All posts in the History category


Published April 7, 2016 by sheezacoldpiece

Dr. Joy DeGruy gave this year’s Black History Month keynote presentation, entitled “Post Traumatic Slave Disorder: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing.” DeGruy is a renowned researcher and educator who specializes in mental health, using a psychological perspective to analyze race relations in American society. In her presentation, DeGruy addressed the multi-generational impacts of slavery and offered a few suggestions for how to help heal this trauma.
Starting the speech on a humorous note, DeGruy stated that the presentation would be like a “condensed 10-week graduate level course: intense and heavy.” DeGruy gave a broad historical account of slavery and events after abolition in order to explain the deep-rooted context for the development of what she called the “slave syndrome.”
Throughout her presentation, DeGruy used the idea of cognitive dissonance to illustrate how science, religion, politics and law served as a part of the legitimized system of the dehumanization of black people. DeGruy mixed historical facts with contemporary anecdotes in order to illustrate the psychological continuity which exposes what she calls the symptoms of pathology from slavery to the present day.
“You cannot fix what you don’t understand,” DeGruy said, pointing out on the necessity of keeping the conversation alive. She noted that the issue has been hidden, saying that “by erasing the issue, you erase me.”
“Denial was huge. That denial turns into something that says, ‘Not only can’t I hear what you are saying, I need to stop you from saying it,’” DeGruy said. “So it gets deeper than that. I need to silence you. This injury reflects itself in things like ‘I don’t see race,’ or ‘I don’t really care what color people are.’ So you have all of these pathologies that show up because people aren’t dealing with reality.”
After the presentation and a short Q&A, DeGruy was available for brief individual talks and gave autographs. Overall, DeGruy’s presentation was well-received.
Baseme Osuampke from Houston, Texas, found that DeGruy’s talk was thought provoking.
“I still want to read up on this stuff, not because I don’t believe it, but because there’s so much that I might have missed throughout the speech that I would want to learn and spread to the rest of my community,” Osuampke said.

Christine Ohenewah ’15 and Obiele Harper ’17 found that much of what DeGruy spoke about resonated with them.
“She was very unapologetic, and I think that that discourse really [has] not always [been] brought to the light, because for some it seems controversial, even though it is an experience that is experienced by many,” Harper said. “Sometimes we forget that those [racial issues] still exist, but there’s a new form of slavery, which actually puts more people as a whole in bondages. The more you put someone in bondage, the problem perpetrates over and over again.”
Ohenewah made a connection to the intergenerational psychological continuity of the legacy of slavery to explain the racialized difference in perception of the issue.
“Where you find us having a more heartfelt reaction to such things is because of our blood. We are haunted by our history, and we do feel the ghosts of various black women. Their grief gets passed on through our genealogy,” Ohenewah said. “The same is not occurring with white people.”
“I felt like Dr. DeGruy did such a fantastic job of giving her points, and did not hold back at all. It’s something that needs to continue to be taught, especially at the institution, like a liberal arts college,” Ohenewah said. “We cannot back off of such issues, we have to keep embracing different narratives, different epistemologies so that we can enact change. We don’t enact change by staying away from reality.”

Watch her speak on the topic below….


Published March 12, 2016 by sheezacoldpiece

History is big business worldwide. Stolen antiquities and art trade annually to the tune of 3 billion dollars a year or more.  Many countries are fustrated by this and struggle to reclaim their lost (stolen) artifacts.  In light of a recent fued between the Egyptian government and the Louvre museum in Paris over the fate of Fresco fragments, TIME Magazine examined 10 stolen antiquities and the conflicts they’ve created. 

1. Nefertiti’s Bust


During a 1912 Egyptian excavation, German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt discovered the bust of Nefertiti, a 14th Century BC Egyptian queen. He claimed to have an agreement with the Egyptian government that included rights to half his finds and — using this as justification — Berlin has proudly displayed the item since 1923. But a new document suggests Borchardt intentionally misled Egyptian authorities about Nefertiti, showing the bust in a poor light and lying about its composition in order to keep his most-prized find. The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities has repeatedly asked Germany to give the bust back — or at the very least let it return home on a temporary basis.
Current Status: Germany insists their ownership of Nefertiti is without doubt, and Berlin’s Egyptian Museum curators maintain that even a brief loan may damage the bust.

2. The Lourve’s Egyptian Frescos


A set of ancient fresco fragments is at the center of a nasty feud between Paris’s Louvre Museum and the Egyptian government. Zahi Hawass, head of Egypt’s antiquities department, claims the Louvre bought the fragments last year despite knowing they were taken from a tomb in Egypt’s storied Valley of the Kings in the 1980s, a prime spot for grave-robbers. Egypt, which has made reclaiming ancient art taken from its country a top priority, said they would sever cooperation with the Louvre unless the fragments were returned. A museum representative claimed on Oct. 7 that the Louvre was unaware the fragments were stolen, and said the museum would consider sending the fresco pieces back to Egypt.
Current status: For now, the pieces remain in the Louvre’s collection.

3. Hottentot Venus 


The Hottentot Venus was not a piece of art at all. Instead, it — rather, she — was a person named Sarah Baartman. An indigenous woman from an area now located in South Africa, Baartman was taken to London in 1810 and paraded through Europe, on display for the public to gawk at her full figure and for scientists to explore the reasons for her voluptuous appearance. The indignities continued past her death at the age of 26 — until 1985, Baartman’s sex organs and brain were housed in Paris’ Musee de l’Homme, ostensibly for scientific study.

Current Status: Calls by South Africans for the return of Baartman’s remains began in the early 1980s; bowing to pressure, the Musee de l’Homme took the body off display. In 1992, Nelson Mandela, then the president of South Africa, issued a formal request for the Baartman’s return, but it took a decade more of hand wringing for the French to repatriate her remains. She was buried in South Africa on August 9, 2002.
4. Ramses Mummy


With a history equally rich in antiquities and the looting of said antiquities, Egypt is exhaustive in its attempts to recover stolen artifacts. Few items are more prized than the mummified remains of its ancient pharaohs, and Egypt has tried for years to recoup what is likely the 3000-year-old body of Pharaoh Ramses I from North American museums. It is suspected that grave robbers sold the body to a Canadian museum sometime in the 1860s.

Current Status: In 1999, Atlanta’s Michael Carlos Museum received the mummy and used carbon dating and CT scans to place the mummy to the era of Ramses I. Upon confirmation, they offered to return the body to Egypt, where it is now housed at the Luxor Museum.
5. Koh-i-Noor


There are many claims to the Koh-i-Noor diamond.
The jewel may have passed through hands and nations for as many as 5000 years — some think ancient Mesopotamian texts make reference to the Koh-i-Noor as early as 3200 B.C. It may have once been a monstrous 793 carets, before a jeweler’s maladroitness and a few subsequent refinements chopped it to the mere 109-caret chunk it is today. The Moguls possessed it in the 16th Century, only to lose it to the Iranians, who then lost it to the Afghans. It later went to the Sikhs and ended up with the British. And while the stone carried with it a warning that it would bring harm to its owner, Queen Victoria paid it no heed. It circulated through the British crown jewels until finding a home in the coronation crown of Elizabeth, Britain’s most recent Queen Mother.
Current Status: Many lay claim to the Koh-i-Noor, including the Taliban, who trace its origin in India through Afghanistan in ancient days. Indian Sikhs have asked for the diamond back too, as they were the most recent holders before the British. For their part, the British are deaf to these claims, arguing since the diamond has passed through so many hands for so long, they have just as much right to the stone as anyone.

6. Geronimo’s Skull


Are the members of one of the world’s most prestigious and legendary secret societies grave robbers? Descendants of Geronimo want answers to the persistent rumors that members of Yale’s Skull and Bones Society unearthed the remains of the Apache warrior to bring back to their New Haven campus.
Current Status: Descendant Harlyn Geronimo filed a lawsuit in February against Yale, the Order of Skull and Bones and members of the U.S. government, calling for the return of any of Geronimo’s remains. A Yale spokesman had no comment, but some experts believe Bonesman raided the wrong grave anyway. No matter — the Bonesmen are also rumored to possess two more famed skulls, those of Pancho Villa and President Martin Van Buren.

7. Chinese Bronzes


recent attempt to sell a pair of brass Chinese animal heads took an inventive turn after they were put up for auction as part of the sale of French designer Yves Saint Laurent’s art collection. A $40 million bid was received for the two heads (a rabbit and a rat), which French and British troops removed from a clock at China’s Old Summer Palace during the second Opium War in 1860. One hitch — the buyer had no intention of paying. Chinese art dealer Cai Mingchao submitted the massive bid to protest the sale of the heads, which many Chinese see as unfairly torn from their cultural patrimony.
Current Status: Saint Laurent’s partner said he plans to keep the heads and is “thrilled” the sale failed. And while Christie’s may consider charges against Cai, they will likely relent after an outpouring of support from the Chinese public for his actions

If course the list of stolen goods go on til infinity unfortunately.  It makes one think that people desperate of culture would resort to stealing items from others. Either that or pure greed and envy.  Regardless there’s nothing honorable about proudly displaying stolen items in museums.  It’s actually rather repulsive, disgusting and disrespectful. 



Published March 12, 2016 by sheezacoldpiece


The number of people enslaved by Muslims has been a hotly debated topic, especially when the millions of Africans forced from their homelands are considered.

Some historians estimate that between A.D. 650 and 1900, 10 to 20 million people were enslaved by Arab slave traders. Others believe over 20 million enslaved Africans alone had been delivered through the trans-Sahara route alone to the Islamic world.

Dr. John Alembellah Azumah in his 2001 book, The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa estimates that over 80 million Black people or more died en route.


The Arab slave trade typically dealt in the sale of castrated male slaves. Black boys between the age of 8 and 12 had their scrotums and penises completely amputated to prevent them from reproducing. About six of every 10 boys bled to death during the procedure, according to some sources, but the high price brought by eunuchs on the market made the practice profitable.

Some men were castrated to be eunuchs in domestic service and the practice of neutering male slaves was not limited to only Black males. “The calipha in Baghdad at the beginning of the 10th Century had 7,000 black eunuchs and 4,000 white eunuchs in his palace,” writes author Ronald Segal in his 2002 book, Islam’s Black Slaves: The Other Black Diaspora.


Its important to note that Arab is not a racial classification; an Arab is almost like an American in that people classified as Arab today could be Caucasian (white people), Asiatic or even Arabized Africans. In the beginning there was some level of mutual respect between the Blacks and the more lighter skinned Arabs. However, as Islam and the demand for enslaved Blacks grew, so did racism toward Africans.

As casual association with Black skin and slave began to be established, racist attitudes towards Blacks began to manifest in Arabic language and literature. The word for slave – Abid – became a colloquialism for African. Other words such as Haratin express social inferiority of Africans.


The eastern Arab slave trade dealt primarily with African women, maintaining a ratio of two women for each man. These women and young girls were used by Arabs and other Asians as concubines and menials.

A Muslim slaveholder was entitled by law to the sexual enjoyment of his slave women. 

Filling the harems of wealthy Arabs, African women bore them a host of children.

This abuse of African women would continue for nearly 1, 200 years.


The Arab slave trade in the 19th century was economically tied to the European trade of Africans. New opportunities of exploitation were provided by the transatlantic slave trade and this sent Arab slavers into overdrive.

The Portuguese (on the Swahili coast) profited directly and were responsible for a boom in the Arab trade. Meanwhile on the West African coast, the Portuguese found Muslim merchants entrenched along the African coast as far as the Bight of Benin. These European enslavers found they could make considerable amounts of gold transporting enslaved Africans from one trading post to another, along the Atlantic coast.



The Zanj Rebellion took place near the city of Basra, located in present-day southern Iraq, over a period of fifteen years (A.D. 869–883). 

The insurrection is believed to have involved enslaved Africans (Zanj) who had originally been captured from the African Great Lakes region and areas further south in East Africa.

Basran landowners had brought several thousand East African Zanj people into southern Iraq to drain the salt marshes in the east. The landowners forced the Zanj, who generally spoke no Arabic, into heavy slave labor and provided them with only minimal subsistence. The harsh treatment sparked an uprising that grew to involve over 500,000 enslaved and free men who were imported from across the Muslim empire.


According to some historians, Islam prohibited freeborn Muslims from being enslaved, so it was not in the interest for Arab slavers to convert enslaved Africans to the religion. Since converting enslaved Africans to Muslim would grant them more rights and reduce the potential reservoir of people to enslave, propagators of Islam often revealed a cautious attitude toward proselytizing Africans.

Still, if an African converted to Islam he was not guaranteed freedom nor did it confer freedom to their children. Only children of slaves or non-Muslim prisoners of war could become slaves, never a freeborn Muslim.


The Arab slave trade was the longest yet least discussed of the two major slave trades. 

