The Musings of a Wannabe Intellectual

Month: May, 2013

50 Shades of Black

Watch this space.50shades-poster-cropped

 Check out their ebook: Mackey, Carlton. “50 Shades of Black Vol. 1.” v1.0. Carlton Mackey, 2013. iBooks. On the iBookstore:


And think about these questions,

How do you identify? Racially? Culturally?
What makes a person black? What makes you black?
Upon first meeting you, what do people usually assume about your identity?
Do people question your blackness?


Obsessed with Soujourner Truth…

Ain’t I A Woman?
Delivered 1851
Women’s Convention, Akron, Ohio

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.

African American History: A Love Story

I guess I’ve always been an ‘all-or-nothing’ kind of person. I have this intensity about me, a tendency to either throw myself into something or disappear. I threw myself into university to such an extent that I didn’t even realise what was happening until it had happened: I fell in love with African American history slowly and then all at once. It was all consuming. It was all I thought about, all I did, all I wanted to do, I could link (and still can) anything back to it.

To be honest, I think I loved my lecturer, and the masterful way I was introduced to history, before I loved history (and he did essentially groomed me to progress the way I did, to such an extent that I still catch myself doing things that are inherently him; a habit I am desperately trying to break now that my interests, methodologies, and ideologies diverge so deeply). Regardless, I have this thing… I vividly remember every moment in my life when I realise I *really* love something; the day I fell in love with music I was at a school assembly. I was twelve years old and some seniors played the acoustic version of ‘Layla’ by Eric Clapton and I was a goner. I could tell you about the smells, the people who surrounded me, etc., but that’s not the point. The point is, I can do the same with African American history.

Unsurprisingly, it is linked to my love of music. It was the day before my 20th birthday and the lecture opened with Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’; our subject was civil rights in the Kennedy era. It’s a story we are all familiar with, Martin Luther King was leading a movement in the South, Freedom Rides took place, and sit-ins were happening left, right and centre. This was also the very week I first saw the Eyes on the Prize episode about the movements in Albany, GA, and Birmingham, AL. It was a perfect alignment; I was in love.

Recently I have had to talk to a bunch of students about my adventures in education-land. It has been a bit of a challenge. This is the only way I know how to explain how I’ve gotten to where I am; I fell in love and it consumes me… I do what I do because it makes me happy, so happy that the thought of doing anything else never even occurred to me. It’s not the inspirational story people want to hear but it is my truth. #historynerd4lyf

This Week in Black History: The Birmingham Campaign

50 years ago, the SCLC and the African American citizens of Birmingham, Alabama, were in the midst of a campaign for civil rights. It culminated in some of the most memorable images of the Civil Rights Movement.

On May 2, 1963 thousands of children took to the streets to march for integration (now refered to as The Children’s Crusade). By the end of the day the children had filled the city jails. On May 3,  police commission Bull Connor commanded his police force to keep the children away from the CBD.

As the children gathered at Kelly Ingram Park the police turned fire hoses and police dogs on the protestors.

dogs fire hose







The images shocked the world and catapulted the trajectory of the Civil Rights Movement.




Additional Resources

Children and the non-violent lessons of the Birmingham Movement

Birmingham Demonstrations (Civil Rights Digital Library)

Birmingham Campaign (1963) (Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Global Freedom Struggle) 

Interview with Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth