Black History Month 2022

entertainment

First Black Professional Baseball League



Atlanta, Georgia - The name of the first black baseball league was the Southern League of Colored Base Ballists. The Georgia Champions’ won against the Memphis Eclipse. The score was 11-10.

The league only lasted one year. But, it was not the last. The next year, the National Colored Base Ball League began in 1887. The leagues were formed due to racial exclusion laws in the United States.

Birth of A Nation Premiered



New York, New York - Birth of A Nation was shown, for the first time. It was also called the Clansman, from the 1905 book, and play, of the same name. It was about the Ku Klx Klan (KKK).

The movie was a fiction of the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. It was an all-white film. To present black people, white actors appeared in blackface. Black people were shown as the bad guys. The KKK were shown as the heroes, to protect white society.

It was the first film shown inside the White House. The sitting President, Woodrow Wilson, invited his family, and his Cabinet to watch it. Wilson said, 'It is like writing history with lightning.'

The Enforcement Acts, of the early 1870s, reduced the KKK to almost nothing. It had been more than 40 years since the KKK was at its height, when the movie was released. When the film was shown for the first time, the KKK had almost no public presence. After the film, there was a massive increase in KKK activity. It lasted for decades, until World War 2 (1940s).

In 1870, a federal grand jury said the KKK was a terrorist group. With the release of this film, the KKK was reborn.

King Kong Premiered



New York, New York - King Kong was shown for the first time. The movie was created in the middle of the Great Depression and Jim Crow.

King Kong was a story of a giant ape that whites found on a tropical island. The whites were there to film a movie, on location.

The whites chained the black ape and sent it to New York, to make money. The black ape was shown to whites, in a show. There the black ape became angered. King Kong broke his chains and attacked whites.

The black ape grabbed a white woman and climbed the Empire State Building. Whites sent the air force to kill the black ape and save the white woman. In the end, the white woman was saved and King Kong was dead.

Jack Johnson, the black heavyweight boxing champion was the model for the might and size of King Kong. The name Kong came from the Congo, in Africa. New York was a former slave trading port.

Joe Louis Defeated Max Schmeling



The Bronx, New York - Heavyweight champion Joe Louis beat Max Schmeling, in Yankee Stadium. It was an historic fight because Schmeling was German, when the Nazi Party and Hitler were at their height.

The Nazis promoted racial dominance of whites over black people, in mind and body. With the defeat, it showed the belief to be a lie. These race beliefs of the Nazis led to World War 2, the next year.

Gone With The Wind Premiered



Atlanta, Georgia - The movie, Gone With The Wind, was shown for the first time, in public. The black actress, Hattie McDaniel, had a major role in the movie.

It was the story of a family of Georgia slave owners. It covered the time just before and after the Slavery War (or Civil War). The movie showed the enslavers as decent and hard-working. Many were made to be sympathetic, despite their use of forced labor.

Black people were only in the movie as slaves, in the pre-War period. After the war, black people were shown as lazy or corrupt. The house slaves were shown as submissive, docile, childish, and obedient.

The story made slavery seem the same as a regular job. There were no whips, violence, hunger, or beatings against black people, shown in the movie. McDaniel's role, as a house slave, was used against black women to show them as obese, bossy, loyal to her abusers, and hostile to black men.

McDaniel was given an Oscar Award for her role. She was not allowed to attend the ceremony because she was black. Instead, it was given to her in private.

Muhammad Ali Born



Louisville, Kentucky - Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was born. He became Muhammad Ali, in 1966.

Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and member of the Nation of Islam.

Many consider Ali one of the most significant and celebrated figures of the 20th century. In boxing, Ali was called 'The Greatest' of his time.

Song of the South Movie Premiered



Atlanta, Georgia - Walt Disney, with RKO Pictures, showed Song of the South at the Fox Theater. It was a fictional story that combined live action with animation, in a musical format. All of the black actors (live and animated) spoke in broken English. All the white actors spoke clearly and with confidence.

