Thursday, October 31, 2019

Black History: Malians and Moors in America before Columbus

The Columbus Map from 1490
We all know and understand that Columbus DID NOT discover America, despite what we were taught in school.  As my Dad would say, there were people already living there.  

Columbus had maps which some people say he bought from the Moors, others say he bought them from the Vikings.  He was NOT searching for a route to the East via the West; he knew exactly where he was going.  He landed first in the Bahamas, and subsequently in Hispaniola, which is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  On his third voyage, Columbus landed in what is now Trinidad

It would have been easy for Columbus to obtain maps, hanging around the ports, in particular Bristol, while waiting for Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain to finance his venture.  He would have met many other sailors and heard tales of their adventures. 

The Columbus Map was drawn in Columbus's studio in 1490.  See above.  By Bartolomeo and Christopher Colombus - This image comes from Gallica Digital Library and is available under the digital ID btv1b59062629/f1 Public Domain.    

It is said that his sailors were required to keep quiet about the maps on pain of having their tongues cut out.  

There is a great deal of evidence that many peoples had visited the Americas prior to Columbus's "discovery" of them. 

Malians/Mandinkas from West Africa were among the peoples who travelled to the Americas.  The Moors from North Africa are also said to have sailed to the Americas.  Africans had sailed there from 100,000 BC and stayed for tens of thousands of years. 

The Carthiginians from the country now called Tunisia, in North Africa, also travelled and produced a gold coin which showed the Americas on the reverse. 

The Chinese, Japanese and Vikings are also said to have travelled there, as are other Europeans. 

The Malians brought elephants with them, and a Malian inscription found in Arizona states that "the elephants are sick and angry".   

Go here for more Black history blogs and African history blogs.  

Please leave your comments below and please share this with your networks.  Thanks.  



Friday, October 25, 2019

Black History: Lupita and the Warrior Women

Black History the Dora Milaje
People all over the world enjoyed the Black Panther movie. The film broke loads of box office records – and so it should have. As Lupita Nyong'o states, Black Panther was one of the highest-grossing films of all time.  I personally have seen it three times – so far. 
Black Panther featured the Dora Milaje – an army of women warriors whose responsibility it was to protect the King – the Black Panther.

These women were amazing – beautiful, fierce, brave – they showed incredible courage and skill.  Lupita Nyong'os character was not a member of the Dora Milaje - she played a spy who was also fierce and beautiful, and who also displayed some very impressive fighting. In the end, she put on the Dora Milaje armour and fought the battle for control of Wakanda.  

Last night, Lupita presented a programme on Channel 4 as part of their Black history season.  She discovered actual, historical African warrior women who had the job of protecting the King. It is online for the next 30 days, so I urge you to watch it if you have not done so already, or even if you have.  

Black History Walks gave a presentation last year about the historical basis of the Black Panther movie, in which Brother T. gave several examples of warrior women in Africa, who protected their monarchs.

In Dahomey, now known as Benin, Lupita discovered an historical army made up of thousands of women warriors - the Agoji.  The Agoji were press-ganged into serving, went through rigorous training and were required to obey the King.  They fought the European powers, particularly the French, who had invaded and occupied the area (and many other territories around the African continent).  

Although the knowledge about the existence of this female army is inspiring, we learned that they were also required by the King to invade other territories, notably the Yoruba territory in what is now Nigeria.  They abducted many men and women, and some of the women were enslaved in Dahomey.  Both men and women were also sold into Transatlantic slavery under the orders of the Kings.  Thus, it is also a shameful history.  

Again, watch it while it is still available online.   

Go here for more African history blogs.  


Monday, October 14, 2019

Young Woman Shot by Cops inside Her Own Home

This 28-year-old Black woman, Atatiana Jefferson, was shot by the police in her own home and died instantly.  A neighbour, James Smith, had reported seeing something, and now the neighbour is blaming himself.  No, it seems to me that the fault lies squarely with the police.  

This is one more reason why we need nonviolence and Nonviolent Communication (NVC).  NVC is changing lives all over the world.  And this is one more reason why I hold the annual Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence.  

CBS News say this is causing "outrage", and of course, it is.  

Jefferson's family are demanding answers.  

Please leave your comments below and please share this with your networks.  Thanks.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Little More about NVC and Me

I have already talked a little about my personal journey in A Little about NVC and Me and Why I Am Committed to Nonviolence.  

I started to explore Nonviolent Communication (NVC) around 2003, and it had a profound effect on me.  

Go here for the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2019.   And go here for information on how you can submit your blog post. If you have ever given empathy to, or received empathy from, someone, at home or at work, or in any context, please blog about it and share your experiences with the world. 

As I have said before, Violence Begins at Home.  I grew up in a family in which I experienced an enormous amount of verbal violence on a daily basis, as well as some physical violence.  My mother was (and is) severely mentally  ill, and never received any treatment for her condition, which was, and remains, undiagnosed.  

I was subjected to constant, daily bullying and undermining for many years.  Nobody helped me or supported me, apart from my piano teacher, who was very kind.  But other than her, the people around me gave me the message that I did not matter.  I did not count.  My feelings and needs did not count. 

I carried these internal messages for many years.  When we receive the same messages repeatedly - be they positive or negative messages - we internalise them.  That is the way the human mind works.  And, as we live in a racist society, we are subjected to daily negative, racist messages, and we internalise them.  This is why we experience so much self-hatred, and why we find it so difficult to work together and to trust each other.  

