Race Issues

Black History Facts – John Cromwell & Mary Washington (Black CPAs)

Mary T. Washington - first black female cpa

When she attended Northwestern University’s School of Chicago Business in the late 1930s, Washington found that she was the only woman in the program, and certainly the only black female student. Being light-skinned, however, she was easily accepted as white, as Washington’s daughter, Barbara Shepherd, a retired Chicago Public School teacher, explained. Washington began building her tax-season clientele in 1939, and focused on serving the community of small black-owned businesses in her area. One of her early and long-time clients was S.B. Fuller, a self-made millionaire and owner of the cosmetics company Fuller Products Company. Fuller came to rely heavily on Washington’s services and advice, and later leased some of his business office space to her to accommodate her growing business. Washington earned her degree in 1941 and was able to serve her apprenticeship with Wilson. When she sat for the CPA licensing exam, again, she was the only woman in the room.

In 1943 she became the nation’s 13th African-American CPA, and the first female of the group to attain her license, she became a leader for future generations of accountants. The firm she began in her basement on the South Side of Chicago in 1939, known today as Washington, Pittman & McKeever, remains one of the largest African-American owned firms in the nation.

Read more here!


 

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In 1921, John Cromwell, Jr. became the first African-American CPA. He came from one of the more prominent African-American families in the country. His father was an attorney and the chief examiner for the U.S. Post Office. His older sister, was the first African-American alumna of Smith College, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in English from Yale. John Cromwell graduated from Dartmouth in 1906 as the best student in science.

Fifteen year passed, following Cromwell’s graduation, before he became a CPA. He was not allowed to sit for the CPA exam in Washington, D.C., Virgina or Maryland. Moreover, since all places had experience requirements, the biggest barrier to African-American CPAs was a Catch-22.

After becoming a CPA, Cromwell taught high school accounting in the District of Columbia. He worked exclusively within the black community. In 1930, he became comptroller of Howard University. In the early 1960s, 40 years after he earned his certificate, John Cromwell was still the only African-American CPA in our nation’s capitol.

Read more here!


As someone who has worked in accounting and audit for 4 years now, it is crazy to think just how hard these two worked to accomplish their goals.  Don’t give up, y’all!

Black History Fact: Macon B. Allen

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Macon Bolling Allen is both the first African American licensed to practice law and to hold a judicial position in the United States. Allen passed the bar exam in Maine in 1844 and became a Massachusetts Justice of the Peace in 1848. He moved to South Carolina after the American Civil War to practice law and was elected as a probate court judge in 1874. Following the Reconstruction Era, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as an attorney for the Land and Improvement Association.


 

Come through Macon! Macon represents the theme of “Lifting As We Climb” which means he went and improved himself only to use what he learned to help others.

 

Four Days of Black History Plus Some Quick Grammy Thoughts

Let’s start with what you all came for, Black History!

February 6th – Toni Morrison

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Toni Morrison is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon and Beloved. She was also commissioned to write the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, first performed in 2005. She won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved and the Nobel Prize in 1993. On May 29, 2012, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

February 7th – Lonnie Johnson

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Lonnie George Johnson is an American inventor and engineer who holds more than 80 patents. Johnson is most known for inventing the Super Soaker water gun, which has ranked among the world’s top 20 best-selling toys every year since its release.

February 8th – Diahann Carroll

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Diahann Carroll is an American television and stage actress and singer. She has had a long, successful career that has spanned nearly six decades. After appearing in some of the earliest major studio films to feature black casts such as Carmen Jones (1954) and Porgy and Bess (1959) and on Broadway, she starred in Julia (1968), one of the first series on American television to star a black woman in a non-stereotypical role. Later she played the role of Dominique Deveraux on the popular prime time soap opera, Dynasty. She is the recipient of numerous stage and screen awards and nominations.

February 9th – Matthew Henson

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Matthew Alexander Henson was the first African-American Arctic explorer, an associate of Robert Peary on seven voyages over a period of nearly 23 years. They made six voyages and spent a total of 18 years in expeditions. Henson served as a navigator and craftsman, traded with Inuit and learned their language, and was known as Peary’s “first man” for these arduous travels.

