The first widely publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War was in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865.
During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Charleston Race Course; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves.
Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by the New York Tribune and other national papers.
The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
Nearly ten thousand people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children newly enrolled in freedmen’s schools, mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers, and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field.
Today the site is used as Hampton Park. Years later, the celebration would come to be called the “First Decoration Day” in the North. David W. Blight described the day:
“This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.”
via Memorial Day – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Explore with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the evolution of the African-American people, as well as the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed forging their own history, culture and society against unimaginable odds.
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Rest in Peace. With hearts heavy around the world right now with the passing of Nelson Mandela. He led a tireless, valiant and successful struggle that brought freedom to millions.
His efforts were watched and supported by millions in the United States, whose same struggle has been so well recounted in the PBS series The African Americans.
As you honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela please make time to watch this amazing series by yourself or with family and friends. Watch one minute of one episode and you won’t be able to stop, it is so captivating.
A brief history of Nelson Mandela
A segment from The African Americans
Posted in Central Harlem, Community, East Harlem, Education, Faith/Religion, HarlemCondoLife, History, New York City, North Harlem, South Harlem (SOHA), West Harlem
Tagged @HarlemHCL, Africa, African American, Freedom, Harlem, Harlem History, HarlemBlogger, HarlemBlogs, HarlemCondoLife.com, HCL, Heroes, history, Jacob Zuma, Legends, Nelson Mandela, PBS, South Africa, United States
“You know, I love all kinds of activism. I certainly think blacks deserve to have something whether it is affirmative action or an opportunity that should be opened up to them. But at the same time I believe that people of color are not the only poor people in America and all over the world.”
“Respect your parents. What they tell you is true. Hard work, dedication and faith will get you anything. Imagination will drive itself. You can get anything you want, but you have to have faith behind all your ideas. Stick to your goals and have an undying faith.”
- Russell Simmons
We wanted to quote Russell Simmons this week again (one of many times that we have quoted Simmons here on our blog in our inspirational quotes archive) as a follow up to our quote from Don Lemon last week. I believe both of these public figures are inspirational to our children and the community.
It’s ok to come from different view points and have a discussion or a debate. Especially when ultimately everyone wants the same thing, people growing into the best person that they can be. Self-empowerment (as Don said) and recognizing your self worth. The important bottom line here is to have the discussion. This discussion which has been brought up several times over the years by many public figures such as Bill Cosby and Oprah Winfrey, Jay Z and Common. I remember on the Oprah show when Jay Z was on, and they politely disagreed with each other about his lyrics. But you believed that they walked away with respect for each other even though they viewed the topic differently. I love interviews like this because it brings up a discussion. It is an important discussion to keep having. Whether agreeing or disagreeing have a discussion with your kids and each other and keep it moving.
I really like the second quote above by Russell Simmons “Respect your parents…” The message really helps to mold your/our way of thinking. And if not your parents, your grandmother, or your aunt or older brother, sister etc. To discuss helping people, improving yourself, helping each other, treating one another with kindness and respect, I can’t think of a better or more important discussion to have. Even if it starts with a disagreement it might end with an agreement or at least an understanding.
And just one last thing, living in New York is one thing, but living in Harlem is a bigger feeling of community, and focus and passion towards helping those that need it. At least this is the Harlem that I have come to love. People here in our community black, white, spanish, artist, corporate, community organizers, politicians, rich, poor, moms, students whatever, all seem to step it up a notch or two and this is a great thing. I was speaking with someone the other night at a Harlem event (at the HarlemGarage) and we were discussing Detroit (the woman I was speaking with was from there) and the turmoil that Detroit is going through right now. She said she wants to go help in some way. We both shared an enthusiasm on how we might help – help is really where it all begins. That’s what I’m talking about. People that give a sh#! (pardon my French) and walk the walk don’t talk the talk. I think Russell, Don, everyone that I’ve mentioned above are perfect examples of people who care and act. And if you disagree, just wikipedia any one of them.
Keep it moving, have faith, keep having the discussions. We all want the same things, though we may get there in our own way, style and time.
Posted in Books, Celebrity, Central Harlem, Community, Culture, Don Lemon, East Harlem, Education, Faith/Religion, Health & Wellness, History, Kids, New York City, North Harlem, Quote, Russell Simmons, South Harlem (SOHA), West Harlem
Tagged @HarlemHCL, African American, Bill Cosby, community, Detroit, Don Lemon, education, Family, Harlem, HarlemBlogger, HarlemCondoLife.com, HCL, Inspirational Quotes, Jay-Z, new york city, Oprah Winfrey, role models, Russell Simmon, the harlem garage