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Bridging the past and future sharing stories of Black Indians and many more. "Who is afraid of Black Indians?"
How Racist is Australia? Pretty Damn Racist.

aamerrahman:

This is my response (originally published in Crikey) to Mark Sawyer’s article ‘How Racist Are You’ published in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald last week (http://www.smh.com.au/comment/how-racist-are-you-20140611-zs43h.html)

Dear Mark,

As a comedian I very much appreciated your…
1 month ago
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#BeautifulInEveryShade WHAT IF BARACK OBAMA WERE THE SAME SHADE AS WESLEY SNIPES? @50shadesofblack -a Haitian male reflection on the complexity of skin tone in partnership with 50 Shades of BLACK for our Bridging the Gap series on I Love Ancestry.

I would like to provide my own perspective as a Haitian man when it comes to the whole “lighter” versus “darker” skin tone issue, which is a subject that it is known in most black cultures whether it be African, American, or Caribbean. Let’s face it, any society with a history of racism or slavery is affected by this issue because it is engrained in the society. For Haitians you can trace this back with the emergences of free slaves that were coexisting with a higher privileged minority mulatto class. However, that’s another story for another time. 

From what I have experienced in both the United States and Haiti, generally Haitians hold views similar to African Americans and Africans. When it comes to men, the whole light skin versus dark skin issue is not too much of a big deal. Moreover, darker-skinned men are looked more favorable in certain professions, because there is this perception of these men as, for lack of a better word, more durable. However, the same thing is not true throughout the spectrum; in the Haitian entertainment industry, lighter-skinned men are more favored. However, colorism in the Haitian entertainment industry is less obvious than in American culture. I think this is due to the different histories and media of the two nations.

Since Haiti became an independent nation, powerful positions have been exchanged between both light and dark-skinned Haitians, so there isn’t a power/value imbalance based on skin tone. On the other hand, in the United States, the power/value imbalance seems to be more obvious when you mix in a history of Jim Crow, commercialism, capitalism, and corporate marketing where individuals of lighter skin tones are favored. Colorism in the United States is a deep subject—one I could see myself going on a tangent about. But an example that highlights colorism in the United States is the complexion of President Barack Hussein Obama. Imagine him the same shade as Wesley Snipes….

When it comes to women and colorism in society, the United States and Haiti do share some similarities. In the professional Haitian world, there is not a prevalent power/value imbalance among women of different skin tones. However, in the entertainment industry, women of lighter skin tones seem to be more favored. Yet, even colorism among women in the Haitian entertainment industry is hard to compare to colorism affecting African American women in US society, where this subject is fueled by an unyielding media, capitalism, and systemic racism deeply embedded in the society. 

~Ernst Melias
(chapter 6, page 90)
50 Shades of Black Coffee Table Book Vol. 1
Photo by: Carlton Mackey 
PLEASE ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY http://www.50shadesofblack.com/shop 
—- 

BRIDGING THE GAP: Contemporary Realities, Our Ancestral Past, & Our Liberated Future

This is the sixth of our weekly series of posts curated by the creator of 50 Shades of BLACK in partnership with I Love Ancestry called BRIDGING THE GAP featuring contemporary stories of people like YOU from around the world.

Each week we will feature one of YOUR stories about your ancestors, your heritage, and/or your coming to understand/celebrate your OWN identity.

We personally invite you to join us on this journey of discovery and healing. Share your stories, find your voice, speak your truths.

Share YOUR Story: 
http://www.50shadesofblack.com/share-stories

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image RED BONE WITH BLUE EYES -a reflection on my journey for personal self-identity by photo-culturalist and 50 Shades of BLACK International Project Coordinator for our weekly Bridging the Gap series on I Love Ancestry.

Does the lack of melanin in my skin make me any less black? Does the absence of a darker pigment in my eyes distance me from my cultural roots? Who am I?

