Category Archives: Black History Month

Underground Railroad Conference


The 9th Annual UGR History Conference: Gender, Class, Race and Ethnicity in Abolitionism, on the Underground Railroad, and in the Struggle Since will take place February 26, 27, 28, 2010
Organized by Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, Inc.
Hosted by Russell Sage College, Troy, New York
In Collaboration with Rensselaer County Historical Society

February 26
“The Not So Underground Underground Railroad” Teacher Workshop
Rhonda Y. Williams, Ph.D. – evening guest speaker
“Railroads, Streets and Bridges – Black Women and Freedom Journeys”

February 27
Rosemary Sadlier–Mary Ann Shadd: Publisher, Editor, Teacher, Lawyer, Suffragette

Workshops, cultural performance, vendors, poster displays
Join with scholars, artists, historians, preservationists, educators, students, community members and others to explore how the forces of gender, class, race and ethnicity have influenced the UGR and movements for freedom that have arisen in its wake.

February 28
2-hour tour of Troy’s UGR and African American heritage sites

A complete listing of pre-conference activities, workshops, speakers,
accommodations, sponsors and directions is available

REGISTER at www.ugrworkshop.com or 518-432-4432

Previous conferences:
2009 The Underground Railroad, Its Legacies, and Our Communities
2008 The Underground Railroad – How It Worked: Two Centuries of Escape,
Resistance, and the UGR Across the Continent”.
2007 Underground Railroad: Uncovering the Voices of Women
2006 The Underground Railroad: Connecting Pathways to Liberty
2005 The Underground Railroad: Discoveries and Emerging stories
2004 The Underground Railroad: Quests for Freedom
2003 The Underground Railroad: Movement And Context
2002 Telling the Untold Story: The Underground Railroad In Albany and the
Surrounding Region

I mention this every year for only three reasons:

1. I’ve gone to these events in the past and they are always very worthwhile attending.
2. The subject matter, I believe, is important.
3. Mary Liz and Paul Stewart, the organizers of the event, and indeed the co-founders of the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, are good friends of mine.

I have a fourth reason this year: I’m doing one of the workshops on Saturday afternoon. So sign up already!

(n.b. – I took off from work Monday to finish off this presentation. Instead, I stayed home with a sick child; not nearly so productive. This to say that if the blog posts are a little terse for the next few days, that’s why.)
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African American Newspapers: Catalysts for Social Change
Thursday,February 25th, 12:15 – 1:15 PM
Location: Librarians Room, 7th floor, Cultural Education Center, Madison Avenue, Albany (New York State Library)
Register Online

African American newspapers provided vital information to the African American community by reporting stories from a perspective often ignored by their counterparts. During the Great Migration era, many subscribers in the south depended on news reports from northern publications for an accurate picture of northern life and opportunities for African Americans. In this presentation, Cordell Reaves, Historic Preservation Program Analyst at the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, will explore the impact of some of these publications and how they shaped African American life primarily during the early to mid-1900s. Bring your lunch.
ROG

January Rambling

Busy month coming. Black History Month at church, and I’m doing two adult ed sessions. One will be helping to hone my presentation at the Underground Railroad Conference in Troy, NY at the end of the month.
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The one weekend I won’t be doing BHM stuff, I’ll probably be here.
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Finally gave blood on January 18. I was scheduled to donate two or three times before that, but just didn’t feel up to it. The four months between donations is the longest I’ve gone since I had to pass for a year when I got rabies shots. The weird thing is that twice in a row, I got reminder cards about my donation six to eight days AFTER I was scheduled to donate; unhelpful AND a waste of money.
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I was in the home office. There was this thin book that was falling off the shelf. Turned out to be The Connoisseur’s Guide to the Contemporary Horror Film by the late Chas Balun, an item I hadn’t thought about in years. When I was working at this comic book store called FantaCo, we sold many, many copies of the item. I went over to Steve Bissette’s site to let him know about this, and wouldn’t you know, but that he had just written about Chas and that very booklet! How odd.
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ABC-TV is plugging this new show called The Deep End, about some young lawyers. The voiceover says, “From the network that brought you Grey’s Anatomy”, as though network affiliation is a reason to watch the show. Yet it DOES remind me of Grey’s in that there’s a guy under water; Meredith Grey practically drown a couple seasons ago. I shan’t be watching; hey I got 85% of my DVR capacity used up.