The setting was a slave plantation. The main character, was Uncle Remus, a slave. He told stories to the child of the white slaveowners family. All the black people were slaves of the white characters. Black people were shown as happy, docile, obedient, submissive, and ready with a smile for their white enslavers.

On its release, many black Americans denounced the movie as an insult to the true history of chattel slavery. Walt Disney ignored the advice of many black people who tried to present a better image of black people. Disney chose to embrace base racial stereotypes that were common, for the time.

Racist stereotypes included the Mammy, the Magic Negro, the 'happy slave' among many others. These are parts of the Lost Cause Myth.

The movie was a commercial success, in its first release. It was released again in 1972, and was the most profitable animation re-release, up to that time.

Source:

Song of the South Background

Song Of The South Full Movie 1972 Re-release

Jackie Robinson Joined Major League Baseball



Brooklyn, New York - Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the Major Leagues. He made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbetts Field (now demolished).

Black customers flocked to cities, wherever the Dodgers played. This led to the end of the Negro Leagues of baseball, as it lost its fans to the white Major League.

Motown Records Founded



Detroit, Michigan - Tamla Records was founded on this day. It was renamed Motown, on April 14th, 1960. Berry Gordy Jr. founded and made Motown into a hit-making machine. In fact, the home of Motown is named Hitsville, U. S. A.

Motown Records became one of the most iconic record labels in American history. Motown produced hits from Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and many more.

Muhammad Ali Refused Vietnam War



Houston, Texas - Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted to go to the Vietnam War. As a result, the United States government immediately attempted criminal action. The New York State Athletic Commission and the World Boxing Association stripped Ali of his titles, that day.

Black Fists Raised at Mexico Olympics



Mexico City, Mexico - Tommie Smith (center) and John Carlos (right) each raised a fist at the award podium for the 200m race, at the 1968 Olympic Games.

Smith and Carlos were shoeless on the platform to show their black socks, which represented black poverty. Carlos wore a bead necklace to represent lynchings in the United States.

Carlos and Smith raised their gloved hand, when the Star Spangled Banner played, at the awards ceremony and bowed their heads.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised



New York City, New York - Gil Scott-Heron released the song, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. It was recorded at the RCA Studios. The song was sold on the Flying Dutchman label.

It was a popular phrase from the Black Power movement, of the 1960s.

What's Going On? Album Released



Detroit, Michigan - Marvin Gaye's What's Going On? album was released. It was one of the most important and timeless recording albums of the Vietnam War era.

Motown founder, Berry Gordy feared the lyrics were too honest. Gaye said the album was a hit. Gordy released the full album on Motown's sub-label, Tamla.

1.'What's Going On' 3:53 (Marvin Gaye, Al Cleveland, Renaldo 'Obie' Benson)
2. 'What's Happening Brother' 2:43 (Gaye, James Nyx Jr.)
3. 'Flyin' High (In the Friendly Sky)' 3:49 (Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover)
4. 'Save the Children' 4:03 (Gaye, Cleveland Benson)
5. 'God Is Love' 1:41 (Gaye, A. Gaye, Stover Nyx)
6. 'Mercy Mercy Me' (The Ecology) 3:16 (Gaye)

Side two
1. 'Right On' 7:31 (Gaye, Earl DeRouen)
2. 'Wholy Holy' 3:08 (Gaye, Benson Cleveland)
3. 'Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)' 5:26 (Gaye, Nyx)

The single, What's Going On?, was released January 20, 1971.

Trick Baby Movie Premiered



Chicago, Illinois - Trick Baby was shown for the first time. The movie is notable for the dinner scene. In it, the movie exposed how politics is used to control black people.

The Spook Who Sat By The Door



New York, New York - 'The Spook Who Sat By The Door' movie was shown for the first time. It told the story of a black Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee.

The CIA used him to showcase racial inclusion. He was put in a useless job, that made the CIA look good. He had other ideas and quit. With his training, he helped black people wage a race war.

Roots First Aired on Television



Burbank, California - Roots was first broadcast, on ABC (American Broadcasting Company). It was the story of a black family. It began in Africa, with the birth of a black child, in 1750.

As the child grew, he reached the age of maturity. There, he began his rites of passage. It was at this time, that he was captured, by white males. These whites made him a slave.

Roots showed his path through the Transatlantic Slave Trade and into American slavery. Slave existence was shown all the way to the American Slavery War. The final part showed life after slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and a grim future for black people. The time spanned over 100 years of black life.

There were 8 parts. Each was shown over 8 days. All times are Eastern time. Roots Parts 1 and 2 were on Sunday and Monday, 9:00-11:00 p.m.

Parts 3, 4, and 5 were on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from 10:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Part 6 was on Saturday, from 9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Part 7 was on Sunday, from 10:00 p.m - 11:00 p.m.

Roots Part 8 was on last, on Monday, from 9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. Part 8 was the highest rated of the series. It was the third (3rd) most watched show in television history.

'The Message' Released



Englewood, New Jersey - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released the rap song, The Message. It was made as a result of the 1980 New York Transit Strike.

The Cosby Show Premiered



New York, New York - The Cosby Show first aired on NBC, at 8:00 p.m. EST. It showed the middle-class aspirations of black Americans.

The format of the show was a situation comedy (or sitcom). It was an immediate hit. While NBC lagged behind ABC and NBC in viewers, The Cosby Show was a ratings powerhouse.

Dr. William H. Cosby, who created and starred in the show, wanted to present black people in a good light. Black people were presented as well-adjusted and well-off.

Cosby's portrayal of black people was mere fantasy, or wish-fulfillment. Whites used this image to justify the end of affirmative action. A TV show gave whites the excuse to deny black people were suffering under their oppression.

The show ended the day after the Rodney King riots began.

Source:

Cosby Filming

The Color Purple Premiered



New York, New York - The Color Purple was shown for the first time in New York, New York. It was a work of fiction, based on a story by Alice Walker. Steven Spielberg directed the movie.

The movie starred Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. From its release, the movie has been controversial and heavily criticized by black Americans.

Some of the complaints, of the movie, were its racist stereotypes of black men as violent toward women. The black rapist stereotype was created by white males during Reconstruction to lynch (murder) and castrate black men.

Another complaint was that this fictional movie, which made black men as violent, was directed by a white male, Spielberg. Further, Spielberg already faced charges of racism from Asians. This was from his 1984 Indiana Jones movie.

There was the issue of sexual perversion in the movie. It showed black women as sexually deviant. Despite the story being about black Americans, all the producers were white or homosexual.

The movie went into wide release, February 7, 1986. This was during Black History Month and after the first observance of Martin Luther King Day, as a Federal holiday.

'The Vanishing Family: Crisis in Black America' First Aired on Television



New York, New York - CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) showed 'Crisis in Black America' on national television. Black people were shown as loose, broken, and hopeless. It showed black men as poor fathers.

The stories were from Newark, New Jersey. The problems of this city were used by CBS to present all black people in the same way. Bill Moyers, a white man, was the narrator.

The mothers and fathers were never shown talking to each together. Moyers only spoke to the women, or the men, but not at the same time. No black families were shown talking to one another. It implied black people were alienated from one another.

Moyers spoke to a black man, who said he gave no support to his six (6) children. This one statement sparked outrage among whites. Thus began the 'Deadbeat Dad' myth in the United States.

CBS aired this five (5) days after the first Martin Luther King Day in the United States.

Source:

The Vanishing Family: Crisis in Black America

Soul Man Movie Released



The movie, Soul Man, was released in the United States. It was the story of a white man who used affirmative action to attend law school. This was the excuse to appear in blackface, in the movie.

The white man wanted to go to Harvard Law School. His father refused to pay for it. To get law school paid, he chose to use affirmative action. Since he was white, he had to pretend to be black, to get the benefits.

