Stripping Away our Culture- But will we take action?

Sometimes as you walk down the gritty streets you can still hear the sounds of the drums playing and the streets filled with vendors ready to sale you whatever they got. But what use to be...


What use to be a place where people would go to the Savoy Ballroom and you could hear the sounds of Jazz and watch people as they swing dance away...



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It use to be a place where the careers of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and James Brown launched their careers at the Apollo theater


It use to be a place where Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, and Zora Neale Hurston would sit on the corner of 125th and talk about what their next literary piece would be about.


It use to be a place where you could pick up a magazine or newspaper and read the articles in the Crisis, Opportunity, the Messenger, or Negro World, that had contributors such as Du Bois and Marcus Garvey.


It us to be a place that would lay the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement.


It use to be a place where great leaders such as Malcolm X would speak on the Black Revolution.



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As we struggle to hold on....


Its still a place where on 125th you can still find Black Entrepreneurs and small Black businesses.


Its still a place where you can see Black people bbqing in the parks and music playing as old and young join in song and dance.


Its still a place where vendors come out and sale anything they can to make a living.


Its still a place where you can hear the sounds of drums and horns being played on the corners of every block.


Its still a place where you can find Black people listening to Jazz and eating Soul Food at places such as the Den and Spoon Bread.


But what will it become....



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I was having a conversation with some friends the other day and my friend Chanelle told us that she got a chance to talk to some older Blacks on her block that had been residents of Harlem for years. They talked about what Harlem use to be like, and the rich history that came out of their mouth was mind blowing.


The next day I couldn't stop thinking about the stories that Chanelle told us and as I walked down Lenox Avenue my stomach begin to hurt. I could see that the usual faces were disappearing and the block was slowly changing. What use to be a place where Black culture was strong, is now a place that is being stripped of everything that it once was. I recently heard that new residences are protesting about the sounds of the local marching bands and are gradually demanding change.


Gentrification is not only causing us to lose the places where we lay our heads, but also somehow taking away the essence of who we are. As Harlem slowly changes its residences from White to Black, some of the older Blacks will be able to hold on to their memories of what Harlem use to be.


The younger generation will rely on History books, movies and stories left behind from their grand parents, but they will not be able to have their own experiences. With a race that already feels like they lack identity, taking away what they do have becomes detrimental to their growth in society.


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So what do we do? My friend Chanelle came up with an excellent plan and I will share that with yall later.


But what ideas can we come up with that will preserve our history and keep Harlem, along with other rich Black neighborhoods, ours?


Lets Brainstorm...You comment and leave an idea and together we will make a plan.

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Congress Formally Apologize for Slavery and Jim Crow

"The House on Tuesday issued an unprecedented apology to black Americans for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow segregation laws".


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This will mark the 1st time that any branch of the U.S. government will officially acknowledge the role the government played in slavery. This apology was introduced on the floor by Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, the only white law maker to represent a majority Black state. Although there have been five other states to issue apologies, they were stalled by Congress, because it was said that they were concerned that an apology would lead to demands for reparations.


Keeping up with the Huxtables managed to get their hands on the official transcript of Representative Cohens speech that was made on the floor yesterday, courtesy of Taiwo "Tai" Stanback and Chanelle Dumas. We will give you a few highlights that we find interesting:


"The fact is, slavery and Jim Crow are stains upon what is the greatest nation on the face of the earth and the greatest government ever conceived by man. But when we conceived this government and said all men were created equal we didn't in fact make all men equal, nor did we make women equal. We have worked to form a more perfect union, and part of forming a more perfect union is laws, and part of it is such as resolutions like we have before us today where we face up to our mistakes and we apologize, as anyone should apologize for things that were done in the past that were wrong. And we begin a dialogue that will hopefully lead us to a better understanding of where we are in America today and why certain conditions exist."

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"Twenty years ago this congress passed a bill apologizing for the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II. "

"But the fact that this government has not apologized to its own citizens, African-Americans, for the institution of slavery and for the Jim Crow laws that followed and accepted that fact and encouraged changes in our dialogue and understanding in the actions of this country to rectify that is certainly a mistake. And today we rectify that mistake."


