Category: Holidays

HISTORY: Meet Robert Smalls, Boat Captain for Union Navy who Escaped Slavery and Became 1st African-American Elected to U.S. Congress

U.S. Naval Captain and U.S. Congress Member Robert Smalls (photo via Library of Congress)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

On this Veteran’s Day, Good Black News is choosing to honor former Union Navy boat captain and oft-hidden historical figure Robert Smalls of South Carolina.

Robert Smalls was the first black man elected to U.S. Congress during Reconstruction. He was born into slavery in 1839 in Beaufort, S.C., and started his remarkable, implausible journey to national prominence by daring to escape slavery during the Civil War with his family. 

Smalls, like many other enslaved peoples, was made to work for the Confederate forces during the Civil War. Menial labor such as grave digging, cooking, digging trenches, etc. were the most common jobs, but some enslaved peoples were used in skilled labor positions, such as Smalls, who could navigate the waters in and around Charleston, so was used to guide transport ships for the Confederate Navy.

On May 13, 1862, Smalls convinced several other enslaved people to help him commandeer a Confederate transport ship, the CSS Planter, in Charleston harbor. Smalls sailed from Confederate-controlled waters to the U.S. blockade.

By doing so, not only did he gain freedom for himself, several enslaved peoples and members of his family, his example of cunning and bravery helped convince President Abraham Lincoln to accept black soldiers into the U.S. Army and Navy. Check out PBS video about this event below:

Smalls became Captain of the same boat for the Union Navy and helped free enslaved peoples as he fought and outwitted the Confederate Navy several more times during the duration of the War. After the South surrendered, Smalls returned to Beaufort, S.C. and purchased his master’s house, which was seized by the Union in 1863. His master sued to get it back, but lost in court to Smalls. Continue reading “HISTORY: Meet Robert Smalls, Boat Captain for Union Navy who Escaped Slavery and Became 1st African-American Elected to U.S. Congress”

GBN Wishes You and Yours a Happy Easter!

 

Here’s hoping that you, your loved ones, colleagues and friends are partaking of only the best during this year’s Easter celebration – enjoy your blessings and the day!

In gratitude,

The GBN Staff

GBN Wishes You and Yours a Very Happy New Year

Good Black News would like to start 2019 off by thanking our readers and followers, old and new, for making 2018 yet another year of progress and perseverance. Even when times and events are challenging, your steady support always keeps us going!

Please continue to read, share and spread the word as we continue to strive to share positive information with you as often as we can as much as we can.  Happy New Year!

Good Black News Wishes You a Very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

GBN thanks you for your support and goodwill throughout the years, and we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, a blessed and bountiful Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays all around. May honesty, positivity, responsibility and fortitude help us all do our part to change ourselves and the world for the better in 2019 and beyond!

Love and Peace,

The Good Black News Team

Good Black News Wishes You and Your Loved Ones a Happy Thanksgiving

Today, when family and friends traditionally come together for a special meal to offer gratitude for blessings, each other, and the ability to survive life’s most humbling challenges, GBN wants to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

We’d also like to express our gratitude to you, our followers, and offer thanks for your continued presence, positivity and support. Love and community are more important than ever – enjoy!

Why Celebrating Juneteenth is More Important Now Than Ever

UIG via Getty Images

by P.R. Lockhart via vox.com

As the Civil War came to a close in 1865, a number of people remained enslaved, especially in remote areas. Word of slavery’s end traveled slowly, and for those who were largely isolated from Union armies, life continued as if freedom did not exist.

This was especially the case in Texas, where thousands of slaves were not made aware of freedom until June 19, 1865, when Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston and issued an order officially freeing them. Their celebration would serve as the basis of June 19 — or Juneteenth — a holiday celebrating emancipation in the US.

Ironically, while Juneteenth has become the most prominent Emancipation Day holiday in the US, it commemorates a smaller moment that remains relatively obscure. It doesn’t mark the signing of the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, which technically freed slaves in the rebelling Confederate states, nor does it commemorate the December 1865 ratification of the 13th Amendment, which enshrined the end of slavery into the Constitution. Instead, it marks the moment when emancipation finally reached those in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy.

In many ways, Juneteenth represents how freedom and justice in the US has always been delayed for black people. The decades after the end of the war would see a wave of lynching, imprisonment, and Jim Crow laws take root. What followed was the disproportionate impact of mass incarceration, discriminatory housing policies, and a lack of economic investment. And now, as national attention remain focused on acts of police violence and various racial profiling incidents, it is clear that while progress has been made in black America’s 150 years out of bondage, considerable barriers continue to impede that progress.

Those barriers may remain until America truly begins to grapple with its history. “There are those in this society that still hold on to the idea that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, it was about states’ rights or Northern aggression against slavery,” says Karlos Hill, a professor of African and African-American studies at the University of Oklahoma and the author of Beyond the Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory. “Juneteenth is a moment where we step back and try to understand the Civil War through the eyes of enslaved people.

I spoke with Hill recently about the history of Juneteenth, why the push to make it a national holiday matters, and how commemorating the holiday could bring America closer to truly embracing its ideals of freedom and equality for all.

Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

P.R. Lockhart

Can you tell me a bit about the history of Juneteenth and what the holiday commemorates?

Karlos Hill

In the United States, we do not have a commemoration for the emancipation of 4 million enslaved people. We simply have not commemorated that monumental moment.

Juneteenth is a holiday, or commemoration meant to celebrate word of emancipation finally coming to a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas. It commemorates this group of slaves who learned that they had been emancipated months earlier. The holiday is meant to commemorate the emancipation of 4 million slaves, but particularly the small handful who weren’t aware that emancipation had come months earlier. Continue reading “Why Celebrating Juneteenth is More Important Now Than Ever”

Happy Father’s Day: Important Lessons Dads Teach Us

father and son talking while in the park
(photo via blackdoctor.org)

by Peter Jideonwo via blackdoctor.org

Father. Dad. Daddy. Papa. Pop. There are many different words we use to define one of the most important men in our lives. More than the disciplinarian. More than the one that wore hats and ties. More than “the fixer.” Along with mom, he’s the one who taught you how to be you…and as well as the true value of being you.

Black men, we celebrate you. Not just on Father’s Day, but every day. Here’s some of the things the precious men in our lives have taught us…

Be yourself. It’s up to you to define who you are. Don’t let anyone tell you what specific things you can or can’t do because you’re a man or a woman. If you want to be a surgeon, go for it. If you want to cook, cook. If you want to build something, be careful and don’t hit your finger with the hammer. If something needs to be cleaned, clean. Do you.

Handle your business, no excuses, no explanations. Being a truly great human being can mean many things, but having excuses is not one of them. Always be responsible.

Give and it shall be given. You need to be resourceful, and one of the most valuable resources are people.  Rewarding people what they’re worth is key.

Try. Try. Try. It’s not always easy, but don’t give up doing the things you love to do. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, follow your heart and take pride in doing the things that bring you joy.

There is great value in a hard day’s work. Many children remember their fathers getting up early, working 6 days a week, always taking great pride in making a living. Years later, these are the children that rarely complain when they’re at work…because they remember that Dad always worked harder.

Education is key. You cannot put a price tag on a good education.  Don’t settle for anything less than this. It’s something that no one can ever take away from you.

Be there for your children. Of all the things that kids remember the most about their fathers, things like money and fancy gifts aren’t generally at the top of the list. More valuable to them are those times Dad took them to the park, taught them something new, or simply took the time to spend some time with them.

It’s never too late to do what you want to do. Always try your very best to follow your heart and your dreams. Maybe it’ll hit you later in life what you really want to do. There’s nothing wrong with this. Just make sure you go for it.

Procrastination is a thief of time. Why put it off tomorrow? That is, unless you happen to have a time machine.

Having God on your team means you have the greatest teammate. No matter how tough life gets, having a relationship with God can help move mountains.

Have fun, go out…but not every night. Going out with friends and having fun is great. But don’t…

… be that guy/girl that’s out every single night. You’ll save money, people will have a better opinion of you, and when you do go out, those times will feel more special and you’re more likely to have more fun.

Always put something away for a rainy day. Save, save, save.  Don’t just spend everything.  There will come a time when you will be thankful that you did.

Never forget the beauty of being a kid. Things like working and saving money are essential and important things. But so is keeping a tight hold on your sense of fun, not taking yourself too seriously, and never losing the ability to just let go and be silly sometimes.

Source: https://blackdoctor.org/10279/things-my-dad-taught-me/

GBN Wishes You and Yours a Very Happy Easter!

Enjoy the day with friends, loved ones and/or in reflection!

Love and Peace,

The Good Black News Staff

Good Black News Wishes You and Yours an Incredibly Happy Thanksgiving

(image via foxhillsresort.com)

On this day when family and friends traditionally come together to share a special meal and offer gratitude for blessings as well as the ability to survive life’s most humbling challenges, GBN wants to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  We’d also like to express our gratitude to you, our followers, and say “thank you” for the continued love, positivity and support. Love and community are more important than ever – enjoy!

GBN Wishes You and Yours a Happy Veteran’s Day

(image via thehoustonblackpages.com)

To all who are serving, who have served and have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and to your families, thank you. Your lives and efforts are greatly appreciated and of inestimable value to us all. Happy Veteran’s Day!