Daily Archives: February 19, 2009

>Daniel Hale Williams


Daniel Hale Williams was born in 1856 in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, the fifth of eight children. His father died when Daniel was just nine and his mother, unable to provide for all the children on her own, moved the family to Baltimore to live with relatives. An apprenticeship with a shoemaker was found for Daniel, and he worked there for three years; as a teen, he learned to cut hair and became a barber, living and working with a family who owned a barber shop in Wisconsin.

it was in Wisconsin that Daniel attended high school, graduating from Hare’s Classical Academy in 1877. While working as a barber, he met Dr. Henry Palmer, a leading surgeon, who became the Surgeon General of Wisconsin. Dr. Palmer took Daniel on as a medical apprentice–he had two other apprentices at the time–and helped them apply for admission to Chicago Medical School, affiliated with Northwestern University. All three were accepted and began their studies in 1880. Dr. Daniel Hale Williams graduated with his medical degree in 1883.

He began practicing surgery at the South Side Dispensary while, at the same time, holding a position at Northwest University, as an instructor of anatomy. He worked as a medical doctor for the City Railway Company and for the Protestant Orphan Asylum, and his practice and his reputation as a skilled surgeon began to grow. In 1883, he was one of only four African American doctors in the Chicago area, and yet was so well-respected within the medical community that six years later he was appointed to the Illinois Board of Health.

Dr. Williams observed that African American patients were routinely subject to second-class medical care, that opportunities for Black physicians were extremely limited, and that it was difficult for African Americans to gain admission to medical and nursing schools due to racism. When Dr. Williams met Emma Reynolds, who had been refused admission by every nursing school in the area, he launched a new venture: the first African-American-owned hospital in the United States. It started as a twelve-bed facility, named Provident Hospital. At Provident, Dr. Williams also opened the first nursing school for African Americans, where Emma Reynolds and six others made up the first graduating class. Emphasizing the need for the best possible medical care, Dr. Williams employed African American and White doctors at Provident Hospital.

In 1893, a young man named James Cornish was rushed to Provident Hospital with a stab wound to the chest. Doctors at this time did not have X-ray machines, and the doctors at Provident were unsure what to do. Cornish’s condition began to deteriorate; his pulse was getting weaker and he started to go into shock, all signs of internal bleeding. Dr. Williams made the decision to open up Cornish’s chest and see what could be done before he bled to death internally. The surgical team found a pierced blood vessel and a tear to the pericardium tissue around the heart. Dr. Williams sutured both of these injuries to stop the bleeding and James Cornish survived the operation; he lived another twenty-plus years. Newspaper headlines reported: “Sewed Up His Heart! Remarkable Surgical Operation on a Colored Man!”

Dr. Williams had performed the first successful open heart surgery ever.

Dr. Williams became surgeon-in-chief at Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, D.C, organizing the hospital into specialized departments: Medical, Surgical, Gynecological, Obstetrical, Dermatological, etc. He helped organize the National Medical Association, which at the time was the only medical organization open to African Americans.

In 1898 he married Alice Johnson,and moved back to Chicago where he acted as chief of surgery at Provident, now a much larger institution. He was often invited to speak to doctor’s associations around the country on the subject of health care for African Americans, encouraging African American leaders to open hospitals in other cities where African American people would receive first rate care. He received numerous honors and was the first Black physician named as a Fellow in the American College of Surgeons.

In 1926 he retired after suffering a stroke. Dr. Williams passed away in 1931, after a life of history-making accomplishments.


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>Hey Georgia! You Elected Her!


This nut, Georgia State Rep. Charlice Byrd, wants to stop funding for university courses that she deems “special interest” courses; of course, since she is supported by the Christian Coalition, and other right-wingnut groups, we all know the special interests she’s interested in are anything gay.

She says they’re teaching male prostitution, queer theory and oral sex in Georgia–Woo Hoo! I live just down the block from Georgia!–but the funny part, actually it’s more scary than funny, is that these nuts like Charlice Byrd and her flock, are no longer using religion, but the dollar, to spread their hate.

It’s the economy stupid!

She doesn’t talk about how God would hate the idea of students taking queer theory classes; she tells us that it’s our money being used to fund these, as she calls them, “disgusting” courses. And she wants to fire all these “special interest” professors. That’s right, in this “difficult economy” in Georgia, Charlice Byrd–Representative Dumbass–wants to lose even more jobs.

Right on the money, fool.

And, failing that, she wants the students who wish to partake in these “disgusting…..special interest courses” to pay for them; not the people of Georgia. But I got news for you, Charlice, any class that any student wishes to take to further his or her education can be seen as “special interest” classes.

Math is a “special interest” to a math student.

And what happens when you find out that med students are studying abortion or stem cell research? Will those classes fall into your “special interest” group?

What are you trying to ban next, Charlice?

