Monthly Archives: February 2009

>My Debut Album……..Thanks Joy

>Joy always has the fun things over at BabbleOn and today was no exception.

She showed me how to creat my own band name and the name of our debut album–which was shipped platinum, by the way.

So this is my debut album:



Filed under BabbleOn, Bob, Joy

>Mahalia Jackson


special request from Charlie
Mahalia Jackson, forever known as the “Gospel Queen,” was born on October 26, 1911 into a poor family in the Black Pearl section of Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana; the Jacksons’ three-room dwelling on Pitt Street housed thirteen people. It was a shack, really, and sat between the railroad tracks and the Mississippi River levee with a pump that delivered water so dirty that cornmeal had to be used as a filtering agent. Jackson’s father, like many blacks in the segregated south, held several jobs; he was a longshoreman, a barber, and a preacher at a small church. Her mother, a devout Baptist who died when Mahalia was five, took care of the six Jackson children and the house, using washed-up driftwood and planks from old barges to fuel the stove.

As a child, Mahalia was taken in by the sounds of New Orleans, the rhythm of the city. She listened to woodpeckers rumbling, and heard music; trains rumbling past her house were songs; steamboats whistled, sailors and street people sang to her. All of New Orleans was music, and Mahalia Jackson soaked it in. When Mardi Gras arrived, the music grew louder, played everywhere, and, in her room, by herself, Mahalia Jackson quietly sand the blues of Bessie Smith.

But Jackson’s close relatives disapproved of the blues–a music indigenous to southern black culture–calling it decadent, and claiming that the only acceptable songs were the gospels of the church. In gospel songs, Mahalia was told, music was the vehicle of religious faith. As Jesse Jackson–no relation to the civil rights leader–said in his biography of Mahalia, Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord!, “It was like choosing between the devil and God. You couldn’t have it both ways.”

Mahalia made up her mind. When Little Haley tried out for the Baptist choir, she silenced the crowd by singing “I’m so glad, I’m so glad, I’m so glad I’ve been in the grave an’ rose again.… “

In 1927, at the age of sixteen, Jackson moved from Louisiana to to Chicago–in the midst of what was known as the Great Migration of blacks leaving the south. With only an eighth grade education but a strong ambition to become a nurse, Jackson earned a living by washing white people’s clothes for a dollar a day.

After her first Sunday church service, where she gave an impromptu performance of her favorite song, “Hand Me Down My Favorite Trumpet, Gabriel”, she was invited to join the Greater Salem Baptist Church Choir. She began touring the city’s churches and surrounding areas with the Johnson Brothers Gospel Singers.

Although other small choir groups had cut records in the past, the Johnson Brothers may have been the first professional gospel group ever, even producing a series of musical dramas in which Jackson starred. Her provocative performing style–influenced by the Southern style of keeping time with the body, with jerks and steps used for physical emphasis–enraged many of the more conservative Northern preachers, but few could deny her fierce talent.

Though she sang traditional hymns and spirituals almost exclusively, Jackson was still fascinated with the blues. During the Great Depression, she knew she could earn more money singing the songs that her relatives considered profane and blasphemous. But when her beloved grandfather was struck down by a stroke and fell into a coma, Jackson vowed to never enter a theater again, or sing the kinds of songs of which he disapproved, if he recovered. He did; and Mahalia never broke that vow. She wrote in her autobiography, Movin’ On Up: “I feel God heard me and wanted me to devote my life to his songs and that is why he suffered my prayers to be answered-so that nothing would distract me from being a gospel singer.”

Later in her career, Jackson would turn down lucrative offers to sing in nightclubs–sometimes as much as $25,000 a performance–even if the club owners promised not to serve whiskey. But she never dismissed the blues as anti-religious, like her relatives had done: it was simply a matter of the vow she had made, as well as a matter of inspiration.

“There’s no sense in my singing the blues, because I just don’t feel it,” she told Harper’s magazine. “In the old, heart-felt songs, whether it’s the blues or gospel music, there’s the distressed cry of a human being. But in the blues, it’s all despair; when you’re done singing, you’re still lonely and sorrowful. In the gospel songs, there’s mourning and sorrow, too, but there’s always hope and consolation to lift you above it.”

In 1929 Jackson met the composer Thomas A. Dorsey,the Father of Gospel Music, who gave her musical advice and became he mentor; they began a fourteen-year association of touring, with Jackson singing Dorsey’s songs in church programs and at conventions. Together they visited churches and “gospel tents” around the country, and Jackson’s reputation as a singer and interpreter of spirituals blossomed. She returned to Chicago after five years on the road and opened a beauty salon and a flower shop, both of which drew customers from the gospel and church communities. She continued to make records that brought her fairly little monetary reward.