I was called a “reverse-oreo" cookie growing up. The kids in my middle school told me that I was white on the outside and black on the inside. Even though I wore urban clothing and cut my hair into a "gumby," I was still ostracized by my black brothers and sisters. I was searching for my identity as a "red-bone" as I was called on the basketball court and in the black community. I felt that the color of my skin made me both intriguing and an outcast in different situations. It was depressing, and I can still clearly remember when the color divide was evident from grade school inclusion to high school segregation. I still sat on both sides of the cafeteria. No one noticed. Especially when I was wearing a hat. 

By the time I made it to college I learned to be more political with the color of my skin and the color of my eyes. I felt that getting jobs was easier because I was seen as the “safe” choice. Or better yet, the “lighter face” of diversity. If I went into a marketing department at my internships, I was always chosen as the “racially ambiguous” poster child. Back at my HBCU campus I met more people that looked like me from all over the world. It made me wonder even more about my roots. Jamaican? Italian? German? African? French? Still, there was the ultra “black power” crew that told me I was only 10 percent black. They made it certain that the lack of melanin in my skin made me inferior to them. They said that my lighter skin diluted my intelligence, and their darker skin tied them closer to the Motherland and to black culture.

Today I fully embrace the beauty of my culture and mixed ancestry as well as others’. Furthermore, I feel a deep appreciation for diversity both within my own race and outside of it. My experiences as a youth planted a seed in me, a desire to understand the commonalities of the human experience despite the outward differences of culture, upbringing, appearance, and origin. I am a photo-culturalist who travels the world documenting the pinnacles of joy and the depths of sorrow in people’s lives. As I continue to grow as an artist, my professional experiences coupled with my past, help me to understand the complexities surrounding identity formation from a global perspective. 

~Ross Oscar Knight
(chapter 3, page 47)
50 Shades of Black Coffee Table Book Vol. 1
Photo by: Yvonne Lin for Ross Oscar Knight Photography 

PLEASE ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY http://www.50shadesofblack.com/shop 
—- 

BRIDGING THE GAP: Contemporary Realities, Our Ancestral Past, & Our Liberated Future

This is the 8th of our weekly series of posts curated by the creator of 50 Shades of BLACK in partnership with I Love Ancestry called BRIDGING THE GAP featuring contemporary stories of people like YOU from around the world.

Each week we will feature one of YOUR stories about your ancestors, your heritage, and/or your coming to understand/celebrate your OWN identity.

We personally invite you to join us on this journey of discovery and healing. Share your stories, find your voice, speak your truths.

Share YOUR Story: 
http://www.50shadesofblack.com/share-stories

 

1 month ago
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#BlackEdu #BlackHistory Dick Gregory, A Real Inspiration and True Warrior

Richard Claxton ‘Dick’ Gregory is an inspiring Black American comedian and civil rights activist whose social satire changed the way white Americans perceived Black American comedians since he first performed in public. His participation in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s is well-documented, as are his efforts on behalf of American Indians, for world peace and against hunger.

"We used to root for the Indians against the cavalry, because we didn’t think it was fair in the history books that when the cavalry won it was a great victory, and when the Indians won it was a massacre." —Dick Gregory

Legendary Activist Dick Gregory was on the frontline in the sixties during the Civil Rights Era; today he continues to be a “drum major for justice and equality.”

Gregory was arrested for civil disobedience several times. As a part of his activism, he went on several hunger strikes. to publicize the world hunger problem, to draw attention to the nation’s drug abuse epidemic, and to emphasize the plight of the American Indians.

After a childhood of poverty in St. Louis, Gregory attended college on a track scholarship and later served two years in the army. In the middle 1950s he concentrated on finding work as a comedian, always having had, as he says, “a good rap.”

As he became better established as a comedian, Gregory put his convictions into practice by devoting much of his time to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. 

On behalf of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Congress on Racial Equality, and other prominent civil rights organizations, Gregory made appearances at demonstrations, marches, and rallies throughout the country. 

