Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day

Labor Day was founded after the Pullman Strike of 1894, when President Cleveland was hoping to gain political allyship by honoring railroad workers. However, the story about the involvement of the Black Pullman porters in the labor movement is not always told.

“Pullman porters were black men who worked in the train cars attending to their mostly white passengers, performing such tasks as shining shoes, carrying bags, and janitorial services. During this period, this profession was the largest employer of blacks in the nation and constituted a significant portion of the Pullman company’s workforce…”

-Theodore R. Johnson

Despite Black porters being a significant part of the Pullman’s workforce, they were not allowed to strike and were also denied access to the labor union.

This led Black railroad workers to form their own union, the Brotherhood of the Sleeping Car Porters, which was the first Black union in America. A. Philip Randolph was the first president of the union, and he was also the brains behind the first March on Washington. The march ended up being called off after President Roosevelt met with Randolph and other Civil Rights leaders. The event was canceled because President Roosevelt signed an order “barring racial discrimination in the federal defense industry.”

This was a major win for Randolph and other Civil Rights activists, as it allowed many Black people to get employed in industries that they were barred from. It would not have happened if it were not for Black workers fighting for equality in the workforce.

While folks are enjoying their Labor Day holiday, let’s make sure we pay homage to those who fought for us to enjoy the day with family and friends.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Happy Birthday

What a time it has been.
These last 8 years have been nothing short of change.
When collectively we came together as one and focused on what was not best for "I" but what was best for "US". 
"US" meaning "We the people". (LoL!! I can hear my friend John right now starting one of his many rants with those particular words.)

I watched a clip of local retired Minister/Civil Rights Activist Paul McDaniel last night on our local news station. He spoke about being  a young man and attending Morehouse College with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  While highlighting all the phenomenal things that Rev. McDaniel has done, the one thing that stuck out the most for me is when he stated that he wishes Dr. King could have seen all the work that he had done was not in vain. The main statement that struck a cord was "Now no one would look at a black child and laugh because they said they wanted to be President of the United States." I remember how people would laugh at any black kid for wanting to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Dentist, and of course President. Outside of the entertainment industry a lot of things weren't considered realistic for black kids. Now, the highest level of office in this country is to be added to the list of our accomplishments and continued aspirations. 

I thought about how my great grandmother felt when she not only got out to vote for President Obama but when she watched his inauguration on TV. To think that at one time the mindset of our people in this country could not move past the conditions and the institution of slavery. Those who were taken away from their respective countries and continent to be brought to a strange land and be put through years of torture and be the primary target of inequality. What we have had the opportunity to witness, they probably couldn't have imagined it. .but it happened.

There are many Black First embedded in the fabric that is America. Even though my views are different regarding the experience and what we have made our lives to be here "in spite of" I feel that each person of African descent (Black, African American, Black American, etc.) should take pride in all we have done for this country.

Far from the some of the successes of the Obama administration, the greatest impact for me was to see a woman that looked like me as the "First Lady". How I wish the women before me could look and be proud of her poise, intelligence, and life. 

We will say goodbye to one of the greatest first families this week (along with the Biden's). However, today we celebrate Michelle Obama's last birthday as our First Lady. It has been nothing short of an inspiration and motivation. Meeting her is one of the great moments I've had in my life. I know that her work won't stop and she will continue to inspire us each day. I thank you Mrs. Obama for giving all of us the best of you. How you never forgot where she came from and showed us it was ok to be from around the way!! How you always showed the upmost empathy for those in need. How you put the health of children and all American's first. How you held your head high no matter what others had to say about you. How you stood your ground for what was simply right at all times. How you were transparent. How you simply just made each and every brown girl proud to be BROWN!! How you made us dream bigger. How you gave us hope. How you simply reminded us that no matter where we are in life or where we come from, it's never to late to be great. 

To all my Sistah's out there. .Don't forget to ROCK your pearls today!!

Happy Birthday First Lady!!
We love and Thank You!!

The Sophisticate Chronicles
IG: @SophisticateChronicles
Facebook: /TheSophisticateChronicles