I am unravelling my self-hatred and replacing it with self-love, but I still have work to do in this area.  Of all the methods I use, and share with my students, NVC has had the most profound effect on me.  NVC is based on EMPATHY. 

As I said in Why I Am Committed to Nonviolence, our self-talk continues to affect us.  

Children and young people who are exposed to violence in the home are more likely to become involved with violence outside the home.  And, as part of the legacy of slavery, our families often use violence - both physical and verbal violence.  I am sure my mother was profoundly affected by the racism she experienced on a daily basis when she was a young person. 

Of course, violence affects every community.  But my community - the global African community - is my priority.  

In order to address the violence affecting the young people in our communities, we, as adults, first need to address our own patterns of behaviour - including our self-talk. 

The violence affecting our young people has to stop.  This has to stop.  If you agree, comment "Yes!" below.  

Please share this with your networks.  And please submit your blog post to the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence 2019.  


Monday, August 05, 2019

Black History: How Sammy Davis, Jr. Desegregated Vegas


It's not very well known that Sammy Davis, Jr. single-handedly de-segregated Las Vegas. I saw a documentary about this a few years ago.

I am dropping Black history all over my neighbourhood in South London at the moment. I walked into Holland & Barrett one day and this song was playing. It sounded like Sammy to me.  So I told this story to a couple of the younger members of staff.

Back in the 1950s and '60s, Sammy Davis, Jr. was known as one of the world's top entertainers. He could sing, he could dance, he could act. In many ways, Michael Jackson was similar to Davis. Sammy starred in the original Ocean's Eleven, along with other members of the Rat Pack.

Naturally, the hotel-casinos wanted Davis to perform for them. Every week, they sent him telegrams begging him to come and perform. They always offered him a beautiful, luxurious trailer in which to stay.

I asked them, “Why did Sammy not accept the offers?”. They couldn't answer the question. So I told them:

He wanted to be able to stay in the hotel, not in a trailer out back. The white performers, such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, stayed in the hotel. As their Rat Pack co-star, Davis wanted equal treatment.

They then asked me, “Why couldn't he stay in the hotels?”.

So I explained: Because of racism. That's how segregation worked.

I continued: This went on for weeks and weeks, months and months, until one day, one of the hotel-casinos finally caved. They said, “okay, you can stay in the hotel”. Sammy responded by saying, “I have to be able to eat in the restaurant and play at the tables if I want to”. “Okay, Sammy, whatever you want. Just come and perform here”.

But Sammy had more demands. “My band members must be allowed to stay in the hotel, eat in the restaurant and play at the tables if they want to”. “Okay, Sammy, whatever you say”.

And that's how Sammy Davis Jr. personally de-segregated Las Vegas. Similarly, Michael Jackson de-segregated MTV.  

If you want to know the truth about Black history, go here for some ofmy Black history blogs.

Please leave your comments below and please share this with your networks. Thanks.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

A Little about NVC and Me

As you will know if you read and listen to my blog posts, I am the founder of the Blogging Carnival for Nonviolence.  We hold the Blogging Carnival every year as part of the Week of Nonviolence with Black Women for Positive Change.  

I am passionate about Nonviolent Communication (NVC).  I have published many blog posts about NVC and interviewed a number of NVC practitioners.  You can read some of my most recent blog posts here

I first came across NVC in or around 2003, when I read Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.  This book really changed my life and changed me as a person.  I subsequently attended several NVC trainings, and now I lead workshops in the community. 

We are experiencing an upsurge of murder and other violence in the UK, and this is touching my neighbourhood in South London, as well as many other places.  Both gun crime and knife crime are on the increase, and this particularly affects our own Black youth.  Obviously, I am very upset about this, and I am sure you are, too. 

NVC is a practical solution.  We can end violence though using NVC skills.  We keep telling each other the situation is terrible, it's awful.  In every conversation I have with people around my local area, and across London, we always say it's terrible, it's horrible.  But that's not enough.  We need to end the violence.  We need to have the skills to do this.  

NVC has had a powerful effect on me as a person.  I blogged about this in Why I Am Committed to Nonviolence, and I shall blog more about this.  But for now, I am blogging about the violence all around us, the bullying in our schools, the violent behaviour of our Black youth.  NVC offers a solution.  It's often about prevention.  And EMPATHY is at the heart of NVC.  Ending violence starts with ourselves - with us, with you and me.  It starts with the inner work we need to do.  

The violence affecting our young people has to stop.  This has to stop.  If you agree, comment "Yes!" below.  And please share this with your networks.  Thanks.  

See also:  Why I Am Committed to Nonviolence.  

Monday, June 17, 2019

Mom Banned from School after She Confronts Daughter's Bullies

Christian Tinsley:  Black Mother Banned from School

 A Black mother was banned from her daughter's school after confronting the child's bullies.  

When Christian Tinsley learned that her daughter was being bullied and sexually harassed at school, she instinctively wanted to protect her child. However, when she confronted her daughter’s bullies, the school responded by banning her from the school’s property.

A group of boys was bullying her on a daily basis. Tinsley said her daughter has been targeted for racist and derogatory harassment and bullying for months.  

Many people would say she did what a mother should do - she protected her child. 

NVC (Nonviolent Communication) is about EMPATHY.   Terrible incidents such as these can be prevented when we have the skills to do so. 

Please share this with your networks and please leave your comments below.