Meaningful Change On The Horizon

Another year has passed giving us time to reflect on what occurred during the last twelve months. I don’t know about you, but I can say it was a good year. No, I didn’t strike it rich, purchase a new mansion of a home, buy an expensive luxury car or lose a large lot of weight. Although I did appreciate the loss of fifteen pounds.

I didn’t become a media personality for whatever reason. Nor did anyone in my family become any more famous than they already are at the moment.  No there were no spectacular changes in my life last year. But then, there were no major losses of any kind either. Oh, there were deaths or people who we like to think transition on to a better afterlife. There are family and friends that we will miss and for which we are better off for having known in the first place.  All in all, 2015 was a very ordinary year for my family and me. Oh yes…there was one significant discovery but I will tell you about that later on in January.

Now 2016…where do I start? Let me say right off the top, I do expect big things to happen during this particular year. I feel it coming for our country on a national scale. I envision subtle but effective changes in our black communities, both morally and economically. I’ve sensed and noticed a real change in entrepreneurial mood with optimism from the guests on my Blog Talk Radio Show. There is a renewed sense of community responsibility from all the different people I’ve talked to over the last year.

People are tired of the status quo and are willing to put themselves out there for the common good of all. Just check out the news, pay close attention to the conversation and actions taken by the small groups in various cities across the country. Black people are becoming more and more aware of the real black power that is green power. We have begun to realize the value in using economic means to facilitate change within this country.

There are political voices out there that have people recoiling from the idea that we are a nation of people who think like Donald Trump.  Not to think of the real silent majority that despises the rhetoric and ideas pushed by the far right wing of the Republican Party and other extremists. Despite all the money spent by those organizations and their supporters in local political races; they are not directing the thought process of the American public.

Regardless of the fact that ultra-conservative white men own most of the largest national media. They who see the future USA population shift of white folks as no longer the majority a threat to their power base. Thus, a lot of the narrative you see and hear in our morning and evening news, national print media and oddly opinionated conversation from our political talk shows is downright self-serving to the status quo. You will note that the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Police Unions are part of that status quo mentality.

It’s as if we ask the police unions to undertake new training, stop and detain techniques, wear body cams, or simply not shoot someone sixteen times because they felt threaten by a knife-wielding mentally ill suspect. Then we are wrong? Where is it in our constitution or other laws that say Americans cannot ask and demand better service from our organizations formed to protect the public? I don’t think the country is going to stand for people telling us not to trust our own eyes or what we see in a video. Changes for the better are required and coming people.

People are tired of seeing or hearing all the tragic and criminal stories on our broadcast news. Especially since there are so many good stories happening on a daily basis. American’s are doing wonderful things, without selfish motivation, because we are good human beings.  Check out HuffPost Good News at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/good-news/ or Sunny Skyz at http://www.sunnyskyz.com/ and the Good News Network at http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/ In fact, some of the same organizations who bring you one-sided conservatively opinionated news have their website links touting good or inspiring news. That very fact itself should validate what I’ve been saying throughout this article.

You can and will play an important part in how 2016 will eventually turn out to you and your family. Join me in promising to be a better person, a better man, a better citizen, better father and spouse, and a better friend. In other words, I intend to be better at each and everything I do during all of 2016. And I will reward myself for achieving these goals by enjoying a movie, concert or other entertainment along the way. I intend to travel to more places than I did last year. In other words, I am going to enjoy life too. I also know if I do all of these things, God will take care of the rest along with providing the necessary means for my family and me.

So it’s full speed ahead for 2016. But don’t forget now, we should promise to keep in touch over the year and share our special thoughts and experiences. Hey, Happy New Year, my people.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-6Z

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

“In my latest book, Remember Moz, Gracie & John Hampton’s First-Born, I wanted to tell the world about a unique individual. Not because he happened to be my father but to explain who he was, where he came from, and how he evolved into the man he became up until his death. In doing so, I wrote of his ancestor’s roots back to and through the Civil War. The inclusion of his birth and upbringing in the heart of Arkansas, or Jim Crow country, add southern reluctance to learn why our country involved itself in a bloodthirsty four-year exercise in the first place? Then you begin to understand why, our parents behaved the way that they did. See if I captured the essence of this paragraph.” Get the book via the Authors Page at http://outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478766056

Or visit my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

 

 

 

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment.

 

What Am I Thankful For In 2015?

What am I thankful for on this Thanksgiving? Where do I start? First of all, I am thankful for being the child of Doreatha (Childs) and Codis Hampton. Two people whom I dearly loved and will miss through eternity. And my heavenly father for placing me in their care and guidance in the first place.

I am thankful for having such wonderful siblings as my sisters, Delores, Carol, and stepsister, the late Johnny Mae. And let me not forget my little brother James Edward. I was the oldest and should have been the most responsible, but forgive me when I strayed to the dark side in my late teenage and young adult age.

That was a period when all five feet four of me thought to be cold blooded, hardcore and tuff was a prescription for survival in this country. The streets of Milwaukee called for guile, cunning, a bad attitude and short fuse. At least that is what I thought at the time. The first words out of my mouth to anyone who disagreed with me on any subject was F_ _ _ you, followed by I will kick your M-F A_ _. It made no difference if the guy was 5’4” 140lbs or 6’4” 250 lbs. My only suggestion to the person was to bring a lunch because it’s going to be an all-day fight to the finish. I won some and lost others. In fact, have you ever seen a group of different size dogs on the street or in a yard? The smallest runt of the pack is always barking the loudest, jumping up and down. The others may not even bark, but that runt is lunging at you as you walk by and seems to want to tear one of your limbs off your body. I was that runt.

I was mad at the world, didn’t care who knew it and was not planning on passing the age of twenty-one. And if that was to come to pass, I was going down swinging at my foe.  Along the way, I found out a simple truth. It didn’t matter who won, my body still felt the pain from being in a fight. ThanksgivingAll praise is to God; I got over and lived through that phase. I also give thanks to a three-year service in the US Army which helped me mature in a manner I never knew existed for a black man in this country.

I’ll tell you some other people who knew what I was  learning the hard way. And that is my mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, uncles, Aunts and adult cousins. If I had listened to them in the first place, well…that phase in my life could have been spent more productive maybe resulting in a master degree in something or the other. I have no regrets. That is what it took for me to get to 2015. Now it’s just another reason for me to be thankful today.

I am grateful for having met my wife, Sandra along the way. For our children, Shawn Lynn, Richie and Brandon, now grown and finding their way in life, I am all so proud of their accomplishments. They are down to earth people who are real and see life as it is not through rose colored glasses. My wife and I tried to raise them in the way we were raised hoping they would be better and avoid some of our mistakes. The fact that they are alive and well is a blessing in itself.

Today, I can say; I have family and friends that I keep in contact with, some daily, weekly, others monthly, and yearly. There are friends and family I haven’t touched bases with in a while who know me well enough to know I still care and think about them. As in life, there have been disagreements with family and friends causing them to fall out of touch for whatever reason. They should know; I’m not a person who holds a grudge or harbor some dislike for them because of some incident between us. Thank God, I can say, I’m not that kind of person today. I have evolved and continue to do so. I am a better person than I was years ago, last year and several months ago, as I continue to work on me every day. I am certainly thankful for that.

Make no mistake about it. I go through what you all go through on a daily basis. We have to deal with rude and obnoxious people in the grocery store or other retail outlets. Making a phone call to a vendor while trying to correct their billing error can be challenging. Is it me, or am I correct in concluding that customer service is lacking at too many of our service industry companies these days?  Sometimes it’s as though the Human Resource Office in these companies have hired a staff of incompetent, uncaring, and impatient individuals to answer their phones and yet call themselves a customer service representative. Most of time, I feel I should send them an invoice for helping them do their job. You feel me? But then, over the years I’ve learned not to let a person or persons put me in a bad mood for the day. I deal with it at that time with that person and move on; it’s that simple. And for that change in my personality, I am thankful to Jesus Christ.

I am oh so thankful for the new people I am meeting in my life. Some of which, I have never personally met or seen, but often communicate by phone as if we’ve known each other for a lifetime. I’ve met most of these new friends and contacts in connection with my church, BTR Show, publication of books or my role as their tax preparer.

