Thank you for your encouragement and unwavering support of WKIM Media Network’s Newsletter.
I pray you are all in a good space and managing this pandemic. As for me, I am getting a little restless, but I am very clear that this pandemic is not a game and with it comes pain from the loss of friends and watching businesses that I supported close their doors.This week’s issue is full of information that entertains, empowers, and educates. Please take time to scroll all the way to the bottom.
This past spring, I had an impassioned conversation with a couple of friends about the African American Women Leaders in the Suffrage Movement and the recent “Women’s Suffrage Anniversary.” It was a very interesting conversation and their passion was clear.
Quite frankly, I had not thought about this critical topic in a long time, which is interesting because I am very passionate about everyone voting! I had never really taken the time to learn about these amazing women and what they went through to vote. I started researching and, then I found an amazing article about African American Women in the State of Indiana
( I was born in South Bend, Indiana) – and the leadership and power they wielded in 1912 at Madam CJ Walker’s house, with Black men and women, labor union members and socialist all gathered to discuss the strategy for their vote. It was the first in Indianapolis with its first president, a Black woman, Carrie Barnes Ross. As you continue to scroll down, you will find videos and articles about this.
I cannot help but think about how in the year 2020 we are all worried about “Voter Suppression” how will we vote during COVID 19? What is happening with the United States Postal Service? And, how will we be guaranteed that Our Vote will count? These are not pipe dreams or ignorant rants – but the unadulterated truth. We must “Protect Our Right To Vote!”
Take your time scrolling down, there is so much in today’s issue. The arts are well represented and Dr. Leslie King Hammond, Professor Emerita/ MICA shared the amazing quilting project that is filled with love. The health section is expanded, we received quite a few articles filled with important information that we could not leave anything out. We do hope that you will take the time to scroll all the way down – its chocked full of great information. Thank you all for your continued support and we hope you will share with your friends.
-Anthony McCarthy, Weekly Affirmations
-Al Bedell, SECHEL: To Pursue Knowledge
-A’Lelia Bundles, author of Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker
-TA-NEHISI COATES ON VANITY FAIR
-Your Health Matters
-The Artists Among You
-Johns Hopkins CoronaVirus Resource Center
–Black Art In America
-10 Rules of Survival, David Miller
-No Justice No Peace, Sharon Attaway
-Dare to Be King, David Miller
-KAISER PERMANENTE VIRTUAL DANCE
– GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
-CLLCTIVLY DAY OF GIVING
– Spring Hill—Fearless Fund
-Schomburg Center for Research In Black Culture
-Black Art In America
– UpComing EVENTS
– Please support our advertisers
-Baltimore City Services During Covid-19
-Baltimore Office of Promotions & Arts
A’Lelia Bundles, author of Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (originally titled On Her Own Ground:
The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker [Scribner, 2001]), joins us as part of our summer series Virtual Radcliffe Book Talks, in which we explore recent publications whose subjects or authors have a connection with the Radcliffe Institute.
Following a brief reading, Bundles joins in discussion with Tomiko Brown-Nagin—dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and chair of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery at Harvard University—and takes part in an audience Q and A.
About A’Lelia Bundles:
Author and journalist, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker is a New York Times Notable Book and the non-fiction source for Self Made, the fictionalized four-part Netflix series starring Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer that premiered on March 20, 2020.
She is at work on her fifth book, The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance, about her great-grandmother whose parties, arts patronage and travels helped define the era.
After a 30-year career as an executive and Emmy award winning producer with ABC News and NBC News, she now is brand historian for MCJW, a line of hair care products inspired by Madam Walker and created by Sundial Brands. She is a trustee of Columbia University and chair emerita of the National Archives Foundation. Ms. Bundles also speaks at conferences, colleges, corporations and other venues about entrepreneurship, philanthropy, financial literacy and women’s and African American history.
She founded the Madam Walker Family Archives and is on the advisory boards of the March on Washington Film Festival, the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute and the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative.
She is a graduate of Harvard College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and has participated in writing residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell.
AMY SHERALD ON MAKING
BREONNA TAYLOR’S PORTRAIT
For more than 20 years, Amy Sherald has been putting the narratives of Black families and Black people to canvas. In 2016, she became the first woman and first African American to win the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, which led to her painting Michelle Obama for the National Portrait Gallery in 2018. That oil-on-linen portrait was her first commissioned work—until Breonna Taylor.
Taylor is an “American girl, she is a sister, a daughter, and a hard worker. Those are the kinds of people that I am drawn towards,” says Sherald, who is immunosuppressed and has been unable to participate in protests. She calls this portrait a contribution to the “moment and to activism—producing this image keeps Breonna alive forever.”
