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Black Hair Care Industry, Open to All Entrepreneurs

Sometime last year, I was surprised to learn that the United States 1965 decision to ban the import of any wig that contained hair from China contributed to the Koreans

Whose Time is More Valuable, Yours or Mine?

Here is a question for you…whose time is more important, yours or mine? I ask because the answer is obvious. Most people who answer truthfully will, of course, say their

Ignoring American History is Ill-Advised and Shameful

For those who want to erase, or ignore Black History. There should be shame in your game is the best way I can say it. For some people of color,

Without Structure, Formation and Organizational Purpose, there’s Chaos

There is no doubt, when you consider yourself a people expert; you are often reminded there is no such person. People surprise you with certain actions on a daily basis.

Black Legends of the Wild, Wild West, Part IV

This is the fourth and final article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. First we looked at US Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves,

Black Legends of The Wild, Wild West, Part III

This is the third article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. First we looked at US Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves, followed by

Black Legends of the Wild, Wild West, Part II

This is the second article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. First we looked at US Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves. Today we

Black Folk of the Wild, Wild West Part 1

This is the first article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. Today we take a look at U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves.

January 2015, All Aboard

 Could the calendar have the wrong year at 2015? Have we really passed through December of 2014 and entered into a new year? I’m a Leo and as such am

Looters & Arsonist are Lawbreakers, not Representatives of the Struggle

We watched our morning newscast the morning after the Ferguson Grand Jury declined to indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. We saw what most people expected.

Corporations and this Holiday Seasons American Consumer

      Let me provide you with a quote from Abraham Lincoln. It’s taken from a letter from Lincoln to (Col.) William F. Elkins, Nov 21, 1864. Some have

So! You wrote a Book, now what

Just the other day, while watching a TV program, I heard an actor say “There is one book in all of us.” The actor himself was playing a famous fictitious

Black Hair Care Industry, Open to All Entrepreneurs

4.1.1

Sometime last year, I was surprised to learn that the United States 1965 decision to ban the import of any wig that contained hair from China contributed to the Koreans domination of the US Black Hair Care Industry.  Six months earlier in a successful attempt to aid their own wig manufacturers, the Government of South Korea banned the export of the desirable raw hair by anybody other than their own. The result was a Korean monopolization of the Black Hair Care as depicted in Aron Ranen’s, http://diaryofahairobsession.com/black-hair-the-korean-takeover-part-2/ documentary. In a four-part documentary, Ranen’s film points this out and provides in debt insight into the industry as of 2009.

You should note that the two acts by the governments “almost providing a monopoly.” In order for a monopoly to work, competition must be halted by regulation or lack of availability of the monopolized service or goods for sale. In this case, the consumers hold the key to monopolization.

Later on in the year, I picked what I thought was a fair representative number of local Beauty Shop owners. I called, spoke to the owners and explained my reasoning for asking if they were willing to be on my show. Those that did not want to be a guest, I asked about the Korean takeover of the American Black Hair Industry.  Some were reluctant, others were willing but cautious of the possible blow-back from their Korean or Korean associated suppliers. When it came time to call them back, no one was answering the phone. At least no one was taking my calls.

As luck would have it, I was interviewing Regi Kim (of Black Hair Heritage and Roots film documentary, Nappy Roots) on a show last December. She brought on Sam Ennon as an associate and call-in during the show. Afterward, I called him and he agreed to be a guest in March of 2015.

Mr. Ennon is the founder of BOBSA, a black-owned organization that offers the same type service as any Korean Beauty Supply Product vendor in this country. The organization was formed and also shown as an alternative to the Korean domination of the industry. Thus, they are still as of today, dispelling the idea that the Koreans have a monopoly on the Black Hair Care Industry.

On the show, Sam provides a clear history of the black hair care industry from the freer open market era through the Korean dominance to the present. We learned that events, and in some cases a change in black consumer hair styles, are successful challenging the Korean semi-monopoly. You have got to hear this because you may never hear anyone describe the events and the playbook used by a couple of Korean Entrepreneurs to dominate the black hair care industry.  If you have not heard the show, check out my interview with Sam Ennon on the HCofA BTR March 18th Show, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica/2015/03/18/bobsa-stands-for-black-own-beauty-supply-association-and-you.

Membership Pic BOBSA acts mainly as a Networking business association that is available to Cosmetologist across this country. Whatever items you need for your beauty shop is available either through them or one of their associates. But that is just a small task associated with BOBSA.

Ask Mr. Ennon and he will tell you he is about the black hair care industry with no apologies for his preference for the industry.  Therefore, the products he is marketing either through BOBSA or associative organizations are black owned products. Given that scenario one should be able to determine from that statement, black dollars are being circulated back into the black communities. And that my friends equate to real black power. To put it another way, black power equals green power and green power translates into real power.

We see some evidence of that in various areas in local neighborhoods and none in others. One of the areas that are helping to level the playing field is our social networks. There is no doubt that currently the internet and email has allowed any and everybody to post items, articles, and opinions. Not to be overlooked is a major change in how large to small retail companies changed their marketing plans, budget and direction to include the advent of the internet.  That is why you hear Mr. Ennon state that social networking on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and other websites are allowing black entrepreneurs to reach individual consumers. Often, it’s more of a one on one with a customer who may be interested in their product or service.

In fact, there is a new product called The Black Box Barber Caddy for barber shops and salons servicing male and female clients. It’s a vending machine that dispenses (you name it) black hair products. As much as forty percent of the products are produced by black entrepreneurs.

You may have seen advertisement ads on social media for a Meet the Faces of B.O.B.S.A. event that Mr. Ennon is hosting in Detroit. They will be at the Greater Grace Temple, 23500 W. 7 Mail, Detroit, MI 48219 on April 25 through the 27th.  They will also provide information and product display at the event. And…entrepreneurs can get the full details on how to become an Investor, Distributor, Salesperson or Wholesaler of the Black Box Caddy trio of machines. Specifically, the Black Box Barber Caddy with man’s hair care products. There is the Black Box Beauty Supply with woman’s hair care products, and the Black Box Natural Products which addresses the natural black hair styles which are becoming more popular today.

Locally, we are going to highlight the Blitz Barbershop at 4156 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland, CA. They have agreed to set up a Black Box Barber Caddy in his shop. The owner, entrepreneur Quincy Scott will be on our May 20th Blog Talk Radio Show to give you his story and expectations for his business.

But that is not the entire story or even the beginning of another story. This story is about human nature and consumer behavior toward what is best for themselves and their community.  The question that stills begs for an answer and immediate action. It is one that is asked time and time again in our community, normally generating non-responses or all kinds of stereotypical answers.  Why can’t we as a people, work together for our overall common good?

As Sam Ennon previously stated, we are finding that attitudes are changing. Maybe one day we will finally put the “crabs in a barrel” syndrome to rest. Meanwhile, here is a warning for Black Americans. If we don’t take control of our communities via economical means, we will go out of style like a short-lived fashion craze. And that includes political influence in our state capitals and Washington DC.

We have got to take ownership of our neighborhood retail and residential property. We need to cooperate with the local police department by setting up Neighborhood Watch groups. I don’t care what some people think about the local police. I am a firm believer in getting our local officials, and that includes the police, their superiors and as far up the chain as necessary, to facilitate change in unsatisfactory behavior in the office and on the ground. Bottom line; enable ways to make those in positions of authority responsible for their actions.

Meanwhile, it is up to us to facilitate the change we are seeking. For the first time in our history, we have the means and abilities to improve our living standard. The computer is the primary means. Another is cooperating with organizations and business that are specifically circulating black consumer dollars back into our communities. You want to know more about current or future plans of B.O.B.S.A., give Sam Ennon a call at 650-863-3491 or go to the website at www.bobsa.org. Get involved in your own economic survival in any way you can.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo  

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p436aY-6i

 

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

 

Get my latest book, a collection of my blogs from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hampscofa.net/

 

 

Whose Time is More Valuable, Yours or Mine?

money_clock_lcHere is a question for you…whose time is more important, yours or mine? I ask because the answer is obvious. Most people who answer truthfully will, of course, say their time. We all think our time is a premium possession in which, often we don’t have a spare minute.

Some people, who have shortcomings in a particular area of entrepreneurial expertise, have no problem in asking for your help on their project. This is especially true for those who may not possess good business person skills. They often ask you to give your time and effort for free, without any type of compensation. They appeal to your sense of pride in your race, community or country. They want to reap the benefits of monetary reward or prestige for their pet project. But as far as your contribution to the same, they want something for nothing.

I have found the perfect solution to those types of situations. It is no secret, for I learned this lesson in my thirty’s. There is nothing like putting words in a contractual or agreement format to ensure that all involve understand what is required and expected from any type of collaboration. Presenting this type of document to others has a way of weeding out those who want something for nothing.

Don’t get me wrong, the document is not asking for some outrageous fee. You are just putting together stipulations of a working agreement between business persons. Both of you are going to agree on whatever is included in the document. Most Entrepreneurs will understand, except those who wanted something for nothing. They suddenly have second thoughts. For me, I just laugh to myself and thank God I saved a lot of time by weeding these type folks out of my life. Because…in the end, time is of the essence with me.