Every day many of these people or colleagues give me hope there is a better day coming for our people of color and communities across this nation. We share a common goal for the human race and specifically for the black race. These are people of all colors who demonstrate on a daily basis that they are community driven first rather than only seeking profit for their endeavors. It is these people, along with my upbringing that keeps me going and selfishly giving of my time for my community.

I am so thankful to my Savior for guiding me as I take the actions required to give and contribute in my way to our community.  To say that I’ve evolved into a good husband, father, citizen and black man in 2015 is an understatement in my view. I’ve found peace with myself, my God, my family, friends and everyone else. And for that, I am eternally thankful this Thanksgiving.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all, may you find the same type of contentment in your life.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

 

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-6t

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

“In my latest book, Remember Moz, Gracie & John Hampton’s First-Born, I wanted to tell the world about a unique individual. Not because he happened to be my father but to explain who he was, where he came from, and how he evolved into the man he became up until his death. In doing so, I wrote of his ancestor’s roots back to and through the Civil War. The inclusion of his birth and upbringing in the heart of Arkansas, or Jim Crow country, add southern reluctance to learn why our country involved itself in a bloodthirsty four-year exercise in the first place? Then you begin to understand why, our parents behaved the way that they did. See if I captured the essence of this paragraph.” Get the book via the Authors Page at http://outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478766056

or visit my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

 

 

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

 

 

 

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Remembering Moz, the Book

I beg to differ, no… anybody can’t write a book. You will note that those who say that loudest haven’t written anything. Any and everybody may be trying, including me, but everybody cannot write a book. Education, training, or tutoring enables but does not produce an effective writer. Oh, I believe as others that there is a book in all of us. The problem, as you might imagine, is getting it out of a person. There are numerous reasons why people can’t write fiction, current events, spiritual awakening or their life story.

We are all different, some raised in similar neighborhood environments, by parents (single or other family members) that bring their habits and mannerisms to the adult to child relationship. How many times have you heard a guardian start a stern warning with, “When I was a child, my mother or father,” People act in certain ways based on their life experiences. And make no mistake about it, as much as we say we will not repeat the same rearing mistakes our parents or guardian did, we always find ourselves repeating some words. Words, warning, or advice that directed at us by the same people we are trying not to emulate.

Yes, we are all impressed by someone in our childhood. Be that a parent, grandparents, aunt, uncles, or the old man or woman around the corner. All of us remember the advice given by many.  And unfortunately, especially nowadays, some have never heard or listen to any of it. They also have a story. Some have told it from a jail cell; others didn’t get to tell it because their lives were cut short by the opposition, police, or another prison inmate.

Then there are those who have lived the American dream as portrayed in books and the movies. Some were raised by the privileged in this country. They came from homes like the old television series, Father Knows Best, Eight is Enough or even The Cosby Show. The offspring grew up to be successful, wealthy, and live happily ever after. Some from that environment strayed or failed because they did not know how to handle the stress of not being as successful as their parents.

So yes, there is a book in all of us. However, everybody is not a writer. Or for that matter, everybody cannot tell their story accurate enough with all the emotion needed for interpretation by a ghost writer. Readers will be able to tell if the story is unique, no matter who wrote it. And they alone, are the ultimate judge if you have a story worth their time.

There must be some reason that people will read the story in the first place. First of all, the story or subject must interest your targeted readers. Creativity must be present, flow constructively and cause a person to reflect on their or others around them lives. Every author, aspiring author and I know and understand the deep and subtle meaning behind those words. All authors have a story to tell, regardless if the book is successful or a downright failure. I’ve had three with the latest being Remember Moz. That simply means that I’ve written three books whereas I had something to say to any and everyone who will read the books. As previously stated readers will be the judge if I’ve succeeded in my quest.

In my latest, Remember Moz, Gracie & John Hampton’s First-Born, I wanted to tell the world about a unique individual. Not because he happened to be my father but to explain who he was, where he came from, and how he evolved into the man he became up until his death. That is why I go all the way back to the Civil War, following his people’s roots up through his birth in the heart of Jim Crow country. Why I take you through his growth as a responsible human being and why he had to take on that type of responsibility at a young age. Through it all, I show you the humorous side of a serious individual who always made an effort to enjoy life as he lived and worked in it.

Everybody had a father, mine was just one of a billion or more, but oh what an impression he made on those he touched during his lifetime. That is the story I tell in Remember Moz. A story, anybody and everybody should read just to see who this man was and if I did him justice in representation. A story that should be read by all who think that being a black family man and father in this country is ordinary. This book will point out how presumptuous and simply wrong an opinion can be. There are numerous issues that come up daily and demand a black father’s attention because of the way the declining majority attempts to divide this country by race. Issues that most other races take for granted, black parents must use as teachable moments in preparing their offspring to succeed and indeed survive in the United States or America.  No matter what they say, you and I know it is not equal.

Not all black man know the formula for allowing successful childrearing while providing an environment of love, understanding, protection, and neutering to facilitate confidence in our children. My father knew even though he may not have been sophisticated enough to articulate that knowledge. He got his point across by living the life and demonstrating how one should live, play, and love. Towards the end, he also revealed the weakness in human nature of searching for ways to cope with a major love and companion lost. All in all, that weakness for coping did not diminish his personality or who he was throughout his life.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-66

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

“In my latest book, Remember Moz, Gracie & John Hampton’s First-Born, I wanted to tell the world about a unique individual. Not because he happened to be my father but to explain who he was, where he came from, and how he evolved into the man he became up until his death. In doing so, I wrote of his ancestor’s roots back to and through the Civil War. The inclusion of his birth and upbringing in the heart of Arkansas, or Jim Crow country, add southern reluctance to learn why our country involved itself in a bloodthirsty four-year exercise in the first place? Then you begin to understand why, our parents behaved the way that they did. See if I captured the essence of this paragraph.” Get the book via the Authors Page at http://outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478766056

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

The Legacy of The Bill Cosby Show and Its Creator

Is the Legacy of The Cosby Show still alive? You will note that I’m talking about the TV shows legacy not the guilt or innocence of Bill Cosby.

It was a TV show created by Bill Cosby. He was the head writer in all 197 episodes. The TV Series ran from 1984 through 1992, with the primary stars as Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Tempestt Bledsoe, and Lisa Bonet to name the regulars and stars. It was easily the most watched program in the country. That is for the four TV seasons that ran from 1985 through and parts of 1989. It dropped all the way to second place for the last of 1989 and 1990.

A recent (Oct 7) headline for Vibe read “Keshia Knight Pulliam Defends the Legacy Of ‘The Cosby Show.’  Ms. Pulliam, now 36 years old, who played little Rudy, the Huxtable youngest child leaves no doubt as to where she stands in defense of the shows Legacy.

In an article from Vibe’s J’na Jefferson she was quoted as saying “You can’t take back the impact that it had on generations of kids, and it’s continuing to have such a positive impact on them. So I feel like the place that it has in people’s hearts is such a nostalgic part of childhood and beyond, it’s going to be difficult to take back those memories.”

While speaking of who Bill Cosby was at that time and who he is portrayed to be she said, “All I can speak to is the man that I know, and I love. The fact that he’s been such an example, you can’t take away from the great that he has done. You know, the amount, the millions and millions of dollars that he has give back to colleges and education, and just what he did with The Cosby Show and how groundbreaking that was…Ultimately they’re just that, allegations.”

Through everything that I have ever heard or seen of Bill Cosby, he has been a staunch advocate of racial equality. The show spoke to that end. Unlike former basketball legend Michael Jordan, who is nowhere to be found when anyone mentions race.

But now, if we are to believe all these women’s reports of improper sexual conduct while they are unconscious. Virtually all accusing Cosby of providing a drug that incapacitated them while freeing Mr. Cosby up to have his way with his victims. I admit, it hard to take and probably shakes his fans to the core.  Whether we believe it or not, the fact that he has been accused has caused a hell of a rippling effect.

The fact that there are people out there that think providing a date rape drug or putting something in a woman’s drink that render them unconscious. And I do include ex-football player, Darren Sharper, who is now doing a nine-year jail term for the crime above, in this same category. For someone to think that a comatose woman allows for great sex simply blows my mind. That kind of person is a freak and has serious mental issues. Sex is supposed to be a participatory event, by both individuals.  At least that is the best way to have sex in my mind. So, the individual that renders a person unconscious is a sick minded person in the beginning. Having said that, we all know that there are different turn-ons for different people.

