Friday, October 28, 2011

Tribute: Civil Rights Trail Blazer Rev. Fred Shuttesworth

The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, left, with Ralph Abernathy and Dr. Martin Luther King in 1963.

The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth

Civil Rights Leader who survived beatings and bombings in Alabama a half-century ago as he fought against racial injustice alongside the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., died on Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala. He was 89.

He died at Princeton Baptist Medical Center, his wife, Sephira Bailey Shuttlesworth, said. He also lived in Birmingham.

It was in that city in the spring of 1963 that Mr. Shuttlesworth, an important ally of Dr. King, organized two tumultuous weeks of daily demonstrations by black children, students, clergymen and others against a rigidly segregated society.

Graphic scenes of helmeted police officers and firefighters under the direction of T. Eugene (Bull) Connor, Birmingham’s intransigent public safety commissioner, scattering peaceful marchers with fire hoses, police dogs and nightsticks, provoked a national outcry.
The brutality helped galvanize the nation’s conscience, as did the Ku Klux Klan’s bombing of a black church in Birmingham that summer, which killed four girls at Sunday school. Those events led to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, after the historic Alabama marches that year from Selma to Montgomery, which Mr. Shuttlesworth also helped organize. The laws were the bedrock of civil rights legislation.

“Without Fred Shuttlesworth laying the groundwork, those demonstrations in Birmingham would not have been as successful,” said Andrew M. Manis, author of “A Fire You Can’t Put Out,” a biography of Mr. Shuttlesworth. “Birmingham led to Selma, and those two became the basis of the civil rights struggle.”

Mr. Shuttlesworth, he added, had “no equal in terms of courage and putting his life in the line of fire” to battle segregation.
Mr. Shuttlesworth joined with Dr. King in 1957 as one of the four founding ministers of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the engine of Dr. King’s effort to unify the black clergy and their flocks to combat Jim Crow laws. At the time, Mr. Shuttlesworth was leader of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, which he had helped form in 1956 to replace the Alabama offices of the N.A.A.C.P., shut down for years by court injunction.

Outside their roles as men of the cloth and civil rights advocates, however, Mr. Shuttlesworth and Dr. King stood in sharp contrast to each other in terms of background, personality and strategies.
Dr. King was a polished product of Atlanta’s black middle class. A graduate of Morehouse College, he held a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University. Fred Shuttlesworth was a child of poor black Alabama whose ministerial degree was from an unaccredited black school. (He later earned a master’s degree in education from Alabama State College.)

Where Dr. King could deliver thunderous oratory and move audiences by his reasoned convictions and faith, Mr. Shuttlesworth was fiery, whether preaching in the pulpit or standing up to Bull Connor, who dueled with him for years in street protests and boycotts leading up to their historic 1963 showdown.

Diane McWhorter, the author of “Carry Me Home,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2001 book about the struggle in Birmingham, wrote in an e-mail that Mr. Shuttlesworth was known among some civil rights activists as “the Wild Man from Birmingham.”

“Among the youthful ‘elders’ of the movement,” she added, “he was Martin Luther King’s most effective and insistent foil: blunt where King was soothing, driven where King was leisurely, and most important, confrontational where King was conciliatory — meaning, critically, that he was more upsetting than King in the eyes of the white public.”
Mr. Shuttlesworth was temperamental, even obstinate, and championed action and confrontation over words. He could antagonize segregationists and allies alike, quarreling with his allies behind closed doors.

But few doubted his courage. In the years before 1963 he was arrested time and again — 30 to 40 times by his count — on charges aimed at impeding peaceful protests. He was repeatedly jailed and twice the target of bombs.
In one instance, on Christmas night 1956, he survived an attack in which six sticks of dynamite were detonated outside his parsonage bedroom as he lay in bed. “The wall and the floor were blown out,” Ms. McWhorter wrote, “and the mattress heaved into the air, supporting Shuttlesworth like a magic carpet.”

When he tried to enroll his children in an all-white school in 1957, Klansmen attacked him with bicycle chains and brass knuckles. When a doctor treating his head wounds marveled that he had not suffered a concussion, Mr. Shuttlesworth famously replied, “Doctor, the Lord knew I lived in a hard town, so he gave me a hard head.”

Freddie Lee Robinson was born on March 18, 1922, in rural Mount Meigs, Ala. He took the surname Shuttlesworth from a man his mother, Alberta Robinson, later married. He had eight siblings, and the family supplemented its income by sharecropping and making moonshine liquor, an activity for which Mr. Shuttlesworth was sentenced to two years’ probation in 1940.

He was a truck driver in the early 1940s but was soon drawn to pulpits in Selma and Birmingham. He became pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1953 and joined the Alabama chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. before it was outlawed from the state in 1956. He and others established the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights to carry on the chapter’s work and came to challenge the white power structure on many fronts.
In 1963 he welcomed Dr. King to Birmingham to take part in the protests. They planned a boycott of white merchants coupled with large marches that they expected would provoke overreaction by city officials and show the world the depth of white resistance.

“We wanted confrontation, nonviolent confrontation, to see if it would work,” Mr. Shuttlesworth later said. “Not just for Birmingham — for the nation. We were trying to launch a systematic, wholehearted battle against segregation, which would set the pace for the nation.”
Mr. Shuttlesworth suffered chest injuries when the pummeling spray of fire hoses was turned on him. “I’m sorry I missed it,” Mr. Connor said when told of the injuries, The New York Times reported in 1963. “I wish they’d carried him away in a hearse.”

After 1965, with the new civil rights legislation on the books and Dr. King turning his attention to poverty and black problems in the urban North, Mr. Shuttlesworth remained focused on local issues in Birmingham and Cincinnati, where he had moved to take the pulpit of a black church. He traveled frequently between Ohio and Alabama before returning permanently to Birmingham in 2008 for treatment after suffering a stroke the previous year.

Besides his wife, Mr. Shuttlesworth is survived by four daughters, Patricia Massengill, Ruby “Ricky” Bester, Carolyn Shuttlesworth and Maria Murdock; a son, Fred Jr.; a stepdaughter, Audrey Wilson; five sisters, Betty Williams, Truzella Brazil, Ernestine Grimes, Iwilder Reid and Eula Mitchell; 14 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

With the death of Dr. King, and later Dr. King’s chief aide, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Mr. Shuttlesworth eventually assumed the role of elder statesman in the civil rights movement. In 2004 he was named president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, but he stepped down the same year, complaining that “deceit, mistrust and a lack of spiritual discipline and truth have eaten at the core of this once-hallowed organization.”

He also came under criticism by gay rights advocates in 2004 when he lent his name to a campaign in Cincinnati to stop the city from passing a gay rights ordinance.

He remained an honored figure in Birmingham, however. In 2008, the city renamed its principal airport Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.

In 2009, in a wheelchair, he was front and center among other dignitaries in an audience of about 6,000 at the city’s Boutwell Auditorium to watch a live broadcast as the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama, was sworn in.

He had encountered Mr. Obama, then a senator from Illinois, two years earlier, along with former President Bill Clinton, during a commemoration in Selma of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches. As a crowd crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where demonstrators were beaten and tear-gassed on “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965, Mr. Obama pushed Mr. Shuttlesworth’s wheelchair.

Sunday, October 16, 2011



Gil bought new meaning to 'Like It Is'. He tells Our story in a way that hasn't been told before. Gil felt that Black History is important and vital to the community. This he took seriously, because he felt race was and lack of knowledge of our true history was and is a serious issue.

So as he reports to those that are interested... he is serious in the reality he is rendering a service of vital need.

Early in my childhood my mother would watch Like It Is in the seventies and she would sit me down and talk about what was going on with the Civil Rights Movement. I became aware of what was going on early in life. I became familiar with.... Martin L.King, Malcolm, Adam Clayton Powell and others.

This show was a learning experience and his footage of past events are so vast you will find it nowhere on the air. I thank him for his years of dedicated service to the Black experience, culture and caring and airing what concerns us.

Truthful journalism!

Gil joggles many hats...
Not only is he an extraordinary journalist, he is a painter , sculptor and a pianist.

Thanks so much channel 7 for being courageous enough to allow 'Like It Is' to run 43 years strong! And Gil you are loved and we are praying for your recovery.
"We cannot duplicate Gil Noble or 'Like It Is,'!

God Bless!

Noble began at Ch. 7 in 1967. A year later he became host of "Like It Is," which has become an important outlet for area viewers to get information on topics important to the African-American community. He's focused only on "Like It Is" since 1986.

Gil Noble will not return to hosting Ch. 7's 'Like It Is' after suffering stroke in July.

Two months after he suffered a severe stroke, the family of WABC/Ch. 7 legend says Gil Noble will no longer be able to host the long-running public affairs show "Like It Is."

