Ancient Olmec Heads: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Ancient Olmec Heads: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

They are massive and stalwart. Visitors stand taller in their presence. The ancient Olmec head sculptures on the Gulf Coast of Mexico are something to behold, whether you encounter them in their natural environments or in museums thousands of miles away. Carved from stone boulders, it’s estimated that the heads were created before 900 BC. They indicate a presence of Africans among the Mesoamericans of ancient Mexico, considered the western hemisphere’s first civilization. Those indigenous people were renowned in ancient civilization for
their peaceful and sophisticated society, and for mastery of arts and sciences.
 
Dr. Runoko Rashidi, extensively traveled scholar and historian, has written about the Olmec heads. Facilitator of many great excursions that explore African presence throughout the world, Rashidi guides tour participants to a greater understanding of the historical influence of Africans around the globe. For a real treat, click the link below to join one of Rashidi’s tours and experience a 20-minute visit to an Olmec head exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology in Xapala, Mexico.

2019 December Newsletter, History and Culture

Enslaved African Revolt Reenacted in New Orleans

The lie that enslaved Africans did not fight back, that they offered little resistance to their subjugation, has been widely perpetrated. But last month, sometimes in broad daylight, and at other times under the cover of night, historic truth was reenacted. Over the course of two days, an informed and animated cohort of actors marched, relived, and enlivened the story of the New Orleans 1811 German Coast Uprising.
 
On November 8-9 the Slave Rebellion Reenactment, a large-cast community performance, re-imagined the uprising and was documented by filmmaker John Akomfrah. Hundreds of actors, dressed like enslaved Africans, were accompanied by African drumming as they sang in Creole and English. Others, in French colonial dress, rode on horses. They all traveled the historic 26-mile route that the rebellion took. As the march passed the oil refineries, strip malls and residential areas that have long replaced sugar plantations, many spectators were astonished by the sight of something they had never considered.
 
Conceived and produced by Brooklyn artist Dread Scott, the Slave Rebellion Reenactment was a powerful reminder of historic unity and agency. Read the full story that includes several video clips of the event. Be reminded of less known, yet important history.

2019 December Newsletter, Present Day Achievment

Black Woman Developer Creates Her Own Community

What do you do when you don’t feel welcomed to join a residential community? Well, if your name is Pam Brown Courtney, you make plans to create your own – and then you do! Courtney went from looking to purchase a home, to building Covenant Cove Community, her own residential development, fielding offers from people eager to buy in. Courtney’s development has become a coveted address. Its beautiful homes feature architectural molding, 12-foot ceilings, professional landscaping with sprinkler systems, jacuzzis, walk-in closets and more. Her homes were designed to reflect the worth of the hardworking and deserving people she knew would be residents.
 
Courtney was familiar with the history of her Little Rock, Arkansas hometown. She’d grown up hearing about the brave Black students known as The Little Rock Nine who integrated Central High School in 1957, despite imminent danger and inhumane treatment. Under federal order the National Guard escorted the students to school to prevent them from being attacked by racist mobs. Courtney also heard that when one of the Nine sought shelter from the mob at a local drug store, she was turned away. Today, Courtney owns that store and is overseeing its renovation.
 
To read more about this developer and the powerful way she is writing new chapters about Black people in Arkansas, click below.

2019 December Newsletter, Present Day Achievment

Young Nigerian Is World’s Highest Paid in the Field of Robotic Engineering

Silas Adekunle, the founder and CEO of Reach Robotics, recently signed a deal with Apple giving the software giant exclusive rights to market and sell his MekaMon, the world’s first gaming robot. The deal makes him officially the world’s highest-paid engineer in the field of robotics. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Adekunle relocated to England as a teen. After graduating with a first class robotics degree from the University of the West of England, Adekunle founded his company in 2013.
 
Over the next four years he worked and gained experience. Adekunle was especially interested in helping young people learn STEM skills so they could take advantage of doors opening throughout the industry. His robotic gamer was born from that perspective. In 2017, at the age of 24, Adekunle sold 500 MekaMons, to the sweet tune of $7.5 million. The personalized battle-bots have the ability to show emotion, another first that keeps the unique invention in demand. Click below to learn more.

2019 December Newsletter, Present Day Achievment

Ebony Horsewomen Lead the Charge for Raising Great Youth

When Hartford, CT native Patricia Kelly was a child, she sometimes experienced race prejudice and felt isolated. When a neighbor invited her to get to know his horse, her life changed. While learning to groom and ride horses, Kelly found peace and comfort that has lasted throughout her life.
 
After returning home from the Marine Corps, Kelly nursed the idea of sharing the gift of horses with her community. Starting first with Black and Latina women, she founded Ebony Horsewomen, one of the first all-female African-American equestrian organizations in the nation. Her equestrian center, which started in a small barn, now focuses primarily on young people. Located in Keney Park, it boasts a 6,000-square-foot indoor arena, several outdoor arenas, stables, classrooms, a summer camp, a dining area, and more.
 
The organization’s resources, gained through volunteer, community and sponsor support, serve more than 400 Hartford youth. Girls are involved with the Young Ladies Dressage Team and Leadership Academy. Boys take part in The Junior Mounted Patrol, serving their community under the guidance of male mentors and even providing security at community events.
 
Operating for more than 35 years, Ebony Horsewomen has been an amazing ride! Click below to learn more about how Patricia Kelly dared to envision young people taking the reins of their lives and traveling beyond their material circumstances to fulfill great dreams.

2019 December Newsletter, Youth and Community

First Black Varsity Golf Team to Win Georgia State Championship

The Drew Charter School Varsity Boys Golf Team of Atlanta, Georgia’s public school system won their state’s 2019 varsity championship. The win made them not only the first Atlanta team to win statewide, but the first all-Black team as well. They handily defeated the reigning two-time state champs by more than 15 strokes. These young history-makers are taking their win in stride. While proud and confident upon receiving their state championship rings, they remain serious and centered as they move toward the national finals early next year. They will be the only all-Black team in the national competition.
 
The Drew Charter team members found discipline and hard work in learning to play golf, a sport not readily available in their neighborhoods. Their remarkable achievement demonstrates the ability of Black youth to conquer uncharted territory, when exposed and supported. The not-so-secret ingredient of course, is the mentor-ship of caring adults, in this case, coach Joe Weems and his staff. Together they demonstrate how some public school students from Atlanta are indeed above par!

2019 October Newsletter, Present Day Achievment

African American Young Men Lead Team to Harvard Debate Win

High school seniors DJ Roman and Keith Harris led their team of Atlanta High School students to its second consecutive debate win at Harvard University’s annual international tournament, hosted by the Harvard Debate Council. They prevailed over some 100 teams comprised of older scholars from around the world, many with years of debate experience, prep-school backgrounds and other advantages.
 
Coach Brandon P. Fleming knows the full significance of this achievement. The assistant debate coach at Harvard, Fleming spent 10 months with the Atlanta students, courtesy of the Harvard Diversity Project, an initiative of Harvard College. The pipeline program brings Metro Atlanta youth to Harvard University through a summer residency. To learn more about how Black teens are being trained to speak more persuasively, rendering their voices more impactful, click below.

2019 October Newsletter, Present Day Achievment

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