Black Slaves, Red Masters with Sam Ford | White Christians Are a Dying Breed | Thank You!
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September 28 - October 11, 2017
On The Dock This Issue:
“Abandoning this long-overdue tribute would be a grave mistake,” Marc H. Morial.
President and CEO, National Urban League.
Do You Believe in Hell?
“The Christians,” now playing at Baltimore’s Center Stage, could be called: “Do you Believe in Hell?”
Pew: White Christians Are a Dying Breed
Yet even as White Christians shrink in their overall numbers, they still account for nearly seven-in-10 Americans who identify with, or lean toward, the Republican Party, a Pew study found.
During the holiday season, scholarship donors will get a thank you note from their (the) Gambian child they are academically assisting.
See what is most popular in Port Of Harlem's e-mailed issue, and on our web, Pinterest, and Facebook pages.
Black Slaves, Red Masters with Sam Ford
European-Americans called the Cherokee and four other Native American ethnic groups “civilized” because they followed in the White man’s practice of enslaving Africans. One of the descendents of Cherokee human property is Sam Ford, general assignment reporter for Washington, D.C.’s ABC7/News Channel 8.
The Alexandria Black History Museum hosts Ford as he looks at this little-known part of American history in a 23-minute film, then continues to talk about how the August 30th court decision, that ruled that the descendants of the Cherokee Nation’s slaves are entitled to tribal citizenship, affects him and his family. “After more than a three year wait, we won our lawsuit against those who tried to remove us from the Cherokee Nation because we are Black,” said Ford.
In 2007, The Cherokee Nation decided to limit its membership to people who can prove they have Indian blood and ignored a 1866 treaty with the United States, after the Civil War, to grant the Freedmen equal rights. While some Native American nations require members to prove that they have Native blood, The Cherokee simply require that members have an ancestor listed on the Dawes Roll, created by the U.S. government in the early 1900s, which lists American Indian citizens. They included categories not only for Native Americans of various blood mixtures but for Whites and Blacks as well.
The Descendants of Freedman Association (DFA), which represents about 2,800 descendents of Cherokee human Black property, sued the Cherokee Nation while the Department of Housing and Urban Development suspended more than $37 million in funding to the Nation over the Cherokee’s decision.
Marilyn Vann, who heads the (DFA), told NPR, "The majority of folks who are members of the tribe ... have lived lives of White privilege . . . (and are) people who have never been discriminated against in their lives."
Ironically, Vann and Ford’s ancestors joined their Indian masters on the Trail of Tears, when tens of thousands of First Americans were pushed out of the Deep South and west into Oklahoma in the early 1800s. It was President Andrew Jackson who authorized the Indian Removal Act of 1830 as the 1829 Georgia Gold Rush was becoming a stampede. During the forced move, millions of Native Americans and their African property died.
“After more than a three year wait, we won our lawsuit against those who tried to remove us from the Cherokee Nation because we are Black,” said Ford.
Also, in recent weeks, Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin has raised doubts of replacing Jackson on the $20 bill with the picture of American patriot Harriet Tubman. Mnuchin’s boss has said Jackson had a “big heart.” The Cherokee Nation does not intend to appeal the court’s decision.
Fords’ screening and discussion is Saturday, September 30, 11a– 1p at the Alexandria Black History Museum; 902 Wythe Street, Alexandria, Virginia, five blocks from the Braddock Road Metro Station on the Yellow and Blue Lines. Free street parking is available. The event is part of the A Port Of Harlem Fall at the Alexandria Black History Museum. Admission for this event is $5
As the nation has begun the process of removing public monuments to the Confederacy – traitors who waged war against the United States to preserve slavery – we have at last begun to focus on the difference between observing history and honoring heroes.
One way nations honor national heroes is by depicting them on currency. Around the world, currency depicts writers, artists, scientists, activists, and others as a means of national tribute. Against the backdrop of the Confederate monument debate, a planned tribute to abolitionist and anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman would be a powerful gesture of racial reconciliation.
Now, however, that gesture of reconciliation is threatened. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchen – former CEO of a major bank that stands accused of racial discrimination – has backed away from plans to feature Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.
Abandoning this long-overdue tribute would be a grave mistake. At a time when the nation desperately seeks reconciliation, this gesture sends the callous message that White supremacy takes precedence over the history of slavery and the unfathomable courage of those who fought to end it.
It is particularly apt that Harriet Tubman's image was chosen to replace that of Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder whose chief achievement as President was the forced removal of 15,000 Native Americans from their ancestral homes. More than 4,000 people died during the brutal upheaval known as the Trail of Tears.
Harriet Tubman not only escaped from bondage and rescued dozens of people from enslavement as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, she served the Union Army as a nurse, an armed scout and a spy. She risked her life, many times over, and gave all she had in service of others.
The debate over the $20 bill reflects a larger struggle happening right now in the United States. The nation grows more diverse, as women and people of color are taking their rightful places of leadership. There are many who meet this change with fear and resistance. The neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville earlier this summer chanted, "You will not replace us!" -- a desperate cry of fear if ever there was one.