How about banning narrow-minded-religious-wingnuts-who-will-use-any-excuse-that-crosses-their-tiny-pea-brain-to-spread-their-message-of-hate?

Yeah, I’d vote for that.

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>Louis Armstrong


Born in 1901, Louis Armstrong grew up poor in New Orleans. It was rough, being black and poor in the South in those days, tougher than it is today, and it’s tough today, we all know that.
In 1913 he was sent to the Colored Waifs Home as a juvenile delinquent, where he learned to play cornet in the home’s band. Playing music quickly became his passion–he taught himself how to play by listening to the jazz greats of the day, like New Orleans cornetist, King Oliver. Armstrong developed rapidly, playing in local marching and jazz bands, becoming so adept that he replaced King Oliver in the important Kid Ory band.
Fame beckoned in 1922 when Oliver, who by then was leading a band in Chicago, sent for Armstrong to play second cornet. Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band was the one of the earliest New Orleans ensemble style. The band included Johnny and Baby Dodds, and pianist Lil Hardin, whom Armstrong married in 1924.
Encouraged by his wife, Armstrong quit Oliver’s band to seek his own fame, and played for a year with Fletcher Henderson’s band in New York City. After a while, Louis returned to Chicago and began playing in large orchestras.
It was there that Louis Armstrong gained notoriety, recording the Armstrong Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings of 1925; by then he was accepted as one of the first great jazz soloists. The New Orleans ensemble style, which allowed few solo opportunities, could no longer contain Louis Armstrong’s explosive creativity.
It was in the late 20s that Louis Armstrong switched from cornet to trumpet and recorded such jazz classic as “Hotter than That,” “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue,” “Wild Man Blues,” and “Potato Head Blues.” His immensely compelling swing; his brilliant technique; his sophisticated sense of harmony; his expressive attack; his gift for creating vital melodies; his dramatic solo design; and his outsized musical energy and genius made these recordings major innovations in jazz.
Armstrong was a famous musician by 1929, when he moved from Chicago to New York City once again and performed in the theatre review Hot Chocolates. In 1935, he began touring America and Europe as a trumpet soloist accompanied by Luis Russell’s big band. During this time he abandoned the often blues-based original material of his earlier years for a remarkably fine choice of popular songs by composers like Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin, and Duke Ellington.
With his new repertoire came a new, simpler style. Louis’ trumpet range continued to expand, as demonstrated in the high-note showpieces in his repertoire. His beautiful tone and gift for structuring bravura solos with brilliant high-note climaxes led to such masterworks as “That’s My Home,” “Body and Soul,” and “Star Dust.”
One of the inventors of scat singing, he began to sing lyrics on most of his recordings, varying melodies or decorating with scat phrases in a gravel voice that was instantly identifiable as Louis; and though he sang humorous songs like “Hobo, You Can’t Ride This Train,” he also sang the standards, oftentimes with an intensity and creativity that equaled those of his trumpet playing.
Louis Armstrong, separated from his wife in 1931, began appearing in films–the first being Pennies from Heaven in 1936–and on radio. Though his own bands usually played in a more conservative style, Armstrong was the dominant influence on the swing era, when most trumpeters attempted to emulate his inclination to dramatic structure and melody.
In most of Armstrong’s movie, radio, and television appearances, he was the good-humored entertainer, but he played a rare dramatic role in the 1947 film New Orleans, in which he also performed in a Dixieland band. This prompted the formation of Louis Armstrong’s All-Stars, a Dixieland band that at first included such other jazz greats as Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines and trombonist Jack Teagarden.
For most of the rest of Armstrong’s life, he toured the world with changing All-Stars sextets; indeed, “Ambassador Satchmo,” as he came to be known in his later years, was noted for his almost nonstop touring. It was the period of his greatest popularity; he produced hit recordings such as “Mack the Knife” and “Hello, Dolly!” and outstanding albums such as his tributes to W.C. Handy and Fats Waller.
In his last years ill health curtailed his trumpet playing, but he continued as a singer. His last film appearance was in Hello, Dolly! in 1969.
More than a great trumpeter, Armstrong was a bandleader, singer, soloist, film star, and comedian. One of his most remarkable feats was his frequent conquest of the popular market with recordings that thinly disguised authentic jazz with his contagious humor. He nonetheless made his greatest impact on the evolution of jazz itself, which at the start of his career was popularly considered to be little more than a novelty.
And he wasn’t simply a great jazz musician. Louis Armstrong lived in a time when Black music was for Black audiences, but he brought jazz to white America, and he brought white America to jazz, and jazz artists. He quietly opened the door for every single African American musician who came after him.
What a wonderful world.

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>Ball Sack


The economy is tanking.

People are losing their houses.

Thousands are losing their jobs each day.

Businesses are closing/

People are dying.

But this is news in South Carolina–avert your eyes!!!


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