(Atlanta) “Maynard” Film Screening

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(Atlanta) Things to do, 4/14 & 4/22 – “Maynard” Film Screening

Maynard Jackson III, the only son of Maynard Jackson Jr (first Black mayor of Atlanta) has spent the past two years working to produce a film about his father. Maynard III and wife Wendy Eley Jackson are cofounders of Auburn Avenue Films. The two secured the support of director Sam Pollard, who has edited and directed a number of Spike Lee’s documentaries. Pollard had one requirement, he needed and was given full creative control.

Audio recordings of Maynard Jackson which were stored at Emory University, were used to inform the film. The film also incorporates Maynard Jackson Jr ephemera, interviews with Andrew Young, Kasim Reed and all 5 of Maynard Jrs children.

Link to Atlanta Magazine Article

Bill H.R. 4856 Will Bring a Statue of Shirley Chisholm to the U.S. Capitol

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Photo Afro.com

On Jan 19 2018 Congressional Bill H.R. 4856 was introduced by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY)

“The bill requires the Joint Committee on the Library to enter into an agreement to obtain a statue of Shirley Chisholm.” Currently there are no statues of past African-American members of Congress contained in the National Statuary Hall Collection. There is a statue of Rosa Parks and a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune is on its way

Today, I will sit down to interview a young lady, Florida native and the first woman to be ranked as no. 1 on HBCU Digest’s Top 30 under 30 list, about her role in seeing that H.R. 4856 was introduced.

Exhibit “Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-Ins” – National Museum of American History

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“The Cutting Edge of Public History: New Directions in Interpretation” Conference got its start at the National Museum of American History.

Pictured is an exhibit, commemorating the Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-Ins. In photograph 2, you may notice that the mirror which also doubles as a media player, captures the reflection of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Out of 120,000 square feet in the American History Museum, the lunch counter and accompanying mirror managed to find itself in a space that incorporates neighboring building National Museum of African American History and Culture in its narrative.

Do you think this was strategic exhibit planning or coincidence?

Via outline.com “ Say Goodbye to Your Happy Plantation Narrative”

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Photos by Zoe Beery

Full Story Via Outline.com

Pictured is Cheyney McKnight, an Atlanta native and founder of interpretation company, “Not Your Momma’s History”. Raised in a home that encouraged her to learn everything from Civil Rights to the Great Migration, McKnight would eventually go on to attain a political science degree from Simmons College.

Immediately after, she spent 3-years of independent study, traveling to archives and historical sites in NY, VA and Pennsylvania. Then she started participating in Living History Re-enactments, which can be defined as a portrayal of everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, and medical care from a particular historical period. Her first re-enactment was during the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. She portrayed a 22 year-old freewoman of color

McKnight is committed to influencing diversity in Living History interpretations. She recognizes the voice it can lend to contemporary movements such as Black Lives Matter.

Today, there is a small representation of Black Living Historians and she is committed to changing that. She is confident that in 10 years she will not be the only one doing this forecasting, “there will be 20 black women living historians just in New York” alone.

Raw Footage: H. Khalif Khalifa and the Nat Turner Library

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In November of 2017, I interviewed Mr. Richard Stewart, owner and operator of Petersburg Virginia’s Pocahontas Island Black History Museum. During that time, he asked had I heard of neighboring cultural site, “Nat Turner Land”. I hadn’t. A couple of days after that interview, while spending time with one of my mentors in D.C., he shared that he and a large group of people had just gotten back from visiting “Nat Turner Land”. I knew it was a must for me to place the site on my “Places to Document” list.

In January of this year, as I was traveling from Atlanta for a 3-month stay in D.C., I stopped for an overnight rest in Virginia. The next morning, I looked up “Nat Turner Land” and made an impromptu phone call, to see if I could stop in for a visit and a brief recorded Q&A. To my surprise the site’s founder, Baba H. Khalif Khalifah, said yes and we coordinated a good time for me to stop by. I went expecting to document the history of the landscape. That did not happen. Instead, left having documented something equally as valuable.

H. Khalif Khalifa (Master Printer)

My interview with H. Khalif Khalifa founder of United Brothers Communications Systems (UBCS) introduced me to the inner workings of book publishing and distribution. This resulted in over an hour of documented recordings, which can be viewed in the link above. The interview is raw and unedited. Still, it is a strong resource. Viewers will one, learn just how book publishing and distribution works and cases how it does not work. Secondly, there is an opportunity for enterprising individuals to learn about the ecosystem created by a collective of entrepreneurs, working the streets of New York, the books they sold and what became of their lives after that period in time.

