Red Tails, Black Stories.. Two Kinds of American History , Who’s Story?


When I was a little girl dark old men told me stories. . .but in the books that I read, I did not see what they said. So I did not believe most of them. I would listen politely, and remember, but I did not believe them.

I had the whole world to learn about ..I did start out with a reputable book.

Slavery, the Peculiar Institution, by Kenneth M. Stampp

What is Black History

This student is searching for home, which for her is South Africa

Here are a few of the stories….

Tuskegee Airmen

There are many sites about the Tuskegee Airmen. “Tuskegee Airmen” refers to all who were involved in the so-called “Tuskegee Experience”, the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who kept the planes in the air. But who knew to look for them? Most museums in the US have a cost associated with them so how would most people see the information. Here is a museum site.

Some of my friends said that black men flew in the war. He said that they were still teaching people to fly from Croom, Maryland. Now back in the day who would ever think that there were black pilots. They were called Tuskegee Airmen. I found a few pictures at the Smithsonian. There was a picture of Elinore Roosevelt who insisted that they be able to  fly. I have never seen this information in a school history book and I am a teacher of many years.

Bessie  Coleman

Never mind that there was a black woman too, who flew. I first learned of her at a NASA workshop.  And Bessie Coleman? Who ever heard of her. I thought it was just a painting  .I thought she was a singer.

 In 1921, Bessie Coleman became the first black women to gain an international permit to fly. After learning French, she attended the famous flight school, Ecole d’Aviation des Frères Caudron in Northern France. No schools in America would train a black person. She was inspired to fly by the stories of Frenchwomen flyers told by her brother John, who had served in France during World War I. Coleman performed acrobatics in air shows around the country and gave lectures inspiring audiences that included many children. She believed that there was freedom in the skies and would not perform in an air show with a segregated audience. On April 30, 1926, she was killed in an airplane piloted by a William Wills as he flew her over the field of the next day’s air show where she was slated as the star.

Coleman was born in Atlanta, Texas, in 1892 as the tenth of thirteen children. They settled in Waxahachie, Texas, and worked as sharecroppers. Her mother encouraged Bessie’s schooling when she showed an aptitude for math. She eventually moved to Chicago and lived with her brother Walter, a Pullman porter. She became a manicurist and worked in the White Sox barbershop. When she returned from Paris, she also worked as a restaurant manager to save money to purchase an airplane. She was helped in this endeavor by friends who included Edwin Beeman from the chewing gum family and Robert S. Abbott, editor and publisher of the Chicago Defender newspaper.

Her dream to open a flying school was never realized, but several years after her death, black aviators formed a network of Bessie Coleman Aero Clubs. In 1990, a road near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport was renamed for her and five years later the U.S. Postal Department issued the Bessie Coleman Stamp. She was inducted into the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000.

Sources:
Elizabeth Coleman, Bessie Coleman: The Brownskin Lady Bird (New York: Garland Publishers, 1994);

A Black Explorer? Matthew Henson

Henson at the poles? My childhood friend ‘s father said he was an explorer. I ran to the library.  We ignored him and that history.But I never found a single thing about it in a book until I went to learn in a summer institute at the National Geographic. There are different divisions within the society. We learned from all.

First I learned about Matthew Henson

Born in Maryland on August 6, 1866, Matthew Henson became an orphan when he was only 11 years old. At age 13, he began working on a ship based in Baltimore, Maryland, as a cabin boy. The ship’s skipper taught Henson to read and write.

In 1890, Henson joined Peary’s first Arctic expedition across the northern tip of Greenland. From June 1891 to August 1902, Henson spent seven years in the Arctic with Peary, covering 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers) on dogsleds across northern Greenland and Ellesmere Island, in Canada.

In 1906, after drifting pack ice repeatedly blocked earlier attempts to reach the Pole, Henson and Peary set out again on their new three-masted steamship schooner, the Roosevelt. “It’ll work,” said Henson, “if God, wind, leads, ice, snow, and all the hells of this damned frozen land are willing.” Blizzards and cracking ice sheets forced their return once again, although Peary wrote in his diary, “When my observations were taken … they showed that we had reached 87°6′ north latitude, and had at last beaten the record, for which I thanked God.”

Then on August 18, 1909, Henson and Peary boarded the Roosevelt with 22 Inuit men, 17 Inuit women, 10 children, 246 dogs, 70 tons (64 metric tons) of whale meat from Labrador, the meat and blubber of 50 walruses, hunting equipment, and tons of coal. In February, Henson and Peary departed their anchored ship at Ellesmere Island’s Cape Sheridan, with the Inuit men and 130 dogs working to lay a trail and supplies along the route to the Pole.

Many Inuits admired Henson for his hunting and sled-driving skills, as well as his ability to speak their language. Peary said, “He was more of an Eskimo than some of them.” On April 6, 1909, Henson arrived at Camp Jesup, 89°47′, 45 minutes ahead of Peary, concluding by dead reckoning that he had reached the Pole. Henson greeted Peary, “I think I’m the first man to sit on top of the world.Born in Maryland on August 6, 1866, Matthew Henson became an orphan when he was only 11 years old. At age 13, he began working on a ship based in Baltimore, Maryland, as a cabin boy. The ship’s skipper taught Henson to read and write.

In 1890, Henson joined Peary’s first Arctic expedition across the northern tip of Greenland. From June 1891 to August 1902, Henson spent seven years in the Arctic with Peary, covering 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers) on dogsleds across northern Greenland and Ellesmere Island, in Canada.

In 1906, after drifting pack ice repeatedly blocked earlier attempts to reach the Pole, Henson and Peary set out again on their new three-masted steamship schooner, the Roosevelt. “It’ll work,” said Henson, “if God, wind, leads, ice, snow, and all the hells of this damned frozen land are willing.” Blizzards and cracking ice sheets forced their return once again, although Peary wrote in his diary, “When my observations were taken … they showed that we had reached 87°6′ north latitude, and had at last beaten the record, for which I thanked God.”

Then on August 18, 1909, Henson and Peary boarded the Roosevelt with 22 Inuit men, 17 Inuit women, 10 children, 246 dogs, 70 tons (64 metric tons) of whale meat from Labrador, the meat and blubber of 50 walruses, hunting equipment, and tons of coal. In February, Henson and Peary departed their anchored ship at Ellesmere Island’s Cape Sheridan, with the Inuit men and 130 dogs working to lay a trail and supplies along the route to the Pole.

Many Inuits admired Henson for his hunting and sled-driving skills, as well as his ability to speak their language. Peary said, “He was more of an Eskimo than some of them.” On April 6, 1909, Henson arrived at Camp Jesup, 89°47′, 45 minutes ahead of Peary, concluding by dead reckoning that he had reached the Pole. Henson greeted Peary, “I think I’m the first man to sit on top of the world.

Some of the men who lived in my block told a different tale. They said they helped to dig the tunnel. Since we are not talking about John Henry , who was black, or black diamonds( coal) This information is hard to find and annotate. Much of it is classified. Explore this on your own. I went to school with a grandchild of Matthew Henson. No one ever mentioned his grandfather’s name, ever.

I am a descendant of Thomas Jefferson, My friend told me!

I was dating a guy in Petersburg, Virginia. As we got serious about the relationship he told me that he was a descendant of Thomas Jefferson. This was before all the Sally Hemmings stories and all, and being from Virginia I knew that the politics of permission would not allow such a liaison no matter what. Slave women had been burned and or shunned because of this. Before Obama became president there was simply the idea that if you had one drop of black blood that you were black. So confusing. Black people are of many colors.

FOR the first time, in 1999  Black descendants of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson recently attended the annual Jefferson family reunion at his Monticello estate in Charlottesville, VA.

At the emotional and at times angry family meetings, White descendants of President Jefferson refused to let Black relatives of his slave Sally Hemings join the family’s Monticello Association.

I decided that this guy was crazy. I  had asked for proof but he said that the data was in the hands of the family. He was going to law school and we sort of drifted apart after that. I did not know what to believe. Years later , I saw him on television being recognized as a descendant of Thomas Jefferson.

Russell Cooley here is his interview from a PBS presentation

   Robert Cooley is a retired US Army lieutenant colonel currently practicing as an attorney in Richmond, Virginia. He formerly served as a US magistrate and state judge in Virginia and as a military judge in the US Army.
  What is your relationship with Thomas Jefferson?
Thomas Jefferson is my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.

“Thomas Jefferson is my great-great
-great-great-great-
grandfather.”

