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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Crossroads


Lay

No heaven above
No hell underneath
And nowhere to lay your head 
Where choices are made...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pioneer

Chuck Berry
The Cool

didn’t really grow up with Rock and Roll Music as a child. It just wasn’t a part of my musical education and I think a part of the reason was the perception that Rock and Roll had nothing to offer. It didn’t in any way reflect my experiences. I could never see myself reflected in the artists. I gravitated inevitably to Rap, hip-hop, Reggae and R&B. 

Serendipity led to my discovery of Chuck Berry and research led me to a study of the true history of rock and roll. It’s the uncomfortable truth for a lot of people about Rock and roll. It initially grew out of the black experience as an offshoot of Blues and Jazz. Men like Chuck Berry were integral to the development of the nascent musical form. In time, their work would be co-opted and they would be near-forgotten, but the genre would never have reached the heights it did without their contribution.

Chuck Berry was a guitarist, singer and songwriter. He was a pioneer of early rock and roll and introduced and refined a lot of the more common elements that set it apart from other forms, all the while garnering huge success and a number of chart toppers. He would eventually be inducted into the Hall of fame. His legacy is indelible and undeniable.

He’s still alive, and still rocking as hard as ever.

Greatest Quote (about him)
"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Old Cement


Gray

A slab of concrete
Makes a solid place to lay –
A bed of light gray
My Bed of Gray
Found the lost plot in a graveyard

Mutineer

Sengbe Pieh - of the tribe

Sengbe Pieh, later known as Joseph Cinque and I are members of the same tribal group in Sierra Leone, with roots in the country going back generations. All throughout my childhood, I read all the stories about him, his tales and his exploits. His brave mutiny aboard the slave ship Amistad led to one of the few legal victories in the fight against slavery and the dreaded slave trade.
He was born in Sierra Leone
 during the height of the slave trade and was captured illegally and sold to Spanish slavers. They were placed on board the Amistad, on which they successfully led a mutiny. They eventually landed in the US where the vessel was boarded by US naval officers.

The slaves on board (with Sengbe as their informal representative) were tried for murder and mutiny, but were eventually acquitted by the US Supreme court. The captured slaves were eventually returned to their hometowns. This was a rare success during what were difficult times. 

He is considered a hero in Sierra Leone and his likeness appears on one of our bank notes.
He fought for and won his freedom.

Greatest Quote:
Live free or Die hard

Monday, July 16, 2012

Neon Lights


Aurora

In pure reverie
Aurora Borealis
Lights twinkle and dance
Nature's Fireworks
 Yeah, I know: Cloying and terrible

The Road Less Travelled


Irene Morgan Kirkaldy – On the Beaten path


She just recently passed away, and is probably one of the more overlooked heroes on my list. However, in 1944, almost 20 years before Rosa Parks, she refused to move to give up her seat on a bus to a white person, forcing a change in the bus segregation laws of that time. Her co-counsel was the indomitable Thurgood Marshall and they won by arguing that segregation was a violation of the US Federal Commerce Clause. They were successful, but Southern states refused to respect the ruling. 

Though the changes she helped bring about were temporary, her impact cannot be overlooked, especially as a role model for future desegregation efforts. Her memory lives on in the myriad quiet revolutions that are always taking place. 

She was another in the long list of quiet heroes of that era as seen below:

Irene's Story


Greatest quote:
When something’s wrong, it’s wrong. It needs to be corrected.