review: Pig Park

November 30 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – November 30 *

1869 – John Roy Lynch is elected to the Mississippi House of

1912 – Gordon Parks, Sr. is born in Fort Scott, Kansas. In the
late 1930’s, while working as a railroad porter, he
will become interested in photography and launch his
career as a photographer and photojournalist. From
1943 to 1945, he will be a correspondent for the Office
of War Information, giving national exposure to his
work. This will lead to him becoming a staff
photographer for Life magazine in 1948. He will branch
off into film and television in the 1950’s and in 1968
will produce, direct, and write the script and music
for the production of his book, “The Learning Tree.”
He will also direct and write the music scores for the
movies “Shaft,” “Shaft’s Big Score,” The Super Cops,”
“Leadbelly,” “Odyssey of Solomon Northrup” and “Moments
Without Proper Names.” He will also direct “Superfly,”
“Three The Hard Way,” “Aaron Loves Angela,” and be
called a “Twentieth Century Renaissance Man” by the
NAACP, who will award him its Spingarn Medal in 1972.
The Library of Congress will honor him in 1982 with the
National Film Registry Classics designation for his
film, “The Learning Tree.” He will join the ancestors
on March 7, 2006.

1924 – Shirley Anita St. Hill (later Chisholm) is born in
Brooklyn, New York. While an education consultant for New
York City’s day-care division, she will become active in
community and political activities that included the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP) and her district’s Unity Democratic Club. She
will begin her political career at the age of 40, when she
is elected to the state assembly. In 1968, she will be the
first African American woman elected to Congress,
defeating civil-rights leader James Farmer, who had
asserted in his campaign that African American voters
needed “a man’s voice in Washington.” She will run for
President in 1972 and continue her Congressional duties
until 1982.

1933 – Sam Gilliam is born in Tupelo, Mississippi. He will become
an artist known for his unique manipulation of materials
that result in painted sculpture or suspended paintings.
His work will be shown at the 36th Venice Miennale as well
as in the exhibit “African-American Artists 1880-1987.”

1937 – Robert Guillaume (Williams) is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
He will become an actor and be best known for his roles in
the sit-coms “Soap” and “Benson”.

1944 – Luther Ingram is born in Jackson, Mississippi. He will
become a rhythm and blues musician and singer and will be
best known for the song, “(If Lovin’ You is Wrong) I Don’t
Want to be Right.”

1948 – The Negro National League (Professional Baseball) officially
disbands. Although black teams will continue to play for
several years, they will no longer be major league caliber.
The demise of the Negro Leagues was inevitable as the
younger black players were signed by the white major league

1953 – Albert Michael Espy is born in Yazoo City, Mississippi. In
1987, he will be sworn in as the state’s first African
American congressman since John Roy Lynch more than 100
years before. He will become Secretary of Agriculture
during the Bill Clinton administration. Leaving the
cabinet under fire and indicted for corruption, he will
later be vindicated when he is found not guilty.

1956 – Archie Moore is defeated by Floyd Patterson, as Patterson
wins the heavyweight boxing title vacated by the retired
Rocky Marciano. At the age of 21, Patterson becomes the
youngest boxer to be named heavyweight champion.

1962 – Bo Jackson is born in Bessemer, Alabama. The 1985 Heisman
Trophy winner will be one of the few professional athletes
to play in two sports – football and baseball.

1965 – Judith Jamison makes her debut with Alvin Ailey’s American
Dance Theatre in Chicago, dancing in Talley Beaty’s Congo
Tango Palace. Jamison will rejoin the company in 1988 as
artistic associate due to the failing health of Alvin
Ailey. she will become the company’s artistic director in
1989 upon Ailey’s death.

1966 – Barbados gains its independence from Great Britain.

1975 – The state of Dahomey becomes the People’s Republic of

1981 – The NAACP’s Spingarn Medal is awarded to Coleman A. Young
“in recognition of his singular accomplishments as mayor
of the City of Detroit.”

