LOOKING FOR THE NEXT ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Author JEFFREY BLOUNT

It was the desire of the 16th President of the United States (Abraham Lincoln) to collate a perfect union. Some rich aristocrats, among them the Booth family, Southerners, disagreed. In his quest, he incorporated black slaves into the military, gave them citizenship, and thus cowered the South, when General Lee surrendered. This act triggered Lincoln’s assassination on April 14th, 1865. 

Fast forward to today on the verge of the 2020 elections, the country’s division has once again platooned to the surface. Barak Obama became the first black president in 2008, and in his quest to resurge Abraham Lincoln’s policy, including taxing the rich “fairly”, the South has “raised its ugly head”. In the 1860’s it was about property, and today it is the same, the attack on “income inequality”; the rich are not having it. 

The State of Virginia has been the hotbed of American politics, a state within a stone’s throw of the capital city of Washington DC., yet outside of Fairfax County, where the “yuppies and buppies” live, Charlottesville is a contrast. 

Desegregation of the public-school system in America began in Virginia, yet pockets of racism are evident throughout. (USA TODAY, Dec. 5, 2019) 

JEFFREY BLOUNT, an African American journalist from Virginia is making an appeal to his white liberal friends, to “rise up” against subtle racism, he has couched it in the form of a novel, THE EMANCIPATION OF EVAN WALLS. 

He was at the Eldersburg Public Library, in Carroll County Md., a few weeks ago. (Feb. 11th, 2020) 

FROM TENOR TO SOPRANO

Sopranist DAVID D. MARSHALL, with mother Pamela Marshall.

When people of my generation recall great tenors, they are very few: Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and of course, the American- Italian, Mario Lanza, famous for, “O Sole Mio” (My Sunshine).
In the African American community, the tenor that won the hearts, and goose bumped women of all ages, was, and still is, Johnny Mathis. Who could forget, THE 12TH OF NEVER, MISTY, and MARIA, from the film, WEST SIDE STORY.
As we entered the 1970’s, RUSSEL THOMPKINS Jr., became he lead tenor for the STYLISTICS,… STOP, LOOK, LISTEN. The women in Philadelphia went “buck wild” throwing unmentionables on stage.
But what happens when a tenor voice moves from a “C” to an “A” note? I am told sopranos cannot hold such high notes for very long, for the overwhelming power it takes to sustain that level, where it does not sound like a scream, equivalent to that of a fire engine en route!
When this feat is attempted by tenors, the Europeans describe the climb as “vocal fachs”.(fax; specialization)

DAVID D. MARSHALL is one of them. From Baltimore Md., he holds a Master of Music Degree from Shenandoah Conservatory. From the inner city of Baltimore, went to Peabody Preparatory, while associated with Shiloh Baptist Church, in spirit and song.
He debuted his new art form in 2020, at the University of Md. Baltimore County. I was there to witness it.

NOBODY WANTS US

You’ve been running for your life, clutching your cloth doll with one hand, with the other in your mother’s. 

You’ve jumped into bushes, trenches, dodged bullets and search dogs. Finally, you are on a steamship heading for America. 

I am watching a documentary entitled NOBODY WANTS US, about the agony of one of many Jewish girls escaping the Nazi holocaust and the Russian enslavement. 

America! “Give me your tired, your poor”, held the ship at sea for weeks, then sent it to Mexico. The Mexicans turned the ship away; now what? 

Immigrant father and daughter drowned trying to cross the Mexican border(Photo Abrahan Pineda)

In Roanoke Virgina, a group of Jews had settled prior to the 1940’s, and offered to help. Jewish lawyers were filing law suits to force the American government to have the refugees come ashore. The President was Franklin D. Roosevelt. His wife Eleanor could not bear the suffering of the children and got involved, paving the way for the disembarkment. 

 It has been 75 years since. Are the circumstances being repeated, this time on the Southern Border of the United States? 

Is America setting up, would be, concentration camps on the border?  

For every 10,000 people arriving, 34 are allowed in (Center for Disaster Philosophy). Even though the majority of seekers are from Central America, the Trump administration “clamp down”, affects Cubans, Africans, Indians and Venezuelans. 

Our American motto since 1956 is, “IN GOD WE TRUST”. At Matthew 9: 36, the commentator watching Jesus said, “when he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” 

COMPASSION!!! Where is the manifestation? It has been replaced by “me first!!” 
 

Here are some comments on the film, “NOBODY WANTS US.”: 

I GOT YOU

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., may not have said it that way, and then again neither did Jesus, who said “love your neighbor as yourself”. Who is your neighbor? 

In Baltimore today, that sentiment, action and enduring principle, (LOVE) has seeped to a state of Gehenna (where the dead are thrown into a dump filled with Sulphur). 

African Americans, past 1965, and 1968 (Dr. King’s death), sang the Negro spirituals with fervor, vowing to build and not tear down institutions and each other. 

But, “thank God at last!” has only left Martin’s mouth, to his “peoples” ears. 

African Americans have “overcome”; Baltimore has had five (black) mayors, with almost five times as much murders through the period, the mayoral characters ranging from a Rhodes scholar to a journeyman. Did they keep Martin’s promise, “I got your back!”? 

Let’s turn the page to look a more inspiring example of Dr. King’s dream. 

Two brothers, two years apart, both African Americans. One pursued music, as a DJ, the other as a jazz saxophonist. Then the hand in hand genie popped up in their heads, “why not combine our talents together, and make music?”  “I got your back, bro!”, thus gave birth to THE KEYMAKERS.  

When they came to Baltimore, Md., the eve of MLK’s week, (Jan. 18th, 2020), through pouring rain from Rhode Island (rain, perhaps symbolic of Baltimore tears) they came, to be seen and heard. I was there too, to say, “I got you!”, to, REDERICK and ROME ALEXANDER. 

2 of 31 Rescued

Baltimore listed 31 percent, African American teenagers at the end of 2018. The question floating around, attached to a fictitious rogue drone is, how many will live beyond age 35? 

Radio talk show hosts kept browbeating the question of how many residents are leaving the city for better pastures; however, they have no suggestions practical enough for serious consideration. 

My suggestion is, until you give dignity to the African American male at or below the poverty level, you are creating a cesspool of immorality and violence. Whoever is serious, can contact me for details. 

Two teenagers, spotted from childhood are assured an exodus out of this “Babylon”. 

EBBAN and her brother EPHRAIM are musical prodigies, looking to further their education at colleges either on the East or West Coast. I caught up with them at a Christmas, 2019, scholarship breakfast. 

The JAZZEXPRESSWAYS FOUNDATION hosted the event in Baltimore, with ROSA PRYOR leading the event, accompanied by feature artists THE GREG HATZA ORGANIZATION: 

Fried chicken, butter, a biscuit and soda.

Renee Chenault Fattah, and Dr. Adu-Sarkodie

Sounds familiar? If your answer is yes, you are probably African American or Hispanic. 

According to updated clinical research it has been found that dementia is 14 to 100 percent higher in African Americans, than any other race in the United States. 

It has been calculated that this race, 65 and older, will move from 2.7 million in 1995 to 6.9 million by 2030. 

This has not gone unnoticed by the Alzheimer’s Association, that is investing 120 million dollars to find answers. 

So far, Parkinson affects more of the white population. Documented studies show African Americans having a 65 percent hypertension rate, Hispanics, 56, and whites 51. 

Dementia, and Alzheimer’s are both vascular, and African Americans have a higher rate of vascular diseases, followed by Hispanics: hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. 

The Mayo Clinic has 15 diet suggestions to prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s, here are a few: 

  1. Three servings of whole grains per day. 
  1. Vegetables at least once per day. 
  1. Poultry (not fried chicken) at least twice per week. 
  1. Nuts five times per week 
  1. FRIED or FAST FOOD LESS THAN ONCE PER WEEK. 
  1. One glass of wine per day. 

This message has to get out to the African American community, fast and “in a hurry”. 

RENEE CHENAULT FATTAH, has taken on the task with her documentary, IN OUR RIGHT MIND. Here she is at the Baltimore Md. Premier.

The Deputy Director of Genetics and Extended Care at the VA in Maryland is Dr. Nana Yaw Adu-Sarkodie. He has some advice. 

Yes, We Can !

When the Pointers sisters sang “Yes we can can”, I do not think, they had any idea what concentric circles were bestirred? So much so, that Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, modified it, and with his oratory intonation, YES, WE CAN, became a campaign slogan, that took the country by storm, and him the presidency. 

It is said, behind every great man is a woman, how about reversing that?

Barack Obama inspired women, and his inspiration birthed, the ME-TOO movement. “I can do anything a man does!”… the exclamation mark is intentional. 

In 1869 Army major, John Wesley Powell, led a group through the treacherous Colorado Valley. There is no documentation of women “manning” such an expedition. Not until now. 

MEN IN BOATS is a journey of 10 women navigating the Colorado, following the exact map of Major Powell. 

KAI HEATH, one of 10 performers in MEN ON BOATS, Center Stage, Baltimore, Md.

To find out how they made it, would require you obtaining tickets to see the show at Center Stage Baltimore. 

The Black Aesthetic in 2019

A Baltimore Living Room, by Mickalene Thomas

If you have not fully comprehended the reasoning behind the “Million Man March”, “The Black Panthers” movement, or the loss of NAACP’s impact on the people of color, then you may not understand what is meant by THE BLACK AESTHETIC. 

The concept was born to give rise to the recognition of black art, as part of the comprehensive collective of artistry. 

Even though the rise seemed in opposition to the establishment, it was a demand to be included, humanized, not relegated. 

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has taken another step to show its open-mindedness. Black Aesthetic Artist MICKALENE THOMAS, was given the carte blanche, to have her way with two floors and the entrance way to the museum. 

It’s astonishing what she has done, transforming the entrance way. As though I was on Chester Street, Baltimore Md. 21213., where folk “hung out” on marble stoops, smoked cigarettes, and did other things peculiar to the neighborhood. 

Visitors to the museum, will enjoy the shock, where Mickalene gives a peek as to what you may find in such a home, including a backyard terrace and a basement bar. 

The video below is a synopsis of my experience. The exhibition runs through May 2021, A must see!!!

CAPTURING THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK

The first black man to graduate with a PhD, from Harvard, was W.E. Dubois, who was born in Massachusetts, not too far from America’s most prestigious university.

Dubois’s “SOULS OF THE BLACK FOLK” was published in 1903, but how relevant the content to our time! (Note this is not a question but a statement).

Du Bois disliked Booker T. Washington who became the spokesperson for African Americans, and who  accepted segregation. Du Bois was furious and  stomped on the single-mindedness of African American leadership’s emphasis on attaining wealth, forgetting the underclass, thus creating  a “complex of consciousness”, to quote Dr. Nimi WARIBOKO.

 He was here in Baltimore, expounding on Du Bois’s impact on African American progress in the political theatre, and whether politicians of today have gone the way of Booker T. Washington.

That same night November 13, 2019, the POSITIVE PEOPLE AWARDS, was held in Baltimore, Md. Mayor Jack Young was in attendance. I wanted to know whether the honorees were capturing “the souls of black folk”, as Du Bois yearned for; I approached the mayor:

Here we go Baltimore, from the Civil Rights movement, 1960 to 2020, sixty years. What does it say, when we witness the gentrification of Coppin, and Morgan State, while the surrounding neighborhoods of these HBCUs look like war zones ?

Are these leaders capturing the “SOULS OF THE BLACK FOLK” ?

The first line of the accepted black National Anthem reads: “Lift every voice…”,… not some. Here’s a reminder:

htthttps://youtu.be/NYkAqD-9Vrgps://youtu.be/NYkAqD-9Vrg

Trick or Treat !!!

We know this to be a phrase, shouted primarily by kids, given candy, that they may not steal from the grocer nearby.

From the 9th century to now, the evolution from devil worship to mass balls with extravagant costumes, has become an economic boom for retailers, and a headache for parents.

So this Irish/British pagan ritual adopted by Catholicism, became a time of guilt, or soul searching, primarily by the rich, who committed the most sins, then gave leftovers to the poor, that God may spare their rich dead relatives from being stricken from the book of life. “See God, what I have done for the poor!”

The answer came back, …”yeah right!”

Ellen, Khalil and Rikki Vaughn

So anything can happen on Halloween,… “trick of treat weekend”. A soul may be saved, a marriage annulled, a first born, yelling “I’m finally here, hello world!”

For me it was the arrival of RIKKI VAUGHN, his wife and son.

I was at the rally, Donations for Bahamians, in Baltimore Md., when Rikki and his family walked up, and with that wide smile, uttered the sentence, “I’m running for Mayor of Baltimore City”. ..TRICK or TREAT !

Here’s his story:

Rikki Vaughn, entrepreneur, par excellence, seeking a political franchise in Baltimore, Md.

Rikki Vaughn, entrepreneur, par excellence, seeking a political franchise in Baltimore, Md.