What we do know and a historical fact that has been proven over and over again, men and women who have accomplished great feats, champion societal causes, are human beings. Some of their private lives and strange family relationships are shocking when it comes to light. It should not or in most cases have not tarnished those accomplishments.

We don’t have that many people who have done as much for American Society and people of color in general as has Bill Cosby. In 1965, he was the first black man appearing in a television drama. As the ‘I Spy’ series international espionage agent Alexander Scott, he co-starred with actor Robert Culp. He played the part straight, no overt or subtle racial overtones or what might be interpreted as a coonish exhibition.

During the civil rights battles of the sixties, Mr. Cosby was quoted as saying in the Los Angeles Times,   “I mean, race was still an issue. It’s after the march on Washington, but we’re also dealing with Panthers, militancy, we’re dealing with resistance, we’re dealing with it in the courts, in Congress—at least two, three, four, five senators still saying ‘You may be voting now, but you’re not later, you may be going to school here now, but you won’t later.”

The state of Alabama requires a photo ID when voting. During the week of October 1st, they announced that it would stop issuing driver’s licenses in counties where 75 percent of registered voters are black. They voted to close eight out of ten departments of Motor Vehicles in predominately black areas. Looking at the actions taken by Republican Governors in several states as an overt attack on people of color right to vote. You think the comment made by senators at the time that “you’re not later” has come to pass?

As we have observed in this country, in certain corners of the US, in certain political circles, or within certain demographics anything black doesn’t matter. Our aim should be to make it matter to whomever in any circle. We start by directing our dollars to those organizations and institutions where all are treated equally. People with large amounts of money can do a lot of damage in attempting to gain influence. Is it a conspiracy?

Malcome-Jamal Warners October 9th quote as reported by TMZ was Warner said in an interview, “My biggest concern is when it comes to images of people of color on television and film, no matter what … negative stereotypes of people of color, we’ve always had “The Cosby Show” to hold up against that. And the fact that we no longer have that, that’s the thing that saddens me most because in a few generations the Huxtables will have been just a fairy tale.” He too, like us all felt for the women involved.

I don’t know what the outcome of Mr. Cosby’s case will be if it goes to trial. I do know that in certain circles he’s been found guilty and branded a despicable individual. Even at that, what he accomplished and did for our American society and the black community has to count for something. Or…what if we put surveillance cameras in the bedroom of all political office holders, entertainers and anybody who is in the public spotlight? There is a reality check for us all. What’s that saying, people in glass houses…
Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa-5O

Join us at the live broadcast of our bimonthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

Get my latest book, a collection of my Blogs/Articles from 1999 through 2014. It’s entitled The Episodic Thoughts of Hamp. Go to the following Authors page link for details. http://www.outskirtspress.com/webPage/isbn/9781478746232

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Mount Olive of Bradley County AR

I am fascinated by our people who suffered the humiliation of Slavery and subsequently the Jim Crow era of the South. I have a profound, deep respect for people who were not only able to survive but thrive while raising a family.  Personally, my tolerance for pain is very low and my patience with racist people? Well, let’s not even go there.  We will just say, there are days when I feel diplomatic and somewhat forgiven. And then there are days, when I am not feeling it, don’t have time for it, and will rise up on a fool if they don’t get out of my face.

As I write this article, I remember the times I would stop by my grandmother’s apartment. I was in my twenties, at a time when I was hurrying to get somewhere but really didn’t know where I was going. Grandma Gracie lived by herself in a little ground floor studio apartment around seventeenth and Vliet Street in Milwaukee. That had to be around 1965 or 1966. I always liked to stop by and have lunch, eat one of her teacakes while visiting with her. Sometimes I would bring her something, a packaged pastry or candy bar from the corner store. She liked the company but was always in grandmother mode. “Junior, you moving too fast…boy why you in such a hurry?” she’d ask. “Have you found you, somebody, to settle down with?” “Naw mama…but I am having a ball looking,” I would respectfully answer in the street lingo of the times. She would just look at me, shake her head and smile. “That’s all right, you’ll learn someday.”

We would sit there and chat about this, that and the other. She would ask about daddy and the rest of the family. I would report that all was well. She would tell me stories of how she had to tell the doctors at Milwaukee Country General Hospital “what is what” about her health. “I told him, you better stop poking me so hard otherwise Um gonna have to cut you.” “Grandma you didn’t pull your knife on the doctor again did you,” I’d ask while chewing my food. “Naw, but that old fool knows, he better not mess with me.”  “I am sure after that time you chased him down the hall, they all know you,” I would say the both of us laughing about that particular incident. After a couple of hours, I would excuse myself, telling her I’d see her no later than next week and hurriedly leave after getting a hug and kiss. More than likely, I was headed for my favorite hang out at the time, Loves Hideaway Bar. It was only about four blocks up the way.

While walking I would laugh at some of the escapades Grandma had caused, been in, around or ended. She, like a lot of her peers from Bradley County Arkansas, was a woman who didn’t take any stuff from anybody of any color. Later on in my life while researching the book I wrote based on her life I learned of the hardships our people had to endure living in Jim Crows South. And that is when the reality of it all hit me.

For those who are still with us, we ought to kneel down, wash and massage their tired feet.  They survived knight riders and other racist terrorism. Or at the very least, keep in mind the humiliation, mental and physical pain they endured as we look into their tired old eyes. Try to imagine some of the things they have seen and heard in Jim Crows south during their lifetime. Young white boys that had too many beers, looking for a darkie to tease, abuse, and push around. I’ve have heard a few black folk make statements like, “Don’t start bringing up those days. It’s over and I am glad I don’t want to have to deal with it.” I just shake my head and say, those people are the reason we are here. We are the reason they took all of those insults, beatings, and sometimes hangings. So, a little respect for those who came before us is in order…please.

You want to know who you are.  Look across the dinner table at your mother or father. Talk to your grandparents if you are lucky enough to have them around. Ask your older uncles or aunts what it was like living in Bradley County when they were barefoot children. They didn’t have a television, radio, or even electricity. The comforts of hot running water or indoor bathroom facilities were not part of their house.

How about the right to vote? Or be educated with the most current educational tools, or even work for a fair labor rate?  When you get a chance, look up the word sharecropping on the internet. Read all about the land owner’s requirements and how they tried to bind sharecroppers to a lifestyle of servitude. Look up and read books about the great migration of the Negro race from the south. Think about reasons why, reasons other than the primary one of searching for a better life. You will realize our folks decided that living in the south was like a dead end job at the time.

In fact go back to pre-Civil War days. Yes slavery, that time that some of us would like to erase from our consciousness and maybe our history. Look at that famous picture; it’s in all the documentation, on the internet, books, and films. They show you a not too old black man with his back to the photographer. He has so many whipping scars on his back it looks like a design of some sort until you realize what the whip has done to this man’s skin. Have I got your attention yet?

It places the importance of such places as Mount Olive in perspective. Imagine if the ground, trees and foliage could talk, what stories it could tell you about your people. Think of the contradictions between how white folks worshiped, calling themselves christens, all while wholeheartedly supporting slavery of black people. An example of that solid Southern support can be found in the following Civil War era 16” x 21” propaganda poster. It begins by announcing in a bold headline…

“SOUTHERN DEMOCRACY! The object of the Southern Rebellion and its Northern allies is to render Slavery universal. Under the names of Democracy, they seek to deprive labor of all its rights. Read what the Leaders say: The theory of free labor is a delusion. Slavery is the natural and normal condition of the laboring man, WHITE or BLACK. –De Bow’s Southern Review. The enslavement of the laborer is right in itself, and does not depend upon difference of completion. -Richmond Enquires….Make the laboring man a slave, and he would be far better off.- Fitzhugh’s Sociology…Thus the “Democrats,” North and South pronounce free society a failure, and feel labor a curse. Slavery is a blessing to be extended over all men who labor whether black or White.”

This idea came from and was no doubt written by the cream of high society. One thing is clear, they don’t really care who gets the work done as long as it gets done and garners them all the profit and a bare minimum amount of expense. After reading this poster, I bet some poor white people was able to see the writing on the wall, while suddenly realizing that these planters didn’t really give a damn about them either. A sobering thought for whites who thought they were just as special as the masters and mistresses.  Nevertheless, and by the grace of God, the Civil War ended with the Union intact and the end of slavery as they knew it.

