Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Black History Salute to Ron Brown

In honor of Black History Month, I would like to remember Ron Brown who was the first African-American to be appointed to the Cabinet post of Secretary of Commerce. As well, he was the first black to serve as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

He was born in Washington D.C. but his family relocated to Harlem, New York. He was well educated having attended Hunter College Elementary School, Rhodes Preparatory School and Middlebury College in Vermont.

He later joined the Army in 1962 serving in South Korea and Germany. He married his sweetheart, Alma Arrington. After his honorable discharge from the service, he joined the National Urban League and enrolled in Law School at St. John's University where he received his degree in 1970. He spent twelve years with the Urban League as Deputy Executive Director, General Counsel, and Vice President of the Washington bureau.

He concurrently became involved in politics and worked on Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in 1980. He was appointed chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee under the chairmanship of the Senator.

In 1981 Mr. Brown joined Patton, Boggs & Blow, becoming the first African-American partner at this prestigious firm in the nation’s capital.

He died on April 3, 1996, while on an official trade mission, the Air Force CT43 with 34 other people when the plane crased into a mountainside in Croatia.

He was a true African American Hero so in honor of Black History Month, I am paying tribute to Ron Brown.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Black History Salute to Caesar "C.C"Antoine

In honor of Black History Month, I would like to pay tribute to a little known black hero, Caesar Carpenter "C.C." Antoine. He was Louisiana born and bred in New Orleans and came from "good stock." His father fought at the Battle of New Orleans and his mother was of African/West Indian heritage and the daughter of a captured African Chief. His mother purchased her own freedom and amassed a small fortune for her time which enabled the family to live as free blacks. Their wealth also afforded Antoine a quality education at the best private schools where he became fluent in English and French.

In New Orleans, Antoine established and ran a successful grocery business. However, after the Civil War broke out and the Union captured and occupied New Orleans, this proud young nubian joined the Union Army. He quickly rose to the rank of Captain in the one of the nation’s first all-black regiments, the Louisiana Native Guards. He also recruited former slaves to serve in Company I of the Seventh Native Guard which he organized at Brashear which was 85 miles from New Orleans.

After the Civil War, Antoine moved to Shreveport, Louisiana where he purchased land for farming and and went back into the grocery business.

However, he soon answered a call to serve his Country during Reconstruction in an effort to make life better for his family and other newly freed African Americans. His first political office was that of a Delegate to Louisiana’s Constitutional Convention in 1868 which set the parameters of Louisiana’s Reconstruction-era state government. With black voting rights established under the protection of federal troops, Antoine served Louisiana as State Senator between 1868 and 1872 and Lieutenant Governor from 1872 to 1877. In 1876 he was briefly Acting Governor. Antoine’s tenure in office ended soon after the Compromise of 1877 which withdrew federal troops from Louisiana, allowing the Democrats to return to power.

Antoine enjoyed a life that former slaves and blacks had previously only dreamed of. He had a nice house, investments in the railroad and lottery, raised race horses and co-owned the semi-weekly newspaper called "Louisiana" with Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, the nation's first black Governor of a U.S. state. Antoine also served in 1880 as the president of the Cosmopolitan Life Insurance Company.

C. C. Antoine died in September of 1921 in his house on Perrin Street at the age of eighty-five. He is buried in Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Shreveport. In 1982, an 8-acre park was dedicated to him.

So in honor of Black History Month, I would like to salute this very accomplished Louisianan, Caesar "C.C"Antoine. I thank God for you C.C. May He bless you and pray that he blesses you richly in the Afterlife!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Black History Month Tribute to God the Father

In honor of Black History Month, I would like to pay tribute to God, the father. The reason is pretty obvious to me but for those of you who it is not so apparent to, please let me explain.

First of all, I thank God for protecting and allowing the many African men, women and children to make it safely to America even though it was under less than desirable circumstances. I thank God for giving them the strength and courage to endure the brutality, hard labor and conditions that they experienced at the hands of their capturers. I thank Him for comforting them when their hearts longed for their homeland and their families so far away. I also thank God for giving them the will to keep a positive attitude even under dire circumstances and for putting a song in their hearts, minds, and mouths, i.e. hymms and spirtuals to give them peace and joy in their souls even in the midst of a hostile environment.

FACT-An estimated 645,000 slaves were kidnapped and sold into slavery in the United States. The slave population in the United States had grown to four million by the time of the 1860 Census.

I also thank God for working through people like President Abraham Lincoln, abolistionists, former slaves, Union Officers and soldiers both black and white and giving them the courage to stand up against what in the heart of hearts was not right and for being willing to lay down their lives for it. I also thank him for the many African American men, women and children who were allowed to experience freedom.

FACT-Approximately 180,000 free and runaway African-Americans comprised 163 units of the Union Army and served during the Civil War. Many others served in the Union Navy.

I would also like to thank God for giving the newly freed slaves the courage and desire to pursue and fight for their right to education, careers and to better themselves and the lives of their families amidst racial prejudice and intimidation. I thank him for allowing the former slaves, their descendents and others of african origin to enjoy prosperity and to obtain their goals of becoming doctors, lawyers, educators, professional athletes, musicians, heads of corporations, policiticians and anything else they desire to be!

I thank God for allowing a son of Africa, the nation from which our ancestors were brought to serve as a lowly slave-to become the head of the Nation, President of the United States! I thank God for President Barack Hussein Obama! Isn't it wonderful how God has a way of turning things around?

God is Good! Praise his name. He has been a strong force in the lives of African Americans since their arrival on U.S. soil. So in honor of Black History month, He receives all my praise, honor and Glory! Can I get a hallelujah and amen?

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14