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Posts Tagged ‘Black history

“A great chessplayer is not a great man, for he leaves the world as he found it”*…


A young, fatherless Barack Obama boarded a plane to Jakarta when he was just 6, but the boy who would become General Hannibal alighted from a slave ship in Constantinople in chains at the same age, having been abducted by pirates and separated (permanently) from his family and his homeland (likely modern-day Chad). A Russian spy took an interest in the exotic-looking boy belonging to the Sultan of Turkey, rescued him from a life of slavery and brought him back to Moscow as a present for Czar Peter the Great, who adopted the precocious boy as his godson…

The extraordinary story of Abram Petrovich Gannibal (or Hannibal), Afro-Russian nobleman, military engineer, and general who was raised in the Emperor’s household, and eventually rose to become a prominent member of the imperial court in the reign of Peter’s daughter Elizabeth, and was the great-grandfather of the author and poet Alexander Pushkin: “The dark star of the Enlightenment.”

* William Hazlitt, Table-Talk, Essays on Men and Manners


As we give credit where credit is due, we might recall that it was on this date in 1920 that historian, author, and journalist Carter G. Woodson founded Associated Publishers, the oldest African-American publishing company in the United States.  Six years later, Woodson– who founded both the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and The Journal of Negro History— inaugurated Black History Week (the second week in February, chosen as it contains the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass), which later grew to become Black History Month.



Color me _____ …

Feeling  _____?  About to head out for a night on the town in _____?  Then dress in _____!

From Zoho:Lab, an interactive version of (R)D favorite David McCandless’ “Colours of Cultures“…

click the image above, or here, for full-screen interactive version

And for a grid version, click here.

As we reorganize our sock drawers, we might recall that on this date in 1896 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that color mattered in a different kind of way: it ruled that separate-but-equal facilities were constitutional on intrastate railroads.  For half a century thereafter, the Plessy v. Ferguson decision upheld the principle of racial segregation in the U.S., across which laws mandated separate accommodations on buses and trains, and in hotels, theaters, and schools.  While the Court’s majority opinion denied that legalized segregation connoted inferiority, a dissenting opinion from Justice John Marshall Harlan argued that segregation in public facilities smacked of servitude and abridged the principle of equality under the law.

At a Rome, Georgia bus station, 1949 (source)

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