There is that word…time. Let’s go a little deeper into that thought. Young folks…say eighteen to thirty don’t have any time for anyone. At least that is the way it seems. We rush from thought process to the thought process, relationship to relationship, maybe even one career to a completely different type. How we make, our living is of the utmost importance at this stage of life. Indeed, how much we are paid for our services is the primary reason we choose a particular profession.

By the time we reach the thirty to the forty-year-old range, there is a gradual or sometimes sharp turn in one’s priorities.   Here we began to seriously look at where we are in life. We look at our current social and intimate contacts as well as our financial status. If we have children, or maybe grandchildren, we begin thinking of their well-being for the future. Bottom line, at this age bracket, most have gotten real serious about life. Time is becoming a premium that is not to be wasted as we did at a younger age.

Fifty to sixty is another age range where people look at time differently. It’s like you began to hear Rod Sterling’s “Twilight Zone” theme music. You know that you are about to enter a time zone of no return. It’s not too late to prepare yourself for old age. Make no mistake about it, some may figure that fifty is the new forty. That really makes no difference to how young you feel, the fact is you are still dealing with irreplaceable time.

For those of us over sixty, time for all practical purpose, indeed for any purpose is what we are now trying to measure. The primary being how much more time do we have on this earth. By the time one reaches this age bracket, you began to look back and see what you have or have not accomplished. We believe it’s too late for some things and not too late for others, depending upon your perspective and previous ambitious. Some of us find other careers later on in life.

From a social perspective, you no longer have the patience you once had with trivial matters. You have no time for rude people. You have reached a heightened understanding of people’s motivation that causes them to act in a certain manner.

From that special relationship with a spouse you value the time you have spent together. If the person is still around, you laugh and reminisce at the crazy times you two had or marvel at the things you accomplished. You wonder what might have been had you went in this or that direction in your life. Overall, you are thankful you can sit back and think about how it was at that time. Most of all, you appreciate the now.

And finally from a business perspective you might have things you want to accomplish, or to be more exact, unfinished business. We are trying to make a difference by leaving something of ourselves behind for others to know that we were here on earth at a specific time. No matter what age group you fall in, think about that a minute.

Maslows NeedsThat is the primary reason for me to refer to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Without going into Maslow’s entire theory, all one need to understand is to look at his pyramid of needs pictured in this article. For those who are not familiar study it a minute. And then think about the fact that any age bracket in your life you may had reached a certain level in this pyramid. Maybe it was just one of the sub-titles at a particular level. Then, for whatever reason, you fell back down to the “Basic Need” level. The point being and the primary idea of Maslow’s need is that it is rare for one to have reached the pinnacle level of “Self-fulfillment Needs.” Why? Because most of us spend a lifetime of running up and down this entire pyramid.

There is no doubt that each rung on the ladder of this design takes time to get, solidify, and maintain throughout a lifetime. Most believe the time is really controlled by God. For that atheist out there, let me put it another way. You do not control the length of time you will be on this earth. And that is why each and everybody’s time is most valuable to them.

So the next time you ask someone in the over sixty age bracket if they have a minute, an hour, or anytime, realize you are asking for their most precious commodity. If you are coming at them from a real place of need or help, they most likely will find the time to give you. If not, don’t be surprised if they look at you like you are crazy, shake their head and just walk away without a word. You feel me?

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo  

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p436aY-68

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

 

Get my latest book, a collection of my blogs from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hampscofa.net/

 

 

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Ignoring American History is Ill-Advised and Shameful

African American Slave work crew

For those who want to erase, or ignore Black History. There should be shame in your game is the best way I can say it.

For some people of color, it is shameful because it is your parents, and your own ancestral history that you want to act as though didn’t happen. At the center of what you would like to forget is slavery? Simply, if our American ancestors who were kidnaped, sold into, of however they ended up on ships bound for America shores had not endured and indeed survived that era, you would not be here. Had it not been for this nation fighting a Civil War; an embattled President (Abraham Lincoln) initiating the Emancipation Proclamation you would not be as free as you are today.

This is a notion that is baffling to me. I try to understand why people have these thoughts and I draw a blank. I hope you are not buying into the stereotype and are ashamed of who you are. In most cases, those I have personally heard say they don’t like to think about this era really want to avoid any emotional connection.  It literally makes them angry at white folks at the thought of the cruelty inflicted on our people during slavery, subsequentially following the Civil War and up through the Civil Rights era of the sixties.  They recoil at the idea of Billie Holiday’s rendition of “Strange Fruit”, a direct correlation to the practice of hanging black folks by white racist. Heed the words.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black body swinging in the Southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant South, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh, And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop, Here is a strange and bitter crop.

They don’t want to hear the words, written as a poem by Abel Meeropol, a white man.  Described as a New York City community activist, he was tired of witnessing racism against black folk.  It was a picture of one such disturbing hanging that inspired Mr. Meeropol to pen his poem, later adding the music, which eventually was given to Miss Holiday. The rest is history.

My primary retort to those people of color who’d rather not think of their past is what a waste.  Today, at a time when there is a considerable body of people whose aim is to limit the capabilities of people of color in all areas of our American Society you don’t want to think about it? There are members of a major political party that are implementing laws in this country that resemble Southern Jim Crow laws of the not so distant past. You and our people are under fire. How can you afford to not be aware?  In a nutshell, if you are not aware of where you came from, you really have no clue as to how to get to where you want to go in life.

For those not of color who want to change history, as in our Civil War was fought for States Rights in lieu of slavery.  All meaningful contributions, including inventions, in our American History, were accomplishments by white people. Shame on you for the lies you want to put in your children’s heads.  Shame on you for wanting to recast our history books for today’s and a future generation of Americans with a lie. Why, because you have a problem with people of color, so it is purely self-centered and stupid.

Shame on you, those who call yourselves christen, who obviously twist the words of the Bible for personal and political preference. The same applies to you, the super-rich, whose only loyalty is to wealth and not specifically to any particular country.  Your aim is to grab power by monetarily polluting any and all aspects of the political process of this country with your self-centered interpretation of what and who is a real American. Not to think of your idea as to what moral characteristics and priorities should inspire this country.

When Abraham Lincoln said some eons ago, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”  In this era of a great number of white people voting against their own interest, or like the last midterm election, countless Americans across the board not voting at all, we get the government we deserved. Sticking with our beloved President Lincoln he also said of politicians…”…a set of men who have interest aside from the interest of people and who, to say the most of them, are, taken as a mass, a least one long step removed from honest men.”  Time and time again, regardless of party this has proven to be true. Our former president, while staying on the subject of politicians…also said, “A statesman is he who thinks in the future generations, and a politician is one who thinks in the upcoming elections.”

It is the Statesmen we attempt to elect and often sometimes find ourselves having elected a politician. Reasons for this are varied, sometimes caused by money in politics used to frame a candidate’s policy. Candidates themselves projecting an image rather than whom they really are, with the all-encompassing idea of winning.

But one of my favorites from this enormously gifted prophet is, “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.” When we get away from that idea is when we find ourselves drifting into problems.

It is not hard to see if people are paying attention, that the public’s perception of what should be our policies toward whatever in this country is 99.9% fair to all concerned.  Most people just want our country to be what it says it is and protect those less fortunate by putting them in programs that will allow them to eventually prosper. That theory describes the core of an average American.  It crosses the boundaries of red and blue states and goes deeper than a political party preference. We see that every day in public opinion polls, depending upon who is sponsoring the survey. As long as American has the unfiltered facts about a subject, we always come up with the right course of actions. The problem arises with the involvement of the politicians above, millionaires, and crackpots. We have got to ignore the will of special interest and follow the will of the people.

So yes, I, or we can say shame on all those I have alluded to in this article, but do they care?  Of course not, so we the people must insist that our politicians and people in positions of authority all throughout our society reflect that of the will of the people, not just a select few. On whose side would you find God? On the side that is morally responsible. That responsibility is ours and ours alone. All that’s left now if for us to facilitate the changes required to make that happen. I’m down for it and are all in, are you?

 

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo  

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p436aY-63

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

 

Get my latest book, a collection of my blogs from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hampscofa.net/

 

 

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

 

Without Structure, Formation and Organizational Purpose, there’s Chaos

There is no doubt, when you consider yourself a people expert; you are often reminded there is no such person. People surprise you with certain actions on a daily basis. In other words, you think you know what is going on and then someone, or in my case a few people, flip the script.

Office Pic Just to provide a little background here, last year, my wife and I were invited to attend a…let’s call it a community activist group meeting. Keep in mind those are my words, not the groups’ description of themselves. There lies the problem. In hindsight, I’m not so sure the nucleus members, who are the initial people who formed the group, were exactly sure of their own expectations. Or better yet, I don’t think they were aware of how something like this could take off.

This group formation took place right after the shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, MO police officer.  They were a group (two or three couples) of concerned professional people with high school children, young cousins, and other family members who fit the Michael Brown profile. That exact description being a young black male. I believe my wife and I attended one of the first meetings. It was a nice close-knit group of friends and family members, mostly talking about what happened in Ferguson and other places in this country. Naturally the question came up; suppose another incident happened in the Bay Area?  How should we, as a community, respond and what could we do to prevent these types of occurrences?  It was a nice little venting session; everybody took part in talking about the lack of organization in the black community. The food was great, with everyone feeling comfortable contributing their concern or remedies.  Bottom line, we all agreed we could no longer stand by while our young black men and woman become targets for what seemed to be rogue policemen. In the end, everyone was asked to bring in other interested people at the next monthly meeting in an attempt to grow this little body.