"So it is with great honor that I speak on this resolution and urge the members of this body to pass this historic resolution, recognize our errors, but also recognize the greatness of this country, because only a great country can recognize and admit its mistakes and then travel forth to create indeed a more perfect union that works to bring people of all races, religions and creeds together in unity as Americans part of the United States of America."


So I know that many people are thinking that this is untimely and how dare they not apologize before because of fear of demands of reparations. I'm thinking the very same thing. However, it is a great effort and step forward made by Rep. Cohen, although he happens to be running against a black challenger in a primary face-off next week, so this could be a reason that he found it necessary to "speak up for us".


Keeping up with the Huxtables congratulates Representative Cohen for taking a stand yesterday on the floor for something that is way pass due. Although the apology will not change the many issues that we still face today, they are finally acknowledging all of the things that they did wrong in the past. It is now time to move forward and take a stand on the racism and discrimination that still exist. (I'm guessing we will never get our reparations).


What do you think about this Resolution that Representative Cohen presented?

Does it even matter anymore?

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100 Women will Comment to Promote Sisterhood Day!

After watching the argument or shall I say "Bitchfest" between Wendy Williams and Omarosa on all of the blogs, I had to bring up this issue that is on going in our community. Whether you flipped on that screen last night or you walked outside this morning, you probably managed to see the issue that I am talking about.



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I can remember my high school days and walking down the hall to find clumps of people standing around at different places in the hallways. A few of them would be staring and pointing at other, with occasional whispers and giggles to their inner clump.



The bell would ring and you would find yourself on your way home, but couldn't leave because you wanted to see the fight between the pointer and the one that was whispering. You strain to peek over the large crowd circling the girls and for a moment take your eyes from the fight to turn your ear in the circle because you are eager to hear what the girls are screaming at each other about. You let out a laugh with everyone else when you find out that it is over Bobby on the Football team, who by the way isn't with either of these girls.



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I flash forward to my college years and can remember some what of the same situations. Yet these situations seem to become a little less of a laughing matter, and more of a concern to myself. There were constant battles between women over guys, leadership in organizations, sorority feuds, unwanted stares, and the fight to make it to the top. I soon came to realize that my grade school days were a training ground for what I was going to face when I got into the real world.



There is a constant battle between Black women everyday. Some blame it on a lack of "good" men, others give lack of corporate positions for Black women at the top as an excuse, I believe many just simply blame it on a lack of air to breathe. That is how ridiculous our battle is becoming. How can we fight the battle of equality and uplifting our community, when within we are messed up?



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Do we have that many insecurities that we must find ways to bring other women down, just to left ourselves up? Have men become that rare that we must duke it out and may the best woman win? Have we ignored the concept of sisterhood and much rather stand alone? Can women come together to be the strength that our community needs?



On this day, July 29th, 2008, I declare it the Hundred Women Will Comment to Promote Sisterhood Day!



So here is how it works:



1. Click comment under this post and leave a comment about something/ anything that will either encourage women, uplift them, or bring them together.



2. Go tell a friend and help us get to 100.



3. Make sure you check back in to see if we have made it to 100 yet, and then go find more women if we have not.



Lets get to 100 and show the world that Black women can come together. If we are really tight...we will get more!



Men you can comment, it will just not count in the 100! Show us that you support us also!



YES We Can!



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Twins- One White, One Black- How will society react?

On Friday July 11, 2008 an interesting thing happened to two parents. Some call it a sign from God, others call it unusual, some seem intrigued, but I call it a moment of clarity. On this date two twins were born and one came out Black and the other White. These are the Gerth Twins born to Stephan Gerth, from Germany and Florence Addo-Gerth, originally from Ghana. Doctors call it a once-in-a-million occurrence and believe that these twins have entirely different genetic codes.

