- Created on 18 November 2013
Following recent allegations of racial discrimination within the Greek system at the University of Alabama, one of the majority white sororities elected an African American president for the first time in history.
Sigma Delta Tau, a historically Jewish sorority, elected 22-year-old engineering student, Hannah Patterson, who joined the organization one year ago according to WBRC-TV.
"We're welcoming of any girl that wants to join our chapter and best fits our chapter," Regina Broda, who was president before Patter
- Created on 15 November 2013
In this Oct. 2, 2013 file photo, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., addresses the audience during an award ceremony for the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo / Steven Senne, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- For the debut Bartlett's anthology of black quotations, editor Retha Powers wanted to capture the personal, the political and the artistic.
"When you think about black history, you think about touch points like slavery, colonialism, apartheid," Powers says. "Those are heavy and difficult topics. But there also lives being led and poetry being created and plays being written. I wanted to be able to show all of that, the will to create a culture and a life."
"Bartlett's Familiar Black Quotations," which has just been published, has the most comprehensive of subtitles: "5,000 Years of Literature, Lyrics, Poems, Passages, Phrases, and Proverbs from Voices Around the World." It reaches back to ancient times and oral cultures and continues right up to rap, Malcolm Gladwell and President Barack Obama.
In a foreword for the new book, the author and critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. notes that compilations of black quotations date back to the 19th century and that the "field has proliferated with a marvelous array of titles." But, he adds, none of the reference works compares with "the scope of Retha Powers' collection."
The 764-page book includes lyrics by Robert Johnson, Smokey Robinson and Jay Z; the humor of Richard Pryor, Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy; the oratory of the Revs. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson; and prose and poetry from Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. Gates himself gets a few citations.
Powers says the idea for the new Bartlett's began about seven years ago. She was executive editor of the Quality Paperback Book Club and was having lunch with Little, Brown and Co. editor Deborah Baker (who has since left the company). They were discussing upcoming books when Baker mentioned that a volume of black quotations was planned and wondered if Powers had suggestions for who could put it together.
"I wanted to say 'Me!' but felt it wasn't quite appropriate to put myself forward," Powers explains. "Some days later she called me and said, 'I know I asked if you knew anyone, but would you want to do it?' And I jumped at the chance."
Obama's section cover 10 pages and features excerpts from his memoir "Dreams from My Father"; his campaign slogan "Yes, we can!"; his celebrated keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention; and highlights from his two inaugural addresses. Powers includes problematic moments, too, whether the "God damn America" sermon by Obama's longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright or Obama's observation during a fundraiser speech that some people struggling economically "cling to guns or religion."
"I definitely wanted to stay in the Bartlett's tradition of capturing what has been the most impactful, and sometimes there are those warts everybody has," Powers says.
Not all of the entries originate with blacks. The anthology features 40 pages of Biblical passages, which Powers says were important to include because they "were a really important tool toward imagining a life outside of slavery." The Bartlett's book also honors the tradition of improvisation, such as lyrics Otis Redding added for his 1966 cover of "Try a Little Tenderness," written in the 1930s by a trio of British/Tin Pan Alley composers - Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry M. Woods.
"It was a signature song for Redding. He didn't write it, but we wanted to include his riff on it," Powers explained, noting that she included the "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" tagline worked in by Aretha Franklin for her cover of Redding's "Respect."
The new Bartlett's compiles statesmen (Nelson Mandela) and tyrants (Idi Amin), radicals (Malcolm X) and conservatives (Clarence Thomas), scholars (John Hope Franklin) and slaves (Nat Turner). There are boasts (Muhammad Ali's catchphrase "I am the greatest"), protests (Tracy Chapman: "Why are the missiles called peacekeepers?"), jokes (Dave Chappelle: "Every black is bilingual. We speak street vernacular and job interview") and pleas (Rodney King: "Can we all get along?").
"It was extremely important to me to capture a range of experiences and emotions," Powers says. "We look to quotations to distill life as it exists in total and that includes what it was and how it feels."
- Created on 15 November 2013
I’ve learned from my friends who are single mothers that they face a lot of criticism and personal questions. When I think back, I’ve been guilty of “feeling bad” for single mothers too or celebrating them like they’re heroes. Let’s avoid more awkward moments in the line at the grocery store when you notice a single mother. Keep your mind on the delicious meal at your next big family gathering, instead of asking your niece with three kids when she’s going to “find a father” for her kids and get married. Here are some things you should never say to a single mother regarding parenting, their child’s father and whether marriage is in her future.
There seems to be as assumption that a single mother did something to drive her child’s father away. Strangers and family members ask invasive questions like:
“Why isn’t their father around?”
“Why did you break up?”
“Why didn’t you want to get married?”
I cringed just writing that. Can you imagine what it’s like being asked to explain a painful breakup to someone? If a single mother wants to talk about a past relationship, let her initiate the conversation. Don’t pry. It’s none of your business.
Yes, it’s important for children to have a close relationship with their father. Just because a couple isn’t married, don’t assume their child is losing out. Plenty of unmarried parents are co-parenting well and sharing custody of their children.
Single mothers of little girls told me they’re often asked, ““Don’t you worry they’ll have Daddy issues when they are older?” Ugh. That question is based on the assumption that little girls who don’t live with their fathers will have issues. Single mothers don’t want to hear your sad forecast for their children’s lives because their parents aren’t married.
“Do you get child support?” is another common question single mothers are asked. It’s uncomfortable to answer especially when it’s asked in front of their children. It insinuates that a “good father” pays child support and a “bad father” doesn’t. Financial support is important, but it’s not the only piece of a puzzle to raising a child.
- Created on 14 November 2013
Jesse Owens (pictured) wowed the world when he shattered Olympic records by winning four track and field gold medals in the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. Now one of the gold medals have been placed on the auction block, raising concerns from the International Olympic Committee because, according to the organization, it is "a part of a world heritage," reports the Los Angeles Times.
Owens, who passed away in 1980, reportedly gifted one of the gold medals to his longtime friend and legendary tap dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. The medal, which had been in the possession of Robinson's widow, Elaine Plaines, is now being put up for auction by SCP Auctions of Laguna Niguel.
Dan Inler, vice president of SCP, defends his move to auction the invaluable piece of history whom many argue should be in a museum, told the L.A. Times, "We reached out to the family of Jesse Owens as soon as we were first contacted about the medal," Inler contends. "Out of unmitigated respect it was imperative to us and to our consignor that they be immediately informed of the decision."
IOC President Thomas Bach, however, feels that the medal's significance is more than just an Olympic win. He told the Associated Press, that the medal is "a part of world heritage" that has "an importance far beyond the sporting achievements of Jesse Owens. To put this up for an auction is, for me, a very difficult decision [to accept]."
Owens achieved his wins during Adolph Hitler's rule over Nazi Germany. After Owens stupefied the event's spectators with his skills, Hitler shook the hands of all of the Olympic winners except for Owens; Hitler wouldn't shake Owens' hands because he felt the Black man was inferior to Whites.
Even worse, President Franklin D. Roosevelt never sent Owens a congratulatory telegram or an invite to the White House after his tremendous display at the Summer Olympics. Since 1936 was a presidential election year, Roosevelt was afraid he'd lose the Southern votes if he paid any attention to Owens.
The medal that will be auctioned off is one of four whose whereabouts are known.
Experts predict that the auction of the coveted medal could fetch as much as $1 million, and a portion of it will go to charity. Meanwhile, Imler is keeping hope alive that the medal will wind up in what he feels should be its rightful place.
Imler told the L.A. Times, "Whether this medal is purchased by a private individual or an institution, SCP Auctions and our consignor share in the feeling that the ideal place for Jesse Owens' gold medal is on display in a museum, where it can be shared with the public and perpetuate Owens' inspiring legacy."