Stealing the Blues

The account below about the origin of Memorial Day serves to support my contention that these books should be required reading in High School because they tell the truth about how Africans in America survived the horrors of slavery through music and how their music has been copied and commercialized by white producers and all but ignored by black people.

weioweiewio

One of the things that most black people know is that the public school system does a horrible  job teaching black history. They will gladly tell you all the wonderful things that white people did and maybe even go back to Europe, but the contributions of African Americans are kept entirely on the back burner. [Source]

A fact that you should probably know is that African Americans are the reason that Memorial Day even exists in the first place.  According to Professor David Blight of Yale University, the event began on May 1, 1865.  A group of former slaves in Charleston, SC gave a proper burial to 257 Union soldiers who’d been put into a mass grave.

The black community of Charleston then consecrated the new cemetery with “an unforgettable parade of 10,000 people.”  The event was initially called “Decoration Day” and was led by 3,000 black school children who started off by singing the song “John Brown’s Body.”  They were then followed by hundreds of black women with baskets of flowers and crosses.  After that, black men marched behind them in cadence, followed by Union infantry.

The Union soldiers lived in horrible conditions, and 257 of them died from exposure and disease.   This was the reason for the creation of the mass grave site.  A total of 28 black men went to the site an re-buried the men properly, largely as a  “thank you” for helping fight for their freedom.

They also built a fence around the cemetery, and on the outside, put the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

Dr. Boyce Watkins, who created an online course based on a forum held with Minister Louis Farrakhan last month, says that this is simply the tip of the iceberg.  He says that misinformation is one of the most storied weapons used to perpetuate the oppression of black people. 

“Black people must, as part of our healing, go back and rewrite history to ensure that we learn the truth,” said Dr. Watkins. “You’ve been lied to for your entire life, so it is up to all of us to use the Internet as a critical resource in helping us to learn who we truly are.  We are great people and America would not be the country that it is today without our sacrifice.”

Now you know the rest of the story.  Go tell this one to everyone you know and consider acquiring and reading the books posted above.

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3 comments on “Stealing the Blues

  1. Not sure if the Blues is being stolen or abandoned by its originators. Most children and young adults of Afrikan descent have no idea what the blues is, know where to find it or hear it in their homes as I did. I think the books should be required in High schools. The Blues is a definitely a part of American history.

    • I agree, JM, and have been working diligently to get the books into schools, nationwide. It’s very challenging. If you know of anyone who can help me, I’d be most appreciative and there is a commission in it for anyone who can help me do this. My bookstore is at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/divajc
      Thanks for your response. Sincerely,
      Joan Cartwright

  2. Jay King interviewed me tonight, even though I was 50 minutes late calling in
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jay-king/2013/09/05/the-music-biz-with-jay-king
    and he bought my book by the same title of the show
    A HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN JAZZ AND BLUES
    available at http://lulu.com/spotlight/divajc

    The show began at 10 p.m. EST but due to trouble with my Android, I only called in at 10:50 pm. But for one hour Jay and I talked about the book and the subject of Blues, as women’s music and how the Blues women were the first civil rights workers in this country. So, listen, learn, and respond.

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