March 21 - April 3, 2013


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Obama 2.0 & Carter G. Woodson

dumbin downIn the wake of Obama 2.0, a number of Black talking heads had complained that the President had not done enough for Black people during his first term.  The serendipity of the start of his second term coincides with the 80th anniversary of the release of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s MisEducation of the Negro, a critique of foibles within Negro leadership. 

Dr. Jeff Menzise, a clinic psychologist, takes advantage of this coincidence and deconstructs Woodson’s work for contemporary Black America in Dumbin’ Down: Reflections on the Mis-Education of the Negro (Mind on the Matter Publishing, $15.95).  In the book, Menzise throws down the gauntlet by challenging academics, politicians, religious leaders and other professionals to acknowledge the deficit in public education and realize the necessity of appropriate instruction and leadership.

Menzise structures his book with a chapter by chapter critique of Woodson’s work. He defines mis-education as instruction that glorifies a victor and denigrates the victim. His work with students, from elementary school to college, provided him a clear understanding of the effects miseducated “leadership” have had on society.

In chapter 12, Gatekeepers and Tokens, for instance, Menzise challenges the notion that all Black leaders are desired by the people to be in charge when in fact some leaders are really opportunists. “The individuals who are slowly creeping into positions of influence may or may not have realized their own mis-education and operate to support and maintain their benefits to the detriment of the group,” he writes.  In this chapter, he also explores the struggle within Black society between gatekeepers and revolutionaries. “The question of ‘who speaks for the Negro’ and what type of leadership is best and necessary has often led to disagreements and sometimes bloodshed.”

In one vignette, Menzise demonstrates the negative effects of one being chosen “third grade class” leader. The simple act of distributing cupcakes empowers the leader to show favoritism resulting in a year-long quid pro quo. Adults behave in similar fashion with larger “gifts” that can edify or destroy careers and people. Unfortunately, the mis-educated adult “class leader” thrives on dissension all the while embittering and stultifying potential in their colleagues. The losers are Black people.

Throughout the readable work he cites the works of notables such as George G.M. James, Ayi Kwei Armah and John Henrik Clark. Dumbin’ Down gives the modern reader insight to the current condition of Black America as more than a by product of enslavement, but one victimized by enemies from deep within the race.  A timely read, Menzise’s work will explain the lack of mass Black protest against the failure of public schools to teach our children and, seemingly, us too.  The book will also clarify the roots of some of the displeasure select Blacks have with President Obama.
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Speaking Gambian English

Americans are often amused with British English, such as their wanting to place items in a car’s bonnet (trunk). For an African-centered twist, POH looks at some different ways Gambians express themselves in English.

Do you want to take lunch?
Do you want to have lunch?

I will join the car?
I will take a taxi?

My (mobile) phone is out of minutes?
My time has run out on my (prepaid) (cell) phone.

I know what you mean!

How is your body?
How are you feeling today?

The Parchman Hour -Break Their Spirits, Not Their Bones

By Melvin E. Lewis

The Parchman Hour is a cutting-edge drama that shares the story of the 1961 saga of the Freedom Riders who travelled on interstate buses to test laws that ended racial segregation in the United States. The Freedom Riders were interracial teams who defiled Southern traditions - - the Whites rode in the back of the bus while the Blacks rode in the front. 

The police imprisoned them on a 21,000acre plantation called Parchman State Prison.  The protests, which took place throughout the South prompted the Governor of Mississippi  to instruct  guards  ”to break their spirits, not their bones.”  

The play continues at Cape Fear Regional Theatre, 1209 Hay Street, Fayetteville, NC until Sunday, March 24.

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Seven New Albino Killings in Tanzania and Burundi

The wave of albino killings that started in 2007 is fuelled by the sale of their highly-prized body parts to witch doctors across the region who use them to concoct wealth-enhancing charms, reports the British Telegraph.

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Americans Go Mobile

According to a new Comscore study, “The New Digital Wallet," mobile devices are becoming more a part of American life.