During their 1909 expedition to Greenland, Henson accompanied Peary in the small party, including four Inuit men, that has been recognized as the first to reach the Geographic North Pole (although this has also been subject to dispute). Henson was invited in 1937 as a member of The Explorers Club due to his achievement and was the first African American to be accepted. In 1948 he was made an honorary member, a distinction for 20 persons annually.


 

Man that was a lot of history.  And frankly, that’s the best part of this post because the Grammys were dull.

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I had every intention of doing a full recap, but there was nothing there.  The performances ranged from delightful (Lady Gaga/Tony Bennett) to cringeworthy (Kanye/Madonna).  No one performed anything up-tempo and with the show that long, you needed someone to up the energy.  It was mostly draining.  Even artists that are typically entertaining and fun were listless.

Honestly, I just wanted it to be over so I could watch Bob’s Burgers.  What were your thoughts?

Black History Fact – Dr. Charles Drew

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During World War II, African-American doctor Charles Drew pioneered many of today’s advancements in blood research and transfusion.

Charles Richard Drew was born on June 3, 1904, in Washington, D.C. He was an African-American physician who developed ways to process and store blood plasma in “blood banks.” He directed the blood plasma programs of the United States and Great Britain in World War II, but resigned after a ruling that the blood of African-Americans would be segregated. Dr. Charles R. Drew made some groundbreaking discoveries in the storage and processing of blood for transfusions. He also managed two of the largest blood banks during World War II.

Black History Fact: Hattie McDaniel

Time for another Black History Fact! Step into this!

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Hattie McDaniel (June 10, 1895 – October 26, 1952) was an American actress. She is best known for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939) for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the first African American to win an Academy Award.

In addition to acting in many films, McDaniel was a professional singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer, and television star; she was the first black woman to sing on the radio in the U.S. During her career, McDaniel appeared in over 300 films, although she received screen credits for only 80 or so.

McDaniel has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood: one at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard for her contributions to radio and one at 1719 Vine Street for acting in motion pictures. In 1975, she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and in 2006 became the first black Oscar winner honored with a US postage stamp.


 

My personal favorite Hattie line was when she was accused of furthering stereotypes to which she responded:

“I’d rather make $700 an hour playing a maid than $7 actually being one!”

yas

 

Black People Are Magic

Hey y’all!

Last night, I went out to Cascade Skating Rink (you saw it in ATL, if you didn’t know it as a cultural landmark) to celebrate a great friend’s birthday.

Something about being in the skating rink watching people just show off how fly they are, hang with their friends, laugh and dance with their partners filled my heart with pride. The varying styles for voluminous Afros to wet and wavy weaves. The Brooks Brothers brothers to the Adidas track suits. There was this expansive representation of Blackness all on the floor skating to Barry White or Migos or Junior M.A.F.I.A. or Frankie Beverly. It was breathtaking.

One of the greatest things about aging has been my increased appreciation of Blackness in every aspect. My family, as wonderful as they are, has always played by the rules of respectability which guided a lot of my younger thoughts. I was prone to making grand statements about how this or that would set back the race. But as I’ve matured, I learned to see the uniqueness of my people and to treasure who we are and who I am.

Things like skating rinks and barber shops were cultural and social centers in the days of segregation. The distinct taste of the food we make and the techniques we use are products of perseverance and poverty. The way we dress, the way we move, and the way we express ourselves delights me. It’s distinctive.

That’s what makes our culture so appealing. We thrive in adversity. We celebrate when there is little reason to do so. We live our lives with a freedom that should be celebrated, not stifled.

In this time where we have to take to the streets just to ask for basic human rights and justice, I’m going to continue to champion Blackness in all of its forms. They may not all apply to me but I refuse to cherry pick which aspects I deem “acceptable” for people and a system that doesn’t give a fuck about us.

Bloggity Blog Blog

Hey y’all!!!

dusting

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Needless to say, the final weeks of 2014 were a bust in several ways.  There were things to discuss, but nothing was positive and our drafts listing is filled with half-written posts.  But it’s a new year and I’ve decided to dive back in as a manner of expressing myself again. So let’s talk.

What’s Yo (Relationship) Status at the Bank?
Guess who happens to still be single in the most vivid way imaginable?

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Over the course of the holidays, it was almost as if everything I did involved hanging with couples, listening to the drama between couples, or getting advice on how to end up in a couple.  It was harsh to say the least.