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The reason that I call this a moment of clarity is that the birth of these twins can say many things. One of my friends pointed out that she felt this was a sign from God telling us that we are all his children and skin color does not matter. This is an interesting take on the situation. For years different races have battled and went against each other because of the color of their skin, and for years people have argued that we are all people and skin color should not matter.

And then reality sinks in....

For me I sit here and pray that this will be a sign from God and these children will show those around them that it is simply skin color that we are fighting over and not who we really are as people. I hope that these children will grow up and have the same experiences. I also hope that when they walk around that they spark inspiration and not moments of unwanted stares.

But then I can't help but wonder if their experiences will be some what different. Will society treat these babies as if they are two different races? Will they be able to hang out with the same crowds without constant whispers and occasional underlined signs of racism? Will they be treated the same by their own mixed family members, or will there be a constant battle for attention by the two? Will they have different experiences in school or getting a job? Will this be a story that highlights that segregation, discrimination, and racism still exist or will it be an experience that shows us that equality is near?

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For many instances of children who are mixed like Barack Obama, they struggle every day with trying to attach themselves to one of the races they are mixed with. No matter what both sides will continue to claim and voice that they are not Black enough or not White enough. These children struggle with their identity and oftentimes are stuck in the middle with nothing to claim.
Parents of these children struggle with trying to figure out what culture to introduce them to and which one to raise them under. Many try to show a mix experience, and yet society does not want to accept that.

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I say that this is indeed a blessing for the Gerth family no matter what. I hope that they individually are able to show both their children the same amount of love and raise them to show others that two races can come together. I hope that they are also able to teach them to have tough skin against the mean society that we live in. Keeping up with the Huxtables wishes the Gerth family good luck!

What do you think about this one-in-a-million occurrence?

How do you think society will react to the Gerth Twins?

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Blacks struggle to stay healthy- Can we Eat Right on a Budget?

As you walk around the inner city for a day, you can find crowds of people lined up in McDonald's ready to order for lunch. You continue to walk and pass the corner store and see children holding candy, ice cream, and chips in line waiting to pay. You can hear the sound of the Ice Cream truck pass by and wonder if those same kids will scrape up another dollar and purchase something from there. You look over and see crowds of people coming out of the grocery store with bags of groceries and now start to imagine what type of food they have in their bags.

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In a society where eating right and staying fit has become a must and a trend, the African American Society stills struggles to Keep Up! With a large percentage of our race overweight or simply not healthy, particularly in the inner city, people struggle to figure out how to lower this statistic.

CNN Black in America pointed out that Blacks are less healthy than their counterparts because a large percentage of Blacks are from lower income homes. When you live in the inner city and struggle with the ability to even pay rent, you oftentimes have to eat on a budget. That oftentimes means that you are quick to grab something off of the dollar menu at McDonald's, stack up on can foods and junk food, and never make it down to the Whole Food Store because you think that it is too expensive. I live in Harlem and the grocery stores are average at best. They never seem to have fresh fruit or vegetables, and I too struggle with trying to come up with a series of healthy meals.

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Another thing that Blacks are use to is eating large portions of what we like to call "Soul Food". It goes back to the days when we were slaves and were only left the unhealthy portions of the pig and other foods that the master did not want. Being the creative people we are, we still managed to make our meals tasty. We did this by combining a large amount of seasonings to enhance the taste. The large portions and many seasonings have indeed become a cholesterol problem and is not always healthy for you.

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Keeping up with the Huxtables needed a solution, so we asked the Culinary Goddess for a few tips on how we could eat healthy on a budget. She replies by giving us three major tips:

BUY IN BULK: Now we all know about the Costco’s, BJ’s, and Sam’s Clubs out there….we should be taking full advantage of this opportunity. There is definitely more to purchase here than flat screens and boxes of chips. They have a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and meats. If you take the time to plan certain meals in advance then you can purchase your produce and meat in bulk and keep it through the week.

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In terms of your vegetables you can always flash-steam and freeze so that you don’t run the risk of them going bad. Just place them in boiling water for 2 minutes max, soak them in ice water dry and place them in freezer safe bags and you can pull them down at any time and add to your meal of choice. This way you save time AND money!