The second meeting was just a lively, attending by a couple more people, with lots of venting because there had been a few more national incidents. That is when I started calling for forming an organization in which we could specifically legitimize our group. Most people understand that you have safety and power in numbers. Yet to be effective, your group not only has to have a name, but certain individuals within should be responsible for completing the group’s task and business.

Fast forward to what was probably our second best attending meeting (4th meeting) with an impressive number of professional people, but may turn out to be the last meeting I will attend. At least that is the way I felt after leaving the meeting. It’s not that the meeting was unproductive. Our host had a couple of interesting guest speakers, a young man who is the head of a local youth group and a newly elected city councilwoman from the host city.  It was that the pre-distributed agenda I sent out was not following and even worse, not brought-up. We did have a member stand up, bringing us up to speed as what went on during the last meeting. Yet in the end the meeting lasted too long, getting off track of our groups initial interest.  Why, partially because there were new people and they wanted to offer their comments or their concerns. The pre-distributed emailed agenda was not even introduced so the gathering turned into a free fall. And finally with the meeting lasting so long, people who had other Saturday night plans began to leave. While even others broke off into their own one or two person conversations about issues of concern.

By now you can see where this is headed which is why, my first thought, wait a minute. I don’t have the time or the patience for these kinds of meetings. I had flashbacks of our early nineties Procurement meetings at Oakland Naval Supply Center. The type of assembly where some employees, wise to our attempt at solving issues, would call a meeting just to vent or take a break away from their duties. They would bring up all kinds of issues that had nothing to do with the purpose of that particular meeting. Sometimes we would meet and throw out complaints of whatever, against whomever, whereas the meeting would last hours over the initial schedule time. Yet, not so surprising as soon as it was time for those who were extending the meetings with so-called concerns suddenly realized it was time for them to leave for the day. Now they’d abruptly call for the meeting to end. I have been in those type meetings and even some meetings with managers and union personnel where the only thing decided was to have another meeting on the same subject in the near future. Talk about a waste of time. This type of behavior was stopped cold with the implementation of a Quality Program for our Naval Base. Production, communications, and cooperation between warring factions, so to speak, improved a hundred and sometimes two hundred percent. That “Q” program turned the entire Base operations around and allowed us win awards for productivity and ability to solve problems between the union, employees, and management.

So you see, I’ve seen both sides (as employee and manager) of a non-functional body. I could see chaos beginning to become the norm in our little group. The good news, after I fired off a comment about the group drifting, I met with one of the founders. He in fact had mentioned the same thing when I saw him in church the following day after the Saturday meeting. “I think we have lost our focus.”  He said as I agreed and told him about the email I’d written at 4:00am that Sunday Morning. In short we met again that following Wednesday. We talked about regaining the focus and following the agenda was the primary reason we always got so far off track. In all, we agreed, as had other attendees he’d spoken with. It was also the major concern for one particular member who texted me after I sent the email. Yes, we needed to regain the purpose of our organization. So I agreed to continue and we will see where we go from here.

I didn’t write this blog to out my little group.  I wanted to highlight how the good intentions of good people can go astray, possible dissolving before it accomplishes anything. There is a dire need for us as people to be more proactive than reactive to incidents in our communities. When a tragedy happens, say an unarmed black youth gets shot and killed by the police. Nine times out of ten, police departments and police unions circle the wagon to protect that officer. Often before they really understand what happened. The community gets upset, hit the streets with signs, there are confrontations with the police who really has a personal interest in protecting one of their own. The fine line between serving the public and the big “blue line” so to speak is tenuous at best. If we already have a community activist organization(s) in place, no time is wasted. Such a body can immediately move to insist on an independent and thorough investigation. That type of push back can avert these confrontational scenes we see on the nightly news. People, we have to get organize now, not later on after an event.

The lesson here that newly formed groups or organization should take from this blog is developing a Mission Statement and never deviate too far from the meeting’s agenda. By all means make sure you have an agenda and everyone is aware of the topics scheduled. Designate time on the agenda for members to bring up subjects of interest for group discussion and action.

Social issues, especially those in our communities hit close to home for members because it affects them directly or indirectly. There is a passionate concern; therefore they want to be heard while commenting on those issues. We all want to solve these problems and make no mistake about it. They are our community problems and no one else is really interested as they have their own problems requiring attention in their neighborhoods. So…people are bringing up these subjects because they are emotionally and financially (Property value, safety, of any cost involved) invested.  You do not want to discourage anyone who is willing to participate as evidenced by their attendance at your meeting.

This is a time when that participation is sorely needed at the Parent Teachers Associate, City Council, Church business, and all Community Activist meetings. These are the forums in which you can voice your opinion and facilitate changes in the way your local officials go about their daily business. Go to the meeting where school curriculums are decided, police training is discussed. If these meetings are not opened to the public,  form an Activist group to legitimately and formally address those concerns to the Responsible Parties. Let’s, as is the mantra for our little community group; let’s make those people in a position of authority accountable for their actions or inactions. If we do this on a grand scale by cooperating with other organizations in our communities, you will be surprised at how that affects some of the society ills.  And just as important it will let those in power as well as the media know, we are not going to take this preferential treatment of one community over another anymore.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo  

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p436aY-5U

 

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

 

Get my latest book, a collection of my blogs from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hampscofa.net/

 

 

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Black Legends of the Wild, Wild West, Part IV

This is the fourth and final article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. First we looked at US Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves, followed by Mary Fields aka Stagecoach Mary. Then James Pierson Beckwourth, American Mountain Man and our final legend from the old west is Nat (pronounced Nate) Love aka Deadwood Dick and a few others.  

Nat Love and 3 little cowpokesIf I told you that it was reasonable to assume that one out of every three cowboys, or even three out of every five in the old west were men of color, would you believe me? Keep in mind the duties of cowboys, especially drover’s included driving herds of cows over a long distant, often forging new trails, facing rustlers of all colors and creed, land barons looking to make a fast buck for allowing passage, and the always possibility of losing a small number of the cows along the way if not the entire herd. They had to manage the heat, wind or rain storms and lighting that may spook the cattle into a stampede.

Ever seen movies where the herd is restless on a dark night with the sound of accidental gunfire, thunder or lightning, maybe even the rattling of chuck wagons metal plates and cups sets them off. All trail hands mount up to stop them from running off a cliff or running themselves to deaths. Every seen the width of the horns on a Texas longhorn cow or steer? Imagine riding a galloping horse in the dark trying to avoid gopher holes and other obstacles on the ground. All while turning those puppies running at speeds up to twenty-five, thirty-five or even forty-miles-per hour depending on their size and what frightened them.

Once the remainder of the herd was delivered to the loading pens, the trail hands job was finished. They were off to celebrate a long hard journey by whatever amused them at the time. As depicted in the movies, since these were underpaid and overworked young men, they looked for quick thrills.  There was then, as is now for that matter, nothing like wine, women and song to provide a day and night to remember for a young man. I remember one night in South Korea in 1962…me and…whoops, sorry I almost forgot this story is about the old west.

Those cowhands that worked in the loading pens were considered less than the trail hands. You had to walk among the cattle prodding them along to different parts of the stockyard. Sometimes those cattle had been in those pens for days, eating, drinking water and releasing waste of all kinds’ right where they stood. So walking around in those pens could be difficult, made even worse if you are trying to cut out the group of cows from a large corral. Or steer, by prodding a bunch of cows with long poles, one at a time up a ramp for the purpose of loading them onto a train’s cattle car. Thus the name “cowpuncher” was awarded to these men. That could be dirty and nasty work for even less pay than a trail hand. Recorders of History via books, and writers of movie, TV scripts have all grouped these individual that handle cows on ranches, trail drives and pens at the end of the trail as “Cowboys.” Now I ask again, if I told you on an average, one out of every three Cowboys were men of color would you believe me?

Before, and even more freed and former slaves after the Civil War filled these low paying jobs.  This was during a time (late 1860’s to mid-1890’s) when the big herds were being driven from the west to eastern shipping points and beyond. Most still earned less than their white counterparts. Emancipated Blacks contributed to filling a workforce void of white men because of the huge number of manpower lost by the Confederacy and Union States alike. Add that to losses in the West, such as the Indian Wars, rampant diseases, land rights skirmishes, and Saturday night shoot-outs or just overall drunken gunfights.  One can see why the life expectancy for those type individuals (cowboys, gunslingers & outlaws) was around thirty-five.

There were over 186, 000 black people serving in the Union Armies. A very small number served in the Confederacy, most until the first chance they had to run away from the masters who had them there to fill the dirtiest jobs that Southerners did not want to do. At war’s end, the Union Army established colored units from those men who fought during the Civil War. There were four infantry units and two Cavalry regiments. All units accepted new recruits who were fit for duty. This was also a way for emancipated blacks to earn a living and get an education while gaining respect from most in the nation as part of the Armed Services of the United States. All units, 24th, 25th, 38th, 40th, and 41st Infantry regiments along with the 9th and 10th Cavalry were stationed in the south-western Plains.