In 1946, while practicing in a recording studio, a representative from Decca Records overheard Jackson sing an old spiritual from her childhood. He advised her to record it, and a few weeks later she did. “Move On Up a Little Higher” became her signature song, selling 100,000 copies overnight and soon passing the two million dollar mark. Black ministers praised it from the pulpit; black disc jockeys played it constantly. The black press hailed Mahalia Jackson as ‘the only Negro whom Negroes have made famous.”‘

The success of this record rocketed Jackson to fame in the U.S. and soon after in Europe. During this time she toured as a concert artist, appearing more frequently in concert halls and less often in churches. As a consequence of this change in her venues, her arrangements expanded from piano and organ to orchestral accompaniments.

Another change to her style of touring, at least back home in the United States, was that now she was not so much as a hand-to-mouth singer.” Now, Mahalia Jackson toured in her own Cadillac. The car was big enough for her to sleep in when she was performing in areas with hotels that failed to provide accommodations for blacks; she also could store enough food in the car so that when she visited the segregated South she wouldn’t have to sit in the backs of restaurants.

Soon enough the emotional and resonant singing of the “Gospel Queen,” began reaching the white community as well. She appeared regularly on Studs Terkel’s radio show in Chicago and was ultimately given her own radio and television programs. On October 4, 1950, Jackson became the first gospel singer to perform mat Carnegie Hall–to a packed house no less.

In her autobiography how she reacted to the jubilant audience. “I got carried away, too, and found myself singing on my knees for them. I had to straighten up and say, ‘Now we’d best remember we’re in Carnegie Hall and if we cut up too much, they might put us out.”‘

She toured Europe again in 1952, hailed by overseas critics as the “world’s greatest gospel singer”. In Paris, she was dubbed the “Angel of Peace,” and throughout the continent she sang to capacity audiences. Jackson ultimately became equally popular overseas and performed for royalty and adoring fans throughout France, England, Denmark, and Germany. One of her most rewarding concerts took place in Israel, where she sang before an audience of Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

Her career at home also continued to rise. She had her own radio series on CBS and was signed to Columbia Records in 1954. In her autobiography, Jackson described a conversation with a reporter who asked why she thought white people had taken to her traditionally black, church songs. She answered, “Well, honey, maybe they tried drink and they tried psychoanalysis and now they’re going to try to rejoice with me a bit.”

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Jackson’s attention turned to the growing civil rights movement in the United States. Although she had grown up on Water Street, where black and white families lived together peacefully, she was well aware of the injustice engendered by the Jim Crow laws that enforced racial segregation in the South.

At the request of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahalia Jackson participated in the Montgomery bus boycott, an action precipitated by Rosa Parks’s refusal to move from a bus seat reserved for whites. During the famous March on Washington in 1963, seconds before Dr. King delivered his celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech, Jackson sang the old inspirational, “I Been ‘Buked and I Been Scorned” to over 200,000 people.

Not content with merely singing about goodness, Mahalia Jackson devoted much of her time and energy to helping others. She established the Mahalia Jackson Scholarship Foundation for young people who wanted to attend college. For her efforts in helping international understanding, she received the Silver Dove Award.

Mahalia Jackson died in Chicago on January 27, 1972, never having fulfilled her dream of building a nondenominational temple, where people could sing, celebrate life, and nurture the talents of children. Her funeral was attended by over six thousand fans.

And yet, with all the accolades heaped upon her….Greatest Gospel Singer ever…..Angel of Peace…Jackson considered herself a simple woman: she enjoyed cooking for friends as much as marveling at landmarks around the world. But it was in her music that she found her spirit most eloquently expressed. She wrote in her autobiography: “Gospel music is nothing but singing of good tidings-spreading the good news. It will last as long as any music because it is sung straight from the human heart. Join with me sometime-whether you’re white or colored-and you will feel it for yourself. Its future is brighter than a daisy.”

Two cities paid tribute to Jackson upon her death.

Beginning in Chicago, outside the Greater Salem Baptist Church where she got her start, 50,000 people, some who knew her, some who knew her by her music, filed silently past her mahogany, glass-topped coffin. The next day, as many as could — 6,000 or more — filled every seat and stood along the walls of the city’s public concert hall, the Arie Crown Theater of McCormick Place, for a two-hour funeral service.