Even worse, I realized that my type is still relatively elusive.  While Class may try to act like my requirements for dating are obscure, they are actually not that bad.  But the two requirements that are most important to me seem to be the hardest to find.  Internally motivated and an interesting conversationalist seem to be rarities these days.  Lacking in these areas render even the most superficially attractive specimen useless in my world.

But the largest obstacle standing in my way is my reluctance to put myself out there.  For many years, it was fear of rejection that held me back.  That I was too big or not attractive enough to be worth anyone’s attention.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’m okay looking.  I’m relatively funny.  I’ve got some things going for me.  Also, I’m Important.

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Seriously though, I’ve exhausted my desire to go out.  I’m tired of checking apps and dating sites.  I’m just in this place where I’d rather not be bothered.  That attitude doesn’t fix the situation, but it is where I’m at these days.  We’ll see what changes this year.

On Blackness
This blog isn’t even a year old and we have a full archive on Race Issues.

But it seems 2014 was the year where racists just said “Fuck It” and went hard in the paint to make America miserable unsafe for Black people. I remember back when President Obama was elected, there was a mixed feeling of elation and fear.  One of the biggest lessons I’d learned was that when white people feel a loss of perceived power, they lash out.  No matter what.  Whether it’s getting angry and upset with harsh words and attempts to ruin the victor’s credibility or attempting to utilize the one perceived slight as an example of how hard they have it, it is going to happen.  The only other reaction I’ve ever seen is the defense “I’m not racist, I hate everyone.  Racist comment, racist comment, racist comment.”  That’s probably the worst of all.

But to keep myself from going full-on thesis, here’s Miles Jai:

Here’s Chescaleigh:

Here’s Tre Melvin:

I’m using these as examples because I’m trying to swallow this rage and keep it trucking. But the end result is that people are pissed at the injustice.  And no one cares how much it inconveniences you.  Our lives are at stake.  Until there is real change, there will truly be no peace.

Pettiness and Heartbreaks: Celebrity Style
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“Cut that Chinese Pussy Hair off my face. Lol”

When I tell you that Sass and I cackled for hours on end over the Lispy/Fanny Pack brief separation.  But something about this douchey face and the Lol sent me over the moon.

Both of these people truly need to leave their lives off the internet, but for the first time in ages, I laughed at their antics instead of rolling my eyes.  The involvement of Drake. Her tears of melancholy and faux-inspirational Instagrams from the Jhene Aiko playbook of songwriting.  The phrase “Chinese Pussy Hair”.  This is classic.

2014 also saw the breakup of Amber Rose & Wiz Latifah. I like Amber and Wiz is entertaining to look up so hopefully things will be good for their baby.  However, this my friends:

is good times. I love this like I love cheese.

Some Last Minute Jams
Here’s two of my favorite songs.  Leggo!

In The Presence Of Mirrors – PM Dawn

Ugh, love this group so much.  I wore my aunt’s cassette for “Of The Heart, Of the Soul, And of the Cross” out when I borrowed it back in middle/high school.  They have an interesting way of speaking about life and love in a way that’s emotional and masculine if that makes sense.  It’s melodic but it’s funky.  It’s definitely a product of the early 90’s free-for-all music scene. I’ll leave the song’s interpretation up to you, but this song still takes me to a place of wondering who I am and what I’m doing.

Please Don’t Turn Me On – Artful Dodger

With my very public love of Craig David, I don’t think it is surprising that UK Garage music appeals to me. Artful Dodger did some production work on Craig’s first album too, but it wasn’t until much later that I took a dive into his singles. I love the softness of his production, the abundance of harmonies, and his ability to give songs a groove while downplaying the drumbeat. It’s all very lush, if that makes sense.  This song makes me happy.

So what’s happening in your world? Are you looking forward to 2015?

Another Feelings Dump

What’s up y’all?  While I wouldn’t expect a return to regular posting just yet, I do have some stuff on my mind that I need to get out of my system.  So what better place?

This list is not at all in order of importance.

1) Coping (How to Fail at It) featuring Trash

You all have to know what’s going on in Ferguson, MO at this point.  I’m not here to recap it.  I’m not even here to argue the facts.

I don’t have the strength to point out how all of this is because Black people and their lives are denied value in America.

You should already know that no matter what you wear, no matter how many degrees you have, no matter how much you avoid being “stereotypical,” you’re still just another black person.  When the chips are down, you can be shot.  They will get away with it.