1990 – Ruth Washington, long-time publisher of the Los Angeles
Sentinel, joins the ancestors. Following the death of
her husband Chester, Washington acted as publisher of the
weekly newspaper, founded in 1933, for sixteen years.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

November 29 African American Historical Events

oday in Black History – November 29 *

1905 – The Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper,
begins publication.

1907 – Thomas C. Fleming is born in Jacksonville, Florida. He
will become the co-founder of the San Francisco Sun
Reporter, an African American weekly newspaper. Mr.
Fleming will be active, as a writer for the paper,
from its inception in 1944 through the end of the
century. He will chronicle his life as an African in
America through his series, “Reflections on Black
History,” published in his 90’s, while still active as
a journalist with his beloved Sun Reporter. He will join
the ancestors on November 21, 2006.

1908 – Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. is born in New Haven,
Connecticut. Son of the famed minister of Harlem’s
Abyssinian Baptist Church, the younger Powell will be
a civil rights activist, using mass meetings and
strikes to force employment reforms. In 1944, Powell
will be elected to Congress and begin what will be
considered a controversial congressional career. Among
his early actions will be the desegregation of eating
facilities in the House and an unrelenting fight to end
discrimination in the armed forces, employment, housing,
and transportation. Later in his career, his
questionable activities while chairman of the Committee
on Education and Labor will result in his expulsion
from Congress, re-election and eventual return to his
seat. He will join the ancestors on April 4, 1972.

1915 – William Thomas “Billy” Strayhorn is born in Miami Valley
Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. He will write his first
song, “Lush Life,” when he is 16 while working as a
soda jerk in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He will join
Duke Ellington as a co-composer, assistant arranger,
and pianist, where he will collaborate with Ellington
for 29 years on some of the band’s greatest hits.
Among Strayhorn’s compositions will be “Satin Doll,”
and “Take the ‘A’ Train.” He will join the ancestors
on May 31, 1967 of esophageal cancer at the age of 51.

1935 – Two-term congressman from North Carolina, Henry Plummer
Cheatham joins the ancestors in Oxford, North Carolina.
Cheatham was the only African American member of
Congress during the 1890 term.

1943 – David Bing is born in Washington, DC. He will be
selected No. 2 in the 1966 NBA draft by the Detroit
Pistons, and play 12 years in the NBA. He will be
inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1990, and named
one of the top 50 basketball players of all time.

1961 – Freedom Riders are attacked by white mob at bus station
in McComb, Mississippi.

1964 – Don Cheadle is born in Kansas City, Missouri. He will
become an actor and star in movies such as “Boogie
Nights”, “Rebound”, “Hamburger Hill”, and “Devil in a
Blue Dress”. He will also be successful on the small
screen in “Picket Fences”, “Golden Palace” and a
variety of guest appearances.

1989 – The space shuttle Discovery lands after completing a
secret military mission. The mission was led by Air
Force Colonel Frederick D. Gregory, the first African
American commander of a space shuttle mission.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

November 28 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – November 28 *

1868 – John Sengstacke Abbott is born in Frederica, Georgia.
The son of former slaves, he will attend Hampton
Institute and prepare himself for the printing trade.
He will also go on to law school, and will work as an
attorney for a few years, but will change careers to
become a journalist. He will found the Chicago Defender,
a weekly newspaper on May 6, 1905. He will start the
paper on $25, and in the beginning, operate it out of
his kitchen. Under his direction, the Defender will
become the most widely circulated African American
newspaper of its time and a leading voice in the fight
against racism. He will cultivate a controversial,
aggressive style, reporting on such issues as violence
against blacks and police brutality. The Defender will
raise eyebrows with its anti-lynching slogan – “If you
must die, take at least one with you,” its opposition
to a segregated Colored Officers Training Camp in Fort
Des Moines, Iowa in 1917, and its condemnation of Marcus
Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).
Through the Defender, he will also play a major role in
the “Great Migration” of many African Americans from the
South to Chicago. He will join the ancestors on
February 22, 1940.

1871 – The Ku Klux Klan trials begin in Federal District Court
in South Carolina.

1907 – Charles Alston is born in Charlotte, North Carolina.
After studying at Columbia University and Pratt
Institute, he will travel to Europe and the Caribbean,
execute murals for Harlem Hospital and Golden State
Mutual Life Insurance Company in Los Angeles, earning
the National Academy of Design Award, and the First
Award of the Atlanta University Collection’s 1942 show
for his watercolor painting, “Farm Boy”. As a teacher,
he will teach at the Harlem Community Art Center, Harlem
Art Workshop, and Pennsylvania State University. He
will be an associate professor of painting at The City
University of New York and a muralist for the WPA during
the Depression. His two-panel mural of that period,
“Magic and Medicine,” can be seen at Harlem Hospital. He
will become a full professor at City University of New
York in 1973. He will join the ancestors on April 27,

1929 – Berry Gordy is born in Detroit, Michigan. He will become
the the founder and president of Motown Records, the
most successful African American-owned record company.
Gordy’s “Motown Sound” will become synonymous with the
1960’s and will launch the careers of Diana Ross and the
Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson
and the Miracles, the Jackson Five, and many others.

1942 – Richard Wright, author of “Native Son” and “Black Boy”,
joins the ancestors in Paris, France at the age of 52.

1942 – Paul Warfield is born in Warren, Ohio. He will become an
wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.
Over his career, he will catch 427 passes for 8,565 yards
and 85 touchdowns. He will have a sensational 20.1-yard
per catch average and will be All-NFL five years. He also
will be named to eight Pro Bowls. He will be enshrined in
the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.

1958 – Chad, Congo, and & Mauritania become autonomous members of
the French World Community.

1960 – Mauritania gains independence from France.

1961 – The Downtown Athletic Club awards the Heisman Trophy to
Ernie Davis, a halfback from Syracuse University. He is
the first African American to win the award.

1966 – A coup occurs in Burundi overthrowing the monarchy. A
republic is declared as a replacement form of government.

1981 – Pam McAllister Johnson is named as publisher of Gannett’s
Ithaca (New York) Journal. She is the first African
American woman to head a general circulation newspaper in
the United States.

1992 – In King William’s Town, South Africa, four people are
killed, about 20 injured, when black militant gunmen
attack a country club.

2011 – Comedian and Actor, Patrice O’Neal, joins the ancestors at
the age of 41, succumbing to complications of a stroke he
suffered in September. O’Neal had appeared on shows like
“The Office” and “The Chappelle Show” as well as being a
regular guest on the “Opie and Anthony” radio show.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

November 27 African American Historical Events

Today in Black History – November 27 *

1942 – Johnny Allen Hendrix is born in Seattle, Washington.
Hendrix’s father, James “Al” Hendrix, later changes
his son’s name to James Marshall. James Marshall
Hendrix will be best known as Jimi Hendrix, leader of
the influential rock group, The Jimi Hendrix
Experience. His music will influence such groups as
“Earth, Wind, and Fire,” “Living Colour,” and “Sting.”
He will join the ancestors on September 18, 1970 after
succumbing to asphyxiation from his own vomit. He will
be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992
and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. His star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame will be dedicated in 1994. In
2006, his debut album, “Are You Experienced,” will be
inducted into the United States National Recording
Preservation Board’s National Recording Registry. Rolling
Stone magazine will name him number 1 on their list of
the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2003.

1951 – Sixteen-year-old Hosea Richardson becomes the first
licensed African American jockey to ride on the Florida

1957 – Dorothy Height, YMCA official, is elected president of
the National Council of Negro Women.

1964 – Robin Givens is born in New York City. She will become
an actress and will star in “Head of the Class,” and “A
Rage in Harlem,” “Michael Jordan: An American Hero,”
“Blankman,” “Foreign Student,” “Boomerang,” “The Women
of Brewster Place,” and “Beverly Hills Madam.”