BUY WHOLE FOODS: You may think that groceries are expensive and at times they are, but unprocessed foods are not only healthier but cheaper as well. You have more control over what goes into your meals and can take a bigger step towards making the right food decisions.

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EAT SMALLER PORTIONS: Most of us go through each day trying to complete multiple tasks and often forget to take the time to eat. So when we do grab a moment we serve ourselves large portions of unhealthy food. If you eat smaller healthier portions you’ll feel better and so will your wallet. For example you buy your granola, eggs, salmon, salad greens, fruit, rice and veggies in bulk.

AN IDEAL DAY:
The night prior season and prepare your salmon the way you like. When you wake up in the morning you can grab some fruit for breakfast. It’s a great way to start your day and your metabolism. 3-4 hours later have a granola bar or even a handful of trail mix….it helps to keep your metabolism moving and keeps your from having a larger lunch than you need. Approximately 2-3 hours after your snack have a small piece of the salmon you prepared over a bowl of the salad greens for lunch. Try to use a nice robust vinaigrette in an effort to keep your meal light but full of flavor. In another few hours have yet another snack, could be carrots & celery with dressing, or a rice cake or a 100% calorie pack. And then for your last meal pull down some of those flash steamed veggies and another piece of your salmon and there you have 5 small meals in a day without spending an extra dime. Everything you’ve eaten for the day has been pre-purchased at a lower price because it was in bulk. You’re satisfied and your energy level will remain on an even keel.

With these great tips eating healthy can become your daily routine and your wallet will see the difference. Just remember that eating good doesn’t always translate to eating the wrong things, and eating healthy doesn’t always mean eating expensive. The key to Great Healthy eating is eating smart!!!!! You can enjoy your health, your food and your finances all in one meal!

Enjoy!
Your Culinary Goddess

What other reasons do you think that Blacks struggle to stay healthy and eat right?

Do you have any burning questions for the Culinary Goddess on other ways to eat on a budget?

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Getting Paid to Learn

So of course you know that I tuned into Black in America on CNN. I damn near ran home to make sure that I recorded it and didn't miss a second of this experience. While CNN did a good job in informing their audience about the issues that effect African Americans, I think that for us it simply showed us what we go through on a day to day basis. One day I would rather see someone come up with some solutions to all of these problems.

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Yesterday one of my fellow bloggers Freeman posted a comment after my post on Crabs in a Barrel and commended me on coming up with a solution to the syndrome. While I didn't come up with a solution that would end the Crab in a Barrel syndrome for good, I created a Support Group amongst my friends and offered to give everyone else the template for starting one.


So with this comment in mind, I was eager to see if CNN would point out any solutions to the many issues that effect our community. With Pen and Pad in hand, my eyes stayed glued to the screen, patiently waiting to jot down all of the solutions that would be offered. While there wasn't solutions jumping out of the screen onto my paper, one guy did come up with one.

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Harvard economist Dr. Roland G. Fryer believes that to fix the Public Education system and to close the gap between African Americans and their other counterparts, students should be paid to achieve. He believes that students need some type of motivation. With test scores at in all time low, he thinks that giving them money will inspire the children to want to study and get high scores.


For every test students can gain up to $25 depending on their score. When Soledad O’Brien asked students what they thought about this, four students spoke out and said that it encourages them to want to do better and since parents get paid for their work, they should also. One boy said that he is saving his money for college and plans on giving some of it to his dad to pay bills. Another student said that she was saving it to go towards college also. While this program has already brought a lot of controversy, some parents say that they have already seen a positive change in their children.

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I had already heard about this program before, but it was interesting seeing how the students reacted to the program. I set for a moment thinking about if I thought the program was a good idea. After a few moments of going back in forth and understanding the pros and cons, I concluded that I thought the program was a good idea, with some stipulations.



Students obviously need some type of motivation to help them achieve under the conditions of the inner city. Money of course is always good motivation for anyone. It is a good idea as long as children are taught what to do with the money. It is enlightening to hear that a lot of the students want to put it towards college and helping their family. Within the program there should be lessons on saving and beneficial spending. They should also know that if they work hard in school they can receive even more money because they will be able to get good paying jobs. This is something that every student should learn anyways. Maybe when they grow up they will not make bad spending decisions like many adults do today.

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This program is still be tested out and the results will not be released until later on. While we wait, Keeping up with the Huxtables would like to commend Mr. Fryer for trying to come up with a solution to our education system and lack of motivation from our children. Even if his solution does not work, he did something instead of just talking about it.



What do you think about his program?



Do you think that it could really help close the gap, or will it hurt students more in the long run?



Also what did you think about CNN's Black in America?



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Crabs in a Barrel- the Fight for the Top

I look around and its dark inside, it smells, and there are way too many people around me. I look up and can see a light shining down, and wonder whats beyond that light. I look over to my right and can see someone trying to climb up towards it. I stare at them for a second and just as I am able to glance away, my attention is quickly drawn back as I watch something reach out to grab them back down.



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I feel sad inside, because I was excited and thought someone was going to finally make it up to see what was beyond that light. I don't have much time to dwell on the moment, because shortly after I hear a loud thump. It was someone else falling from an attempt to make it towards the light. I attempt to rush over to help them get up, but I am cornered in and can't get to them. I peek over the crowd around me to see if someone had helped them. Instead I see people ignoring him like nothing happened.



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This is how if feels to be, "A Crab in a Barrel". Everyone can see the light and wants to get to the top to see beyond it. Many will try, but in their attempt people will pull them back down. Others will try again and might fall, but there will be no one there to pick them back up. Some will make it to the top and will never come back to share the knowledge on how to get there.


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For African Americans we have always had an issue with what we like to call being Crabs in a barrel. Let me make you understand how serious this issue is. "Crabs in the Barrel" is a phrase that is used to describe situations where people fight for the top and will pull anyone down that is getting ahead of them. We seem to think that there is only room for a few people at the top, and our fight to get out of the barrel becomes a war. We secretly envy those that make it, and make attempts to possibly sabotage their success. The crazy thing is that if we all worked together, maybe all of us could get out of the barrel with less struggle.

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Recently, a group of friends and I started a A Young Black Business Women Support Group. Yesterday was our first meeting and we left feeling ten times more motivated and inspired to achieve than before. We helped each other map out our goals and gave each other advice on how to accomplish them. We set goals for our Support Group and vowed that no matter what we would help each other make it to the top. We found that with putting our minds together and using individual strengths to help each other would guarantee success for all of us.



Word of advice: Crabs in a Barrel is another phrase that will do nothing but keep our community down. Ask yourself how have you helped someone else achieve today?



* Feel free to ask any questions on how we structured our support group, I feel that everyone should start one.

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Integration versus Segregation

The Big question of the day is: Were we better off integrated or segregated?

Its morning time and you are on your way to work. You walk out of the house and head straight over to the bus stop and patiently wait for the bus to arrive. The bus pulls up and you enter the doors and drop your money into the dispenser. The Bus driver nods and you find yourself working your way to the back, but then realize that you see an open seat up front and plop into the seat. A white man enters the bus right after you, smiles at you, mumbles a good morning, and walks his way to an empty seat in the back.

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A few hours later you are at work and are stressing out because you just landed a major account, and you know that "they" are watching you closely, your job might be on the line. You decided that you need a lunch break, and head over to your favorite diner and sit at the counter next to your co-worker Mary Sue.

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After lunch you head back to the office, but stop for a sip of water at the water fountain. You walk back into your cubicle, sit down, and for some motivation to continue the day, you look back at your Harvard Diploma and sigh with relief.

(Freeze)

This is how it is without segregation. We can now work in corporate America, attend Ivy League Schools, sit in the front of the bus, drink from the same water fountain, and eat in whatever restaurant you want (in the front of the house). We can all smile, because this is what our people fought for...isn't it?