Sherald’s process typically begins with taking a picture of her subject. Painting Taylor, a person she had never met, who would never be able to sit for her, presented a unique challenge. Sherald took extraordinary care in reimagining Taylor, inflecting her portrait with symbols of the 26-year-old’s life.
Sherald found a young woman with similar physical attributes, studied Taylor’s hairstyles and fashion choices, and drew inspiration from things she learned about the young woman—that she had been a frontline worker in the battle against COVID-19; that her boyfriend had been about to propose marriage; that she was self-possessed, brave, loving, loved.
“She sees you seeing her. The hand on the hip is not passive, her gaze is not passive. She looks strong!” says Sherald. “I wanted this image to stand as a piece of inspiration to keep fighting for justice for her. When I look at the dress, it kind of reminds me of Lady Justice.” Jasmine Elder of JIBRI, an Atlanta-based fashion designer, created a crepe dress specifically for the cover.
“When thinking about what she was going to wear, I wanted Breonna to like it,” says Sherald. “I wanted her family to look and say, I can see my daughter and sister in this.” A friend sent Sherald an image of actress Danielle Brooks wearing an Elder piece, and Sherald found Elder on Shoppe Black, a digital platform curated by husband and wife Tony O. Lawson and Shantrelle P. Lewis that showcases Black businesses. During the painting process, Sherald added movement to the dress, and a slit—“I thought, What would I want if I were 26.”
As for the hues, “painting someone posthumously, I wanted it to feel ethereal but grounded at the same time,” Sherald says. She tried a rainbow of options, yellows and reds and pinks, but none felt quite right, until she invoked the portrait itself. “ ‘Breonna, what color do you want this dress to be? Please, tell me what color you want this dress to be,’ ” Sherald says she mused.
Then she hit on blue, a shade that echoes Taylor’s March birthstone, the aquamarine. “The color that I chose almost had a resplendence to it. The monochromatic color allows you to really focus on her face. The whole painting really becomes about her.”
There are other painstaking, heartbreaking details: the gold cross on a chain necklace; the engagement ring Taylor would never get to wear, on her left hand (photographed by LaToya Ruby Frazier).
This is Sherald’s nod to Taylor’s future and how her life was taken from her. “I made this portrait for her family,” says Sherald. “I mean, of course I made it for Vanity Fair, but the whole time I was thinking about her family.”
TA-NEHISI COATES ON VANITY FAIR’S SEPTEMBER ISSUE, THE GREAT FIRE
Whiteness thrives in darkness. It has to. It is fully permissible for a thousand Eric Garners to be TORTURED TO DEATH IN THE SHADOWS of the American carceral system, the most sprawling gulag known to man. And so evil does its business in the shadows, ever-fearing, not the heat of
THE GREAT FIRE but the light. To clearly see what this country has done, what it is still doing, to construct itself is too much
for any human to take. So it was with the slave narrative. So it is with the cell phone.
Black Lives Matter is a clarion call to action that the senseless, unnecessary murders of Black people by rogue racist police and civilians must stop and serious consequences must be instituted.
There are people I talk to everyday. But that was the case before the pandemic. When I don’t hear from them my day is off.
I have strong intuitive relationships with some friends. I know when something is wrong and regarless of what I tell them, they know when my spirit and my body are not in a good space. I am an admitted momma’s boy. I talk to my mother everday. I need to know she’s alright. She has said to me, “You don’t have to call everyday.”
I don’t know if that is her way of telling me to not bother her so much. I don’t care. I am going to keep doing it. She sees a side of me others don’t. She sees me vulnerable, my anxieties. She has heard real fear in my voice. There is no pretense between us. She is my mom. This whole self-isolation/social distancing thing, while necessary, can be trying.
People want to have a feeling of normalcy again. We took for granted hanging out with friends, playing spades, meeting up for a movie and checking out new restaurants. As we obey the warnings of our health care experts, be aware of what is happening emotionally with those you love.
You’d be surprised how an unexpected call, text or a handwritten note just to check in, just to say I love you, I’m thinking of you – will brighten up someone’s day. It just may be what they need to fight off lonliness or keep them emotionally diligent in the fight against this pandemic. We have to believe that a vaccine is coming, we will survive this but in the meantime, lets be there for one another.
I write these original affirmations every morning and send them to more than 200 people to encourage you to find your purpose and to be a witness that we are meant for greatness.
But I also write them as messages to myself to remain faithful, to love without limits and as a connection to people that mean a lot to me. Surprise someone today with a phone call or a note.
It may be just what YOU need.
Massive Black Lives Matter mural in Worcester painted by local artists, hundreds of volunteers
By Matt Berg Globe Correspondent,
Hundreds of locals came together to create a massive Black Lives Matter mural in downtown. Massive murals expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement have popped up in cities across the country in recent weeks.
The one painted on the streets in downtown Worcester, created by hundreds of volunteers, was a community effort.
Community members including artists, organizers, and politicians came together on Wednesday to begin work on the streetscape mural, a project that was originally scheduled to take several days.
But a group of just over a dozen volunteers grew to over 500, and the project was done in hours, said City Councilor Sean Rose.
“As we’re seeing things happen outside the city, and everyone doing their murals or streetscapes, it was only a matter of time when people came together in Worcester,” Rose said.
Dear friends and supporters of The Jordan McNair Foundation.
I’m sure like me this is a time like none of us has experienced before. It would be easier to stay in if we looked out of the window to several feet of snow and we couldn’t go out of the house. At least those of us who’ve experienced that know that eventually the snow will melt on the next sunny day and we’d be on our way to socializing with our friends and family. However, I look out the window and all I see is sun. It’s as if there is this imaginary line that we can’t cross that’s literally preventing us from doing all these things that we like to do.
The concept of time stands alone I feel like I’m not anxious about catching COVA, -19. I’m anxious about losing the internet and then things will be really challenging for me. The cable signal went out yesterday and I had to talk myself off of the ledge. The technology that I’ve become so dependent on has crippled me. Today I’m going to count how many times I pick my phone up to play a brain game, check all of my social media accounts, read emails, read the news, and send a few texts. I know my screen time has been up these last few weeks at least by 7 hours more.
My routine has been to walk or run daily at least 4-6 miles while making a few phone calls and getting some fresh air. But to be honest it’s really to burn some of the calories from the many chips and other carbs I plan to eat when I do get back in from exercising. Something has to give here. The days run into evenings and the evenings into night. I watched a lot of episodes of Miami Vice yesterday while reading an e-book on kindle. Is it me or I never really noticed how many famous actors starred in MV in the 80’s.?
I’ll emerge an author from this when we are able to re-enter society. I’d like to share an excerpt from “Can My Child Play?” Is dedicated to Jordan Martin McNair. Through our story we educate parents, student athletes and coaches on the signs, symptoms, and prevention of all heat related injuries. We empower all parents with the information and questions to ask coaches regarding the safety of their child while playing any sport at any level of competition. We empower all student athletes with the information to listen to their bodies if they feel uncomfortable. Most importantly Tonya and I don’t want any other parent to feel the pain of losing their child to a 100%preventable injury.
(BALTIMORE – August 24, 2020) – Words cannot express the gratitude in my soul right now. Like most of you (I imagine), COVID-19 has wreaked some havoc on people close to me. And others have transitioned due to other reasons. To say the least, these are troubling times. Business is a tad fickle. And, again, like many of you – I’ve had to navigate these disturbing waters.
One thing I can say is that I have been a bit more diligent in my prayer life. I’ve also worked to stay in touch with family and friends. I typically do stay in touch, but COVID has made it that much more important. I realize more and more everyday how we cannot take anything for granted.
Fastforward: Yesterday, the incomparable Marsha Reeves-Jews assisted me in conducting a Bmorenews’ 18th Birthday ZOOM Fundraiser. It was an astounding success. And while I was initially apprehensive, I’m glad we pressed forward.
All this to say, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. If ever I was unsure of the future of Bmorenews, I can tell you that she will continue the mission with even more vigor and determination.
It’s not that I was giving up. I was, however, burned out.
This leads me to a second point: Thank God for friends. If you have a Marsha Reeves-Jews in your corner – along with a Diane Bell-McKoy … with a heap of others who will not see you fail, then you are blessed.
As I sat listening to the many stories yesterday of how Bmorenews blessed people up and down the East Coast, I was reminded that “it ain’t over until God says it’s over!”
So, if any entrepreneurs out there have gotten a tad weary as of late, if you feel like giving up, if you feel like you’ve lost that pep in your step, I am a witness that God is still in the miracle business.
It absolutely breaks my heart to hear of restaurants closing. I feel troubled when I hear of any business closing. The cacophony of moans and tears by fellow entrepreneurs is so disheartening. Personally, I want to see everybody make it through. And then you get that death call of so and so who just died.
I tell you, it’s enough to “make you wanna holla.”
People of faith know that God is real and that God still has our back. They know that we serve an awesome God who sits high but peeps low. Children of God know that we have to praise our way through the storm, no matter what.
I pray your peace and your family’s peace. I simply want you to know that where there is a will, there is a way. And if you have a comrade or two, it’s okay to call on them for help.
Last thing: Times like these reveal who a person is. I am so glad – so very glad – that the spirit of discernment has allowed the right people to be close in my heart. At the end of the day, it’s not about money or gold or material things. At the end of the day, it’s all about love. Call me a hopeless romantic; I’ll take that charge. I simply choose love first.
Thank you to everyone who supported our fundraiser. Best believe I am eternally grateful and am reinvigorated to carry on a mission that began August 9, 2002. Addressing Black business, public education, formerly incarcerated individuals, affordable housing and universal access to health care is still our aim. Again, thank you to all who helped us amidst the worst pandemic and economic crisis in one hundred years.
Within the brick walls of Madam CJ Walker’s house, more than 30 Black men and women gathered in 1912 for the first meeting of Branch No. 7 of the Equal Suffrage Association. The Equal Suffrage Association included men and women, labor union members and socialists. It was the first Indianapolis women’s suffrage group to reach out to Black women, and in 1912, one of its branches became the first Black women’s suffrage group in Indianapolis. Its first president was a Black woman, Carrie Barnes Ross.
Black women in Indiana participated in the suffrage movement from its very beginning, said Susan Hall Dotson, coordinator of African American History at the Indiana Historical Society. Despite their lack of visibility, she said, they were vital in earning women the right to vote.
“Black women often get erased and overlooked even when they’re sitting in plain sight,” Dotson said. “Even when they were vital.”
A part of the movement
Starting in 1917, Black suffrage clubs began to pop up across Indiana, said Anita Morgan, senior history lecturer at IUPUI. There were several suffrage clubs for Black women in Indianapolis, as well as one in Muncie called the Booker T. Washington Franchise League. In Peru and Terre Haute, there were racially integrated clubs. The Indianapolis branch of the Woman’s Civic Club, an African American organization that opposed race and gender discrimination, had 91 members and discussed women’s suffrage at meetings.
Morgan said many of these clubs met at churches, where ministers welcomed them. During meetings, members studied state constitutions and the elected positions in state government. Members were also community organizers who ventured outside their clubs to teach people about the importance of the vote. Black suffrage clubs also organized suffrage schools as crash courses to teach Black women about the state constitution, elected offices, how to register to vote and what the polls would look like. “There was no surprise that so many women turned out to vote because of the suffrage schools that prepared them,” Morgan said.
Morgan said Black women were present at statewide suffrage meetings. In 1917, a Black woman from Marian named Estella Weaver Nukes spoke at a state meeting and was listed on the meeting’s program. Nukes spoke about the need for more women of color in the suffrage movement and asked ministers of Black churches to encourage parishioners to form suffrage groups.
“Women of color were not only present but were leading, speaking in front of the entire group,” Morgan said. “That’s not something you saw in every state.”
As early as 1869, Morgan said Black women were present at meetings organized by white suffrage groups. At one meeting, a Black woman asked a question. “Does your movement include people like me?” she asked. The answer was yes.
The women who shaped a movement
Ross, the first president of Branch No. 7, was a public school teacher. Before moving to Indianapolis, she lived in Colorado, where women already had the right to vote. “She was used to seeing women vote,” Morgan said. “So when she moved to Indianapolis, she wanted to see women vote here as well.” In 1916, Ross married a Black dentist and moved to Boston, where she worked with the NAACP. Two years later, she died from complications of childbirth, but her mark on the Indianapolis suffrage movement remains, Morgan said.
Ross was not the only Black woman who led suffrage groups in Indianapolis, Dotson said. While white women like Susan B. Anthony were instrumental, she said these women are usually the only ones who are celebrated today. “We don’t have local ‘sheroes’ who are examined in the same way as we examine white suffragists,” Dotson said. “There are so many unsung heroes in this movement.”
Get the Coronavirus Watch newsletter in your inbox.
In newspapers archives, Frances Berry Coston is often named alongside Ross. A Black elementary school teacher, Coston often worked with Ross to organize programs for segregated elementary schools. When speakers were invited to community events, she was often part of the lineup.
Coston wrote newspaper columns for Indianapolis News, encouraging Black women’s clubs to do community outreach to spread word of the importance of universal suffrage. She also worked with Second Christian Church, which hosted many suffrage meetings.
Suffragist and poet Naomi Talbert was born in Michigan City. After moving to Chicago and then Ohio, Talbert wrote newspaper articles about women’s suffrage and lectured on women’s rights in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. She also campaigned for the first woman’s suffrage referendum and spoke at the 1869 National Woman Suffrage Convention in Chicago. Famed suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony published parts of her speech in their newspaper, “The Revolution,” referring to Talbert not by her name but only as a “colored woman.”
Morgan said other Black suffragists who attended many suffrage meetings include social worker Daisy Brabham, Carrie Whallon, Minnie Highbaugh and Lucy Flint, who was once Walker’s secretary. Because so little is known about these women, Morgan said she hopes historians find their living relatives to uncover more of their stories.
Morgan said so little is known about Black women in the suffrage movement because of gaps in records. Issues of the Indianapolis Recorder, which documents Black life in Indianapolis, are missing from 1916 to 1925. Without the newspaper’s archives from the time, there is little historians can use to learn about the Black community at the time because their stories were largely absent from white-owned newspapers.
As a result of gaps in the historical record, Morgan said the contributions of Black women, as well as those of European, especially German, immigrants, in the suffrage movement are often overlooked.
“The Indiana suffrage movement included white women, Black women, immigrant women, working class women, women who were socialists,” she said. “Everybody worked toward this. We just didn’t hear about it.”
Division on the national level
Morgan said Black women were also at the forefront of the suffrage movement nationally.
Black women including Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Maria W. Stewart were active in the national suffrage movement, working alongside Black men like Frederick Douglass. Black suffragists attended and spoke at national suffrage conventions.
Early on, Morgan said Black and white women worked side by side, but following the Civil War, the movement splintered across racial lines, and Black women formed their own suffrage groups, including the National Association of Colored Women in 1896. As the Fifteenth Amendment proposed voting rights for Black men, white suffrage groups argued over whether Black men should be allowed to vote before white women. Quickly, many interracial efforts on the national level fell apart.
“There were people asking how it is that the lowly Black man, the slave, could vote before the white women,” Dotson said. “That was a dividing line.”
Morgan said white suffrage leaders often discriminated against Black women in order to appeal to white Southerners. At national suffrage meetings, campaigns and marches, Black women also faced discrimination.
In 1876, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, a newspaper editor and first female law student at Howard University, urged leaders of the National Woman Suffrage Association to include the names of 94 Black woman suffragists in their monumental Declaration of the Rights of the Women of the United States. Their names were not added.
Before a parade in 1913, famed Black journalist and activist Ida B. Wells was asked to march at the back of the parade instead of alongside white suffragists. But Wells refused to join her fellow Black suffragists in the back. Instead, as the all-white Chicago delegation passed, she walked out of the crowd and took her place alongside them.
Local race relations in suffrage circles
As national interracial coalitions broke down, Morgan said local relationships between Black and white suffrage groups were more complicated. “If you take your eyes off the national level, at state and local levels, you might find more cooperation,” she said. While disagreement over Black male suffrage caused national divisions, Morgan said local suffragists at a 1869 meeting emphasized that they would not argue about whether Black men should have the right to vote before white women.
“They made a point that this is not something that would be discussed,” she said. “They did not want to go down that road.”
Morgan said white and Black suffrage groups coordinated activities together and attended each other’s meetings. White women would occasionally speak at Black women’s meetings, she said.
But while she has not seen overtly exclusionary tactics, Morgan said there may have been limited documentation of discrimination toward Black women in white suffrage circles in Indiana.
Dotson said racism and segregation prevailed even in the Midwest. People of different races during that time didn’t live together, worship together or eat together. She said it may have been impossible for the suffrage movement in Indiana to be completely equitable.
“When I hear of Black women included in white suffrage movements, I always question to what level because the fact remains that these groups were segregated,” she said. “We don’t see full integration. We don’t see them side-by-side in photos.” She said Black women also had more battles to fight beyond their own suffrage. As they fought for their rights, they also had to fight against racism to win suffrage for Black men. “They didn’t have the luxury of just being a suffragist,” she said. “They had to fight on multiple fronts.”
Exercising their new right to vote and facing new barriers
Almost 100 years ago, on Aug. 26, 1920, Hoosier women won the right to vote.
In Indiana, there were two voter registration days from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voters would pick up registration blanks from their local drugstores. Across the state, Morgan said, Black women registered to vote. Newspapers reported heavy voter registration among Black communities. In Evansville, the local newspaper estimated more Black women than men were registered. In Columbus, the first women to register to vote were Black.
Morgan said one of her favorite photos she found during her research was one in the Indianapolis News on Nov. 2, 1920, of Black voters lined up outside a polling place on Indiana Avenue, where a Noodles & Company is today. In Marion County, fewer than 5,000 of the 76,000 women who were registered to vote failed to do so, Morgan said. That means 71,000 women voted in Marion County.
“And I’m sure many of them were Black women,” she said.
But that doesn’t mean people didn’t try to prevent Black women from voting.