Three days later, a thousand miles away, the scene repeated itself: again the long lines, the silent tribute, thousands filling, this time, the great hall of the Rivergate Convention Center in New Orleans. The funeral cortège of 24 limousines drove slowly past her childhood place of worship, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, where her recordings played through loudspeakers.


Filed under Black History Month, Civil Rights, Mahalia Jackson, Uncategorized




DavidDust give me justice!
I need jokes!
I need humor!
I need your insight!
I need to know that I will live again!
I need to know that I will watch again!
I need your recap!


Filed under Bob, Bravo, DavidDust, Top Chef

>Mildred and Richard Loving


Fifty years ago it wasn’t gay marriage, it was interracial marriage.

Mildred Jeter Loving and Richard Perry Loving were married in June of 1958 in the District of Columbia; they’d gotten married in DC because they couldn’t get married in Virginia due to that state’s Racial Integrity Act–a law banning marriages between any white person and any non-white person.
Oh yeah, Mildred was a Black woman; Richard was a white man.
After marrying, they returned to Carolina County, Virginia and were charged with violating the ban. See, Mildred and Richard Loving were asleep in their own bed when their house was invaded by police officers who hoped to find them having sex–which was an altogether different crime.
Mildred Loving pointed to the marriage certificate on the wall in their bedroom. The police, rather than seeing they weren’t committing some kind of interracial sex crime, used the certificate as evidence for a criminal charge since it showed they had been married in another state.
The Lovings were charged under Section 20-58 of the Virginia Code, which prohibited interracial couples from being married out of state and then returning to Virginia, and Section 20-59, which classified “miscegenation” (a mixture of races especially marriage, cohabitation, or sexual intercourse between a white person and a member of another race ) as a felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to five years.
On January 6, 1959, the Lovings pleaded guilty and were sentenced to one year in prison, with the sentence suspended for 25 years on condition that the couple leave the state of Virginia.
The Lovings were being run out of town because of who they loved.
Sound familiar?
The trial judge in the case, Leon Bazile, said: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
Using God as a way to keep people from marrying? Sound familiar now?
Mildred and Richard Loving moved to the District of Columbia, and in November of 1963 The ACLU filed a motion to vacate the judgement and set aside the sentence because it ran counter to the 14th Amendment–equal protection under the law.
The case ultimately reached the Supreme Court and, in October of 1964, after their motion was still undecided, the Lovings began a class action suit in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
In early 1965, the three-judge district court decided to allow the Lovings to present their constitutional claims to the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. Virginia Supreme Court Justice Harry Carrico wrote an opinion for the court upholding the constitutionality of the anti-miscegenation statutes and, after modifying the sentence, affirmed the criminal convictions. Carrico said the 14th Amendment didn’t aplply to the Lovings case because both the white and the non-white spouse were punished equally for the “crime” of “miscegenation.”
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions in a unanimous decision, dismissing the Commonwealth of Virginia’s argument that a law forbidding both white and black persons from marrying persons of another race, and providing identical penalties to white and black violators, could not be construed as racially discriminatory.
In its decision, the court wrote: “Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence and survival…. To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State’s citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”
Some activists believe that the Loving ruling will eventually aid the marriage equality movement for same-sex partnerships, if courts allow the Equal Protection Clause to be used. Law professor F.C. Decoste states, “If the only arguments against same sex marriage are sectarian, then opposing the legalization of same sex marriage is invidious in a fashion no different from supporting anti miscegenation laws.”
These activists maintain that miscegenation laws are to interracial marriage, as sodomy laws are to homosexual rights and that sodomy laws were enacted in order to maintain traditional sex roles that have become part of American society.
Richard Loving died in a car accident in 1975.
On June 12, 2007, Mildred Loving issued a rare public statement, which commented on same-sex marriage, prepared for delivery on the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision of the US Supreme Court. She said, in part:
“Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.
I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”
Mildred Loving died of pneumonia on May 2, 2008. Her daughter, Peggy Fortune, told the AP: “I want (people) to remember her as being strong and brave yet humble — and believed in love.”
Part of the Washington Post’s obituary read: “A modest homemaker, Loving never thought she had done anything extraordinary. ‘It wasn’t my doing,’ Loving told the AP in a rare interview a year ago. ‘It was God’s work.’”


Filed under Black History Month, Civil Rights, Equality, LGBT, LGBT Rights, Marriage Equality, Racism, Richard and Mildred Loving, US Supreme Court, Virginia, Washington D.C.

>Avatar Bob

>I’ve always liked Joy’s avatar over at BabbleOn, and so when she put up a site to create your own, naturally I checked it out. It’s a bit addictive, but HERE it is.

