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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

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.

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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

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

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p2IEXZ-83

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 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  

 

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

 

 

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 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  

 

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p2IEXZ-7S

 

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

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  

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

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

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p2IEXZ-7q

 

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

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

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online www.chiia.com

 

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

Corporations and this Holiday Seasons American Consumer

Hidden Turkey

 

 

 

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 disputed its authenticity. Given all, of the quotes and writings, attributed to one of, if not our greatest President, I see his well-documented vision as right on target and applicable to 2014. Imagine that, to be astute enough to predict the behavior of big business in the twenty-first century. This version includes a little more context from the letter itself and is as follows,

 

“We may congratulate ourselves that this cruel war is nearing its end. It has cost a vast amount of treasure and blood….It has indeed been a trying hour for the Republic; but I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.”

— Abraham Lincoln

 

First of all, most Americans work for some corporation. So why wouldn’t they want to see the company they work for earning maximum profits? Some have family members, like dads and granddads who fed, housed and educated their family on corporate wages. So they can’t help but have an affiliation for that particular entity. So what the heck is my problem you ask?

We have no problem with our capitalistic economy or society.

 

It’s because I am a proponent of all US businesses having high moral expectations while hiring personnel that will carry out those same standards.

There are major policy questions that come up in top management business meetings all the time. The decision on how to proceed is to be made. I am just saying, more often than not, the American Consumer is not a consideration in the equation. From all reports, it’s about winning; more and more profit no matter what the cost to the health and standard of living for the American Consumer. It’s about deniability; hire an expensive law firm to answer plausible charges to avoid cutting off the profit spigot or losing one drop of revenue. It’s the fact they moved their so-called corporate headquarters overseas in order to avoid paying their fair share of taxes to the Government who initially granted and or recognized their firm as a corporate entity. They are developing election PACS or contributing to a particular candidate so that those elected officials will carry out the will of the corporation rather than the will of the American People. It is those corporations that don’t seem to have a soul and are the source of greed, corruption, and God knows what else. They also validate our nation’s sixteenth presidents concern in the quote noted above.

 

Some may remember years ago when the Enron Corporation Scandal broke. High price collages spoke about including a new subject in their business curriculum that would teach their students morals, integrity, assuming responsibility for all deeds and actions. Or even later, how about the recent collapse of the Housing Industry precipitated by the banking industry’s greed with no accountability. It took the same inept, according to them, US Government to bail them out. All of them took US taxpayers money, sat on it while refusing to lend money to help in the home foreclosures debacle. Where was the moral balance in that collective decision?

 

You see, I have a problem when a business person smiles, and ask me to make a commitment to use their services, or buy their product. Take my hard-earned cash and use a portion of the funds to fund the campaign of a racist politician to make stupid and intolerant laws, while suppressing an individual’s right to vote.  Or how about running overseas sweat shops in order to make cheap products? This practice results in driving American made manufacturers out of business and increasing their profit.

 

Or they’re unwilling to support the idea of a minimum wage, not because it reduces the profit margin, but just because…of what?  They read the same studies that indicated a higher minimum wage is a win-win for individuals, governments Internal Revenue and the economy as a whole. Average people spend money on goods and services so the dollar circulates faster. One doesn’t need a degree in Economics to figure that out. Yet, you have an entire political party of these United States that doesn’t support a minimum wage increase. And who were the biggest contributors to their political campaigns?  Why some of the same aforementioned entities in this article. Their names are no secret; we know who they are as do almost all Americans.

 

You there…Mr. & Mrs. American Consumer, we need to hold a debate on spending our hard-earned money at places that do not support our ideals and community. Dealing with some corporations is a one way street. You pay, they take, they horde and stash cash. They work on plans to lower your wages, put rising health care responsibility on you, and pay to kill or defund government safeguards like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) or Food and Drug Administration.