Davis said Noble, 79, continues to recuperate and "according to his family, is making progress."

He's also been a tireless advocate for the African-American community.

Outside of his work at Ch. 7, Noble has produced documentaries on W.E.B Du Bois, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ch. 7 has been airing classic installments of "Like It Is" since word got out of Noble's condition. The show airs Sundays at noon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

'Heroic Africans' Exhibit Opens at the Met

Ask the average American to identify a legendary African leader, and they'll likely name anti-apartheid warrior Nelson Mandela or Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen; both deserving, iconic figures.

But the Mother Continent has nurtured centuries of great kings, queens, chiefs and priests whose names and achievements were largely erased from memory when colonialism disrupted oral history traditions and scattered biographical objects.

Curator Alisa LaGamma and the Metropolitan Museum of Art spent the past four years tracking down more than 100 sculptures, masks and photographs created in West and Central Africa between the 12th and early 20th centuries, drawing them from 40 collections across Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Portugal, France and the United States.

And they didn't stop there. The new exhibit, "Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures," not only gathers rare pieces never before seen in the United States (and in some cases, reunites sculptures that have been separated for centuries), but its curator has taken great pains to actually name the men and women depicted in these pre-colonial masterpieces.

"We are taking an unusual approach: We've taken some very, very famous pieces of African art, and some rare pieces, and we've tried to identify the people who are the subjects of those pieces," says LaGamma, curator of the department of the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.

"These are the celebrities of historic African culture that were highly influential, and were considered to be important and notable figures that deserved to be depicted," she says. "We've included the stories that we know, but many were lost because they were passed down orally, and a lot of that was not recorded when the continent was colonized."

Chief Nosa Isekhure, the isekhure of Benin. (Courtesy Phyllis Galembo and Steven Kasher Gallery)

The exhibit focuses on eight sub-Saharan realms, including the Akan peoples of Ghana, the Kingdom of Benin in Nigeria, the Bangwa and Kom chiefdoms of the Cameroon grasslands, and the Chokwe of Angola and Zambia.

It opens with the famous ivory Queen Mother pendant mask immortalizing Queen Idia, warrior and mother of Oba Esigie, one of Benin's most dynamic kings. Esigie's early 16th century claim to the throne was contested by his brother, and he credited his mother's political prowess and magical powers for his ­success.

"She became his most trusted adviser," explains LaGamma. The elaborately detailed and realistic mask is hollowed to be filled with powerful medicines and herbs. "This would have been worn around his neck or waist like a pendant or locket," says LaGamma. "It's an ­amulet protecting him, and also a ­portrait honoring his mother.".

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October 4, 2011

Today In History

‘Hubert G. (H. Rap) Brown, writer, activist, and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Chairman, was born in Baton Rouge, LA, on this date October 4, 1943. Brown has changed his name to Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.’

: Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Soon after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in 1968, there was talk about creating a memorial to the civil rights icon. Finally, the memorial will be formally unveiled in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall. King's fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, headed the fundraising efforts for the project, which cost an estimated $120 million. The memorial features a 30-foot-high granite statue of the slain leader (called the "Stone of Hope") and two other pieces of stone that symbolize the "mountain of despair." Visitors will pass through the "mountains" on the way to "hope." In addition, a 450-foot granite wall will include portions of speeches from the great orator, and 24 niches will adorn the walkway in memory of the people who lost their lives in the civil rights moment. President Barack Obama is slated to attend the memorial's dedication, which will include performances from Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

African Origins of Early Humanity

Africa: Birthplace of Humanity

by Dr. Leonard Jeffries

One of the oldest fossil finds of early man was made in Africa in 1960 by archaeologist L. S. B. Leakey. He named his find Zinjanthropus, meaning Eastern Man. It was found in Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania which is an archaeologists paradise. Many ancient fossils and stone tools have been found there over the years. There are five distinct layers of strata of the earth visible in the cliffs.

The oldest was formed more than two million years ago. One day while climbing up the slopes Mrs. Leakey discovered two teeth embedded in the rock side of the gorge. After nineteen days of digging the Leakeys uncovered an almost complete skull and stone tools.

The radiocarbon 14 method of determining the age of the fossil finds only allows the scientist to test an object that does not go back more than 50,000 years. Because Zinjanthropus was much older than 50,000 years another newer method to determine the age of a fossil find was used.

This method was called Potassium Argon and allows the scientist to test as an object that goes back 2,000,000 years. Scientists at the University of California tested Zinjanthropus and believe that this early man was 1,750,000 years old.

Over the past twenty-five years various early fossil finds have been made in Africa and have been scientifically dated to be millions of years old. One of the finds recently discovered and found to be several millions of years old named "Lucy" and is the subject of a best-selling book. These discoveries and others have firmly established Africa as the cradle of humanity.

The African continent is a treasure trove of ancient history. From the sands and rock outcroppings of the Sahara desert in the north to the caves of South Africa, from the Nile River Valley to the Congo River and lakes of Central Africa, from the highlands of the Ethiopian plateau to the depths of the Olduvai Gorge in East Africa, the continent is continuously yielding from its soil the scientific and archaeological evidence of the evolving and unfolding drama of human history. This historical evidence is found in the bits of bone and fossil remains of Humanity's ancient African ancestors.

It can also be seen in various kinds of stone tools uncovered from the African soil, made by the world's oldest tool makers. It is clearly recorded in the rock and cave paintings and shattered pottery pieces, scattered all over the continent, by the world's first artists who captured early human conduct.

This unfolding saga of the human experience in Africa reveals and points to a series of startling discoveries in Olduvai Gorge in Tanganyika and Kenya that scientifically supports the belief that early humanity originated in East Africa millions of years ago and then spread with his tools and early culture to Asia and Europe.

In the Congo River Basin and Great Lakes of Central Africa archaeologists unearthed the remains of the Ishongo people who lived some 8,000 years ago and used a counting system inscribed on bone, the earliest record in the world of mathematical notation.

Fortunately, this new understanding of Africa's place in history has been supported by the latest scientific discoveries to that scholars and researchers are able to systematically destroy the persistently held view of Africa as the Dark Continent and Africans as savages who contributed nothing to human development.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Edmonia Lewis sculptor of African- Native American heritage

Fri, 1843-07-14

Edmonia Lewis was born on this date in the mid-nineteenth century, a pioneer African-American artist believed to be the first woman sculptor of African-American and Native American heritage.

Little is known about Lewis's early life. Sources give differing birth dates: 1840, 1843, 1844, or 1845, and various birthplaces. She claimed to haven been born in Greenbrush, New York, near Albany, but she also said in another account that she was born in Greenhigh, Ohio. One researcher suggests she was born in Newark, in 1844 to middle-class immigrants from the West Indies. Her father was African and her mother was a member of the Ojibwe community.

In 1859, Lewis entered Oberlin College in Ohio, where she excelled at drawing. Known as Wildfire in the Ojibwe community, Lewis changed her name to Mary Edmonia during her time at Oberlin, the name she usually used to sign her sculptures and her correspondence. Unfortunately when a teacher at Oberlin lost some paintbrushes, Lewis was accused of the theft; she was also accused of attempted murder when two girls fell ill after drinking mulled wine, which Lewis allegedly served them. Although acquitted of both charges, she was not permitted to graduate.

In 1863, she moved to Boston where abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison introduced her to sculptor Edward Brackett, who became her first mentor. Lewis's earliest sculptures were medallions with portraits of white antislavery leaders and Civil War heroes, which she modeled in clay and cast in plaster. Her bust of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, completed in 1865, which is owned by the Museum of Afro-American History in, Boston, depicted the young Bostonian as he led the all-Black battalion, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment, in battle against Confederate forces. Sales of replicas of the bust enabled Lewis to travel to Italy in 1865, where she established a studio in Rome.

Lewis often drew upon her dual ancestry for insight. Her best-known work, Forever Free (1867), was inspired by the Emancipation Proclamation. The high point of Lewis's career was the completion in 1876 of The Death of Cleopatra, held by the National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C., which created a sensation at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition that same year. Other sculptors generally depicted Cleopatra contemplating death; Lewis showed Cleopatra seated upon her throne after death, her head thrown back. In her right hand, she holds the poisonous snake that has bitten her, while her left arm hangs lifelessly. This realistic portrayal ran contrary to the sentimentality about death that was prevalent at the time.

Edmonia Lewis was reported as still living in Rome in 1911, but the date and location of her death are not known.

Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2,

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Philip Emeagwali Black scientist with a social responsibility

Philip Emeagwali was born on this date 1954. He is a Nigerian computer scientist and internet pioneer.