This reminds me of a poster SamuraiFrog wrote about, the text of which was “from the studio that brought you THE PROPOSAL.” as though anyone would go to a film for that reason. Goofy.
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This incredible machine was “built as a collaborative effort between the Robert M. Trammell Music Conservatory and the Sharon Wick School of Engineering at the University of Iowa. Amazingly, 97% of the machines components came from John Deere Industries and Irrigation Equipment of Bancroft, Iowa.
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A resource guide re Haiti.
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Anyone know the shelf life for amoxicillin capsules? Wayne John wanted to know.
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Another SF-found piece, on gay marriage, a satire.
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Thom Wade reminds me why I’m not a Mormon
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The Brand Identity Guru says The Bachelor and Bachelorette Brands Can’t Be More Racist. I don’t watch, but I’d be interested in the thoughts of those who do.
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Was Jack Benny in the movie Casablanca? Mark Evanier doesn’t think so, but he’s not sure.
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What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2010 under the law that existed until 1978 . . . Works from 1953.
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Hard to find music and movies.
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Salon finally figured out the joy of the Kennedy Center Honors. See also Kennedy Center Honorees at the White House.
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Scholar Ladies a video response to Single Ladies by Beyonce.
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Finally, the wife is trying to keep the daughter away from aspartame, the stuff in Equal and the other little blue packets, at least in the US, at least it is most of the time. And the stuff shows up in the darnedest places, such as packaged fruit cups one sends the daughter to school with.
But I’ve discovered that the DelMonte fruit cups, e.g., uses sucralose, the substance in Splenda and the other items in the yellow packet. Anyone aware of health issues for children with sucralose?

ROG

It's Black History Month Again, and I've Got Nothin'


It’s that time of year again. Somehow, I’ve become the unofficial leader of the group of people to put this thing together in my church this year – again – and I’m not sure what new angle I can come up with.

Oh, it not as though we have absolutely zero planned. We have a speaker for one Sunday. There will be a kente cloth presentation. And I expect there will a luncheon after church one week.

More at issue are three weeks of adult education. I think one Sunday the topic will be related to race relations in the era of an Obama presidency. How does he change the conversation? Some think this means the black community has arrived, and such things as B H Month are no longer needed!

To that last point, I would disagree. A Swahili aphorism states: “You are what you make of yourself, and not what others make you.” A positive self-concept is important, and so an awareness of the richness of Black history becomes important. This is one of the reasons we continue to celebrate Black History Month, first celebrated in 1926.

Another thought is to use the class would to show film clips – 15 to 20 minutes – and then discuss for remainder of class. One white person suggested segments from White Man’s Burden, a 1995 movie I was unfamiliar with. (Anyone out there seen it? ) He said this film is always an eye opener for white audiences, and it does a good job of showing unnoticed race-based behaviors and norms in our society.

I will be participating in “The 3 Biggest Diversity Blunders Your Organization Could Be Making Right Now (And How to Avoid Them)” workshop in a couple weeks, and that might have some help. But that won’t be for a couple weeks, and I need to put something together for the church newsletter this Friday.

Any thoughts about resources you would use?
ROG

Musing about February

February? It’s not even Christmas yet!

But February is Black History Month, and I’m always looking for a new angle to tackle the subject in my church . I think the topic’s still important, and that was before I skimmed the US Human Rights Network finding that “the US Report On Race Covers Up Reality of Discrimination in America”.

I’m interested in the New Demographic workshops. I’m intrigued by the titles. As important as I think the topic is, quite often, diversity training DOES suck. The core beliefs work for me. I’ll have to price these seminars. I’m also intrigued by a recent report which indicates that We’re ALL prejudiced; Now what? Some New Demographic article I can’t puts my hands on addresses this as well in a different light. To say one does not see color, usually in some hyperbolic terms such as “I don’t care if he’s black, white, red, yellow or purple polka-dots, because I don’t see color” is insulting. It’s insulting because virtually ALL of us see color, just as we see gender and age and hair color and height and weight. (So, Lefty, I WAS kidding when I “confused” you with the musician Chris Brown.)

So if you’ve come across a fresh way to talk about race, racism, racialism in America, please let me know.
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I don’t know what “liberal” and “conservative” mean. Listening to the Writer’s Guild, I’d find the six big production companies to be conservative, trying to maintain the status quo. But I get regular e-mails from self-proclaimed conservative groups, and Human Events writes: “liberal media giant Time Warner lobbied the federal government’s taxpayer-subsidized mail-delivery monopoly, aka the United States Postal Service, to hit us with a postal hike that will cost us an extra $120,000 per year to deliver HUMAN EVENTS — a shocking sum we simply cannot afford to pay.

“Our subscribers and supporters are rightly outraged about liberal Time Warner’s machinations that can put smaller competitors such as HUMAN EVENTS out of business.” By liberal, the group means that…well, I’m not sure. Limiting access to a variety of forms of information – where exactly does that fit on the political spectrum?

ROG