Greater Phoenix Urban League College Prep

Today we remember:  44 years ago on this day, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  From The King Center:

During the less than 13 years of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership of the modern American Civil Rights Movement, from December, 1955 until April 4, 1968, African Americans achieved more genuine progress toward racial equality in America than the previous 350 years had produced. Dr. King is widely regarded as America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history.

Drawing inspiration from both his Christian faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950’s and ‘60s to achieve legal equality for African-Americans in the United States. While others were advocating for freedom by “any means necessary,” including violence, Martin Luther King, Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance, such as protests, grassroots organizing, and civil disobedience to achieve seemingly-impossible goals. He went on to lead similar campaigns against poverty and international conflict, always maintaining fidelity to his principles that men and women everywhere, regardless of color or creed, are equal members of the human family.

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speechNobel Peace Prize lecture and“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” are among the most revered orations and writings in the English language. His accomplishments are now taught to American children of all races, and his teachings are studied by scholars and students worldwide. He is the only non-president to have a national holiday dedicated in his honor, and is the only non-president memorialized on the Great Mall in the nation’s capitol. He is memorialized in hundreds of statues, parks, streets, squares, churches and other public facilities around the world as a leader whose teachings are increasingly-relevant to the progress of humankind.

Some of Dr. King’s most important achievements include:

  • In 1955, he was recruited to serve as spokesman for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was a campaign by the African-American population of Montgomery, Alabama to force integration of the city’s bus lines. After 381 days of nearly universal participation by citizens of the black community, many of whom had to walk miles to work each day as a result, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in transportation was unconstitutional.
  • In 1957, Dr. King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization designed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. He would serve as head of the SCLC until his assassination in 1968, a period during which he would emerge as the most important social leader of the modern American civil rights movement.
  • In 1963, he led a coalition of numerous civil rights groups in a nonviolent campaign aimed at Birmingham, Alabama, which at the time was described as the “most segregated city in America.” The subsequent brutality of the city’s police, illustrated most vividly by television images of young blacks being assaulted by dogs and water hoses, led to a national outrage resulting in a push for unprecedented civil rights legislation. It was during this campaign that Dr. King drafted the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the manifesto of Dr. King’s philosophy and tactics, which is today required-reading in universities worldwide.
  • Later in 1963, Dr. King was one of the driving forces behind the March for Jobs and Freedom, more commonly known as the “March on Washington,” which drew over a quarter-million people to the national mall. It was at this march that Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which cemented his status as a social change leader and helped inspire the nation to act on civil rights. Dr. King was later named Time magazine’s “Man of the Year.”
  • In 1964, at 35 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. His acceptance speech in Oslo is thought by many to be among the most powerful remarks ever delivered at the event, climaxing at one point with the oft-quoted phrase “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”
  • Also in 1964, partly due to the March on Washington, Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act, essentially eliminating legalized racial segregation in the United States. The legislation made it illegal to discriminate against blacks or other minorities in hiring, public accommodations, education or transportation, areas which at the time were still very segregated in many places.
  • The next year, 1965, Congress went on to pass the Voting Rights Act, which was an equally-important set of laws that eliminated the remaining barriers to voting for African-Americans, who in some locales had been almost completely disenfranchised. This legislation resulted directly from the Selma to Montgomery, AL March for Voting Rights lead by Dr. King.
  • Between 1965 and 1968, Dr. King shifted his focus toward economic justice – which he highlighted by leading several campaigns in Chicago, Illinois – and international peace – which he championed by speaking out strongly against the Vietnam War. His work in these years culminated in the “Poor Peoples Campaign,” which was a broad effort to assemble a multiracial coalition of impoverished Americans who would advocate for economic change.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s less than thirteen years of nonviolent leadership ended abruptly and tragically on April 4th, 1968, when he was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King’s body was returned to his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, where his funeral ceremony was attended by high-level leaders of all races and political stripes.
  • Later in 1968, Dr. King’s wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, officially founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which she dedicated to being a “living memorial” aimed at continuing Dr. King’s work on important social ills around the world.

post by educationalrap

Today’s #musicbreak comes from one of the best motivational education-related rap songs to ever be released: “I Can,” the second single off of Nas’s 2002 album God’s Son. Oh you don’t know Nas? Sounds like a personal problem! Get familiar

And just for fun to be thorough, here’s a link to the song you hear at the very beginning of the video (another one of our favorites): James Brown’s “The Boss,” off the soundtrack of the 1973 blaxploitation film “Black Caesar.” 

We appreciate a historical twitter account! @WEB_DuBois tweeted: “I’m 144 today! Here I am on my 70th in 1938 with all my friends and family at Atlanta University.” 

To some, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois (pronounced duh-BOYZ) is the father of American sociology. His most widely-known work is the 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk. One of the most striking observations he makes in that book is how one’s consciousness is shaped by discrimination, segregation, and racism. Recalling a time when, as a child, his Valentine was rejected by a young white girl, he says:

it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads. Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the words I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine. But they should not keep these prizes, I said; some, all, I would wrest from them. Just how I would do it I could never decide: by reading law, by healing the sick, by telling the wonderful tales that swam in my head, — some way. With other black boys the strife was not so fiercely sunny: their youth shrunk into tasteless sycophancy, or into silent hatred of the pale world about them and mocking distrust of everything white; or wasted itself in a bitter cry, Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house? 