This was right in the heart of the Indian Wars being fought on behalf of the residents and new settlers to the area. By now you have heard of the term “Buffalo Soldiers.”  A term of respect for their bravery bestowed upon the 9th and 10th Cavalry by the Cheyenne and Comanche Indians. The Buffalo Soldiers fought Indians, cattle rustlers, Mexican revolutionaries, outlaw gangs, all while patrolling small ranches and railway construction lines. They contributed to building military outposts and erected telegraph lines.

Some call him the most famous black cowboy of them all. Nat (pronounced Nate) Love was born a slave, in Davidson County, Tennessee in 1854. Reading was against the law for slaves, nevertheless, as a child, he was taught how to read and write by his father, Sampson. After slavery had ended, his father, once a slave foreman in the fields, and his wife (Nat’s mother, a former manager of the plantations kitchen) settled on a small farm. Sampson Love died after the second years planting of tobacco and corn crops. Nat had to take a job on a neighboring farm to help out with the dwindling family finances.

After a few more years of odd jobs in the area, he left for the west. He was in search of a better life and earning a living while yearning for a free young man’s adventurous lifestyle. He met Bronco Jim, one of the black cowboys who were part of a Texas bunch preparing to return home after delivering their herd to Dodge City, Kansas. Asking for a job, the trail boss agreed to hire him if he rode and broke one of the orneriest horses in the outfit. Bronco Jim, his name giving his profession, gave his newfound friend a few quick pointers. Albeit the toughest ride of his life, he survived the ride and was hired.

It didn’t take him long to be indoctrinated into the hard life of a cowboy. After being involved in Indian hostile’s attacks and fighting off rustlers, he took every chance he could to practice shooting his forty-five pistol. He became a marksman with the weapon. He left his Texas Panhandle job and landed in Arizona working with Mexican vaqueros. Nat picked up the Spanish language and learned to identify cattle brands. The spring of 1876 saw his outfit head out for Deadwood City in the Dakota Territory to deliver three thousand head of cattle. They rode into town on the day before the Fourth of July celebrations.

The betting members in the town had put together a sporting event in honor of the holiday. It was a contest ideal to show off the expertise of a cowboy. $200 (equal to $5000 today) would be awarded to the best man who could rope, throw, tie bridles, saddle and ride some of the wildest mustangs, chosen for the contest. Note the winner had to perform the feat quicker than any other in the contest. There were a dozen men, six of them black, who entered the event. Nat completed the task in nine minutes, three minutes and twelve seconds better than his closest competitor, another black cowboy. Next was rifle and Colt shooting event. Each contestant was to fire rifle twelve shots, and the same amount of pistol rounds at a black bull’s eye target placed at 100 and 250 yards. Nat hit the bull’s-eye on all his rifle shots with ten of the twelve pistol shots hitting the target almost dead center. Nat Love’s display of his cowboy skills and marksmanship earned him the $200 in prize money so much so that Deadwood City town folk gave him the name of “Deadwood Dick.”

The words of Nat “Deadwood Dick” Love which appears in his self-authored 1907 autobiography, entitled “Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country ad ‘Deadwood Dick’ by Himself.” are descriptive of a specific era in our history. He wrote, “It has now been many years since I quit the range, and as my mind wanders back over those years as it often does, memories both pleasant and sad pass in review and it is but fitting that I record a few of them as a final to the history of my life which has been so full of action, which is but natural as the men of those days were men of action. They had to be, and probably their actions were not all good, that I freely admit, but while that is so, it is equally so that their actions were not all bad, far from it. And in the history of the frontier there is recorded countless heroic deeds performed, deeds and actions that required an iron nerve, self denial in all that these words imply, the sacrificing of one life to save the life of a stranger or a friend. Deeds that stamped the men of the western plains as men worthy to be called men, and while not many of them would shine particularly in the polite society of today or among the 400 of Gotham, yet they did shine big and bright in the positions and at a time when men lived and died for a principle, and in the line of duty. A man who went to the far west or who claimed it as his home in the early days found there a life far different from that led by the dude of Fifth Avenue. There a man’s work was to be done, and a man’s life to be lived, and when death was to be met, he met it like a man.”

Nat Love worked as a Pullman porter on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad in the latter part of his life. He died (1921) in Los Angeles, California at the ripe old age of sixty-seven, some thirty-two years beyond the life expectancy of his peers from that era.

Men like “One Horse Charlie,” a black cowboy who reportedly rode with the Shoshone Indian tribe.

There are numerous black cowboys from that era. Men like Bronco Sam, who once rode a longhorn steer on a dare. This after his crew roped and saddled the animal for the black bronco-buster. He rode the bucking and frightened steer down the main street of Cheyenne, Wyoming followed by his crew yelling in encouragement. After seeing its own reflection in the glass window of a clothing storefront, the animal charged through the window directly at his reflection. Store shoppers and clerks went diving to get out of the way of this bucking animal. People on the outside watched as the animal turned back toward the hole he had made with is entrance. He ran, still bucking and trying to toss off Bronco Sam, who was still in the saddle. His horns had a few store items, underwear, pants, coats, and other assorted pieces of or whole garments. It was reported that Bronco Sam shouted after dismounting the steer now once again roped to be led back to the herd, “I brought out a suit of clothes for everybody in the crew.” Bronco Sam rode back into town and paid the shopkeeper $350 he said was owed him for the damages.

Then there is Jesse Stahl, who competed in an early 1900 Rodeo in Oregon. He felt he was cheated out of an outstanding first place ride by a racist judge who awarded his second place. In protest, Jesse rode his next bronco facing backward with a suitcase in his hand, just to show off his abilities for all to see.

Other men like Addison Jones, Range Boss, (1845-1926) aka “Nigger Add” or “Old Add.” He was a range boss for the LFD outfit where he led a crew of south Texas black cowboys. A man whose recognized cowboy skills in western Texas- eastern Mexico labeled him as “the most noted Negro cowboy that ever ‘topped off’ a horse.”

Bose Ikard (1843-1929), born a slave in Mississippi, arrive in Texas as a child with his owner Dr. Milton L. Ikard. After the Emancipation Proclamation, he stayed on with the Doctor as an employee until 1866. At which time he joined a trail drive to Colorado in the employ of Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving. Eventually, he worked for Oliver Loving, who was killed in a skirmish against the Comanche’s and then as a tracker, cowboy and de facto banker for Charles Goodnight. The “Goodnight Loving Cattle Trail” was named after his bosses. Upon his death, Goodnight, paid for a grave marker for Bose Ikard. On it he inscribed “with me four years on the Goodnight-Loving Trail, never shirked duty or disobeyed an order, rode with me in many stampedes, participated in three engagements with Comanche’s, splendid behavior. C. Goodnight.”

Goodnight was quoted by the Weatherford Daily Herald in June of 1929, saying “I have trusted him farther than any living man. He was my detective, banker, and everything else in Colorado, New Mexico, and the other wild country I was in.”

Authors Note: I was proud to learn that the character of Joshua Deets (portrayed by actor Danny Glover) in one of my favorite cowboy movies, the TV mini-series, Lonesome Dove was based on Bose Ikard. By the way, Lonesome Dove’s four episodes in 1989 were Co-Executive Produced by Motown’s Suzanne De Passe. It has an outstanding all-star cast and storyline. A storyline I also learned while doing the research for this article is based on the lives of Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight. This is why I love American history.

Isom DartNot so final, but finally for this article is Ned Huddleston (aka Isom Dart) (1849-1900). Born as a slave in Arkansas he later earned such nicknames as the “Black Fox” and the “Calico Cowboy”. He ended up in Texas as a twelve-year-old in the company of his owner in 1861, a Confederate Officer during the Civil War. After the war, he left for the southern Texas-Mexico border region. He found work as a stunt rider which enhanced his horse skills.  He was labeled as an Outlaw while working with Terresa, a young Mexican bandit as they rustled horses in Mexico. They brought the stolen mounts back across the Texas border, selling them for cash.

By 1875, he’d join up with the Tip Gault cattle and horse rustling Gang working out of southeastern Wyoming. The gang was eventually ambushed by an angry rancher and his men.  Everyone but Ned Huddleston was killed in the gunfight. Changing his name to Isom Dart, he began a new life of hard work as a bronco buster.

Around 1890, he became a rancher, even though, some of the Brown’s Hole locals felt he built up his herd with stolen cattle from their ranches. They hired the infamous Tom Horn, a range detective, to handle the matter. Horn, as was his style to take no chances, ambushed, killing Isom Dart on October 3, 1900. Some in the area were convinced of his guilt by the ranchers who hired Tom Horn. Others were not so sure as they saw a changed man in Isom Dart. They felt that cattlemen wanting his land were the real reason for the charge and killing.

Final Authors Note: For western yore and cowboy movie buffs like me, this has been a pleasure researching and writing this series. Doubling so because the stars are black like me. For all minorities, it is never too late to learn about your history and how America was built by people of all races, colors and creed. That is the beauty of the computer and internet, no one can tell you different. There are too many to credit here, but a heartfelt thank you to all that have documented the information I found in research, including some that have died but left books. I do have my sources on file.

One more request if you will. I know that we are in an instantaneous cycle as for as delivering and interpreting information and news. Let me caution people of color. We are individually responsible for ensuring we get information that is not only credible but inclusively thorough. Too many reporters in the majority of media outlets are settling for the headline grabber without completing the authentication process. As a kid, I never heard of the individuals noted in this article. Yet they lived, and made history that was not being reported during my childhood. Let’s not fall for the Okie-doke again.         

