January 15, 2009

I'm ready to start Black History Month TODAY!

Please enjoy this post that our friend Thomas Brennan shared with us!

Chicken George

In 1977, ABC aired a twelve hour mini-series called Roots, which was based on Alex Haley’s 1976 book titled Roots: The Saga of an American Family.

Based on the oral history passed down by his female relatives, Mr. Haley traced back his African ancestry to Kunta Kinte, a young boy of the Mandinka tribe, who lived in present day Gambia. He was kidnapped by slave traders in 1767, and brought to America to be sold into slavery.

Once he landed in America, he was renamed Toby.

One of his descendants was a boy named George, born to a female slave as a result of being raped by a white slave owner. At an early age, the young man became skilled at training fighting roosters, which earned him the nickname “Chicken George”.

Mr. Haley earned a Pulitzer Prize for his book in 1977, and the mini-series itself garnered 9 Emmys and a Peabody award.

Like all good stories, the facts have been embellished a little, which doesn’t diminish the fact that it’s still a good story.

Roots:The Saga of an American Family

I thought of Chicken George as I stood in line last night at Jewel.

Although that sounds a little far-fetched, you’ll understand the connection in a few minutes.

To help entertain shoppers while they wait in line, Jewel has installed small televisions at the end of each checkout counter. At the precise moment I was in my line, the image on the screen was that of Dr. Martin Luther King delivering his “I have a dream” speech in Washington, D.C.

At the end of the clip was a reminder that Dr. King’s birthday will be celebrated next Monday, January 19th.

What immediately flashed to mind was the fact that on the very next day, January 20th, a man with an African father will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

At some point in time next Tuesday, someone in this country will be listening to the song attached below ….

… and somewhere in heaven, Kunta Kinte will be wearing a big smile.

As you’re aware, Dr. King’s birthday is actually today, January 15th.

As I type this note, the “high” temperature for the day is predicted to be -2 degrees, which makes the term “high” a bit of an oxymoron.

Naturally, that thought brings to mind another song:

If you look closely at the opening credits on this video, you may notice that it was introduced in the movie by a gentleman named Ricardo Montalban.

He died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 88. If his family has any sense of history, they’ll line his coffin with Corinthian leather.

~ Tom

January 15, 2009.


Thank you so much Tom for sharing these thoughts!

Happy Birthday Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it took us 241 years, but we have made it to "The Promised Land", sure feels good!!

"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

~ "I See The Promised Land" speech, April 3, 1968, Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

AND thank you to him, from me, House, for being born.

Had he not been born, chances are I would not be here writing and sharing with you! Afterall my birth certificate reads "Negro" ~ So thanks, and enjoy the rest of this day!


Dave Carlson said...

Tom Brennan and I are contemporaries and good friends, almost brothers. The visual memories he provided stimulate my own vivid memories.

Our wide community on the North Shore of Lake Superior also remembers Martin Luther King Jr's day. Good coverage of events in the Lake County Chronicle and the Cook County Herald.

We will host an inauguration viewing on Tuesday.

Houseonahill said...

Dave Carlson,

What a wonderful treat to have you stop in!

Tom is amazing! My hope is that he will continue to educate us with his creative flare ~ Hope your Dr. King Day celebrations are festive and WARM!

~ House