Onesimus: Smallpox Inoculation

smallpox

Thanks to the pioneering work of Onesimus, many lives were saved from the smallpox epidemic.

Onesimus (fl. 1706 – 1717), slave and medical pioneer, was born in the late seventeenth century, probably in West Africa, although the precise date and place of his birth are unknown. He first appears in the historical record in the diary of Cotton Mather, a prominent New England theologian and minister of Boston’s Old North Church. Reverend Mather notes in a diary entry for 13 December 1706 that members of his congregation purchased for him “a very likely Slave; a young Man who is a Negro of a promising aspect of temper” (Mather, vol. 1, 579). Mather named him Onesimus, after a biblical slave who escaped from his master, an early Christian named Philemon.

http://hutchinscenter.fas.harvard.edu/onesimus-fl-1706-1717-slave-and-medical-pioneer-was-born

The idea behind this radical new treatment came from Africa, specifically from a slave named Onesimus, who shared his knowledge with Cotton Mather, the town’s leading minister and his legal owner. Boston still suffered dreadfully, but thanks to Onesimus and Mather, the terror linked to smallpox began to recede after Africans rolled up their sleeves—literally—to show Boston how inoculation worked.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/10/17/how-african-slave-helped-boston-fight-smallpox/XFhsMMvTGCeV62YP0XhhZI/story.html

http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/people/onesimus

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3491675?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

http://www.blackhistorypages.net/pages/onesimus.php

Inferiority Complex

0000kwame

Truth Behind the Myth: Homosexuality in Africa

ghana

British colonial overlords did commit the original sin. Some of the most murderously anti-gay countries of this century were first introduced to codified homophobia via former Western rulers—especially Britain, a true path-breaker in anti-gay oppression.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/06/19/british-colonialism-and-anti-gay-laws/

Among such criminalization cases, a common narrative is that acceptance and tolerance of homosexuality is a foreign, or alien, Western imposition on indigenous cultures.  For example, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has called homosexuality an invention of the West that will “disturb the African moral fabric.” Similarly, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh called homosexuals “satanic”, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf framed Liberia’s anti-sodomy laws as “traditional values.

Here stands one of the biggest ironies.  The idea that the so-called tolerance towards homosexuality somehow sprang from a western source doesn’t hold.  As our research shows, this narrative is not only wrong-headed but the opposite of the historical facts.  Instead, for many countries, including some of those mentioned above, criminalization laws were based on British imperial legal instruments, like the Indian Penal Code Section 377A, introduced and imposed on these countries by Britain when they were colonized.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/10/30/the-british-colonial-origins-of-anti-gay-laws/

So this is to all of my conscious brothers and sisters (no sarcasm), if you really are about being anti-colonialism then you shouldn’t be promoting the same nonsense. There have been gay people in all parts of the world, and for the longest time African kingdoms and countries like India were far ahead of their time with their attitudes towards homosexuality. Now many of those same countries and forward thinking people are stuck in this mental glitch and paradox. On one hand we want to espouse to everything that was African pre-colonialism, while holding on to a colonialist way of thinking.

Flashback: The Militarization of Police Departments

What comes next? (Militarization of Police)

Black Americans need to pay attention, our police departments have become militarized and this all begun in the early 90’s. Turn off your Xbox, PS4, Sport games, etc, for a second and pay attention because this affects you. From SWAT to your local Sheriff department, police in the U.S are being trained to treat the American public as if we are all suspects/criminals(especially Black Americans). The bigger problem that is not being talked about though, are the politicians who we have let these occurrences flourish, created polices/laws that go against our Constitutional rights, (Bill of Rights) eroding amendments and most importantly HUMAN RIGHTS.

“The Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that “each man’s home is his castle”, secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government.  It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.”

Yet SWAT and police are not following with legal searches, but busting down the wrong homes and executing people absent of due process. After 9/11 the cards had finally fallen. Some American citizens were being treated as prisoners of Guantanamo Bay. In Ferguson, MO right now the media is being attacked with tear gas, police dogs, rubber bullets and other intimidation tactics that go against the 1st amendment. If they are doing this to the press in the U.S, imagine what is install for the rest of us.

 

In addition to the police interfering with peaceful protesting. Many have warned that the Patriot Act, and many other polices/laws that passed after 9/11 would lead to this. Yet we coward out and let them pass, and we continue to let the Obama administration do the same. On top of the fact, poor and people of color (Black and Hispanic more likely) are the first to be met with this brutality. After all, for Black Americans/African Americans in the U.S, our rights were never really considered God given. The law hasn’t and still doesn’t treat us as equal Americans who have been an important ingredient in what has made this country great. What further proof do you need before we as Americans of all creed do something about this tyranny?

” The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.  It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others and also restricting an individual’s religious practices.  It guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.  It also guarantees the right of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government.”