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

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Black Legends of The Wild, Wild West, Part III

This is the third article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. First we looked at US Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves, followed by Mary Fields aka Stagecoach Mary. Today we examine the life of James Pierson Beckwourth, American Mountain Man.

There is some discrepancy as to when James Pierson Beckwourth was born. Was it 1798 or 1800? There is no disputed of the facts about the impact he had on discovering what came to be known as the Beckwourth Pass and subsequent Trail.  A trail that went through the Sierra Nevada Mountains between Reno, Nevada and Portola, California, and in which thousands of settlers found their way into central California.

beckwourthHe was a mulatto, son of a black slave mother (third or thirteen children), who’s father was Sir Jennings Beckwith, an English white man. As prescribed by the law at the time, his father raised him as his own son. Yet legally, young James was considered a slave.  His biography states that his father appeared in court, once in 1824, 1825, and 1826. All in an effort to “acknowledged the execution of a Deed of Emancipation from him to James, a mulatto boy.”

James, or Jim as he was sometimes called, was the only black person who recorded his exploits during the discovery and subsequent settlement of the old western frontier. While dictating his autobiography to Thomas D. Bonner (Traveling Justice of the Peace with corrupt reputation) in 1854-55 California gold fields, it was thought he stretched the truth. Later, some historians accused him of lying, although they may have had reasons for not wanting, who they called “a mongrel of mixed blood” to get credit for any discovery or good deed.  Although many of the exploits detailed in the autobiography passed the truth test by others who substantiated his accounts of what happened, James role in events almost always made him the eventual hero. Many of his acquaintances who took part in forging trails and exploring the West didn’t see themselves as heroes but more of doing what they had to do to survive. That is probably why they viewed his 1856 book, (The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, Mountaineer, Scout, and Pioneer, and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians, published by Harper and Brothers) as something of a joke. See Note 1.

Excluding those events that were substantiated by others as being accurate and true, James did have a way of exaggerating the numbers of Indians that attacked a particular exploration outpost or trading post. Historians found that some of the dates were also wrong or off by a couple of years. Some did consider the fact that the James dictation of events happened more than a few years and in some instances, decades earlier. They also found that correcting the misspelling of names in the book actually helped to authenticate the events. Most of the misspelling of names was attributed to Judge Thomas D. Bonners transcribing what he thought he heard from James Beckwourth. In the end, the book is now considered be an excellent account of life with the Crow for instance, or for life and hardships during a very historical era in our American History.

Captured by Crow Warriors (James account to his biographer) or assigned to the Rock Mountain Fur Company to the tribe to facilitate trade, according to a guess by independent sources (whoever they were and how independent were they is the question). James stay with the Crow Indian Tribe began sometime around 1828. He spent the next eight to nine years with them.  Documents confirmed his eventual leadership role as a War Chief.  James told his biographer he was appointed as the Chief of the Crow Nation immediately after the death of Chief Arapooish (Rotten Belly)

A restless man who tired of routines quickly, the fall of 1837 found him headed for Seminole country and the war they carried out against the white man. By October, his travels led him to the Florida Everglades as head of a band of Express Riders and Muleteers. He was to be paid $50 per month.  His account of the incidents was accurate. It was not the adventure James had hoped for as the initial mission ended with men and horses stranded for days on a reef until rescued by a steam boat. This after the small boats carrying riders and horses ran into a killer storm which was too much for the inexperienced mountain men. There were no heroes in this story of men being fired for refusing to continue their mission on foot.

It was written that James Beckwourth also accurately described the Okeechobee Battle the following Christmas Day of the same year. Later, and for the next ten months he scouted while carrying messages and military dispatches from point to point. His job had become boring to him so he left for St Louis, where he was without a job for five days.

Once again, he was in his element, working again for The American Fur Company in the land of the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho Indians.  By the way, all three were enemies of the Crow tribe.  As the agent-in-charge, they were sent to Fort Vasquez via the Santa Fe Trail. That trade expedition lasted two years after having a very successful first year.

His California connection came during January of 1844. A year later he was involved in the settler’s revolt against Mexican control of California.  After experiencing the highs and lows of a marriage (Luisa Sandoval), independently traded with the Cheyenne angered his former employees. So much so, they tried to kick him, his wife, along with their almost thirty other settler families, out of the newly built Pueblo (now Colorado) trading post. This is why he is credited with helping found the town of Pueblo, Colorado. After being on the road again, James returned to Pueblo to find that Luisa had married another man. James said her current husband had produced a document that stated James wanted to be free from Luisa. He decided not to pursue the matter, once again becoming single.

Leaving, he wound up in Santa Fe and entering into a partnership with an acquaintance in ownership of a hotel. Outside of being an excellent trader as evidenced by his trade with the Indians, he more or less left the administration of the hotel matters in the hands of his partner. James continued to do what he did best, scout, and blaze trails while carrying dispatches from the Army. News of the massacre of all the Americans living in Taos angered all settlers in the area including James whose former boss, friends and acquaintances were among the dead. After the Indians and Mexican rebels defeat, he managed to witness the January, 1847 hangings which many saw as revenge for the Taos massacre. This in keeping with his uncanny fortunate or misfortune in some cases to be at a historic event and in most case is involved in many ways.

Such was the same with his trek to the California Gold Fields in the fall of 1848. There is the authenticated report James discovering a grisly murder of the family, servants and visitors at the San Miguel Mission. While on an assigned route on the Monterey to Nipomo mail route, he almost tripped over a man’s body located in the house. He recalled the notion to look no further and rode to get a posse. He returned to the house to find the entire gross scene of eleven murdered family members (husband William Reed), wife, her infant child, a midwife, along with other children and Indian servants. The perpetrators tried to burn the Reed’s house bodies and dwelling, but the fire died out. It turned out they were still in the house when James first entered and was intending to shoot him if he had opened a door behind which they were hiding. The posse caught the murderers near Santa Barbara. Beckwourth bio went on to state there were “two Americans, two Englishmen, and ten Irishmen,” responsible for the hideous killings. Others put the number at four men, one of which drowned in an attempt to escape the posse. The thought was that James Beckwourth biographer, Judge Bonner misunderstood the words an Irishmen to be ten Irishmen as James recounted the incident to him to transcribe. James did dictate the murderer’s fate as tried in his words, “we shot them, including the state’s evidence.”  Meaning the one murderer who told them what happened while hoping to be spared immediate death, and sentenced to imprisonment for turning states evidence.  At least that is how historians interpreted this account. As to who tried them, or where anyone would go to prison, well that’s another story not told here.

beckwourth21850 found James (Jim) P. Beckwourth in northern California prospecting for gold. Without going into the descriptive details of his thoughts as written, he correctly surmised that a pass he found would accommodate horse or mule pulled wagons headed into what was called the American Valley (Central California).  It would be especially helpful to those people coming from the east.  It was the lowest mountain pass and a direct route through the Sierra Nevada Mountains which was no small discovery at the time. It actually saved travelers approximately 150 miles whereas they avoided having to climb several steep slopes like Donner Summit. Remember the Donner Party (1846-47) being caught there having to stay the winter. His discovery is currently called Beckwourth Pass.

After working to develop the trail during that summer, and well into the spring and summer of 1851, he led the first wagon train of settlers over the trail into Marysville, California. He was supposed to be paid for his discovery and efforts by the Marysville business community and other local gold towns. However, (also summer of 1851) when he tried to collect his earnings, Marysville blamed their inability to pay on two major fires that economically hindered the town.  Subsequently he had no other recourse but to accept their reasoning. As a black man, he could not sue for damages (see Note 2) in a California Court.  Other wagon trains and travelers used the Beckwourth Trail and Pass up through 1855 and beyond. Even as the railroad became the preferred method of travel to California in 1855. In fact, the Western Pacific Railroad (at the time) used the route to cross the Sierra’s running along the Feather River.

Ever the enterprising trader, Beckwourth established his ranch and trading post in the valley just west of the pass. Add his hotel to the area located in the Sierra Valley that is now called Beckwourth, California. This is the site and timeframe upon which his biography was dictated to Judge Thomas D. Bonner, who produced the book. According to a contract, James Beckwourth was to receive half the proceeds from the book from Bonner, which never happened.  Reportedly James stayed here until 1858. He left for Missouri in 1859, eventually settling in Denver, Colorado that same year. He was employed as a storekeeper and was also appointed as Indian agent by Denver’s City Council.

By 1864, he was forced to act as a scout against the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians which led to the infamous Sand Creek Massacre. The massacre resulted in ending any further contact or interaction between Beckwourth and the Cheyenne or Arapaho tribes.

In 1866, while acting as a scout for Forts Laramie and Kearny, he suffered nosebleeds and headaches which complicated the carrying out of his mission or assignments. Finally, he returned to his beloved Crow Indians along the Bighorn River where he died on October 29, 1866.  He was placed on an elevated platform (customary of the Crow) in Laramie, Albany County, Wyoming.

 

Note 1: Bonner edited or “polished up” Beckwourth rough narrative, and submitted the book to the eventual publisher, Harper and Brothers in 1856. Despite its flaws in dates and misspelling of subjects name, historians have touted the book as an acceptable reference of Frontier Life. It also provides a look at government policies regarding alcohol, diseases, massacres, and war.

