May 31, 2012

OURStory: Tulsa Race Riot (1921)

Today is the anniversary of the "deadliest mass shooting" or "deadliest shooting rampage" in our nation's history occurred on May 31, 1921 in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Tulsa Race Riot, also known as the 1921 Race Riot, the Tulsa Race War, or the Greenwood Riot, was a large-scale civil disorder. During the 16 hours of rioting, over 800 people were admitted to local hospitals with injuries, an estimated 10,000 were left homeless, 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire, and $1.8 million (nearly $17 million after adjustment for inflation) in property damage.

Our glorious Black Wall Street was destroyed in the carnage of that day.

39 people were officially reported killed, although most experts agree that the actual number of Black citizens killed during the riot to be around 300. You can read about it yourself here, here, or here.

We must never forget. I hope that supporters of the Electronic Village will ensure that OURstory isn't ignored or forgotten as others write HIS-story. National columnist Jim Clingman recently wrote about his experience with eight of the survivors of the Black Wall Street murders.

We ask you not allow the Tulsa Race War murders to be swept under the rug of distorted, revised, and repressed history. We must never forget, and we must not allow others to forget either.

May 27, 2012

Rest In Peace: Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011)

This blog has shared the music of Gil Scott-Heron many times in the past. He is one of my favorite artists of all time ... and has been an influential poet and musician who many think sparked the cultural revolution known as 'hip-hop'.

Gil Scott-Heron died on May 27, 2011. He is best known for "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised".

Scott-Heron was born in Chicago in 1949. He spent his early years in Jackson, Tenn., attended high school in The Bronx, and spent time at Pennsylvania's Lincoln University before settling in Manhattan. His recording career began in 1970 with the album "Small Talk".





Scott-Heron continued to record through the 1970s and early '80s, before taking a lengthy hiatus. He briefly returned to the studio for 1994's "Spirits". That album featured the track "Message to the Messengers," in which Scott-Heron cautions the hip-hop generation that arose in his absence to use its new-found power responsibly.

Scott-Heron struggled publicly with substance abuse in the 2000s, and spent the early part of the decade in and out of jail on drug possession charges. He began performing again after his release in 2007, and in 2010 released a new album, "I'm New Here", to widespread critical acclaim.





Rest in Peace Gil Scott-Heron!

May 26, 2012

OURstory: Joseph Phillippe Lemercier Laroche is Only Black Man to Die on the Titanic


Joseph Laroche was the only Black man to perish in the Titanic; that's after he saved his wife and kids. Laroche was born in Cap Haitien, Haiti, on May 26, 1889.

Joseph Laroche was born into a powerful family. His uncle, Cincinnatus Leconte, was the president of Haiti. When Joseph was fifteen, he left Haiti to study engineering in Beauvais, France. Several years later, he met Juliette Lafargue, the 22-year-old daughter of a local wine seller. The two eventually married.

Despite having an engineering degree, Joseph's skin color left him unable to find employment in France. The Laroches decided to return to Haiti and booked second-class reservations on the Titanic. After the ship struck an iceberg, Joseph loaded his wife and children onto a lifeboat and he went down with the ship. His body was never recovered.


We need to share OURstory 24/7/365. If we don't spread the word within our villages ... who will do so? What did you think of this bit of history from the Titantic?

May 20, 2012

Rest In Peace: Randy 'Macho Man' Savage (1952-2011)

How many villagers will admit that they were fans of televised wrestling at some point in their life? I admit that I was a big fan of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) back in the day. My favorite wrestler was The Undertaker. However, I also enjoyed the antics of Ravishing Rick Rude and and Randy 'Macho Man' Savage.

That is why I was very sad to learn that the Randy Savage died on this day in 2011 from a car accident. It appears that he suffered a heart attack while he was behind the wheel ... and lost control of his vehicle. He was killed as a result of his injuries. His wife, Lynn, was rushed to a local hospital and she appears to have suffered only minor injuries.

I suppose that many of you may not remember the 'Macho Man'. Here is a video that may give you an idea of what he used to do in the ring:





Rest in Peace Macho Man!

May 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Malcolm X


One of the points of transformation in my life occurred when I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. I imagine that most Blackmen from my era recall reading this very thick book. Every Blackman could empathize with a brother that evolved from Malcolm Little to Detroit Red to Malcolm X to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Each of us hoped that we would be transformed as well in our lives.

My three children (ages 18, 14, 11) don't know very much about Malcolm X. There will come a time when I share this book with them as well. The messages that Malcolm taught us back in the day still need to be shared today in the 21st century.

As such, the Electronic Village is honored to recognize this heroic figure on the weekend of what would have been his 86th birthday. The legacy of Malcolm X has moved through generations as the subject of numerous documentaries, books and movies. I imagine that there was a surge of interest in 1992 when director Spike Lee released the acclaimed Malcolm X movie. The film received Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Denzel Washington) and Best Costume Design. Most people recall the hospital scene in that movie.

