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Aime Cesaire, 94, Caribbean culture icon, died on Thursday April 17, in his native Martinique. Poet, author, intellectual, political activist, Cesaire was also one of Frantz Fanon’s teachers.

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Alas, Obama lost by 10% in the Pennsylvania Primary. Wasn’t that the pollsters projected figure? The Obama team is to be commended for closing the large 30-point lead that Senator Clinton had a few months ago. I researched and learned the following colorful, interesting and well, uh, empowering info. Obama will not be the first Black to occupy the White House next January. He will be the first mixed race person to acknowledge that he was Black before taking up residency there.


SIX BLACK US PRESIDENTS

: According to documented accounts, the US republic has already had Six Black Presidents. Guess who and in what order? Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson; Abraham Lincoln; Warren Harding; Calvin Coolidge, best remembered as the Great Depression president; and Dwight Eisenhower. Almost to a man, it is the mother who was a mulatto, part white and Black/Jefferson was the son of a half-breed Native American squaw and a Virginian mulatto. Calvin Coolidge’s mother’s maiden name was Moor.


Go figure, if you anything about history and European naming practices. And Dwight’s mother was a mulatto. His interface with Blacks was curious. He was the first president since Reconstruction to meet with Civil Rights leader at the White House. Everyone knows about his history-making fight with Governor Faubus to integrate Central HS in Arkansas and the Little Rock 9, with the assistance of federal troops. One Black anthropologist told me that the Little Rock incident was the most effective use of the US military during peacetime since the end of WWII. Little Rock Niner Ernest Green is being honored tonight by the Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, HCCI at the Rainbow Room.


Don’t take my word about these illuminations. Books on the subject are 1) The Six Black Presidents by Auset Bakhufu; 2) “Five Black Presidents” by Jamaica-born Black historian, J.A. ROBERS; and 3) “Black People And Their Place In History” by Dr. Leroy Vaughn, an ophthalmologist. I also recommend googling DiversityInc.com magazine, 2004 issue, and reading “Who Were 5 Black Presidents?”


HARLEM, USA:

HOME DEPOT is reviewing its 100,000 sf commercial lease for a new box store presence in Harlem , as part of East River Plaza, a Forest City Ratner Cos. and Blumenfeld Development Group collaboration. Mr. Ratner is ubiquitous. His group has oversight of the Brooklyn Atlantic Yards project. If Home Depot scuttles plans for Harlem retail, presumably owing to a tanking economy related to the mortgage crisis, it will have to sublet subject space, which is 20% of the East River Plaza project……….CARVER FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK was #22 on Crain’s NY Top 25 List of Thrifts, posting assets totaling $784 million. Congrats to Ms. Deborah Wright, Carver Prexy/CEO . CITY NATIONAL BANK, headquartered in NJ, is the other Black-owned and operated institution along the 125 Street, between St. Nicholas and Morningside.


TRANSITIONS:

Aime Cesaire, 94, Caribbean culture icon, died on Thursday April 17, in his native Martinique. Poet, author, intellectual, political activist, Cesaire was also one of Frantz Fanon’s teachers. He coined the word Negritude. Cesaire, Senegal’s Leopold Senghor and French Guiana’s Leon Damas are considered the fathers of the Negritude movement, which was about conscious raising and which aimed to give Black people pride in their African roots. Cesaire was also Fort-de-France - Martinique’s capital - Mayor and a Martinican Deputy to the French National Assembly, simultaneously from 1945 until 2000. Born in Martinique on June 26, 1913, Cesaire was an anti-colonialist and was instrumental in Martinique shedding its colonial status in 1946 and then becoming a Department of France. His best known writer credits include the book “The Discourse on Colonialism;” the essay “Negro I am, Negro I Will Remain;” and the poem “Notes Of A Return To My Native Land.”


French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was among sponsors who successfully campaigned to re-name Martinique’s Airport, after Cesaire, attended the French Caribbean’s native son’s state funeral last Sunday.


Stateside, George Lopez, dentist extraordinaire, NY/Florida Black society denizen and sexagenarian mannequin died, it was announced by his daughters, Sharon and Adrienne, who have finalized Memorial Service, which will be held at Harlem’s Abyssinia Baptist Church at 132 West 138 Street, on Monday, May 12 at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, forward contributions to the George and Mary Lopez Endowed Scholarship Fund, Meharry Medical College, 1005 Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208.


CULTURE STUFF

: See Bill Moyers’ Journal, a WNET-TV show, aired on Friday, April 25 at 9 pm and now online. Moyers interviews US military man-cum-scholar, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who will have finally have his 60 minutes of unedited electronic media exposure, unedited by the likes of CNN, Fox TV newsrooms or the egregious youtube.com. It was the Jeremiah Wright video that inundated that airwaves, which cost Senator Obama a lot of grief and votes and which ultimately led to Obama’s sermon on race, known as A MORE PERFECT UNION.


Africanists, please save the date, June 4 when the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund (SMWF) African Women’s Development Fund and the NY Society for Ethical Culture invite you to join Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia’s President and Africa’s first elected woman president, herself the granddaughter of a market woman, and actress Cicely Tyson, in a tribute to Liberia’s Market Women, the backbone of the national economy. Learn about the role that African women play in economic development and to be a part of the “friend raising” launch of the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund’s Adopt-A-Market Campaign to rebuild Liberia’s economy. The evening includes a reception and a program. Tickets range from $50 to $500. Contributions to the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund are tax deductible. For more info re: event and the Liberian market women visit www.smwf.org


The Andy Kirk Research Foundation presents a 3-Day, 4/25 –4/27, Tribute to the late jazz icon Dr. Maxwell Lemuel Roach. The celebration includes presentations, video footage, panels discussions and, of course, jazz performances by more than 100 jazz musicians – Randy Weston, Cecil Bridgewater, Dr. Billy Taylor, Joe Chambers, Louis Nash, Jimmy Owens and Montego - at three venues, Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Boys and Girls HS; Medgar Evers College. All events are free. For additional info, call 1718.756.9407.






 

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