Note 2: In 1996, the Promoters of Beckwourth Frontier Days was instrumental in renaming Marysville’s largest park to Beckwourth Riverfront Park. This act was in direct recognition of the unpaid debt owed to James P. Beckwourth causing the following growth of the city.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Black Legends of the Wild, Wild West, Part II

This is the second article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. First we looked at US Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves. Today we take a look at Mary Fields aka Stagecoach Mary.

fields Mary Fields was born a slave in Hickman County, Tennessee sometime in 1832. She lived on the family farm. Both the farm and Mary was owned by Judge Edmund Dunn. The judge’s daughter, Dolly, was about the same age as Mary. They became good friends. It is not known who taught her, but Mary was taught to read and write.

She, like countless others, was also freed by the Emancipation Proclamation Act of 1863. Yet, she stayed with the Dunn family. After the Judges death and upon the death of his wife Josephine (1883), Mary took the family’s five children to join Dolly in Toledo, Ohio. This was where Dolly lived after becoming a nun, followed by being named Mother Superior Mary Amadeus.

A year later, Mother Superior was sent to the Montana Territory. At the request of the Jesuits, she was assigned to head a school for Indian girls at St. Peter’s Mission. Accepting the assignment she left with five Ursuline nuns heading for the mission. Their task, as the first to do so, was to create and establish a curriculum to teach Native Americans from the Cheyenne, Crow, Blackfoot, and Gros Ventre-Assiniboine Reservation located in central and eastern Montana. The cold and severe winters along with other frontier elements made the task even more daunting for the nuns.

For some unknown reason, Mary Fields stayed behind. Later, learning of Mother Amadeus bout with pneumonia, she went to the St Peters Mission aid her friend. Mother Superior Amadeus recovered and Mary ended up staying at the mission.  She earned her keep by taking a job with the Ursuline nuns. The 6 foot, approximately 200 hundred pound dark-skinned black woman, was an imposing figure to the locals, no matter their race. Her duties included hauling supplies from around Cascade County, Montana area, Great Falls, or Helena to the St. Peters Mission. By now she had become hardened by the frontier life. She took to smoking harsh cigars and carrying a pistol strapped under her apron. That type life alone designated certain duties such as required including patchwork carpentry, chopping wood, cutting down small trees and digging various type holes for the mission.

Her Biography says that Native Americans of the area called her “White Crow” because “she acts like a white woman but has black skin.” One schoolgirl wrote of her in an essay, saying “she drinks whiskey, and she swears, and she is a republican, which makes her a low, foul creature.”

She became known as a fist fighter that would protect her rights at the drop of a hat. One website reported that the Grate Falls Examiner stated “She broke more noses than any other person in central Montana.”

There are different reports on the cause of a gunfight between Mary and one of the disgruntled workers at the mission. Mary was in charge, acting as the Forman, which reportedly angered this particular individual. Some say the man didn’t like to be told what to do by a black woman. But in our experience, even today, these issues are normally based upon economic reasons. The fact she was earning a reported $2 per month more that he, evidently, sent him off on a constant complaining campaign to whoever would listen. He even registered a complaint with the managing Bishop in charge of the nuns and mission. The old, why should an “uppity colored woman” make more than a man was his rant.

The man’s nerve wracking complaints caused an altercation that resulted in a shootout. One version of how it started says the man hit Mary. As she fell, she pulled her six-shooter and fired, missing the guy. He pulled his gun firing, but missing and the shootout was on. Another report says Mary went looking, found the man by a latrine he was cleaning, and fired at the man upon sight.  She missed and the shootout was on.  Without going into further specifics of the differing details of the subsequent shootout, in fact there were several gunshots fired by both parties in the back of the mission. Both emptied their six-shooters ending with the man getting wounded in the buttocks. The altercation caused Mary to get fired by the managing Bishop as soon as he got wind of the gunfight. It was said the Bishop had been asking the nuns to get rid of her a long time before the shootout.

After the firing, her friend Mother Amadeus helped her open a restaurant in Cascade, which was not that far from the St Peters mission. Evidently, the gruff exterior and frontier mannerisms of Mary hid her compassion for the downtrodden and destitute. It seems that all you needed to eat in Mary’s restaurant was an appetite. She may have been an excellent friend, nanny, worker, but her cooking wasn’t that well received. Nor was she a very good business person. Thus, the place went broke within ten months. Before the closure, she fed any (person who would eat what she prepared) and everybody whether they had the money to pay for the meal or not. I would guess everybody, except the man with which she had the shootout.

At 60 years-old in 1895, she won a job as a mail carrier.  She won because she was the fastest of twelve other cowboy applicants, half her age, to hitch a team of six horses to the mail wagon. With this assignment, she became the second American woman employed by the United States Postal Service and the first black woman mail carrier in the US. The nickname “Stagecoach” was earned in recognition of her reliability. Is the snow too deep for her horse team? No matter, Mary used snowshoes while carrying the mail sacks on her shoulders. She, and her mule, Moses, would deliver the mail in blizzards, extreme heat to the outlying and miner’s cabins.

That was just nature elements that attempted to stop this determined woman. For six years, she rode a stagecoach carrying the mail, money and other items for delivery over a frontier postal route. The trails were littered with desperate people who did mind taking a chance on stealing whatever this black woman was carrying. In those rare occasions where some desperado had not heard of Stagecoach Mary, they may try to rob her. Their first surprise would be that she was a woman driving a six-horse team coach. Added to their shock of seeing this tall black woman alone and out in the wilderness, was the site of a double barrel ten gauge shotgun leveled at them.  The question now became, who has the drop on whom? Since it was said she never lost a piece of mail or any other valuables in her care during a stagecoach run, we know how those confrontations ended.

She didn’t have to worry about hostile Indians because most Sioux had not seen a black person before, much less such an imposing tall and armed black woman like Mary. Rather than deal with someone or something they didn’t fully understand, they would not bother her. Can’t you just imagine two young Sioux braves pointing at her coach coming down the trail, turning their pony’s aside to get out of the rolling wagon wheels path. As Stagecoach Mary cracks her whip at the horses, yelling “Git-up-there Moses.” One of the braves turns to his friend and says while pointing in the coach’s direction…”Bad medicine.”

She finally moved on to a job that was less treacherous because of health issues. She opened a laundry (also in Cascade, Montana) at the age of seventy. Spending most of her time drinking, cigar smoking and spitting in the local saloon instead of doing laundry, she was reportedly content with life. Stagecoach Mary died of liver failure in 1914. Life expectancy in the old west for those who died violently was 35. For those who live an uneventful life and took care of themselves averaged 70 years old. Mary, an ex-slave, and black woman lived to be around 82 years old. Can you believe it?

Actress Esther Roll played Mary Fields in a 1976 TV Documentary, entitled South by Northeast, Homesteaders. Dawnn Lewis played her in a 1996 TV movie, The Cherokee Kid. Kimberly Elise was cast as Mary in the 2012 TV-movie Hannah’s Law. Next in this series is James P. Beckwourth. , American Mountain Man.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo  

 

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Get my latest book, a collection of my blogs from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hampscofa.net/

 

 

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Black Folk of the Wild, Wild West Part 1

This is the first article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. Today we take a look at U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves.

Bass-Reeves-Marshal-Bio1The subject matter and individual I’m writing about this Black History Month causes me to be reflective of my personal history. I remember when I was a nine, ten, eleven-year-old kid living in Milwaukee. Yes, it was that red brick apartment building located on thirteenth and Juneau that many have heard me lovingly refer too.

It reminds me of Saturday mornings spent watching ‘Tales of the Texas Rangers’, Lash LaRue, the Lone Ranger, and yes even Roy Rogers as well as other Cowboy television programs. We would eat breakfast, and hurry to the living room to watch my father’s, subsequently our favorite shows.  I had a makeshift holster and belt. It was just a blue boy scout’s belt with the shiny brass buckle running through a leather holster that held my trusty six- shooter. I would tie that holster down to my right thigh with an old shoe string just like a real gunfighter.

Talk about imagination, I was full of daydreams during those years. My friends or cousins, whenever they came over, and I would go in our back yard to play. We would use the fifty-gallon oil drums sitting on A-frame stands as horses. We’d even throw rags and an old blanket over the barrel as saddles. It didn’t help, because after we finished playing and went back inside? My stepmother would smell the coal oil residue on my pants and me. I would get another warning about her having to wash those pants in with other clothes spoiling the pleasant aroma she was creating with detergent fresher of some type. I am not sure, but I think after a while she just washed my play pants with daddy’s work pants.

Back then (mid-fifties) all the cowboys seen on television, movies were white. My father always told me not to worry about it because there were black cowboys in the old west.  Just because television program writers didn’t write about them, did not mean they didn’t exist. He’d tell me, I can be anything I want to be, just be the best at whatever I choose. So in my mind, it was my black face riding that horse chasing rustlers, bank robbers and fighting range wars. I would imagine me, family members, and other people I knew, would be just as comfortable in the old west as anybody.  Of course, later on in the sixties, seventies, and eighties, the public did see black faces appearing in cowboy, gangsters and all kinds of entertainment. It was readily known that Sammy Davis Jr was a fast draw expert in real life. He was seen as a frequent guest star in several of the cowboy television series. By that time, I’d hung up my gun and holster, turned to chasing girls instead of rustlers and the like.