 

So what should we do as American Consumers and the public in general? The most important thing is to send a message this holiday season. Let’s spend the bulk or even half of our Christmas money at small business across this nation. I know, you still may have to go to a car dealer, Best Buy, JC Penney’s, Sears or the like for some big items. We cannot change the world overnight, but we can spend some of our money where it will do the best for us. How about buying your meat and can goods from a local meat market or store? The nationality of the store owner is less important than channeling a large part of your money in a different direction this year. Look on the Internet, you will be surprised at who is selling what out there. A lot of the mom and pop stores have websites too.

 

Here are a couple of networks to search for minority and or women own entities to buy from this Christmas. They are websites that allow you to search their site for a business that carries a product or service you may be looking for. Check them out, http://www.blackbusinessnetwork.com/Home/   then there is… http://www.minority-biz.com/index.php

They may have a store listing in your local area of which you were not aware. You should also report back to those websites of your experiences with their recommendations. We still want quality value for our dollar no matter where we spend it.

 

These websites prove there is a movement already alive and growing. People are fed up supporting corporations that take more than money from you and I. Be aware of where and with whom you spend your hard earned dollars this holiday season and on throughout 2015. By this time next year, we will talk about the changes the American Consumer forced by redirecting their expenditures over the past year. Let’s make old Abe proud and assure him that freedom of choice was worth fighting for back then as it is today.

 

Join us for our BTR Radio show on Wednesday November 26th at 4:00pm. We will cover this same subject with our special guest. We have a great guest, in Kevin L. Nichols of http://KLNConsultinggroup.com  Call in with your questions at 347-237-4908.

 

Peace, Happy Holidays and 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-5m

 

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

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

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online www.chiia.com

 

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

 

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 author. He was scolding another author who was having trouble framing and concentrating on finishing his second book.

Well, I can truly say I don’t have that problem. Although later on in my life, and after a fairly successful working career in the Department of Defense Procurement field, I found my calling. I’ve found I can sit down at the computer and words seem to jump on the page. This is especially true in the early morning or late at night in the quiet hours. I never would have imagined this as recently as five years ago. As of this date, I can say, I have written two books, and another filled with a compilation of my (1999-2014) blogs. The first two were published and the third is at the publishers due out next month. I am currently working on two more, due for release next year and just started the framework for another one set for a 2016 release.  The one common denominator in all of those works is I am familiar with the subject matter. Or they are about subjects in which I have an intense interest.

But, this article isn’t about me, it’s about you. I just used myself as an example of what you can do. No matter who you are, and at what stage of life you are at, as the actor said, “There is one book in all of us.” One of the first steps is to get you to write it. And you are correct in thinking that it is not as easy as one may think. You have to get past that first stumbling block. That is the self-doubting question of is my story interesting to anybody other than me? Other questions must be answered by you. Should I initially write a short story? Who is going to and when shall I edit my book? Does it have to be one hundred percent grammatically correct? This is especially challenging when dealing with characters that use Ebonics or slang. These same questions or issues can be resolved. You, the author, can and will solve them. Frankly, I tend to believe if it’s intended to be, you will write a book at some point in time. The point and time are up to you.

That is why I chose this subject for our Blog Talk Radio Show. To answer some of the very questions that may be impeding your progress as an aspiring author. Ironically, I met my special guest, Rick Whitlow, online after reading his comments to a question thread on LinkedIn.

There was a lady author who started and asked in her thread if anyone had any problems with a (not to be named here) particular self-publisher. She asked because she was thinking about using their service.  All kind of comments came in, most of them retelling their not so flattering experience with the publisher. There were comments from authors who had written one to several books. Overall the primary advice was to avoid this publisher. The overall feeling was all they wanted was your money for publishing a book. Once they provided the service you paid for, you were on your own.

I’d used the same publisher for my second book. I had a different complaint against them that had nothing to do with the question of did they provide the service I paid for.  In fact, they did and even made up for their error in judgment in my case by not charging me for a reprint of my book.