As I think about the question of the day, I can't help but think that maybe we were better off when we were segregated. Now don't get me wrong, of course I think that it is wonderful that we can walk around and not have to to see signs that say, "For Whites Only". I think that it is even more great that my people now have the options of attending any educational institution they would like, and be able to work their way up the corporate ladder.

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The reason that I say that we might have been better off when we were segregated, is because of how much the "Black Dollar" was valued back then. I'm often told about the "The Black Wall Street" or "the Negro Wall Street", when someone wants to highlight how prosperous Blacks were back during segregation. As a result of not being able to work and live with Whites, Blacks had to develop their own means of living and making money. The best example was "the Negro Wall Street". This was what they called Greenwood Avenue of North Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Tulsa, Oklahoma

During the early 1900s Blacks shopped, spent, and lived on a 35 square block area. Blacks owned and operated everything. They had over 30 newspapers, high schools, one hospital, hotels, public library, 13 churches, and over 150 two and three story brick commercial buildings. The Circulation of the Black dollar only in the Black community produced a tremendously prosperous Black business district.

The Black community has no choice but to come together and make things happen for themselves. So of course integration would make the situation for Blacks even more prosperous then that....wouldn't it?

Yet with integration:

1. The Black dollar leaves the Black community faster than it comes in.
2. There are very few owned and operated Black Businesses.
3. We do not support our own
4. The Black family has fallen apart
5. Our HBCU's have been down played
6. We don't understand the value of a dollar
7. We don't know what it means to work anymore
8. Voting is a joke to us
9. And the most important thing to us is money, cars, and clothes.

Way to go Integration! How could a fight as strong as the Civil Rights cause our people to go downward in our Pride and Spirit? How could it cause us to lose sight of the important things in life? Was the fight to want to be able to eat in the same restaurant and drink out of the same fountain as them, the fight that needed to be fought?

What do you think?

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A Tribute to 100 years of Service

One day she had an idea, an idea that would bring together women on campus with a common goal. As she conducted a meeting with a group of classmates in her room in Minor Hall at Howard University discussing her ideas, I don't think Ethel Hedgeman Lyle imagined that her idea would grow and last for 100 years.

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As I look back at the moments through the Sororities growth, as an adult looks back at their milestones throughout their childhood, I can't help but see two strong black women. One who was on her way home from a long day at work and refused to give up her seat to a white man. The other who fought side by side with the original man who had a dream of change.

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Or maybe I see women marching up to the Capitol with papers signed by thousands of new registered voters, saying that we want our vote to count. I can still hear the marching, but suddenly its interrupted by the sounds of the bricks coming together on the 10 schools that were built in Africa.

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I quickly have a flash back further and can feel the hot sun beaming down as primary medical care was provided to people who struggled to receive the most basic health care in Mississippi.

But I guess my mind can't help but to fast forward again to the sounds of excitement as people from all over can feel the memories of Martin Luther King as they walk through his house, and the women feeling excited because they purchased his house as a shrine for posterity.

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But nothing was as beautiful as seeing students in low-performing, economically deprived, inner-city schools being able to learn basic reading skills through the Ivy AkAdemy.

But what excites me the most is that a program has been developed to focus on the state of the Black economy. For years hundreds of people have been trying to find ways to help our community grow and get out of the state we are in. What better is a program that focuses on teaching African Americans how to become economically stable.

Yes its been 100 years of service to all mankind and hundreds of people effected by their efforts. It was January 15, 1908 when a Sorority was founded on the campus of Howard University. It was July 12th, 2008 when members from all over came to Washington DC to celebrate the birth of service, sisterhood, and one more time conduct the business of the Sorority.

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photo by Donneisha Taylor

Keeping up with the Huxtables would like to say congrats to the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for showing people for 100 years how to Keep UP. Readers join with me in saying Happy Birthday AKA.