It was a long and hard road for those who were once slaves to find their way in this new environment.  Amidst this chaos sprouted, one of many in the South, a community of black folks. It is noted that Mount Olive began as a safe haven for black land owners. Land as low as fifty cents per acre attracted homesteaders from surrounding states at the time. These settlers did as white settlers around the country. They built a community with entities that communities needed to function, such as a church, school and stores that sold or barter goods and services. Some of which they didn’t have or couldn’t grow. Every month or so, such items were brought into the area by steamboat on the Saline River. And therefore by the grace of God, and their belief in the same, they acted as the unincorporated community they were by raising families.

They built log cabins for housing. Women ‘wore homespun dresses, knitting their socks and stockings.’ Their first church was called Camp Ground. Its seats were made from split logs.  By 1883, they bought a little church that was near the center of the community, naming it Mt. Olive.

The Mount Olive community was the benefit of funding from a favorite project of philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. His School Fund was established to build schools for the specific education of black folks.  In 1927, the Mt. Olive Rosenwald School, located on Bradley Road 45 was built. The wood frame building, one of five such schools built in Bradley County during that era, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2004.

That is why they have these Homecomings in the South. It’s like walking on hallowed ground that once supported our ancestors.  You get to see and feel the hot sun they endured during field duty.  There is nothing like visiting these type events that are so connected to our great grandparents and other relatives from that era. Call Hostess/Host Princella & MacArthur Davis at 870-226-7011 for details.

Let us embrace how our ancestors spoke, conducted business, lived their lives with morality, cooperation among other members of their community. We should remind the world that those people who many categorized as simple, uneducated by societal design and thought to be nothing but chattel was able to make away for us to be here. Let us show the world who we are and where we came from. What if the world doesn’t care? Oh well, it does not really matter because it’s not the world that we wish to honor. It is those millions of black folks brought to this land in chains and their offspring and thus…ourselves.  It’s the culture borne out of poverty and a lifestyle of survival and the necessity to cope with life. It is the way we sing, dance, eat, dress, and yes even pray and forgive that we are honoring today. For with the events happening in the way it did, we are a stronger people for it. We may be forgiving of the past, yet we are also cognizant of the future.  As a people, we embrace it with open arms. It is great to be black and alive.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

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Black Legends of the Wild, Wild West, Part 4, #BHM

This is the fourth and final article of a Four-Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the West. First, we looked at US Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves, followed by Mary Fields, aka Stagecoach Mary. Then James Pierson Beckwourth, American Mountain Man, and our final legend from the old West is Nat (pronounced Nate) Love, aka Deadwood Dick and a few others.

Nat Love and 3 little cowpokesIf I told you that it was reasonable to assume that one out of every three cowboys, or even three out of every five in the old West were men of color, would you believe me? Keep in mind the duties of cowboys, especially drover’s included driving herds of cows over a long distance, often forging new trails, facing rustlers of all colors and creed, land barons looking to make a fast buck for allowing passage, and the always possibility of losing a small number of the cows along the way if not the entire herd. They had to manage the heat, wind, or rainstorms and lighting that may spook the cattle into a stampede.
Ever seen movies where the herd is restless on a night with the sound of accidental gunfire, thunder, or lightning, maybe even the rattling of chuckwagons metal plates and cups sets them off. All trail hands mount up to stop them from running off a cliff or running themselves to deaths. Every seen the width of the horns on a Texas longhorn cow or steer? Imagine riding a galloping horse in the dark, trying to avoid gopher holes and other obstacles on the ground. Cowboys turned the stampeding herd running at speeds up to twenty-five, thirty-five, or even forty-miles-per hour depending on their size and what frightened them.
Once the remainder of the herd’s delivered to the loading pens, the trail hands jobs finished. They were off to celebrate a long hard journey by whatever amused them at the time. As depicted in the movies, since these were underpaid and overworked young men, they looked for quick thrills. There was then, as is now for that matter, nothing like wine, women, and song to provide a day and night to remember for a young man. I remembered one night in South Korea in 1962…me and…whoops, sorry I almost forgot this story is about the old West.

Those cowhands that worked in the loading pens were considered less than the trail hands. You had to walk among the cattle prodding them along to different parts of the stockyard. Sometimes those cattle had been in those pens for days, eating, drinking water, and releasing waste of all kinds’ right where they stood. So walking around in those pens could be difficult, made even worse if you are trying to cut out the group of cows from a large corral. Or steer, by prodding a bunch of cows with long poles, one at a time up a ramp to load them onto a train’s cattle car. Thus the name “cowpuncher” was awarded to these men. That could be dirty and nasty work for even less pay than a trail hand. Recorders of History via books and writers of movie, TV scripts have all grouped these individuals that handle cows on ranches, trail drives, and pens at the end of the trail as “Cowboys.” Now I ask again if I told you on an average, one out of every three Cowboys were men of color, would you believe me?

Before, and even more, freed and former slaves after the Civil War filled these low paying jobs. History occurred during a time (the late 1860s to mid-1890s) when the big herds were driven from the West to eastern shipping points and beyond. Most still earned less than their white counterparts. Emancipated Blacks contributed to filling a workforce void of white men because of the huge number of the workforce lost by the Confederacy and the Union States alike. Add that to losses in the West, such as the Indian Wars, rampant diseases, land rights skirmishes, and Saturday night shoot-outs or just overall drunken gunfights. One can see why the life expectancy for those type individuals (cowboys, gunslingers & outlaws) was around thirty-five.

Over 186 000 black people were serving in the Union Armies. A very small number served in the Confederacy, most until the first chance they had to run away from the masters who had them there to fill the dirtiest jobs that Southerners did not want to do. At war’s end, the Union Army established colored units from those men who fought during the Civil War. There were four infantry units and two Cavalry regiments. All units accepted recruits who were fit for duty. It was also a way for emancipated blacks to earn a living and get an education while gaining respect from most in the nation as part of the Armed Services of the United States. All units, 24th, 25th, 38th, 40th, and 41st Infantry regiments, along with the 9th and 10th Cavalry stationed in the south-western Plains.
It was right in the heart of the Indian Wars fought on behalf of the residents and new settlers to the area. By now, you have heard of the term “Buffalo Soldiers.” A term of respect for their bravery bestowed upon the 9th and 10th Cavalry by the Cheyenne and Comanche Indians. The Buffalo Soldiers fought Indians, cattle rustlers, Mexican revolutionaries, outlaw gangs, all while patrolling small ranches and railway construction lines. They contributed to building military outposts and erected telegraph lines.
Some call him the most famous black cowboy of them all. Nat (pronounced Nate) Love was born a slave in Davidson County, Tennessee, in 1854. Reading was against the law for slaves; nevertheless, as a child, he was taught how to read and write by his father, Sampson. After slavery had ended, his father, once a slave foreman in the fields, and his wife (Nat’s mother, a former manager of the plantation’s kitchen) settled on a small farm. Sampson Love died after the second year planting of tobacco and corn crops. Nat had to take a job on a neighboring farm to help out with the dwindling family finances.
After a few more years of odd jobs in the area, he left for the West. He was in search of a better life and earning a living while yearning for a free young man’s adventurous lifestyle. He met Bronco Jim, one of the black cowboys who were part of a Texas bunch preparing to return home after delivering their herd to Dodge City, Kansas. Asking for a job, the trail boss agreed to hire him if he rode and broke one of the orneriest horses in the outfit. Bronco Jim, his name given his profession, gave his newfound friend a few quick pointers. Albeit the toughest ride of his life, he survived the ride and hired on the spot.
Indoctrination didn’t take long for the hard life of a cowboy. After being involved in hostile Indian attacks and fighting off rustlers, he took every chance he could to practice shooting his forty-five pistol. He became a marksman with the weapon. He left his Texas Panhandle job and landed in Arizona, working with Mexican vaqueros. Nat picked up the Spanish language and learned to identify cattle brands. The spring of 1876 saw his outfit head out for Deadwood City in the Dakota Territory to deliver three thousand head of cattle. They rode into town on the day before the Fourth of July celebrations.
The betting members in the town had put together a sporting event in honor of the holiday. It was a contested ideal to show off the expertise of a cowboy. $200 (equal to $5000 today) would be awarded to the best man who could rope, throw, tie bridles, saddle, and ride some of the wildest mustangs, chosen for the contest. Note the winner had to perform the feat quicker than any other in the contest. There were a dozen men, six of them black, who entered the event. Nat completed the task in nine minutes, three minutes, and twelve seconds better than his closest competitor, another black cowboy. Next was the rifle and Colt shooting event. Each contestant was to fire rifle twelve shots and the same amount of pistol rounds at a black bull’s eye target placed at 100 and 250 yards. Nat hit the bull’ s-eye on all his rifle shots with ten of the twelve pistol shots hitting the target almost dead center. Nat Love’s display of his cowboy skills and marksmanship earned him the $200 in prize money so much so that Deadwood City town folk gave him the name of “Deadwood Dick.”
The words of Nat “Deadwood Dick” Love, which appears in his self-authored 1907 autobiography, entitled “Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country ad ‘Deadwood Dick’ by Himself.” are descriptive of a specific era in our history. He wrote, “It has now been many years since I quit the range, and as my mind wanders back over those years as it often does, memories both pleasant and sad pass in review and it is but fitting that I record a few of them as a final to the history of my life which has been so full of action, which is but natural as the men of those days were men of action. They had to be, and probably their actions were not all good, that I freely admit, but while that is so, it is equally so that their actions were not all bad, far from it. And in the history of the frontier there is recorded countless heroic deeds performed, deeds and actions that required an iron nerve, self denial in all that these words imply, the sacrificing of one life to save the life of a stranger or a friend. Deeds that stamped the men of the western plains as men worthy to be called men, and while not many of them would shine particularly in the polite society of today or among the 400 of Gotham, yet they did shine big and bright in the positions and at a time when men lived and died for a principle, and in the line of duty. A man who went to the far West or who claimed it as his home in the early days found there a life far different from that led by the dude of Fifth Avenue. There a man’s work was to be done, a man’s life to lived, and when death was to be met, he met it like a man.”