One such real live lawman who roamed the old west while dishing out justice was U.S. Deputy Marshall Bass Reeves.  Born as a child of slaves in Paris, Texas in 1838, he served as a water boy until old enough to become a field hand. He became his master’s body servant and personal companion at an even older age.

Bass reportedly ran away after beating up his master (George Reeves) after some type of dispute during a card game. He found a safe haven by living with the Seminole and Cherokee Indians where he developed his skills with the pistol and rifle. This is also where he became fluent in several Native American languages.  He was finally freed in Abrahams Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation order of 1863.

Moving to and buying farmland in Van Buren Arkansas, while marrying Nellie Jennie a year later. He would go on to father ten children (five girls and 5 boys) from this union. Although the family lived happily on the farm, Bass restlessness and yearning for adventure was answered.

He was appointed as part of a 200 deputy crew by U.S. Marshall, James Fagan in 1875, because of his specific knowledge of the Indian Territory and his ability to speak their language. At the time, the area had become inundated with outlaws, thieves and murderers looking for an area that before had no federal or state jurisdiction. With a patrolling area covering 75,000 square miles, the deputies were instructed to bring in the perpetrators dead or alive.

At 38 years old, he was the first black U.S. Deputy Marshall to serve in that capacity west of the Mississippi River. Known as being courteous and impeccably dressed with his boots polished to a shine, he rode a large reddish stallion with a white-blazed faced. While marshaling in the Oklahoman Native American Territory, over his 32 years of service, he is credited with killing fourteen outlaws and having arrested 3,000 felony lawbreakers of all kind. At 6’2”, approximately 200 pounds, he was ambidextrous with a reputation for being quick, accurate and deadly with his two guns. He was just as skilled with a rifle. Maybe that is why in all those years he never suffered a gunshot wound; although his hat was shot off more than a few times. A big man with those kinds of skills had to be imposing enough to look at much less take on in a gunfight.

One of his most emotional and personal manhunts involved the apprehension of his son, Benny Reeves. The warrant charged his son with the murder of his young wife. The ultimate fair-minded Bass Reeves actually demanded the assignment as other deputies were reluctant to take the job because it was his son. In 1902, after a two-week trek into the badlands, he found and arrested his son. Returning him back to Muskogee, Oklahoma to face trial, he turned him over to Marshal Bennett. Benny was tried, convicted and served twenty years at Leavenworth for the crime. A citizen’s partition was instrumental in gaining his pardon and early release after which he spent the rest of his life without further incidents with the law.

By 1907, Oklahoma became a state and Reeves Deputy US Marshal Commission ended. He was 68 years old. He moved on to join the Muskogee Police Department until his health became a problem while attempting to carry out his duties.  Bass Reeves died of Bright’s disease in 1910. There are several books and articles written and available today. His life and exploits as a US Deputy Marshall was the subject of a movie entitled Bass Reeves, released in 2010. James A. House played the leading character. He confided that when independent filmmaker and owner of the San Ponderous Productions contacted to play the part, he “didn’t even know who Bass Reeves was.”

Here was a man who could not read or write. He had to have others read his warrants to him before searching for various outlaws. He would memorize the details from that reading, including which warrant was for whom.  When serving the document, he never failed to pick out the correct warrant belonging to a specific outlaw. It is amazing to me, how our people always found a way to adjust and make progress on whatever job they had to do. That is an important legacy they left us, the ability to improvise. To this day, we use those skills in our everyday lives. Deputy Marshall Reeves goes down in US history as one of the greatest frontier heroes this country has ever known. And once again, my father proved to be right. There were black folk roaming the Wild West.  Look for Part II next week.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo  

 

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Get my latest book, a collection of my blogs from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hampscofa.net/

 

 

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

January 2015, All Aboard

Leo the Lion 12726_873385972687384_6268419640750022861_n Could the calendar have the wrong year at 2015? Have we really passed through December of 2014 and entered into a new year? I’m a Leo and as such am a very inquisitive individual. I am always interested in the why, how and when. The late Sidney Omarr, once billed “as the foremost astrologer in the United States” wrote a book entitled “Astrology, You and Your Love Life.” I found it accurately described friends, family and my personality as associated with the various astrological signs than any other or astrologer I’ve heard since. For me and my wife (Aries) of 46 years, it nailed our personalities and served notice that we are fire signs, but compatible.

 

In the book, he wrote of Leo’s, “Obstinate, determined, colorful, exaggerators, at times boastful, but usually reserve the latter for challenges. You were born in a Fixed sign and the Fire element. You live for the love; without it, the greatest success imaginable could be nothing. That’s the key: Love, affection, appreciation, applause, encouragement, the knowledge that someone who cares is in our corner. You are gregarious; you can plan, even plot, train, and prepare alone, but for the ‘performance’ you need someone by your side.” Would you believe, in my much younger days, I thought this need to have someone at my side was a weakness? He went on to say “You can get along better without food than without love. That’s part of being born under the natural fifth zodiacal sing; it is a characteristic peculiar to Leo—it applies more, with greater intensity than it does to the rest of the signs.” This not only applies to the lady I am married too, but the need to feel appreciated by others. I long accepted this of myself and with prayer have managed to live a great life.

 

Slyvester and Fog Horn  Thus, I am a people person. I love helping others reach heights they never thought possible. I love advising others which explain why I love writing these articles. Yet I have to say, currently, I find myself having less and less patience with people who have no clue as to what they are talking about. People who are phony, users, rude, cruel, and drift through life without purpose or any real direction are a waste of time to be around. We all know people like this who are friends and family. I also pray for patience with the same.

 

Like you, at this time of year, I find myself taking stock of where I am at as an individual. I remember my childhood, as brief as it seems, was wild. There are little specks of memories and visions of a happy yet inquisitive child. Growing up, observing, I fully understood that my father was the head of the household.  He taught me to be in charge and responsible for myself and environment. It left the kind of lasting impression on me that govern my life choices through today, no matter how bold.

 

My father made his living working for the city as a trash man to pay his family bills.Through the years four seasons of winter, spring, summer, fall, and for 28 years, he walked the alleys of the city. Through rain, sleet, snow, bone-chilling and freezing cold he worked without soliciting a word of pity. It was through his example; I learned the meaning of sacrifice and work. He also taught me that weekends were for play and worship.

 

The teenage years are a lot clearer in my short attention span and often cluttered mind.Those were wild times of chasing girls and enjoying my youth during a changing time. Just like today, policemen stopped large crowds of youths just to see if anything was going on. Our little crowd was very diverse since we dated white, black, Hispanic, and Puerto Rican girls. Depending upon who you were walking with a large crowd to the police could be two people. I should also say, I had a cousin who was a detective on the Milwaukee police force that stopped me and others whenever he felt like it. Unlike today, policemen walked a beat and never felt threaten by us.

 

Then there was a thought I had of not being taught to take on the world in high school. I decided to join the Army, see the world at seventeen, and let my immature libido rule. I had to get the help of my stepmother, Rosalie, to get my father to sign a release for me to join as a minor. I also had to promise him I would finish high school. The first time I heard my basic training drill sergeant yell the name Hampton was sobering. The realization that I signed up for four long youthful years of this type of discipline was also discomforting. Now, I look back upon my military experience as time I matured, becoming an adult and proud black man. The story goes, enlisted as a boy and discharged as a well-traveled young man.

 

My father died at age 62 on January 14, 1988 of complications from a stroke…no one can replace “Brother Hamp.” There is no doubt that I am my father’s child, because I have most of his ways as the old folks say. There is no doubt that I am my mother’s too as I have a lot of her ways. Just ask my wife for confirmation.

 

We, as black people, have had a bad year in a lot of respects. 2014 was a political, social, community, and popularity upheaval in time.  We are under attack by people of wealth, right-wing conservatives of all colors even some in authority who are hired to protect and serve. Even at that, we can still look back at tremendous gains in the technical fields, self-worth, and support of family, friends, and others. It reminds me of the camaraderie that was realized during the Civil Rights Era.

 

We fast forward to a clear summer day in Pittsburg, California approaching the last days of May. I was approaching a monumental year in my age. I thought about a couple of friends and relatives in my life that are just passing through. Some have nothing to give, but will take all they can get. I sat there thinking of days gone by and wondering in amazement of what it will mean at the end of my day. Will I be loved and remembered as a good family man, friend, and grandpa by my family, friends, and Grandson? Will I be remembered as a man who loved life, served his fellow-man, and could say without hesitation, I had my time, and now I am done? On almost a daily basis, I am seated at my computer ten to twelve hours, in my view, trying to serve my people and mankind. Is it all for naught?

 

This past Sunday (12/28), I was awakened; in fact energized by an excellent preacher. The word came from a man I call my on-line pastor. He is Rev-Doctor Lance Watson from St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Virginia.  He based his sermon on Psalm 56. It was as if God himself was saying, keep your head up, I got you. I’ve always considered myself to be a physiologically strong individual. Yet there are times when circumstances, politics, along with some people words raise doubt in my direction and on rare occasions my capabilities.

