I conclude Black History Month with a salute to two women who have gone above and beyond their duty to help raise generations of girls through sports in the Chicagoland area. The first of these two women is Dorothy Dawson: former teacher, Dean and ssistant principal of Dunbar High School in Chicago. The second is Ms. Dorothy Gaters, Girls Basketball Coach at John Marshall High School, Chicago.
Something tragic happened to the old black neighborhoods where I grew up in the 60’s. In those days, most of the businesses up and down 31st and 35th Streets, from King Dr. (South Park) to Michigan were owned by our neighbors. There was a drycleaner and a hardware store, both owned by the parents of kids I went to school with. The Griffins owned the funeral home on 33rd Street.
On warm summer mornings, we’d sit on the stomp in front of our house and watch the watermelon man go by on his horsedrawn wagon,
My 27 year-old daughter and I had a ball laughing at how my generation had to use manual typewriters for our high school and college term papers. I thrilled her with stories of hundreds of balled up papers tossed on the floor near the trashcan. These papers boasted mistakes, lumpy whited-out corrections, and strikeovers warranting me to have to start all over again. I described all-night typing sessions, pumped up on “No Doze”, while I slaved over a paper that was due the next morning.
On this Black History day, new book, “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” by Jeanne Theoharis, a Brooklyn College professor shows Rosa Parks as much Malcolm X as she was Martin Luther King Jr.
The book, reviewed by New York Times writer, Charles M. Blow is on my list of books to read this month.
In the book, Rosa Parks states in her own words, “I had felt for a long time, that if I was ever told to get up so a white person could sit, I would refuse to do so.”
Finally, Chicago’s winter wind is often called “The Hawk”, a term long popular in the African American community. The first recorded citation of Chicago being dubbed “The Hawk” is from the Chicago defender, October 20, 1936: “And these cold mornings are on us—in other words ‘Hawkins’ has got us.”
Lou Rawls’ recording of “Dead End Street” explains “The Hawk” pretty well. I love the line when Lou says, “I had to get fully dressed before I could go to bed.” By the way, Lou Rawls is an alum of my alma mater, Dunbar Vocational High School.
Brenda Holloway’s career with Motown was another example of studio execs placing a talented star on the back burner while they developed the stars predicted to have the most crossover appeal. By the time The Supremes arrived Brenda Holloway was leaving.
Listen to this great music by a legend, and if you’re at work, don’t dance to hard in your chair.
Grammy Award winning singer, Dionne Warwick is joining the 2011 cast of The Celebrity Apprentice. Dionne has a number of serious undertakings and one of them is a new album of music composed by the legendary Sammy Cahn. She is also the author of a bestselling children’s book, “Say a Little Prayer.”
Baby Boomers are a tough, sarcastic, Saturday Night Live bunch. Yet, we’re sweet, sensitive, and hopeful as influenced by the Flower Child side of our era. And through it all, we held fast to the dream that we could be anything we wanted to be and look at us now. Yes, the former President smoked pot, but he still became the president. Two women have been Secretary of State, three women sit on the Supreme Court, a black man is President, and a Black Panther has been an Illinois Congressman for a decade.
en sit on the Supreme Court, a black man is President, and a Black Panther has been an Illinois Congressman for a decade.
Hugh Masekela, South African trumpeter, first recorded “Grazing in the Grass” as an instrumental in 1968. The song sold 4 million copies and was one of the few jazz numbers to reach number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100’s Chart. Later, Harry Elston, lead singer of the popular singing group, Friends of Distinction, penned the lyrics
The song which is probably Aretha’s most famous was a cover. By that I mean it wasn’t originally written or performed by her. Just as she covered Dionne Warwick’s “Say a Little Prayer For You” which she sang the hell out of, she also re-made Respect.