Nat Love worked as a Pullman porter on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad in the latter part of his life. He died (1921) in Los Angeles, California, at the ripe old age of sixty-seven, some thirty-two years beyond the life expectancy of his peers from that era. Men like “One Horse Charlie,” a black cowboy who reportedly rode with the Shoshone Indian tribe.
There are numerous black cowboys from that era. Men like Bronco Sam, who once rode a longhorn steer on a dare. This, after his crew, roped and saddled the animal for the black bronco-buster. He rode the bucking and frightened steer down the main street of Cheyenne, Wyoming, followed by his crew yelling in encouragement. After seeing its reflection in the glass window of a clothing storefront, the animal charged through the window directly at his reflection. Store shoppers and clerks went diving to get out of the way of this bucking animal. People on the outside watched as the animal turned back toward the hole he had made with is the entrance. He ran, still bucking and trying to toss off Bronco Sam, who was still in the saddle. His horns had a few store items, underwear, pants, coats, and other assorted pieces of or whole garments. It’s reported that Bronco Sam shouted after dismounting the steer now once again roped to be led back to the herd, “I brought out a suit of clothes for everybody in the crew.” Bronco Sam rode back into town and paid the shopkeeper $350 he said was owed him for the damages.
Then there is Jesse Stahl, who competed in an early 1900 Rodeo in Oregon. He felt he was cheated out of an outstanding first place ride by a racist judge who awarded his second place. In protest, Jesse rode his next bronco facing backward with a suitcase in his hand, to show off his abilities for all to see.
Other men like Addison Jones, Range Boss, (1845-1926) aka “Nigger Add” or “Old Add.”
He was a range boss for the LFD outfit, where he led a crew of south Texas black cowboys. A man whose recognized cowboy skills in western Texas- eastern Mexico labeled him as “the most noted Negro cowboy that ever ‘topped off’ a horse.”

 

Isom DartBose Ikard (1843-1929), born a slave in Mississippi, arrive in Texas as a child with his owner Dr. Milton L. Ikard. After the Emancipation Proclamation, he stayed on with the Doctor as an employee until 1866. At which time he joined a trail drive to Colorado in the employ of Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving. Eventually, he worked for Oliver Loving, who was killed in a skirmish against the Comanche’s and then as a tracker, cowboy, and de facto banker for Charles Goodnight. The “Goodnight Loving Cattle Trail” was named after his bosses. Upon his death, Goodnight, paid for a grave marker for Bose Ikard. On it, he inscribed “with me four years on the Goodnight-Loving Trail, never shirked a duty or disobeyed an order, rode with me in many stampedes, participated in three engagements with Comanche’s, splendid behavior. C. Goodnight.”
Goodnight was quoted by the Weatherford Daily Herald in June of 1929, saying, “I have trusted him farther than any living man. He was my detective, banker, and everything else in Colorado, New Mexico, and the other wild country I was in.”
Authors Note: I was proud to learn that the character of Joshua Deets (portrayed by actor Danny Glover) in one of my favorite cowboy movies, the TV mini-series, Lonesome Dove, was based on Bose Ikard. By the way, Lonesome Dove’s four episodes in 1989 were Co-Executive Produced by Motown’s Suzanne De Passe. It has an outstanding all-star cast and storyline. A storyline I also learned while researching this article is based on the lives of Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight. It’s why I love American history.
Not so final, but finally, for this article is Ned Huddleston (aka Isom Dart) (1849-1900). He was born as a slave in Arkansas he later earned such nicknames as the “Black Fox” and the “Calico Cowboy.” He ended up in Texas as a twelve-year-old in the company of his owner in 1861, a Confederate officer during the Civil War. After the war, he left for the southern Texas-Mexico border region. He found work as a stunt rider, which enhanced his horse skills. He was labeled as an Outlaw while working with Terresa, a young Mexican , a young Mexican bandit as they rustled horses in Mexico. They brought the stolen mounts back across the Texas border, selling them for cash.

By 1875, he’d join up with the Tip Gault cattle and horse rustling Gang working out of southeastern Wyoming. The gang was eventually ambushed by an angry rancher and his men.  Everyone but Ned Huddleston was killed in the gunfight. Changing his name to Isom Dart, he began a new life of hard work as a bronco buster.

By 1875, he’d join up with the Tip Gault cattle and horse rustling Gang working out of southeastern Wyoming. An angry rancher and his men eventually ambushed the gang. Everyone but Ned Huddleston was killed in the gunfight. Changing his name to Isom Dart, he began a new life of hard work as a bronco buster.
Around 1890, he became a rancher, even though some of the Brown’s Hole locals felt he built up his herd with stolen cattle from their ranches. They hired the infamous Tom Horn, a range detective, to handle the matter. Horn, as was his style to take no chances, ambushed, killing Isom Dart on October 3, 1900. Some in the area were convinced of his guilt by the ranchers who hired Tom Horn. Others were not so sure as they saw a changed man in Isom Dart. They felt that cattlemen wanting his land were the real reason for the charge and killing.
Final Authors Note: For western yore and cowboy movie buffs like me, this has been a pleasure researching and writing this series. Doubling so because the stars are black like me. For all minorities, it is never too late to learn about your history and how America was built by people of all races, colors, and creed. That is the beauty of the computer and the internet; no one can tell you differently. There are too many to credit here, but a heartfelt thank you to all that have documented the information I found in research, including some that have died but left books. I do have my sources on file.
One more request if you will. I know that we are in an instantaneous cycle for delivering and interpreting information and news. Let me caution people of color. We are individually responsible for ensuring we get information that is not only credible but inclusively thorough. Too many reporters in the majority of media outlets are settling for the headline grabber without completing the authentication process. As a kid, I never heard of the individuals noted in this article. Yet they lived and made history that was not being reported during my childhood. Let’s not fall for the Okie-Doke again.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

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We are in a continuing effort to publicize, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. Based on the life of the Authors Grandmother. The Novel examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of his fifth book, Misguided Intentions. A book where family relationships questioned to the core. Read MI’s review at https://redheadedbooklover.com/gracie-hall-hampton-codis-hampton-ii/ Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions
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Look for new books, updates of current titles, and submission of short articles to major magazines upcoming in 2020. We love to pass on our written word. – Hamp
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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Black Legends of The Wild, Wild West, Part 3 #BHM