And here are AvatarBobs:

This one I call Peace Bitch Bob–thanks to DavidDust for the name

This one Is TapTapTapBob

This one is SadMohawkBob or BadMohawkBob

This one is NerdBob

And finally we have DragPeaceBitchBob….which shows why I’d never be any good at drag, because I don’t see me losing the goatee….so that would make me CircusFreakBeardedLadyBob.


Filed under Avatar, BabbleOn, Bob, DavidDust

>Mary McLeod Bethune


On July 10, 1875, Mary McLeod Bethune was born in Mayesville, South Carolina, the daughter of former slaves. Fortunate in that she was able to gain a formal education, Bethune had hopes of becoming a missionary in Africa, but, as she put it, “Africans in America needed Christ and school just as much as Negroes in Africa. . . . My life work lay not in Africa but in my own country.”
She first taught school in Georgia and later in South Carolina, Florida and Illinois, devoting her life to ensuring the right to education and freedom from discrimination for black Americans. Bethune believed that through education, blacks could begin to earn a living in a country that still opposed racial equality. Bethune worked tirelessly until her death and would not rest while there was “a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth.”
As a young teacher in Chicago, she visited prisoners in jail, giving them inspiration through song and offering them a small chance at education. She worked at the Pacific Garden Mission, serving lunch to the homeless, and counseled the residents of Chicago’s slums. In Florida, she organized a Sunday school program and sang to prisoners. Bethune went wherever she could, to speak to, to sing to, to offer assistance to, to educate, Black Americans.
In 1904, she opened the Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls; the first class had just five girls, but later accepted boys as well. Tuition was 50 cents a week, but Mary McLeod Bethune never refused to educate a child whose parents could not afford the payment. She worked tirelessly not only to maintain the school, but she also fought the segregation and inequality facing blacks. In those days, many people objected to education for Blacks, but Bethune’s passion and dedication silenced nearly all her critics of both races. She encouraged people to “Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.”
Having immense faith in God and believing that nothing was impossible, Bethune also opened a high school and a hospital for blacks. She remained president of the school for more than 40 years. In 1923, she oversaw the school’s merger with the Cookman Institute, thereby forming the Bethune-Cookman College.
With her school a success, Bethune became increasingly involved in political issues. It was through her discussions with Vice President Thomas Marshall that the Red Cross decided to integrate, and blacks were allowed to perform the same duties as whites. In 1917, she became president of the Florida Federation of Colored Women, and in 1924, became president of the NAACP, at that time the highest national office to which a black woman could aspire.
She worked under presidents Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Theodore Roosevelt on child welfare, housing, employment, and education. In June of 1936, she was assigned director of the Division of Negro Affairs and became the first black woman to serve as head of a federal agency. As director, she traveled across the country, speaking out for equal education and treatment for blacks.
Mary McLeod Bethune was the forerunner of ‘no child left behind.’ She was a child of slavery, teacher, preacher, advocate, protester, politician, advisor to presidents.
Mary McLeod Bethune died on May 18, 1955.

1 Comment

Filed under Black History Month, Civil Rights, Mary McLeod Bethune

>When Is It Enough?


Armistead Maupin, writing in the foreword to Milk: A Pictorial History Of Harvey Milk:
“To us old-timers the argument for Proposition 8 was a blast from the past, a throwback to the evil theocratic Save-the-Children bullshit that Anita Bryant was spewing over thirty years ago. Why, then, was our response so maddeningly weak-kneed and closeted? Why didn’t you see images of gay people in any of our ads — or even the word ‘gay,’ for that matter? Are we that ashamed of ourselves? The answer is no, thankfully; most of us aren’t.
And a growing number of young people have lost patience with the black-tie silent-auction-A-gay complacency of the organizations that claim to be fighting for our rights but don’t want to ruffle feathers. These new kids are friending each other on Facebook (whatever that means) and taking to the streets on their own. My husband and I met a few of them when we picketed the Mormon temple in Oakland last month. They have love in their eyes and fire in their bellies and a commitment to finish this fight once and for all.”
When will it finally be enough to galvanize the gay community to fight? What more needs to happen? Joy, over at BabbleOn, says if she was a gay woman, living in a world like today, she would be angry all the time; angry at being denounced as less than; being equated to terrorists; being called the worst thing to happen in the history of the world.
I’m beginning to think a lot like Joy.

A committee of the Idaho state senate refused…REFUSED…to consider a bill that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Idaho’s 1968 Human Rights Act currently forbids workplace and housing discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color, national origin or mental or physical disability. The measure defeated Friday would have prohibited discrimination in employment, education and housing on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
So, go ahead, be gay in Idaho. But be prepared to be denied the simple basic rights allowed EVERYONE ELSE in the United States because you’re gay.