He was raised in the town of Onitsha in Southeastern Nigeria. Called "Calculus" by his schoolmates, Emeagwali mastered the subject at age 14, and could out-calculate his instructors. He had to drop out of school because his family could not afford to send all eight children, but he continued studying on his own and got a general certificate of education from the University of London.

At the age of 17, he received a full scholarship to Oregon State University where he majored in math. After graduation, he attended George Washington University and received two M.A.s, one in civil engineering and the other in marine engineering, and a Master's in mathematics from the University of Maryland. He later earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan in civil engineering (scientific computing).

During his academic years, in 1974, Emeagwali read a 1922 science fiction article on how to use 64,000 mathematicians to forecast the weather for the whole Earth. Inspired by that article, he worked out a theoretical scheme for using 64,000 far-flung processors to be evenly distributed around the Earth, to forecast the weather. He called it a HyperBall international network of computers. Today, an international network of computers is called the Internet.

Dr. Emeagwali's greatest achievement was his work on The Connection Machine. This instrument used 65,000 computers linked in parallel to form the fastest computer on Earth. This computer can perform 3.1 billion calculations per second. This is faster than the theoretical top speed of the Cray Supercomputer. Though he did not "invent" The Connection Machine, his work on it won Philip Emeagwali the Gordon Bell Prize of 1989. Though he received the prize, there is no evidence that his work was ever accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, nor that it had any other lasting impact on the field of high-performance computing.

Apple Computer has used his multiprocessing technology to manufacture its dual-processor Power Mac G4, which had a peak speed of 3.1 billion calculations per second. IBM used it to manufacture its $134.4 million supercomputer, which had a peak speed of 3.1 trillion calculations per second. IBM has announced its plan to manufacture a 65,000-processor supercomputer, which will have a peak speed of 1,000 trillion calculations per second, and every supercomputer manufacturer will incorporate thousands of processors in their supercomputers.

Another measure of his influence is that one million students have written biographical essays on him, and thousands wrote to thank him for inspiring them.

President Bill Clinton called him a powerful role model for young people and used the phrase "another Emeagwali" to describe children with the potential to become computer geniuses. Emeagwali considers himself to be "a
Black scientist with a social responsibility to communicate science to the Black Diaspora." He has a dual sensibility of being deeply rooted in science while using it as a tool to remind his people in the Diaspora of where they have been and who they are. He also describes his work as a "public intellectual.” He uses his mathematical and computer expertise to develop methods for extracting more petroleum from oil fields.

During his career, Emeagwali has received many prizes, awards and honors. These include the Computer Scientist of the Year Award of the National Technical Association (1993), Distinguished Scientist Award of the World Bank (1998), Best Scientist in Africa Award of the Pan African Broadcasting, Heritage and Achievement Awards (2001), and Gallery of Prominent Refugees of the United Nations (2001). He was profiled in the book "Making It in America" as one of "400 models of eminent Americans," and in "Who's Who in 20th Century America." In a televised speech, President Bill Clinton described Emeagwali as “one of the great minds of the Information Age.”

Academically, Emeagwali studied for a Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan from 1987 through 1991. His thesis was not accepted and he was not awarded the degree. Emeagwali filed a court challenge, claiming that the school decision violated his civil rights and that the university had discriminated against him in several ways because of his race. The court challenge was dismissed, as was an appeal to the Michigan state Court of Appeals.

His wife, Dale, was born in Baltimore, was educated at Georgetown University School of Medicine, conducted research at the National Institutes of Health and the University of Michigan, and taught at the University of Minnesota. In 1996, she won the Scientist of the Year Award of the National Technical Association for her cancer research. They live near Washington, D.C. with their 11-year-old son.

Reference: Dr. Phillip Emeagwali

Monday, June 27, 2011

Gnostic Books Omitted from the Bible

The books omitted from the bible are the so-called missing books of the bible.  First any Christian should know that the Roman Emperor Constantine played a big part in putting the Bible that we know together.  The First Council of Nicea was held in 325 AD and this meeting created the first uniform Christian doctrine of belief, what we still know today as the Nicene Creed.  A little over fifty years later this creed with its “true God” and Jesus as the “only Son of God" was enforced with the full might of the Romans throughout the Empire as Christianity was made the official religion: One God, one Empire, one Religion.

    The most interesting alternative thinking in early Christianity is found in the lost texts of the Gnostic Gospels. Also called the Gnostic Bible these Gnostic scriptures are a series of religious texts that were discovered accidentally by two farmers in 1945 in Egypt near Nag Hammadi, and therefore, also go by the name the Nag Hammadi Library. What makes these texts interesting in relation to Christianity is that they are estimated to date back to between the 2nd and 4th century AD, which puts them very close to the time of Jesus and right in the time of early Christianity.

    Knowing that the Church banned Gnostic belief as heresy, anyone with an open mind should be interested in what a Gnostic believed if we want to understand the Church and its history. In our search for God we should ask: why were these books omitted from the Bible? What knowledge was so dangerous to the Roman Church and why?

   In The Gnostic Scriptures we find The Testimony of Truth, which tells us that, “Do not expect, therefore, the carnal resurrection, which is destruction.” This view, dating back to about the second century, is very much aligned with modern science—the flesh dissolves.

   The text is interesting, because it also has another view on why Adam and Eve where cast out of Paradise. It lets us know that, “The serpent was wiser than all the animals that were in Paradise, and he persuaded Eve, saying, ‘On the day when you eat from the tree which is in the midst of Paradise, the eyes of your mind will be opened.’”

   The Testimony of Truth then boldly asks:


“Of what sort is the God? First he maliciously refused Adam from eating of the tree of knowledge. And secondly he said, “Adam, where are you?” God does not have foreknowledge; otherwise, would he not know from the beginning?”


  Later the text answers the question of what sort of God this is by saying: “I am the jealous God; I will bring the sins of the fathers upon the children.”

   In the East the serpent is the symbol of Kundalini energy and not a symbol of evil or temptation as in the Bible. But, why are serpents wisdom in the East?  Kundalini is the power of consciousness, or supreme energy, also called mother of the universe. In Sanskrit the word means “coiled up,” and therefore, the symbol of a snake is the ancient symbolic representation, not of the evil, but of the supreme power of consciousness.

   If we for example call the Kundalini energy for the Holy Spirit, then this could give us a different perspective on the words of John: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

   In this interpretation it is the Holy Spirit as the power of consciousness that gives us eternal life. And one could even suggest that the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge in Genesis might be one and the same. That would make eternal life possible through knowledge of the truth (good and evil) as we just saw in the Bhagavadagita.

   In her book The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagels, points towards the serpent as an instructor and she quotes from the text, The Hypostasis of the Archons:


“Then the Female Spiritual Principle came in the Snake, the Instructor, and it taught them, saying, “…you shall not die; for it was out of jealousy that he said to you. Rather, your eyes shall open, and you shall become like gods, recognizing evil and good.”…And the arrogant Ruler cursed the Woman…and…the Snake.”


   Here Eve, the “Mother of the Living,” is a feminine spiritual principle that raises Adam from his material condition to bring him out of ignorance toward becoming like a God. It would seem natural to human nature (and historical correct) that arrogant male rulers would become jealous about this competition, whereby both the woman and the snake were cursed.

   Through history, and even today, this curse has proven to be a powerful political tool of suppressing women with male aggression. And at the same time, the important question of personal identity has been left out. It seems logical to conclude that when these words were written around the second century, Gnostics saw the clear danger in the form that Christianity was taking as it became an organized religion.

   In a modern day society, it certainly must seem good to most people that Adam ate from the Tree of Knowledge. I am sure that most of us are happy to be conscious and able to think for ourselves rather than being told what to think. In a democracy where everyone works together to solve the problems ahead, it is reasonable to give every individual the freedom to think.

   However, the view of the Bible goes in the opposite direction, believing that “paradise was lost,” which could be interpreted as ignorance is bliss, and I find it very interesting to note the negative direction. The Bible has a negative perspective from Adam and Eve being thrown out of paradise to the Book of Revelation—from paradise to the end of the world. This negative view on the world is also reflected through the views of “evil” and “sinners” that still today deserve punishment. The God of the Bible is an angry God that judges over irresponsible children living in an evil world.

   The Gnostic perspective on the other hand is positive. It talks about ignorance instead evil, and sees a positive future through enlightenment and the gaining of knowledge. Surely such a view is far more optimistic than the pessimism of the Bible, and with a positive outlook on life it should be much more possible to create a positive future. 