Both, Rick I found the comments to be somewhat self-serving. I will let Rick tell you his thoughts on the November 12th BTR Show. Although, I will share one commonality of thought we had here.  While self-publishing, marketing is you, the authors’ job. Even if you pay, the publisher to place your book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and other sites, it is still your primary responsibility to market your book. Marketing your book is not a responsibility that can be passed on to someone else. And that, among other issues was the crux of all the commentators on the LinkedIn subject thread.

Two or three old heads wrote strong comments similar to an unidentified right-wing conservative castigating a liberal for their belief in President Obama. The difference here was at least you saw a picture of the commentator above his or her name. They chastised anyone who would bypass a so call brick and mortar publisher like Random House. These type publishers either accept or reject your manuscript after you’ve submitted it to them.  Or the old heads suggested other ways to self-publish rather than using what they call a “Vanity Publisher.”  This was interpreted by them as any company who would charge you for publishing your book. It is my opinion that if you listen to them, you would never write a book in the first place.

I can say the one good thing that came from that the LinkedIn thread was I got to meet Rick as I previously noted. Besides having a clear and concise comment on issues that people of color should consider when selecting a publisher, he is a nice guy. We’ve had written correspondence with each other, a long telephone conversation and agreed that we would partner on some venture in the future.

His book, “Swagger, the Life and Times of Rick Whitlow, is available on www.Amazon.com, www.BarnesandNoble.com  as well as his publisher’s web site at www.Outskirtspress.com and doing very well. He writes about his experiences as a star athlete while attended Illinois State University on a basketball scholarship. Under his Author’s Words for the book, he writes “His background in media and public relations catapulted him into the arena of politics where he gracefully navigated the sometimes hostile racial, social, and economic landscape.” He takes a microscopic view and reports on the broadcast journalism industry, politics, personal relationships, cancer diagnosis and race in America and “how it affects those areas and others.”

He is on LinkedIn as I stated. You can check out his other credentials but more importantly, you can hear him live on Wednesday at 4:00 to 5:30pm at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica.

As the subject suggests, we will provide insight into the publishing business among other topics of the day. So join us with your questions for Rick or me. Remember if you cannot listen to it live, you can always go the shows link and listen to at the time of your personal convenience. As always, I am looking forward to your comments on or after the show.

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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Survival was our Ancestors Mission, ask Kelly Shea

Kelly M Shea pic

Who and where we come from plays and important role in our personality makeup and how we act or perform under certain circumstances including how we interact with people of different colors and backgrounds.

There are some people in all races that are skittish whenever someone brings up the word race. Others are happy to discuss the past, present and future of race relations in this country.  They usually fall in the political category of progressives.

African-American’s should proudly embrace their history, including slavery as well as their ancestor’s way of life before enslavement. There should be no shame in our game. I know of no other race that has endured such treatment as being kidnaped from their country. This practice was perpetrated a lot of times with the assistance of their own people. They suffered the indignities of being chained, thrown and packed in the hulls of ships. Many did not even survive the long sea voyage to the shores of the United States. Those who did survive went through generations of servitude while being considered nothing less than chattel.

Even under these conditions they were able to maintain some type of family structure. They knew slavery would not last forever but did question if their maker had abandoned their people. Through it all, their mission was to survive and survive they did. Their survival is a direct response to our being here today.

So I ask…how can any black, part black, girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse of a black, light, medium or dark-skinned black, or any friend or an associate of a black person not see or try to understand why we, as African-Americans behave in certain ways.

We are a proud people, with long historical family trees. Our people helped build this country even though you may have to take a black history course to read about some of those contributions. We are trend setters in the way we dress, dance, talk and entertain via the arts.

So take my advice…look within your family tree to find where your strength, patience, courage, and endurance originated. Those traits, combined with a belief in our savior will help you understand why you heard this familiar phrase from older people in your family. Whenever grandma encountered a problem which seems insurmountable at the time, she would lean back in her rocking chair say, “This too shall pass.”

