|Do you know these figures from Black History? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
When I was growing up I was never around black people to any great extent. I never had any black classmates until I started high school in East Tennessee and even then there were probably not more than 20 black students in our entire school which probably had about a thousand students. To my recollection there was never any emphasis on black history, but apparently I did receive information about many aspects of black history because I did have a fairly extensive awareness about it. Maybe I learned a lot on television or elsewhere since I grew up in the 50's and 60's when the Civil Rights Movement was taking a powerful hold on the nation.
According to Wikipedia, Morgan Freeman is quoted as having said, "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history." Freeman has argued that there was no White History Month, because white people did not want their history relegated to just one month.
I think Freeman makes a reasonable point. The way I see it, teaching of history should be homogeneous with events examined according to a historical timeline with references to preceding events as they apply to that timeline. However, in defense of the the celebration of black accomplishment, I think it is reasonable for communities to have special events designated for the appreciation of what black Americans have accomplished. Mostly though this is probably more of an issue for specific communities.
There is no doubt that the descendants of African diaspora have made important contributions throughout the world, but so have the peoples from many other cultures. My preference is to become aware of as much history as I can absorb and have a very keen knowledge of the history that made my country of the United States of America what it is and to discern where it can go in the positive sense.
In any case, the following Battle of the Bands post is my recognition of Black History Month.
Battle of the Bands
Battle of the Bands is the blogging event hosted by Far Away Series and StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th. The premise is simple: Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it. Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.
"A Change Is Gonna Come"
Sam Cooke was a highly influential singer and songwriter who was known as the "King of Soul". Cooke had first hand experience with racial injustice. His experiences led him to compose "A Change Is Gonna Come" which became a civil rights anthem. Over the years many artists both black and white have recorded this amazing song.
An incident in 1963 where Cooke and his band were turned away from a "whites only" Holiday Inn in Shreveport, Louisiana prompted him to write the song. He had already felt a prodding to write an important song about change after being inspired by Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind". Cooke's song also pays homage to the song "Ol' Man River" from the Jerome Kern musical Showboat.
To read an interesting article about Cooke's song, refer to an article in The New Yorker magazine. And now take a listen to two amazing live performances by a couple of legendary performers.
Luther Vandross "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Date uncertain)
Vandross has such a fine voice and that certainly comes across in this recording. Luther Vandross departed this Earth in 2005 at the far too early age of 54 years.
Al Green "A Change Is Gonna Come" (2001?)
While the recording of Luther Vandross was done at a church, the Reverend Al Green's performance sounds like he's preaching a sermon in church--but after all he is a preacher. When not performing as a singer, Al Green preaches at his church in Memphis, Tennessee. The recording here is from a post 9/11 benefit concert for United We Stand.
Time to Vote!
Well, let us know what you think about these versions. There must be one that you prefer over the other though I'll admit that I'm having a tough time deciding on this Battle. If you're visiting a Battle of the Bands post for the first time then let me briefly explain. Please give each song version a fair listen to decide which one you prefer over the other. If you don't like either then at least tell us which recording was least innocuous to you. This comes down to your preference and it's as easy as that.
Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours
Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:
‘FAR AWAY SERIES’
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’
'Curious as a Cathy'
Sound of One Hand Typing
DC Relief Battle of the Bands
The Doglady's Den
Cherdo on the Flipside
Jingle, Jangle, Jungle
Janie Junebug Righting & Editing.
J. A. Scott
Holli's Hoots and Hollers
Results on Monday February 22nd
Cast your vote now so you don't forget! Maybe another post or two will appear between then and now, but I'll definitely be back on the 22nd with the voting results. My blogging has become a bit unpredictable of late so be ready for some surprises. Let's hear a cheer for whimsicality in blogging!
Do you think Black History should be focused upon in schools during the month of February? When you were growing up did you receive much specific information about the accomplishments of blacks? Do you prefer using the term "Afro-Americans" or "Blacks"?