This is the third article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. First we looked at US Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves, followed by Mary Fields aka Stagecoach Mary. Today we examine the life of James Pierson Beckwourth, American Mountain Man.

beckwourth

 

 

 

There is some discrepancy as to when James Pierson Beckwourth was born. Was it 1798 or 1800? There is no disputed of the facts about the impact he had on discovering what came to be known as the Beckwourth Pass and subsequent Trail. A trail that went through the Sierra Nevada Mountains between Reno, Nevada, and Portola, California, and in which thousands of settlers found their way into central California.
He was a mulatto, son of a black slave mother (third or thirteen children), whose father was Sir Jennings Beckwith, an English white man. As prescribed by the law at the time, his father raised him as his son. Yet legally, young James was considered a slave. His biography states that his father appeared in court, once in 1824, 1825, and 1826. All to “acknowledged the execution of a Deed of Emancipation from him to James, a mulatto boy.”
James, or Jim as sometimes called, was the only black person who recorded his exploits during the discovery and subsequent settlement of the old western frontier. While dictating his autobiography to Thomas D. Bonner (Traveling Justice of the Peace with corrupt reputation) in 1854-55 California goldfields, it was thought he stretched the truth. Later, some historians accused him of lying, although they may have had reasons for not wanting, who they called “a mongrel of mixed blood” to get credit for any discovery or good deed. Although many of the exploits detailed in the autobiography passed the truth test by others who substantiated his accounts of what happened, James’ role in events almost always made him the eventual hero. Many of his acquaintances who took part in forging trails and exploring the West didn’t see themselves as heroes but more of doing what they had to do to survive. That is probably why they viewed his 1856 book (The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth, Mountaineer, Scout, and Pioneer, and Chief of the Crow Nation of Indians, published by Harper and Brothers) as something of a joke. See Note 1.
Excluding those events that were substantiated by others as being accurate and true, James did have a way of exaggerating the numbers of Indians that attacked a particular exploration outpost or trading post. Historians found that some of the dates were also wrong or off by a couple of years. Some did consider the fact that the James dictation of events happened more than a few years and, in some instances, decades earlier. They also found that correcting the misspelling of names in the book helped to authenticate the events. Most of the misspelling of names were attributed to Judge Thomas D. Bonners transcribing what he thought he heard from James Beckwourth. In the end, the books considered by an excellent account of life with the Crow for instance, or life and hardships during a very historical era in our American History.
Captured by Crow Warriors (James account to his biographer) or assigned to the Rock Mountain Fur Company to the tribe to facilitate trade, according to a guess by independent sources (whoever they were and how independent were they is the question). James stays with the Crow Indian Tribe began sometime around 1828. He spent the next eight to nine years with them. Documents confirmed his eventual leadership role as a War Chief. James told his biographer he was appointed as the Chief of the Crow Nation immediately after the death of Chief Arapooish (Rotten Belly)

beckwourth2

 

 

 

 

A restless man who tired of routines quickly, the fall of 1837 found him headed for the Seminole country and the war they carried out against the white man. By October, his travels led him to the Florida Everglades as head of a band of Express Riders and Muleteers, paid $50 per month. His account of the incidents was accurate. It was not the adventure James had hoped for as the initial mission ended with men and horses stranded for days on a reef until rescued by a steamboat. After the small boats carrying riders and horses ran into a killer storm which was too much for the inexperienced mountain men. There were no heroes in this story of men fired for refusing to continue their mission on foot.
It’s written that James Beckwourth also accurately described the Okeechobee Battle the following Christmas Day of the same year. Later, and for the next ten months, he scouted while carrying messages and military dispatches from point to point. His job had become boring to him so he left for St Louis, where he was without a job for five days.
Once again, he was in his element, working again for The American Fur Company in the land of the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho Indians. By the way, all three were enemies of the Crow tribe. As the agent-in-charge, he’s sent to Fort Vasquez via the Santa Fe Trail. That trade expedition lasted two years after having a very successful first year.
His California connection came during January of 1844. A year later, he was involved in the settler’s revolt against Mexican control of California. After experiencing the highs and lows of a marriage (Luisa Sandoval), independently traded with the Cheyenne angered his former employees. So much so, they tried to kick him, his wife, along with their almost thirty other settler families, out of the newly built Pueblo (now Colorado) trading post. He’s credited with helping found the town of Pueblo, Colorado. After being on the road again, James returned to Pueblo to find that Luisa had married another man. James said her current husband had produced a document that stated James wanted to be free from Luisa. He decided not to pursue the matter, once again becoming single.
Leaving, he wound up in Santa Fe and entering into a partnership with an acquaintance in ownership of a hotel. Outside of being an excellent trader, as evidenced by his trade with the Indians, he more or less left the administration of the hotel matters in the hands of his partner. James continued to do what he did best, scout, and blaze trails while carrying dispatches from the Army. News of the massacre of all the Americans living in Taos angered all settlers in the area including James, whose former boss, friends and acquaintances were among the dead. After the Indians and Mexican rebels defeat, he managed to witness the January 1847 hangings, which many saw as revenge for the Taos massacre. Keeping with his uncanny fortunate or misfortunate in some cases to be at a historic event and in most cases, is involved in many ways.
Such was the same with his trek to the California Gold Fields in the fall of 1848. There is the authenticated report James discovering a grisly murder of the family, servants, and visitors at the San Miguel Mission. While on an assigned route on the Monterey to Nipomo mail route, he almost tripped over a man’s body located in the house. He recalled the notion to look no further and rode to get a posse. He returned to the house to find the entire gross scene of eleven murdered family members (husband William Reed), wife, her infant child, a midwife, along with other children and Indian servants. The perpetrators tried to burn Reed’s house bodies and dwelling, but the fire died out. It turned out they were still in the house when James first entered and was intending to shoot him if he had opened a door behind which they were hiding. The posse caught the murderers near Santa Barbara. Beckwourth bio went on to state there were “two Americans, two Englishmen, and ten Irishmen,” responsible for the hideous killings. Others put the number at four men, one of which drowned in an attempt to escape the posse. The thought was that James Beckwourth biographer, Judge Bonner misunderstood the words an Irishmen to be ten Irishmen as James recounted the incident to him to transcribe. James did dictate the murderer’s fate as tried in his words, “we shot them, including the state’s evidence.” Meaning the one murderer who told them what happened while hoping to be spared immediate death, and sentenced to imprisonment for turning states evidence. At least that is how historians interpreted this account. As to who tried them or where anyone would go to prison, well, that’s another story not told here.
1850 found James (Jim) P. Beckwourth in northern California prospecting for gold. Without going into the descriptive details of his thoughts as written, he correctly surmised that a pass he found would accommodate horse or mule pulled wagons headed into what was called the American Valley (Central California). It would be especially helpful to those people coming from the east. It was the lowest mountain pass and a direct route through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which was no small discovery at the time. It saved travelers approximately 150 miles whereas they avoided having to climb several steep slopes like Donner Summit. Remember the Donner Party (1846-47), having to stay the winter. His discovery is currently called Beckwourth Pass.
After working to develop the trail during that summer, and well into the spring and summer of 1851, he led the first wagon train of settlers over the trail into Marysville, California. He’s supposedly paid for his discovery and efforts by the Marysville business community and other local gold towns. However, (also summer of 1851) when he tried to collect his earnings, Marysville blamed their inability to pay on two major fires that economically hindered the town. Subsequently, he had no other recourse but to accept their reasoning. As a black man, he could not sue for damages (see Note 2) in a California Court. Other wagon trains and travelers used the Beckwourth Trail and Pass up through 1855 and beyond. Even as the railroad became the preferred method of travel to California in 1855. The Western Pacific Railroad (at the time) used the route to cross the Sierra’s running along the Feather River.
Ever the enterprising trader, Beckwourth established his ranch and trading post in the valley just west of the pass. Add his hotel to the area located in the Sierra Valley that is now called Beckwourth, California. It’s the site and timeframe upon which his biography’s dictated to Judge Thomas D. Bonner, who produced the book. According to a contract, James Beckwourth was to receive half the proceeds from the book from Bonner, which never happened. Reportedly James stayed here until 1858. He left for Missouri in 1859, eventually settling in Denver, Colorado, that same year. He was employed as a storekeeper, also appointed as an Indian agent by Denver’s City Council.
In 1864, James forced to act as a scout against the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, which led to the infamous Sand Creek Massacre. The massacre resulted in ending any further contact or interaction between Beckwourth and the Cheyenne or Arapaho tribes.
In 1866, while acting as a scout for Forts Laramie and Kearny, he suffered nosebleeds and headaches, which complicated the carrying out of his mission or assignments. Finally, he returned to his beloved Crow Indians along the Bighorn River, where he died on October 29, 1866—finally placed on an elevated platform (customary of the Crow) in Laramie, Albany County, Wyoming.

