Thursday, 13 February 2014

The other day I posted an article I had written on Slavery (see below) I was inspired by it after watching the award winning movie 12 Years A Slave.
The film subject both saddened and disgusted me to the point I almost felt ashamed of being white!! I have always maintained if we learn nothing from our past we won’t have a future and no more so than when I received a reminder of our past or to put another way America's past this morning.

So let me just go over some histrionics at this point: When the United States of America was founded in the 1700s, slaves from Africa were used to work the land. In 1804 most of the Northern states of America banned slavery and wished the Southern states to do the same. However, the Southern states believed that slavery was right and part of their life; it was something they did not want to give up. The Southern states tried to leave America and the American Civil War began. President Abraham Lincoln led the North to victory over the South and in 1865 slavery was banned throughout the whole country.
So one might be forgiven for thinking that blacks could now live, work and be treated equally as whites? Not so, there was still much racism and African Americans were not treated fairly. There were many laws that kept them working in hard jobs for little money, and laws that prevented them from marrying European Americans. Slavery had ended, but segregation had not. Black Americans in the south, and in some places in the north, were not allowed to attend the same schools as white Americans, but had to attend black-only schools.
Buses and shops had separate sections, and some simply didn't allow black people. Restaurants and hotels were usually completely separate. There were black and white parts of towns and cities, in most of the country and all this just a mere 60 years ago!!! Do we not feel ashamed? Ashamed we either knew nothing here on this side of the world or simple kept our mouths shut????
It was not until the 1950s and 1960s that things began to change. A man named Martin Luther King, Jr. began to rally for equal rights for blacks. He led many African Americans on marches to protest the way they were treated. He was killed in 1968, but four years earlier he convinced the government to allow black Americans to vote in the presidential elections. In the law case Brown v. Board of Education, the government went on to force integration in high schools throughout the United States, making it illegal to have white-only schools. For a while, armed police officers had to escort black students into formerly white-only schools, and it took many years for the schooling system to change. It took many more decades to get rid of all the racist laws

I remember having the singer Patula Clark on my radio show when she shocked me by telling me her story of appearing on televisionwith black singer Harry Belafonte.
Here is her story as I remember it: It was in early 1968, NBC invited her to host her own TV music special in the U.S. Black singer Harry Belafonte was invited to perform on the show and also do a song or two with Clark. Harry Belafonte by then was a well known Jamaican-American musician and actor, who had helped make Calypso and Caribbean music popular throughout the world with his singing in the 1950s. Belafonte was known for a number of songs, especially the “Banana Boat Song”, which include a famous “day-o” lyric throughout. Belafonte was also known for his support of civil rights and humanitarian causes. He was an early supporter of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and one of Martin Luther King’s confidants. He provided financial support for King and his family, and bailed King out of jail when he was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama during a demonstration. Belafonte had also raised thousands of dollars to release other imprisoned civil rights protesters. During a taping of the show in March 1968, while singing a duet with Belafonte, Doyle Lott, a vice president from Chrysler, the show’s sponsor, was present at the taping. Lott objected to the “interracial touching” and feared the brief moment would offend Southern viewers – this at a time when racial conflict was a major issue in the U.S. Lott insisted they substitute a different take – one with Clark and Belafonte standing well away from each other. But Clark and her husband, Claude Wolff, the executive producer of the show, refused. They destroyed all the other takes of the song, and delivered the finished program to NBC with the touching segment as part of the show. Clark, who had ownership of the special, told NBC that the performance would be shown intact or she would not allow the special to be aired at all. Meanwhile, at Chrysler, by March 10, 1968, Doyle Lott was relieved of his responsibilities. The show was broadcast on April 8th, 1968 with Clark doing several numbers on her own as well as Belafonte doing several on his own before they sang together. It marked the first time a man and woman of different races exchanged physical contact on American television. When the show finally aired, it received high ratings and critical acclaim. As unbelievable as that now sounds its hard to apprehend this was only 46 years ago. The Beatles had already stopped touring!!!

America should never forget those short few years ago. We should NEVER forget:

How things thankfully have changed. Americas has it’s first black president , unimaginable back in the 50’s/60’s. African Americans now have all the same rights as European Americans and other Americans, but there is still some racism in the United States of America as there is in every country.

Please don’t think for one moment this is in any way is an anti American post, far from it. Many of you will know I’m very pro American, of course they have their faults, what country doesn’t? What I’ve written is a part of history that should never be forgotten, as I said, America has learnt a lot from their past, they have improved the way of life for the African American beyond recognition, yes, there are areas still to be improved but the same could be said for most countries. A Black American President who would ever have believed it???

1 comment:

  1. I was wondering why i'm seeing a huge increase in traffic today and yesterday onto the blog. After looking at stats and traffic sources and saw that an enormous amount came from America, I then immediately realised that my new found American cousin, we met through my article on the Beatles, has been spreading my blog address from coast to coast hence the thousands of new American blog friends. You're all very welcome!!! Thanks Cuz