I’ve got to admit, when I first heard it, I had no idea what it meant. Even though grandma would try to explain its meaning, I just didn’t get it. All she would say is…”That’s all right baby. One day you will understand.”  She was right once again. Upon maturity, I finally understood. But it still takes faith to believe it.

So don’t be feeling any kind of way about looking into your past. Everybody’s got some crazy uncle or funny acting aunt in their family tree. Just overlook them.

There are numerous organizations and people who can help you with your search.

Besides the obvious like www.Ancestry.com, there is The Church of Jesus Crist of Latter-day Saints. Their web site is www.familysearch.org.

If you want to go the personal route, you may take a look at a Face Books group entitled Friends of San Diego African American Genealogy Research Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SDAAGRG/852844194727929/?notif_t=group_activity

There is Face Book’s Search Squad at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/searchelpers/

There is also a FaceBook site from my parents and ancestors base locating in Arkansas. It’s called Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society-Arkansas Chapter at https://www.facebook.com/groups/320718584646804/

And there is of course, my personal favorite, my cousin, Kelly M. Shea, who continues to take her personal research to another level, in locating our ancestors. She appeared on my show on October 29th. If you want to hear a moving story from someone who provided an in-depth interview of what it was like to be adopted at six weeks old. Yet have the thirst for knowing the identities of her biological mother and father, only to find that her father had passed. She did not stop there, she found a half-sister she never had, an aunt and great uncle who encourage her to continue the search.

Folks, you have to hear this interview. Click on the following link, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica/2014/10/29/finding-your-roots

Never mind the technical difficulties in the end. My carrier is updating the program and had me flying in the blind in the end. Nevertheless, the interview was complete.

I want you to meet our Kelly M. Shea, genealogist, entrepreneur and a future bestselling author. No one can tell her unique story like Kelly. You can contact her at sheadrest@gmail.com. You can also look her up on FaceBook under her name. Once you see her postings, you can see how through and precise she is with her findings. Let her know how special she is.

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-4X

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

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

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online www.chiia.com

 

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

Searching for your Roots

Kelly  and our Uncle Calvin

To date, we’re becoming such an individualist’s society; it’s hard to picture weekly visits from aunts, uncles and cousins. We certainly see them at Family Reunions, special birthdays or specific holidays. But oftentimes in my writings I am struck with the number of times I mention weekend visits from family members when I was a kid. Sometimes they stopped by and had supper with us doing the week. It didn’t seem to matter if they lived nearby or across town. For a while, I was wondering if most of the black people in Milwaukee were relatives of ours. I knew better, but during that era, almost anybody that was anybody was a relative, married to a relative, courting a relative or at least a close associate of a relative that walked through the Hampton front door.

That didn’t include the Watkins man who peddled potions. He would sell small bottles of medicine or salves to put on skin rashes, etc. He also sold…ugh…Castor Oil and Dr. Johns. Those were two medications that kept me healthy as a son-of-a-gun. My stepmother would look at me and my stepsister as she heard him coming down the street, shouting “Watkins man, Watkins man…got yo medications right here…Watkins man.  One of us might have been coughing or sneezing before we heard his voice yelling as he approached our house. “You kids feel all right,” Mama would ask. “Oh sure, we’re fine mama, I was just clearing my throat,” we would anxiously reply. Neither one of us wanted any part of what the Watkins man was selling. Come to think of it, does anybody remember the Watkins man or someone like him in your neighborhood? Ours were just like the mailman. The only difference is you didn’t see him every day, not unless he and you, were visiting another neighborhood. For us, it was always the same guy. I swear that man walked the entire city of Milwaukee as his rumpled coat, well-worn shoes with one shoelace untied revealed the miles he’d traveled in any particular day. Wow, I must be tripping and getting off point. Sorry, I had not thought of this man in years.

