different than those of past generations. But, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Past generations had Emmett Till (1955) and Medgar Evers (1963). This generation has Trayvon Martin (2013) and Michael Brown (2014).

After reading this letter written to his younger brother my hopes for the current and following generations of Black men and women in this county has been uplifted. He demonstrates in this letter that he has a good understanding of the problems. More importantly, he shows that he has the intellect, determination and desire to help seek equal justice for all Black People in this nation.

We need this young man to continue on his quest to gain equality and justice for all. After all, it will be HIS GENERATION who has the mission to recover all of the progress that we had accomplished, as a race of people, during the last 60+ years. Some would say that the nation is backsliding on those accomplishments and that progress ... but, after reading this letter, I'm encouraged more than discouraged!

NOTE: This letter was written on July 13, 2013 ... just moments after Trayvon Martin's killer was declared 'Not Guilty' in Florida.

Dear Brother,

I have included family on this email. I want them to know that I have done my best to adequately arm you for the war taking place outside our doors on you and young men that look like you.

You are a wonderful, strong Black man, and I love you. I love you so very much. I love us, all of us.

Dear brother, I would fight for you at every opportunity. I would die for you. There is nothing that you could ever do, or that anybody could ever accuse you of, which would change just how much I love you. I am so proud of the young man you are, and the man that I can see you becoming. You are an honor student who loves to solve Rubik’s cubes. Not just the basic Rubik’s cubes, but the 5x5 and 6x6. You are learning both Mandarin and French. You excel in math and science, and have ambitions of attending Stanford University and becoming and neurosurgeon, satisfying your curiosity of the workings of the brain. You are a phenomenal athlete and a physical specimen who works hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle, abstaining from drugs, alcohol, coffee, fast food, and overindulgence of sweets. You love your mom and your family.

You are everything that this country has asked you to be; everything that qualifies as success. But you are Black. You are a young, Black, man. And you are a threat.

Your voice is deep, like your father and your grandfathers, commanding attention and respect. You are tall and will grow taller. You are strong, and will only become stronger because it is in your genes. Your family has tried to protect you from the realities of the world by professing the equality of all men in the United States of America. We have convinced you that despite a history of racism and a plethora of contemporary examples, with hard work and dedication you can achieve anything hear, and you’ve believed us.

However, tonight I am convinced otherwise. It is possible for you to reach the lofty goals you have set for yourself. But it is incredibly likely that the brightness of your star will intimidate others. And if not the brightness of your star, then the complexion of your skin most certainly will. For that, you can be shot dead in the streets. Not just by police. By anybody.


Please believe that you, and I, your cousins ... we are all Trayvon. We are Black men. Anything in your powerful hands can be construed and depicted as a weapon. The concrete beneath your feet for example, is a weapon. Your two Black hands themselves are weapons. The base in your voice is like the vicious bark of a rabid dog to so many who could never imagine that you were an amazing human being. Far too many people out there don’t see you as a human being to begin with, let alone amazing.

Brother, you have asked to get your ears pierced. You feel this is an expression of your identity. To this, I say no. I cannot and will not allow it. I wish I could. You should have the right to express yourself as you see fit. After all, you’ve earned it. You’ve worked hard, and I have no doubt that you will continue. You are incredibly polite and respectful of both elders and peers. If your complexion was lighter, and your hair straighter, and you could pass for something other than the Black young man that you are, then maybe, just maybe, you’d be safe.

But you are a strong Black man in the United States, and I am not willing to lose you, so you can express your right to make a fashion statement. I pray others continue to show that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I hope that men of color, men with tattoos and piercings, men of all backgrounds continue to do amazing things and show the world that their assumptions about people are incredibly ignorant. I hope people of all colors around the country will dawn hoodies as a symbol of solidarity with all those who have been unfairly judged by a court of law, or a court of public or individual opinion. But you will not. Such actions will draw visibility to the issue and eventually bring about a real conversation about race, fear, and the legal system in America.


But I will not sacrifice my brother to this battle. The cards are already stacked against you. They have been since birth. Tonight, we were reminded the degree to which this is true. One move too quickly or one glance too long is all it takes. To lose you would be more than I could bear. But to lose you and to watch your killer walk free from punishment ... that would absolutely break me. You will not willingly provide another reason for them to take you out. You and your powerful blackness have provided enough already. I am sorry that I cannot always be there to protect you.


This letter brought to mind a video of famous Black actors that was shared during the height of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. I think it is appropriate to share it with you now: