The early days of Trump’s rise foretold the hate and disorder to come with solid help from conservatives

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Photo Credit: French Newsreel

The Nazi Germany invasion and takeover of France in 1940 has many parallels to America when it elected Donald Trump in 2016. According to Caroline Moorehead in her book, ‘A Train in Winter,’ when the Nazis took over the city many of the famous French intellectuals fled south to a free zone in France. Some Parisians stuck around and some had no choice as they were part of the establishment.

On the other hand, the far right, the conservatives, many of whom were also in fear as the Nazis approached, returned to the city, ready to accept the benefits and…


An Old School Black Race Man Takes His Final Bow

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AP Photo/M. Lederhandler

Vernon Jordan died this past week.

It would repetitive to state the long litany of contributions Jordan has made to the struggle for equal justice for Black people. He has been in the mix for probably about 60 years in one way or another in many different ways.

As many know, he even took a bullet in the back in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for the cause back in 1980 (He was Director of the National Urban League then).

But Jordan kept pushing.

He worked through the system. He fought for equal justice the way he knew best. He became a…


Lee Daniels’ Film & the Roots of Mass Incarceration

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Official Movie Poster

Because of a pretty dynamic performance by Andra Day, some good music and the constant presence of beautiful Black people, The United States v. Billie Holiday is a very good film.

Yes, the costumes are impeccable. The story, many are only vaguely aware of, is worthy of a deeper dive. And though the addiction of Holiday is painful to watch, her destruction by racist forces is important to expose (they are the same forces today).

Mostly, it is a multilayered tale about Black life, the early civil rights struggle in the 20th century involving the jazz diva, Lady Day, and…


Two Guards, Zach LaVine and Bradley Beal Are Making Statements

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Image: ESPN

Bradley Beal has been voted as an All Star Star for the NBA All Star game. Zach LaVine, of the Chicago Bulls, is in as well at last.

Beal and LaVine aren’t surprise stars of this season, they already were both very, very good. They have just taken their games to yet another level.

It is also clear now that these type of players stand to continue to benefit from the new NBA, its focus on the three point shot, and its tight rules on defense.

The outlawing of hand checking has freed up pure shooters to display their art.


Political Zombies, the Misguided, & the Deceived

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Photo from Performance Protest against the G-20 Summit— by Gestalten, in Hamburg, Germany 2017

One of my best friends in life posted the following right after the U.S. Senate voted not to convict Donald Trump. I usually laugh at my friend’s post or just take note. After the following was posted, I posted: Take it Down.

Here’s my friend’s post:


Her Famous Speech Is Timeless and Timely

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Credit: Sojourner Truth School

When I began working in the Midwest, I made it a goal to go pay my respects to Sojourner Truth, who died in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1883 and is buried there.

I didn’t work far from Battle Creek so I knew it could happen. Truth is not a forgotten historical figure but she is oftentimes downplayed in the details.

According to the Pomeroy Foundation, “Sojourner Truth was born an enslaved person near Kingston, N.Y. Her given name was Isabella; she is often referred to as Isabella Baumfree. …


“…it is not enough to be free of the whips, principalities and powers…” — Kamau Brathwaite

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Nina Simone — Photo — National Archives of the Netherlands (Ron Kroom/Anefo restored by Bammesk)

When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered in America in 1968, the late singer, and classical pianist, Nina Simone wrote a song called “Why (The King of Love is Dead)?

King was killed April 4, 1968. Simone sang the song for the first time on April 7, 1968 at a performance in Long Island, N.Y. Notable lyrics to the song are:

“Folks You better stop and think,

Everybody knows we’re on the brink

What will happen now, that the King is

dead?” — Nina Simone

Five years later, fed up with America’s racist society, Simone left America…


The Power of Black History, Culture, & Self Reliance

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MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images — Toussaint receiving the National Medal of the Arts from President Barack Obama, at the White in 2013

On Allen Toussaint’s 2010 famous performance on Austin City Limits, he saves the best for last. The song that closes the show is one of his signature tunes, ‘Southern Nights.’

Toussaint, who died in 2015, embellished this performance of the song with a long introductory tale over his piano melody talking about his life growing up in New Orleans.

The mood he sets on the black and whites reminds one right away that Toussaint came up embracing Professor Longhair’s New Orleans piano style.

This is that piano style that presents the Black world and Black people as owners of themselves…


Another Acquittal Of Our Former President Was Predictable

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Photo: Carl Van Vechten

When our now former President (our 45th) was acquitted again by his Republican protectors in Congress, which I expected, I tracked down this essay by W.E.B. DuBois.

DuBois is America’s greatest intellectual and he had things figured out way back as to why America’s so called democracy was dysfunctional. It is also why the acquittal came easy again.

The reason the 45th President was acquitted has everything to do with what DuBois writes here and less to do with cowardice or country. …


Jazz and the Death of the Liberal Order

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Jason Moran and Archie Shepp, two celebrated jazz musicians, say a lot on their recent project, Let My People Go.

Shepp, the older legend, and Moran, the younger rising legend, latest song and video from the project is ‘Isfahan,’ the Billy Strayhorne-Duke Ellington composition from Ellington’s Far East Suite sessions. It is one of thousands of tunes connected to Duke Ellington that speaks eloquently to humanity and extends all of us beyond boundaries and to think critically about our world globally not just locally.

We are in a new time now. America is not at a crossroads or maybe…

Bumpy J

Numbers runner. Cigar smoker.

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