In the Black History Month post on Sister Rosetta Tharpe I talked about the far-reaching impact black Americans have had on practically every music genre to be developed in the US. Today, I want to introduce you to Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson – the three friends that gave birth to techno and who influenced music around the world. Continue reading
Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw is a professor at UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School, specializing on race and gender issues. She is an American civil rights advocate and a leading scholar of critical race theory. She introduced the idea of intersectionality to feminism.
Dorothy Porter Wesley was a librarian and the founding curator at Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. She needs to be celebrated during Black History Month because she challenged the racial bias in the Dewey Decimal System and her work was the foundation for what became Black Studies.
Romare Bearden is another black American I’ll feature for #BlackHistoryMonth who is not un-famous, but whose name should be more recognized than it is. Bearden was an artist and art-historian of black art. He celebrated the black experience through oil and watercolor painting and collage that incorporated torn magazine images.
This article from The Daily Beast was in my Facebook newsfeed today, presenting me with the perfect opportunity for this Black History Month series to feature not only a contemporary figure, but someone from New Mexico! Meet Richard Antoine White aka Raw Tuba – the first African-American to receive a doctorate of music in tuba performance. Quite the achievement when you learn that only 1.8% of symphony members in the US are African-American.
Black Americans have influenced every style of music since they were brought here during the slave trade. With the sheer volume of trailblazing musicians in the African American community, I could easily devote Black History Month to posts about their contributions to American culture. Ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel, be-bop, rock-n-roll, reggae, funk, ska, rap, sampling, hip-hop, disco, house, techno…all of these were born in black American communities. Heavy metal came from blues and rock & roll. Punk was influenced by ska. Country music traces back to blues (and the racist black–face minstrel music of Emmett Miller.)
While Bayard Rustin is well known to many, it should be the case that his name can be called up as easily as that of Martin Luther King Jr.
It was only appropriate that I kick off this month of posts about black Americans with a post about the founder of Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson. Most of the people I will write about this month will not be household names, especially among white people. But, the subject of my second post is well-known black American poet Langston Hughes, who I chose for personal reasons.
I haven’t seen a lot on social media so far this month that celebrates the accomplishments of black people. Black History Month is not some token time to appease black people, and it’s not a time to simply recognize well-known black people. It’s a time for us to learn and acknowledge the far-reaching and deep impact that black people have had in every aspect of our society. It is vital that we remember that America was born from the suffering of black people (and indigenous and Chinese). But, it is also vital that we be pro-active in learning and sharing and celebrating the contributions they have made to art, science, math, literature, pop culture, politics, social structure, and so much more.
I was pleased, and not at all surprised, to see that the GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign, “We The People Will Fund The Wall,” was not successful in raising $1 billion, and so GoFundMe is making them return the money. They’ve set up a 501c4 and are trying to get people to transfer their donations. Douchebags.