Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

Black History Fact*First Documented African American

Africans arrived in North America more than a century before the Mayflower arrived..The first documented African to arrive was Juan Garrido. He was NOT a slave & he was born in West Africa around 1480..He moved to Portugal as a young man, converted to Christianity ,and then changed his name to Juan Garrido(it means handsome John) He remained in Spain for about seven years and he joined the earliest conquistadors to the New World..He wound up in Hispaniola(which is the island that Haiti & Dominican Republic reside) as part of a Spanish expedition..He was involved in the invasion of Puerto Rico, Cuba & Mexico..After settling in Mexico City, including getting married(& had 3 children) , he continued to serve with Spanish forces for more than 30 years. In 1513, he was part of an expedition to Florida chasing the Fountain of Youth with de Leon..It was upon entering Florida he became the first documented African to arrive in this country. Garrido claims to have been the FIRST to plant and harvest wheat in the New World*

In 1538, Garrido provided testimony on his 30 years of service as a conquistador:

I, Juan Garrido, black in color, resident of this city [Mexico], appear before Your Mercy and state that I am in need of providing evidence to the perpetuity of the king [a perpetuad rey], a report on how I served Your Majesty in the conquest and pacification of this New Spain, from the time when the Marqués del Valle [Cortés] entered it; and in his company I was present at all the invasions and conquests and pacifications which were carried out, always with the said Marqués, all of which I did at my own expense without being given either salary or allotment of natives [repartimiento de indios] or anything else. As I am married and a resident of this city, where I have always lived; and also as I went with the Marqués del Valle to discover the islands which are in that part of the southern sea [the Pacific] where there was much hunger and privation; and also as I went to discover and pacify the islands of San Juan de Buriquén de Puerto Rico; and also as I went on the pacification and conquest of the island of Cuba with the adelantado Diego Velázquez; in all these ways for thirty years have I served and continue to serve Your Majesty–for these reasons stated above do I petition Your Mercy. And also because I was the first to have the inspiration to sow maize here in New Spain and to see if it took; I did this and experimented at my own expense

Posted in ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. *The Man, The Legacy, The MESSAGE..

…January 20, 2014 is Martin Luther King, Jr Day in the United States..Here are a few little known facts about the man who is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using non-violent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. He was a Christian American Pastor, A Husband, A Father, A PhD!, An Activist, A Humanitarian, And a LEADER in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and the FIRST Black man behind a federal holiday in America..WOW, wow, and I’m still wow’ed when I think/reflect on the DIFFERENCE one person can make..Before I sign off I’d like to once again say THANK YOU Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr for ALL that you were & did for me, mine and America. Your ultimate sacrifice wasn’t in vain; you’ll never, ever be forgotten!

His name was originally Michael…When his Father changed his own name , to give tribute, to German theologian Martin Luther..He also changed his son’s name. Martin Luther King , Jr was 2 years old when his name was changed.

The switchboard operator of the Lorraine Bailey hotel(where MLK, Jr was murdered..) and co-owner of the hotel; Lorraine Bailey; died due to the heart attack she had upon seeing King was shot..

MLK, Jr skipped 2 grades! in high school..9th & 11th..He was 15 years old when he entered Morehouse College..He was 19 when he received his bachelor’s degree in sociology..He had his PhD by age 25...

He almost didn’t become a minister..Had doubts about Christianity & the Bible and thought of becoming a doctor or lawyer..Later he decided the Bible had profound truths that one couldn’t escape...

He got a ‘C’ in his first year , in public speaking, at the seminary..God only knows the truth of why the professor gave a ‘C’ to someone who by his final year had straight ‘A’s’, was valedictorian & president of student body and the BEST public speaker of all time!!!..

To date he’s the youngest male to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize at 35 yrs old..

His house was once BOMBED..During the Montgomery Bus Boycott (which lasted over a year @ 385 days!)

His mother, Alberta Williams King, was also murdered. She was killed while attending church in Atlanta in 1974 by a 23-year-old man, Marcus Wayne Chenault, who believed “all Christians are my enemies”. He shot and killed her while she was playing organ at the church...

King Jr.’s autopsy revealed that stress had taken a major toll on his body. Despite being just 39 at the time of his death, one of the doctors noted that he had “the heart of a 60-year-old”...

It wasn’t until the year 2000 that all 50 states officially observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The last states to join up where Arizona in 1992, New Hampshire in 1999, and Utah in 2000. The holiday itself was originally signed into federal law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, with the first MLK holiday on January 20, 1986.