H. Khalif Khalifa had a vision to create a consolidated publishing/distribution house, seeking to establish partnerships with black people “with means”. At first, no one signed on to support him. In time, a gentleman by the name of “Luther” of New York, reached out and offered to act as UBCS’s distributor. Luther had no interest in identifying literary works for print, writing or printing. He simply wanted to create channels of distribution. Khalifa on the other hand was interested in such work and had been doing so even before his dealings with Luther. So, once the two started working together that is what Khalifa continued to do.

According to Khalifa, Luther “developed a means to get them [self-published books] distributed…what he did was set up vending tables on the street, throughout New York City.” Mr. Khalifa said his career has proven that if you can get Black Literature to the marketplace, Black people and others bought it. This added value to the Black community because white bookstore owners would often times purchase a single order of Black literature, sell it, and not restock. This became a disadvantage to the Black community because they were unable to get their hands on previously written materials such as Carter G. Woodson’s “The Mis-Education of the Negro” in addition to the more recent titles being written at that time.

Luther’s business model can be described as having vendors come to him daily, to get a selection of books on consignment. These vendors were not required to pay any upfront costs. Vendors would return the next day, satisfy related costs from the day prior, then get another order of books to sell. He did the same for black bookstores, “he told bookstores if they would give the books shelf space, he would supply the books.” No down payment or upfront costs needed. Khalifa expressed his reservations about this to Luther. Stating it that “was a bad business move.” Khalifa shared that he had seen where Black bookstores would sell books, profit, then restock by going to a competitor. [Sidenote: I wish I would have asked why they would have went to a competitor. Was it pricing? Also, did they at least satisfy any outstanding payments with Luther before doing so?] Yet, Luther’s vision actually worked for a long period of time.

It wasn’t until Luther left New York to spearhead an operation in Chicago, leaving the New York business in the care of his brother, that the NY distribution operation began to fail. Khalifa shared that Luther did not take his advice when he suggested that Luther purchase a brownstone in New York to establish his own brick and mortar. Instead, Luther’s brother took the operation to another side of town, resulting in $14,000 a month in overhead costs, eventually leading to the collapse of the New York distribution business. Luther was able to continue operating in Chicago.

H. Khalif Khalifa, Re-Establishes Family and Business in Virginia

The Nat Turner Library which is located in Dreweryville, VA has served as a repository of information for the liberation of Black people. Khalifa says he doesn’t know anyone who sells more books about Nat Turner than him. He has written three, himself. He also sells books written about Nat Turner by other people. After reading William Styron’s Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond which was a response to Syron’s The Confession of Nat Turner, Khalifa affirmed two things. One, he would someday meet John Henrik Clark who had edited William Styron’s Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond, he also committed his life as a Master Printer, to the sole production of Black literature. He achieved both.

“Nat Turner Land” will celebrate its anniversary on April 28th, 2018. Festivities are planned. I encourage you to visit. For whatever reason, Mr. Khalifa did not share much about the historical significance of his property with me the day I met with him. Nor, did he go into detail about the tours and festivities that take place there Year after Year. Honestly, I don’t think I even realized the value and depth of our conversation until spending time alone with the recorded materials. Nat Turner Library and the story of Baba H. Khalif Khalifah drips black, Red, and green. Each droplet prepared to quench the thirst of the minds and hearts of those looking to learn more about Black Liberation.

My goal is to revisit “Nat Turner Land” whose actually name is Khalifah Kujichagulia Village to gather details about its history and public programming, within the year.

Via Washingtonian Magazine “Sorry You Can’t Go to This Amazing Secret Museum in Bethesda”

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Washingtonian Magazine recently ran a story titled, “Sorry You Can’t Go to This Amazing Secret Museum in Bethesda”

This photo, shot by photographer Jeff Elkins, is of historian and author Al-Tony Gilmore. He is standing in front of event posters that he found in an Ohio junk shop. Gilmore has curated an invitation only museum dedicated to African American history.

Over the past few decades he has collected and filled his Bethesda Maryland home with over 7000 one of a kind treasures including “vintage movie posters, and important correspondence from black politicians and public figures.”