Back to the point, it was so funny.  In grade school, sometimes we would find that one of our classmates was a cousin while talking about your uncle of aunt. That was one of my regrets in leaving my hometown to move to California. I took our kids away from that close family structure. Kids find comfort, protection and feeling of belonging within that type of structure. Outside or our immediate family, folks today hardly see their first, second, third or any cousins. Sometimes the logistics of it all plays a part. Relatives are in another town or state.

I would be remiss to bring up the fact that sometimes there is a long distance between family members living in the same house. We see the commercials, hear talk-show discussions, or read articles talking about the public growing relationship with its smartphone. Are you kidding me? And that takes the place of human companionship?  Well, that’s an issue in a psychologist area of expertise.

For me, I know how blessed I was, but what about those who don’t know who their parents are? What if it’s only one parent you never knew for whatever the circumstance? How about those children who are adopted?  There are surrogate mothers, sperm donors, overseas adoptions, children from unwed, dangerous or dependent lifestyle mothers who are taken in by loving families. The children’s current family could be the shining example of parenthood and people. That still does not halt the curiosity of a child who wants to know who their real parents are. And no matter how it ends up, sooner or later the child, teenager, or young person is going to want to know from whence and who they came. It is just the natural order of the human mind.

Some may think the digital age makes it easier for someone to locate a person or persons. In most cases, they would be right. All you have to do…is go to Ancestry.com and half the battle is won.  Right, sign up to use the system, type in the subject person’s name and date of birth and you are on your way. Any more specifics you have about the person would help such as their last known address, siblings, mother or father. Sometimes you don’t know anything else other than their name or a small bit of other information. You see where I’m going with this?

We have a guest (Kelly M. Shea) on our October 29th Blog Talk Radio show that went through a personal search for her father’s relatives. Once she found them, she visited her newly found uncle Calvin, found a sister she didn’t know of and got to know other members from her father’s family,  Note: Pictured, Kelly meets Uncle Calvin Hampton for the first time. She didn’t stop there, she decided to research her father’s family tree, going all the way back to and before the Civil War. She became so good at it; she decided to search for of her mother’s roots.

If you have ever gone back in history, and do it as meticulously as she does, you will find the process begin to take various turns and you find out things you might not have ever guessed about your relatives and others.

My interpretation would be, it’s like rumbling around in an old closet and finding all these strange garments, hats and shows from back in the day. Or reading a newspaper clipping that informs you so-n-so was hanged in 1878 for stealing a chicken from the town meat market. Ms. Ida B Sure’s horse Newt went lame on the way to church the other day. You run into a lot of interesting and strange stories from old newspaper clippings and articles on the internet. In other words, the search can be rewarding as well as informative.

Once you hear Kelly’s story, as in what motivated her to search, how she searched, and why she continues to probe historical records seeking clues to deeper roots within her family, you will be impressed and moved. Personally I think it’s a very touching and moving story that depicts the ultimate in personal self-achievement. I don’t say this because I happen to be one of her found cousins. I say it because I truly believe her story could be a best-selling book, and maybe even turned into a movie. I have suggested she write a book. Maybe we will find out her plans on the show. Believe me when I say, you will hear an extraordinary researchers methodology as well as a genuinely nice person in Kelly Shea.

She is also an accomplished entrepreneur. She will give us the 4 -1 -1 on her Consulting, Credentialing & Billing venture. Working out of her office in Atlanta, GA., the LLC is called Physician Fees First LLC. You can reach her by email at Kelly@physicianfeesfirst.com. Or visit her website at www.Physicianfeesfirst.com .

At any rate, we got her October 29th, Wednesday at 4:00pm. Join us for a great discussion on finding your roots and other subjects.

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-4S

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

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

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online www.chiia.com

 

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

 

Women Protesters in Ferguson, MO.

I saw the MSNBC.com headline, with a photo by Jim Young/Reuters and immediately thought there is no wonder why women are out front protesting in Ferguson, Missouri in a recent October 9 march. It should not be surprising because these young black men killed and harassed at the hands of any policemen, white, black or otherwise across the United States are still babies in the minds of their mothers.

I do love my children, and love the bond that we have as father and child. My wife and I use to laugh about my paranoia of a child hurting themselves as they are trying to walk or run in our living room. While we visiting our eight or nine-year-old daughter in a hospital, I came close to passing out at the sight of my little girl laboring to take each breath. It was the first time I’d seen her lying in bed under a full-bodied oxygen bubble. She was suffering from a bad asthma attack. It was my first sight of her under this bubble that had such an impact on me. She had never been in the hospital before.

So, as a man, I cannot even fathom the pain and grief a woman feels for the loss of their child.  Trying to put myself in their place, I cannot imagine being a woman and seeing a child I carried inside of me for nine months lying in a pool of blood from a gunshot wound. Especially at the hands of a one who is supposed to protect and serve? Given that kind of grief, one can fully understand why they are out front of all protestors. Women, as have men have had enough.

While some see two or more young black men walking by as a group of thugs, black women see them as some other woman’s child.  Whether or not, their pants are barely hanging off their butts, at a glance some are sure they are on their way to rape, pillage or worse, murder some innocent non-black person. Black women see their neighbors little boy and think, he sure has grown since I last saw him.

Images of that black youth or gang in the last violent movie are dancing in some folks mind. They were repulsed by the video being watched by their white children depicting strangely dressed rappers with several gold chains with large emblems hanging around their neck. And what is that on their teeth, real gold or silver?

Black moms just see their babies grown up and acting out. They may not like the way they are dressed nor do they like the curse words used while rapping… but they are still their mama’s child.  Black women feel since they know how they raised little junior is just going through a phase. He will grow out of it. Sooner or later, he will settle down, get married and bring home a few grandchildren to mama and daddy. Oh, I can hardly wait, they think.

Some of you may have seen the TV documented story where white thugs were trashing, including spray painting a car in a parking lot while white pedestrians walked by shaking their head. They didn’t want to get involve. Yet when the white actors were replaced by black actors, pedestrians passing by were seen calling 911 or the police from their cell phone. And even worse, the same TV crew had staged another car about a block from the car trashing scene. In that car, three black teens were pretending to be sleeping. That’s right; the police received numerous calls about the black boys sleeping in the car. Callers insisted they must be up to no good and what are they doing in our (white) neighborhood.

Those kids sleeping in that car staged for the TV cameras were some black women little boys. These actors, just as Michael Brown did and countless others across this country have mothers. They are black women who are fed-up with seeing their little boys being victimized because they are black and must be up to no good because…they are black. And if I can speak for fathers of color, we are damn tired of it too.

The MSNBC story, “Women hold the front-lines of Ferguson, by Amanda Sakuma, talks about Ferguson women who stand on the invisible boundary lines at police headquarters that Friday night. This tiny young woman as described was standing inches from a line of and in particular one police officer in SWAT gear with her back to him while facing a 6’3” male teen protester. She could see the anger growing in the young man’s face. Subsequently she became the protective shield between him and the officer. And this was not even her child.  Yes, world, it has become personal even when it’s not personal.

If I may, this is a note from black women, along with black men of this nation. We all want to put police, politicians and people from coast to coast on notice. That unissued/unlawful figment of your imagination license you thought you had to hunt and kill black folks has been revoked. It’s being recalled because it never was a license in the first place. You are going to have to go back to the training facility. New procedures are going to have to be issued and followed. Yearly stress test for officers should be implemented. Remember the cop shooting the man reaching for his driver’s license after telling him to do so? Thank God he was fired.

You are going to be held accountable. Your superiors are going to be held accountable for you and their actions. Local and national politicians are going to be held accountable for inactions. Our communities are not part of a police state. This time, we are not going to burn down our neighborhoods. We have the means and capabilities’ to ensure that you do your job as it was intended. You can either get on board or get out of the way.

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-4N

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

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

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online www.chiia.com

 

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