Today over 700 streets in the Unites States are named after Martin Luther King Jr., with one such street in almost every major city. This is not even counting the amazing number of buildings, schools, and the like named after him.

Non-violent resistance is not for cowards. It is not a quiet, passive acceptance of evil. One is passive and non-violent physically, but very active spiritually, always seeking ways to persuade the opponent of advantages to the way of love, cooperation, and peace...

I’m going to close this up with one of my fave quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr..About his dream for his children..And today almost 50 years later! I’ve got that very same DREAM for my 3 remarkable Black sons! Let’s let this MLK, Jr day be a day ON ; not just a day OFF…Live/Love/Laugh.Until I read/write y’all again stay lifted and remember to count your blessings every, single day. 4ever Sincere, Berna(the 1 & Only)

Posted in @Cultural

I am just , BLACK…

Going to try to write this out & articulate how I feel about it..So hang onto your hats, caps, wigs & weaves I’m diving in head first! Ready?>.

I’ve experienced something new for the past 2 years..Very new for me..Time after time I’ve been mistaken for other than; Black. Been asked IF I were a multitude of things..Hispanic, Latino, Puerto Rican, Brazilian, Dominican, and today? Panamanian. My response , more often than not, is simply..No, I’m just ole-fashioned BLACK American..The new part of it is that it is other Blacks that have asked the question..Great majority of my life Whites have always asked IF I’m mixed..I’m not totally sure WHY it mattered whether I was mixed or not! But I was a bit surprised, now, that I’m not the only Black in my environment(or part of only a handful as I was on the West Coast); that any type of questioning about what I am comes into question>>

At first I didn’t know how to handle it..The behind-my-back comments(& sometimes to my face..) about how I talk.(you don’t sound BLACK) About the texture/thickness /style of my hair(wow, its yours!) About my background(well, you can’t relate to us because of your background..) Etc, etc, yada yada..I won’t lie my emotions have ranged from flat-out pissed off to butt-hurt feelings..WHY does it matter? I am just ME..Black & proud American born Sista! And how come I’ve never been asked IF I’m African??? I find myself thirsting to know more & more of African culture these days..Thus? I would love to be mistaken for an African Nubian Queen! Yet? That never happens>>

Then today? It hit me! While conversing with someone new(Panamanian); I realized she just wanted to CONNECT…She said you look SO familiar to me & your features remind me of HOME..As I listened to her talk it became crystal clear to me..I feel it when I’m back in the place I call home @ New Orleans..Its a feeling of being HOME. A feeling of comfortability that I feel NO where else on the planet. A feeling of familiarity with people; even people I don’t know..It just feels GOOD. Could that be the reason why other folks want to label others as theirs? A sense of bonding..A need for connection. >>

I’ve said often I’m a people lover..And I truly AM..The more I learn about & from other people; the more I learn about myself..From now on I’m going to look at the question @Are you ____? ; as a GREAT opportunity to open dialogue about other Black cultures..I won’t take offense & instead look as a chance to teach and learn..Teachable moments. Love IT.

Posted in <<COMING SOON, ***DPCHALLENGE, *DP CHALLENGE>Post A Day*, @Cultural, Post a Day 2013, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

WANTED: Black Men who LOVE Black Women. *DP PostaDay 2013 Challenge*

Another one of those tough topics we hate 2 discuss; yet know it exists. Might as well bring it to the forefront during Black History Month. I needed a title to GRAB your attention; now that I’ve got it the real subject of this piece is about=Black women who hate on interracial relationships…well least the ones that involve Black brothers dating White women. Ya’ll ready for this?!? I won’t sugar coat this subject because it leads to a topic that is far too important to ignore or to dilute. That IS if we care about the future generations. Or least this is the way I see it..

First a few statistics that might help bring things into focus..According to ,thesentencingproject, more than 60% of people in American prisons are racial & ethnic minorities. 60% ! And having worked in a state prison in Cali I can tell you first hand ; MOST of them are very young Black males.(seeing this day to day was heart wrenching to say the least)  1 in 10 of Black males in their 30s; is in jail or prison on any given day currently in America. 2/3 of ALL persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color..Now let that sink in for a minute. I personally think we’ve got FAR bigger fish to fry; than worrying about White women snagging Black men..However, given this background info one could see how problematic snagging a good  Black man could be nowadays. But now onto the topic at hand…

Before I go any further I want to make my position clear..I’ve no issue at all with my Caucasian sisters who dig/date/marry my Black brothers.  I can totally understand why; 100%! Major props to them for having excellent taste; and I feel exactly the same way…

My two biggest issues with this topic are..#1 My brothers who feel they MUST drag us down to the gutter; just because they prefer dating other than Black women. Personally? I care LESS who people date. Honestly…you could date flying purple elephants for all I care. BUT why  “try” to tear us down on the way out the door??? As IF those who do(not all do…) don’t also have Black mothers/daughters!/and relatives. When you diss ALL of anything; you’re also dissing your own..Very UNcool and gets NO respect from me. In a silent manner of course..

Let me add here I don’t know ANY women like the ones portrayed in the pics I’ve posted…but I know they exist. And when some of us look bad; its a bad LOOK for all of us. We stand together or fall apart..Why place blame on others instead of first getting own self together? Because even the most educated & so called “together” person can have issues. I don’t know a person ALIVE who doesn’t have some type of issue or baggage..and the first one to say they don’t has the MOST issues. I don’t care who it is. Even saying you don’t have an issue; is an issue. So count that as #1 issue on the list. My point is when you can look in the mirror and love “self”; you don’t blame or hate on anyone else when things don’t go your way. You just keeeeeep it moving until things fall into place. Why take it personally? Some Black men  just prefer dating a variety of women….OR could be some might have gotten tired of not being treated like the KINGS they are. I’m sure there are as many reasons as there are people on the planet. But being ugly about it isn’t the answer; least not in my opinion. What that does is add to the already much hyped image of an “angry Black woman” stereotype…and some of us are so far removed from that image that I find it highly, highly! offensive. Bottom line is  if Black women truly dig our Black brothers; that means respecting/supporting them 100%. Even when it means they decide to choose someone other than a Black woman as his..Queen. We all have options these days…

For me though I’m waiting on my chocolate KING to come sweep me off my feet..we all have preferences/choices and must  learn to respect others for theirs. Just remember one important thing ; when my “the one” does find me  this year? He is OFF limits to all of ya’ll! Private stock and I don’t believe in sharing…Stay UPlifted, 4ever sincere Berna (the 1 & only)

Posted in <<COMING SOON, ***DPCHALLENGE, *DP CHALLENGE>Post A Day*, @Cultural, Post a Day 2013, ~~FREE Flow of UNscripted Thoughts~~

@Celebrate: Being BLACK in America@

February is Black History Month in America…The controversial question that still begs 2 be answered IS= Does America really NEED a Black History Month? And if so, why is it important? Also, is ONE month tribute ENOUGH? For those that are BLACK; aren’t ya’ll BLACK every single day? For those that aren’t Black ; do you attempt to learn anything new regarding Black History during February? One last question I’ll give my views on= IS Black History Month just a “token” given to Blacks to put a band-aid on old wounds? WHY is it so difficult to have a decent, honest, OPEN dialogue about RACE still in America today? ~~~~~ First, a brief history lesson on how Black History Month came to be. Or do ya’ll already know? Oh well , for those that don’t know it began because of the efforts of Dr. Carter G. Woodson & Rev. Jessie E. Moorland. Dr. Woodson was the former son of SLAVES and the SECOND Black person in history to receive a degree from Harvard University. Because Dr. Woodson felt preserving one’s heritage was important he urged the fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, to create ‘Negro History and Literature Week’ in 1920. He “chose” February to honor two men who had a great deal to do with altering the future of Black Americans. President Abraham Lincoln and Abolitionist Frederick Douglas(both men were born in February) Thus the creation of what we now celebrate as Black History Month in America was born…

I’ll briefly answer my own questions I posed earlier..Later, I’ll dig deeper. First of all , NO, Black History Month, isn’t a “token” given to Blacks in America for any old wounds caused by years & years & years & YEARS of slavery…As I’ve briefly explained earlier Black History Month was created by a Black man for Black American citizens to feel a sense of PRIDE about themselves..Something that was badly neeeeeeded when he first worked so diligently to have it created. Next, do I feel America still needs a Black History Month? Yes, I sure DO…Why is Black History Month important? I’ll dig deeper into that later. Aren’t Black Americans Black & proud every day and not just during Black History Month? Well , I sure AM. Every morning when my feet hit the floor and I look in the mirror I know several things for sure. I AM BLACK. I am a WOMAN. I am a loved child of GOD. Not necessarily in that order but being Black is always first…and I make no apologies for that. But later I will try to explain why. And the last question=WHY in the heck is it so very difficult to have an open & honest dialogue(among Blacks , Whites, and any other race/color/creed) about RACE in America??????! Especially when WE all know it is still very much an issue in our country….