Dick Gregory and his activism spurred him to run for mayor of Chicago in 1966 and for president in 1968 which garnered substantial media attention.

Many American Indians retaliated with their own adaptation of 1960s civil disobedience — fish-ins — to protest interference with treaty rights. The war also continued in the media as a parade of the famous came to support the American Indian cause: Marlon Brando was arrested in 1964 while “helping some Indian friends fish” on the Puyallup River, Gregory was jailed for joining the American Indians in illegal fishing.

In the early 1970s Gregory abandoned comedy to focus on his political interests, which widened from race relations to include such issues as violence, world hunger, capital punishment, drug abuse and poor health care.

Gregory ran for President of the United States in 1968 as a write-in candidate of the Freedom and Peace Party, which had broken off from the Peace and Freedom Party. 

Gregory became an outspoken critic of the Warren Commission findings that President JFK was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

On March 6, 1975, Gregory and assassination researcher Robert Groden appeared on Geraldo Rivera’s late night ABC talk show Goodnight America. An important historical event happened that night when the famous Zapruder film of JFK’s assassination was shown to the public on TV for the first time in history.

The public’s response and outrage to that showing led to the forming of the Hart-Schweiker investigation, which contributed to the Church Committee Investigation on Intelligence Activities by the United States, which resulted in the House Select Committee on Assassinations investigation.

Gregory was an outspoken feminist, and in 1978 he joined the National ERA March for Ratification and Extension, a march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the United States Capitol of over 100,000 on Women’s Equality Day (August 26), 1978 to demonstrate for a ratification deadline extension for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution, and for the ratification of the ERA.

The Women’s Movement was largely successful in securing gender equality in the laws and society.

Gregory and Mark Lane conducted landmark research into the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which helped move the U.S. House Assassinations Committee to investigate the murder, along with that of John F. Kennedy. 

Mark Lane was author of conspiracy theory books such as Rush to Judgment. The pair wrote the MLK conspiracy book Code Name Zorro, which postulated that convicted assassin James Earl Ray did not act alone. 

Gregory was an outspoken activist during the US Embassy Hostage Crisis in Iran. In 1980 he traveled to Tehran to attempt to negotiate the hostages’ release and engaged in a public hunger strike there, weighing less than 100 pounds (45 kg) when he returned to the United States.

In 1998 Gregory spoke at the celebration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with President Bill Clinton in attendance. Not long after, the President told Gregory’s long-time friend and P.R. Consultant, Steve Jaffe, “I love Dick Gregory; he is one of the funniest people on the planet.” 

They spoke of how Gregory had made a comment on Dr. King’s birthday that broke everyone into laughter, when he noted that the President made Speaker Newt Gingrich ride “in the back of the plane,” on an Air Force One trip overseas.

Since the late 1980s, Gregory has been a figure in the health food industry by advocating for a raw fruit and vegetable diet. 

At a Civil Rights rally marking the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Gregory criticized the United States, calling it “the most dishonest, ungodly, unspiritual nation that ever existed in the history of the planet. As we talk now, America is 5 percent of the world’s population and consumes 96 percent of the world’s hard drugs”.

In response to published allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had supplied cocaine to predominantly Black American areas in Los Angeles, thus spurring the crack epidemic, Gregory protested at CIA headquarters and was arrested.

Gregory announced a hunger strike on September 10, 2010, saying in a commentary published by the Centre for Research on Globalisation in Montreal that he doubted the official U.S. report about the attacks on September 11, 2001.

"One thing I know is that the official government story of those events, as well as what took place that day at the Pentagon, is just that, a story. This story is not the truth, but far from it. I was born on October 12, 1932. I am announcing today that I will be consuming only liquids beginning Sunday until my eightieth birthday in 2012 and until the real truth of what truly happened on that day emerges and is publicly known."