We all know that this teenager is going be criminalized and smeared in the media, because any minor discretion is just another reason his life didn’t matter.  You’re constantly going to be reminded that any fault in his character justified his murder.

We all know that clueless assholes are going to idiotic statements.  Newscasters will say to use “water cannons.” The killer will talk about how his life has ended too, even though he’s at home on paid leave.  New Blacks are going to talk about how Black on Black crime and rap music is the cause of all of this.

You’ve already seen someone on your social media try to make it about them with clueless statements, incorrect information, and a general ain’t-shit demeanor.

Truth is, I’m tired.  I’m trying to deal with all of my outrage, my inability to create meaningful change, my inability to protect people I love from the same fate.  There’s not a day where I don’t think, “I’m blessed to be alive.”  I haven’t done anything to deserve it.  But I am.  Instead of productively letting it out, I’m just stewing in my anger and hopelessness.  It’s making me feel ugly inside and preventing me from enjoying the day-to-day.  I don’t want to be around people because all I want to do is talk about it and be angry.  I don’t have the luxury of taking off and being alone until I’m able to face regular society again.  I’m trying to just plow through life in order to sit home in the dark and think about this situation.

There’s no comfort in knowing that no matter what I do, no matter what advice I give my nephew and niece, no matter how many books I read, and no matter how polite I am, my life means nothing if a White person so deems it.

2) Taylor Swift

I haven’t really raged against the Swift in recent moments because she doesn’t really have a song out and she hasn’t been publicly dating anyone.  Not so lucky for me and the rest of the world, she released “Shake It Off.”

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I’m not going to link because she’s not getting a single view on my behalf.

But this is tangent to the first point.  The root of my hatred of Taylor Swift (and Jennifer Aniston) is that for my money they represent peak whiteness. This isn’t a critique of every white person (again, I should not have to say this) but of the dominant American culture.  I’ll let Omarosa take over…

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Where a “wholesome” and “sweet” girl who are just “hassled” are given passes for complete mediocrity because of her perceived girl next door image.  It’s like “Ooh, she’s bland and I can sing better than her.  Give her all my money!” 

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Throw in some questionable appropriation moments and her absolute refusal to sing on key and it’s already terrible.

But this song has a message of “SUCK IT HATAZ” for critiquing her image.  So she’s shaking off any criticism of her bland, mediocre, white bread music and image that appeals to middle-of-the-road, “put-upon”, middle class America. The very same America that is notably quiet whenever an unarmed Black man is killed in cold blood.

For me, this song is the essence of “First World Problems.”  And this is not the day, the week, the month, nor the year for this shit.

Sure, that may seem like a reach for some readers, but think about it this way.  Think back to a time where you felt depressed or upset over something in your life.  Now somebody you don’t particularly like (a coworker or classmate) comes up gloating about their promotion when you know they do nothing or a great exam score on a test where they have cheated.  You wouldn’t have the time for it.

And that’s what this song is to me.  It’s Taylor Swift singing a song that say “nah nah ni boo boo” to all you minorities for not being White.

Fuck.  Her.

3) Reality TV Thoughts

On a lighter note, Project Runway and Top Chef Duels have come to television.  Since So You Think You Can Dance continues to be pretty terrible, I had high hopes for each of these shows.

Project Runway is about as average as any of the other later seasons with some confounding judging thrown in.  Three of first four episodes have handed out wins to questionable garments. Props to Tom & Lorenzo as the source of these photos.  Also, if you love celebrity fashion, Mad Men, Project Runway, or RuPaul’s Drag Race, it behooves you to frequent their site.  Also, read their book!

amanda1 amanda2 sandhya1 sandhya2

The first two are from comeback contestant Amanda.  Fringe really shouldn’t be a thing.  The second two are from Sandhya.  I like the pink look with the metallic detail, but that poorly dyed, ripped shoulder, frayed edge abomination should have at least put her in the bottom.  No thanks.  That said, I do think that there’s some talent in the cast and the judges seem to be making good cuts.  I have hope that someday Michael Kors will come back.

Top Chef Duels is pretty good!  It’s a lot more low-key than your traditional Top Chef, but it brings back familiar faces and gives them space to be creative.  As a huge Gail Simmons fan, I’m glad she’s a part of the show.  I could live without Curtis Stone, but that’s not my decision.  I hope that the show does well and continues to bring back some great chefs.  (Although, go away Mike Isabella.)