  How did that come about?
Well, my grandfather told me about it when I was 10 years old. He called me into his livingroom in Pittsburgh and he said, “Son, it’s time for you to learn about your heritage.” And my grandfather was the president of the Western Pennsylvania Historical Society, and he said, “You’re a special person. You’re part of a special family. You, through your mother and me, and my mother and so on, are a descendant of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.” I was 10 years old at the time. I was very precocious, too. I was a graduate of high school at the age of 15 and college at 19 and I was a JD at the age of 22. But I knew who Jefferson was. I didn’t know who Sally Hemings was but I knew who Jefferson was. And, for a moment, I was very thrilled by that revelation.

  So without a doubt, Sally Hemings was Thomas Jefferson’s mistress?
Yes. That is…Sally was, without a doubt, Thomas Jefferson’s mistress, lover, substitute wife, for 38 years. No question about it.

“We didn’t know one another, but each of us had virtually the identical oral history.”

  How does your family know that Sally had a relationship with Thomas Jefferson?
Oh, we know it because Sally was a very articulate woman, contrary to current characterizations. She was very articulate. She was very educated. She told us. She told her son Thomas, and Thomas told others in his family. And so, in my family, I have the benefit of 200 years of consistent, solid oral history. And this history was carried on by representatives of at least five different sons and daughters of Thomas Woodson, and later by people who didn’t know one another. There were families in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, in Texas, and in Tennessee. We didn’t know one another, but each of us had virtually the identical oral history.   

See the whole interview at the given URL.

Black Men in the Army Corps of Engineers?

Army Corp of Engineers A tunnel to West Virginia from the White House and there is. Recently it has been expanded but back when I was a kid, I thought those old men had been in the sun too long. I used to think you could find information in books.

Tunnel to West Virginia from the White House

. They said that there was a tunnel that went all the way to West Virginia.They said that they worked it with the Army Corps of Engineers. I listened politely to their stories, but my imagination could not handle a tunnel from DC to West Virginia. I shook my head and ran off to play a game. When I worked at the White House for a technology initiative I was shown the tunnel. When I was in West Virginia I saw the place that is the end of the tunnel. There has been a new “safe” place developed. But I still marveled that such a feat had been accomplished.  I am able to find this information on the Internet about the tunnel and newer projects.

Egyptians are Black, Greek and Arabic

Another old man who wore a Fez talked to me about Egypt. I listened to his stories but did not have the books to read about and learn if he was telling the truth or not. He said that there  were Nubians, black people in Egypt too.

I loved the stories about King Tut and liked reading stories about Egypt. So I decided to go to Egypt. Alone. That was probably not a good idea, but I went. It was totally different than anything I had read I saw the mix of people and read the history of upper and lower Egypt and of the Greek era. It was amazing to me. The people on the street looked like relatives , well some of them. I spent  two weeks in Egypt and had read a lot of books about Upper and Lower Egypt and the Nile. Thanks to the National Geographic I knew how to do the research. I had been razzed because I was wearing a necklace that showed a beautiful woman from Egypt. I was told by some people that she was not black. Neferititi and a person yanked the necklace from around my neck. Never mind  talking about Cleopatra.

Nefertiti

Nefertiti – History.com

Queen Nefertiti (ca. 1370 BC- ca. 1330 BC) was the wife of Akhenaten, one of the most controversial rulers of the 18th dynasty of Ancient Egypt. As … Read more

Here from Wikipedia, is an explanation of race in Egypt. I was living in Greece at the time and they had told me this, but I did not believe it. Here is the information from Wikipedia

Since the second half of the 20th century, scholarly consensus has held that applying modern notions of race to ancient Egypt is anachronistic. Frank M. Snowden asserts that “Egyptians, Greeks and Romans attached no special stigma to the color of the skin and developed no hierarchical notions of race whereby highest and lowest positions in the social pyramid were based on color.”.[2][3] Additionally, typological and hierarchical models of race have increasingly been rejected by scientists.

In the late 20th century, the typological model was revived in the domain of Afrocentric historiography and Black nationalism which tends to insist that Ancient Egypt was a “black civilization”, with particular focus on links to southern African cultures and on the race of specific notable individuals from Dynastic times, including Tutankhamun,[4] Cleopatra VII,[5][6][7] and the king represented in the Great Sphinx of Giza.[8][9

thank you George Lucas for making us aware of some  real hidden history.

One thought on “Red Tails, Black Stories.. Two Kinds of American History , Who’s Story?

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