"I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that." —Dick Gregory

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#BlackEdu #BlackHistory “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” —Nelson Mandela

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#BlackEdu #BlackHistory “Slavery is not African history. Slavery interrupted African history.” ~Mutabaruka

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#BlackEdu #BlackHistory Honoring Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman who crossed over on this day 88 years ago. (January 26, 1892 – April 30, 1926)

She was an American civil aviator, the first female African American pilot of and the first person to hold an international pilot license.

"Queen Bess," as she was known was invited to important events and often interviewed by newspapers, she was admired by both blacks and whites. She primarily flew Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” biplanes and army surplus aircraft left over from the war. She made her first appearance in an American airshow on September 3, 1922, at an event honoring veterans of the all-black 369th Infantry Regiment of World War I.

As a professional aviator, Coleman would often be criticized by the press for her opportunistic nature and the flamboyant style she brought to her exhibition flying. However, she also quickly gained a reputation as a skilled and daring pilot who would stop at nothing to complete a difficult stunt. In Los Angeles, she broke a leg and three ribs when her plane stalled and crashed on February 22, 1923.

On April 30, 1926, Coleman, was in Jacksonville. She recently purchased a Curtiss JN-4 (Jenny) in Dallas and had it flown to Jacksonville in preparation for an airshow. Her friends and family did not consider the aircraft safe and implored her not to fly it. Her mechanic and publicity agent, William Wills, was flying the plane with Coleman in the other seat. Coleman did not put on her seatbelt because she was planning a parachute jump for the next day and wanted to look over the cockpit sill to examine the terrain. About ten minutes into the flight, the plane did not pull out of a dive; instead it spun. Coleman was thrown from the plane at 2,000 ft (610 m) and died instantly when she hit the ground.

William Wills was unable to gain control of the plane and it plummeted to the ground. Wills died upon impact and the plane burst into flames. Although the wreckage of the plane was badly burned, it was later discovered that a wrench used to service the engine slid into the gearbox and jammed it. She was 34 years old.

Her impact on aviation history, and particularly African Americans in aviation, quickly became apparent following her death. In 1927, Bessie Coleman Aero Clubs sprang up throughout the country.

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Thank you Today in “BLACK” American history: Black facts by LeConte Lewis for this great photo find.

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1 month ago
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#Multiracial #MixedRace “Remember to use the gifts that the Great Spirit has blessed us with and create ways to uplift all people through visual arts, crafts, writing, poetry, music, movement, activism, laughter, healing, positive vibrations and pure love energy…..” ~Penny Gamble-Williams 

Celebrating Inspiring Penny Gamble-Williams of Wampanoag & African heritage

For over thirty years Penny Gamble-Williams has beenan activist involved in American Indian land, freedom of religion and sacred site issues, Indigenous and environmental rights. 

She is a member of the Chappaquiddick Band of the Wampanoag Nation of Massachusetts and was instrumental in re-constituting the Chappaquiddick people, monitoring repatriation issues in respect to the Chappaquiddick, reviving the ceremonies and language.

In 1995 she was elected Sachem, (Chief), and served for seven years. Since 2002, Penny has served as Spiritual Leader for the Chappaquiddick people.

In 1996, Penny traveled to England to research documents pertaining to the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag. 

Penny, who was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, was exposed to music through her father who was a jazz musician and enjoyed drawing, painting and doing crafts with her mother who was an artist. Penny was mentored by several renowned artists in Rhode Island and studied at Rhode Island School of Design. Penny moved to Washington, DC in 1972 and attended the Cochran School of Art and Maryland College of Art and Design. She created art in her studio in Historic Hyattsville, worked with children in an aftercare program.

In 1992 to express her cultural heritage she co-founded a storytelling collective called “The Painted Gourd, Red and Black Voices.” The group comprised of four Indigenous people, performed and lectured on the historical connection of Native American and Africans before Columbus to the present. 

They presented their program in public schools, libraries, colleges and government institutions throughout the East Coast. As a cultural presenter, Penny has presented at University of Maryland, Howard University, Brown University, American University, Georgetown, George Washington University, and George Mason. 

Through her non-profit organization, Ohke Cultural Network, Inc., Ms Williams conducts teacher training workshops in public and private schools and works with children of all ages throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area. She uses storytelling, art, music and movement to actively engage and involve the children as they learn about the Native and African American historical connection.

In 2005 Penny and her husband Thunder Williams co authored a concept paper on the historical connections and relationships of African Americans and presented it to the National Museum of the American Indian. 

A traveling exhibit called “Indivisible-African-Native American Lives in the Americas” was created from the concept paper. Penny and her husband were part of the curatorial team. The exhibit opened in November of 2009.

For thirteen years Penny Gamble-Williams produced and hosted a radio talk show called the “Talking Feather.” The program debuted January 2000 on WOL 1450 AM, a radio station owned by Radio One. The “Talking Feather” is on the internet station called Blog Talk Radio - www.blogtalkradio.com/talkingfeather.

The talk show explores critical issues and concerns dealing with health, environmental matters, history and culture of Native Americans, African Americans and Indigenous People around the world.

The “Talking Feather” aired nationally on XM Satellite Radio from October 2001 to March 2004. Penny has produced other radio
programs dealing with Native American women in the arts and Native American spirituality on WPFW FM Pacifica Radio. She also serves as a consultant on matters dealing with Native issues for Radio One.

Penny has captured her life experiences which are expressed in several artistic formats. As a mixed media artist, she has exhibited her paintings throughout the East Coast. Penny has written several plays such as Whalin, Environmental Blues and performed a play she co-wrote called Remember the Sweetgrass in New York City at NBC’s PSNBC Showcase Theater. 

She worked at the former American Theater and the REP., INC., formally the DC Black Repertory Theater in Washington, DC, where she did sets, lighting and sound. She studied with the late improvisational actress, playwright, director and producer Rebecca Rice, and has performed on Maryland Public Television, Museum of Natural History, National Portrait Gallery and radio. 

Penny is documenting her stories, poetry and music on CD which will be released soon. Her son, pianist Marc Cary is recording, arranging and producing this project.

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#BeautifulInEveryShade BLOOD, SWEAT, & TEARS -a personal story by Gabs shared in partnership with @50ShadesofBLACK for our Bridging the Gap series.

As a young woman of a more slightly reddish-brown complexion, the way I was acclimated into society was being told that my brother was well-liked or more approved of than I because his complexion is more of a caramel brown or, in other words, plays slightly more to the “high-yellow” side of the fifty shades by my peers of my childhood days. I was told I was pretty, but then my peers didn’t seem to like me very much. They picked fights with me a lot; the Caucasian boys were always trying to touch me in explicitly sexual ways … it was a very confusing, frustrating, and (at times) painful childhood for me, to say the least. 

I did try to adjust my outward appearance by relaxing my hair at age twelve (which is not uncommon, but it is certainly not healthy), wearing the clothes that I saw other Caucasian girls wear such as short shorts and tight tops, and I leaned more toward that crowd of people than those of my own race and background. Unfortunately, changing my outward appearance did nothing to improve my situation; instead, it brought more trouble, more confusion, more frustration, and yes, more pain.

Presently, I have cut off my relaxed and conformist hair, and I proudly wear my natural afro. I love the skin I am in, because I no longer let the words and actions that those girls and boys threw at me define who I am today and who I would like to be in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. While it was an arduous challenge to accept the fact that there is no changing the reality that comes with my skin tone, the breath of fresh air and pure joy of being genuinely happy with who I am was worth the blood, sweat, and tears (and I do mean those in the most figurative and literal sense of the words) it took to get here.

