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The Militant Negro

The Militant Negro


President Obama Awards the 2013 National Medals of Arts and Humanities




This afternoon, the President and the First Lady honored the 2013 National Medals of the Arts and Humanities recipients at the White House. The President told the recipients that their “accomplishments enrich our lives and reveal something about ourselves and our country.”


This year’s recipients consisted of a diverse array of indidivuals and groups who have done groundbreaking work in the arts and humanities, including architecture, choreography, East Asian Studies, and documentary filmmaking – all of whom have made significant contributions to the human experience.


When we read a great book or experience a powerful documentary, we are often transformed – and these experiences can help us understand the world around us just a little bit better. The President illustrated what these experiences mean to those who witness the great work of this year’s honorees.


“The moments you help create – moments of understanding or awe or joy or sorrow – they add texture to our lives,” the President said. “They are not incidental to the American experience; they are central to it – they are essential to it. So we not only congratulate you this afternoon – we thank you for an extraordinary lifetime of achievement.”


Before presenting the medals to the honorees, the President concluded with a story illustrating the effect that the arts and humanities have had on American history, dating back to a historic event that took place at the White House in 1862:


President Lincoln called together a meeting of his Cabinet to present them with the Emancipation Proclamation. But that was not the first item on his agenda. This is a little-known story. Instead, he began reading out loud from a story from the humorist Artemis Ward. It was a story called, “High-Handed Outrage at Utica.” According to one often-repeated account, after he finished a chapter, Lincoln laughed and laughed. His cabinet did not. So Lincoln read them another chapter. And they still sat there in stony silence. Finally, he put the book down, and said, “Gentlemen, why don’t you laugh? You need this medicine as much as I do.”


To be clear, I probably will not be trying this in my Cabinet meetings. Certainly not if I’m presenting something like the Emancipation Proclamation. But what Lincoln understood is that the arts and the humanities aren’t just there to be consumed and enjoyed whenever we have a free moment in our lives. We rely on them constantly. We need them. Like medicine, they help us live.


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The President Presents the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal


Published on Jul 28, 2014

President Obama delivers remarks at the presentation of the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal, in the East Room of the White House, July 28, 2014.




Here is the full list of recipients from this year’s event:


2013 National Medal of Arts

  • Julia Alvarez, Novelist, Poet, and Essayist
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music, Presenter
  • Joan Harris, Arts Patron
  • Bill T. Jones, Dancer and Choreographer
  • John Kander, Musical Theater Composer
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, Director and CEO of DreamWorks
  • Maxine Hong Kingston, Writer
  • Albert Maysles, Documentary Filmmaker
  • Linda Ronstadt, Musician
  • Billie Tsien and Tod Williams (receiving individual medals), Architects
  • James Turrell, Visual Artist


2013 National Humanities Medal

  • M.H. Abrams, Literary Critic
  • David Brion Davis, Historian
  • Darlene Clark Hine, Historian
  • Anne Firor Scott, Historian
  • William Theodore De Bary, East Asian studies scholar
  • Johnpaul Jones, Architect
  • Stanley Nelson, Filmmaker
  • Diane Rehm, Radio Host
  • Krista Tippett, Radio Host
  • American Antiquarian Society, Historical Organization


Find out more about the recipients of the 2013 National Humanities Medal and the 2013 National Medal of Arts.





Empowering Africa’s Next Generation of Leaders


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President Obama’s town hall today with 500 of Africa’s most promising young leaders provided an inspiring window into what the future holds for Africa, and the world.


The 500 participants in the Washington Fellowship program were selected from nearly 50,000 applicants from across Africa, as part of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). YALI was launched by President Obama in 2010, as part of a long-term investment in the next generation of African leaders. It aims to sharpen their skills, to improve their networks, and to strengthen partnerships between the United States and Africa for years to come.




The President announced during the town hall that the Washington Fellowship was being renamed as the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, in honor of the former South African President, Nelson Mandela. Mandela Washington Fellows represent the best and brightest from communities across Africa, and fields ranging from education, medicine, law, business, and beyond. These are the young leaders whose skills, passion, and visions for the future, will help shape the fate of their countries and the world. It is in everyone’s best interest to help them prepare with the tools they need to build a healthier, more secure, more prosperous, and more peaceful Africa, which is why President Obama launched YALI in the first place.


President Obama also took today’s opportunity to preview another historic event planned for next week. The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will be hosted in Washington, by President Obama, and will represent the largest gathering any American president has ever hosted with African heads of state and government.


The President Holds a Town Hall with Young African Leaders


Published on Jul 28, 2014

President Obama delivers remarks at the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Presidential Summit Town Hall in Washington, D.C., July 28, 2014.



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The President pointed out today, “even as we deal with crises and challenges in other parts of the world that often dominate the headlines; even as we acknowledge the real hardships that so many Africans face every day — we have to make sure that we’re all seizing the extraordinary potential of today’s Africa, the youngest and fastest-growing continent.”


YALI is about capitalizing on the creativity and talent of Africa’s young leaders by empowering them with the skills, training, and technology necessary to make lasting change, and meaningful progress back home. And to do so, we are engaging public and private sector partners to create new Regional Leadership Centers across Africa to reach more young leaders.  We’re joining with American universities, African institutions and business partners like Microsoft and MasterCard Foundation. Starting next year, young Africans can come to these centers to network, access the latest technology, and get training in management and entrepreneurship. The first centers will be located in Senegal, Ghana, South Africa and Kenya —  and will provide tens of thousands of young Africans the resources they need to put their ideas into action.


President Obama: “If you’re a strong man, you should not feel threatened by strong women.”


Published on Jul 28, 2014

President Obama participated at a Young African Leaders Presidential Summit Town Hall in Washington, D.C., July 28, 2014




As last year came to a close, the world said goodbye to one of the brightest lights the world has ever known — President Nelson Mandela. His life was proof of the power within each of us to leave the world better than we found it. Yet, as that brilliant star dimmed, we now have the opportunity to see 500 more shine brightly this week.


One of this summer’s Fellows, Sobel Ngom from Senegal, captured the spirit of his experience in the YALI program this way: “Here, I have met Africa. The [Africa] I have always believed in. She is beautiful, young, full of talent, motivation and ambition.”  And being here with all of his Fellow Mandela Washington Fellows — learning together, working together, dreaming together — has only strengthened his determination, he says, to realize his aspirations for his country and his continent.


Click here for more information on the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.


Click here for more information on President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).



The Young African Leaders Initiative


Published on Jul 28, 2014

The Obama administration’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. Nearly 1 in 3 Africans are between the ages of 10 and 24, and approximately 60 percent of Africa’s total population is below the age of 35. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.








Speeches and Remarks – July 28th, 2014


Remarks by the President at the Presentation of the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal


Remarks by the President in Town Hall with the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders




Statements and Releases – July 28th, 2014


President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Kingdom of Belgium to Attend the World War I Centennial Commemoration


Readout of the President’s Video Teleconference with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom, President Hollande of France, Chancellor Merkel of Germany, and Prime Minister Renzi of Italy


President Obama Signs Nebraska Disaster Declaration


President Obama Announces Another Key Administration Post


FACT SHEET: The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders


BACKGROUND & FACT SHEET: The President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI)


Statement by the President on the Occasion of Eid-al-Fitr





Boosting Our Global Competitiveness: It’s Time to Invest in America’s Roads, Rails, and Bridges


When it comes to investing in our infrastructure, the President’s message has been loud and clear: We must upgrade our roads and rails and bridges to grow our economy and create good American jobs. Over the last five decades, U.S. investments in transportation have fallen by nearly 50 percent as a percentage of GDP. So it is not surprising that in the most recent World Economic Forum rankings, the U.S. has fallen from 7th to 18th overall in the quality of our roads in less than a decade.

Earlier this month, we released a report that shows our transportation infrastructure system is in dire need of investment. The data tells an important story: 65 percent of America’s major roads are rated in less than good condition; one in four bridges require significant repair or cannot handle today’s traffic; and 45 percent of Americans lack access to transit.

We know what we need to do – and there are two compelling reasons for doing it right now. First, our global competiveness is directly linked to the strength of our infrastructure – investing in it can serve as a clear source of competitive advantage. Second, these investments will create jobs, help American businesses, and grow our economy. The President has put forth a long-term proposal that would make these investments and pay for them by closing unfair tax loopholes and making commonsense reforms to our business tax system. The President’s GROW AMERICA Act would support millions of jobs and position our economy for lasting growth.


Read More.



Medicare Trustees Report Shows Significant Improvements for Seniors and Taxpayers


Today’s annual report from the Medicare program’s Boards of Trustees brings good news about the program’s financial future: Its Trust Fund will last four more years, to 2030, and projected Part B premiums for 2015 will not increase for the second year in a row.


As we celebrate Medicare’s 49th birthday this week, we will recommit to ensuring that the program continues providing health and economic security for the nation’s elderly and people with disabilities through the 21st century and beyond. Today’s news shows that we are on the right track, and we are optimistic that the promising results we’ve seen in recent years can continue into the future.


In 2009, the Trustees projected the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund would not be able to pay its bills in 2017 – just three years from now. Today’s new date is 2030, 13 years later than that projection – an improvement that is thanks in part to reforms in the Affordable Care Act (Chart 1). The law implemented changes to promote value-based payments, reduce waste and fraud, and strengthen the program’s benefits. These changes, for example, have reduced hospital spending on preventable readmission, helping to lower hospital costs, which constitute a significant portion of trust fund spending.


Read More.



Training a Workforce for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Jobs


It’s no secret that the American economy is changing, and some of the most in-demand skills today barely existed a generation ago. The average worker graduated high school around twenty years ago, when the personal computer was in its infancy, and only the most technical professions demanded a fluency in information technology (IT).


But times have changed, and some of the best ladders to well-paying, middle-class jobs are in IT fields across our economy. That’s because the average salary in a job that requires IT skills — whether in manufacturing, advertising, hospitality, or banking — is more than one and a half times higher than the average private-sector American job.


This week, the President and Vice President are announcing important reforms in the way Federal programs train and retrain workers. To meet the demand for IT and cybersecurity skills, we will also be kicking off a significant new effort focused on bridging the gap between workers, technology skills, and employers.


Read More.





7/28/14: White House Press Briefing


Published on Jul 28, 2014

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing













Silence of a Nation (GAZA The Broken Hearted)


Uploaded on May 10, 2010

Dedicated to the children of GAZA……. Excerpts from a speech by: Chris Hedges…….. The author spoke at the Revolution Books Town Hall Meeting at Ethical Culture Society on January 13, 2009 condemning Israel and USA complicity in Israel’s murderous destruction and genocide of the innocent men, women and children of GAZA and the West Bank.




GRAPHIC: Children killed in missile attack on Gaza refugee camp


Published on Jul 28, 2014

At least seven children have been killed after more rockets were showered on a Palestinian refugee camp. The Israel Defence Forces pointed the finger at Hamas, saying it bombed its own territory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Palestinians must brace themselves for a prolonged operation.











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President Obama’s Handwritten Essay Marking The 150th Anniversary Of The Gettysburg Address.


By Jueseppi B.




Kori Schulman
Kori Schulman

November 19, 2013
07:02 PM EST


One hundred and fifty years ago today, President Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most memorable speeches in U.S. history from Gettysburg, PA. In dedicating the military cemetery where thousands of soldiers were buried following the Battle of Gettysburg, fought just four months earlier, Lincoln described “a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”


Paying tribute to the historic speech, President Obama hand wrote an essay for an exhibit at the Lincoln Presidential Library. President Obama joins former Presidents Clinton, Carter and H.W. Bush who have submitted their contributions, along with other notable essayists including Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, General Colin Powell, and Martin Luther King III, among hundreds of others.


President Barack Obama, Former US presidents, Politicians and Celebrities Recite The Gettysburg Address




You can read President Obama’s essay here, and below


President Obama’s Handwritten Tribute to the Gettysburg Address


One hundred fifty years after President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, President Obama penned a handwritten tribute to President Lincoln’s historic remarks. Read his essay below, then share it with others.




Click Right Here To Read Full Size Version Of Barack’s Essay




Here’s the full text of President Obama’s essay:


In the evening, when Michelle and the girls have gone to bed, I sometimes walk down the hall to a room Abraham Lincoln used as his office.  It contains an original copy of the Gettysburg address, written in Lincoln’s own hand.


I linger on these few words that have helped define our American experiment: “A new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”


Through the lines of weariness etched in his face, we know Lincoln grasped, perhaps more than anyone, the burdens required to give these words meaning.  He knew that even a self-evident truth was not self-executing; that blood drawn by the lash was an affront to our ideals; that blood drawn by the sword was in painful service to those same ideals.


He understood as well that our humble efforts, our individual ambitions, are ultimately not what matter; rather, it is through the accumulated toil and sacrifice of ordinary men and women – those like the soldiers who consecrated that battlefield – that this country is built, and freedom preserved.  This quintessentially self-made man, fierce in his belief in honest work and the striving spirit at the heart of America, believed that it falls to each generation, collectively, to share in that toil and sacrifice.


Through cold war and world war, through industrial revolutions and technological transformations, through movements for civil rights and women’s rights and workers’ rights and gay rights, we have.  At times, social and economic change have strained our union.  But Lincoln’s words give us confidence that whatever trials await us, this nation and the freedom we cherish can, and shall, prevail.


The fifth and final copy of the Gettysburg Address, which President Lincoln wrote in his own hand, is on display in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House. Take a closer look of the only version that Lincoln titled, signed, and dated through the Google Art Project.







blogger4peacelogo obamabottomheader

Black History Month Moment: Presidential Proclamations

By Jueseppi B.







Presidential Proclamations


January 31, 2013

Presidential Proclamation: National African American History Month, 2013


The White House


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release
January 31, 2013

Presidential Proclamation: National African American History Month, 2013


By The President of The United States of America



A Proclamation

In America, we share a dream that lies at the heart of our founding:  that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter how modest your beginnings or the circumstances of your birth, you can make it if you try.  Yet, for many and for much of our Nation’s history, that dream has gone unfulfilled. For African Americans, it was a dream denied until 150 years ago, when a great emancipator called for the end of slavery. It was a dream deferred less than 50 years ago, when a preacher spoke of justice and brotherhood from Lincoln’s memorial.  This dream of equality and fairness has never come easily — but it has always been sustained by the belief that in America, change is possible.


Today, because of that hope, coupled with the hard and painstaking labor of Americans sung and unsung, we live in a moment when the dream of equal opportunity is within reach for people of every color and creed.  National African American History Month is a time to tell those stories of freedom won and honor the individuals who wrote them.  We look back to the men and women who helped raise the pillars of democracy, even when the halls they built were not theirs to occupy.  We trace generations of African Americans, free and slave, who risked everything to realize their God-given rights.  We listen to the echoes of speeches and struggle that made our Nation stronger, and we hear again the thousands who sat in, stood up, and called out for equal treatment under the law.  And we see yesterday’s visionaries in tomorrow’s leaders, reminding us that while we have yet to reach the mountaintop, we cannot stop climbing.


Today, Dr. King, President Lincoln, and other shapers of our American story proudly watch over our National Mall.  But as we memorialize their extraordinary acts in statues and stone, let us not lose sight of the enduring truth that they were citizens first.  They spoke and marched and toiled and bled shoulder-to-shoulder with ordinary people who burned with the same hope for a brighter day.  That legacy is shared; that spirit is American.  And just as it guided us forward 150 years ago and 50 years ago, it guides us forward today.  So let us honor those who came before by striving toward their example, and let us follow in their footsteps toward the better future that is ours to claim.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 2013 as National African American History Month.  I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, and all the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.











February 01, 2013

Presidential Proclamation — 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Rosa Parks



The White House



Office of the Press Secretary



For Immediate Release
February 01, 2013

Presidential Proclamation — 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Rosa Parks




- – – – – – -






On December 1, 1955, our Nation was forever transformed when an African-American seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white passenger. Just wanting to get home after a long day at work, Rosa Parks may not have been planning to make history, but her defiance spurred a movement that advanced our journey toward justice and equality for all.


Though Rosa Parks was not the first to confront the injustice of segregation laws, her courageous act of civil disobedience sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott — 381 days of peaceful protest when ordinary men, women, and children sent the extraordinary message that second-class citizenship was unacceptable. Rather than ride in the back of buses, families and friends walked. Neighborhoods and churches formed carpools. Their actions stirred the conscience of Americans of every background, and their resilience in the face of fierce violence and intimidation ultimately led to the desegregation of public transportation systems across our country.


Rosa Parks’s story did not end with the boycott she inspired. A lifelong champion of civil rights, she continued to give voice to the poor and the marginalized among us until her passing on October 24, 2005.


As we mark the 100th anniversary of Rosa Parks’s birth, we celebrate the life of a genuine American hero and remind ourselves that although the principle of equality has always been self-evident, it has never been self-executing. It has taken acts of courage from generations of fearless and hopeful Americans to make our country more just. As heirs to the progress won by those who came before us, let us pledge not only to honor their legacy, but also to take up their cause of perfecting our Union.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 4, 2013, as the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Rosa Parks. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor Rosa Parks’s enduring legacy.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.





Rosa Parks on Bus











2005 Time Magazine Article By Barack Obama


By Jueseppi B.





This article appeared in Time Magazine in 2005:


What I See in Lincoln’s Eyes

By Barack Obama Monday, July 04, 2005


My favorite portrait of Lincoln comes from the end of his life. In it, Lincoln’s face is as finely lined as a pressed flower. He appears frail, almost broken; his eyes, averted from the camera’s lens, seem to contain a heartbreaking melancholy, as if he sees before him what the nation had so recently endured.



It would be a sorrowful picture except for the fact that Lincoln’s mouth is turned ever so slightly into a smile. The smile doesn’t negate the sorrow. But it alters tragedy into grace. It’s as if this rough-faced, aging man has cast his gaze toward eternity and yet still cherishes his memories–of an imperfect world and its fleeting, sometimes terrible beauty. On trying days, the portrait, a reproduction of which hangs in my office, soothes me; it always asks me questions.



What is it about this man that can move us so profoundly? Some of it has to do with Lincoln’s humble beginnings, which often speak to our own. When I moved to Illinois 20 years ago to work as a community organizer, I had no money in my pockets and didn’t know a single soul. During my first six years in the state legislature, Democrats were in the minority, and I couldn’t get a bill heard, much less passed. In my first race for Congress, I had my head handed to me.



So when I, a black man with a funny name, born in Hawaii of a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, announced my candidacy for the U.S. Senate, it was hard to imagine a less likely scenario than that I would win–except, perhaps, for the one that allowed a child born in the backwoods of Kentucky with less than a year of formal education to end up as Illinois’ greatest citizen and our nation’s greatest President.



In Lincoln’s rise from poverty, his ultimate mastery of language and law, his capacity to overcome personal loss and remain determined in the face of repeated defeat–in all this, he reminded me not just of my own struggles. He also reminded me of a larger, fundamental element of American life–the enduring belief that we can constantly remake ourselves to fit our larger dreams.



A connected idea attracts us to Lincoln: as we remake ourselves, we remake our surroundings. He didn’t just talk or write or theorize. He split rail, fired rifles, tried cases and pushed for new bridges and roads and waterways. In his sheer energy, Lincoln captures a hunger in us to build and to innovate. It’s a quality that can get us in trouble; we may be blind at times to the costs of progress. And yet, when I travel to other parts of the world, I remember that it is precisely such energy that sets us apart, a sense that there are no limits to the heights our nation might reach.



Still, as I look at his picture, it is the man and not the icon that speaks to me. I cannot swallow whole the view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator. As a law professor and civil rights lawyer and as an African American, I am fully aware of his limited views on race. Anyone who actually reads the Emancipation Proclamation knows it was more a military document than a clarion call for justice. Scholars tell us too that Lincoln wasn’t immune from political considerations and that his temperament could be indecisive and morose.



But it is precisely those imperfections–and the painful self-awareness of those failings etched in every crease of his face and reflected in those haunted eyes–that make him so compelling. For when the time came to confront the greatest moral challenge this nation has ever faced, this all too human man did not pass the challenge on to future generations. He neither demonized the fathers and sons who did battle on the other side nor sought to diminish the terrible costs of his war. In the midst of slavery’s dark storm and the complexities of governing a house divided, he somehow kept his moral compass pointed firm and true.



What I marvel at, what gives me such hope, is that this man could overcome depression, self-doubt and the constraints of biography and not only act decisively but retain his humanity. Like a figure from the Old Testament, he wandered the earth, making mistakes, loving his family but causing them pain, despairing over the course of events, trying to divine God’s will. He did not know how things would turn out, but he did his best.



A few weeks ago, I spoke at the commencement at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. I stood in view of the spot where Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held one of their famous debates during their race for the U.S. Senate. The only way for Lincoln to get onto the podium was to squeeze his lanky frame through a window, whereupon he reportedly remarked, “At last I have finally gone through college.” Waiting for the soon-to-be graduates to assemble, I thought that even as Lincoln lost that Senate race, his arguments that day would result, centuries later, in my occupying the same seat that he coveted. He may not have dreamed of that exact outcome.



But I like to believe he would have appreciated the irony. Humor, ambiguity, complexity, compassion–all were part of his character. And as Lincoln called once upon the better angels of our nature, I believe that he is calling still, across the ages, to summon some measure of that character, the American character, in each of us today.

From That Then To This Today:



President Obama’s Full DNC Speech: ‘I Have Never Been More Hopeful About America’


Published on Sep 6, 2012 by 

More DNC coverage:

President Barack Obama accepted the nomination and addressed the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, talking his accomplishments, goals, and the importance of the people in his job.

“You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home; why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: ‘Welcome home. Welcome home.’ You did that. You did that. You did that.”






If we ever needed to vote & vote DEMOCRATIC, we sure do need to vote DEMOCRATIC now. For us (Black America) the right to vote is not just a Constitutional matter but a right borne out of struggle, out of sacrifice and in some cases out of death. Think for a moment where we are in time and you will understand why: ”If we never ever needed to vote DEMOCRATIC, we sure do need to vote DEMOCRATIC NOW!!”


Register To Vote 


Declare Yourself & Vote 


I Want To Vote


Voter Participation Center


Can I Vote? 



Lyin Paul Ryan & Lyin UnFitt Mitt

Just Say NO To Lies In “NO”vember!



Just “BARACK” The Vote





“One A Day” Black History Month ~ Ms. Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley

By Jueseppi B.

This is the first in a daily series of Black Americans who inspire, and emulate the type of American we all should strive to become. This series is called “One A Day“, my tribute to Black History Month. In a previous article, I informed how and why Black History Month came to be, now I will inform you of 29 Black Americans you might not know. My gratitude and appreciation go to Ms. Shelley Peterson whom assisted in the gathering of these little known Black History Month subjects.

Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (February 1818 – May 1907) (sometimes spelled Keckly) was a former slave turned successful seamstress who is most notably known as being Mary Todd Lincoln‘s personal modiste and confidante, and the author of her autobiography, Behind the Scenes Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Mrs. Keckley utilized her intelligence, keen business savvy, and sewing and design skills to arrange and ultimately buy her freedom (and that of her son George as well), and later enjoyed regular business with the wives of the government elite as her base clientele.

After several years in St. Louis, she moved to Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1860. Utilizing both perseverance and an ability to ingratiate herself with those of influence, she was able to distinguish herself among notable women of society in the nation’s capitol who sought out her dressmaking skills. Among her clients were Varnia Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis, and Mary Anne Randolph Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee.

Keckly’s relationship with the President’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln was the most noteworthy as it was distinguished not only by its endurance over time but the nature of the association. A mutual respect and trust was established between the two women and Keckly was not only dressmaker to the First Lady, but an invaluable confidante to Mrs. Lincoln in times of emotional crisis.

NAME: Elizabeth Keckley (nee Elizabeth Hobbs)

BIRTH DATE: ca. 1818/9

BIRTH PLACE: Hillsborough, NC

EDUCATION: Lizzie, as she was referred to, had no formal education. She received her outstanding skills as a seamstress from her mother, who not only sewed for the Colonel’s family, but made extra money for the Colonel by sewing for his friends and acquaintances. Lizzie’s skills as a seamstress eventually helped earn her freedom and that of her son.

FAMILY BACKGROUND: Lizzie’s parents were George and Agnes Hobbs. Her father had a different master from her and her mother, and lived 100 miles from Lizzie. Lizzie’s father was allowed to visit only at Easter and Christmas. After age 7 or 8 Lizzie never saw her father again, as his master moved away, taking George with him. Lizzie was with her mother most of the time until her teenage years; then she was given to the Colonel’s son and his bride as a wedding gift. Lizzie’s skills as a seamstress were taught to her by her mother during her childhood.

Lizzie’s only child, George, was named after her father. George’s father was a friend and neighbor of the Colonel’s son. George was born through an unwanted and forced relationship. Lizzie married James Keckley in 1852 and within a few years found out he wasn’t free and was an alcoholic. Lizzie’s master had promised she could buy freedom for herself and her son after he died; but she did not have the money when he passed away. Thanks to the generosity of one of her patrons, she was loaned the $1200 she needed for their freedom.


  • While living in Baltimore, Lizzie’s first residence of freedom, she started a school for young black girls to teach them sewing and etiquette.
  • She became the personal dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln after her work on Mary’s Inaugural Ball gown pleased President and Mrs. Lincoln very much.
  • Lizzie presided over as president and founder of the first Black Contraband Relief Association.
  • She represented Wilberforce College at the 1893 Columbian World’s Exhibition in Chicago, an event that celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus‘ discovery of America.
  • Lizzie was Mary Todd Lincoln’s best friend and confidante. She seemed to be the only person who understood and tolerated Mary’s unstable temperament and sharp tongue.
  • Lizzie Keckley wrote a book, Behind the Scenes, about the life of Mary Todd Lincoln, and the happenings in the White House during Lincoln’s tenure. The book was very controversial and Mary Todd’s eldest son had the book removed from publication.

Up next…..Garrett Augustus Morgan, inventor stop light & gas mask.

Go Out On “NO”vember Sixth, Twenty Twelve & Vote Democratic. Vote For Barack Hussein Obama. Four More For Forty Four. “BARACK” The Vote.

“Disagree Intelligently, Use Facts, Truth & Common Sense.”


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