·  Increased smartphone browsing: Nearly half of all American adults (45%) now own a smartphone. The majority of them (55%) go online using their phones, and 17% of cell phone owners do most of their web browsing on their cell phone.

·  Growing mobile communications: 4 in 10 emails are now being opened on mobile devices. That's a 300% increase in the past two years. We saw with our own emails that up to 30% of people viewed them on mobile devices, compared to around 15% at the beginning of the year.

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Things to Do

Banjul, The Gambia

Art Exhibition and French Club Show
Alliance Francaise de Banjul
Kairaba Avenue
Serrekunda, The Gambia
Fri, Mar 22, 5p-8p, free


Anacostia Fine Art Show
2806 Bruce Place, SE
Washington, DC
Sat, Mar 30, noon –Sun, Apr 14, 6p, free

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Great Black Women, Past & Present
CR Gibbs
Waldorf West Library
Charles County, MD
Sat, Mar 23,2p

The Harlem Renaissance: A 21st Century Reappraisal
CR Gibbs
Tue, Mar 26, 7p

The Sister 6: Great Women Scholars at Howard University
Dr. Ida Jones
Tue, Apr 2, 7p

Build Renovate Your Own Castle V
Alexandria Black History Museum
902 Wythe St
Alexandria, VA
Free Street Parking | Three Blocks from Braddock Rd Metro
Refreshments | Door Prizes
Sat, Apr 6, 11a-2p, free
reserve your seat today

New York City (Greater)

Victoria Rowell signs
The Young and the Ruthless
Melba's 125
125 Harlem State Office Bldg
163 125th St, 3rd Fl
Mar 27,  7p-9p, free

Malik Yoba Supporting
Father-Son Book

malik yobaMalik Yoba took a break from filming in Miami to be part of author Sedrik Newbern’s reading of Newbern's new book "Unconditional Forgiveness-Lessons for Letting Go to Build Better Relationships.”   
Newbern says his relationship with his father inspired the book which centers around the impact fathers have on their sons and how Newbern forgave his father, who wasn't there for him as he matured.

Newbern’s book details the impact growing up without his father had on his life, as well as how they were able to evolve and move beyond the pain to develop an unbreakable bond. The book also gives practical advice to those hurt in past relationships, so they can heal and develop healthy relationships.

The audience in Gary, IN largely consisted of teenagers, many of which grew up without their fathers.  In addition to reading excerpts from the book, Yoba engaged the young men by asking them to read from the book, too.

During the question and answer session, one young man asked what he could do to put his city on the map, as he felt that sports was the only way for him to do so.  Newbern informed him that it was much smarter to be the owner of the team and be the person who signs the check versus being just another athlete.

“It was awesome to connect with the young brothers in Gary,” said Yoba.  The actor told the audience that his goals in life were never centered on being a famous actor, but on serving others, which ultimately led him to acting. Show business then provided him the means and platform to service others he said.  At the end of the event at the newly renovated Glen Theater, Newbern gave each of the young men a signed copy of the book, followed by a photograph with Yoba. 

Photo Caption: Actor Malik Yoba addresses young Black males about building relationships with their fathers during a special book signing in the city of Gary, Indiana.

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   The 2012 National
Recording Registry

The Library of Congress' 2012 inductees to the National Recording Registry reflect the diversity and creativity of the American experience.  The Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, announced the selection of 25 sound recordings to the registry, marked for preservation because of their cultural, artistic and historic importance to the nation's aural legacy. The inductees include:

Descargas: Cuban Jam Session in Miniature, Cachao Y Su Ritmo Caliente (1957)

The Shape of Jazz to Come, Ornette Coleman (1959)

Crossing Chilly Jordan, The Blackwood Brothers (1960)

Hoodoo Man Blues, Junior Wells (1965)

Wild Tchoupitoulas, The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976)

Saturday Night Fever, The Bee Gees, et al (1977)

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