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Kind of Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: California
Member since: Fri Aug 29, 2008, 10:47 AM
Number of posts: 8,709

Journal Archives

Johnny Smythe


"Eddy Smythe reminisces about his father John who was from Sierra Leone and was proud to fly with Bomber Command. John was in service for two and half years, was shot down over Germany and became a prisoner of War for the following two years. After his release John went to London and trained as a barrister. Upon completion of his professional training, he returned to Freetown, Sierra Leonne and set up a large legal practice. One evening, John met the German ambassador at a reception: they realised they were pilots on opposing sides, and the Ambassador shot down an aircraft on exactly the same date and time when John’s aircraft was shot down. This prompted the two men to hug each other and to chat in a friendly way. Eddy adds final remarks on the value of remembrance and reconciliation."

The Africans who fought in WWI and WWII

When the major powers of Europe went to war in 1914, so too did half the globe. France and Britain controlled the world’s two largest colonial empires and were quick to draw upon their resources – and their people.

More than four million non-European, non-white soldiers and auxiliaries would serve in WW1. Over a quarter of these soldiers would end up in the battlefields of northern France and Belgium, braving a new type of industrial warfare for which they were often ill-equipped and inadequately trained. They would prove vital in holding the front lines. But the fascinating story of what played out behind the trenches is rarely told. For four years, the tented cities of the Western Front would be the setting for a world in miniature. Against the backdrop of war, soldiers also navigated the cultural battlegrounds and the no-man’s land of race relations at the dawn of the 20th Century.

Pretty thorough report and fantastic photos of all the fighting men from the colonies here http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z2bgr82

How many now recall the role of more than one million African troops? Yet they fought in the deserts of North Africa, the jungles of Burma and over the skies of Germany. A shrinking band of veterans, many now living in poverty, bitterly resent being written out of history. For Africa, World War II began not in 1939, but in 1935.

Jagama Kello, middle, left home at just 15 to fight Italian invaders

John Henry Smythe, left, read Hitler's Mein Kampf before joining the RAF

For most of the 20th century, France recruited, usually forcibly, men from its colonies in Africa fight its battles around the world. From the first world war in 1914 to the Indochina wars and Algeria’s fight for independence in the 1950s and 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Africans soldiers fought under the French flag. They were called tirailleurs, or “sharpshooters,” a name to mock their limited training. Decades later, 28 of these former soldiers were recognized in a ceremony on April 15 where they were given French citizenship. Many of them were from Senegal, a country that sent more than a third of all of its military- age men to France to fight during World War I.

A group of West African soldiers stationed at camp in Thiaroye, Senegal, mutinied in 1944, demanding equal pay and the same treatment as their French counterparts. French soldiers fired on them, killing up to 400 men. Their mass grave still hasn’t been found.

Over the past few decades, activists have gained some ground. The 2006 French film "Indigčnes," about a group of North African soldiers in France during World War II, dramatized the contributions of colonial soldiers in France’s liberation. More than half of French forces in Italy and France between 1943 and 1944 came from African colonies, and at least 40,000 died.

Rep. John Lewis's Book One.

Just attended a One Book, One San Diego Civil Rights activism panel discussion based on Rep. John Lewis's book. We're kind of new here, my 3 sisters and I swooping in to care for our ailing elderly parents and burying them one year apart. It's been 2 years since our mom's passing and 3 since my dad's death. My sisters and I decided it was time to look past our mourning and figure out how to get involved in this new place. And we weren't disappointed with the meeting! Don't know where it will lead but tonight was magical.

Black, Latino and white feminists swooping in on us with overwhelming love and welcome that I cannot describe. The most important thing to me is that these women stressed were our children. Too funny though, was one elderly white dude among all the men who introduced themselves, busted thru the throng of women saying, "I'm just an old white man and not a woman. I was a Freedom Rider back in my day and I want to thank you for coming."

My Gawd, we're still reeling with so many issues touched upon but the most important take-away for me is that the group was multi-generational focusing on our children. A young Latino activist who is an attorney said to us sisters, "I don't want our black and brown youths making it in spite of our education and judicial system." One AA woman said, "We're all about the kids. We don't care what color you are." Then called on a girl a distance away from us, saying, "Jane," not her name and a white youth, "come over here and tell them what we're about."

