Today I speak love, energy and power over my life and my affairs.
Let it be so, And so it is!
Today is the National Day of Silence. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness about the silence that LGBT people face by either being forced to be in the closet about their sexual or gender identity, or being forced into the closet by policies or environments where they don’t feel comfortable coming out. This is also a day of action in which students vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.
Day 6: Shirley Chisholm
In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first black woman to serve in the United States Congress. Chisholm is a model of independence and honesty and has championed several issues including civil rights, aid for the poor, and women’s rights. In 1972, Chisholm ran for the highest office in the land—President of the United States of America. In addition to her interest in civil rights, she spoke out about the judicial system in the United States, police brutality, prison reform, gun control, drug abuse, and numerous other topics. Chisholm did not win the Democratic nomination, but she did win an impressive 10 percent of the votes within the party. As a result of her candidacy, Chisholm was voted one of the ten most admired women in the world. She survived three assassination attempts during her campaign for the 1972 U.S. presidential election.
Chisholm is an alumna of Girls High School, she earned her BA from Brooklyn College in 1946 and later earned her MA from Columbia University in elementary education in 1952. She was a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Day 5: Clarence Page
In 1989, Clarence Page became the first Bllack columnist to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. He joined the Chicago Tribune staff in 1969 and later became a syndicated columnnist and editorial writer for the paper. His interest in jouranlism began in high school, and while there he won an award from the Southeast Ohio High School Newpaper Association for best feature article. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University.
Day 3: Medgar Evers
Medgar Evers (1925-1963), field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was one of the first martyrs of the civil rights movement. His death prompted President John Kennedy to ask Congress for a comprehensive civil-rights bill, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the following year.
The Mississippi in which Medgar Evers lived was a place of blatant discrimination where blacks dared not even speak of civil rights, much less actively campaign for them. Evers, a thoughtful and committed member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), wanted to change his native state. He paid for his convictions with his life, becoming the first major civil rights leader to be assassinated in the 1960s. He was shot in the back on June 12, 1963, after returning late from a meeting. He was 37 years old.
Day 2: Bayard Rustin
A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement, and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence.
Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era.
Day 1: Carter G. Woodson
Known as the “Father of Black History,” Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) was the son of former slaves, and understood how important gaining a proper education was when striving to secure and make the most out of one’s divine right of freedom. Although he did not begin his formal education until he was 20 years old, his dedication to study enabled him to earn a high school diploma in West Virginia and bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Chicago in just a few years. In 1912, Woodson became the second African American to earn a PhD at Harvard University.
(September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012)
Producer, entrepreneur, television personality. Born on September 27, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois. Don Cornelius is an American television icon, having created Soul Train, a music show made for African Americans by African Americans, which spent more than 30 years on the air. A natural salesman, he started out in the insurance business in the 1950s. Cornelius went to a broadcasting school in 1966, looking to break into the field. To realize his dream, he worked a substitute DJ, filling in for other on-air personalities, and in the news department of WVON radio in Chicago.
Switching to television, Cornelius became a sports anchor and the host of A Black’s View of the News on WCIU in 1968. He got to know the station owners and pitched them his idea for a music television program. Using $400 of his own money, Cornelius created a pilot for Soul Train, which was named after a promotional event he put together in 1969. Inspired by American Bandstand, the show featured teenagers dancing to the latest soul and R&B music as well as a performance by a musical guest. “Almost all of what I learned about mounting and hosting a dance show I learned from Dick Clark,” Cornelius later told Advertising Age.
Premiering on August 17, 1970, Soul Train quickly became popular. It aired on Saturday mornings, attracting a lot of children and teenagers off from school. An early supporter, businessman George Johnson of the Johnson Products Company, helped Cornelius make Soul Train a nationally television program. It was syndicated in 1971, but it was initially difficult getting stations sign up for the show. In addition to Chicago, stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco were among the first to air Soul Train.
With his deep voice and distinguished good looks, Cornelius was the ideal host. Over the years, he presented many famous performers to his television audience, including Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Lou Rawls, and Aretha Franklin among others. The show was not always wedded to its soul and R&B focus. Rock acts, such as David Bowie, Robert Palmer, and Duran Duran, also made appearances on the show from time to time as did jazz and reggae stars.
In 1987, Cornelius started the Soul Train Music Awards. Dione Warwick and Luther Vandross served as hosts of the first ceremony, which honored Stevie Wonder with the Heritage Award for outstanding career achievements. Whitney Houston, LL Cool J, and Run DMC were among the night’s performers. Over the years, other music stars have appeared on the show, including Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Usher, and Ciara, and more awards were also added later.
When American Bandstand went off the air in 1989, Soul Train was still going strong. But Cornelius continuously looked for ways to freshen up the show. In 1993, he gave up his duties as host and brought in guest hosts. “I had come to believe … that the era of the well-spoken, well-dressed Dick Clark, Don Cornelius type in a suit and a tie was over… . I am just convinced that people want to see people on TV who are more like themselves,” he explained to The New York Times.
In 1995, Cornelius launched the Lady of Soul Awards. The first honorees were Debbie Allen, who received the Lena Horne Award for outstanding career achievements in the field of entertainment, and Salt-N-Pepa, who received the Aretha Franklin Award. Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, and Brandy performed during that first ceremony. Later on, both Brandy and Queen Latifah won the Aretha Franklin Award.
Getting performers for the show, however, was sometimes a challenge for Cornelius. In 2001, he complained about MTV’s booking practices for its own award shows, which call for acts not to appear on competing programs within 30 days of the event. “It’s anti-competitive behavior that needs to be addressed at the Federal Trade Commission level,” he told the Los Angeles Times. He thought the tactic was especially egregious because of the cable music channel’s early history of not showing videos by African-American artists.
By 2005, Soul Train was being seen in 105 cities, reaching an estimated 85 percent of black households, according to the show’s Website. Unfortunately, recent events have put the show’s future in question. In December 2007, the program lost its distributor when Tribune Entertainment closed that division in its company.DeathOfficers responding to a report of a shooting found Cornelius at his Mulholland Drive home at around 4 a.m. on February 1, 2012, police said. He was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound at 4:56 a.m. at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter.
“…what he perceived to be a performance for everyone else (i.e. my daily proclamation of life-producing affirmations; my intention to acknowledge my strengths and accomplishments as much as I focus on my weaknesses and failures; my practicing of self-love, self-care and even selfishness as much as I commit to the sharing of love and concern for others and selflessness; my building up as opposed to the tearing down of self; my smiling despite crying; my laughing in spite of hurting; my living regardless of my body dying…) is my mode of survival. Why did my brother-friend seem to insist that sadness and brokenness and pain and defeat (though, my life is certainly full of all of the above sometimes) were more realistic characterizations of my life than contentment, fulfillment, joy and triumph?”