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photo by Donneisha Taylor

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Young and Keeping Up- Mykwain Gainey...Photographer

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The artist behind these photos is a Young African American graduate from Morehouse and currently a graduate student at NYU. You can find more of his work at www.mykwain.com
Keeping Up congratulates you on your work and making the list of Young and Keeping Up!
They say a picture says a thousand words. The picture of the woman to me shows the essence of black beauty. It shows us the natural look of a Black woman without all the extra things that we have added to our bodies to fit the ideal standard of beauty.
What does the last picture say to you?

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CNN Presents Blacks in America

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On July 23rd and 24th at 9pm CNN will present Black in America. Reporter Soledad O'Brian will first explore The Black Woman & Family and then highlight how it is being a Black man in America.

I think that it is great that CNN is exploring and trying to get insight on what it means to be Black in America. The crazy thing is that I think that over and over we present to the public our opinions on how we are treated and it gets us no where.

When we tune in of course we will sit there and hope that we are portrayed correctly, occasionally raise our hands as if we are saying preach, and/or argue with our friend sitting next to us because we don't agree with something that was said.

When "they" tune in what do you think they will get out of it? I think that some people will act like they never knew racism still existed, others will try to sympathize with us, many will not tune in, and alot will still go on with their normal lives after watching it and not be effected at all.

I hope that this report will have a better effect on those watching it. I congratulate CNN for trying to Keep UP and help their audience do the same. But here is what I encourage CNN to also do in the future: Be the news station that highlights African Americans in a positive way on a regular, show America that Blacks are achieving great things in America, basically provide a balance between crimes and accomplishments.

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Hopefully other stations will follow, and the images that we see everyday can slowly change into more positive than negative images.

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I still encourage everyone to tune in to see how our story is being told. Keep Up!

Here is what it feels like to be Black in America to me:

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1. Watching very few of my childhood friends go on to complete college, with some of them barely making it through high school.

2. Scared to say my parents had a little money when I was in college, with fear that others would categorize me as the "Elite", and say that I didn't understand what it meant to struggle.

3. Watching my friends hustle because they wanted to have the latest sneakers and floss with the hottest cars.

4. Watching a friend die over his glasses, because someone else wanted them.

5. Growing up in a city that had a liquor store on every corner, only in the black neighborhoods.

YET...

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6. I got to see Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. make it to 100 years.

7. I got to see Barack Obama become the first African American presidential nominee for a major party in the United States of America.

8. I got to see my parents who worked hard when they were growing up, become Doctors and open up their own businesses and foundations.

9. I got to see Howard University give Oprah an honorary degree at my graduation.

10. I got to see my people come together at the Million Man March

Being Black in America includes many struggles, but I can't help but recognize our many accomplishments!

What does it mean to be Black in America to you?

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Is there a need for HBCU's to diversify?

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So I came across an article that was titled, "A Short History of Racism- The Michelle Obama story", so of course I was intrigued to go further and read the entire article. The article talked about a number of things, but mainly highlighted a thesis that was written by Michelle Obama while she was a student at Princeton. http://www.jimbyrd.com/a-short-history-of-racism-the-michelle-obama-story

In part of her thesis she wrote: Predominately white universities like Princeton are socially and academically designed to cater to the needs of the white students comprising the bulk of their enrollments.
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A reader of the article commented and stated the following: BUT IT’S OK FOR PREDOMINANTLY BLACK UNIVERSITIES LIKE GRAMBLING TO CATER TO THE NEEDS OF BLACK STUDENTS COMPRISING THE BULK OF THEIR ENROLLMENTS. I’VE NEVER HEARD ANYONE SPEAK OUT ABOUT THE NEED TO DIVERSIFY THE 95+% BLACK STUDENT BODIES A THE SOUTHERN BLACK COLLEGES.
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So after reading this my mind began to run in circles. If you know me, I always have an opinion and am ready to blurt it out immediately when a topic is brought up. This time I started thinking...