   The Gnostics called the God of the Bible a “jealous God” because this God said: “I am God, and there is no other.” Looking at the history of the Church enforcing this one and only God, it is clear that this God has been much more angry than loving. We should not forget that the Roman Catholic Church was created on the foundation of the Roman Empire, after Emperor Constantine won the first battle in the name of the cross and Christianity later became the state religion of Rome. History also tells us that the doctrine of the Incarnation took root about the same time as Pope Urban II sent Christians of on the Fist Crusade with “God wills it!” After more than a thousand years of debate, in 1098 Saint Anselm published his Cur Deus Homo—Why God Became Man—and Jesus were since transformed from prophet into the one and only “son of God.”

  Before we become upset at the past, it is worth taking into consideration that humanity has gone through a transformation as our thinking has evolved. Therefore, now that the children have become adults and outgrown their parents, I find it more important to ask where we should look for guidance. And as a philosopher, it is clear for me that we should look for truth by ourselves, and never accept someone else’s truth. It was for this reason that Luther translated the Bible, so that we could all seek the truth by ourselves, instead of having it dictated to us.

   It is not only possible but fairly easy to find other interpretations in the Bible that speak of an incorporeal resurrection. The Bible does in fact make a clear distinction between the body and the spirit. In 1 Corinthians we find: “I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”

   With this separation between the mortal and the immortal, Jesus uses the wind as a metaphor to describe the eternal spirit: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

   In 1 Corinthians 15:40, we find that this distinction is made clear: “There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another.”

   The Gnostic Scriptures offer an account that supplements this view of the Bible:


“If one does not understand how blowing wind came into existence, he will blow away with it. If one does not understand how body, which he bears, came into existence, he will perish with it...Whoever will not understand how he came will not understand how he will go.”


Monday, June 20, 2011

The Igbo People* Proverb

Agụọ nwere nchekwube/olịleanya a dịghị egbu egbu. (Igbo)
The hunger that has hope for its satisfaction does not kill. (English)

Background, Explanation, and Everyday Use

The Igbo people inhabit southeastern Nigeria. “Igbo” refers to both the people and their language. Occupying a rainforest region, the Igbo were traditionally mainly farmers and their lifestyle was patterned on the farming cycle.

Usually between the end of the farming season (when most of the crops from the previous harvest had been consumed and the seedlings planted) and the next harvest, there is a food scarcity spell called ụgalị.

This Igbo proverb was mostly used at this time, a period of about five to seven months, to counsel hope and endurance until the next harvest, a future of abundance. The elders used this proverb to teach the young ones that no matter how trying and challenging a situation might be, one usually survives it if one looks beyond the particular moment with hope for a brighter future and, therefore, endures with dignity.

However, one neither hopes nor endures in inertia. Both hope and endurance imply hard work. So this proverb ties to another Igbo proverb, aka aja aja na eweta ọnụ mmanụ mmanụ (“soily” hands bring about an oily mouth). With these two proverbs, people are encouraged to be active and diligent while they hope for a better future. The majority of the Igbo are Christians today and they acknowledge that not even the Lord would feed the sheep that shies away from the pasture (cf. Psalm 23).

Biblical Parallels

At the basis of the survival of the Israelites from their slavery, Exodus, wilderness, foreign occupation and exile experiences was their hope, the hope for the Promised Land, the hope for the Messiah, and the hope for the return. The hope in the Second Coming and in the resurrection sustained the early Christians through their persecution.

This hope is not idle; it is tied to faith, as “the assurance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). It brings joy to the just (Proverbs 10:28). When the Israelites were wearied with the length of their journey, it was hope that helped them find new life for their strength (Isaiah 57:10).

And when due to their exile they thought their bones were dried up and wanted to give up hope, the Lord sent Ezekiel to remind them thus: “Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves… and I will bring you home into the land of Israel… And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live…” (Ezekiel 37:11-14). St. Paul argues that he shares in the prophets’ hope in God for the resurrection (Acts 24:15).

This hope is not without a price, however. In his Letter to the Romans, Paul writes: “More than that, we rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us” (Romans 5:3-5). It is in this hope that “we are saved,” the hope that enables us to wait with patience for what we do not yet see (Romans 8:24).

Paul also reminds the Corinthians that it is in hope for the share of the crop that both the person using the plough and the thresher work (Corinthians 9:10).

Hence he berates the Thessalonians who, under the guise of waiting for the Lord’s Second Coming, shunned work: “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness… we were not idle when we were with you… but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you… If anyone will not work, let him not eat” (Corinthians 3:6-10).

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Juneteenth Gospel Music Festival

Juneteenth Community Festival will take place on June 17-18 at Manhattan City Park.

This Manhattan summer tradition continues with providing great gospel music.

The festival begins on Friday afternoon, June 17, in the Wefald Pavilion and GTM Family Center, 1101 Fremont, with a Manhattan Black Historical display.

Food vendors will be ready to feed you dinner by 5 p.m. so you’re ready to sing with the Gospel Fest at 7 p.m. as they take the stage at the Larry Norvell Band Shell.

If basketball is your game, a 3 on 3 tournament begins at 7 p.m. Don’t be anxious to leave when it gets dark because that’s when Movies on the Grass will be showing “The Wiz”.

The celebration continues on Saturday, June 18.

A parade starting at 10 a.m. will march down Poyntz Avenue beginning at the Manhattan Town Center and travel to City Park. “The Grand Marshall is Col. Brown from Fort Riley”, says Don Slater, Juneteenth festival planner. “T. here will be lots of things for kids to do at City Park throughout the day.

Little Apple Amusement will have their train running, and a jumbo caterpillar crawl inflatable.”

The Don Heines’s band, “Mystic” from Kansas City, will take the stage Saturday night at 8 p.m. as the culmination to a great Juneteenth Community Festival.

Additional Info...

Manhattan Convention & Visitors Bureau

Juneteenth Community Festival will take place on June 17-18 at Manhattan City Park. This Manhattan summer tradition continues with providing great gospel music.

Let's come out for the celebration and parade commemorating JUNETEENTH!

Thursday, May 19, 2011



A time to remember.......
Remember because they want us to forget........
Remember just because he was for equality for our people......
Remember him for showing us all, that you can Self Educate yourself......

Malcolm X

"My alma mater was books, a good library... I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity."

"A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own self-hood, it can never fulfill itself.

By Malcolm X

"When a person places the proper value on freedom, there is nothing under the sun that he will not do to acquire that freedom. Whenever you hear a man saying he wants freedom, but in the next breath he is going to tell you what he won't do to get it, or what he doesn't believe in doing in order to get it, he doesn't believe in freedom. A man who believes in freedom will do anything under the sun to acquire . . . or preserve his freedom."

"Without education, you're not going anywhere in this world."

"A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything."


Beginning in the 1960s, Malcolm was invited to participate in numerous debates, including forums on radio stations (Los Angeles, New York, Washington), television programs ("Open Mind," "The Mike Wallace News Program") and universities (Harvard Law School, Howard University, Columbia University).

In 1963, the New York Times reported that Malcolm X was the second most sought after speaker in the United States.

On June 29, 1963 Malcolm lead the Unity Rally in Harlem. It was one of the nations largest civil rights events.

In March 1964, after his split with the NOI, Malcolm forms the Muslim Mosque, Inc. Several months later, he also organizes the Organizations of Afro-American Unity (OAAU).

Malcolm's autobiography, which he worked on for two years with writer Alex Haley, was published in November 1965.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine.

Henrietta, quite possibly, got substandard care because she was black. Their treatment often began later, medication was scarcer and black patients would not question white doctors who frequently treated them inequitably, in less than equal facilities. The alternate reason for her lack of diagnosis and, perhaps, improper treatment, is that those were the days.

The first "immortal" human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they'd weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings.

HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb's effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions.

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Now Rebecca Skloot takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the "colored" ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells; from Henrietta's small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia—a land of wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo—to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells.

Henrietta's family did not learn of her "immortality" until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent.

And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta's daughter Deborah, who was devastated to learn about her mother's cells. She was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother?

Did it hurt her when researchers infected her cells with viruses and shot them into space? What happened to her sister, Elsie, who died in a mental institution at the age of fifteen? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn't her children afford health insurance?

Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.

This book is emotionally inspiring..... THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACK.

Friday, April 29, 2011

African Investigation:Genesis of African Science Dogon concept of space-time,

The Dogon of Mali

In Mali, west Africa, lives a clan of people called the Dogon.
Their astronomical lore goes back thousands of years to about 3200 B.C. According to their traditions, their migrations began from the Northeast of Mali, about 1,400 years ago, finally leading them to their present habitat - a harsh, forbidding land abutting the Bandiagara Cliffs, in the southeastern Mali.

< The Dogons are a people well known by their cosmogony, their esotericism. They are also famous for their artistic abilities and vast knowledge about astrology, especially the Sirius star, which is the center of their religious teachings.