I'm getting weepy right now because our schedules for the next month are filled and of all the activism I've been involved in, in life, this was special because community and children came first. I'll stop now because I'm so humbled by their welcome and hate being gushy.

Groove in G, a global jam

We started this track in West Africa with a musical group named Tinariwen, Grammy Award-winning group from Mali. We asked them to play a groove in the key of G, then as we traveled the world we added more musicians to the song. Over the course of our travels, it transformed into a global jam with its roots in the blues.


Deep Blues, 1991 film

Deep Blues: A Musical Pilgrimage to the Crossroads is a British documentary film, released in 1991, and made by music critic and author Robert Palmer and documentary film maker Robert Mugge, in collaboration with David A. Stewart and his brother John J. Stewart. The film provided insight into the location, cast and characteristics of Delta blues and North Mississippi hill country blues. Filming took place in 1990 in Memphis, Tennessee, and various North Mississippi counties.[1] Theatrical release was in 1991 and home video release in the United Kingdom, the next year, as was a soundtrack album. A United States consumer edition came in 2000.[2]

Stewart initiated and financed the project, inspired by Palmer's 1981 book of the same name. Palmer provided many of the insights into the background and history of the blues, as a guide to Stewart and the film narrator.


The Plan to Sell Texas to Great Britain, with a hint of treason

In 1843, a New England lawyer almost managed to sell Texas to Great Britain. A convinced abolitionist practicing law in what was then the independent Republic of Texas, Stephen Pearl Andrews got it into his head that, in an attempt to free Texas’s slaves, he would invite a foreign power into North America and hand over a massive chunk of it. Andrews’s attempt to free Texas’s slaves by way of an invitation to foreign interference illustrates the strange bedfellows created by “the slavery question” in the nineteenth century. Andrews, in his quixotic vision, in his idealism, ambition, and occasional crankery, was an exemplary nineteenth-century American figure.

Andrews spent his late teens and early twenties teaching at a girls’ school in New Orleans opened by his brother and sister-in-law, where he was exposed to the reality of slavery. He grew close to a man named George, a slave at the Andrews’s school, who went about his work with a cheerful attitude until, one night, confiding as to the true nature of his condition. George’s reports of his own sorry treatment at the hands of his owners, from the everyday indignities to whippings, left Andrews with “a profound impression… of the tremendous power of that great national machinery of oppression, American Slavery.” That impression never left him.

In 1841, Andrews hatched a plan to make his political and moral beliefs a lived reality: He would convince Great Britain to buy up all the land in Texas on the condition that they free Texas’s slaves. The idea was not as outlandish as it might sound. In 1833, Great Britain had done something similar in abolishing slavery on its plantations in the West Indies. There, slaveholders were paid a total of $20 million sterling in recompense for their lost property, though they retained the land. And Texas had already reached across the Atlantic for economic aid. The South Carolina politician James Hamilton had recently attempted to borrow $5 million from European nations in support of Texas.

By the exchange of British money for Texas land, slaveholders could be reimbursed for the loss of their slaves and slavery could be abolished; [British] emigrants would pour into a ‘free soil territory’ and under the protection of the British flag expediency would be made to serve principle.

Obviously, Andrews failed but fascinating that this "negrophilist" was greeted by several mobs during his campaign from plantation to plantation and public meetings, included one that had a rope ready for the meddler.

More at https://daily.jstor.org/plan-sell-texas-great-britain/?utm_term=The%20Plan%20to%20Sell%20Texas%20to%20Great%20Britain&utm_campaign=jstordaily_11082018&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email

Posted by Kind of Blue | Thu Nov 8, 2018, 06:50 PM (2 replies)

Segregation is dead, how long, how violent, how expensive is the funeral

Heard a paraphrase of James Baldwin on Morning Joe. The quote comes from Baldwin's essay on the Civil Rights Movement after his meeting with MLK, titled "The Dangerous Road Before Martin Luther King."

"King is entirely right when he says that segregation is dead. The real question which faces the Republic is just how long, how violent, and how expensive the funeral is going to be; and this question it is up to the Republic to solve, it is not really in King’s hands.

So my thought is, since racism is discussed casually these days in the media, I wonder if we at least will move to real discussions of not only merely dead but how to make it really and most sincerely dead? How long?

Posted by Kind of Blue | Wed Nov 7, 2018, 11:32 AM (8 replies)

We know that the town was not named after lynching. But it's incorrect to say

that Lynchburg has nothing to do with the practice of lynching. You left out half the story that explains how the word came to be. Another confusion is that lynching did not begin as racial violence. Charles was known to be a zealot patriot and would lynch, severely beat, Tories, enslaved people and whites alike who he felt sided with Tories. There is no record, not to say it didn't happen, that anyone was executed by a beat down then known as lynching. He really couldn't execute anyone because his county was a hotbed of colonial loyalists.

Historic records show that Charles Lynch was even the first to use the verb to lynch and there was a challenge from his relative William Lynch, I think of Illinois, vying for but denied credit for coining the word because of his vigilante forays during the Revolutionary War.

Looking further back in Ireland where the family came from, there is legend that a 15th century ancestor was the first to take up the illegal practice, that some scholars say Charles probably heard. So there was no doubt of the all around association of to lynch with the Lynch family.

There are things not in question. No one indicted John Lynch and I made clear where the confusion lies. You changed the poster's suggestion of reconsidering the name of the town to whether Everyone should change their surname. What? I'll rather stay on point and not muddy the OP's news of bringing down Confederate monuments. But I felt the poster made a good point of changing the name of a town that is synonymous with cruel and unusual punishment. And had to address your claim that lynching, as it was practiced then, had nothing to do with Lynchburg, where it started, is false.
Posted by Kind of Blue | Mon Nov 5, 2018, 01:50 PM (1 replies)

Don't fall for the bullshit why Lynchburg is aptly named

In response to https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142193720

"Sorry, the name has EVERYTHING to do with the term lynching.

While John Lynch did free enslaved people during his lifetime, though the captives were returned to slavery after his death, and as compelling as that story is, the most important story to me is we cannot escape the fact that the term is directly linked to his brother Charles Lynch, Jr., a great "patriot," who started this specific practice of extra-judicial authority and the originator of the term lynching/Lynch Law. Google him if you care to know more.

Dig a little deeper, connect the dots for why any fallacy or truths linger to help stop regressive, On Edit, progressive whitewashing. "We're" liberated from the King of England but continue the practice of slavery long after the British gave it up. "Defeat" the Confederacy but enact Jim Crowe till this day. "Defeat" the Nazis and veer to McCarthyism. "Defeat" the Russians in the Cold War but now we have a government that is basically Checkist, clearly fascists-mother loving Russia as the last hope of white supremacy. And here, you dismiss the valid point of even name change by promoting the cool Lynch brother over his cruel Lynch sibling who started this, for lack of a better word right now because I'm too angry and overwrought, Bullshit.

As in my indigenous African proverb says, and I agree with Giuliani's assessment about truths from a while ago, "There are no truths. Just stories," which story do you adhere to in this struggle to remove ideology that took a war to defeat but still is beyond a doubt the prevailing "truth?"

Please, people, correct me if I'm wrong. I'm willing to learn.

The term of Lynch Law


Posted by Kind of Blue | Mon Nov 5, 2018, 01:04 AM (2 replies)

Bill Evans-Peace Piece/Flamenco Sketches

Hello, Music Appreciation people! I'm loving perusing this group. Thank you!

This weekend I'll watch a new documentary about the late great master Bill Evans, Time Remembered, at Amazon. I was overjoyed a few years ago to learn more of Evans and find that his Peace Piece preceded Miles Davis's Flamenco Sketches, from the Kind of Blue album - one of the most, if not the most moving music I've ever heard.

I'm particularly interested in more stories/info on the development of Flamenco Sketches from Peace Piece.


Posted by Kind of Blue | Fri Nov 2, 2018, 07:52 AM (0 replies)
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