It began in seventh century as Arabs and other Asians poured into northern and eastern Africa under the banner of Islam. The Arab trade of Blacks in Southeast Africa predates the European transatlantic slave trade by 700 years. Some scholars say the Arab slave trade continued in one form or another up until the 1960s, however, slavery in Mauritania was criminalized as recently as August 2007.


Upward mobility within the ranks of Arab slaves was not rare. 

Tariq ibn Ziyad – who conquered Spain and whom Gibraltar was named after – was a slave of the emir of Ifriqiya, Musa bin Nusayr, who gave him his freedom and appointed him a general in his army.

Son of an enslaved Ethiopian mother, Antarah ibn Shaddād, also known as Antar, was an Afro-Arabic man who was originally born into slavery. He eventually became a well-known poet and warrior. Extremely courageous in battle, historians have dubbed him the “father of knighthood … [and] chivalry” and “the king of heroes.”

This kind of upward mobility did not occur in the European slavery system.


One of the biggest differences between the Arab slave trade and European slaving was that the Arabs drew slaves from all racial groups. During the eighth and ninth centuries of the Fatimid Caliphate, most of the slaves were Europeans (called Saqaliba), captured along European coasts and during wars.

Aside from those of African origins, people from a wide variety of regions were forced into Arab slavery, including Mediterranean people; Persians; people from the Caucasus mountain regions (such as Georgia, Armenia and Circassia) and parts of Central Asia and Scandinavia; English, Dutch and Irish; and Berbers from North Africa.

Some very interesting informative information here.  I enjoy learning something new about history everyday.  The curriculum taught in schools is so programmed and manipulated, it’s important to obtain knowledge outside of what “they” want you to know. 


Published March 11, 2016 by sheezacoldpiece

Yes!  Did you know that Chrome’ show in LA exposed an emotionally charged, ragged hole in the history of motorcycling. The discreet mention that Ben Hardy had created the ‘Captain America’ and ‘Billy’ choppers for the film Easy Rider blew my mind – Why didn’t I know this? Why isn’t this part of the folklore surrounding this epochal film? The reasons are myriad, but the effect is the same – this man is nearly invisible on the Motorcycle Culture radar.

A little digging on the web revealed some photos of Hardy and his shop, and some details on the ‘build’ of the Captain America bike. Ben Hardy’s Motorcycle Service was located at 1168 E. Florence in Los Angeles, which is now an auto repair shop. As Hardy looks to be in his late 40s in the photographs, I would presume he is dead now, but I’ll be on the hunt for more info and family photographs – trust The Vintagent; this story is going to come out.

The story thus far: Peter Fonda, the producer of Easy Rider, hired Cliff Vaughs to coordinate the motorcycles for the film, and Cliff tapped Ben Hardy for the actual construction of the machines. I’ve heard a rumor that 3 ‘Captain America’ replicas were built, but I’ll fact check that (it’s rumored one bike still exists, although the principal bikes were apparently stolen from the props warehouse after the movie was completed).
Ben Hardy used standard H-D frames, ca. ’48-’56, and used Buchanan’s frame shop to alter the steering head angle to 45 degrees. The steering head was cut off and repositioned, and the resultant extreme rake required a 12″ extension to the telescopic forks. A set of A.E.E. fork clamps are used, with extended handlebar clamps (‘dog bones’); the handlebars have a rise of 13″ – not yet in ‘ape hanger’ territory.

Cliff Vaughs hired Dean Lanza to paint the bikes, and Peter Fonda specified the tank on one to resemble the sheild of comic-book character ‘Captain America’ – hence the name of the motorcycle.

It’s no surprise Ben Hardy didn’t receive proper recognition for his role in creating the chopper.  Back in those days it was much easier to take credit for the inventions and ideas of black people.  Glad this little known fact has finally been revealed.



Published March 8, 2016 by sheezacoldpiece

By Karen Chilton


OCTOBER 15, 2009

She was called the “Darling of Café Society” back in 1939 when New York City was alive with the sounds of swing.


A sexy siren sitting bare-shouldered at the piano, Hazel Scott captivated audiences with her renditions of classical masterpieces by Chopin, Bach and Rachmaninoff. Nightly, crowds would gather at Café Society, New York’s first fully integrated nightclub, the epicenter of jazz and politics nestled in Greenwich Village, to hear the nineteen-year-old bronze beauty transform “Valse in D-Flat Major”, “Two Part Invention in A-Minor,” and “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2” into highly syncopated sensations.



“But where others murder the classics, Hazel Scott merely commits arson,” wrote TIME magazine. “Strange notes creep in, the melody is tortured with hints of boogie-woogie, until finally, happily, Hazel Scott surrenders to her worse nature and beats the keyboard into a rack of bones.”



Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad on June 11, 1920, Hazel Dorothy Scott was the only child of R. Thomas Scott, a West African scholar from Liverpool, England and Alma Long Scott, a classically-trained pianist and music teacher.


A precocious child who discovered the piano at the age of 3, Hazel surprised everyone with her ability to play by ear. When she would scream with displeasure after one of Alma’s students hit a wrong note, no one in the household recognized the sensitive ear she possessed.


“They had been amused, but no one regarded my urge as latent talent,” she recalled. Until one day, young Hazel made her way to the piano and began tapping out the church hymn, “Gentle Jesus”, a tune her grandmother Margaret sang to her daily at nap time.


From that moment on, Alma shifted her focus from her own dreams of becoming a concert pianist, and dedicated herself to cultivating her daughter’s natural gift. They were a tight knit pair, sharing an extremely close bond throughout their lives. “She was the single biggest influence in my life,” Hazel said.


Her father, on the other hand, would soon leave the family and have a very small presence in his daughter’s life.


Following the breakup of the Scott’s marriage, the three of them—mother, daughter and grandmother—would migrate to the States in search of greater opportunity for themselves and the gifted young pianist. In 1924, they headed to New York and landed in Harlem, where Alma took a job as a domestic maid. 


She struggled, however, and returned to what she knew best—music. She taught herself the saxophone, and eventually joined Lil Hardin Armstrong’s orchestra in the early 1930s.


Alma’s associations with well-known musicians made the Scott household “a mecca for musicians,” according to Hazel, who benefited from the guidance and tutelage of jazz greats Art Tatum, Lester Young and Fats Waller, all of whom she considered to be like family.

In 1928, Hazel auditioned for enrollment in the prestigious Juilliard School of Music. She was only eight-years-old, and too young for standard enrollment (students had to be at least 16), but because of some influential nudging by wealthy family friends and Alma’s sheer determination, Hazel was given a chance.


Her performance of Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C-Sharp Minor” made a strong impression on staff professor Oscar Wagner. He proclaimed the child “a genius,” and with the permission of the school’s director, Walter Damrosch, offered her a special scholarship where he would teach her privately.


Career progress was swift. A spirited young woman with an outward demeanor that was effervescent and engaging, Hazel’s life was not that of an ordinary teenager. While still in high school, Hazel hosted her own radio show on WOR after winning a local competition, and performed gigs at night.



At times, she felt burdened by the demands of her talent, admitting, “There were times when I thought that I just couldn’t go on.”


Still, she managed to graduate with honors from Wadleigh High. Not long after, she made her Broadway debut in the musical revue Sing Out the News.


Commercial recordings of her ”Bach to Boogie” repertoire on the Signature and Decca labels would break sales records nationwide. There was little separation between Hazel’s performance and her outspoken politics.


She attributed it to being raised by very proud, strong-willed, independent-minded women. She was one of the first black entertainers to refuse to play before segregated audiences.Written in all her contracts was a standing clause that required forfeiture if there was a dividing line between the races. “Why would anyone come to hear me, a Negro, and refuse to sit beside someone just like me?,” she asked.


By the time Hollywood came calling, Hazel had achieved such stature that she could successfully challenge the studios’ treatment of black actors, demanding pay commensurate with her white counterparts, and refusing to play the subservient roles in which black actors were commonly cast.


She would wear no maid uniforms or washer woman rags, and insisted that her name credit appear the same in all films: “Hazel Scott as Herself.” She performed in five major motion pictures in the early ‘40s, including I Dood It, directed by Vincente Minelli and featuring Lena Horne and the Gershwin biopic Rhapsody in Blue.


But it was the on set of The Heat’s On starring Mae West that Hazel’s characteristic brashness was unleashed. In a scene where she played a WAC sergeant during WWII, Hazel was angered by the costumes the black actresses were given to wear.

 She complained that “no woman would see her sweetheart off to war wearing a dirty apron.”


