Tag Archives: black history

Black History: Million Man March

Million Man March, 1995

On October 1995, over a million black men gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Million Man March, organized and led by Minister Louis Farrakhan in order to declare their right to justice to atone for their failure as men, and to accept responsibility as head of the family. The Million Man March is one of the largest demonstrations of its kind in the capital’s history. On that day, many black men stood there for 10 hoummmrs fasting and praying together creating a spirit of unity, brotherhood, and love. There were no fights or arrests that day. People around the world watched and participated in the fasting as well. On that day, the world saw a vastly different picture of black men in America. The world saw black men demonstrating the willingness to shoulder the responsibility of improving themselves and the community. As a result of the March, around 1.7 million Black men registered to vote and organizational memberships including churches, mosques, and the NAACP skyrocketed.The National Association of Black Social Workers reported a flood of 13,000 applications to adopt Black children as well.

Its success also spurred the organization of a Million Woman March, which took place in 1997 in Philadelphia.

Black History: Brown v Board of Education

The verdict of the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson held that segregated public facilities were constitutional as long as the black and white facilities were equal to each other. As a result of this, large portions of the United States had racially segregated schools. This started to change with the verdict made on May 17, 1954 with the case of Brown v. Board of Education, where the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution.brown v BE
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Atu on Rochester’s Black History

As we now celebrate Black History Month, here is a reflection of a hometown establishment that was celebratory of African American culture 365 days a year.

In 1986, then married couple Gerald Chaka, a member of the black cultural nationalist US Organization & Terry Chaka, a Rochester native and visual artist, opened Rochester, New York’s first Afrocentric bookstore and art gallery called Kitabu Kingdom. Kitabu is the Swahili word for book.

The significance of the grand opening of the store in 1986 is that it was the same year that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed as a national holiday.

Kitabu Kingdom sold African American books, original fine art, collectibles from Africa, Afrocentric fashions and provided custom framing services. The store also served as an African American community center where they put on African Fashion Shows, Drumming Classes, Kwanzaa celebrations and various special events with prominent African American artists, poets, authors, designers and activists to raise cultural consciousness and pride. Additionally, Kitabu Kingdom provided African American children’s books and workshops to the city school district, helping to get multi-cultural education into the educational curriculum.

As one of the largest African American owned bookstores in the nation, Kitabu Kingdom became a hub for raising Afrocentric awareness in western New York. It first opened on Genesee Street and later expanded by popular demand to a two story building on Thurston Road. The store eventually closed after a decade of being in business.

Written by Atu

Black History: Claudette Colvin

Claudette Colvin was born on September 5, 1939, in Montgomery, Alabama. claudette colvinMonths before Rosa Parks, in 1955, at the young at of 15 years old, Claudette Colvin stood up against segregation when a bus driver told her to give up her seat to a white passenger. In an interview Colvin said that she felt compelled to stand her ground stating, “I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, ‘Sit down girl!’ I was glued to my seat.” In 1956, Claudette Colvin became one of the four plaintiffs in the Browder v. Gayle case. The decision from the case ruled that Montgomery’s segregated bus system was unconstitutional.