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta is finally winding down after a particularly raggedy season.  When Karlie Redd is the source of your most entertaining moments, it’s time to take stock.  Seeing Rasheeda take Kirk back after complete and blatant disrespect for her, their child, his mother, their family, and her image (which is the family business) is not good television.  Seeing Erica and Scrappy be friends is nice for the sake of their daughter, they’ve been complete non-entities since we stopped seeing O’Shea Da Model and The Bambi.  Benzino continues to be neckless and ThiThi is the most obvious case of fame-hungry gold digger we’ve seen since Flavor of Love 3.  Stevie and Joseline’s soap opera relationship is not funny.  Joseline is best when talking shit about other girls, not crying about beefcake and her awful music.  Tammy & Waka are sweet but boring.  Karlie is trash on trash, but at least she gave us more terrible music and Yung Joc’s decision to air our her sexual habits.  Momma Dee & Deb are reliably fun though.

But let’s about Mimi again.  All of Mimi’s struggles, barring the death of her father, are her own doing based on her own choices.  Her absolute refusal to be told that she is wrong only serves to make her look like the weak-willed dingbat that she is. It’s painful to watch her get mad at people when she is forced to reveal her lies.  Like if you don’t want to hear what they have to say, stop going to them.  If you’re going to defend being wrong so vehemently, you’re going to continue to have to eat crow.

To be frank, I’d have cut her off when she accepted Stevie’s car.  Girl, you can’t be over him and accept things that aren’t child support.  Your dependency is showing.

But truth be told, she needs to leave the show.  Nothing has been good for her since it started and now the world knows her for being an idiot who is easily fooled and bought.  Sucks to be you.

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4) The Future Looks Bleak

If you haven’t gathered, I’m not in the happiest of places now.  As cliché and standard as it sounds, I’m used to telling myself that it will all work out. It will all be okay. But these two weeks have reminded me of the feeling of despair that I either ignored or suppressed as a part of the move.  It’s that I don’t know the future and not seeing much in the way of encouragement.  It’s not that I don’t believe God has a plan or that I believe I should have all the answers.  It just seems like I keep waking up to bad news. It’s like a nightmare. I want more than what this is for America and for my friends.  I don’t know how to tell them that, being someone who hates only tolerates melodrama/emotions.

That said, I’ll end this with simply.  I care.  I’m not great at letting people know that.  I may not ever say to your face.  But you’re cared about and I want what’s best for your mind, body, and soul.

Stay safe everyone and do your best to maintain positivity in your days.

A Hiatus & A Last Word

Hey everyone, this is going to the last post for a bit.  I’ll explain as this post unwinds.

To say that this week has been completely draining would be the understatement of the year.  There’s only so much rage you can feel.  There’s only so many days where you can feel hopeless.  There’s only a few times I’m going to let you tell me that wearing a suit will protect me.  We don’t want to hear any more lies or coverups.

While this blog has been amazing for getting these feelings out, I’m not really in a place to give you the fun stuff that attracted you here in the first place.  It’s not gone forever and there may be a post here or there, but for now, this is a smooth see you later.  But I do want to leave you all with a few mini-playlists to hold you over.  So here goes nothing.

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Quickie Post: Grief & Social Media

Hey folks. I don’t want to hold you up but I had this on my spirit.

With the tragic news of Mike Brown’s murder in Missouri as well as the suicide of Robin Williams, this week has been a grim reminder of many things. Police brutality, the state of being Black in America, and mental illness just to name a few.

In my experience, grief is a messy and difficult emotion. A mix of anger, despair, and sadness that is unmatched in how it affects a person. You don’t just get over grief. You don’t just talk it out once and it goes away.

We also live in a world where everyone feels like they need to share their every thought via the Internet, regardless of the topic, mundane or emotional. I’m here to tell you that you don’t.

If the people in your lives feel as thought you not making a grand statement is “offensive,” these are people who don’t live their real lives.

Part of the human experience is dealing with these types of intense moments in the way that is most fitting for your life and your emotional state.

You should also feel free to share your feelings on your page. My only ask is that you look before you respond. Posting incorrect names and information only serves to make you look inauthentic and erode whatever sentiment you were sharing.

That’s all and I hope that this week only finds a way to be better.