Hazel promptly staged a strike that went on for three days, a battle that was finally rectified by removing the aprons from the scene altogether.


The incident came at the cost of Hazel’s film career, which was short-lived as result of her defiance. “I’ve been brash all my life, and it’s gotten me into a lot of trouble.


But at the same time, speaking out has sustained me and given meaning to my life,” she said.


It was during these peak years of her career that Hazel began a romantic affair with the controversial Harlem preacher/politician, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. who was making a bid for the U.S Congress.


Twelve years her senior, married, and a reputed womanizer, Powell pursued her unabashedly. At first, she was annoyed by his advances, but eventually irritation gave way to real interest and passion.



The couple began seeing each other in secret. Amidst a great deal of scandal, the couple married in August of 1945; she was the grande vedette of Café Society and he was the first black congressman from the East Coast. “They were stars, not only in the black world but the white world. That was extraordinary,” commented journalist Mike Wallace at the time.



Published February 20, 2016 by sheezacoldpiece

This incredible woman “Henrietta Lacks” only lived to be 31 years old, yet her “HeLa” cells are still being used for medical science today.

 Many of the medical breakthroughs you read and hear about today are largely due to one relatively unknown Black woman: Henrietta Lacks. It is because of her cells that some of the most dangerous diseases and outbreaks have been avoided or stopped. And it all started with a pain in her stomach.

On January 29, 1951, Lacks went to Johns Hopkins Hospital because she felt a “knot” inside of her. She had told her cousins about the knot, and they automatically assumed correctly that she was pregnant. But after giving birth to Joseph, Henrietta started bleeding abnormally and profusely. Her local doctor tested her for syphilis, which came back negative, and referred her to Johns Hopkins hospital.

Johns Hopkins was their only choice for a hospital since it was the only one near them that treated black patients. Howard W. Jones, her new doctor, examined Henrietta and the lump in her cervix. He cut off a small part of the tumor and sent it to the pathology lab. Soon after, Lacks was told that she had a malignant epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix. But later in 1970, colleagues writing a tribute discovered that Lacks’ cancer had been misdiagnosed and was actually an adenocarcinoma of the cervix. This was a common mistake at the time and the treatment would not have changed.

Lacks was treated with radium tube inserts, which were sewn in place. After several days in place, the tubes were removed and she was discharged from Johns Hopkins with instructions to return for X-ray treatments as a follow-up. During her radiation treatments for the tumor, two samples of Henrietta’s cervix were removed—a healthy part and a cancerous part—without her permission. The cells from her cervix were given to Dr. George Otto Gey. These cells eventually became the HeLa immortal cell line, a commonly used cell line in biomedical research.


These cells were the first ever immortal human cell line. An endless source of identical cells that is still around today.

Thanks to HeLa cells we now have a vaccine for HPV (Not very effective)

Thanks to HeLa cells, the polio epidemic was defeated in 1960’s

Thanks to HeLa cells, we now have breakthroughs in HIV, measles, mumps, and ebola.

Normal cells are able to reproduce usually up to about 50 times before dying off, but not Henrietta’s. Her cells are able to replicate infinitely on just about any surface, allowing research and experiments to go on anywhere and in any environment. These experiments would have been impossible to conduct without Henrietta’s cells.

Millions of patients healed and dollars were made off of HeLa cells without the family knowing up until decades later.

In significant pain and without improvement, Lacks returned to Hopkins on August 8th for a treatment session, but asked to be admitted. She remained at the hospital until the day of her death. She received treatment and blood transfusions, but died of uremic poisoning on October 4, 1951 at the young age of 31. A subsequent partial autopsy showed that the cancer had metastasized throughout her entire body.

It wasn’t until 1971 (twenty years after they did it!), that her descendants first learned her genes had been sequenced and that the genome was made available to the public. But it took a number of years and in 2013, after a protracted fight, the family won the right to make the genome available only to scientists who apply, as well as to serve on a working group that will help review the applications.

They have never received any payment for Henrietta Lacks’s cells or any compensation from the profits that have come from the research done using her cells.

For decades, Henrietta Lacks’ mother had the only tombstone of the five graves in the family cemetery in Lackstown, and Henrietta’s own grave was unmarked. In 2010, however, Dr. Roland Pattillo of the Morehouse School of Medicine donated a headstone for Lacks after reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The headstone is shaped like a book and reads:

Henrietta Lacks, August 01, 1920 – October 04, 1951.

In loving memory of a phenomenal woman, wife and mother who touched the lives of many.

Here lies Henrietta Lacks (HeLa). Her immortal cells will continue to help mankind forever.

Eternal Love and Admiration, From Your Family

Source: HeLa Cells


Published February 19, 2016 by sheezacoldpiece

Kerry Washington, Taye Diggs and Octavia Spencer are expected at the first American Black Film Festival Awards — organized in response to the Oscars’ snub of black performers.
The ABFF Awards in LA on Sunday will honor Diahann Carroll, Don Cheadle, Regina King, “Creed” director Ryan Coogler and Will Packer.
Carl Weathers, who played Apollo Creed in the “Rocky” films, will present the film category. The awards show will air on BET and Centric on Tuesday.

This is what we need to recognize and honor “us” when others don’t.  We don’t need a Oscar to validate our talent and hardwork.  We need exactly this platform by us, for us, to showcase our talents and achievements.  

Be sure to tune in  Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET and Centric as the American Black Film Festival, BET, and Black Enterprise host ABFF Awards, an annual gala saluting excellence in motion pictures and television.


Published February 6, 2016 by sheezacoldpiece

The History Of Lynching In America Is Worse Than You Think, Says Study.  It always amazes me when people, especially black people, want to silence those of us that identify and remind us of our history in this country.  Much of that history is why we deal with the hardships we are dealing with today.  Some 500+ years later.  Yes, there was a time when a black person was hung in public for looking at a white person.  For bumping into a white person.  For not addressing a white person as “Mister” or “Ma’am”.  Now we are being executed for having a bag of skittles, or not putting our hands in the air fast enough.  To not know your history, is to be blind going into your future.  Read the research below in regards to study’s revealing the uncovered lynchings from our past.
Lynchings in which mobs raided jailhouses to hang, torture and burn alive black men, sometimes leading to public executions in courthouse squares, occurred more often in the U.S. South than was previously known, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The slightest transgression could spur violence, the Equal Justice Initiative found, as it documented 3,959 victims of lynching in a dozen Southern states.

The group said it found 700 more lynchings of black people in the region than had been previously reported. The research took five years and covered 1877 to 1950, the period from the end of post-Civil War Reconstruction to the years immediately following World War Two.

The report cited a 1940 incident in which Jesse Thornton was lynched in Alabama for not saying “Mister” as he talked to a white police officer.

In 1916, men lynched Jeff Brown for accidentally bumping into a white girl as he ran to catch a train, the report said.

Bryan Stevenson, founder and director of the Montgomery, Alabama-based EJI, said that while current events did not directly equate with lynching, “what happened then has its echoes in today’s headlines.”

He cited racial differences in reactions to last year’s shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, by a white police officer.

The group said the report was aimed at spurring Americans to face the lasting impact of their history. It also would like to see historical markers placed across the South to note sites where lynchings occurred.

Calling the violence racial terror designed to subjugate black people through fear, Stevenson and his associates sought to catalog every lynching in 12 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

“The South is littered with monuments for the Civil War,” Stevenson said. “But we haven’t looked at the great evil of slavery. Its aftermath morphed into terrorism of lynching.”

“We as Americans haven’t dealt with our full history,” he added.

Sociology professor E.M. Beck of the University of Georgia agreed that past lynchings had affected perceptions of justice.

“Many white people look on the police as their protectors, defenders of their rights, and blacks can look at the same officers as part of a system sent to control and contain them,” he said. 

Via – http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/history-of-lynching-us-worse_n_6656604.html?utm_content=buffer09138&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer


Published February 5, 2016 by sheezacoldpiece


A new study reveals more Brazilians identify as Black or multiracial today than 10 years ago. While demographic shifts like this usually sound like they would be the result of birth rates and migration, it’s actually a reflection of something else.
The Brazilian Geographical and Statistics Institute reports that in their National Household Survey last year, 53 percent of Brazilians said they are Black or multiracial, up from 47.9 percent 10 years ago. Sociologists have been attributing this to shift in attitudes toward race in Brazil and increased education about the country’s history.
Brazil has a huge Afro-Brazilian population, descendants of the four million slaves brought to Brazil before the practice was abolished in 1888. Brazil, along with many other Latin American countries, has crafted narratives that overlook people of African descent, both culturally and demographically. Though most people have some African, native, and/or European heritage, there’s a history of emphasizing the latter, in that everyone is mixed but not black. Plenty of surveys have shown Brazilians in particular tend to claim a kaleidoscope of racial identities that translate to mixed, but stop short of acknowledging blackness.
According to El País, Katia Regis, an Afro-Brazilian studies coordinator, said, “The black population has more access to effective knowledge about African and Afro-Brazilian history to realize that being black is a positive thing.”
People have grown to appreciate the huge contributions African culture has made in Brazil, and they reflect that in how they identify. Samba, capoeira, and many Brazilian dishes have obvious African origins, and some of the most famous Brazilians in the world like Pelé and the bossa nova musician Gilberto Gil are Black.
Afro-Brazilians still face discrimination and their murder and poverty rates are significantly higher than white Brazilians, but this growing appreciation for blackness in Brazil indicates a rapid shift that many activists hope will transcend what people check on surveys.


Published February 5, 2016 by sheezacoldpiece

It’s like the ghost of 2Pac has come back to haunt Diddy.  Diddy really do it?  I personally don’t trust Diddy.  He comes off as a cold calculated do whatever it takes type to get what he wants.  Just my vibe though.  You know how the saying goes….what’s done in the dark, will eventually come to light.
A retired Los Angeles cop is convinced he’s cracked the case of Tupac Shakur’s decades-old murder — and the mastermind was none other than Sean (Diddy) Combs.
The music mogul formerly known as Puff Daddy offered Crips member Duane Keith (Keffe D) Davis $1 million to whack Shakur and his manager Suge Knight, former LAPD detective Greg Kading alleges in a new documentary based on his 2011 book “Murder Rap.”


When the gang member’s nephew, Orlando (Baby Lane) Anderson, eventually pulled the trigger, he fatally wounded Shakur but only injured Knight, Kading claims in the upcoming Netflix doc.


The shooting took place on a Las Vegas street in September 1996 and remains officially unsolved.

One ex-cop thinks he knows who killed Tupac Shakur.

Combs scoffed at the theory when it first surfaced with the book.
“The story is pure fiction and completely ridiculous,” he said.
But Kading, who led an LAPD task force investigating the shooting deaths of Shakur and Brooklyn rapper Biggie Smalls, wrangled a confession out of Keffe D after the Crips member feared facing charges for a different crime.
His personal copy is heard in the Netflix documentary.
“You get a very strong sense that he’s speaking very genuinely and transparently. He comes across as telling the story as someone who was there. The fluidity is very natural,” Kading told the Daily News on Thursday.
Diddy (seen in April 2014) had Shakur killed, a retired LAPD cop has alleged.

Hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur died in 1996.

“But what really convinced us it was true was all the corroboration,” he said. “He told us things that he couldn’t known unless he was actually a participant in the murder.”

For example, Keffe D knew there was a secondary shooting that night that investigators kept a secret, he said.
“There was engagement with one of the members of Tupac’s entourage. That was very critical and placed him at the scene of the crime with investigative information not previously made public,” Kading said.
He said it’s important to consider Combs’ “perspective” when weighing the allegations against the Bad Boy Entertainment mogul.

“He was in precarious situation where Suge Knight was actively hunting him down. Suge held him responsible for the (1995) death of a friend in Atlanta. So there was this sense of desperation that Combs was working from,” Kading claimed.
“There was a very clear and present danger. He’s not a calculating, sinister assassin, but a person trying to protect himself from something he knew was coming,” Kading said.
He said after Shakur’s death, a vengeful Knight shelled out $13,000 to his own hitman, Bloods member Wardell (Poochie) Fouse, to kill Smalls — a close friend of Diddy’s — as retaliation.
Smalls was gunned down in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997, six months after Shakur died.

Public fascination over the still-unsolved murders has endured nearly 20 years, fueling competing rumors and speculation.

Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls (l.) leaves a Los Angeles party with producer Diddy on March 8, 1997, shortly before Smalls was shot to death.

Knight, 50, is currently behind bars in Los Angeles on charges of murder and attempted murder in an unrelated case.
He has pleaded not guilty to allegations he ran over two men with his truck, killing one, outside a Compton burger restaurant in January 2015.
The documentary in which Kading makes his case — also called “Murder Rap” — is due to stream on Netflix in June, he said.

Via – http://m.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/lapd-claims-diddy-tupac-shakur-killed-article-1.2519915