February 6 - February 19, 2014


On the Dock for this Snippet

shirley chisholm stamp

New from the United States Postal Service
The native New Yorker of Barbadian
heritage, Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm
(November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005)
on new Black Heritage series stamp.

Africans’ Role in the First World War

"The power struggle for Africa was one of the causes of World War 1."
  - Endre Sik (The History of Black Africa, Volume 2.)

senegalese world war oneThis year marks the beginning of the international centennial commemoration of the First World War (1914-1918) - -  the war to end all wars.  Standard history books tell us that the cause of the war was the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand, the start of a seemingly inexorable chain of circumstances that plunged the major nations of Europe into a cataclysmic conflict in which Black folk had no part and Africa had no role.

This first of the 20th century's two global clashes ushered in the age of high-tech slaughter. In the bloodiest contest the world had ever known up to that time, there were over 5,700,000 Allied military deaths of which the troops of Great Britain and its empire amounted to over 1,000,000. Civilian deaths from all causes among the Allies were more than 3,500,000.

Deaths suffered by the opposing Central Powers were 7,000,000. Total deaths among the warring nations were over 16,500,000. In addition there were over 21,000,000 military wounded. And the dead and wounded were not all European.

Africa: Men and Resources

W.E.B. DuBois observed that "Competition for colonies among Britain, France, and Germany deserve a share of the blame for World War 1. Germany's four African colonies comprised three on the west and one on the east:  Togolands, Cameroons, German Southwest Africa, now part of Namibia, and German East Africa."

Historian James Ciment in his historical atlas also noted that "Among the many causes of the war was the imperial scramble for African colonies in the last two decades of the 19th century. At various points in that period, England, France, and Germany nearly came to blows over African territory, creating tensions that would play themselves out in European politics of the early 20th century."

European nations raced against each other in Africa to assert their national and racial pride, pursue exploitative commercial policies, and secure military and naval bases for strategic purposes. For example, French bases in the Horn of Africa enabled the French flag to wave over its colonial possessions in southeast Asia. Added to the rape of the continent's minerals, metals, wood, and rubber, was superadded the forced conscription of its soldiers and civilians in a colossal and vicious conflict that straddled the planet and pitted Africans fighting each other under opposing European flags.

France employed the largest number of African troops. By August, 1914, there were 14,000 soldiers from Senegal (Tirailluers Senegalese) in France. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, Kenyans, Namibians, Congolese, Moroccans, South Africans and many others served as soldiers, laborers, or carriers.  An estimated 2,000,000 people in Africa made huge sacrifices for the European Allies. Approximately 100,000 men died in East Africa, and 65,000 from French North Africa and French West Africa lost their lives. The last troops to surrender after the war were East African soldiers serving under the German flag.

The U.S. and The Caribbean

Black men outside Africa saw the war as an opportunity to demonstrate their patriotism and equality. The first Bermudian killed in the war was William E. Smith who died when his Royal Navy cruiser sank in the North Sea. Eighty-nine more Bermudians died during the war. The U.S. entered the war in 1917 and over 350,000 African American men and women served before the end of hostilities in November, 1918.

CR Gibbs 2014 - 2015 African History and Culture Lecture Series (Free)

Twelve Years a Slave
For Children

twelve years a slave forchildrenSue Eakin (1918-2009) first saw a copy of “Twelve Years a Slave” when she was 12-years-old.  As a graduate student at Louisiana State University, she chose the book as the topic for her thesis. Eventually, Eakin re-wrote the book at a child’s level.  It was first published in 1998. Pelican Publishing Company of Gretna, Louisiana has just released Eakins’s version for children.

As for the adult version, Eakin's and Joseph Logsdon’s 1968 annotated version of the 1853 slave narrative by Solomon Northup retraced Northrup's journey - - from New York as a born free Black to being enslaved in Louisiana. They added maps and other documentation. Louisiana State Press published their edition of “Twelve Years a Slave” in 1968.  In 2013, the actor Lou Gossett Jr. dedicated his 2013 audiobook performance of “Twelve Years a Slave” to Dr. Eakin. The original has been made into an award-winning movie.

A History of South Africa –
MLK Library

south africa
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Library presents an hour-long film presentation by native Washingtonian Phil Portlock and his wife Pat Sloan, “From Despair to Hope:  A History of South Africa, a Tribute to Nelson Mandela. The screening takes place Wednesday, February 19 and Monday February 24, 7p to 8:30p in room A5.  Admission is free.

Portlock, who is a photographer, writer, and producer, says the film covers South African history starting with the 1652 arrival of the Dutch East India Company to the election Mandala as president.  To produce the film, “I read seven books and we visited South Africa in 2002,” says Portluck, who was arrested in 1985 while protesting against apartheid at the South African embassy in Washington.