The demographic shift in the United States represents a broadening of perspectives, not a replacement. Our history is not solely the story of wealthy White men, though our choice of public tributes might reflect that. As my friend Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, said as he removed Confederate monuments from my beloved home city, "All we hold dear is created by throwing everything in the pot; creating, producing something better; everything a product of our historic diversity. We are proof that out of many we are one — and better for it!"
It's time that our public institutions reflected that historic diversity. We are a nation of many colors, many creeds, and our history is rich with the contributions of men and women of every background and heritage. Honoring Harriet Tubman is a step forward in acknowledging our truth as a nation. Now is not the time to step backward.
Right-Wing Sinclair Broadcast Group Cancels Series, Saying "No Longer Fits”
Following conservative Baltimore media company Sinclair Broadcast Group's purchase of Tribune Media, Tribune CEO Peter Kern announced that its acclaimed series, “Underground,” "no longer fits with our new direction" and was being dropped. Through Tribune, Sinclair now owns Chicago television station WGN America, producer of the series.
Said Kern, "As WGN America evolves and broadens the scope and scale of its portfolio of series, we recently announced that resources will be reallocated to a new strategy to increase our relevance within the rapidly changing television landscape. This move is designed to deliver additional value for our advertising and distribution partners and offer viewers more original content across our air.”
The $3.9 billion Sinclair-Tribune merger gives Sinclair control over more than 200 stations nationwide in what is rumored to be Sinclair's plan to reposition itself as a national competitor to Fox News. “Underground” aired for two ten-episode seasons, its last installment in May. However, attempts are being made to transplant the “Underground” series to a new home. Oscar-winning musician John Legend, the show's executive producer who played abolitionist Frederick Douglass in “Underground,” is lobbying for the series to be picked up by another content provider.
Said Legend, "Be wary of Sinclair. They're trying to make local stations into mini Fox Newses. WGN America has been bought and is going a different direction strategically. We will find a new home for “Underground.” Content wins. We're not reliant on a particular network to make great content. We're so proud of our show and the audience that supported it."
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Sony Pictures Television, which co-produced “Underground,” is looking to continue “Underground.”
Do You Believe in Hell?
You are saying that absolute tolerance requires intolerance of the intolerant.
- Nikkole Salter
(as Elizabeth, the preacher’s wife)
The last play I reviewed, “The Wizard of Hip,” and “The Christians,” have two things in common. Firstly, the titles are misleading. “The Christians,” now playing at Baltimore’s Center Stage, could be called: “Do you Believe in Hell?” Secondly, my reaction to the plays was somewhat different from that of others in the audience.
“’The Christians” specifically examines leadership and faith,” said Baltimore Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. The show opens with hymns (on a stage one could easily believe is a pulpit, created by scenic designer Mike Carnahan) and great dialogue centered on Pastor Paul declaring that “we no longer believe in hell.” Pastor Paul, masterfully played by Howard W. Overshown, did not need to ask the audience to stand and sing, or even bow and pray: they just did. Was this church or a play set in church?
Jessiee Datino, Jenny, delivered the most dramatic, hilarious, but non-comedic lines as she tried to wrestle with the changes in beliefs in front of the whole congregation. As a financially struggling, single mom, who tithes at 20 percent, she has many concerns. She is concerned about what her boyfriend, whom she met in the singles’ ministry, and departed church members say to and think of her. But, mostly she worries about her son. "I'm responsible for his soul when I pick his church," she says, delivering the play’s second most representative line.
During much of the drama, the church’s first lady, Elizabeth, played by the stunning, gym bodied, Nikkole Salter, sat quietly in her first lady’s chair. She was beautifully coiffed with natural hair, poised, and legs crossed like the best of ladies. Then, about mid-show, she opened up and the striking Howard University graduate delivered the show’s most thought provoking, poignant, and representative line during an intense argument with her pastor husband: “You are saying that absolute tolerance requires intolerance of the intolerant.”
Lucus Hnalth wrote the play after being raised by a mother who was an Evangelical minister. He says he was on track to become one, but did not want to be responsible for other people’s souls, perhaps like Jenny. With his level of understanding, it is easier for me to believe his wanting Americans to believe that many fundamentalist do not act out of “stupidity or that they are acting first and foremost out of hatred,” on certain issues. He says Evangelicals often believe they should do certain things or act certain ways because they are following God’s words. “There are enormous stakes attached: eternal damnation,” he explains.
No single argument wins in this play. “That lack of obvious resolution can be uncomfortable, agitating,” he says. Ainsley Starghill of Baltimore, however, interpreted the ending as being weak and “politically correct.”
After also experiencing the play, including a part where Associate Pastor Joshua (Lawrence Clayton) talked of believing that his loving mother (her religion was not disclosed) would go to hell because she would not confess Jesus Christ as her savior even on her death bed, Elizabeth Moylan, also of Baltimore, was more introspective than reflective on the play. “I don’t think Jewish people are going to hell. I just don’t think that way,” she said.
As I wrote in the last review, my favorite stage plays are dramatic, thought-provoking, and educational. This one fits my liking. I can add that is was also funny. As Jenny questioned Pastor Paul, I too wondered, “If there is no hell, then where does he (Hilter) go?” (However, I thought about a lot of contemporary people going to hell, in addition to Hitler.)