However, it is often best to hear directly from Malcolm. Here are some YouTube clips of Malcolm that I thought you would enjoy:
  • Who Are You? - A few simple questions that we are still asking today.
  • An Early Interview with Malcolm X by Mike Wallace, where Malcolm explains the position of the Nation of Islam.
  • You're Ready to do Something, Aren't You?" - "...many of you thought that we should go right on out then and make war on the white man. You wanted to do it yourself, didn't you? Cause you don't like the idea of white people shooting Black people down, do you? And you're ready to do something about it, aren't you?"
  • The White Man Brings Drugs into Harlem - "Stealing runs rampant in Harlem. Gambling runs rampant in Harlem. All types of evils and vices that tear apart our community run rampant in Harlem. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad doesn't condemn the victim, he goes to work on the victim."
  • The Problem is Still Here - is speech where Malcolm rejects the non-violent approach of Martin Luther King,
  • Who Taught You to Hate Yourself? - "Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet?"
  • We are Africans, Not Americans - "Our forefathers weren't the Pilgrims. We didn't land on Plymouth Rock; the rock was landed on us."
  • The Black Man's History - Malcolm X explains how the true history of Black people was erased during slavery and because Black people do not know their own past, thye have no confidence in themselves.
  • House Negroes vs. Field Negroes - "Back during slavery, when Black people like me talked to the slaves, they didn't kill 'em, they sent some old house Negro along behind him to undo what he said."
  • Our History was Destroyed by Slavery - Malcolm X appears on television in Chicago on March 17, 1963.
  • You Will Never Get Protection from the Government - "You never will get protection from the federal government. That's like, King is asking Kennedy to go to Alabama to stand in the doorway, put his body in the doorway. That's like asking the fox to protect you from the wolf. "
  • Roundtable Discussion - In a clip from a roundtable discussion, Malcolm X explains why the bourgeois, hand-picked Uncle Tom negro leaders will never solve the problem for the masses of black people.
  • Malcolm X Explains Black Nationalism - "If you're interested in freedom, you need some judo, you need some karate--you need all the things that will help you fight for freedom...They can give us the back pay. Let's join in. If this is what the negro wants, let's join him. Let's show him how to struggle, let's show him how to fight. Let's show him how to bring about a real revolution. You don't need a debate. You don't need a filibuster. You need some action."
  • Oxford University Debate - "I read once, passingly, about a man named Shakespeare. I only read about him passingly, but I remember one thing he wrote that kind of moved me. He put it in the mouth of Hamlet, I think, it was, who said, "To be or not to be." He was in doubt about something. Whether it was nobler in the mind of man to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, moderation, or to take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. And I go for that. If you take up arms, you'll end it, but if you sit around and wait for the one who's in power to make up his mind that he should end it, you'll be waiting a long time. And in my opinion, the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you're living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there's got to be a change. People in power have misused it and now there has to be a change and a better world has to be built and the only way it's going to be built is with extreme methods. And I, for one, will join in with anyone, I don't care what color you are, as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth."
  • Ballot or the Bullet was a speech by Malcolm X mostly about black nationalism delivered April 12, 1964 in Detroit, Michigan.
  • By Any Means Necessary - "...our African brothers have gained their independence faster than you and I here in America have. They've also gained recognition and respect as human beings much faster than you and I."
  • Return from Mecca (1 of 2) - "When I was on the pilgrimage, I had close contact with Muslims whose skin would in America be classified as white and with Muslims who would themselves be classified as white in America, but these particular Muslims didn't call themselves white. They looked upon themselves as human beings, as part of the human family and therefore they looked upon all other segments of the human family as part of that same family."
  • Return from Mecca (2 of 2) - "African nations and Asian nations and Latin American nations look very hypocritical when they stand up in the United Nations, condemning the racist practices of South Africa and that which is practiced by Portugal and Angola, and saying nothing in the U.N. about the racist practices that are manifest every day against Negroes in this society."
  • American Can't Solve Our Problem" - Malcolm X explains that it is necessary to take the problem of African-Americans to the world court in order to get them solved.
  • 'I am probably a dead man already' - In an interview shortly before he was killed, Malcolm X declared, "I probably am a dead man already." He was aware of the fact that the NOI wanted him dead and understood that he was in serious danger.
  • My Death Has Been Ordered - Malcolm X puts the blame for the firebombing of his home directly on the Nation of Islam and explains other ways in which his life is in danger.
  • The assassination of Malcolm X - Silent clip of the Audobon Ballroom immediately after the assassination of Malcolm X on February 21, 1965.
  • Mos Def Reads Malcolm X - Hip hop, rap and spoken word artist Mos Def reads Malcolm X's "Message to the Grass Roots" on November 9, 2006.
Happy Birthday Malcolm! Today El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz would be 86 years old. I thought many villagers would enjoy to share some of his speeches and thoughts over the course of his life.

Many in the current generation only know of the man through the phrase, 'By Any Means Necessary'. He was much more complex and interesting than that simple phrase.

Anyhow, I would love to hear village voices on Malcolm X. What did you think of the man? Did you read his autobiography? What say u?

May 17, 2012

Happy Birthday: Chris Henry (Cincinnati Bengals)

Chris Henry would have been 29 years old today. From all accounts he was turning his life around. Unfortunately, he died in a freak accident during the 2009 NFL season.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Chris Henry played for the Bengals for five seasons. Henry played at West Virginia University and joined the Bengals as a third-round draft pick in 2005.

I'm a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals. As such, I had high hopes for Chris Henry. I'm sad that he is no longer with us. However, I suspect that his story is a cautionary tale for all young athletes ... Never take your talent for granted. Never feel that you are above the law. Mostly, I think that he reminds all of us never to do things that will embarrass ourselves or our family.

All that being said ... I'm sorry that he passed away. Our blog is honored to remember the positive aspects of him memory on his birthday. Rest in peace Chris!

May 13, 2012

Trayvon Martin's Mom Shares Powerful Mother's Day Message

Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mom, released a video asking parents nationwide to support the Second Chance campaign, a new national campaign working to reform, repeal and prevent passage of new Florida-style "Shoot First" laws around the country.





The Second Chance campaign
launched after Martin's death with the NAACP, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, VoteVets and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to oppose reckless Shoot First laws that are on the books of 26 states and pending in 10 more.

Happy Mother's Day


Your Mother is always with you.

She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she's the smell of certain foods you remember, flower you pick and perfume that she wore, she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not feeling well, she's your breath in the air on a cold winter's day, She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of a rainbow, she is Christmas morning.

Your Mother lives inside your laughter. And she's crystallized in every tear drop. A mother shows every emotion.....Happiness, sadness, fear, jealousy, love, hate, anger, helplessness, excitement, joy, sorrow.....and all the while, hoping and praying you will only know the good feeling in life.

She's the place you came from, your first home, and she's the map you follow with every step you take. She's your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you.

Not time, not space....not even death!

May 12, 2012

Obama's Weekly Address: 'Congress Must Act on To-Do List'

President Obama is calling on Democrats and Republicans to come together and act on his Congressional “to-do list,” which will create jobs and help restore middle class security. In this make-or-break moment for the middle class, these five initiatives have bipartisan support and will help create an economy that is built to last.



May 11, 2012

Taser Death: Damon Abraham (Baldwin, LA)

It happened again! This time we discover that 34-year old Damon Abraham is dead after being electrocuted multiple times with 50,000 volts of electricity from the taser gun of an unidentified Baldwin Police officer. Abraham was unarmed and handcuffed in police custody ... but, now he is dead at the hands of the police.

The incident happened Thursday evening and now his family is in mourning and searching for answers. According to family members, Damon Abraham was at the police station following up on a restraining order that was filed against him. [SOURCE]

According to family members, Damon Abraham was at the police station following up on a restraining order that was filed against him, and when authorities told him he had warrants for his arrest, he took off on foot. Family members say a Baldwin Police Officer repeatedly used a taser on Abraham and hit him over the head with a baton after he ran from police.

Abraham was held at police headquarters after being tased but then began showing signs of physical distress. He was transported to Franklin Foundation Hospital and was then being moved to a Lafayette hospital when he died en route.



Louisiana State Police have been called in to investigate the death of Mr. Abraham. An officer was placed on administrative leave while the investigation takes place.

May 9, 2012

Unique Building * Ideal Palace (France)

Fact is often stranger than fiction. Have you heard of the 43-year old French postal worker who started the foundation of a structure in 1879 ... worked alone for 33 years ... and the result was a fairy-tale place known as the Ideal Palace. It goes to show what can happen when you look inside your soul for your dreams ... and act on them even when others doubt you.

The entire Electronic Village salutes Ferdinand Cheval (1836 - 1924). Is there a dream within your soul waiting to be released?

May 5, 2012

Happy Cinco de Mayo: Hold On To Your Dream (Gil Scott-Heron)

This seemed like the perfect day to share this musical gem from Gil Scott-Heron!





I guess that not every villager may know what Cinco de Mayo is all about. Cinco de Mayo ... or the fifth of May ... commemorates the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.

May 2, 2012

Unique Building * Wonderworks (Orlando FL)


Oddly enough, I had never heard of this building until seeing this photo. There are alot of amusement sites in Orlando, however it is unlikely that any of them are UPSIDE DOWN! Inside the unique building you will find over 100 interactive exhibits.

Have any villagers been to this building?