Their populations assessed to be about 300,000 people living in the South West of the Niger loop in the region of Mopti, Mali(Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of North of Burkina Faso(North west of Ouahigouya). Though clear links to the ancient Nilotic system are everywhere evident in their thought, they seem to have more or less independently elaborated ideas in astrophysics and cosmology that go well beyond what is known of ancient Nile Valley science. Such ideas are advanced enough to compare favorably with certain principles in Einsteinian physics and quantum mechanics.

How could a "pre-literate," post-neolithic people arrive at such a high level of thought? How could such a complex system be created without benefit of telescope, microscopes, mathematics, or any of the technical paraphernalia that undergird modern science. Brecher was racking his brains over these issues when he said: "The problem for us ... is how the Dogon could have known a host of astronomical facts, all of which are invisible to the unaided eye.

In particular, how, could they have known about the existence of Sirius B? How could they have known of its incredible density? It elliptical orbit? Its 50-year period? They have no business knowing any of this." This was blurted-out by an eminent M.I.T. scientist. It is not altogether easy to know how to assess the Dogon, and in many ways, they are the most astonishing and enigmatic people in Africa.

It's known that chaos is intrinsic to the universe for it is the undifferentiated "stuff" from which material space-time arises. The spider attaches himself to the original Tree, the acacia, i n the Dogon lore, in order to "weave the words of Ogo: "Placed at the center of the acacia, the spider wove its threads in a conical spiral for the placement of the warp, and by moving vertically, for the coming and going of the passing woof.

Through the fabric, it sifted the germs that had been hurried into the universe by spinning. The sound of its work, of the same nature as the word, grabbed them as they passed by and, with them, fastened its self at the crossing of the threads)Griaule and Dieterlen) This is another way of seeing the creation of the clusters in the universe as described by the Dogon.

It is very interesting to see the work of spiders applied in the theories of physics that have developed since 1984. In particle theories, the history(or movement) of a particle is represented by a line,but in string theories, matter in the time dimension ramifies differently: "A string, on the other hand,occupies a line in space at each moment of time. So, its history in space-time is a two-dimension surface called the world sheet

The world sheet of an open string is a strip. The world sheet of a closed string is a cylinder or tube. In string theories, what were previously thought of as particles are now pictured as waves traveling down a string, like waves on a vibrating kite string.

The Milky Way - This image is a good representation of the alignment of the planets in relation to size. The Dogon speak of disk-like primordial wrinkles which prefigure the spiraling worlds of stars that are to fill up the universe of Amma

The idea was that particles like the proton and the neutron could be regarded as waves on a string. The strong forces between the particles would correspond to pieces of string that went between the other bits of string, as in a spider's web[note emphasis].(Hawkings) This web imagery or analogy is constantly echoed by quantum theorists: "Quantum theory has shown that particles are not isolated grains of matter, but are probability patterns,interconnections in an inseparable cosmic web. Relativity theory ... has made these patterns come alive by revealing their intrinsically dynamic character."(F. Capra).

Over and over again we find the "web imagery" used in the physical description of the universe: "A nice image ... is the way cobwebs often unseen in ordinary light, become strikingly visible when dew that settles on their strands during the night is lit by the morning sun. The gossamer network of galaxies we see in the night sky is the shimmering dew on a cosmic cobweb , as visible mater outlines the shape of structures of invisible 'Dark Matter', to which it has been drawn by gravitational attraction(Smoot and Davidson)

The Dogon's Internal System of Stars- The solar System

Griaule and Dieterlen write: "... in regard to the construction of the universe, the sacrifice of the Nommo determined the creation and the path of the stars, evidence of the blood, of the clavicular seeds and spiritual principles, and of the vital organs,when the body was divided up. Summing up this series of events, one says: "Amma was the in the Po, the seven grains came out of it in spirals. Because of the sacrifice of Nommo, the stars and seeds were strewn throughout space.

In the beginning the stars walked in the sky by following the sacrifice of the Nommo." P. Moore wrote that: Star streaming: In their passage around the Galaxy, stars move in parallel groups called star streams, whose paths cross so that the stars intermingle like marching bandsmen in military display."

Recent advances in astrophysics now show that the universe is actually a closed system, and that its expansion will eventually stop some billion years hence. Eastern philosophies say that the universe is like a respiratory, expanding on inspiration and contracting on expiration. The Dogon's probing of the universe has shown them a larger version of man there.

The Dogon recognized an inter system of stars, the solar system, which they say corresponds to the flow of blood on the placenta of the sacrificed Nommo.. They consider it to be the driving force of the stellar world, directly influencing the life of man and is development on earth; it plays a part much like the system of internal organs in the human body the "external" star system is descried as the "path of blood" outside the placenta and is made up of stars much further away, i.e., outside the solar system. This external system of stars also influences life on Earth though not as powerfully as those of the internal system.

This external "path of blood," according to the Dogon, includes the Milky Way, itself the image of the spiral of stars within the 'spiraling star world' in which earth is found.(Griaule and Dieterlen)
Orion and the Sirian Star System: Birth of Nursery of Stars
"There is Nothing New Under the Sun"

The Dogon call the Orion's Chariot, or known today as the Trapezium, as the "seat of Amma's foundation". They say: "In stellar space, the Chariot is the symbol of Amma's seat; it surrounds the Atanu, the Belt.... It is related to the basic elements and to the cardinal directions, which presided during the realization of the universe that was 'thought' by the Creator. This is interesting, considering that the Orion Nebula is considered the birthplace of stars, veritably a '"Cosmic Nursery".

Hubble's first images of visible image of the Carina Nebula. It is composed of gas and dust and the pictured pillar resides in the tempestuous stellar nursery in the Carina Nebula, located 7500 light-years in the southern constellation of Carina.

(See picture of Carina Nebula) that is bathed in the glow of light from hot, massive stars off the top of the image) What has been more astonishing than the Dogon's description of the properties of the star known as Sirius B, Po Tolo, to the Dogon, was not until the 17th century that Western astronomers realized that planetary orbits, orbits with of most heavenly bodies, tended to describe ellipses, as the Dogon represented that of Sirius B.

In the early 20th century, Carl Sagan purported the myth that some European affected the Dogon's presentation of the Sirius myth and repeated it verbatim to Griaule a generation later. Aside from the total absence of records - oral or written- this preposterous fiction and scenario ignores the inconvenient truth that the realization that Sirius B was a white dwarf did not occur until 1914.

Moreover, any of the properties of white dwarves that the Dogon describe did not become part of the general body of astronomic knowledge until after Griaule began his researches among them in 1931. Carl Sagan, the astronomer and many of his ilk, have consistently tried to fabricate the Dogon's galactic knowledge to demonstrate that they are not legit or is from some where else.

it is the Dogon who had 700 years of knowledge of this tradition that it is correct to say that the Dogon deserve credit for having discovered Sirius B and the white dwarf as a category of star. What is more, they have knowledge that Sirius B was incredibly dense and heavy of the non-neutron stars.

This is what the Dogon have to say concerning the metallic structure of Sirius B: "The Star [Sirius B] contains basic elements, "air", fire and water"; the element "earth" is replaced by metal in all its forms, particularly by the metal called sagala, somewhat more shiny than iron and of such density that 'all the beings on earth together could not lift a small part of it,' Hence the star's weight and,since it is so small, its density."(Griaule and Dieterlen)

How do the Dogon's know that white dwarves are composed mostly of an iron-like metallic substance which has only been documented in the last generation by spectrographic analysis. Also, we do not have anything that comes down to us from ancient Nile, Chaldea, China or the medieval Arabic world that remotely compares to the Dogon's caliber of astronomical knowledge. It is therefore unconscionable to call the Dogon a "tribal" and 'primitive" people when they are able to operate at a level of cosmic understanding comparable to "modern" Astrologists with their modern equipment.

If an obscure African people living their lives tucked away in a half-forgotten corner of Mali, can be ignored about their knowledge and culture and its connection to the universe, and due given to Einstein, the quantum theorists and modern astrophysicist ass having re-cleared a road for modern astronomy, which the Dogon's have been talking about for over 700 before, it seems like we are not learning anything new in this old beaten path by long expounded by the Dogon people.

Modern Astronomy and Dogon Views of Gravity and Super Nova

The Dogon seem also to have a concept that can be described as 'gravity': "The Movements of Po to keep all other stars on the respective places: in fact, they say that without this movement none of them would "stay in place." Po Tolo forces them to keep their trajectory: in particular, 'it regulates the trajectory of Sirius, which is the only one that does not follow a regular curve, and which it separates from the only one stars by surrounding it with its own orbit."(Griaule and Dieterlen). This is how modern scientific research bears this out: "The first white dwarf to be discovered was the companion of

The Dogons go as far as describing a third star in the Sirius system, called "Emme Ya" that, to date, has not been identified by astronomers

According to the traditions of the Dogon, the star Sirius has a companion star which is invisible to the human eye. This companion star has a 50 year elliptical orbit around the visible Sirius and is extremely heavy. The Dogon say that it It rotates on its axis and this is the star which the scientists call Sirius B, and it wasn't even photographed until it was done by a large telescope in 1970. The Dogon knew about it at least 1000 years ago.