While most of the audience clapped during the singing and bowed their heads during prayer, for whatever reason they did not jump to their feet at the end of the play for a standing ovation. I did - - maybe many were still introspecting?
“The Christians” closes Sunday, October 8. Parking is only $5 across from Baltimore Center Stage. Beverages, alcoholic and non alcoholic, bought at the Center can be taken into the theater.
Pew: White Christians Are a Dying Breed
Long the dominant group in American religious life, White Christians have fallen below a majority of the U.S. population—and they are moving to the right politically as they recede.
The result is that, like race and age, religious affiliation marks a sharpening point of distinction between Republicans and Democrats, previously unpublished results from the Pew Research Center’s massive Religious Landscape survey show.
As the nation relentlessly diversifies, both in its racial composition and religious preferences, White Christians now represent just 46 percent of American adults, according to Pew data provided in response to a request from Next America. That’s down from a 55 percent majority as recently as 2007, and much higher figures through most of U.S. history.
Yet even as White Christians shrink in their overall numbers, they still account for nearly seven-in-10 Americans who identify with, or lean toward, the Republican Party, the Pew study found. White Christians, in fact, represent as large a share of the Republican coalition today as they did of American society overall in 1984, when Ronald Reagan won reelection. A clear majority of all White Christians across the United States now identify as Republican, Pew found.
Thank you for the donations to the Port Of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership (POHGEP). The donations totaled $1,350 for 21 scholarships for economically-challenged students in The Gambia. Thank you for the $565 for our general fund to pay for general expenses including our Barrel of Cloths program. Thank you for the donations of two barrels of women, men, and especially children clothing. Overall, we are short of our goal by only $35. And, thank you for the new subscriptions to Port Of Harlem magazine.
During the holiday season, scholarship donors will get a thank you note from their (the) Gambian child they are academically assisting with exercise books, book rental fees, uniform, shoes, backpack, and even lunch for a full year.
The two barrels are expected to arrive in Gambia in early October. Upon their arrival, the groups, the and the Baobab Youth Development Association, will arrange to pick up their barrels and take them to their villages. From the sale of the items, the community developers will help fund their programs from building footbridges to holding community clean-up days.
Not only does your $75 donation for scholarships go a long way in The Gambia, but so does your soft goods and cell phone donations for the Barrel of Clothes program says Ebrima Jallow, president of Bakindik Youth Development Association. “This will indeed spare community members the hardship of traveling over twenty five kilometer just to buy similar or less quality cloths at a higher price,” he says. In addition, members of his group will gain business skills as they organize the sale.
The Port Of Harlem New Subscriber Day resulted in 22 new subscriptions, after many subscribers like you asked their friends to subscribe. Unlike those on our faster growing Facebook Friends list, a subscription insures that you will get each and every free issue of Port Of Harlem every other other Thursday at 11a.
POHGEP remains in need of clothing (for thin people), laptops, cell phones, and household dry goods. The magazine welcomes new subscribers. Subscriptions are free.
40th Day Ascension Celebration for
Union Baptist Church
1225 W Street, SE
Thu, Sep 28, 7p, free
Film and Discussion with reporter Sam Ford (ABC7/News Channel 8)
Black Slaves, Red Masters
Alexandria Black History Museum
902 Wythe Street
Sat, Sep 30, 11a–1p, $5
Fall Artisan Bazaar
(Cindy Williams, Anthony Driver,
, and Millee Spears
6025 North Dakota Avenue, NW
Sat, Sep 30, 2p-8p, free
Muslims In American Sports
America's Islamic Heritage Museum
2315 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE
closes Sep 30, $
Taste of DC
Sat, Oct 7 - Sun, Oct 8, $
Sankofa Bookstore Presents: Ta-Nehisi Coates Washington, DC Book Launch
We Were Eight Years In Power: An American Tragedy
Metropolitan AME Church
1518 M Street, NW
Mon, Oct 9, 6p-9p
Atlanta Black Theater Festival
Wed, Oct 4-Sat, Oct 7, $
The 8th Annual African American & Empowerment Expo
Morgan State University- Student Center Bldg
1700 E. Cold Spring Lane
Sat, Oct 7, 11a-5p, free
Kololi, The Gambia
Special Movie Awards 2017
Djembe Hotel Senegambia
Sat, Sep 30, invitation
Tue, Oct 10
Screening: Talking Black in America
Cantor Film Center (Theater 102)
36 East 8th Street
Sep 28, 6:30p-8:30p, free
Check to see if you are registered to vot
U.S. Postal Service Releases
National Museum of African American History and Culture Forever Stamp
Fri, Oct 13, $
Film and Discussion - Breathe in the Roots
Alexandria Black History Museum
902 Wythe Street
Thu, Oct 26, 7p-9p
Champion Services Travel
Coach departs from Oxon Hill and Hyattsville
Toby's Dinner Theater
5900 Symphony Woods Rd.
Friday October 27, 4p-11p, $89
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