For the naysayers, Black and White, who want to keep their heads in the sand; and think RACE issues don’t still exist in our country…Ask President Obama’s good friend Henry Louis Gates, Jr if it does. A highly! educated Black man who in recent years was reminded that NO matter how educated he was/is..he is still BLACK. Not even being the close friend of the President of the United States could save him from public humiliation. Just because WE don’t discuss race issues doesn’t meant it isn’t still an issue…And mayhaps IF we did discuss it more(in a civil fashion..) it could finally begin to solve the issue. Unless you were blind and deaf you certainly have seen RACE raise its ugly head just prior to and since President Obama became President of the United States…I don’t have enough time to list all the ways but ya’ll can google all the incidents/things said/happenings if you don’t believe me..

In my opinion , Black History Month, is necessary to educate ALL American citizens..Quiet as kept there are MANY Blacks who don’t even know their own history! For IF they did why would “some” feel Black History Month is no longer necessary? Begun by a Black man to give Blacks a sense of pride; I truly think it is still needed for that very reason..and more. Mayhaps if other races are educated about Blacks the race issues would cease! As I’ve said many times before we are ALL far more alike ; than different. And often times ignorance about a topic can cause people to have distorted beliefs/thoughts about said topic. Note to parents: IF you’re depending on the American public educational system to teach your child about being BLACK or about other races or Black History …it won’t happen! Get them books, share their family tree with them/ share with them family history stories..etc..KNOWLEDGE is POWER. My sincere hope/prayer is that people are indeed learning something new every single time Black History Month rolls around…As much as I’ve studied Black History including my own family history; I’m still learning new things my dang self. It is closed minds that will take far longer to move past the old ways of thinking…

~~As a person I love ALL people…of all races/creeds/beliefs. As a Catholic Christian I know we are ALL loved children of GOD. I don’t understand how any Christian could with good conscience call themselves a Christian and yet HATE with the level of hate I’ve seen/witnessed/experienced! ; simply based on the color of one’s skin. Matter of fact there is no one on this planet I hate. There are a handful of people I ‘ve run into that I don’t care for; real talk. But I don’t hate them. I just don’t care to spend ANY of my precious time being around them nor speaking of them. And only one of them isn’t Black.. I’m still praying on how to get past that…never said I was perfect.

Quite honestly  in recent years I’ve heard the N word used more by Blacks than anyone else..As a word of affection no less! What kind of shiiite is that?!? You can’t turn a WORD thats past is so negative that Blacks died cause they REFUSED to be called that word; into a positive word. I don’t care if it is JUST a word. I don’t allow it to be said in my surroundings . And I didn’t allow our sons to say it either…the ignorance has to stop somewhere. And I draw the line there. There is enough ignorance about what is or isn’t racism to wrap around our country a cazillion times..For the record there is a difference between racism and prejudice. Every time any of us labels a person by race, unless asked to describe someone by their race, we are exhibiting our prejudice. I’ve got my hand raised high; I’ve done it. And I try to catch myself but I’ve done it…I’m still working on that too. More proof I’m not perfect. In closing my sincere hope is that we can open up honest exchanges about RACE our country…Its past time. We’ve just TOGETHER put into office , for the 2nd time, the first ever Black man in the highest position of our country. That alone wasn’t enough to stomp out racism..Anyone who thought that was going to be enough wasn’t thinking logically. Rome wasn’t built in a day…nor can something so monumental be solved in one day or action. BUT we’re making progress…and that is wonderful! Like any good parent my DREAM is for my sons to live in a country that they are considered EQUAL…judged based not on the color of their skin..but ALLL of their years of education, their experience, their HEARTS, and all of their hard work. I co-raised my sons to LOVE all people and they do! I refused to teach them to hate..What we did do was teach them to be PROUD of who they are. Which includes embracing their Black heritage. One can’t know where the heck they’re going in life; if they don’t know who they are & where they’ve come from. And while I do have  a preference for who will be my love mate/life mate; I’m not racist. Though! I’ve had White guys who have asked me out say they felt that was racist. It isn’t . It is a preference. I just happen to be HONEST about my preference from the jump…Chalk it up to the level of highest respect I have for my highest male role model. My Father/Daddy who is Black..Little girls either are attracted to men like their Fathers or the opposite…I fall into the first category. Think about the preferences people have with who they’re attracted to??? Blondes. Women with big boobs.(even if they’re FAKE) Women with small waists & big butts. Women with small waists/big butts & big boobs! How about women who won’t date a man under 6 foot? Or won’t date anyone that isn’t fit or fyneeeee as heck. My preference just happens to involve skin color. And I absolutely LOVE chocolate skin..and the swagger of a confident brother??? Omg, no substitute for that…. Also, if anyone out there reading this has anything to add or correct me on things I’ve written; feel free. I’m ready to rap if you are…4ever sincere, Berna (the 1 & only)