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The Pro-Black side of me wanted to say: "It was a time when African Americans were not allowed to attend majority schools and thus the need for HBCU's became a must if African Americans were going to be able to get any type of education. Other schools tailored there educational system towards the development of white students and taught lessons that excluded the history of Blacks. HBCU's had to develop a curriculum that would prepare Blacks with the skills they needed to survive in America. We then went further to develop our own Greek Organizations, Clubs, Political movements, promote unity within the race, fight for equality along with Martin Luther King, and force our way into Corporate America. Many people argue that there is no way we could properly prepare for the real world without going to school with other races, because the real world included other races. However, back then we didn't have the option to go to school with them, but still produced great actors, politicians, lawyers and doctors, that are some of the greatest legends in African American history. I would say that the constant focus on building up Blacks at these schools is necessary, because it is hard to find it anywhere else. No I would not exclude other races from being able to attend HBCU's, but I would not change the necessary curriculum and environment that has become a great tool for Blacks to succeed."

The Equality fighter side of me would say: In the year 2008 with the fight for Change being at the forefront of our minds and a society that is trying to move away from discrimination and racism, is there a need for HBCU's to diversify their schools? Should they to create a curriculum that is tailored towards other races? Then thus will the name Historically Black College Universities need to change?

What do you think? (It's hard to imagine how Howard would have been like with 50% of the population being occupied by whites...)

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Muslims as Terrorist- Anothor form of Discrimination


In the year 2008 America still faces discrimination more than ever. As the majority hides their feelings towards African Americans and pretends that racism no longer exist, they instead outwardly discriminate against other minorities in America. Throughout the coverage of the 2008 campaign, America has continued to say that Obama was a Muslim and he has to be tied to terrorism.


Discrimination comes into play when America ties Muslim into meaning that you are a terrorist. The news and media continues to make it seem like being a Muslim is a bad thing and that if Obama was, it would be an issue.


If I am not mistaken it doesn't specify what religion someone must be to run the United States of America. So it then goes back to the MAJORITY secretly trying to define and shape what a "true" American must be.


It is rude and disrespectful for America to group and stereotype all Muslims into one category and call them terrorist. I hope that as Obama continues to state its claim that he is not a Muslim, that he does it in a way that does not make it seem like being Muslim is a bad thing.


Obama stands for change and bringing ALL people together, let him not forget that the country is made up of different races and RELIGIONS. I am Christian, but would never discriminate against another religion. Obama's campaign speaks in volumes and this is a clear reason on why we need his spirit and motivation to bring us all together.


I hope that you all are Keeping up and recognize the discrimination going on around you!


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Classic TV versus Reality TV

Late last night I set on my bed with the remote in one hand and my eyes glued to the screen as I watched a full line up of my favorite Black television shows on Nick at Night. On a regular day I can usually catch a re-run of Fresh Prince or Family Matters and damn near be able to recite all of the lines with the actors. I usually let out a few laughs and call it a night. However, tonight I actually paid attention to an important detail in all of the shows. The shows as we know were some of the most entertaining shows that we ever had, but they also taught us lessons and highlighted issues that every Black family faced.

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I quickly remembered earlier watching VH1 and them highlighting the top ten reality television moments. I set there and watched moments of people make fools of themselves for the love of money. I realized that the only thing that I got from these shows were a quick laugh and then ever so often a sigh as I wondered what are youth would pick up from these shows next.

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Before I went to sleep I began to wish that television could go back to the days of TGIF, the excitement of 8pm coming around, rapping along with the opening of Fresh Prince, waiting for Steve Urkle to turn into Stefan, growing up with Rudy, and thinking that every college would have The Pit.

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Remember when Will finally got to meet his father and was disappointed when his father left him again. Will quickly highlighted how it feels for some kids growing up in single parent homes and how he would manage to learn from his fathers mistakes and be a better father.



Or the episode of Family Matters that followed with a Public Service Announcement about Guns.


Or the episode where Cliff makes Rudy stay at the table until she eats her peas. A typical situation we all go through when we are little and our parents say we can't get up from the table until we clean our plates. We use to find a million ways to get out of having to eat what was left. Did you ever use to spread your food out across the plate to make it seem like there was less left on the plate?


There were so many great lessons in these classic television shows. Take a look at what are youth is learning today:




What do you think about television today? What was your favorite Classic Black television show episode?

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