The movie was criticized for its racist stereotypes of black people, created by whites. It mocked affirmative action as the premise for the movie. The movie was almost forgotten after the 1980s.

Soul Man

'Do the Right Thing' First Screening



Cannes, France - The movie 'Do The Right Thing' premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The movie showed the reasons race riots began in the United States, in the 1960s.

Do the Right Thing Los Angeles Premiere

'Fight the Power' Released



New York, New York - 'Fight the Power' was released by Public Enemy, on the Motown Records label. It was created for the movie 'Do the Right Thing' by Spike Lee.

Anita Hill Accused Clarence Thomas in Congress



Washington, D. C. - Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings for the United States Supreme Court. Hill worked for Thomas, at one time, and said he sexually harrassed her.

Thoams was chosen by President George H. W. Bush to replace Thurgood Marshall on the Supreme Court. Marshall had died. He was part of the Civil Rights movement, as an attorney. In contrast, Thomas had no Civil Rights background.

The primary reason Bush had chosen Thomas, was to keep a token black on the Supreme Court. Further, Thomas had a record of loyalty to whites, to the harm of black people. This was opposite to Marshall, who most whites despised due to his Civil Rights history.

Before he got the job, Thomas had to be approved by Congress. Future President Joe Biden led the confirmation hearings. Biden got Hill to testify in public that Thomas was a sexual threat.

While Thomas was no ally of black people, Biden used this to publicly show a black man, as a sexual predator. Biden used this racist stereotype to push his Mass Incarceration bill, just 2 years later.

Despite the statements by Hill, Thomas was given the job on the Supreme Court, by Congress. In the decades Thomas was a Supreme Court justice, at best, he had an unfriendly effect on the rights of black Americans.

Source:

Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill

Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill Congressional Hearings

Cosby Show Ended



New York, New York - The Cosby Show ended after the 8th season. It ran from 1984-1992. The ground-breaking black cast was headed by Bill Cosby. The Cosby Show introduced affluence and middle-class aspirations to audiences across America.

In the 1970s, television (TV) showed black people with modest lives. The stories showed the daily financial struggles of black people. This was usually done in a comedic manner (Sanford and Son, Good Times, What's Happening). The Cosby Show represented a hard shift from the dynamic of economic struggles to one of economic affluence.

First, was The Jeffersons (1975-1985). It showed a solidly middle-class black family. The husband was self-made, with modest schooling. His hard work made his family upwardly mobile. He owned a retail service business. His wife stayed home. They employed a black maid.

The Cosby Show presented black people as high-earning, educated, professionals. The father, Cosby, was a doctor. The mother, Claire, was a lawyer. They owned a valuable home in a white neighborhood.

It was part of a wave of TV shows that flaunted wealth. Dallas (1978-1991), Dyansty (1981-1989), and Falcon Crest (1981-1990) were the white versions of this era.

During its time, The Cosby Show was a ratings powerhouse. It allowed NBC to create an entire night of highly rated television (TV) shows. From Cosby, white shows such as Cheers, Family Ties, Night Court, Seinfeld, and Frasier enjoyed tremendous success.

Before The Cosby Show, NBC did not have very many successful shows on Thursday night. For this reason, many say Cosby saved NBC's prime-time lineup.

Some criticized The Cosby Show for not showing black life properly. Cosby made no mention of the War on Drugs, AIDS, and street crime. These were raging issues during its run. The show ignored issues of poverty, police brutality, housing, and job discrimination.

Lisa Bonet got pregnant, while a part of the cast. She was unwed. It was an opportunity to show single motherhood. Instead, Lisa Bonet was fired from the cast and the issue was dropped.

Despite the criticisms, The Cosby Show gave black people a positive and uplifting image. Its impact shaped future TV shows that had black people, for decades.

Malcolm X Movie Released



New York, New York - Spike Lee released the film of the life of Malcolm X. It began with his youth as Malcolm Little. The movie showed his change into Detroit Red, and time in jail. Lastly, it covered his life as Malcolm X with the Nation of Islam, until his death, in 1965.

Denzel Washington played the lead role, as Malcolm X.

Aiyana Jones Killed By Police



Detroit, Michigan - On Sunday, in a midnight police raid, Joseph Weekley killed Aiyana Jones. It was part of a reality television show.

Detroit Special Response Team (SRT, aka SWAT) workers burst into the home of 7-year old Aiyana (pictured left). She slept next to her grandmother, Mertilla Jones.

Unknown to them, Detroit police prepared to raid the home. It was filmed for the reality television show on AMC, called First 48.

At 12:40 a.m., the police assault team threw a flash bang grenade. It went through the front window of the home, where Aiyana slept.

The grenade caused Aiyana's clothing to catch fire. As Mertilla tried to put out the fire, Weekley entered the home. He was armed with an MP5 machine gun and a ballistic shield..

Inside the home, Weekley shot and killed Aiyana. Weekley claimed Mertilla grabbed his gun. No fingerprints from Mertilla were found on Weekley's MP5 gun.

Weekley was not fired. Kym Worthy, the Wayne County Prosecutor, cleared Weekley of any charges for Aiyana's murder.

A protest was held in 2016, for Aiyana's murder. Weekley had been selected to co-chair the Detroit Police Department's Committee on Race and Equality.

'12 Years A Slave' Shown



Telluride, Colorado - '12 Years A Slave' was shown at the Telluride Film Festival.

The movie began with a 'free' black man, in 1841, in Washington D. C. He was put into slavery by two (2) white males. This lasted 12 years. Finally, he got word back to New York, of his bondage. He returned to New York, 12 years later.

Slave Play Opened



Manhattan, New York - Slave Play began on Broadway. The play showed couples with sex issues. It used chattel slavery as a means to address these conflicts. The couples were homosexual, lesbian, and mixed-race.

The show was written as a sexual comedy. The play was very sexually explicit. The whites were big fans of the show. They enjoyed joining sex and slavery, into a show, for laughs.

Slave Play got twelve (12) nominations at the 74th Tony Awards. At the time, it was record-breaking. It got nominations for the Lucille Lortel Awards and Drama Desk Awards.

The writer and director were both homosexuals. Jeremy O. Harris wrote the play. Robert O'Hara directed it. The show closed January 19th, 2020.

Leaving Neverland Aired



New York City, New York - HBO showed Leaving Neverland, in two (2) parts. Part One (1) was shown Sunday and Part Two (2) was shown Monday.

The story made claims that Michael Jackson hurt two young white boys, from sexual acts. There were no facts, no evidence, and no one else to confirm the claims. Further, the two white boys never claimed Michael Jackson harmed them, until they got money to do so.

Michael Jackson died June 25, 2009, almost ten (10) years before this show aired. Jackson had no record for any crime of child abuse. While he had been tried, courts found no facts to support any charges against him.

Leaving Neverland implied Jackson was a child abuser. This was not backed by the courts, the law, nor any past record of abuse.

Source:

Why No Criticism About Leaving Neverland

After Neverland Aired on HBO



New York, New York - After Neverland aired, on HBO, hosted by Oprah Winfrey. It followed Leaving Neverland Part 2. In the show, three (3) white males joined Winfrey in verbal attacks against the long-dead Michael Jackson. The two white accusers were Wade Robson and James Safechuck. They were joined by the white director of Leaving Neverland, Dan Reed. Winfrey had no one to defend Jackson, on the show.

In the hour-long show, Winfrey gave the two white men a platform to make abuse claims against Jackson. The audience was picked from sexual abuse victims. No facts were given by the white men to support or verify their claims of abuse by Jackson.

Later that year, Winfrey tried to distance herself from After Neverland. She removed videos and comments she made. Winfrey denied it was an attack on the legacy of Jackson. The Jackson estate and Jackson family strongly denied and disputed any claims of child abuse by Jackson.

Source:

Oprah Backtracks After Neverland

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