February 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Muhammad Ali, The Greatest of All Times

February 23, 2014

OURstory: W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963)

We celebrate the fact W.E.B. DuBois was born on this date in 1868. He was an African American sociologist and one of the most important Black protest leaders in the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

W(illiam) E(dward) B(urghardt) DuBois was born in Great Barrington, MA. He graduated from Fisk University in 1888. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1895. His doctoral dissertation, The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870, was published in 1896. Although DuBois took an advanced degree in history, he was broadly trained in the social sciences; and at a time when sociologists were theorizing about race relations, he was conducting inquiries into the condition of Blacks.

DuBois died on August 27, 1963 in Accra, Ghana. His autobiography was published in 1968. Click here to see directory of books by and about DuBois.
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February 21, 2014

Malcolm X: Our Own Black Shining Prince

On this date, February 21, in 1965, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X) was assassinated. I was six years old at the time. I didn't have a conscious idea of who the brother was or what he meant to our people and our nation. I learned about him as a young man when I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Like many brothers in America ... I don't sit with my back to the door as a result of reading that book.

More importantly, I learned what it meant to have a strong inner determination and character to rise above your surroundings and your situation to truly do wonderful things for your family, your community, your nation and our world. In my view, Martin Luther King, Jr would never have been as effective if there had not been a Malcolm X.

49 years ago, Malcolm X was taken from us.

I encourage all Villagers to take time and remind yourself about the impact that this one man had on our life and times. Ossie Davis gave a 2-1/2 minute eulogy of Malcolm X that is some of the most powerful words ever uttered about the essence of the man. Here is part of it:
"There are those who will consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. Many will ask what Harlem finds to honour in this stormy, controversial and bold young Captain - and we will smile. Many will say turn away - away from this man, for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the Black man - and we will smile. They will say that he is of hate - a fanatic, a racist - who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them:
'Did you ever talk to brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did - you would know him. And if you knew him - you would know why we must honor him.'
Malcolm was our manhood ... our living Black manhood!"
You can hear the words from Ossie himself on this YouTube clip:

And we will know him than for what he was and is - A Prince - our own Black Shining Prince - who didn't hesitate to die, because he loved us so.

Villagers, what is your memory of Malcolm X? How did you first learn about this brother?
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February 16, 2014

Our Nation's All-Star

They are playing the 2014 NBA All-Star game later today in New Orleans. We'll watch Kevin Durant, LeBron James and the rest of the NBA crew. However, our nation's true all-star is Barack Obama. My hope is that Barack Obama will be throw down a slam dunk on foreign policy, economic policy and so forth this year!
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Village Tips: Building Your Business with Speaking Engagements

The more people that know about you and your business ... the more business you can get ... the more that you can grow your business. One way to boost your personal and professional image is through public speaking engagements. Be strategic about your process in accepting speaking engagements.

Don't use speaking engagements to make 'hard' commercials about your product or service. Instead, you should focus on providing your audience with value that they can immediately understand and respect. Customize your presentation to fit the specific audience that you are talking to. Be passionate and knowledgeable about your speaking topic. Your audience will see your value and respond accordingly.

Here are some ways that you can prepare and locate speaking engagements to build your business:

  • Alumni - Your involvement in college and university events may open the door to opportunities to speak to small groups. Also consider pointers from other alumni and business professionals who are active public speakers.
  • Books - Take a moment to read 'Public Speaking for Dummies' by Malcolm Kushner.
  • Friends and Family - Ask them to listen to you practice, but make sure they are brutally honest about your flow, technique and presentation. Have them list three things you did well and three things you can improve upon.
  • National Speakers Association - Check out this website to see tips and resources for aspiring speakers. NSA is one of the leading professional associations for speakers with local chapters all over the nation.
  • Speakers Bureau or Agent - If you are unable to manage the process yourself, a professional organization or agent can do it for you by booking engagements, negotiating fees and handling travel arrangements for a 'per project' or monthly fee. This may also open up speaking opportunities that you never knew about because you'll be in a database.
  • Toastmasters - This nonprofit organization for beginning speakers (with local chapters worldwide) can help familiarize you with public speaking. Many of the speeches are given in front of members, and the organization also provides mentors for those looking to overcome presentation anxieties.

Our blog will continue to provide information that is useful to entrepreneurs and small business owners. Frankly, we hope that these 'Village Tips' are useful to many of you!
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February 15, 2014

Billionaire Tom Perkins Doesn't Want Poor People to Vote

The 1% in our country are so disconnected with reality that they feel that they can espouse anything that comes to their minds in public forum. Diarrhea of the mouth. The most recent example is billionaire Tom Perkins. He thinks that only the gentry in our nation should vote. Specifically, he suggested that only taxpayers should have the right to vote -- and that wealthy Americans who pay more in taxes should get more votes.

Have you heard of this wingnut before?
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February 14, 2014

Old School Friday: Corinne Bailey Rae

My eldest niece can sing like an angel. She sang 'Like A Star' as a tribute to her mother on this date in 2010. The song fit the spirit of my late sister perfectly. I hope that this song inspires you as it did me.

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February 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

Write text here...
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Happy Birthday: Bill Russell, 80 Years Old Today

I truly dislike the Boston Celtics! I would rather root for any other sports team in the history of the world. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I grew up in an era when the Los Angeles Lakers were consistently bitch-slapped by the Celtics. All I could do was truly dislike everything about the Celtics.

I am now a grown-azzed man, but, I still truly dislike the Boston Celtics. One thing changed over the past few years. I have come to respect the engine of their legacy ... Bill Russell.

His college basketball team won 55 straight games, including NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956. He was on gold-medal winning basketball team at the 1956 Olympics. His NBA team won 11 NBA championships, including eight consecutive from 1959 to 1966. He was a five-time league MVP (1958, 1961-63, 1965), 12-time All-Star Game participant (MVP in 1963), Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1968 and The Sporting News Athlete of the Decade in 1970. He averaged 15.1 ppg and 22.5 rpg for his career.

In 1967, the Celtics made Russell the first Black NBA head coach. Russell led Boston to the 1968 and 1969 NBA titles.

After awhile it becomes counterproductive to playa-hate on a brother that is as good as Bill Russell. It is for that reason that I pay homage to him today. I still truly dislike the Boston Celtics ... but, I got much-respect for Bill Russell.

Happy Birthday Mr. Russell!
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February 8, 2014

Obama's Address: 'Expanding Opportunity for the American People'

In this week's address, President Obama says he will do everything he can to make a difference for the middle class and those working to get into the middle class, so that we can expand opportunity for all and build an economy that works for the American people.

Any comments to share on President Obama's Opportunity Agenda?
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