Monday, April 12, 2010

TED Talk w/ Nina Jablonski: "The Illusion and Power of Skin Color"

"Nina Jablonski says that differing skin colors are simply our bodies' adaptation to varied climates and levels of UV exposure. Charles Darwin disagreed with this theory, but she explains, that's because he did not have access to NASA..."

Friday, March 05, 2010

Wish You Weren't Here...

The folks over at The Root posed an interesting question recently:

"Who would you erase from Black History?"

...but then they followed it up with a fairly obvious list:

Marion Barry
Michael Steele
O.J. Simpson
Sheila Dixon
Dennis Rodman
Alan Keyes
D.C. Sniper, John Muhammad
R. Kelly
Dr. Conrad Murray
Flavor Flav
Clarence Thomas
Bishop Don Magic Juan
Amarosa Manigault-Stallworth
Soulja Boy
Wesley Snipes
Karrine Stephans
Idi Amin/Papa Doc/Baby Doc/Robert Mugabe/Rafael Trujillo

Conservative commentator, John McWhorter, picked up on the lameness of The Root's list and posted his own, typically provocative, but I think ultimately much more interesting, list:

Malcolm X
Price Cobbs
Al Jolsen
Paolo Freire
William Ryan
Ron Karenga
Jonathan Kozol
O.J. Simpson
Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward

(Go to the articles to see the justifications for these choices.)

What do you think about these lists? Who would you "remove from Black History," if you had the chance?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Film: "Blood Done Sign My Name" (trailer)

I received my Ph.D. in modern U.S. History and African American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002. My primary adviser, mentor and friend there was Tim Tyson, one of the great Movement historians of our time. Tim taught me a lot about being a scholar and an activist, about being a storyteller, about being a citizen. The research I conducted for my M.A. thesis, which was titled, "'Communist Front Shouts Kissing Case to the World!' The Committee to Combat Racial Injustice and the Politics of Race and Gender during the Cold War," became a part of one of the chapters in Tim's first book, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power. His second book, Blood Done Sign My Name, is part Movement history, part autobiography. It focuses on the murder of an African American Vietnam veteran in Oxford, North Carolina, during the early-1970s and the social impact of that event on the local community and beyond. Tim's family participated directly in this saga. The incredible thing about this award-winning book is that it is also a personal meditation on race, remembrance and, ultimately, reconciliation. What do we do with these troubling pasts once we unearth them? How do we honor the past, while moving forward into the future... together?

Blood Done Sign My Name has been made into a feature film, starring Rick Schroeder as Tim's dad! Here is the official trailer:

It is rare that this type of story makes it to the big-screen, so I hope you will check it out. Here are a few things you can do:

1. Go see it.

2. Ask your local independent cinema theater to book it.

3. Help spread the word to other folks in your networks.

Here is another clip of Tim talking about the film:

And here is the song, "Blood Done Sign My Name":