Oh my body, make of me a man who always questions!
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a research unit of The New York Public Library. www.schomburgcenter.org
Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.
On this day, 52 years ago, Frantz Fanon passed away. A psychiatrist, Pan-Africanist, writer, and revolutionary, he was born in Martinique in 1925. In 1952 he published “Black Skin, White Masks,” which exposed the negative effects of colonization on the mental state of subjugated people. As a psychiatrist in Algeria, he joined the FLN (National Liberation Front), which waged a war of independence against France. In 1961, Fanon published The Wretched of the Earth, a book on decolonization that has remained a classic and has influenced revolutionaries the world over, including Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Che Guevara, and Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness movement. Fanon died in Maryland, where he had sought treatment for leukemia, and was buried in Algeria.
Photo Credit: NYPL
Frederick Douglass published the first issue of The North Star on November 3, 1847. The North Star was an abolitionist newspaper; however, it also served as a platform to advocate for the rights of women and other oppressed and disenfranchised groups. This mission was reinforced by the paper’s motto: “Right is of no Sex - Truth is of no Color - God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren.” The North Star was renamed Frederick Douglass’s Paper in 1951. Issues of the The North Star from December 03, 1847 to April 17, 1851 can be accessed online while on-site at a New York Public Library.
Photo Credit: The Library of Congress
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks defied the Montgomery Alabama segregated transportation ordinance, igniting a 382-day bus boycott and launching the Civil Rights Movement in America. Read about how “the black freedom movement raised a collective call of ‘no more!’” via Digital Schomburg.
Jimi Hendrix was one of the best electric guitarists and most influential musicians of the ‘60s—a period of counterculture revolution and social movements across America. His music was psychedelic rock tinged with electric blues, and he was very innovative in his choice of tools and techniques (he utilized stereophonic phasing effects, guitar amp feedback, and playing with his teeth!). He is one, in a long line of gifted African-American musicians, whose music has exploded genres and revolutionized pop culture. Born November 27, 1942, Jimi Hendrix would have been 71 today.
Photo Credit: Mirjoran
On December 9 at 6:30 p.m. join noted composer and librettist Nkeiru Okoye, a native New Yorker of African American and Nigerian descent, as she presents scenes from her new folk opera Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, which tells the personal, family story of the legendary Underground Railroad conductor.
Tickets start at $8 and all ages are welcome!
Are you excited for the holidays? Looking for delicious vintage deserts to bake for your family and friends? Grab a copy of The Brown Betty Cookbook: Modern Vintage Desserts and Stories from Philadelphia’s Best Bakery. This brand new book has been placed on the shelf just in time for Thanksgiving! The cookbook is based on the recipes of the Brown Betty Boutique, a bakery that opened up in Philadelphia when three generations of African-American women came together to share their delectable treats. The Jean Blackwell Hutson Reference and Research Division invites you to explore these amazing recipes that can be found in our collection! The women of the Brown Betty Boutique share both their stories and their recipes, leaving room for big appetites between the pages. Make sure you make your way over to the Schomburg to jot down a few recipes before Turkey Day!
Come out to the Schomburg Center for a Hip-Hop History Workshop: DJing with DJ Wiz on Saturday November 23, 2013 from 4 - 6 P.M! During your visit, pick up a copy of Groove Music: the Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ by Mark Katz which can be found in our collection through the Jean Blackwell Hutson General Research and Reference Division. After the workshop you can explore historical perspectives of the turntable. He gives an outline of the history of DJing from its beginnings in the late 1970s in Bronx, New York. Along with his own personal accounts, you can see interviews from practicing DJs about their place in hip-hop, gender and race politics in the world of DJing, and ideas about digital technology in relationship to music. Don’t miss out on this amazing workshop and a chance to read Katz’s incredible book.
On November 20, 1695, Zumbi, leader of the Afro-Brazilian Quilombo dos Palmares, a maroon settlement, was killed in ambush. A Quilombo was a free settlement of escaped slaves, and it sustained itself by sabotaging plantations or capturing slaves and forcing them to join. Quilombo Dos Palmares was a self-sustaining settlement in Brazil which, at its peak, had approximately 30,000 members. Zumbi was the last of its leaders and fought the Portuguese military with enough prowess to elude them for two years after Dos Palmares was taken over. The Portuguese feared Zumbi not only as a physical threat (he was a descendent of Angolan Imbangala warriors, and was believed to be immortal), but also as a leader who could undoubtedly inspire slaves and runaways alike to fight for their freedom. He is a symbol of resistance against all the madness of New World dominance: slavery, colonial exploitation, and domination. He fought for freedom in the 17th century, was a hero for the 20th century Afro-Brazilian political movement, and still inspires today.
Photo Credit: Gonzalo Rivero
During the penultimate years of her life, Audre Geraldine Lorde took on the name Gamba Adisa, which translates to “Warrior: She who makes her meaning clear.” Indeed, Lorde certainly made her meaning clear throughout her lifetime. Through her poetry and prose, Lorde gave voice and meaning to issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Lorde proved herself to be a true warrior when she fought a fourteen year battle with cancer. On November 17th, 1992, Lorde lost her battle with cancer. She leaves behind a legacy of activism and a multitude of books. Come into the Schomburg Center to read The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde, among other books by Lorde. Some of Lorde’s poems are also available online through the Poetry Foundation.
Photo Credit: NYPL Digital Collections
Come out to the Schomburg Center for a “Hip-Hop History Workshop for Teens: B-Boy & B-Girl Dancing with Kwikstep and Rokafella” on Saturday, November 16, 2013 from 4-6 pm! During your visit, pick up Terry Dunahoo’s book Break Dancing, which can be found in our collection through the Jean Blackwell Hutson General Research and Reference Division. After the workshop you can take a few lessons home with you from Dunahoo’s colorfully illustrated and instructional book. He gives step-by-step instructions for moves and performances as well as fashion tips and resources for break dance equipment. Along with hands-on guidance, you can also learn a brief history of break dancing. Don’t miss out on this awesome workshop with break dance literature from Terry Dunahoo!
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Schomburg Center to check out our current exhibitions: Schomburg Collects WPA Artists 1935-1943; Claiming Citizenship; A Lighthouse in New York, and Breaking the Barriers.
All of our exhibitions are free and open to the public Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Photo Credit: Bob Gore
Whoopi Goldberg, actress whose awards include an Oscar, Tony, Grammy, Emmy, and Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, turns 58!
Photo Credit: Dennis Manuel
Video: Heavy D & The Boyz — Now That We Found Love ft. Aaron Hall
As we celebrate Hip-Hop History Month, we honor Heavy-D, who passed away November 8, 2011.