 

Posted in @Cultural, Things That Make U Say Hmmmm@, ^^Thought Provoking^^

“`Why I am BLACK..Not African-American“`

English: African American History
English: African American History (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disclaimer: Please read what I’m saying before assuming what I’m saying. I’m not saying I am not in love with my African roots nor am I saying I don’t love that I was born American. I love that both of those things are FACTUAL. Understand also that we all have opinions N are entitled to them. When we don’t agree its perfectly fine to agree 2 disagree. I wrote what I’m going to share in   response  to a very well written piece(from a blogger on this site)  on this very topic. It is a controversial topic yet not one that I fear opening for dialogue. So feel free to read with an open mind & ears N lets rap..

*Whats in a name? Some might ask that question but I don’t. Lets see if I can properly express how I feel about being “labeled” either Black or African-American.
What is IT with our country having to label folks anyway?!? Shouldn’t it be a personal choice? Why can’t we put OTHER as I’ve seen “others” allowed to do? Others that don’t exactly fit to a T the multiple choice slots on all the forms WE have to fill out in this lifetime…What about the situations folks that are White yet from Africa fall into? Are THEY African-American when they become American citizens? I actually meant a guy that fit that case scenario; he was a coworker . Awesome guy and we had conversation after conversation over this exact subject matter. Interesting to say the least!

Personally? I identify with my BLACKness before any other title/label I hold. When my feet hit the floor in the morning & I look in the mirror the 1st thing I see N know I am is BLACK. N I loveeeeee that I was created in the image of Jesus.(another topic for another time..) There is nothing else I’d rather have been created as..God makes NO mistakes. But I digress..

Some in the generations behind me feel that its oldskool to want to be labeled as Black. I figure we’re all entitled to our opinion..and I’m open to dialogue with anyone who can properly argue their points. But at the beginning and end of the day aren’t we all still..Black? A point those in favor of the African – American label make is that to NOT use the term is to deny our tie to the motherland. Africa…Hmmmm. Really??? I’d like to take a poll to see how many Blacks a/k/a African-Americans truly know a thing about their roots! Where they hail from in Africa? Where there ancestors first landed in America? How they acquired their birth surname…was it acquired from their slave master? Should the name @ African-American be carried by folks who have NO clue where they come from? Must I be labeled with the term African-American to be a PROUD Black Sista? I think NOT. And who is the infamous “they” that gets to determine how I’m going to be labeled anyway? Shouldn’t I have a VOTE in what I’m going to be labeled? In my life journey I’ve gone from Negro to Afro-American to BLACK to African-American..heck its surprising I’m NOT confused my own dang self about my..identity! And yet we sit back N wonder why generations behind us are out of touch with who they ARE.

I am BLACK. I am American. Period. Exclamation point. When 1st I wake I’m a BLACK woman/daughter/sister/mother..in that order. Every single day of my 49 yr old life. That is who I am. Regardless of who feels they have the right to “label” me it won’t change who I am. And I sincerely hope that is how more folks , BLACK folks, begin to look at it. And NOT let such topics further divide US…I love people. All people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. I just happen to be part of a bloodline of the very 1st line of people on Earth. How could one not be extremely proud about that?**

>In summation when WE(or anyone actually..) let “others” define who WE are & then re-define(or place a title on..) over N over N over again ..it is NO small wonder some  in my generation and many in those behind my generation..have lost sight of WHO they are. Or least that is the way I see it.<

Wishing all that read this love, joy and peace. Stay UPlifted & blessed. 4ever sincere, Berna(the 1 N only)