Later in the same chapter, DuBois goes on to define “double consciousness” - an idea that is key to understanding social, racial, and economic stratification, or separation, in our society. It is 

double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

Do you feel at times that you cannot think about how you view yourself without first thinking about how others view you? This is double consciousness, and it’s an idea that does not only apply to American citizens of African descent who call themselves “black people.”  

DuBois is one of our favorite modern thinkers because his philosophies evolved over time. Click here to read more of DuBois’s classic work, The Souls of Black Folk, and read about his life and legacy. 

We appreciate a historical twitter account! @WEB_DuBois tweeted: “I’m 144 today! Here I am on my 70th in 1938 with all my friends and family at Atlanta University.” 

To some, Dr. W.E.B. DuBois (pronounced duh-BOYZ) is the father of American sociology. His most widely-known work is the 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk. One of the most striking observations he makes in that book is how one’s consciousness is shaped by discrimination, segregation, and racism. Recalling a time when, as a child, his Valentine was rejected by a young white girl, he says:

it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness that I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil. I had thereafter no desire to tear down that veil, to creep through; I held all beyond it in common contempt, and lived above it in a region of blue sky and great wandering shadows. That sky was bluest when I could beat my mates at examination-time, or beat them at a foot-race, or even beat their stringy heads. Alas, with the years all this fine contempt began to fade; for the words I longed for, and all their dazzling opportunities, were theirs, not mine. But they should not keep these prizes, I said; some, all, I would wrest from them. Just how I would do it I could never decide: by reading law, by healing the sick, by telling the wonderful tales that swam in my head, — some way. With other black boys the strife was not so fiercely sunny: their youth shrunk into tasteless sycophancy, or into silent hatred of the pale world about them and mocking distrust of everything white; or wasted itself in a bitter cry, Why did God make me an outcast and a stranger in mine own house? 

Later in the same chapter, DuBois goes on to define “double consciousness” - an idea that is key to understanding social, racial, and economic stratification, or separation, in our society. It is 

double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twoness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

Do you feel at times that you cannot think about how you view yourself without first thinking about how others view you? This is double consciousness, and it’s an idea that does not only apply to American citizens of African descent who call themselves “black people.”  

DuBois is one of our favorite modern thinkers because his philosophies evolved over time. Click here to read more of DuBois’s classic work, The Souls of Black Folk, and read about his life and legacy

from Detroit Red to Malcolm X to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz 
Today in Black History: February 9

joeacollege:

On Feb 9, 1953: Ralph Ellison wins the National Book Award for his bestselling book, Invisible Man.

The novel addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans in the early twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marxism, and the reformist racial policies of Booker T. Washington, as well as issues of individuality and personal identity.

THIS IS ONE OF OUR FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME! Don’t underestimate it. Find a room full of light bulbs, put on some jazz and read it! Click here to learn why Ralph Ellison is an “American Master.” 

Click here to read a letter from an ex-slave. 

Click here to read a letter from an ex-slave

#localmusicbreak!

Check out this track, “Did You Forget (Black History Dedication)" by BlaYne R featuring Mel Man. GPUL College Prep is happy to support South Mountain High School Alumnus,* BlaYne  Rutledge!  

Like what you hear? Check out BlaYne’s soundcloud page here

*fun grammar fact: When referring to one male graduate, use the term “alumnus.” When referring to one female graduate, use the term “alumna.” Use “alumni” when referring to a group of graduates, regardless of gender. 

For today’s #musicbreak, let’s honor American composer Duke Ellington  (1899-1974) by watching this video of him and his orchestra performing the classic “Take the A Train,” composed in 1939.  For more information about the life and legacy of this legendary musician, check out this profile of the Duke’s life on biography.com and these resources from psb.org. Learn something you can celebrate! 

Duke Ellington

You may know that today marks the start of Black History Month, but do you know why it is in February? Resist the urge to joke that it is because February is the shortest month!
The reason we celebrate Black History Month in February is because its founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) started it as “Negro History Week” in 1926. He organized the celebration to coordinate with the birthdays of abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. 
Read Dr. Woodson’s most famous work, published in 1933, The Mis-Education of the Negro here and be sure to check out this study guide from King’s Academies. 
Click here to read more about Carter G. Woodson and the inception, or starting point, of what we now know as Black History Month! Learn and celebrate!

You may know that today marks the start of Black History Month, but do you know why it is in February? Resist the urge to joke that it is because February is the shortest month!

The reason we celebrate Black History Month in February is because its founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) started it as “Negro History Week” in 1926. He organized the celebration to coordinate with the birthdays of abolitionist and author Frederick Douglass and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln

Read Dr. Woodson’s most famous work, published in 1933, The Mis-Education of the Negro here and be sure to check out this study guide from King’s Academies

Click here to read more about Carter G. Woodson and the inception, or starting point, of what we now know as Black History Month! Learn and celebrate!