Mad now?


Gainesville, the bustling Central Florida town that is home to the massive University Of Florida campus, will next month vote on a repeal….A REPEAL…of their LGBT rights ordinances.
Christian activists there have placed an amendment on the ballot that will make it legal to fire, not hire, and deny housing to LGBT people.
Charter Amendment One , if approved, would make the city of Gainesville’s anti-discrimination ordinance the same as the Florida Civil Rights Act, removing current protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.
Gainesville. Idaho. Pot-tay-to. No homos.
Pissed off now?
Keep reading.

Thousands of anti-gay Christian activists jammed Hawaii’s capitol building in Honolulu to protest a proposed bill legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples.
Some took up positions around the block, holding signs that read

“No Civil Union”
“Destroy the Core of 444”
“We Sed No Already”–apparently education is not foremost in their minds.
“Say Yes To Jesus or Burn In Hell”
Not quite as musical as “God Hates Fags” but still, hate.

But there’s good news!
They don’t want us marryin‘ in Hawaii….or civil unioning……unioning? But at least they aren’t trying to get us fired or kicked out of our homes like they are in Idaho and Gainesville.
Now? Anyone? Pissed off? Hello? Is this thing on?
There’s more.
When first given the job of head of the RNC–Repugnant National Committee–Michael Steele said the Republican Party should reach out to gay voters.
Looked like a change in the right direction.
Steele now says that the GOP would not budge on LGBT rights, calling even the consideration of civil unions “crazy.”
from a radio interview with Mike Gallagher:
GALLAGHER: Is this a time when Republicans ought to consider some sort of alternative to redefining marriage and maybe in the road, down the road to civil unions. Do you favor civil unions?
STEELE: No, no no. What would we do that for? What are you, crazy? No. Why would we backslide on a core, founding value of this country? I mean this isn’t something that you just kind of like, “Oh well, today I feel, you know, looseygoosey on marriage.” […]
GALLAGHER: So no room even for a conversation about civil unions in your mind?
STEELE: What’s the difference?
What’s the difference? The difference is treating people with respect, equal rights for all Americans. The difference is being human to all human beings and not be some double-talking-kiss-ass-homophobe-goosestepping-alongside-hate-mongers.
Still not mad?
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm .
Colorado, anyone?
During the Colorado state senate debate on extending health benefits to the same-sex partners of state employees, Sen. Scott Renfroe (Repugnant) compared gays to murderers…MURDERERS…. and quoted Bible verses calling for homosexuals to be put to death.
A government official, an elected official, calling for people to be put to death because of their sexual orientation?
Only in America, apparently.
On the floor of the State Senate, right-wing Senator Scott Renfroe also referred to gay and lesbian people as an “abomination” and an “offense to God.” Renfroe then quoted the Book of Leviticus suggesting that gay people should be put to death. Of course, he also said that women were created to be “helpers” for men, quoting the Book of Genesis.
So, I wanna get this straight. Or gay.
I can be fired and not hired; I can be denied housing. The Repugnant man wanted to reach out and now he thinks reaching out is crazy. We’re murderers. Abominations.
Now? Pissed? Now?
While same-sex marriage bans have failed in North Carolina’s legislature for the last six consecutive years, those wacky hatemongers refuse to give up.
They are once again proposing a constitutional amendment on the issue.
Here are their arguments:
“Moms and dads are not interchangeable:” Senator Jim Forrester, lead sponsor of a proposal that would put this issue on the ballot for North Carolina voters.
“Throughout the entirety of sacred scripture, marriage is always and only recognized as a union between a man and woman:” Bishop Peter Jugis, of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.
This is how I see it.
Everywhere I look they are trying to legislate who I am, who I love, how I live, where I live, where I work, what I do.
That is NOT America.
That is NOT right.
So I am mad now….if I wasn’t before.
Are you?
Are you, as gay men and women, just going to sit idly by and let this happen. Even if you as gay people don’t want marriage for yourselves, isn’t it up to the individual to have that right, to choose marriage or not to choose marriage?
Are you going to say nothing as they strip your ‘inalienable’ rights away?
And what about you straight folks? i know you’re out there. Hell, I know some of you.
Are you going to say it’s enough?
Because, after they come for the gays, who’s next to be denied, to be less than?
Who’s next?


Filed under Armistead Maupin, BabbleOn, California, Discrimination, Florida, Hawaii, LGBT, LGBT Rights, Michael Steele, North Carolina