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Free: Taste of Tanzania Cookbook

Port Of Harlem: 10 Years on the Web
January 31, 2014

taste of tanzaniaIn celebration of Port Of Harlem magazine’s 10th year of producing Port Of Harlem Snippets, you can win the just released cookbook "Taste of Tanzania: Modern Swahili Recipes for the West" by Miriam Kinunda (pictured at bottom) (Miroki Publishing, $34.95).  As an inclusive, diverse, pan-African magazine reader, you will enjoy this cookbook with bits of pan-African Swahili culture and vibrant photography, even if you do not love to cook. 

miriam kinuda Winners must be Snippets subscribers and enter the drawing using the e-mail addresses listed in their free subscriptions.  
To enter this drawing, click here.  (You will be sending an email to


contest2@portofharlem.net and you will receive an automatic response upon successful submission.  (Please, do not enter twice.)  We will select two winners from all entries received by Tuesday, February 11, 2014 using a random number selector.

I Still Love My President,
But . . .

 president obama
Publisher’s Point

 I am no Tavis Smiley or Cornell West.  I have no “tuff” love critiques for the President.  I do, however, need to send him a letter reminding him to scratch a line used by past presidents that he used in his recent State of the Union speech:   “They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That's what drew our forebears here.”

Whose forbearers?  Not most of mine. And I am glad that he gave a shout out to our fellow brothers:  “And I'm reaching out to some of America's leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing especially tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.”

But where were the claps and cheers?  The women went wild when he said:  “"When women succeed, America succeeds.”

Maybe it’s time to take a page from the women who have Emily’s List to support women running for office and start a Tyrone’s List.

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champion services travel - group travel


Washington, DC
Film: Belonging
Anacostia Museum
1901 Fort Place, SE
Thu, Feb 6, 11a-12:30p, Free

Birth of a Nation and Community
Opening Reception of
John Hakim’s Collection
of the history and early
years of the Nation of Islam
2315 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE
Fri, Feb 7, 6p-9p, free

Studio Theater
1501 14th Street, NW
Extended through Sun, Mar 2, $

An Evening of Romance
The Juffureh Project
Gethsemane United
Methodist Church
910 Addison Road South
Capitol Heights, MD
Light Dinner Included
Entertainment By:
Tina and Tony Thompson & Friends
Music, Poetry & More
Feb 8, 6:30p, $25

Black History Committee
Annual African American
Men Sing Songs of Praise
Greater New Hope Baptist Church
816 8th Street, N.W. (8th and H St NW)
Sun, Feb 16, 4p, free

Maple Sugar Tapping
Chellberg Farm in the
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Sat, Feb 15, 9a-12p, free

Doo-Wop Concert
Sun, Feb 16, 3p, $10

Black Immigration Network
National Convening
Fri, Feb 7 – Sun, Feb 9, $

New York (Greater)
The Harlem Chamber Players
6th Annual Black History
Month Celebration
St. Mary's Episcopal Church
521 West 126th Street, New York
Feb 9, 3p, $15 for adults, $10 students

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth
Fri, Feb 7, 9p (check local listings)

First Ladies Influence and Image
Mon, Feb 10, 9p ET
Michelle Obama

Freda Payne Brings Them
to MetroStage
Vacylla Williams wins Free Tickets

 freda payne as ella fitzgerald
Freda Payne (“Band of Gold” (1970) and “Bring the Boys Home” (1971)) brought theater goers to MetroStage in “Ella Fitzgerald – First Lady of Song.” On press night, she attracted celebrities Dick Gregory, Debi Morgan, the show’s director Maurice Hines and locals who packed the intimate theater. It was Hines who brought the show to MetroStages’ attention several years ago says the theater’s producing artistic director Carolyn Griffin. Hines strongly suggested, however, that only one person could play Ella well, Freda Payne.

Pianists William Knowles, who led the live five-piece jazz band and is a regular performer at MetroStage, says what make working with Payne exceptional is that “she’s kind of connected to the past.”  Payne recalls many encounters with many jazz greats, including Fitzgerald, who influenced her when she was a budding entertainer.

MetroStage is known for producing several biographical plays of Black entertainers, however, not having cast members play several characters made this performance more enjoyable. Wynonna Smith, however, helped make this show exceptional by playing the younger Ella and performing duets with Payne as they magically switched playing the younger and older Ella, respectively. Smith also played Ella’s half-sister Frances, but making that switch was not as smooth.

One indicator of the show’s exceptional entertainment value was the audience’s unsolicited clapping during one of Payne’s final performances.  Payne didn’t have to ask for a unanimous standing ovation either, she was handed claps of gold.

 freda and wayne

Photos: Top - Freda Payne as Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Wiggin as Norman Granz, Ella’s manager. (photo by Chris Banks). Bottom - Freda Payne with POH publisher and fan Wayne Young after the show (photo by Donald Willis)

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KayCee Medical Equipment and Supplies' New Website

 kaycee drugs
Kaycee Medical Equipment and Supplies’, formerly KayCee Drugs, new website now pictures hundreds of medical supplies and equipment for purchase and rent - - from hospital beds to body braces. The new site also includes product costs and payment options including credit cards and PayPal. For orders more than $100, they offer free shipping.
freda payne as ella fitzgerald

Most Popular Page and Searched Word
on the Website for February, to Date 

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