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Kind of Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: California
Member since: Fri Aug 29, 2008, 09:47 AM
Number of posts: 8,568

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Letter from a Region in My Mind - James Baldwin

From 1962: "Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves."

Long read here and the article itself but Baldwin's processing is invaluable.



"I underwent, during the summer that I became fourteen, a prolonged religious crisis. I use the word “religious” in the common, and arbitrary, sense, meaning that I then discovered God, His saints and angels, and His blazing Hell. And since I had been born in a Christian nation, I accepted this Deity as the only one. I supposed Him to exist only within the walls of a church—in fact, of our church—and I also supposed that God and safety were synonymous. The word “safety” brings us to the real meaning of the word “religious” as we use it. Therefore, to state it in another, more accurate way, I became, during my fourteenth year, for the first time in my life, afraid—afraid of the evil within me and afraid of the evil without. What I saw around me that summer in Harlem was what I had always seen; nothing had changed. But now, without any warning, the whores and pimps and racketeers on the Avenue had become a personal menace. It had not before occurred to me that I could become one of them, but now I realized that we had been produced by the same circumstances. Many of my comrades were clearly headed for the Avenue, and my father said that I was headed that way, too. My friends began to drink and smoke, and embarked—at first avid, then groaning—on their sexual careers.

Every Negro boy—in my situation during those years, at least—who reaches this point realizes, at once, profoundly, because he wants to live, that he stands in great peril and must find, with speed, a “thing,” a gimmick, to lift him out, to start him on his way. And it does not matter what the gimmick is. It was this last realization that terrified me and—since it revealed that the door opened on so many dangers—helped to hurl me into the church. And, by an unforeseeable paradox, it was my career in the church that turned out, precisely, to be my gimmick.

He does not know what the boundary is, and he can get no explanation of it, which is frightening enough, but the fear he hears in the voices of his elders is more frightening still. The fear that I heard in my father’s voice, for example, when he realized that I really believed I could do anything a white boy could do, and had every intention of proving it, was not at all like the fear I heard when one of us was ill or had fallen down the stairs or strayed too far from the house. It was another fear, a fear that the child, in challenging the white world’s assumptions, was putting himself in the path of destruction. He reacts to the fear in his parents’ voices because his parents hold up the world for him and he has no protection without them. I defended myself, as I imagined, against the fear my father made me feel by remembering that he was very old-fashioned. Also, I prided myself on the fact that I already knew how to outwit him. To defend oneself against a fear is simply to insure that one will, one day, be conquered by it; fears must be faced. As for one’s wits, it is just not true that one can live by them—not, that is, if one wishes really to live. That summer, in any case, all the fears with which I had grown up, and which were now a part of me and controlled my vision of the world, rose up like a wall between the world and me, and drove me into the church.

God had come a long way from the desert—but then so had Allah, though in a very different direction. God, going north, and rising on the wings of power, had become white, and Allah, out of power, and on the dark side of Heaven, had become—for all practical purposes, anyway—black. Thus, in the realm of morals the role of Christianity has been, at best, ambivalent. Even leaving out of account the remarkable arrogance that assumed that the ways and morals of others were inferior to those of Christians, and that they therefore had every right, and could use any means, to change them, the collision between cultures—and the schizophrenia in the mind of Christendom—had rendered the domain of morals as chartless as the sea once was, and as treacherous as the sea still is. It is not too much to say that whoever wishes to become a truly moral human being (and let us not ask whether or not this is possible; I think we must believe that it is possible) must first divorce himself from all the prohibitions, crimes, and hypocrisies of the Christian church. If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him."

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1962/11/17/letter-from-a-region-in-my-mind?mbid=nl_Daily%20112518&CNDID=24484742&utm_source=nl&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20112518&utm_content=&utm_brand=tny&utm_mailing=Daily%20112518&hasha=2607eea3ca1bbd147d8f65fbe895cfcb&hashb=cbf08ce5eb3fb01a69828e9a5295ea78f5f022e3&spMailingID=14678164&spUserID=MTMzMTgyNTMxODYxS0&spJobID=1521940769&spReportId=MTUyMTk0MDc2OQS2

Eden Ahbez - Nature Boy

eden ahbez — who insisted that his name be spelled without capital letters, claiming that only “God” and “Infinity” and “Love” were worthy of capitalization — might have been one of the first hippies in California, but he is probably even better known, even if you didn’t know his name, for writing “Nature Boy,”one most enduring pop ballads of the last sixty-plus years. Visit the website of the filmmaker here for an upcoming documentary on ahbez https://bcxists.wordpress.com

Sources on just about everything in his life differ, in fact, but we do know that ahbez eventually ended up in Los Angeles in 1941, where around the age of 33 years or so, he got a job playing piano at the Eutropheon, a health food/raw food restaurant on Laurel Canyon, owned by John and Vera Richter, from Fargo, North Dakota.

John Richter known in the greater L.A. area for his lectures about the German Naturmensch and Lebensreform life-reform philosophy, a kind of Easter religion type of lifestyle that encouraged the eating of health food (mostly raw fruits and vegetables), and only taking alternative medicine when needed, being liberated and naked (whenever possible — otherwise, they usually wore sandals and flowing white robes), having an open-minded and voracious sexual appetite (some of them were bi-sexual too), wearing their hair long and growing their beards long too, and living as close to nature as possible.

When Cole heard the song, he loved its haunting melody, somber harmonics and mystical lyrics, and he started performing it at his concerts. However, when it came time to record and release the song, a problem arose. No one had any idea how to get in touch with ahbez to get his permission to release the first recorded version of the song. In fact, nobody in the music business seemed to know who ahez was, and he certainly wasn’t listed in the phone book.
http://nightflight.com/meet-nature-boy-eden-ahbez-the-first-california-hippie/







Miriam Makeba - Pata Pata (Live 1967)

How I'd been feeling the last 2 years: Mission: Impossible - Lalo Schifrin & BBC Bigband

AHMAD JAMAL, Arabesque

Ahmad Jamal is still with us. Poinciana - Olympia Paris - LIVE

My parents had Mr. Jamal's At the Pershing in their album collection. I was not only entranced by his take on the Great Nat King Cole's Poinciana but I loved the sounds of people in the background at The Pershing. And to see him in recent years, live, my husband had to hold me back from rushing the stage.



These Kids respect the classics

Take Five. I've been missing Al Jarreau so much today.

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Johnny Smythe

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"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







WWII
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.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8344170.stm


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



2010
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 "Indigènes," 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.
https://qz.com/africa/960851/france-gives-citizenship-and-full-pensions-to-african-soldiers-who-fought-its-20-century-wars/



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