Category Archives: Black History

Betty Boop (Black?)

PBS has confirmed that Betty Boop, the popular cartoon character introduced to the world by cartoonist Max Fleischer in 1930, was actually inspired by a real-life African American jazz singer and entertainer from Harlem named Esther Jones.

Her stage name was “Baby Esther”, but unfortunately, when her character become the first and most famous sex symbol in animation… she was whitewashed with most people having no idea where the original inspiration came from.

Baby Esther had a popular cabaret act at the infamous Cotton Club in Harlem, New York where she sang with a unique vocal style that featured “boop-boop-a-doops” and other similar scat sounds. That very same style was heavily imitated by the Betty Boop animated character.

Initially, Betty Boop was shown in cartoons as an African American woman. She appeared in at least one animated scene in the popular Popeye The Sailor Man series. But soon after, she was transformed into a white woman and remained so until her character was finally retired. It’s estimated that the Betty Boop franchise generated millions of dollars in revenue from televison networks and sales of merchandise.

Meanwhile, the very woman who inspired the character, Baby Esther, was never compensated in any way. In fact, she never even really achieved mainstream success. During her entire career, she was mostly only known locally in the New York City area, and she reportedly died at a very young age.

She is, however, mentioned in many documentaries and books about the Harlem Renaissance, and her legendary way of singing does live on in the iconic Betty Boop character.

Racism at it’s best in America!

It’s such a shame and its so hurtful to see the mindset of the white diaspora when they come into contact with a person of color. Still today RACISM EXIST and stronger than ever. I can’t compare it to slavery or even to the struggles that led minority americans demand their freedom. I can only say what my people are going through right now and these video’s are a prime example. There needs to be a huge conversation going on worldwide and to all backgrounds because its getting worse and needs to be stopped.

Secondly changes within the judicial system must be eradicated. Change is a must. 

Linda Brown, Central Figure In School Segregation Case Brown Vs. Board of Education, Dies

Repost: http://atlantablackstar.com

Her sister, Cheryl Brown Henderson, founding president of The Brown Foundation, confirmed the death to The Topeka Capital-Journal. She declined comment from the family.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel at NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., said in a statement that Linda Brown is one of a band of heroic young people who, along with her family, courageously fought to end the ultimate symbol of white supremacy — racial segregation in public schools.

“She stands as an example of how ordinary schoolchildren took center stage in transforming this country. It was not easy for her or her family, but her sacrifice broke barriers and changed the meaning of equality in this country,” Ifill said in a statement.

The NAACP’s legal arm brought the lawsuit to challenge segregation in public schools before the Supreme Court, and Brown’s father, Oliver Brown, became lead plaintiff.

Several black families in Topeka were turned down when they tried to enroll their children in white schools near their homes. The lawsuit was joined with cases from Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that separating black and white children was unconstitutional because it denied black children the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. “In the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place,” Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote. “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”

The Brown decision overturned the court’s Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which on May 18, 1896, established a “separate but equal” doctrine for blacks in public facilities.

“Sixty-four years ago, a young girl from Topeka, Kansas sparked a case that ended segregation in public schools in America,” Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer said in a statement. “Linda Brown’s life reminds us that by standing up for our principles and serving our communities we can truly change the world. Linda’s legacy is a crucial part of the American story and continues to inspire the millions who have realized the American dream because of her.”

Brown v. Board was a historic marker in the civil rights movement, likely the most high-profile case brought by Thurgood Marshall and the lawyers of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund in their decade-plus campaign to chip away at the doctrine of “separate but equal.”

“Her legacy is not only here but nationwide,” Kansas Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis said.

Oliver Brown, for whom the case was named, became a minister at a church in Springfield, Missouri. He died of a heart attack in 1961. Linda Brown and her sister founded in 1988 the Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research.

The foundation says on its webpage that it was established as a living tribute to the attorneys, community organizers and plaintiffs in the landmark Supreme Court decision. Its mission is to build upon their work and keep the ideals of the decision relevant for future generations.

“We are to be grateful for the family that stood up for what is right,” said Democratic state Rep. Annie Kuether of Topeka. “That made a difference to the rest of the world.”

An Enslaved Man Took Over a Confederate Ship and Led Dozens to Freedom

Robert Smalls (April 5, 1939 – Feb. 23, 1915)

  1. His mother had him sent to the fields to work and see enslaved Africans at the whipping post so Smalls, who was the favored enslaved child, would understand the institution’s horrors.
  2. The result was Smalls became defiant and he frequently wound up in the Beaufort, S.C. jail.
  3. Smalls had been planning to escape to freedom and assembled a crew to help him do it. He spent years during his time in the Confederate Navy learning signals and mine locations.
  4. During the Civil War, the enslaved man commandeered an armed Confederate ship when the white masters went away for drinks.
  5. He delivered a dozen enslaved people and their families to freedom, steering the ship from Confederate waters to the Union side.
  6. He reportedly waved cheerfully to the soldiers at Fort Sumter and was prepared to open fire on any suspicious ship, giving them the signal he saw the captain use before.
  7. Smalls was lauded as a hero in the north and lobbied the Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to begin enlisting Black soldiers. By the time Abraham Lincoln acted, Smalls is reported to have personally recruited 5,000 soldiers.
  8. After the war, Smalls joined the South Carolina state assembly and Senate and served five nonconsecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  9. “My race needs no special defense for the past history of them and this country,” said Smalls, who died of malaria and diabetes in the house behind which he was born a slave. “It proves them to be equal of any people anywhere. All they need is an equal chance in the battle of life.”
  10. Smalls has several monuments and markers in his memory, including a Pittsburg fort named Fort Robert Smalls that was built by free Blacks during the Civil War and a statue in Washington D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

SOURCE: Atlanta Black Star- http://atlantablackstar.com/2018/02/16/robert-smalls-enslaved-man-took-confederate-ship-led-dozens-freedom/