Tag Archives: african american

Maryland Students Dig to Find First Free African American Society

Morgan State University and University of Maryland College Park have combined forces in an archaeological dig that may find the oldest free African American society.

Morgan State University and University of Maryland College Park have combined forces in an archaeological dig that may find the oldest free African American society.

When we saw John Singleton’s “Rosewood”, for a lot of us, it was the first time the nation was privy to the information that there were free African Americans at the turn of the century, who had an organized, wealthy community that flourished.

Now Baltimore, Maryland’s Morgan State University in association with University of Maryland College Park are researching an area of the Eastern Shore that is historically rich with African-American history, in an effort to find a society the researchers believe pre-dates New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood, which is presently recorded as the oldest free African American community, according to Madame Noire. Continue reading

Ancestry.com Reveals Johnny Depp’s African American Heritage

Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger.

Johnny Depp as Tonto in The Lone Ranger.

Henry Louis Gates’ show African American Lives has revealed to a lot of African American celebrities, with the exception of Oprah, that they have family roots that are directly connected to white slave masters, abolitionists, as well as native americans.

In the new version of the Lone Ranger that is presently in theaters, Johnny Depp portrays the dynamic native american sidekick, Tonto.  But, ironically, Depp, who has claimed native american heritage in the past, found through Ancestry.com, that he does not have native american roots, but notable African American ancestry, according to the Afro. Continue reading

Fan of Country Singer Leaves Concert to Taunt African Americans with Confederate Flag and Racial Slurs

Darren Walp, 33, left a Toby Keith concert and jumped a fence of a predominantly African American residential complex over the weekend.

Darren Walp, 33, left a Toby Keith concert and jumped a fence of a predominantly African American residential complex over the weekend to taunt residents with a confederate flag and racial slurs.

Celebrities’ fame and influence often run amuck when fans believe they know them and what they represent when they are merely building an image or persona they use to entertain.

Toby Keith is a country singer who is vocal about his patriotism and his support of the U.S. military.  But, it is obvious that his fans are of the redneck persuasion and one Darren Walp, 33, thought he’d leave the concert and have some redneck type of fun.  He left the Toby Keith concert at Susquehanna Bank Center in New Jersey, climbed the fence of the, predominantly African American, Royal Court residential complex and began yelling racial slurs and waving the confederate flag, according to the Daily Mail. Continue reading

Gay Marriage Dates Back to 1970 in Jet Magazine Photo

gay marriage jet magazine 1970

As the Supreme Court is deciding the fate of same sex marriage federal marriage benefits and state marriage recognition, a discovery has been made that dates the issue of same sex marriage as far back as the 70s.

The Queer Museum features a photo from circa 1970 of two African American women posed together in a wedding photo after their wedding.  The couple were married in Chicago, but a marriage license does not accompany the picture.

The picture features Edna Knowles and Peaches Stevens who were married, not in a chapel, but at a gay bar on the South Side of Chicago called Liz’s Mark III Lounge.  The picture was featured in Jet Magazine’s October 15, 1970 issue and said that the wedding took place “before a host of friends and well wishers.” Continue reading

Oklahoma Gets First Black Speaker of the House Representing the GOP

T.J. Shannon, 34, is sworn in as first African American Speaker of the House for Oklahoma as his wife Devon looks on.

T.J. Shannon, 34, is sworn in as first African American Speaker of the House for Oklahoma as his wife Devon looks on.

Oklahoma saw its first governmental upset with the victory that J.C. Watts experienced as representative for the fourth district of Oklahoma in 1994.  When he was elected in 1998, to serve as chairman of the Republican Conference, he provided daily counsel to the Speaker of the House, and participated in bi-weekly meetings with the President of the United States.

But according to the Daily Caller, there’s a new sheriff in town.  Tahrohon Wayne Shannon, 34, has become Oklahoma’s first African American Speaker of the House.  He’s not only their first, but youngest ever, and the “first African American Republican speaker in the country since Reconstruction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.” Continue reading

Texas Town Gets First African American Mayoral Candidate in Town’s 130 Years (Video)

Meet Lamar Collins!  If elected by the residents of Temple, Texas, he will go down as the first African American candidate and the first African American mayor of the town.

Meet Lamar Collins! If elected by the residents of Temple, Texas, he will go down as the first African American candidate and the first African American mayor of the town.

We just saw Mississippi finally emancipate the enslaved by kicking off this year’s Black History Month with the ratification of the 13th Amendment.  Now, there is yet another first for a town in the southwest.

Since the establishment of Temple, Texas, 130 years ago, there has never been a mayor or mayoral candidate for the town.  But, all that has changed with Lamar Collins throwing his hat in the ring for Mayor, according to KWTX.

Collins is jumping on the opportunity to be mayor of the town since longtime Mayor Bill Jones III will step down in May.  But, when he resigns, there is still one more year left in his term which leaves the city council with the unfortunate task of holding a special election to fill his spot. Continue reading

Detroit Declares State of Emergency!

The city of Detroit has been underwater on their bills for a long time and Kwame Kilpatrick can take a lot of the blame for that.  But now, the city is drowning and a life preserver they may not like is set to be thrown to residents.

In a press conference Tuesday, Michigan State Treasurer Andy Dillon alerted the public that the city is stuck in a financial quagmire “that there is no plan in place to correct…”  The declaration made by Dillon’s office was sent to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who in turn declared the city is in a “financial emergency” that can only be remedied by outside assistance …an emergency financial manager, according to MSNBC.

The predominantly African American city faces an assortment of disenfranchisement efforts if this happens.  Everything from a major push of gentrification projects to a boost of outside business owners reducing the chance of organic African American entrepreneurial efforts. The former beloved mayor of Detroit, Mayor Coleman Young, long ago prophesied that the city would be sold for a quarter to the highest bidder if certain leaders came in and shook the wrong hands. Continue reading

BHM Spotlight: First Black Designer on Broadway Created Playboy’s Bunny Costume

Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes created the iconic Playboy Bunny costume.

Beyonce’s mom, Tina Knowles, is well known for her House of Dereon clothing line and the beautiful outfits she has made for Destiny’s Child.  But, she may not be so famous if her daughter wasn’t a musical phenom.

Anyone ever heard of Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes? My point is made.  She is the first African American to open a store on New York’s still elite street, Broadway, according to the Huffington Post. In 1948, she opened her boutique “Chez Zelda” in the coveted location.

The entertainment world loved her designs that were known for the uncanny ability to seemingly sculpt women’s bodies and accentuate all of their attributes.  Some of the 1940s and 50s biggest celebs to wear her fashions include: Dorothy Dandridge, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mae West. Continue reading