Note 1: Bonner edited or “polished up” Beckwourth’ s rough narrative and submitted the book to the eventual publisher, Harper and Brothers in 1856. Despite its flaws in dates and misspelling of the subject’s name, historians have touted the book as an acceptable reference of Frontier Life. It also provides a look at government policies regarding alcohol, diseases, massacres, and war.
Note 2: In 1996, the Promoters of Beckwourth Frontier Days was instrumental in renaming Marysville’s largest park to Beckwourth Riverfront Park. This act was in direct recognition of the unpaid debt owed to James P. Beckwourth, causing the following growth of the city.

Peace & Blessing, stay vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II
Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo
Join us for the live broadcast of our bi-monthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica
We present the republication of the Authors’ tour of South Korea as a 17-year-old GI with Unchon-ni. Check out the details at https://outskirtspress.com/Unchonni
We are in a continuing effort to publicize, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. Based on the life of the Authors Grandmother. The Novel examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of his fifth book, Misguided Intentions. A book where family relationships questioned to the core. Read MI’s review at https://redheadedbooklover.com/gracie-hall-hampton-codis-hampton-ii/ Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions
Get any of his books by visiting my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070
Look for new books, updates of current titles, and submission of short articles to major magazines upcoming in 2020. We love to pass on our written word. – Hamp
Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at http://hcoa.net/ and http://www.chiia.com/home.html. Our Retail Site is https://frostyltd.com/frosty-ltd-com

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

 

Black Legends of The Wild, Wild West, Part 2 #BHM

Mary Fields was born a slave in Hickman County, Tennessee, sometime in 1832. She lived on the family farm. Judge Edmund Dunn owned both the farm and Mary. The judge’s daughter, Dolly, was about the same age as Mary. They became good friends. It’s not known who taught her, but Mary was able to read and write.

She, like countless others, was also freed by the Emancipation Proclamation Act of 1863. Yet, she stayed with the Dunn family. After the Judge’s death and upon the death of his wife Josephine (1883), Mary took the family’s five children to join Dolly in Toledo, Ohio. It’s where Dolly lived after becoming a nun, followed by being named Mother Superior Mary Amadeus.

A year later, Mother Superior’s sent to the Montana Territory. At the request of the Jesuits, assigned to head a school for Indian girls at St. Peter’s Mission. Accepting the assignment, she left with five Ursuline nuns heading for the mission. Their task, the first to do so, was to create and establish a curriculum to teach Native Americans from the Cheyenne, Crow, Blackfoot, and Gros Ventre-Assiniboine Reservation located in central and eastern Montana. The cold and severe winters along with other frontier elements, made the task even more daunting for the nuns.

For some unknown reason, Mary Fields stayed behind. Later, learning of Mother Amadeus bout with pneumonia, she went to the St Peters Mission aid her friend. Mother Superior Amadeus recovered, and Mary ended up staying at the mission.  She earned her keep by taking a job with the Ursuline nuns. The 6 foot, approximately 200 hundred pounds dark-skinned black woman, was an imposing figure to the locals, no matter their race. Her duties included hauling supplies from around Cascade County, Montana area, Great Falls, or Helena to the St. Peters Mission. By now, she had become hardened by frontier life. She took to smoking harsh cigars and carrying a pistol strapped under her apron. That type of life alone designated certain duties such as required, including patchwork carpentry, chopping wood, cutting down small trees and digging various type holes for the mission.

Her Biography says that Native Americans of the area called her “White Crow” because “she acts like a white woman but has black skin.” One schoolgirl wrote of her in an essay, saying, “she drinks whiskey, and she swears, and she is a republican, which makes her a low, foul creature.”

She became known as a fist fighter that would protect her rights at the drop of a hat. One website reported that the Grate Falls Examiner stated: “She broke more noses than any other person in central Montana.”

There are different reports on the cause of a gunfight between Mary and one of the disgruntled workers at the mission. Mary was in charge, acting as the Forman, which reportedly angered this particular individual. Some say the man didn’t like being told what to do by a black woman. But in our experience, even today, these issues are normally based upon economic reasons. The fact she was earning a reported $2 per month more than he sent him off on a constant complaining campaign to whoever would listen. He even registered a complaint with the managing Bishop in charge of the nuns and mission. The old, why should an “uppity colored woman” make more than a man was his rant.

The man’s nerve-wracking complaints caused an altercation that resulted in a shootout. One version of how it started says the man hit Mary. As she fell, she pulled her six-shooter and fired, missing the guy. He pulled his gun firing but missing, and the shootout was on. Another report says Mary went looking, found the man by a latrine he was cleaning, and fired at the man upon sight.  She missed and the shootout was on.  Without going into further specifics of the differing details of the subsequent shootout, there were several gunshots fired by both parties in the back of the mission. Both emptied their six-shooters ending with the man getting wounded in the buttocks. The altercation caused Mary to get fired by the managing Bishop as soon as he got wind of the gunfight. The Bishop had been asking the nuns to get rid of her a long time before the shootout.

After the firing, her friend Mother Amadeus helped her open a restaurant in Cascade, which was not that far from the St Peters mission. The gruff exterior and frontier mannerisms of Mary hid her compassion for the downtrodden and destitute. It seems that all you needed to eat in Mary’s restaurant was an appetite. She may have been an excellent friend, nanny, worker, but her cooking wasn’t that well received. Nor was she a very good businessperson. Thus, the place went broke within ten months. Before the closure, she fed any (person who would eat what she prepared) and everybody whether they had the money to pay for the meal or not. I would guess everybody, except the man with which she had the shootout.

At 60 years old, in 1895, she won a job as a mail carrier.  She won because she was the fastest of twelve other cowboy applicants, half her age, to hitch a team of six horses to the mail wagon. With this assignment, she became the second American woman employed by the United States Postal Service and the first black woman mail carrier in the US. The nickname “Stagecoach” earned in recognition of her reliability. Is the snow too deep for her horse team? No matter, Mary used snowshoes while carrying the mail sacks on her shoulders. She, and her mule, Moses, would deliver the mail in blizzards, extreme heat to the outlying and miner’s cabins.

That was just nature elements that attempted to stop this determined woman. For six years, she rode a stagecoach carrying the mail, money, and other items for delivery over a frontier postal route. The trails littered with desperate people who did mind taking a chance on stealing whatever this black woman was carrying. In those rare occasions where some desperado had not heard of Stagecoach Mary, they may try to rob her. Their first surprise would be that she was a woman driving a six-horse team coach. Added to their shock of seeing this tall black woman alone and out in the wilderness, was the site of a double-barrel ten-gauge shotgun leveled at them.  The question now became, who has the drop on whom? Since they said she never lost a piece of mail or any other valuables in her care during a stagecoach run, we know how those confrontations ended.

She didn’t have to worry about hostile Indians because most Sioux had not seen a black person before, much less such an imposingly tall and armed black woman like Mary. Rather than deal with someone or something they didn’t fully understand, they would not bother her. Can’t you imagine two young Sioux braves pointing at her coach coming down the trail, turning their pony’s aside to get out of the rolling wagon wheels path? As Stagecoach Mary cracks her whip at the horses, yelling “Git-up-there Moses.” One of the braves turns to his friend and says while pointing in the coach’s direction…” Bad medicine.”

She finally moved on to a job that was less treacherous because of health issues. She opened a laundry (also in Cascade, Montana) at the age of seventy. Spending most of her time drinking, cigar-smoking, and spitting in the local saloon instead of doing laundry, she was reportedly content with life. Stagecoach Mary died of liver failure in 1914. Life expectancy in the old west for those who died violently was 35. For those who live an uneventful life and took care of themselves averaged 70 years old. Mary, an ex-slave, and black woman lived to be around 82 years old. Can you believe it?

The late actress Esther Roll played Mary Fields in a 1976 TV Documentary, entitled South by Northeast, Homesteaders.  Dawnn Lewis played her in a 1996 TV movie, The Cherokee Kid. Kimberly Elise’s cast as Mary in the 2012 TV-movie Hannah’s Law.

Next in this series is James P. Beckwourth. , American mountain man.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo

Join us for the live broadcast of our bi-monthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

We present the republication of the Authors’ tour of South Korea as a 17-year-old GI with Unchon-ni. Check out the details at https://outskirtspress.com/Unchonni

We are in a continuing effort to publicize, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. Based on the life of the Authors Grandmother. The Novel examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of his fifth book, Misguided Intentions. A book where family relationships questioned to the core. Read MI’s review at https://redheadedbooklover.com/gracie-hall-hampton-codis-hampton-ii/  Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions   

Get any of his books by visiting my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

Look for new books, updates of current titles, and submission of short articles to major magazines upcoming in 2020. We love to pass on our written word. – Hamp

Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at http://hcoa.net/ and http://www.chiia.com/home.html. Our Retail Site is https://frostyltd.com/frosty-ltd-com

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

Black Legends of The Wild, Wild West, Part I, #BHM

This is the first article of a Four Part Series on Black Folks, who helped to tame the west. Originally publised in April of 2015, republised today in celebration of our Black History Month of 2020. Today we take a look at U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves.

620bass-reeves-portraitlarge

The subject matter and individual I’m writing about this Black History Month cause me to be reflective of my personal history. I remember when I was a nine, ten, eleven-year-old kid living in Milwaukee. Yes, it was that red brick apartment building located on thirteenth and Juneau that many have heard me lovingly refer too.

It reminds me of Saturday mornings spent watching ‘Tales of the Texas Rangers,’ Lash LaRue, the Lone Ranger, and yes, even Roy Rogers as well as other Cowboy television programs. We would eat breakfast and hurry to the living room to watch my father’s, subsequently, our favorite shows.  I had a makeshift holster and belt. It was just a blue boy scout’s belt with the shiny brass buckle running through a leather holster that held my trusty six-shooter. I would tie that holster down to my right thigh with an old shoestring just like a real gunfighter.

Talk about imagination; I was full of daydreams during those years. Whenever my friends or cousins came over, we would play in my back yard. We’d use the fifty-gallon oil drums sitting on A-frame stands as horses; throw rags and an old blanket over the barrel as saddles. It didn’t help, because after we finished playing and went back inside? My stepmother would smell the coal oil residue on my pants and me. I would get another warning about her having to wash those pants in with other clothes spoiling the pleasant aroma she was creating with detergent fresher of some type. I am not sure, but I think after several warnings, she washed my play pants with daddy’s work pants.

Back then (mid-fifties), all the cowboys seen on television, movies were white. My father always told me not to worry about it because there were black cowboys in the old west.  Just because television program writers didn’t write about them, did not mean they didn’t exist. He’d tell me, I can be anything I want to be, but make sure you’re the best at whatever you choose. So in my mind, it was my blackface riding that horse chasing rustlers, bank robbers and fighting range wars. I would imagine myself, family members, and other people I knew, would be just as comfortable in the old west as anybody.  Of course, later on in the sixties, seventies, and eighties, the public did see black faces appearing in cowboys, gangsters and all kinds of entertainment. It was readily known that Sammy Davis Jr was a fast draw expert in real life, seen as a frequent guest star in several of the cowboy television series. By that time, I’d hung up my gun and holster, turned to chase girls instead of rustlers and the like.

One such real live lawman who roamed the old west while dishing out justice was U.S. Deputy Marshall Bass Reeves.  Born as a child of slaves in Paris, Texas, in 1838, he served as a water boy until old enough to become a field hand. He became his master’s body servant and personal companion at an even older age.

Bass reportedly ran away after beating up his master (George Reeves) after some dispute during a card game. He found a haven by living with the Seminole and Cherokee Indians, where he developed his skills with the pistol and rifle. It’s also where he became fluent in several Native American languages, finally freed in Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation order of 1863.

Moving to and buying farmland in Van Buren Arkansas, while marrying Nellie Jennie a year later. He would go on to father ten children (five girls and five boys) from this union. Although the family lived happily on the farm, Frontier Law answered Bass’s restlessness and yearning for adventure.

He was appointed as part of a 200-deputy crew by U.S. Marshall, James Fagan in 1875, because of his specific knowledge of the Indian Territory and his ability to speak their language. At the time, the area had become inundated with outlaws, thieves, and murderers looking for an area that before had no federal or state jurisdiction. With a patrolling area covering 75,000 square miles, the deputy’s instructions were to bring in the perpetrators dead or alive.

Bass-Reeves-group-cropped

At 38 years old, he was the first black U.S. Deputy Marshall to serve in that capacity west of the Mississippi River. Known as being courteous and impeccably dressed in his boots polished to a shine, he rode a large reddish stallion with a white-blazed face. While marshaling in the Oklahoman Native American Territory, over his 32 years of service, credited with killing fourteen outlaws and having arrested 3,000 felony lawbreakers of all kind. At 6’2”, approximately 200 pounds, he was ambidextrous with a reputation for being quick, accurate and deadly with his two guns. He was just as skilled with a rifle. Maybe that is why in all those years, he never suffered a gunshot wound, although his hat was shot off more than a few times. A big man with those kinds of skills had to be imposing enough to look at much less take on in a gunfight.

One of his most emotional and personal manhunts involved the apprehension of his son, Benny Reeves. The warrant charged his son with the murder of his young wife. The ultimate fair-minded Bass Reeves demanded the assignment as other deputies were reluctant to take the job because it was his son. In 1902, after a two-week trek into the badlands, he found and arrested his son. Returning him to Muskogee, Oklahoma to face trial, he turned him over to Marshal Bennett. Benny was tried, convicted and served twenty years at Leavenworth for the crime. A citizen’s partition was instrumental in gaining his pardon and early release, after which he spent the rest of his life without further incidents with the law.

By 1907, Oklahoma became a state, and Reeves Deputy US Marshal Commission ended. He was 68 years old. He moved on to join the Muskogee Police Department until his health became a problem while attempting to carry out his duties.  Bass Reeves died of Bright’s disease in 1910. There are several books and articles written and available today. His life and exploits as a US Deputy Marshall was the subject of a movie entitled Bass Reeves, released in 2010. James A. House played the leading character. He confided that when independent filmmaker and owner of the San Ponderous Productions contacted to play the part, he “didn’t even know who Bass Reeves was.”

Here was a man who could not read or write. He had to have others read his warrants to him before searching for various outlaws. He would memorize the details from that reading, including which warrant was for whom.  When serving the document, he never failed to pick out the correct warrant belonging to a specific outlaw. It is amazing to me how our people always found a way to adjust and make progress on whatever job they had to do. That is an important legacy they left us, the ability to improvise. To this day, we use those skills in our everyday lives. Deputy Marshall Reeves goes down in US history as one of the greatest frontier heroes this country has ever known. And once again, my father proved to be right. There was black folk roaming the Wild West.  Look for Part II next week.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Subscribe to this blog at http://wp.me/p65rCa C                                                                                                                      Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

Join us for the live broadcast of our bi-monthly BTR Shows at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hampscornerofamerica

We present the republication of the Authors’ tour of South Korea as a 17-year-old GI with Unchon-ni. Check out the details at https://outskirtspress.com/Unchonni

We are in a continuing effort to publicize, Gracie Hall-Hampton, the Arkansas Years 1917-1953. Based on the life of the Authors Grandmother. The Novel examines an era of Jim Crow that many in our society may have forgotten occurred against people of color. Meanwhile, we celebrate the publication of his fifth book, Misguided Intentions. A book where family relationships questioned to the core. Read MI’s review at https://redheadedbooklover.com/gracie-hall-hampton-codis-hampton-ii/  Click on the publisher-Authors page at https://outskirtspress.com/MisguidedIntentions   

Get any of his books by visiting my Amazon.com Authors page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B017TYFKBI?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

Look for new books, updates of current titles, and submission of short articles to major magazines upcoming in 2020. We love to pass on our written word. – HampOur Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at http://hcoa.net/ and http://www.chiia.com/home.html. Our Retail Site is https://frostyltd.com/frosty-ltd-com

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment.