Category Archives: History

The richest blacks in the world

We are living at the intersection of many crossroads.  One such crossroad is  race and wealth.

One of the manifestations of which is Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.   Which is exactly what it sounds like: an interactive exploration of the world’s richest folk.

The site is an interesting blend of design, functionality and content.  It is also interesting by what it omits – exploration by race or ethnic origin.  I tried to solve this in the long term by sending the Bloomberg team an email requesting this feature (no response yet).     But in the short term, I did some plain old research using Google, and then looked for the results (also published in Forbes) in the tool.

I’m not going to spoil the results.  I am going to let you enjoy using the site to satisfy your own curiosities.

But I can tell you that of the top 10 richest blacks in the world, I found one of them in the Index.   Lower down in the list than I had hoped.  Not someone I would have expected.  A man.  The second richest black is a woman.  She is not on the list since her wealth at almost 4 billion apparently does not make the cut.  Both their fortunes originate in and emanate from Africa.

It’s interesting to note how little we hear about Africa’s slow, steady and inexorable advancement as a world economic power.  It’s no wonder that many nations and businesses – Big oil, telecom, finance and the Chinese, have set their sights on Africa, and are investing heavily there.

Sunday Jazz Corner with Jimmie Lunceford

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James Melvin “Jimmie” Lunceford (June 6, 1902 – July 12, 1947) was an American Jazz alto saxophonist and bandleader in the swing era.

Jimmie Lunceford is the odd man out in jazz history. This bandleader made no waves with his musicianship – his preferred instrument was the conductor’s baton – and he possessed neither the elegance of Ellington nor the hipster hauteur of Calloway. But Lunceford knew how to entertain an audience, and he led one of the finest jazz bands of the 1930s. When Lunceford’s ensemble took a booking at the Cotton Club, following in the footsteps of Cab and the Duke, dancers would hardly have missed a beat. “Harlem Shout” demonstrates the core virtues of this orchestra: its swinging riff-based charts, its hot and polished section work, and (another calling card of Lunceford’s bands) high-note trumpet theatrics, provided here by Paul Webster. Like a hearty band of soldiers, this ensemble always maintained discipline under fire, and there was inevitably plenty of hot stuff around when folks like Sy Oliver and Eddie Durham were handing out the parts. Perhaps if Lunceford had lived longer – he died, reportedly of a heart attack (although under suspicious circumstances), at age 45 – he might have been fêted as elder statesman of jazz. But, as it stands, he is little more than a half-remembered name for most younger jazz fans. Tis pity, ’cause this band was sublime.  Reviewer Credit: Ted Gioia

Read Wikipedia on Jimmie Lunceford stating rumors about his death (suspicious circumstances) that he was actually poisoned in Seaside, Oregon by a restaurant owner.

Tain’t What You Do – Jimmie Lunceford

Jimmie Lunceford and His Dance Orchestra 1936 (LIVE)

Harlem Shout – Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra

QUOTE: Malcolm X “Education is the passport”

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“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

- Malcolm X

* Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925.  On February 21, 1965, he was preparing to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom when a man who was seated in the front row of the 400-person audience rushed forward and shot him.  Then two other men charged the stage and shot Malcolm X several times.  He was pronounced dead at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital at 3:30 pm.

A Public viewing was held at Harlem’s Unity Funeral Home from February 23 through February 26.  Estimates of the number of mourners attending varied from 14,000 to 30,000.  The funeral was held on February 27 at the Faith Temple of the Church of God in Christ in Harlem.  A local television station broadcast the funeral live.  Actor and activist Ossie Davis delivered the eulogy, where he described Malcolm X as “our shining black prince.”

Book: Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the 20th Century

black stats via harlemcondolife

I recently had an opportunity to listen to and then meet Monique W. Morris and Khalil Gibran Muhammad discussing Monique’s new book: Black Stats.

This book is a vast compendium of revealing facts about blacks in the 20th Century.  It is the first ever work of it’s kind.

When asked what was the most surprising fact she came across,  Ms. Morris mentioned a timely stat regarding views on gay marriage.  She also shared a stat regarding incarceration rates that people might find surprising.   Mr. Muhammad provided a fascinating perspective on how facts can be used to illuminate or  perpetuate bias.

Monique W. Morris is co-founder of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute. She is a Soros Justice Fellow and formerly served as Vice President for Economic Programs, Advocacy, and Research for the NAACP. A faculty member at St. Mary’s College of California, she is the author of the novel Too Beautiful for Words.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library and the author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America.

This and other books, music, etc can be found on HarlemCondoLife’s recently upgrade store, located here.




Black Stats?a comprehensive guide filled with contemporary facts and figures on African Americans?is an essential reference for anyone attempting to fathom the complex state of our nation. With fascinating and often surprising information on everything from incarceration rates, lending practices, and the arts to marriage, voting habits, and green jobs, the contextualized material in this book will better attune readers to telling trends while challenging commonly held, yet often misguided, perceptions.

A compilation that at once highlights measures of incredible progress and enumerates the disparate impacts of social policies and practices, this book is a critical tool for advocates, educators, and policy makers. Black Stats offers indispensable information that is sure to enlighten discussions and provoke debates about the quality of Black life in the United States today?and help chart the path to a better future.

There are less than a quarter-million Black public school teachers in the U.S.—representing just 7 percent of all teachers in public schools.
Approximately half of the Black population in the United States lives in neighborhoods that have no White residents.
In the five years before the Great Recession, the number of Black-owned businesses in the United States increased by 61 percent.
A 2010 study found that 41 percent of Black youth feel that rap music videos should be more political.
There are no Black owners or presidents of an NFL franchise team.
78 percent of Black Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, compared with 56 percent of White Americans.

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