 

My faith in God has always been there. The will for me to continue doing what I do while reaching out to you and others has been confirmed by Reverend Watson’s sermon. To some, it may be an old Negro cliché with me saying I don’t feel no ways tired. I know for a fact God ain’t through with me yet. I am reminded of my mantra in my younger days when asking family members to stick with me on this journey. The train is on the tracks, engine warmed up, and ready to go, all aboard? Those who are not going on this trip, please get out-of-the-way, you are impeding progress. We are leaving with or without you. I may be the conductor but God is driving. So how about it for 2015, all aboard? I think we are going to fool some and surprise a lot more people this year. There are times we love being underestimated because they don’t see us coming. Can’t you see them looking up and wondering how we got there, all aboard?

 

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

 

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo  

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Get my latest book, a collection of my blogs from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hampscofa.net/

 

 

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Looters & Arsonist are Lawbreakers, not Representatives of the Struggle

US Flag and Constitution

We watched our morning newscast the morning after the Ferguson Grand Jury declined to indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. We saw what most people expected. During the night, arsonist had set fire to cars and supposedly burned local businesses. One of which was a black woman owned bakery who was burned out. She has since received upwards of 250k in online donations to rebuild her business, proving compassion is alive and well. Others have vowed to rebuild too. As a businessman, I wonder how they will obtain an insurance policy in the same location and how high their premiums will rise.

Looters had broken into businesses before they were burned in some cases and carried away much of the stores contents. Network television cameras capture some of the chaos. One black lady remarked in a news conference the next day the sight of her damage done made her cry for the people in the city of Ferguson.

Make no mistake about one fact that is evidently clear whether it’s reported in the news or not. Looters and Arsonist are breaking the law and should be prosecuted for their crimes and specifically for taking advantage of a social calamity and sent to jail. We all know from such past incidents, some of these criminals are just waiting in the wings for any hot spot they can go into, do their thing and get out of town just as fast as they arrived.

It should also be abundantly clear to any person watching who these people represent. Folks should not form an opinion based on any other factors except the incident itself. For your information, as if I had to tell you this, those arsonist and looters are not supporting the struggle of unlawful police actions or any other civil rights issue. I mean…come on…people please? Or as my father would say when he became exasperated with stupidity, Jes…us Christ!

Nevertheless, most conservatives categorize this entire incident in a very few words with their summation being a robber who violently stole from another store was shot by police. Case closed, thug got what was coming to him. How he was shot, witnesses of the same color who say the police officer was wrong don’t matter. They have no credibility when it comes to the word of the police officer, the chief of police, and other so-called witnesses that were not present at the time of the shooting. The fact that there is now a video going around that looks as though Michael may have paid for the cigars doesn’t matter to these people. They have already branded him as a thug. GOP politicians see it as another political wedge issue to deepen the divide in this country.

The case is turned over to the St Louis Prosecutors office. It now becomes his decision to indict or not to indict. Here is a man, who for very obvious reasons that were made public at the time should have recused himself. In order to give himself political cover, he called for a Grand Jury. As predicted, he went into the case not to present a reason to indict but to discourage indictment from start to finish.

Notable personalities in the arts and even the sports broadcasting business have voiced their opinions. People such as ESPN’s Mike Ditka and TNT’s Charles Barkley immediately come to mind. Reporters, editors and news organizations who like to search out opinions similar to their personal beliefs often give these type individuals top billing, print an impressive headline and quote these great philosophers. Not…but they treat them as though they are espousing the gospel.

I don’t know what Charles Barkley is running for in his home state of Phoenix Arizona. Exactly which political office he will run for has been speculated over the last few years. That might explain some of his strange opinions on this and other matters in the national news. This time his fellow analyst, Kenny Smith, also of TNT Basketball Pregame Shows sent an open letter to him posted in the USA today. In short he questions the wisdom of his support for the Ferguson grand jury decision. I take it as Charles just being Charles.

I remember Mike Ditka supported Sara Palin in her brief stint or thought of running for the US presidency in 2012. Speaking of which her comments on the Ferguson issue might be construed as racist or at the very least her chance to take another jab at President Obama. Keep in mind she is also playing to her base of conservative right wingers and those who love Sara Palin. On her website, she posted an image of President Obama she took from Mad World News.com. The posting depicted the presidents picture with a caption as if he is saying, “I will be signing a new executive order replacing the word “Looting” with “undocumented shopping.”

There are some black people, just like any race of people, who stay away from controversy likes it the Ebola plague. They come up with all kinds of reasons why they should not get involved. I had one man tell me that these police know what they are doing and are trained in the right manner. He seemed to think, again like a lot of Americans, these institutions are all working for the good of all Americans. Frankly, I wondered what rock he’d been living under. Then I realized that he didn’t really believe what he was saying, he just didn’t want to become involved. It brought about an excerpt from a Persian Proverb I’d heard. Here, I added its entirety for your perusal. In my view, it is words to live by,

He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool, shun him; He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child, teach him. He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep, wake him. He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise, follow him.”

There are more and more people getting involved because as they are saying…”Black lives matter.”  Where are the people in the arts? What about the Hip-Hop generation? Surely they have got to see what is going on. And then as if on cue, we heard from P Diddy. A smart and successful businessman, more so than the artist he started out to be, he too has had enough. In a video posted on his Instagram, he stated…

“I can’t take it anymore! It’s Enough, and enough is enough! We as artists, myself included, all have to step up and be better leaders in our communities. It’s a hard burden to bear, but we have been chosen whether we like it or not. We need to do whatever we can in a POSITIVE way, to help unite people of all colors in this injustice! In order to be successful, it is very important that we have a well ORGANIZED, STRATEGIC plan. I truly do not have the right to preach, but I do have the right to speak.”  -Excerpt from P Diddy’s comments.

He does so in the aftermath of the New York grand jury who failed to indict the police officer responsible for applying a chokehold on Eric Gardner. The video was clear and at one point you could hear Mr. Gardner pleading to the officers. “I can’t breathe.”

If you are following these recent peaceful demonstrations against these senseless acts against human beings, you will notice the demonstrators represent all colors, creeds and religions of the United States. That alone should tell you all you need to know about this cause.

Some who think that black people are overly sensitive about how whites and others address them may have a point. Just think a moment. You wake up in the morning with a prayer and a thank you to our savior for waking you up. You had a great night with your family and love ones and you are feeling great this morning. You checked your bank balance; your payroll check has been deposited so you have a few errands to run. You get into an over five-year-old auto and it starts up like its saying “where to doc?”

You walk in the grocery store to get a couple of items and you stop off at the Chinese food line. You remember you had problems here so you check to be sure that you are not supposed to be in the line by the deli counter. The clerk assures you that she will wait on you as soon as she helps the next two people in the deli counter line. You are ok with that, at least she told you how it works. So you answer by saying “No problem, I can wait.”

A few minutes later, a white lady appears pushing a cart behind the cooking areas doorway. She turns to tell me and another lady who is also waiting, “I’ll be with you in a moment.” “Okay, I happily replied because I am feeling good and thinking about what I and my wife are going to eat for supper. Haven’t had Chinese in a while.

The little white lady finally returns and begins to wait on me; obviously she knows I was the first in this line. After a little general chit-chat about the weather, she was kind enough to provide a sample of a Chinese breaded style chicken ball. “Okay, I will take that one as an entrée too,” I answered. ”Will that be all Sunshine?” she asked.

Now, I’ve never seen this lady before and she damn well doesn’t know me. For me, as a dark-skinned black man, now I’ve forgotten all those good feelings I had before I arrived at this store. Now I’ve got to deal with this crap. It never fails somebody always remind you of your color when out and about. I heard myself say “ yes.”  The lady followed up with by pointing to another lady who had reached the cash register saying “She will ring you up Hon.” I don’t know, maybe the lady was just insensitive to the word. Whichever way she intended it, I let it go. Because I honestly think, she didn’t realize what she said.

My point is that there are certain words you can say to black people that make them question your intention. To be sure, we didn’t make up these trigger words, white folks did. They are words meant to demean, hurt, trivialize and place you in a status that sometimes is one level below one of their pet dogs.

We all know the one word that will make older black folks jump out of their seat trying to hurt the person who used it, especially if it was directed at them. The Hip-Hop generation has tried to make it non-relevant by stating it as a term of endearment. I say it isn’t an endearing term. Unfortunately, you can’t just take a word like that and change its meaning for whatever reason. There is too much history behind that word, and none of it garners good memories.

You can say I am too sensitive and I would agree. I know why. It’s because I live in a country where certain words are used to stereotype me in ways that have nothing to do with who I am.  I love being black and the black culture period. I am not ashamed of my heritage, or where my folks originated. I am living in my country and will fight to the death for the same. So don’t come at me yelling go back to Africa, or call me un-American. I have the right to be here just like any man or woman in the history of this country. And my people have the same inalienable rights as anyone standing on American soil yesteryear and today. If we feel, there is an injustice being committed upon our young or anyone that looks like me or any American regardless of race. It is our right and duty to do whatever is necessary to change that pattern to effect change in our system. We can and will do this in order to have a system that treats all Americans equal in the eyes of the law and whatever institution in this country services Americans. As I said at the outset, looters and arsonist is not part of this struggle so don’t get it twisted.

 

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo

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Get my latest book, a tribute to my grandmother entitled, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years, 1917-1953 at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_11?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=gracie+hall-hampton+the+arkansas+years&sprefix=Gracie+Hall%2Caps%2C223

 

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment