Archive for history

In the Tower

Posted in Culture with tags , , on August 1, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

Kerry-James-MarshallKerry James Marshall is known for his work that explores the experiences of African Americans and the narratives of American history that have often excluded black people. The National Gallery of Art presents In the Tower: Kerry James Marshall, the sixth in a series of Tower installations focusing on developments in art since midcentury through December 7, 2013.

The dominant theme of the exhibit is described by the National Gallery as a look at ‘the transport of African slaves to America in the Middle Passage—the second or “middle” leg of the triangular trade of manufactured goods, slaves, and crops that transpired between Europe, Africa, and the American colonies from the colonial period until the middle of the 19th century. Marshall’s works explore the economic, sociological, and psychological aftermath of this foundational episode of US history. In his art, the past is never truly past: history exerts a constant, often unconscious pressure on the living.’

Family Values

Posted in Commentary, Politics with tags , , , on July 14, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

martin familyThey are not the Huxtables. They are divorced. Yet, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton are a beautiful expression of love, parenting and perseverance.

In the face of a tragedy, untold personal stress and worldwide media attention, they have stood together to fight for justice for their son and millions of young boys that look just like him. So many could have and would have cracked under the pressure of losing their child, let alone an ugly national debate on race, guns and politics but Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton have not.

Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton allowed us all to be students of the American judiciary system, walking with them step by step in a drawn out investigation and trial for the murder of their 17 year old son that often felt like he – the victim – was on trial. Beyond lessons the public have learned, or relearned about race, politics and courtroom drama from the State vs Zimmerman case, we have also been dutifully instructed on other valuable lessons from Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton.

1. After a divorce, both parents can play an active role in the care and upbringing of their child(ren). Even in his death, the solidarity shown by Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton in pursuing peaceful justice for the life of their child that was taken from them provides a blueprint for parents to work together for what is best for their child, always.

2. Black women are not angry. Ms. Fulton has suffered the greatest loss that a woman can have, she has buried a child whose life came from her womb. Under intense media scrutiny in numerous interviews and on the witness stand during the murder the trial for her son, she has not raised her voice nor her fist. Throughout this journey she has maintained dignity and grace.

3. Black men love their sons. Although Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton were divorced, Trayvon Martin had a relationship with both of his parents. A small detail that can’t be overlooked about the night that Trayvon Martin was killed that has nothing to do with the trial or verdict but helps create a backdrop for his story is that he was walking to his father’s house. Trayvon’s father hadn’t divorced his mother and left him forever. Trayvon’s father was still present in his life.

Regardless of the stereotypes and media portrayals of Black fathers, Mr. Martin was a Black man who may not have had his son living with him full time, but was still actively involved in raising his Black son. In the months leading up to the trial against George Zimmerman for killing his son Mr. Martin expressed on numerous occasions his fond sentiments about his baby boy. Moments after Zimmerman was found not guilty he took Twitter to say: ‘Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY.’ Black men do love and express that love in a multitude of ways. Mr. Martin proved that fact again.

For years to come the Zimmerman case will be debated, the legacy of Trayvon Martin and what he represents will not be forgotten and hopefully, the lessons of Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton will also not be lost.

Strange Fruit

Posted in Culture with tags , , , on July 10, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

fruitvale-station-posterWhen the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival it captured both the Grand Jury Prize for dramatic feature and the Audience Award for US dramatic film. More than that, it captured the hearts of everyone who saw it. And as the saying goes, ‘what’s on the heart is always on the tongue.’ In this case, the movers in shakers in cinema can’t stop talking about the brave and honest artistry of director Ryan Coogler’s tracing of the last few hours of the life of Oscar Grant in his film Fruitvale Station.

Fruitvale Station, opening in Washington area theaters July 19, follows the true story of a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who wakes up on the morning of December 31, 2008 and feels something in the air. Not sure what it is, he takes it as a sign to get a head start on his resolutions: being better son to his mother, partner to his girlfriend Sophina, and being a better father to Tatiana, their beautiful four year-old daughter. Crossing paths with friends, family and strangers, Oscar starts out well, as the day goes on, he realizes that changes are not going to come easily. His resolve takes a tragic turn, however, when BART officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year’s Day. Oscar’s life and tragic death would shake the Bay Area – and the entire nation – to its very core.

Our Beloved Justice

Posted in Culture with tags , , , , on January 14, 2013 by substanceandstyledc

Our beloved Supreme Court Justice that represents an American dream come true, the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor will appear in an intimate conversation Friday, January 18 at 7:00pm at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium discussing her new book. Sotomayor, the High Court’s first Hispanic member, knew from early on that she wanted to be a lawyer; by age forty, she was a federal district judge. Her memoir, My Beloved World is a story of hard work, vision, and perseverance despite many obstacles. Her rise as a Latina from a Bronx housing project to a spot on the Supreme Court inspires hope in oneself and the Nation. Tickets can be purchased in advance. One book and one ticket: $30; one book and two tickets: $40.

Emancipation: 1863 & 1963

Posted in Culture, Politics with tags , , on December 12, 2012 by substanceandstyledc

RRXCF00ZThe year 2013 marks two historic milestones in American history, the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and the National Archives are recognizing these events.

Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963, opens December 14, 2012 at NMAAHC’s temporary gallery on level two at American History. The exhibition, features historic photographs, paintings, new film footage and objects, that explores the historical context of these two crucial events, their accomplishments and limitations, and their impact on the generations that followed. The exhibit runs through September 2013.

The National Archives will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with a free special display of the original document from December 30, 2012 through January 1, 2013. The Emancipation Proclamation is displayed only for a limited time each year because of its fragility, which can be made worse by exposure to light, and the need to preserve it for future generations. Other special programs marking the 150th anniversary will be held throughout the year.

Be Fearless

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by substanceandstyledc

October 26 and 27 over 40 great minds are coming together to help inspire attendees at the Harman Center for the Arts to unlock their own greatness and to Be Fearless. TEDxMidAtlantic 2012: BE FEARLESS will celebrate the power of ideas to positively change the world; while aiming to build community by bringing together like-minded people who believe in said mission. Speakers include Colin Powell, Jose Antonio Vargas, Dr. Freeman Hrabowski and Melody Barnes. Tickets can be purchased for either or both days of the event.

An Eye on “I” in September

Posted in Culture, Politics, Reading List with tags , , , , , , on August 15, 2012 by substanceandstyledc

The first sub-Saharan African to hold the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan has led an extraordinary life of service to the global community. Wednesday, September 5 at 7:00pm at the Sixth and I Synagogue he will share some of his experiences and knowledge that he has memorialized in his new book, Interventions: A Life in War and Peace in conversation with David Ignatius. Immediately following Mr. Annan will sign books for a limited period of time. A single ticket for the event is $36 and includes one book. Two guests may attend for $45 and receive one book. This signing is being presented in collaboration with Politics & Prose. There will be no walk-up box office sales.

Thursday September 20 at 7:30pm international recording artist, actor and activist Wyclef will also appear in conversation at Sixth and I promoting his memoir Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story. His Washington stop on the book tour is one of the very few in which he will also perform a set of his latest music before signing books. Tickets are $35 and include 1 copy of the book. Doors for this event open at 6:30pm.

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