Sirius B, on the left and shining brightly, helps us to realize the perfection of light around us

Sirius B has formed the basis of the holiest Dogon beliefs since antiquity. Western astronomers did not discover the star until the middle of the 19th century, and it wasn't even photographed until 1970 as observed above. In addition to their knowledge of Sirius B, the Dogon Mythology includes Saturn's rings and Jupiter's four major moons. They have four calendars, for the Sun, Moon, Sirius and Venus, and have long known that the planets orbit the Sun.

The Birth of Space-Time, Signs and Symbols

Typical of African thought, the Dogon concept of space-time, its origin, an its evolution, is apiece with their mytho-religious ideas. Central to this holistic precept is the role of signs, the fundamental constituents of symbols, and the Dogon say: "Just as Amma began the world by the sign, it is by destroying the signs that he will annihilate it.

(Griaule/Dieterlen) The Dogon called myths so tanie,

i .e., we find that the signs are the constituents of symbols and the symbols the tissue of myths. When the Creator wishes to destroy the world, he will first take away the myths by destroying the signs. According to the Dogon, Amma created and recreated the world twice over. He created the new Universe in this fashion:: "Starting from the primordial 'traces,' bummo, Amma first drew 'marks,' yala, of a new universe inside his 'womb' or 'egg.'

(Griaule/Dieterlen) Analogous language is used in modern scientific writing to describe the formation of the universe: "... imagine the Big Bang ... A kernel of the cosmos. ... researchers led by ... George Smoot ... had discovered primordial wrinkles, floating at the very beginning of time.... No more than wispy tendrils ... the ripples ... are no less that the handwriting of God."(Newsweek, 1992) George Smoot elaborated further in a book describing the monumental discoveries of his team: "The pattern of wrinkles I saw on the map was primordial. ... some of the structures represented by the wrinkles were so large that they could only have been generated at the firth of the universe....

I was staring at primordial wrinkles in time, the imprint of creation and the seeds of the modern universe." We have already seen that the Dogon conceive of the generation of everything in terms of germinating "seeds":

"The transformation of yala into tonu (representational diagrams) marks a stage in the formation of the heavenly bodies - visible and invisible - which are the twins of the seeds. It prefigures the spiraling worlds of stars that are to fill up the universe of Amma - infinite and yet measurable - when he will 'open himself up."(Griaule/Dieterlen)

The signs of creation and the myths woven about them by scientists is as similar in description that the the Dogon offer. The primal explosion of the Universe as described by modern science, bringing about into existence the formation of the galaxies, makes us observe that they use the same terminology: "Gravity draws matter to denser regions, which act like seeds for galaxies and cluster of galaxies." In the Dogon cosmic system, matter comes into existence spinning out of the "primal egg," after the Po burst."(Newsweek, 1992/1996)

It is important to note that the more we find mytho-religious terminology creeping into the theorizing of scientist, and this is done in such a way as to give coherence to concepts that emanate from the investigation into the deepest nature of things and of galaxies. At the outer limits of modern science, myth and matter are merging(Smoot and Davidson) This spinning motif seems to underlie the Dogon conception of how space-time comes into existence and evolves.

They say: "Amma's creative will was located in the Po, the smallest of things. Like a central air bubble, it spun and scattered the particles of matter in a sonorous and luminous motion, which, however, remained inaudible and invisible. It was less a word than thought. In the work of creation, the axis of the world emerges spinning: one sums up this work [of creation] by saying of the egg: 'It spun, opened; the remnant was the ... axis of the world."(Griaule/Dieterlen)

Wherever creative forces are at work, again and again, there is a creative spinning bringing forth the fibers of matter, and that is why the spider is a mytho-type that is consistantly appearing throughout West Africa. Hawking uses parallels the Dogon's idea of the spinning process of creation: "[After the big bang] the Universe as a whole would have continued expanding and cooling, but in regions that were slightly denser than average., the expansion would have slowed down by the extra gravitational attraction. This would eventually stop expansion in some regions, and cause them to start to collapse.

As they were collapsing, the gravitational pull of matter outside these regions might start them rotating slightly. As the collapsing region got smaller, it would spin faster. ... Eventually, when the region got small enough, it would be spinning fast enough to balance the attraction of gravity, and in this way, disk-like rotating galaxies were born."(Hawkings) Whirling and spinning forces produced wind, and this wind was crucial to the life of the stars as the Dogon state: "When Amma broke the egg of the world and came out, a whirlwind arose. The Po, which is the smallest thing, was made invisible at the center; the wind is Amma himself.

It is the Po which Amma let come out first. When life increases, it increases by whirling. Its been already stated that the Po represents the smallest of things, anything,; it is therefore the smallest of stars, i.e., those known as "white dwarfs" According to material provided by Griaule and Dieterlen, strictly speaking, white dwarfs are not the smallest of stars - neutron stars are. In a white dwarf, the mass of a sun is packed into a sphere the size of earth; in a neutron star, the mass of a sun is packed into a a sphere the size of a small city. Neutron stars thus possess incredible density and gravity.

They spin on their axis at high speeds. There is, however, a suggestion that the Dogon recognized the existence of a spinning body smaller than the Po Pilu("white dwarfs")

In this character, it's called the Po Pilu("white seed") which specifically refers to the first- and best-known of the white dwarfs, Sirius B, the companion to Sirius. We find this uncanny parallels in modern science: One modern scientist put it tis way: "As the degenerate[white] dwarf and it companions orbit each other, the dwarf's strong gravity pulls gas from the other star.

This swirling gas forms ... an accretion disc, which feeds onto the surface of the dwarf, wrapping it in an ever growing mantle. Our Sun, or any star of about the same mass, has a typical history. It begins as a cloud of gas and dust, or nebula. When enough matter falls to the center, the central mass ignites and becomes a star, which may go through a "jet phase." Stellar winds blow gas and dust away from the star and , in the case of our Sun, leave planets in the clear.(Gore)

This creative force of the whirlwind appears in the Dogon system when describing their resurrection mythology. The eight ancestors of all creation are called Nommo . The one called Nommo Anagonno , is repented as the Fish-Nommo, which will be sacrificed to counteract disorder in the Universe and renew creation. Concerning this sacrificed Nommo's relationship to the Po, the Dogon state: "By its spinning the unwound Po had poured everything it contained into the Nommo's 'great ark'.... This ark was made from the rest of the [sacrificed] victim's placenta.

According to the Dogon, this ark symbolizes the entire world in time and space and eventually, ti fill is creation, Amma causes the ark to descend, moving back and forth like a pendulum: "While the ark was swinging to and fro, the fact that it was suspended from a chain made it pivot on its axis, back and forth.

In this way, the line of its descent made a double helix, reproducing the very movement of life, of the whirlwind that quickened the first seed. This movement was maintained by the breath of the ancestors, as it passed through a nozzle. The nozzle is shaped like this whirling respiration, called "spinning wind," which gave force to the "helix of descent."(Griaule and Dieterlen)This sound like the spreading and speeding up of the galaxies away from each after the big burst, and this is what Hubble noted in his observation of the Universe.

The Dogon's African Intellectual History

Where the history of African people is concerned, Africa must sit at the center of its study and interrogation. Though scholars would vehemently deny it, myth-making either or rises out of history. Examples of national myths that decisively impacted history of certain people include the "chosen" mantle of the ancient Hebrews, the "manifest destiny" of an expansive American nation, and the "thousand-year Reich" of German National Socialism.

If a people do not have a national myth, they create one because it is the myth that determines what they hope to be and what they strive for. Thus, myths are not "fiction", they are the symbolic essence of a people's quest for meaning and destiny. The myth, "So Tanie "['astonishing word'] which the Dogon consider to be "real" history ... constitutes here the whole of coherent themes of creation; t his is why, by virtue of their coherence and their order of succession, they make up a "history of the Universe,"- Aduno So Tanie.

Every sixty years the Dogon celebrate a ceremony called Sigui , corresponding to the renewal of the world during which Amma and his son, the nommo  or the world's demiurge. The Dogon knew the szygies; thus, the world was created in seven twin years. They call Sirius, whose heliacal rising they knew, Sigui tolo = "The Star of Sigui," the feast of the world's rebirth marking the time when a new "sigui" priest had to be chosen for another sixty years.

