Abraham Lincoln

Recent Articles

Over 100,000 Black parents are now homeschooling their children

 

 

 

By Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu
Guest Commentator

We hear so much about the plight of Black children and their low test scores. We have not heard that African American children who are homeschooled are scoring at the 82 percent in reading and 77 percent in math. This is 30-40 percent above their counterparts being taught in school. There is a 30 percent racial gap in schools, but there is no racial gap in reading if taught in the home and only a five percent gap in math. What explains the success of African American students being taught by their parents? Continue Reading →

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Shá Cage brings the story of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly to Park Square Theatre

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

Shá Cage has emerged as one of the Twin Cities’ most powerful proponents for strengthening the image and celebrating the hearts and souls of Black women. The accomplished actor, performance artist and spoken-wordsmith began this initiative in the late ‘90s, co-founding the still regrettably unsung MaMA mOsAiC, Minnesota’s first ensemble of color projecting women’s consciousness. Cage reflects, in an MSR interview of few years back, “Signe Harriday, Jeany Park and I founded [it], which was the beginning of my professional career as one who creates theatre for, by and about women and aimed at employing women behind the scenes.”

These days, lauded by no less a personage than Cornel West as “inspiring and evocative,” there is nothing unsung about anything she does from projecting consciousness to heading up the internationally renowned Minnesota Spoken Word Association with husband e.g. bailey, a venerated artist in his own right; to acting at prestigious venues like Mixed Blood Theatre, Intermedia Arts and, currently, Park Square, where she continues her commitment in the cast of Tazewell Thompson’s Mary T. & Lizzy K.

Mary T. & Lizzy K. looks at the friendship between Abraham Lincoln’s wife and her seamstress, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly, a freed slave who, it turns out, did a great deal more in life than put pretty clothes on Mary Todd Lincoln. Shá Cage plays Elizabeth Keckly. Asked what she finds most rewarding about portraying Keckly, she says, “I appreciate that this plays makes room for [her] story to be told. Continue Reading →

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When good people essentially do nothing

Power, politics, and policy and the influence they have over African American people
 

Abraham Lincoln once stated, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” I say nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, educate him on the tools needed to empower his people and watch to see what he does with it! In the 1920s, African American neighborhoods all over the United States were in vogue. Jazz artists such as Jelly Roll Morton, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington were soothing the souls of Americans everywhere. Harlem, New York was experiencing what we now call the “Harlem Renaissance Era.” Great literature, art, poetry, music, and Black-owned businesses filled the streets of Harlem. Black folks had taken their claim to America despite the race tensions, and business was good! Continue Reading →

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Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

 

This January 1 marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The original purpose for the document core to President Abraham Lincoln’s presidency may have been to free slaves, or it may have been solely a strategic move to decimate the Confederate troops’ stronghold in the South and win the Civil War. Its purpose was probably a little bit of both. Regardless of Lincoln’s intent, my ancestors named the day of Lincoln’s signing of this historic document Jubilee Day. Many African Americans continue to celebrate Jubilee Day with a New Year’s Eve church service called “Watch Night Service.”

I grew up in the tradition. Continue Reading →

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Spielberg’s Lincoln begs the question: Where is Fred?

 

 

By Marc Morial

Guest Commentator

 

“If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning.” — Frederick Douglass. No doubt many of you will take the opportunity during the holiday break to see the movie Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s much-acclaimed dramatization of Abraham Lincoln’s determined and ultimately successful 1865 fight for the passage of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery. I came away from the movie impressed with its gripping depiction of the legislative maneuvering and horse-trading that Lincoln employed to win passage of the amendment. However, I am concerned that the movie leaves the false impression that the fight to end slavery was waged solely by White men in Washington and White (as well as a few Black) soldiers on the battlefield. Continue Reading →

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Lincoln, the movie: What’s missing?

By Gary L. Flowers

Guest Commentator

 

“‘Negro History’ is the missing segment of world history.” — Carter G. Woodson

Carter G. Woodson was right when he essentially said that Black history is the missing pages of world history. Never was such so true than in the movie Lincoln. While I, as a “weekend historian,” was impressed by Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of the 16th president of the United States, my knowledge of history begged questions: “Why were Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman not portrayed or mentioned?” or “Why was the ancient Egyptian mathematical formula attributed to the Greek mathematician Euclid?”

The movie Lincoln is politically presidential, yet porous on people who influenced the end of the American Civil War. The holes in the Steven Spielberg’s epic film are rooted in Hollywood’s tendency to omit key historical personalities and events from biopics. History reminds us that Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth all played significant roles in the American Civil War, and thus in the decisions of President Lincoln. Continue Reading →

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