~Gabs
(chapter 4, page 53)
50 Shades of Black Coffee Table Book Vol. 1
Photo by: Chris Charles of Creative Silence
PLEASE ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY http://www.50shadesofblack.com/shop 
—- 

BRIDGING THE GAP: Contemporary Realities, Our Ancestral Past, & Our Liberated Future

This is the fifth of our weekly series of posts curated by the creator of 50 Shades of BLACK in partnership with I Love Ancestry called BRIDGING THE GAP featuring contemporary stories of people like YOU from around the world.

Each week we will feature one of YOUR stories about your ancestors, your heritage, and/or your coming to understand/celebrate your OWN identity.

We personally invite you to join us on this journey of discovery and healing. Share your stories, find your voice, speak your truths.

Share YOUR Story: 
http://www.50shadesofblack.com/share-stories
 

Check us out! African Native American

1 month ago
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I’M A TOAST SHADE OF YELLOW IN THE SUMMER -a woman reflects on misconceptions of skin tone in partnership with 50 Shades of BLACK for our Bridging the Gap series on I Love Ancestry.

I love to sit in a quiet place and study my surroundings. When I went shopping with my mom as a little girl, the sales ladies would look at me strangely. My mom is a smooth dip of chocolate, and my dad is a bright shade of red with a brush of white. So, I am a toast shade of yellow in the summer and a pale shade of crimson and white in the winter months. So, I would see how they would watch my mom and then me. When I would call out to mom and say “Hey, Momma” they would frown and look shocked. 
I have had employees in a work environment tell me “my mom must have jumped the fence,” not knowing that was an insult. I shared that with my family at dinner one Sunday, and my older sisters and mom were furious. I was like, so what does it mean? My oldest sister, who is a least eighteen years older, then said it meant my mom has not slept with a white man…. I was hurt and felt stupid. My dad is black and so is my mom. The shades of color range from a dark to a bright red—but in my heart I love the different shades of color our heritage has. 50 Shades of Black should have a trilogy that continues on and on until we all understand that no matter what shade we are, we should love each other as a whole. We should help each other up and not put our feet on each other’s head to keep us down.

~Tammy Gilbert
(chapter 3, page 41)
50 Shades of Black Coffee Table Book Vol. 1
Photo by: Chris Charles (Creative Silence)
Model: Nia Florence 

PLEASE ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY http://www.50shadesofblack.com/shop 
—- 

BRIDGING THE GAP: Contemporary Realities, Our Ancestral Past, & Our Liberated Future

This is the 7th of our weekly series of posts curated by the creator of 50 Shades of BLACK in partnership with I Love Ancestry called BRIDGING THE GAP featuring contemporary stories of people like YOU from around the world.

Each week we will feature one of YOUR stories about your ancestors, your heritage, and/or your coming to understand/celebrate your OWN identity.

We personally invite you to join us on this journey of discovery and healing. Share your stories, find your voice, speak your truths.

Share YOUR Story: 
http://www.50shadesofblack.com/share-stories

Check us out! African Native American

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#BlackEdu #BlackHistory John Arthur “Jack” Johnson, The 1st Black American world heavyweight boxing champion (March 31, 1878 – June 10, 1946)

Nicknamed the Galveston Giant, Jack Johnson was an American boxer, who—at the height of the Jim Crow era—became the first Black American world heavyweight boxing champion (1908–1915). In a documentary about his life, Ken Burns notes that “for more than thirteen years, Jack Johnson was the most famous and the most notorious African-American on Earth.”

On July 4, 1910, in what would be billed as the “Battle of the Century,” Johnson finally fought and beat Jeffries in Reno, Nevada to retain his title. Newspapers warned Johnson and his supporters against gloating over the victory. Nonetheless, scores of African Americans and some whites died as a result of the race rioting that broke out in cities across the nation in response to Johnson’s victory. In fear of more race riots, the Texas legislature banned all films showing the black fighter’s wins over any of his white opponents.

Johnson also attracted considerable condemnation because of his unabashed sexual relationships with numerous white women. In 1913, Johnson fled the United States because federal officials charged him with violating the Mann Act, which prohibited the transportation of women across state lines for prostitution, debauchery, or immoral acts.

While in exile in Cuba, Johnson lost his title in 1914 to little known white boxer Jess Willard. Failing to get other matches abroad, Johnson returned to the U.S. in 1920 to surrender to Federal authorities. He was tried and convicted for violation of the Mann Act and sentenced to a year and a day in the Federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas. Ironically, Johnson was appointed athletic director of the prison while still an inmate. Upon his release from prison in 1921, he returned to the ring, participating only in exhibition fights. Promoters never again gave Johnson another title shot.

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"I’m black… They never let me forget it. I’m black alright…I’ll never let them forget it." ~Jack Johnson (March 31, 1878 – June 10, 1946)

1 month ago
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#Native #IndianCountry Honoring visionary leader Billy Frank, Jr. who crossed over on May 5, 2014

"Sustained revolutions can ONLY be inspired by LOVE—a deep and profound love for yourself, your family and your community that makes you want to make the world a better place. Anger won’t sustain; outrage goes away. My superhero, Uncle Billy Frank, was motivated by the same thing that motivated Amilcar Cabral, Pope’, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Russell Means and ALL THOSE Indian moms who somehow keep their families together in the face of adversity and strife—a deep love for their communities that gives them a beautiful and joyful smile even while fighting powerfully to make meaningful change. Uncle Billy loved and was loved by everyone he came into contact with—that was his superpower. Love. Rest in Peace to one of the greatest Americans ever. Period.” ~Gyasi Ross

"As the salmon disappear, so do our tribal cultures and treaty rights. We are at a crossroads, and we are running out of time." ~Billy Frank, Jr. 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2014

Statement by the President on the Passing of Billy Frank, Jr (March 9, 1931 – May 5, 2014)

"I was saddened to learn of the passing of Billy Frank, Jr. – Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission and a member of the Nisqually Indian Tribe. Billy fought for treaty rights to fish the waters of the Pacific Northwest, a battle he finally won in 1974 after being arrested many times during tribal “fish-ins”. Today, thanks to his courage and determined effort, our resources are better protected, and more tribes are able to enjoy the rights preserved for them more than a century ago. Billy never stopped fighting to make sure future generations would be able to enjoy the outdoors as he did, and his passion on the issue of climate change should serve as an inspiration to us all. I extend my deepest sympathies to the Nisqually Indian Tribe, and to Billy’s family, and to his many friends who so greatly admired him." ~Barack Obama

Photo: 1973

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#Native #IndianCountry Piegan Medicine Man, Aka Blackfoot Nation, 1910. NIITSITAPII AHSISTO (The Real People Declare)

Let it be known that we Niitsitapii hereby declare the following:

The recognition of our Exclusivity of Title to the lands of the traditional Niitsitapii territory (the North Saskatchewan River in the North, and, South to the Yellowstone River, and, in the West from the Continental Divide and East to the Touch Wood Hills); the land which we call Niitsitpiis-stahkoii.

Our Right of Primacy to the land and all its resources.

Our stewardship to the said territory (Niitsitapis-stahkoii) which includes the right of access and management to all its natural resources to the said lands, according to what is right for Niitsitapii.

Further, we declare to the Kingdom of Great Britain and its commonwealth countries; Canada, its provinces; the United States of America and its states; and the United Nations that our sovereignty has existed since time immemorial.

We declare null and void the Doctrine of Discovery and all other paternalistic and colonialist Proclamations, Treaties, Acts, and Regulations pertaining to Niitsitapii and Stah-koomi-tapii-akii.

Therefore, we Niitsitapii do hereby recognize that Stah-koomi-tapi-akii and Niitstitapii are one, from which our Governance is derived.