A better perspective of the close-u view of Sirius A and B

What is more extraordinary is that  for the Dogon, the Star Sirius s not the basis of the system. a miniscule star, called Po tolo or Digitaria .(Griaule/Dieterlen) , is the true center of the Dogon system. In modern astronomy, it is called 'the invisible companion of Sirius', which is also a double star. Po tolo, its companion, is a white dwarf star, which is invisible to the naked eye and its unsuspected presence explains the perturbations of the orbit of Sirius, the most brilliant star in the sky, qnd which is  also the basis of the Egyptian sidereal calendar.

Although we might not assert that the Dogon or the ancient Egyptians had already acquired the same scientific comprehension of these phenomena as modern scientists. But it is certain that the Dogon have acquired a preise knowledge of the existence of this white dwarf star, invisible to the naked eye, and of it enormous density; they know its trajectory and that of Sirius: "Digitaria is the smallest of ll things. It is the heaviest star," say the Dogon.

The vivid language used by the Dogon must not lead us  to devaluate their comprehension of the phenomenon, for it  could not be otherwise. Other than its translatory movement on its orbit around Sirius, Po tolo or  Digitaria makes a complete revolution round its axis in one year. mOst importantly, modern astronomy is not capable of invalidating or confirming this annual revolution of Po tolo, but it has confirmed another affirmation of the Dogon,namely, the period of fifty years taken by another star that revolves around Sirius. They also know Saturn's rings and the four biggest moons of Jupiter. (Adams)

The same idea is also expressed by the Woyo people of Equatorial Africa, according to former Zairian Ambassador M. Nguvulu-Lubundi. The theory of the four elements is known. (Griaule/Dieterlen) According to Griaule and Dieterlen: "Digitaria's orbit is situated at the center of the world; Digitaria i the axis of the whole world, and without it movement no heavenly body could maintain itself. This is to say that Digitaria is the regulator of the celestial positions; notable, it regulates that of Sirius, the most uncoordinated star; it separates from the other bodies surrounding its trajectory." 

The position of the sirius B is our 'tether' to the outer- reaches of of the galaxy

Certain schools of quantum theories are experimenting with "super-position of state" and these experimenters have been able to develop a device called SQUID(Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) that detect electrons moving in more that one state; that is to say, , existing in two different forms simultaneously. This has led some theories to leave an impression that modern physics has moved closer than ever to science fiction. One of these theories posits that "multi universes"
existing in a "superposed" state relative to one other, that at quantum, particles such as electrons can and do move through more than one universe.

(Hogan) These separate universes are self-contained but not entirely impermeable to one another. There are way-put theorists who attribute all manner of phenomena, ranging from schizophrenia to paranormal phenomena, to the existence of these "superposed" universes. Now, compare these ideas to the Dogon's explanation of Amma's work: "The number 14, attributed to the spiral worlds produced by Amma, implies the concept of potential reproduction and multiplication: seven is the sum of three, the masculine number, and four, the feminine number. Here it designates the seven Earths and seven Heavens.

Amma created 7x2, that is to say, an infinity in words. The superposition of worlds and the concept of the infinite multiplication of stellar universes are indicated by the fact that the number 28 is attributed to Amma as well; it is called "Amma's number," because one also says: "Amma fourteen above, fourteen below, etc..."

The spiral worlds of stars were populated universes; because simultaneously with things, Amma, having given form an movement to the world, created all living things. As the Dogon say, 'all creation comes out of the Amma egg which is the Po. Also, quantum physics postulated multiple universes point out to the Big Bang, so too are the multiple universes that emerge out of the bursting Po superposed. What is of most striking importance here is the Dogon's insistence that there is intelligent life elsewhere in our universe and in other universes. Physicist Fred Alan Wolf articulates this point thus: "What is a parallel universe?

Like an everyday universe, it is a region of space and time containing matter, galaxies, stars, planets and living beings. In other words, a parallel universe is similar and possibly even a duplicate of our own universe. Not only in a parallel universe must there be other human beings, but these may be human beings who are exact duplicate of ourselves and who are connected to ourselves through mechanisms explainable only by using quantum physics concepts."

Dogon Cosmogony

Dogon Sand drawing of the complete Sirius system, A. Sirius, B. Po Tolo. [the object equated with Siriu B is shown in two positions]; C. Emme Ya, the sun of women, equated with Sirius C; D. The Nommo; E. the Yourougou, a mythical male figure destined


Anansi the Cosmic Weaver and the Web of Creation

The Dogon from Northern Mali are called HABRE(unbelievers) by the Fulani, because they resisted Islam, and following their migration under pressure form the MOSSI Kingdom, they sought shelter among the rocky country at the foot of Andiagara and Hombori mountains where they wrested fields from the arid ground with the aid of artificial irrigation.

Dogon social and religious organizations are closely interlinked and out of this arose principal religions, which accounts for the richness and diversity of Dogon culture and art. The Hogon is the religious leader of a region, in charge of the religion of Lebe, the 'mythical' serpent. Assisted by the blacksmith, he presides over agrarian ceremonies.

The clans are subdivided into lineages,overseen by the patriarch, guardian of the clan's ancestral shrine and officiant at the totemic animal religion. Beside this hierarchical system of consanguinity, male and female associations are entrusted with the initiations that take place by age group, corresponding to groups of newly circumcised or excised boys or girls. circumcision thus creates wholly male or female person prepared to assume an adult role.

The members of an age group owe one another assistance until the day the die. Initiation of boys begins after their circumcision, with the teaching of the myths annotated by drawings and paintings. The young boys will learn the place of humans in nature, society and the universe. Because of the difficult approach to these regions and the aridity of the climate, the Dogon have been isolated and hence were able to conserve their ancient religious habits and ways of making their implements necessary for their carvings.

The spider holds an important place in their mythologies, and among the Akan, for example, there exist a whole constellation of tales around Anansi, the Spider. The spider plays a special role in the Dogon cosmogenesis as well, because Anansi the Spider is a trickster, and among the Dogon, Dada the Spider is allied is allied to the Prince of Tricksters," the source of all Chaos and Disorder.

According to the Dogon, Dada, spins the Fox's thread to assist him in his rebellion against Amma's creation. This rebellion and creation of chaos, is in reality, entropy, the force that pushes the universe ever outward.

The Four Calendars of the Dogon People

The Dogon have four calenders and their main calendar is a lunar one, and they also maintain a solar calendar. Their lunar year is 354 days and their solar year is 365 days. There is also a soli-lunar year of 360, and the twelve others grouped into twos, each containing 60 days. Their solar calendar begins in the Winter Solstice like ours, and they observe the Solstices and equinoxes the whole year round.

This whole system seems to be surviving amongst the Dogon, that as they have described to us, the erecting of the altar of the resurrected Nommo , who sacrificed to renew the world, is correlated with what the Dogon call "the meeting of Sirius and the Sun, viz., the heliacal rising of Sirius.

They enlighten us further and state: Sirius is the symbol of the ever-living placenta of the resurrected Nommo: the star is also called Alabararu which is a contraction of "Amma Albarka (or thanks to Amma.... On the spatial level, the figure of Nommo's placenta(Sirius) denotes the collateral directions of "four angles" of celestial space(See last picture of Sirius in the photo gallery)

There are three main calenders we are now aware of, of the Dogon, i.e., and they are the lunar calendar, the solar and the Sirian. The fourth cycle in unusual because it is based on the sic positions of Venus. Their agricultural cycle is tied to the positions of Venus whenever it appears; i.e., the path of the planet through space and at specific times during the year. These positions are explained as follows:
Enegirim: Venus as the "star of the goatherds," referring to the time of sowing and germination.

Sirius: the figure of Nommo's placenta, which denotes the cardinal directions if Terrestial Space, as explained by the Dogon.

Dige Tanu: Venus as the star of midnight," referring to the time of the millet emerging from the earth.
Dono Tolo: Venus as the "star of the west" or Evening Star and refers to the time of the millet that has grown into an ear.
Yazu: The position of Venus just after midnight and refers to the time of the grains formed in the ear)Pregnant millet).Obia: This word means "hidden," referring to Venus as the Morning Star, and is the time of the "ripe millet." Yapunu da:

The position of Venus in the heavens literally translates as "dish of the menstruating women," that is referring to the time when the millet is eaten(symbolically 'dead') and in the end presenting the clavicle of the people it has nourished.

In the end, as a reality and testament of their being supremely sophisticated in their presentation of their knowledge, through their culture, architecture and universal galactic knowledge, it is clearly important to note their knowledge of entropy of the universe. And when it comes to To Polo(Sirius B), the Dogon's said: "The Star's former position in space is where the sun is where now the sun is, called "seat of Po Tolo," po tolo doy. Like the other stars, it moved away and is presently at the center of the sky: but it is a center in motion.

The Dogon have been saying what Hubble saw in 1922 that on the spectographic analysis, all the remotest galaxies in the universe were moving away from him: everything was moving away from his position, and everything was moving away from everything else; the remoter the galaxy, the faster.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Preservation of Harlem's African Burial Ground

In my research, I am finding there are many African burial sites that are not being preserved.

We need to memorialized them , commemorate and preserved them properly.


The Harlem African Burial Ground is underneath this city bus depot.
Florescu for News Christine Campbell, actress/activist checks documents related to the burial ground. There's a hidden piece of African history in East Harlem, and a group of local leaders are doing all they can to preserve it.

For more than a year, residents and church officials have battled to preserve and memorialize the centuries-old Harlem African Burial Ground, now under a city bus depot at 126th St. and Second Ave.

Government agencies haven't always been cooperative - insisting that a part of the cemetery does not exist, advocates charged.

"The Harlem community is watching and very concerned about what's going on," said the Rev. Patricia Singletary, leader of the Harlem African Burial Ground Task Force. "We just want the ... burial ground to be memorialized, properly commemorated and preserved."

"There was a strong feeling of disrespect and disregard of our concerns," said Singletary, pastor of Elmendorf Reformed Church on E. 121st St., which owns the burial ground. "We are not being filled in [by the DOT]."

But DOT officials said the agency has been cooperative.

The 1660s cemetery, once called the Harlem Colored Burying Ground, was used by the Dutch to bury the enslaved and freed of African descent. Parishioners from at least six Harlem churches are buried there.


At St. Mary's Episcopal Church on W. 126th St., the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp has kept a well-worn, 150-year-old brown ledger with the names of those buried at the site carefully written in flowery script.

They include Herman Cannon, 69; Mary Stewart, 20; Benjamin Pearsall Benedict, 1; Israel Williams, 5, and numerous members of the large Hagerman family, the records show.

Kooperkamp believes such an important site should stand preserved, with the bus depot demolished.

"These were the founders, the ancestors of this parish," he said. "I want to see it as a memorial to these ancestors. It doesn't need to be a bus depot. We could lose one."

There has also been controversy over whether the burial ground stretches into an area where the city Department of Transportation is building a ramp leading to the Willis Ave. Bridge, with the DOT insisting it doesn't.

"The area has been excavated numerous times over the centuries for development ... making it unlikely that additional work in this area would turn up any issues," a DOT spokeswoman told the Daily News.

But leaders from the community don't agree, and have kept a close watch over the property.

"We established the monitoring zone and then voluntarily expanded it in response to community concerns," a spokesman said, adding an archaeologist is called to the site when work is done in that area "in the unlikely event that excavation revealed any artifacts. None have been found."

Still, passions run high about the site, and advocates like Christine Campbell, a task force and St. Mary's member, is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve it.

"We don't want to lay down in front of a bulldozer," she said. "But if we have to, we will."

REF: The Daily News

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Charlotta A. Bass Newspaper Publisher-Editor, Civil Rights Activist


Bass was born in Sumter, South Carolina on February 14, 1874. She relocated to California in 1910 for health reasons. Charlotta Bass took over control of The California Eagle, upon the death of the paper's founder, John James Neimore, in 1912 and served as its publisher until 1951.

She and her husband Joseph Bass, who had served as editor of the Topeka Plain Dealer and the Montana Plain Dealer used The Eagle to push for reforms. They combatted such issues as the derogatory images rampant in D.W. Griffith's film, Birth of A Nation; Los Angeles' discriminatory hiring practices; the Klu Klux Klan; police brutality; and restrictive housing covenants.

Bass' uncompromising stance against racial injustice resulted in her life being threatened on numerous occasions. She was branded a communist, and the FBI placed her under surveillance on the charge that her paper was seditious. However, this never deterred her or her paper from seeking civil and political rights for African Americans and the disadvantaged.

Charlotta Bass and Paul Robeson, Los Angeles, 1949

Bass retired from the newspaper business in 1951. Her later years were devoted to politics. In 1952 she became the first African-American woman to run for national office as the Vice Presidential candidate on the Progressive Party ticket.

She died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12,1969.


Bass, Charlotta. Forty Years: Memoirs from the Pages of A Newspaper: 1960. (Unpublished Manuscript Available at Southern California Research Library and Schomburg)

Jeter, James Phillip, Ph.D. Rough Flying: The California Eagle - (1879-1965) (AJHA Convention Paper)


Activist Newspapers

The first Black newspaper in the U.S. Freedom's Journal, laid the foundation for a long and distinguished line of pionerring Black newspapers.


These newspapers were dedicated to the same ideas the Freedom Journal championed. Educating and Informing the Black communities, supporting their goals of equality and justice, and making their achievements visible to the world.

Here's a look at several of them:


The New Orleans Tribune was the first Black daily newspaper. It was the offshot of L 'Union (THE UNION), was the first Black newspaper published in both French and English. It began in 1862, during the Civil War, and ceased publication in 1864. Dr. Louis Roudanez was a healthy Black doctor and vice president of New Orleans Freedom's Aid Association. He bought L' Union printing equipment and started The Tribune.

The newspaper fought for equal treatment for Black and White soldiers, Black children acceptance into the common schools and the vote for Black people.



John James Neimore established The California Eagle Owl in Los Angeles in 1870 to help African Americans who were moving into the west. Charlotta Spears Bass assumed control over the Owl after Neimore died in 1912, renaming it The California Eagle.


The Eagle fought racial discrimination and segrgation in Los Angeles and California. It published editorials opposing D.W. Griffith film, "Birth of a Nation", whiched featured derogatory portrayals of Black people.


In 1951, Bass sold the newspaper to Loren Miller, a former Eagle reporter.

In 1952, Bass became the first Black woman to run for national office as a Progressive Party Presidential candidate.

The Eagle ceased publication in 1964.


The Afro-American in Baltimore was founded by John Henry Murphy Sr. in 1892. He merged his church publication,The Sunday School Helper, with two other churches publications. The Ledger and the Afro-American.

The newspaper crusaded for racial equality in Maryland. It pushed Baltimore police department to hire black police officers, it fought to obtain equal pay for Maryland's Black school teachers and was instrumental in helping Black students get into schools, like the University of Maryland school and Maryland Art Institute.

It's "Clean Block" campaign aimed to reduce crime and improve the appearance of inner-city neighborhoods.



The Chicago Defender was founded in 1905 by Robert Sengstacke Abbott.

Who also became one of the self-made Black millionaires in America.


The Defender encouraged Black migration from the South. It also mimicked the sensationalist "yellow journalist" techiniques of publishers William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Publitzer attract readers and boost sales.

The Defender did not use the word "Black or Negro", it referred to Black people as "THE RACE".


Edwin Haeleston established The Pittsburgh Courier in 1907. Attorney Robert Lee Vann started out as the newspaper's legal counsel and eventuslly became editor-publisher.

The Courier fought for improvements in housing and education for African Americans. It sought more Black physicians in the Pittsburg area and pushed for a hospital that would treat Black people.

Vann influenced Black voters to shift their political alleigance away from Republican Party to the Democratic Party.

Four boys infront of the Pittsburg Courier.

The Pittsburgh Courier was an American newspaper published in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which was published from 1907 to 1965. Once the country's most widely circulated Black newspaper, the legacy and influence of the Pittsburgh Courier is unparalleled.

A pillar of the Black Press, it rose alongside the civil rights movement and was among its most forceful voices.

At its peak, the paper boasted a national circulation of almost 250,000 with over 400 employees in 14 cities. Widely read, the Pittsburgh Courier set the tone on major issues impacting the African-American community and people paid attention.

In the 1930s, the Courier urged Black voters to "turn Lincoln's picture to the wall" and vote Democrat, creating a political alliance that endures to this day.

Some famous contributors to the Courier were Joel Augustus Rogers, who worked as a journalist for the Courier in the 1920s, and Sam Milai, editorial cartoonist for the Courier for 33 years.

In 1965, the Courier went into bankruptcy and ceased publishing.

Marcus Garvey, W.E.B.Dubios, James Weldon Johnson, Elijah Muhammad and Zora Neale Hurston wrote for the Courier.

Weldon Smith, The Courier sports writer, used his column to denounce segregation in baseball major leagues. His efforts contributed to Jackie Robinson's signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.



This history is unlocked.....this is a time that people from African descent felt the need to make change and spoke out utilizing as many venues as possible.

The newspapers of today, that are in representation of the Black community need a snapshot of our history in journalism, to better serve the community and print stories that will better inform, educate, encourage as well as support our goals of equality.