1968 – Eldridge Cleaver, Minister of Information for the Black
Panther Party, becomes a fugitive from justice as a
parole violator.

1989 – Jennifer Lawson assumes her duties as Executive Vice
President for National Programming and Promotion
Services at the Public Broadcasting Service. The Alabama
native is the chief programming executive for PBS,
determining which programs are seen on the network. She
is the first woman to hold such a position at a major
television network.

1990 – Charles Johnson wins the National Book Award for his
novel “Middle Passage.” He is the fourth African
American to win the award, formerly called the American
Book Award.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

Giving Thanks Always: Two Children’s Thanksgiving Books

Everyday that I wake up I give thanks.  As a person who is grateful to wake up this morning, and as a school librarian, I’m sharing two books that talk about thanks and Thanksgiving from different perspectives.  These books may be found in your local library and/or can be purchased at

Thanks A Million by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera. Publisher: Greenwillow Books. 2006.  ISBN-10: 068817292X; ISBN-13: 978-0688172923. 32 pages. Ages 5 and up.

Review from School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 4–Sixteen thoughtful poems about being thankful for everyday things. Grimes uses a variety of forms that include haiku, a riddle, and a rebus in selections that speak directly to the experiences of young children. In Lunch Box Love Notes, a big sister sometimes resents having to watch out for her baby brother, but a note left in her lunch box by her mother thanking her for taking such good care of Ray makes it worthwhile. Dear Teacher closes, Signed, David/who only hates math/½ as much/as he used to. A Lesson from the Deaf simply and eloquently describes saying thank you in sign language. Cabreras acrylic illustrations are distinctive, folksy, and effective. The art for Mystery is particularly effective, showcasing 42 children of different ethnicities in small, rectangular portraits. A lovely book for reflection and discussion.–Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

A Strawbeater’s Thanksgiving by Irene Smalls, illustrated by Melodye Benson Rosales. Publisher: Little Brown & Co. 1998.  ISBN-10: 0316798665; ISBN-13: 978-0316798662.  32 pages. Ages 7 and up.

Review from School Library Journal:

Grade 2-5-In this tale based on slave narratives, Smalls presents little-known traditions and unfamiliar figures of speech. At the annual corn-shucking party, seven-year-old Jess longs to be the “strawbeater” who, according to the author’s note, “stands behind a fiddler, reaches around his left shoulder, and beats on the strings while the fiddle is being played, in the manner of a snare drum.” He must wrestle Nathaniel, a bigger boy, for the honor, and when he is chosen for his tenacity rather than his brawn, the festivities begin. There is dancing, singing, good-natured competition, and plenty of food. The story line is somewhat stilted and would require some historical background to be fully appreciated. Rosales’s vibrant, full-color oil paintings carry the emotion and spirit of the day. The bright, bold reds and browns add a sense of power and strength. This is not as satisfying as Patricia and Fredrick McKissack’s Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters (Scholastic, 1994), but it helps to fill out the life stories of slaves and presents an interesting glimpse of a harvest celebration of the period.
Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY

November 26 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – November 26 *

1866 – Rust College is founded in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

1872 – Macon B. Allen is elected judge of the Lower Court of
Charleston, South Carolina. Allen, the first African
American lawyer, becomes the second African American
to hold a major judicial position and the first
African American with a major judicial position on
the municipal level.

1878 – Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor is born in Indianapolis,
Indiana. He will become an American cyclist and win the
world 1 mile (1.6 km) track cycling championship in 1899
after setting numerous world records and overcoming
racial discrimination. He will be the first African
American athlete to achieve the level of world champion
and only the second black man to win a world championship,
after Canadian boxer George Dixon. He will hold the title
of “the world’s fastest bicycle racer” for 12 years. He
will join the ancestors on June 28, 1932 in Chicago,

1883 – Sojourner Truth, women’s rights advocate, poet, and
freedom fighter, joins the ancestors in Battle Creek,

1890 – Savannah State College is founded in Savannah, Georgia.

1968 – O.J. Simpson is named Heisman Trophy winner for 1968.
A running back for the University of Southern
California, Simpson amassed a total of 3,187 yards in
18 games and scored 33 touchdowns in two seasons. He
will play professional football with the Buffalo Bills
and the San Francisco 49ers and be equally well known
as a sportscaster and actor.

1970 – Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. the first African American
general in the U.S. military, joins the ancestors at
the age of 93 in Chicago, Illinois.

1970 – Charles Gordone is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his
play, “No Place To Be Somebody.”

1970 – Painter, Jacob Lawrence is awarded the Spingarn Medal
“in tribute to the compelling power of his work which
has opened to the world…a window on the Negro’s
condition in the United States” and “in salute to his
unswerving commitment” to the Black struggle.

1986 – Scatman Crothers, actor, who is best known for his role
as “Louie” on TV’s “Chico & the Man”, joins the
ancestors at the age of 76.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

November 25 African American Historical Events

* Today in Black History – November 25 *

1841 – Thirty-five survivors of the “Amistad” return home to

1922 – Marcus Garvey electrifies a crowd at Liberty Hall in
New York City as he states the goals and principles
of the Universal Negro Improvement Association
(UNIA): “We represent peace, harmony, love, human
sympathy, human rights and human justice…we are
marshaling the four hundred million Negroes of the
world to fight for the emancipation of the race and
for the redemption of the country of our fathers.”

1935 – Namahyoke Sokum Curtis, who led a team of 32 African
Americans to nurse yellow fever victims during the
Spanish-American War, joins the ancestors. She will
be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

1941 – Annie Mae Bullock is born in Nutbush, Tennessee. She
will meet Ike Turner in the early 1950’s at a St.
Louis, Missouri club. Soon after, she will begin
singing with his band on occasional engagements, and
in 1959, form the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. After
separating from Ike and the band, she will build an
even more successful career on her own, which will
include the multi-platinum album, “Private Dancer”
and five Grammy awards.

1949 – Dr. Ralph J. Bunche receives the Spingarn Medal for
his contributions to the Myrdal study and his
achievements as UN mediator in the Palestine

1949 – The St. Louis chapter of CORE presses a sit-in
campaign designed to end segregation in downtown St.
Louis facilities.

1955 – The Interstate Commerce Commission bans segregation
in interstate travel. The law affects buses and
trains as well as terminals and waiting rooms.

1987 – Harold Washington, the first African American mayor
of Chicago, Illinois, joins the ancestors, in office
at the age of 65.

1997 – Legendary Eddie Robinson, of Grambling State University,
coaches his last game as head coach. This will close
out a career spanning 57 years. He has the NCAA record
for wins at 402. The closest to Eddie Robinson’s record
is ‘Bear’ Bryant of the University of Alabama at 323

1998 – Comedian Flip Wilson joins the ancestors in Malibu,
California, at the age of 64.

Information retrieved from the Munirah Chronicle and is edited by Rene’ A. Perry.

Overflowing with Thanks, Bookwise

Latinxs in Kid Lit

WNDB_ButtonThis is the week when we as bloggers pause to give thanks, starting with the fact that we have so many amazing readers–readers who care about Latin@ kid lit as much as we do! We appreciate each one of your clicks, comments, social-media shares, and other forms of participation. If you’ve been silent up to now, let us hear from you soon. We value your partnership.

Another thing we’re super grateful for this Thanksgiving is the emergence and explosive growth of the We Need Diverse Books campaign. Ceilings are cracking under the pressure of this push and all of us stand to benefit, so thank you to the bright minds that dreamed it up.

Another reason to feel grateful in 2014 is that Latin@ kid lit is in much better shape than it was in years past. As we reflect back on our own or our children’s bookshelves, we’re delighted that kids today have a…

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