Tag Archives: New York City

In the Library ~ Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson ~


repost

Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring“, an early voice for our environment in 1962 

Silent Spring

 See why Carson’s analysis is more relevant now than ever.Buy Silent Spring at Amazon.com     

Rachel Carson, writer, scientist, and ecologist, grew up simply in the rural river town of Springdale, Pennsylvania. Her mother bequeathed to her a life-long love of nature and the living world that Rachel expressed first as a writer and later as a student of marine biology. Carson graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) in 1929, studied at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, and received her MA in zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932.

She was hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries to write radio scripts during the Depression and supplemented her income writing feature articles on natural history for the Baltimore Sun. She began a fifteen-year career in the federal service as a scientist and editor in 1936 and rose to become Editor-in-Chief of all publications for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

She wrote pamphlets on conservation and natural resources and edited scientific articles, but in her free time turned her government research into lyric prose, first as an article “Undersea” (1937, for the Atlantic Monthly), and then in a book, Under the Sea-wind (1941). In 1952 she published her prize-winning study of the ocean, The Sea Around Us, which was followed by The Edge of the Sea in 1955. These books constituted a biography of the ocean and made Carson famous as a naturalist and science writer for the public. Carson resigned from government service in 1952 to devote herself to her writing.

She wrote several other articles designed to teach people about the wonder and beauty of the living world, including “Help Your Child to Wonder,” (1956) and “Our Ever-Changing Shore” (1957), and planned another book on the ecology of life. Embedded within all of Carson’s writing was the view that human beings were but one part of nature distinguished primarily by their power to alter it, in some cases irreversibly.

Disturbed by the profligate use of synthetic chemical pesticides after World War II, Carson reluctantly changed her focus in order to warn the public about the long term effects of misusing pesticides. In Silent Spring (1962) she challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government, and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world.

Carson was attacked by the chemical industry and some in government as an alarmist, but courageously spoke out to remind us that we are a vulnerable part of the natural world subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem. Testifying before Congress in 1963, Carson called for new policies to protect human health and the environment. Rachel Carson died in 1964 after a long battle against breast cancer. Her witness for the beauty and integrity of life continues to inspire new generations to protect the living world and all its creatures.

Clothes : Can they be ethical … a repost


beaseedforchangestickersGREENjust another rant …

Second hand or flea market shopping has been in the news occasionally for years and as folks join the movement to keep material out of landfills or reduce their eco-footprint; some push buy made in the US of A only; while others believe reusing is best. The problem that needs to be addressed over and over is, how toxic are the material used for fashions?

The idea of wearing toxic fashions let alone recycling it is a disturbing thought given what we now know and at the end of the day, it always seems to go back to making that dollar dollar

There are a few who do 2ndhand because of financial issues, some wear it for personal reasons and even more, are on that path toward sustainable living, but as a whole 2nd hand, up-cycling or living Eco-friendly seems are great names but being ethically stylish? I guess that means intentionally buying, wearing, devoting your dollar dollars to sustainably made only. The fact is …it is a lot tougher than folks think. Have you looked at your clothing labels?

The dictionary states that being ethical means acting in an ethical manner from an ethical point of view. Being “ethically stylish” is almost a mission impossible.  Before you say she needs more education; don’t get me wrong because I definitely get being “ethically stylish,” “acting with intent” but when store buyers, the fashion industry and whatnot go out of their way to use cheap labor or toxic material, being ethical demands that the industry cooperate as well lest we talk about where the industry gets their material … and sadly the industry isn’t as vital here

Unfortunately, this is an ongoing fight and here we are in the year 2020.  I wonder, have other people bought and overpaid for a dress or two over the years; tried buying American made only as well but found more often than not; I buy because of the “cute factor” first then price while looking at the tags later finding that it was not made in the US of A or out of sustainable material, which definitely offends the “ethically stylish “code.  Sometime in the ’90s, word got out that the likelihood of fashion corporations outsourcing work because it was more cost-effective, the material was cheap and maybe not so sustainable yet meant more for the money;  remember when big-name models, entertainment folks and designers were caught using sweatshops. Levis’s, once thought to only be made here are imported as well and the 501’s which are my favorite can have insane prices though more sustainable.

Back in the day,  hearing the fashion industry in all its forms, say they are selling or being more ethically stylish was frustrating.  There were always reports of companies and brands, which sell the USA, made, but may among others in the industry possibly be using toxic materials.  This news made the giant move toward 100% Organic, Natural or Sustainable take several giant steps backward to rehash rethink who when why when and with what.  America needs to buy and sell local, but again, almost a mission impossible as” Made in America” is not only more expensive the labels are far and few these days, the material is often blended with stuff we cannot pronounce. The history of the fashion industry and American Made is definitely a love-hate thing as designers and stars back in the day were wearing fabulous clothes rarely found on the racks, only to find out they were actually getting their clothes made by sweatshops, in some well-known and unknown countries …  and sustainable; probably not.

Yes, “Made in the USA” faded out to a blank whiteboard and the NYC garment district was but a memory for quite a while. There were some great “Where and what are they doing now” shows with older “go to” fashion designers, clothiers stating the fabric just is not the same nor are the people. The opportunity to make more clothes with cheap labor & material seemed to have become addictive and the image of what was going on in those countries is not good.   Fashion will always be a work in progress, but learning that unfair labor practices and or that companies are producing great looking garments, but possibly using toxic material since or before is sad considering all that has happened to the industry over the years. Thus, making it tough to be ethical let alone wear fashion that is ethically stylish or sustainable.

I still buy using the cute fit fab factor while believing in reuse reclaim repurpose redecorate  and reduce too … which keeps most material out of landfills

FYI … this was written back in November of 2012

Meet Mimi Smith: African American FH Player who played on the US National Team


Sports Life!

about_tamika7

I wanted to write and talk about black African Americans as field hockey players. As a young African American girl, I really had no one (as the same color) to look up to; besides my sister that is.  I went into Google one day and looked up “African American Field Hockey Players”, thus falling upon the great Mimi Smith.

It’s not uncommon and certainly obvious that there are not many black women who participate in field hockey and that it is said to be a “white” sport. I definitely beg to differ and am for the change of incorporating more field hockey into black schools and neighborhoods. And the reason I say this is possible is because of people like Mimi Smith.

Picking up a field hockey stick by accident one day, and realizing that she loved the sport is something that most field hockey players share in common. But…

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On 1/31 ~ The House passes the 13th Amendment


Amendments 13-15 are called the Reconstruction Amendments both because they were the first enacted right after the Civil War and because all addressed questions related to the legal and political status of the African Americans.

On 1/31 in 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in America. The amendment read, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

When the Civil War began, President Abraham Lincoln’s professed goal was the restoration of the Union. But early in the war, the Union began keeping escaped slaves rather than returning them to their owners, so slavery essentially ended wherever the Union army was victorious.

In September 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in areas that were still in rebellion against the Union. This measure opened the issue of what to do about slavery in border states that had not seceded or in areas that had been captured by the Union before the proclamation.

In 1864, an amendment abolishing slavery passed the U.S. Senate but died in the House as Democrats rallied in the name of states’ rights. The election of 1864 brought Lincoln back to the White House along with significant Republican majorities in both houses, so it appeared the amendment was headed for passage when the new Congress convened in March 1865. Lincoln preferred that the amendment receive bipartisan support–some Democrats indicated support for the measure, but many still resisted.

The amendment passed 119 to 56, seven votes above the necessary two-thirds majority. Several Democrats abstained, but the 13th Amendment was sent to the states for ratification, which came in December 1865. With the passage of the amendment, the institution that had indelibly shaped American history was eradicated

Amendments 13-15 are called the Reconstruction Amendments both because they were the first enacted right after the Civil War and because all addressed questions related to the legal and political status of the African Americans.

blackpast.org

Brilliant Lights: Four Amazing Talents — In Memory of


NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

Talent knows no color barrier, so much so that it has often provided African Americans a path to knocking down racial barriers. In the case of Sissieretta Jones, Lillian Evanti, Hazel Scott, and Lena Horne, their talent opened doors on stages around the world and paved the way for countless black entertainers to come.

Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, in January 1868, Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones began formally studying music at the Providence Music Academy in Rhode Island at the age of 14. She is believed to have completed her training some years later at Boston’s renowned New England Conservatory of Music.

Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones The Black Patti, Mme. M. Sissieretta Jones: The Greatest Singer of Her Race. Color poster. New York: Metropolitan Printing Co., 1899. Performance Arts Posters.  Library of Congress – Prints & Photographs Division. LCUSZc4-5164.

With her New York opera debut at Steinway Hall in 1888, Jones’ talent was quickly recognized. She toured overseas and became known as the world’s “first Negro prima donna.” Her voice and striking presence led to comparisons with Italian soprano Adelina Patti — considered the premier diva of the day. Jones was nicknamed “Black Patti” — which she resented for obvious reasons — but as Miss Jones proved to all, a woman of color was capable of giving world class performances.

Though racism kept her from performing on America’s most renowned stage, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, she did perform at the White House, and gave a command performance before England’s Royal Family. In June 1892, she became the first African American to take the stage at Carnegie Hall, and by 1895 she was the highest paid black entertainer in the world. By showing the world that a black woman could perform classical opera, Jones laid the ground work for future entertainers, including Lillian Evanti.

Lillian Evanti was born Lillian Evans on August 12, 1890 in Washington, D.C. She graduated with a music degree from Howard University in 1907. Thirteen years later she left America for Europe. There she became the first African American to sing with professional opera companies in Nice and Paris.

Evanti spoke (and sang in) five languages and critics praised her commanding coloratura soprano. In the 1930s, Evanti returned to Washington, D.C. to perform in the city’s premier theater, the Belasco, one of the few major venues that permitted performances before integrated audiences. The Washington Post called her appearance a “home-coming triumph.”

Lillian Evanti in France, 1926 American operatic soprano Lillian Evanti (1880-1967) in France in 1926. Bibliothèque nationale de France.

In 1932, the director of the Metropolitan Opera asked her to audition. The Opera’s board of directors, however, refused to allow Evanti to join the company, a decision based solely on her race. That, however, did not prevent her from performing in front of tens of thousands at Madison Square Garden and other substantial venues. It would take 23 more years before an African American female, Marian Anderson, would actually perform at the Metropolitan Opera, thanks in no small part to the trail blazed by Lillian Evanti.

A gifted musician and performer, Hazel Scott is an American Jazz legend who used her talent to fight against racist stereotypes and attitudes.

Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad on June 11, 1920, Hazel Scott was a child prodigy. After moving to New York City, Scott was given a special exemption to enroll in the prestigious Juilliard School of Music when she was only 8 years old — half the normal enrollment age of 16. By the time she was in high school she was hosting a radio show on WOR and performing in the evening.

Before long, Scott was the premier entertainer at New York’s Café Society, the city’s first fully integrated club. An accomplished pianist, she also played trumpet, and saxophone — the latter in a stint with Louis Armstrong’s All Girl Band. She spoke seven languages, appeared in a handful of movies, and married New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., a celebrity in his own right.

Scott didn’t shy away from fighting for civil rights. Included in her performance contracts was a clause mandating that the venues be fully integrated. In addition, she was an outspoken critic of the stereotypical roles offered to black actresses.

Lena Horne, 1964. Publicity photo of Lena Horne performing on The Bell Telephone Hour television show. NBC Television, 1964.

In June 1950, Scott was wrongly linked to communist-leaning organizations by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). In September, Scott voluntarily appeared before the committee. Though she gave a rousing defense of her patriotism, and no ties to communist groups were found, the stain of the HUAC damaged her career. By the time she was able to make a comeback in the early 1960s, jazz’ popularity had been eclipsed by rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. Jazz critics and aficionados consider her critically acclaimed 1955 album, Relaxed Piano Moods, one of the most important jazz recordings of the twentieth century.

Lena Horne’s life was a remarkably powerful story of the triumph of the spirit. Born in Brooklyn, New York on June 30, 1917, she became a performer at the famous Cotton Club at 16. Stardom wasn’t far behind. In 1943, her sultry, moody rendition of Stormy Weather, from the film of the same name, became her trademark. Horne would win multiple Grammy Awards for singing, and Tony Awards for her performances on Broadway. By 1945, her voice, her beauty, and her electric stage presence had made her the highest paid African American entertainer in the nation.

Throughout her life, Horne stood up for justice. During World War II, Horne refused to sing for segregated audiences of troops, nor would she perform when the troops were split with whites in front rows and blacks in back. On one occasion, disgusted that black GIs were forced to sit behind German POWs, Horne walked through the audience to where the black troops were seated and performed with her back to the German prisoners. It was emblematic of her life.

Horne was outspoken in her call for equal rights. Her friendships with Paul Robeson, along with W.E.B. Dubois, landed Horne on Hollywood’s blacklist for a period of time — a list of celebrities and entertainers who were marked by HUAC for alleged communist ties. Still, her talent was far more powerful than rumors and innuendo, and she performed in night clubs and toured to sell out houses. She was recognized as a screen star and her demands — that she never be cast in the role of maid, for example — put Hollywood on notice that African American actresses would no longer endure the stereotypes they had played for decades. When Halle Berry became the first African American to win the Best Actress Academy Award in 2009, she noted that her victory was for those women who came before her, including Dorothy Dandridge and Lena Horne.

It is a tribute to the indefatigable spirits of these women that they are remembered not only for their tremendous gifts, but for their determination in the face of a society that pitted so much against them based solely on their color. African American actors, singers, and musicians today owe a debt of gratitude to this group of women for clearing a path toward equality.

 dd-enews-temp-lonnie-bunch-2.jpg All the best, Lonnie Bunch Director

 

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