A Poem for Sunday: "Testament" by Carolyn M. Rodgers

Image credit: imagex / 123RF Stock Photo

child,
in the august of your life
you come barefoot to me
the blisters of events
having worn through to the
soles of your shoes.

it is not the time
this is not the time

there is no such time
to tell you
that some pains ease away
on the ebb & toll of
themselves.
there is no such dream that
can not fail, nor is hope our
only conquest.
we can stand boldly in burdening places (like earth here)
in our blunderings, our bloomings
our palms, flattened upward or pressed,
an unyielding down.

TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY: Michael Jordan at 50: Still the Greatest

February 17, 1963 Michael Jeffrey “Air” Jordan, hall of fame basketball player, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Maybe it’s fitting that Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday happens to fall on the NBA’s All-Star Sunday, because he is still the ultimate measure of basketball  greatness.

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Source: The Wright Museum

TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY: February 15, 1965, Nat King Cole dies of cancer

Celebrated pianist, singer and television host Nat King Cole dies from lung cancer at 45-years-old. Cole, who first rose to stardom as a jazz pianist, churned out numerous hits, including “Nature Boy," “Mona Lisa," and “Unforgettable.”

Since his death, Cole’s music has endured. His rendition of “The Christmas Song" has become a holiday classic and many of his other signature songs are frequently selected for film and television soundtracks.

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TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY: February 14 Adopted Birthday of Frederick Douglass

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The son of a slave woman and an unknown white man, “Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey" is believed to have been born in February of 1818 on Maryland’s eastern shore.  As he noted on the opening page of his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself,  "I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it."  He chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14.

A slave for much of his young life, he formally changed his name to Frederick Douglass when he escaped to New York in 1838.

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TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY: Baseball Negro League organized on Feb 13, 1920.

Andrew “Rube" Foster, who is hailed as the “Father of Black Baseball” organizes the first baseball league for African-Americans, the Negro National League in Kansas City, Missouri.

Visit the the Negro League Baseball website to learn more about its history and hall of famers, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson and more.

TODAY IN BLACK HISTORY: NAACP founded on February 12, 1909

Founded Feb. 12. 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, campaigning for equal opportunity and conducting voter mobilization.

Founding group 
The NAACP was formed partly in response to the continuing horrific practice of lynching and the 1908 race riot in Springfield, the capital of Illinois and resting place of President Abraham Lincoln. Appalled at the violence that was committed against blacks, a group of white liberals that included Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard, both the descendants of abolitionists, William English Walling and Dr. Henry Moscowitz issued a call for a meeting to discuss racial justice. Some 60 people, seven of whom were African American (including W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell), signed the call, which was released on the centennial of Lincoln’s birth.

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Source top photo: BET

Today in Black History: Nelson Mandela released from prison

Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years on February 11, 1990.

In 1944, Mandela, a lawyer, joined the African National Congress (ANC), the oldest black political organization in South Africa, where he became a leader of Johannesburg’s youth wing of the ANC.

In 1952, he became deputy national president of the ANC, advocating nonviolent resistance to apartheid—South Africa’s institutionalized system of white supremacy and racial segregation. However, after the massacre of peaceful black demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960, Nelson helped organize a paramilitary branch of the ANC to engage in guerrilla warfare against the white minority government.

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photo source: BET

Today in Black History: Life according to Chris Rock

On this day February 7th, in 1965, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning comedian, recording artist and actor Chris Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina.

"I don’t get high, but sometimes I wish I did.  That way, when I messed up in life, I would have an excuse.  But right now there’s no rehab for stupidity.—Chris Rock