November 11, 2015

History of Veterans Day

I never served in the military. There are many villagers like me who never wore a uniform nor faced the unknown terror of war fought on foreign soil. As such, I thought it would be helpful to share this brief history of Veterans Day.

Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, originated after World War I. The fighting between the Allies and Germany ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. To honor that, President Wilson issued a proclamation in 1919 that the armistice would be commemorated November 11.

By 1926, 27 states had made Armistice Day a holiday. In 1938, Congress passed a bill making it a national holiday. After World War II and the Korean War, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans in 1954. In 1968, legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans and President Gerald Ford officially returned the observance to its traditional date effective in 1978.

When Nov. 11 falls on a Sunday, the holiday is observed the next day.

Regardless of your thoughts on the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq ... today is a day that we can honor all of our brothers and sisters in the military.

Today, my thoughts go out to the families of Rear Admiral Benjamin Hacker and Captain Charles Hicks. These two naval officers, now deceased, are part of my family tree ... and I am very proud of both of them.

Villagers, share your village voice about anyone that you know in the military. Let's beat our drums in a positive manner about them today.

November 10, 2015

'Message to the Grassroots' by Malcolm X

American Rhetoric published a list of the Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century. Malcolm X delivered Top Speech #91 in Detroit MI on November 10, 1963.

Below is audio clip and text of the speech known as 'Message to the Grassroots'.

I would like to make a few comments concerning the difference between the Black revolution and the Negro revolution. There's a difference. Are they both the same? And if they're not, what is the difference? What is the difference between a Black revolution and a Negro revolution? First, what is a revolution? Sometimes I'm inclined to believe that many of our people are using this word "revolution" loosely, without taking careful consideration [of] what this word actually means, and what its historic characteristics are. When you study the historic nature of revolutions, the motive of a revolution, the objective of a revolution, and the result of a revolution, and the methods used in a revolution, you may change words. You may devise another program. You may change your goal and you may change your mind.

Look at the American Revolution in 1776. That revolution was for what? For land. Why did they want land? Independence. How was it carried out? Bloodshed. Number one, it was ba
sed on land, the basis of independence. And the only way they could get it was bloodshed. The French Revolution -- what was it based on? The land-less against the landlord. What was it for? Land. How did they get it? Bloodshed. Was no love lost; was no compromise; was no negotiation. I'm telling you, you don't know what a revolution is. 'Cause when you find out what it is, you'll get back in the alley; you'll get out of the way. The Russian Revolution -- what was it based on? Land. The land-less against the landlord. How did they bring it about?Bloodshed. You haven't got a revolution that doesn't involve bloodshed. And you're afraid to bleed. I said, you're afraid to bleed.

[As] long as the white man sent you to Korea, you bled. He sent you to Germany, you bled. He sent you to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese, you bled. You bleed for white people. But when it comes time to seeing your own churches being bombed and little Black girls be murdered, you haven't got no blood. You bleed when the white man says bleed; you bite when the white man says bite; and you bark when the white man says bark. I hate to say this about us, but it's true. How are you going to be nonviolent in Mississippi, as violent as you were in Korea? How can you justify being nonviolent in Mississippi and Alabama, when your churches are being bombed, and your little girls are being murdered, and at the same time you're going to violent with Hitler, and Tojo, and somebody else that you don't even know?

If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it's wrong to be violent defending Black women and Black children and Black babies and Black men, then it's wrong for America to draft us and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.

Amazing to hear words that were spoken 51 years ago by Malcolm X. What are your thoughts as you listen or read his words?

November 8, 2015

Happy Birthday Minnie Riperton (1947-1979)

Minnie Riperton was born on this date in 1947. Her goal at a very young age was to become a famous singer. Riperton studied opera and spent months learning how to breathe and listening to and holding vowels.

She left school early to make $10 a song, singing backup at local studios. Some reports indicate that Minnie signed her first contract at 14, while others report her to be 16. [SOURCE]

In 1969, she recorded the album "Come To My Garden" which was released in 1971, then came "Perfect Angel" and "Adventures in Paradise" in 1974 and 1975.

The song that inspires me whenever I hear it is simply entitled, 'Loving You'. She sang it with gusto in 1974 on Soul Train:

In 1976, Riperton announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone a modified mastectomy. Her "experience" (as she referred to her illness) would give her yet another reason for her life ... lending her celebrity and compassion for others to become a spokesperson for breast cancer awareness, the need for self-examination, and the benefit of early detection.

In addition to being a mother, wife, activist, fund raiser, lecturer, wife, and mother, she signed with Capitol Records, a contract that gave her the creative freedom and production quality that she desired. During the summer of 1978, creating what would be her last album, simply entitled "Minnie." She passed away in her husband’s arms on July 12, 1979, at 31 years of age.

Happy Birthday Minnie!