Wake Up Everybody​! It’s 2018​

 

Habari Gani?

The final principle of Kwanzaa is Imani (faith) to believe in our people, parents, teachers, and leaders. It’s a simple principle, the easiest. Eyes wide open though! Don’t put faith in celebrities and charlatans. Believe in a better future, a better world, a more equitable world.

free-vector-kwanzaa-icon_101867_Kwanzaa_Icon        MLK

Let’s reflect on Kwanzaa 2017  (what is Kwanzaa) with a rumination on the plausible utopia  Martin Luther King delineated so specifically in a speech that is instantly google-able. In anticipation of the official holiday commemorating MLK, here is a well-known portion:

“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

———– Dr. Martin Luther King

for the   entire text of speech   

IS THIS DREAM STILL POSSIBLE?

 

for more about Breena Clarke’s booksBreena Clarke.com

 

Maroon New Jersey

Tim Knox interviews Breena Clarke for the website, PLACING LITERATURE, about the setting of ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE 

Clarke-AngelsMakeTheirHope

http://bit.ly/1oi1cLM

ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE is set in an imagined community in a mountainous area roughly north and west of Paterson, New Jersey in the 19th century. Russell’s Knob is a hidden, secretive place settled by people who might be described today as bi-racial or tri-racial. The inhabitants describe themselves as runaways and stay-aways. They are people who reject the limiting definitions of racial identity and character of 19th century, mid-Atlantic, North America and live outside of the “white” towns. They are spoken of derisively as “amalgamators” and “race mixers” though their true history is as complex as is the history of settlement in the region.

 

for more information on about BreenaClarke’s books: www.BreenaClarke.com

 

Ah, beauty is a complex play of familiarity and surprise!

Dossie Smoot           hanging-plum_1

She’s a pretty little dark plum. Had he trespassed? He had asked her. Ha! She wanted him, she had said, and seemed to. He knew damned well he had a sway with her. Hell, he’d counted on that. Little Bird was so obedient to him now that he was afraid of himself. What was a man supposed to do when a lucky coin cross his path? He will close his hand around it. He will praise his good fortune. But still in all, this ain’t the same as trifling with a grown woman, Duncan argued with himself.

from Angels Make Their Hope Here by Breena Clarke

Read an excerpt:  http://bit.ly/1NZsFus

for more information on Breena Clarke’s books, visit: www.BreenaClarke.com

Clarke-AngelsMakeTheirHope

 

 

 

February (Feb-roo-airy) has 28 Days

carter-woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

February is the month designated to honor and celebrate the achievements and culture of African Americans in the United States. Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), www.blackpast.org/aah/woodson-carter an African American historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. launched the celebration of “Negro History Week” in February 1926; it was the precursor of Black History Month.

Breena Professional Photo

Novelist, Breena Clarke celebrates the history of African peoples in the Americas in three critically acclaimed novels. Add these to your “GotToRead” list for February 2017.

IMG_0598    Eight-year-old Clara Bynum is dead, drowned in the Potomac River in the shadow of an apparently haunted rock outcropping known locally as the Three Sisters. In scenes alive with emotional truth, River, Cross My Heart weighs the effect of Clara’s absence on the people she has left behind: her parents, Alice and Willie Bynum, torn between the old world of their rural North Carolina home and the new world of the city, to which they have moved in search of a better life for themselves and their children; the friends and relatives of the Bynum family in the Georgetown neighborhood they now call home; and, most especially, Clara’s sister, twelve-year-old Johnnie Mae, who must come to terms with the powerful and confused emotions sparked by her sister’s death as she struggles to decide and discover the kind of woman she will become. Read an excerpt here:  http://bit.ly/2kP20hF

IMG_0599   Even though Sewing Annie Coats and her son, Gabriel, have managed to buy their freedom, their lives are still marked by constant struggle and sacrifice. Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood, where the Coatses operate a tailor’s shop and laundry, is supposed to be a “promised land” for former slaves but is effectively a frontier town, gritty and dangerous, with no laws protecting black people.The remarkable emotional energy with which the Coatses wage their daily battles-as they negotiate with their former owner, as they assist escaped slaves en route to freedom, as they prepare for the encroaching war, and as they strive to love each other enough-is what propels Stand the Storm. Read an excerpt here: http://bit.ly/2kNABZR

Clarke-AngelsMakeTheirHope   ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE is set in an imagined community in a mountainous area roughly north and west of Paterson, New Jersey in the 19th century. Russell’s Knob is a hidden, secretive place settled by people who might be described today as bi-racial or tri-racial. The inhabitants describe themselves as runaways and stay-aways. They are people who reject the limiting definitions of racial identity and character of 19th century, mid-Atlantic, North America and live outside of the “white” towns. They are spoken of derisively as “amalgamators” and “race mixers” though their true history is as complex as is the history of settlement in the region. Read an excerpt here: http://bit.ly/1NZsFus

Visit Breena’s website at: www.BreenaClarke.com

https://www.facebook.com/angelsmaketheirhopehere on Facebook

Breena_Clarke onTwitter

 

Our Father’s Days

 

She called him John Cleary. She was a sweet gal and she risked her life for me and the boy was mine. He was a cute little bastard.

Enter the mind of the bounty hunter, James Cleary. Read Breena Clarke’s riveting account,   “The People Catcher: Mr. Woolfolk’s Bounty” online at KWELI Journal, Truth From The Diaspora’s Boldest Voices        http://bit.ly/1ZcWlvG

Fugitives i color

for more information about Breena Clarke’s work: www.BreenaClarke.com

BLACK HER-STORY MONTH, TOO

maria-stewart

NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED

Maria (nee Miller )Stewart was the first woman to speak before a “promiscuous” audience, i.e. men and women, black and white in early 19th century America. She was the first African-American woman to lecture about women’s rights. Stewart focused particularly on the rights of black women, religion, and social justice among black people. She also became the first African-American woman to make public anti-slavery speeches and is one of the first African-American women to make public lectures for which there are still surviving copies.
Maria Stewart newspaper
 
“Most of our color have dragged out a miserable existence of servitude from the cradle to the grave. And what literary acquirements can be made, or useful knowledge derived, from either maps, books or charm, by those who continually drudge from Monday morning until Sunday noon? O, ye fairer sisters, whose hands are never soiled, whose nerves and muscles are never strained, go learn by experience! Had we had the opportunity that you have had, to improve our moral and mental faculties, what would have hindered our intellects from being as bright, and our manners from being as dignified as yours?… And why are not our forms as delicate, and our constitutions as slender, as yours? Is not the workmanship as curious and complete? Have pity upon us, have pity upon us, O ye who have hearts to feel for other’s woes; for the hand of God has touched us. Owing to the disadvantages under which we labor, there are many flowers among us that are…born to bloom unseen.
StewartMaria_132
Stewart’s address in 1832 at Boston’s Franklin Hall, is notable in that Stewart used it to support a vision of black nationalism. Framed as a “black jeremiad”, Stewart’s speech followed in the tradition of the jeremiad as a rhetorical device in American discourse and refers to the prophet Jeremiah, author of the book of Lamentations.  It is a melancholy disputation and it embodies warnings of further judgment and greater sufferings to come. Maria Stewart’s “black jeremiad” then was a means by which a black American woman warned whites of “the judgment that was to come for the sin of slavery.”
 
For more background on Maria Stewart’s 1832 speech: http://archive.vod.umd.edu/civil/stewart1832int.htm
Link here for pix and info about Maria Stewart and six other women whose feminism was necessarily radicalized by the simple act of standing up and speaking out as Black women. http://bit.ly/1zRHA7O
Read a book of Maria Stewart’s speeches

Maria W. Stewart, America's first Black woman political writer : essays and speeches

I’m old enough to have remembered the events as portrayed in Ava Duverney’s film, “Selma.” Everything about the film seemed pitch perfect to me though I realized while watching that the lesson, for me, was that we Americans do not see things in the same ways. I can’t actually explain why this continues to surprise me. I remember the excitement of MLK’s speeches. I remember his words as  always reasonable, charitable, intelligent.  When I recall  that people didn’t agree, that some people still don’t, I still shake my head  in disbelief.

Kudos to Ms. Duverney for her beautiful film. Like so many Black women artists before her, she has made a way from no way.

Civil Rights marchers Selma to Montgomery

Civil Rights marchers on Edmund Pettus Bridge

For Your FEBRUARY enrichment read: 
ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE
STAND THE STORM
RIVER, CROSS MY HEART
IMG_3709
for more information about Breena Clarke’s books: www.BreenaClarke.com

FE-BROO-AIR-EE is Black History Month

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Dr. Carter G. Woodson

I always get a lift in spirits when February comes around because it’s Black History Month. I enjoy the special programming and the unabashed celebration of the history of African people in the Americas.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson was the honored ancestor who. launched Negro History Week in 1926. Woodson chose the second week of February because it falls between the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. This observance evolved into Black History Month in 1976. Known for writing the contributions of black Americans into the national spotlight, Woodson received a Ph.D at Harvard University;  founded the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History in 1915;  founded the Journal of Negro History in 1916 and is the author of the book, “The Miseducation of the Negro“, published in 1933.
CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY
Read, re-read or introduce a friend to my three historical novels:

Breena Clarke's books

Breena Clarke’s books

LINK HERE TO see AMAZON’S SPECIAL DEALS  on select African American Historical fiction including
ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE
and
STAND THE STORM : http://amzn.to/1Drumxm
 Clarke-AngelsMakeTheirHope
ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE imagines a community that many, even today, would think improbable if not impossible. Dossie is rescued from slavery by Duncan Smoot, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, who gives her refuge in just such an improbable, but possible place, the town of Russell’s Knob, New Jersey.
” . . . the novel swiftly goes from idyllic to horrific but told throughout in language that gives us the verbal music of the period and the soulful reality of this little community of outliers. “Angels Make Their Hope Here” – this tribute to old Jersey is well worth your time.”
            Alan Cheuse, NPR – listen to the full review http://n.pr/UogWl0 
                                             ALL THINGS CONSIDERED on NPR
IMG_0599
STAND THE STORM is set in Civil War era Washington  D.C. and it illumines the lives of a self-emancipated tailor, his indomitable mother, his wife and children.
“An evocative,historically rich book that brings the turbulent Civil war period alive”
             TIME Magazine
 IMG_0598
RIVER, CROSS MY HEART is the story of a young girl’s life in the African American community of Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood in the early 20th century.
“A genuine masterpiece . .  Full of grace and beauty and profound insights . . .”
            Michael Sheldon, Baltimore Sun