 Ferguson and the Militarization of Police

“At the root of the problem is a country coming home from war, forced over a decade to design and deploy a literal army of 21st-century weapons to fight insurgent masses during protracted Middle East wars. A program that first took off in the early 1990s allows the Department of Defense, yet again downsizing, to reissue billions of dollars of this equipment to domestic security forces, particularly SWAT and other elite units that have traditionally needed tactical gear for high-risk jobs.”

“Have no doubt, police in the United States are militarizing, and in many communities, particularly those of color, the message is being received loud and clear: ‘You are the enemy,’” writes Tom Nolan, a 27-year veteran of the Boston Police Department and professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, in an op-ed that appeared in DefenseOne in June, more than a month before the Ferguson riots.

Article by 

Read more: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/08/14/ferguson-and-the-shocking-nature-of-us-police-militarization

Ferguson Police’s PR Stunt Poisons Independent and Impartial Investigation

“The public and the ACLU of Missouri have called for release of the police incident report on the shooting to resolve the dispute about whether the incident involved the excessive use of lethal force and illegal racial profiling, and to shed light on how many times and where on his body Mr. Brown was shot.”

Article by  Dennis Parker

Another Day, Another 124 Violent SWAT Raids

“It’s 3:00 a.m. Your children are screaming and your dog is lying dead in a pool of blood. Scorch marks and shattered glass cover the floor. You’re being held at gunpoint by towering figures wearing black and holding AK-47s.”

“This isn’t a Hollywood movie set. Odds are this is a predawn SWAT raid targeting a family of color. Mission objective: search the home for a small amount of drugs.”

Article by Kara Dansky

Must Read Book

 Must See

 

Crossroads: A Story Inspired By Robert Johnson

https://i1.wp.com/image.tmdb.org/t/p/original/yz4Pc1FTiZNs8z1EhNZqocVJho7.jpg

I held my guitar, strumming the strings to hear its cool twang echo bounce through the forest as I stepped up the moonlit dirt road. I thought I was pretty good. Some said I had talent, but I was never talented enough to step on stage.

But that was about to change. I reached an intersection, where four worn roads came together. By this time, the forest was behind me and there was nothing but miles of sweeping Mississippi farmland coating the earth. The distant, pained howl of a hound lingered in the night air for a second before fading into silence.

A man stood in the center of the crossroads, dressed in a sharp gray suit with a fedora tipped sideways atop his head. The look in his dreary blue eyes sent a whirlwind of doubt ripping though my subconscious. I stopped within six feet of him; a lump filled my throat.

“I believe you know how this works, right?” he asked, his voice as pale as his skin.

I nodded and swallowed my uncertainty. I stepped closer to present my guitar to him.

His eyes widened. “I suppose not. We’ve changed policy, dear.”

Before I could raise an eyebrow, he slipped a hand into his jacket, pulled out a sleek pen and a sheet of paper— offering it to me. I placed my guitar on the ground, next to his briefcase, and took the instrument.

“Sign the dotted line, please,” he said.

The paper was strong enough to write on without need for a clipboard and it was glazed with legal jargon. Some words I couldn’t even pronounce, let alone understand.

“Midnight doesn’t last forever,” he said after a few minutes.

Fearless of sin, I scribbled my name in pen. The signature glowed a bright blue, but the ink started to sizzle and smolder to a coal black. There was a blank section below the signature line which filled itself in with words that formed my biography. Before I could speak, the man snatched the paper back and scanned it.

He arched an eyebrow. “Keisha Williams? Born in New Orleans, sixteen-years-old, and second daughter of James and Angela Williams?”

I nodded.

He bit his lip. “I see, and what do you plan to do when you’re a rich and famous musician?”

I paused for a second. “Charity,” I admitted.

A thin mocking smirk played on his lips. “For the hurricane, I assume.”

“Yes.”

He tore the paper to pieces and blew them into the humid air. Like fireflies, the pieces lit up the night sky before fading into darkness.

The man then reached into the breast-pocket of his jacket, taking out a red pack of cigarettes and a pack of matches. He shook a thin single out and plopped it between his lips. “Please don’t try to undo our work, Ms. Williams. You have a good evening.”

He struck a match and a bright flash nearly blinded me; my eyes slammed shut. The flames crackled like witches. When my eyes flicked open, he was gone. The dirt beneath me was covered in dark soot.

My guitar sat next to my sneakers as a pile of black ash. Left were the twisted metal strings protruding from the instrument’s charred remains.

Law school it is, then.

————————————–

Robert Johnson was the inspiration for this story. I felt it could’ve went in a better direction, but I see these shorts I’m posting as literary exercise than anything else. Decent to be written in a day I’d hope.

https://i0.wp.com/www.sacurrent.com/imager/king-of-the-delta-blues-robert-johnson/b/original/2401841/9337/cityguide48-1.jpg

Robert Johnson was a 30’s blue musician, passing away at the age of 27 and joining the legendary 27 Club (with Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix), Johnson left a huge dent in music despite his short tenure in blues. In the 60’s his re-released works grew immensely popular and went on to inspire many white and black powerhouse artists of the day.

It’s always been according to legend that Johnson made a deal with the Devil to play the guitar the way he did. That, coupled with the fact little is known about Johnson’s life besides his music career and his early demise, and you have yourself the music blues legend.

Things like this “alleged footage” increase the spookiness factor.

The idea of the crossroads has always interested me. Standing alone by yourself, making a choice in which direction to go. Or hoping to meet something of supernatural origin to strike a deal that you’d soon regret.

Check out some of Johnson’s music:

Sources:

http://www.robertjohnsonbluesfoundation.org/biography

http://www.biography.com/people/robert-johnson-9356324

https://i0.wp.com/fc03.deviantart.net/fs45/i/2009/124/6/f/Robert_Johnson_by_jugodenaranjo.jpg

American Bandit + Black Literary Magazines

https://i2.wp.com/wvs.topleftpixel.com/photos/2013/02/two-men_snow_back-alley_tall_01.jpg

From the darkness, I approached a woman with a daringness and audacity not seen since the Old West. Her brown eyes lit up. I flashed a gun and any intention of heroics died in an instant. I aimed the barrel at her chest and she froze; her silk green dress ruffled in the wind.

But those shock-stricken eyes were familiar. Thick, white lines of cocaine had nearly erased my memory, but not of her. I blinked and she came back in flashes. I remembered her short, curly black hair and her smooth, dark skin. Danielle, the woman I once loved.

My confident smirk faded and my head sunk low like broken ships into the cold harbor. A shadow lingered above me, not below. She said my name, asking if I needed help. The worry in her voice was a needle to my heart. I could feel the spots and blotches dotted along my arm. I needed help. I needed her.

I didn’t want help, though. Help strangely always arrived and handcuffed me. The blue bandits. Red and blue lights flicked in my eyes just thinking of them. I didn’t want to risk rotting. A drizzle of rain pattered on the worn sleeves of my jacket as I contemplated both lunacy and salvation.

“Just give me the money,” I said.

I closed my eyes held out my hand, expecting crumpled bills or a credit card on my palm. After a few seconds of silence, a soft hand wrapped around mine and squeezed gently. Whispers of support floated through the air.

I squeezed back.

——————————————————–

I’ve been reading more, so that’s inspired me to write more. Not my best work, fairly heavy-handed, but pretty decent for 15 minutes. I’ve been struggling between activist and artist for the past year now.

I’m leaning more towards artist.

Black Literary Magazines to check for:

http://www.unionstationmag.com/issues-3/

http://www.spectermagazine.com/

http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/new-literary-magazine-spook-228#.VQh5M-FsWM8

Positive Stats Pertaining to Black Men

Earlier this month, an attention-grabbing 30-second video, released by the Mystic Valley Area Branch of the NAACP and featuring Medford High School students, debunked many stereotypes and myths about young black men. But why stop there?

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/02/22/the-positive-numbers-about-black-men/0TcPR1Hhn8Yf0yuVoWZxfJ/story.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000047

Commitment to Young Black Boys Give Great Results

I want to say, DUH; on the flip side I am glad the centuries of damage by purposely created poverty/poor education for Black Americans is having a turn around. A turn around due to commitment and not making excuses, because of the traps set up by society.

Schools in Oakland, California, may have found the key to closing the achievement gap between African-American males and other groups of students, according to a recent report.

In 2010, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) began offering elective courses specifically for its lowest-performing students: African-American males. Several years later, the initiative, known as the Manhood Development Program (MDP), has been successful in narrowing achievement gaps and improving school culture, says the report from Vajra Watson, director of research and policy for equity at the University of California, Davis.

Read More

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/17/oakland-manhood-development-program_n_6665806.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000047

The Boondocks: In Hindsight

Season 4 of the Boondocks was probably one of the best examples of Seasonal Rot, where a show gets progressively worse with each season. Which is sad, because the show had some of the cleverest writing, most beautiful animation, and likable characters I’ve seen in a long time.

For me, seasons 1 and 2 are perfection of comedic satire. While season 2 was more outlandish and less grounded in reality than Season 1, it captured the feel of the comic strip perfectly. The show constantly caused controvery from having Dr. King say the N-word to directly calling out BET in two episodes. Season 3 lost the social commentary, but not the humor.

Season 4, neither profound nor funny, was panned.

Aaron McGruder, the creator of the season had suddenly left. And once season 4 was announced, his lack of involvement was announced soon after:

“As the world now knows, The Boondocks will be returning for a fourth season, but I will not be returning with it. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Sony and Adult Swim for three great seasons”.

“I created The Boondocks two decades ago in college, did the daily comic for six years, and was showrunner on the animated series for the first three seasons. The Boondocks pretty much represents my life’s work to this point. Huey, Riley, and Granddad are not just property to me. They are my fictional blood relatives. Nothing is more painful than to leave them behind”.

“To quote a great white man, ‘Hollywood is a business’. And to quote another great white man, “Don’t hold grudges”.

“What has never been lost on me is the enormous responsibility that came with The Boondocks – particularly the television show and it’s relatively young audience. It was important to offend, but equally important to offend for the right reasons. For three seasons I personally navigated this show through the minefields of controversy. It was not perfect. And it definitely was not quick. But it was always done with a keen sense of duty, history, culture, and love. Anything less would have been simply unacceptable”.

“As for me, I’m finally putting a life of controversy and troublemaking behind me with my upcoming Adult Swim show, BLACK JESUS”. –

Source

In my opinion, either 1 of 2 things happened:

1: He lost the rights in a dispute.

2: He sold the Boondocks to move on to other projects.

Either one is unfortunate, but based on his “don’t hold grudges” comment, I’m guessing he lost the rights to his show.

The Boondocks was a property that could’ve been handed down to the right people, and could’ve gone in so many different directions.

Take the concept is that Huey is in love for example. Whether it’s with Jasmine or another cynical radical revolutionary remains to be seen. Perhaps, never to be seen. There are probably hundreds of writers slamming their heads on the keyboard. A show that had so much more to dive into.

There were entire arcs from the comics that could’ve made great material for the show, yet were completely abandoned. Like when Huey and Caesar (who was never introduced in the TV show) tried to create an alternative media outlet.

Or Jasmine’s struggle with racial identity.

Or day to day racial prejudice.

I haven’t even bother to watch Black Jesus, not because I think it’s bad. But because it truly seems like this one gag of “how funny would a black Jesus be?”. Same with Black Dynamite, while hilarious, it’s often void of the social consciousness that the Boondocks has (or had). And because it’s a period piece, you don’t get to see much outside 70’s African American culture. Whereas the Boondocks is the something where you can comment on African American culture, history, and progression as a whole.

This is why, personally, I’m always wary when people of color decide to sell off their ideas and brands. Like when the natural hair company and African American owned Carol’s Daughter was bought by L’Oreal Monpolizes and cooperate is something that can screw over anyone of any ethnic background, but in a country where minorities already own so little, for once, I’d like to see this trend end. Something becoming mainstream and then taken over.

On the bright side, these rights can be bought back,

But for now, the Boondocks has become a parody of itself.

Sources

http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/03/aaron_mcgruder_sorta_explains_why_he_left_the_boondocks.html

http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/aaron-mcgruder-finally-explains-why-he-left-the-boondocks

http://www.okayplayer.com/news/aaron-mcgruder-not-involved-boondocks-fourth-season.html

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/10/24/358263731/a-black-cosmetic-company-sells-or-sells-out

Africans and The Making of the Americas: Part 4, Agriculture

There was a desperate need for African agricultural skills in the Americas.

Diverse groups of Africans from the coastal regions were highly skilled at clearing and cultivating forest land, an expertise that was unknown to Europeans at the time. One African technique involved burning delineated sections of forest and later using the ash for fertilizer, this had to be done carefully. Many also knew how to raise crops in semi-tropical and tropical soils; high temperatures and heavy rains cause nutrients to seep out more quickly than they do in temperate climates.

The complex art of rice cultivation practiced by West Africans for centuries rescued the U.S. The technique and technology used for rice cultivation was unknown by Europeans outside of southern Italy at the time. Rice cultivation was one of the most difficult types of work one could do, working in knee-deep water every day. By 1750, South Carolina became the rice-growing center of North America; rice was the colony’s major export. Other crops introduce by Africans include, black-eyed peas, pumpkins, sesame seeds, kola nuts, cotton, yams, sorghum, muskmelon, and water-melon.

The agricultural skills of Africans and African-Americans garnered extraordinary wealth for the Americas and Europe.

List of Crops Introduced by Africans/African-Americans

black-eyed peas

pumpkins

sesame seeds

kola nuts

cotton

yams

sorghum

muskmelon

water-melon

okra

tania

kidney beans

lima beans

millet

red peas

Source:

http://www.nypl.org/locations/schomburg

http://slaverebellion.org/index.php?page=crops-slave-cuisines

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140301-african-american-food-history-slavery-south-cuisine-chefs/

 Part 1: http://sincereignorance.com/2015/01/27/africans-and-the-making-of-the-americas-part-1-exploration/

Part 2: http://sincereignorance.com/2015/01/27/africans-and-the-making-of-the-americas-part-2-mining/

Part 3: http://sincereignorance.com/2015/02/03/africans-and-the-making-of-the-americas-part-3-herding/

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