Let it be known, that we the undersigned swear our allegiance to this Declaration and its Principals, which uphold all rights and privileges for which it stands. As Niitsitapii we accept as our duty and responsibility, the right to maintain our dignity as a self-sustaining People, for ourselves and the purposes and the purposes of our future generations:

We are the children of the Great Holy Being, iit-tsi-pah-tah-pii-op (The Source of Life) and we gather together of our own free will because the Creator made us to be free and to live in harmony.

We call together those who have been members of our alliance (Blackfoot Confederacy) in the ancient past. We call you home to be our relatives in the shinning light of knowledge and the love of our Creator. Once again, we shall live by our sacred vows, spirituality, traditions, and beliefs. We have created a great and powerful nation based upon respect and honor for all beings of Stah-koomi-tapii-akii (Mother Earth) and beyond.

Among the many purposes of our coming together are these:

We join together to freely associate with all people in honor and respect.

We gather together to help each other in good times and hard times.

We seek our rightful share of Stah-koomi-tapii-akii, Mother Earth’s resources and to correct the greed that has denied us this right.

We seek to correct those political, religious, economic, social and other policies of those who have sought to enslave us.

We call upon all people to stop their genocidal pursuits that seek to kill us and destroy our cultures and we ask them to finally give honor to their holy books.

We come together, each of us, to offer our skills, knowledge, resources, and whatever abilities we possess to put them to work in the communities of our people so we may live together and raise healthy families as iit-tsi-pah-tah-pii-op intended.

We come together because we reject the dogma of mankind, which enslaves the human mind and spirit. We reject any and all things that cause mankind to fight, kill and be unhappy through the self-imposed death of their being.

WEBSITE:
»——> http://www.blackfoot.org/

Photo taken in 1910 by Edward S. Curtis.

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#Native #indianCountry Young Nez Perce Man, Washington, 1899
Colville Indian Reservation, Washington

"It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story." —Nez Percé proverb

The Colville Indian Reservation is an American Indian reservation in the north-central part of the U.S. state of Washington, inhabited and managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, which is federally recognized. 

The reservation is located primarily in the southeastern section of Okanogan County and the southern half of Ferry County, but it includes other pieces of trust land in eastern Washington, including in Chelan County, just to the northwest of the city of Chelan. 

The Confederated Tribes have somewhere around 8,700 descendants from 12 indigenous tribes. The tribes are known in English as: the Colville, the Nespelem, the Sanpoil, the Lakes (after the Arrow Lakes of British Columbia or Sinixt), the Palus, the Wenatchi, the Chelan, the Entiat, the Methow, the southern Okanagan, the Sinkiuse-Columbia, and the Nez Perce of Chief Joseph’s Band.

Some members of the Spokane tribe also settled the Colville reservation later on.

The most common of the indigenous languages spoken on the reservation is Colville-Okanagan, a Salishan language.

Other tribes speak other Salishan languages, with the exception of the Nez Perce and Palus, who speak Sahaptian languages.

The Confederated Tribes and the Colville Indian Reservation are governed by the Colville Business Council. From its administrative headquarters located at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Agency at Nespelem, the Colville Business Council oversees a diverse, multi-million dollar administration that employs from 800 to 1,200 individuals in permanent, part-time, and seasonal positions.

"Treat all men alike. Give them the same law. Give them an even chance to live and grow." —Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

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#Native #IndianCountry Three Young Native Women, 1902.

"A people is not defeated until the hearts of its women are on the ground." —Cheyenne proverb

I Love Ancestry exists to empower people to seek knowledge of ancestral heritage, preserve historical truth, and unite like-minded people. At I Love Ancestry, we envision a world where people embrace their own and each other’s roots, celebrate diversity, and advocate for indigenous cultures.

Stay informed about our work. Subscribe to I Love Ancestry eNews: http://eepurl.com/CLJan - Our strength lies in collective action. Join Us NOW!

Photographer A. H. Barnes. 1902.

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