His Story | Champions: A Tribute to The Black Male Athlete

His Story | Champions: A Tribute to The Black Male Athlete

His Story

Celebrate Black History Month with a spoken word poetry tribute to the athletes who broke barriers and inspired us.

“Champions” by Raliq Bashard
Follow: @Raliq_thewriter

We weren’t suppose to champions, but we made it
Didn’t have a full deck, but we played it
with patience
Displays greatness in the game and changed it,
became it,
became famous, through all the slander,
Through all the snake-ish
Black backbiting grammar
that slayed us
in the papers, they called us Bammas
And it was that hate that made us,
They gave us ghettoes and chained us,
But we won metals and came up, fate raised us and
made us

Mike Tyson:
Tycoons, bisons,
Fists like rifles
Pitbulls biting
Heart tight as vice grips, fighting vices,
Lifeless but living
loud hounds singing
pound for pounds swinging, sifting
Weight shifting, putting shifts in
We had narrow
roads but stayed driven
We made good-crowns outta put downs
Golden thrones outta broken homes,
Loaded domes, made men bow
Jim brown with a field goal, Pin down,
like a gentiles, praying
laying sins down

Outbound, inbound
On the right court.
With a nice Spalding ball
We Mike Jordan weaving
Calling shots
white Nikes balling
great white knight, bald head
You can doubt mine,
But just always remember that jump man logo outline…
…that was from the foul line!
We out-shine:
fire in our chest, diamonds in our eyes: cow sized,

‘Bout time they saw we were destined
Just some ol’ bare back, dirt ball,
half-homed black boys
turned legend.

We’re Hank Aaron at the 7th
Bat dropping at the base dashing
Robinson joltin’ in the gadget
of his own fire, no holes in his game,
Slashing, blood on his gym towel,
We been fouled,
been here, got wins here, lost wind here,
Been scared

But we ain’t give up!
We don’t forfeit,
‘Cause we are fit,
they stole our dignity
We stole bases
Cold game–
First down, first inning
Foul line, free throw
Shape shift
Jim Crow, 3rd ward,
Crack house, basement

This game’s ancient
Game came with real struggle,
They can’t say boxing without Ali
They can’t say basketball without a Bill Russell
We instilled hustle
We never sold out, we sold out
with our souls out
Stole crowds, whole crowds
Two knees, both down
We ain’t come from medals,
but we aint losing so fate choosing,
Call us champions

They had plans and we cancelled it!
Wrote new manuscripts
Hate rang out in the stands and we answered it

We’re Doug Williams with doves, building
We broke walls, cut ceilings
Touched children, plus million

Gorgeous arms, flawless shot
Gorgeous form,
…Halter tops

And stockings, shmuck grins
For the woman had two against them and still shined
If we speak Althea Gibson
We speak
1965 with a drive like Malcolm while shifting
This is history!

This is Gabby Douglas
athletes with tough skin, in a world that gave
us nothing
and made us something,
and look who we get to be!
Honorable and brave as the man who is Michael Sam,
Who says “I am who I am, and I play as I am”

We can all be as great as Tiger woods
But stereotypes us, hype us
treat us like we hood and we play twice as good
life is good,

We stole gold, we Flo Jo
We Jesse Owens
We steady hoping
sprinting in our boycott genes
We New Orleans when the levees
broke in

We Jim
and Tommy Smith with a win
metals for ghettos, and the legacy that echo
With a chance to rise with two fists when it ends,
from football fields to
courts to
We shook up the world!
Showed them how to dance, it was the rhythm in
our hands
Our swing, our dribble,
our feet, our stance
We weren’t made like this
We weren’t made to be champions
But we played like it,
Made away like it,
These just black boys dreams,
We’ Alabama blooded,
We gold studded halos on folks
that owned nothing
Nothing but a right
to be remembered in history
…now, just imagine…
Imagine what our kids can be

Video by Relevant24 -
FOX Sports Producer: Justin Ching

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His Story: New research reveals Yale College’s first black graduate

His Story: New research reveals Yale College’s first black graduate

His Story

For over 150 years, Edward Bouchet has been heralded as the first African-American to graduate from Yale College — a distinguishing honor that led him to become a highly celebrated pioneer.

Photos of him are plastered in the school hallways while seminars, lectures and awards have been named in his honor.

However, a new discovery has proven that the canonization of Bouchet’s prominent status was premature.

According to newly uncovered documents, the first black graduate from Yale was in fact a man named Richard Henry Green.

The 95 records obtained by Rick Stattler, an Americana specialist at Swann Auction Galleries in New York, show that Green was enrolled at Yale in 1853 and graduated in 1857 — 17 years prior to Bouchet receiving his diploma.

Among those records is a collection of family papers, letters addressed to Green and receipts.

“I just kept digging and did find one reference to [Green] from his lifetime in a publication that said he was the first colored graduate of Yale,” Stattler told theGrio.”So I figured it wasn’t a complete fluke at least and found it in the census records where he was listed as black or mulatto and everything else seemed to check out,” he added.

The census records were those taken in 1850, 1860 and 1870 — which listed Green as “mulatto,” black and white, respectively.

The inconsistency in the Census recording could be attributed to a number of reasons, Stattler said.

“Census records are not very scientific and during that time it would be typical for the census taker to show up at the door and make their own judgment as to the race of the person they’re counting,” Stattler said. “It’s not at all unusual for someone to be black in one census or mulatto in another.”

Another possibility could have been that the census taker arrived at Green’s door and was met by his wife, who was white — and assumed that Green was white as well.

According to The New York Times, Green earned his bachelor of arts degree in 1857 and went on to become a teacher and later studied medicine at Dartmouth. He served in the Navy from 1863 until the end of the Civil War and throughout that time, married his wife and had a daughter named Charlotte.

Green’s father was a bootmaker – a common profession of African-American tradesmen at the time in New Haven, the Yale Alumni Magazine notes. Green later passed away in 1877 at the age of 43 due to what his obituary described as a “disease of the heart.”

Among the uncovered letters that were found, was one from a woman in Connecticut who was grateful for Green and the medical attention he provided during her pregnancy.

“She thanked him for the ‘delicate and brotherly attention shown to me at Ports Smith, I felt a confidence in you which I did not entertain to any physician near us,’” Stattler quoted.

“Take with you a few bones to illustrate physiology if you can,” wrote a man in New Hampshire in a separate letter, who was offering Green a position as a private tutor to his children.

While Green may have been lost from Yale history for over a century, Stattler’s research resurfaced new details that have since been confirmed by Yale officials.

“It’s really a great pleasure to add another local hero to the roster,” Judith Schiff, Yale’s chief research archivist, told theGrio.

However, despite the new discovery, it is unlikely that Bouchet’s impact and contributions to the college will be overshadowed in any way.

Bouchet graduated sixth in his class and went on to become the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. He was reportedly hailed and recognized by his peers at the time as an important figure – and he will continue to be celebrated as inspirational pioneer, school officials say.

Stattler said: “Bouchet was an important figure not because he was just a pioneer but for numerous reasons – and he made a more of a mark in history than Green did.”

Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works

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Source: The Grio

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His Story: I am Because We Are

His Story: I am Because We Are

His Story

“I Am Because We Are” is an inspiring poem designed to uplift people to draw from their past but look forward to the FUTURE! (SPREAD THE MESSAGE)

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Book of the Week: Forty Million Dollar Slaves: by William Rhoden

Book of the Week: Forty Million Dollar Slaves: by William Rhoden

Book Of The Week

178459From Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali and Arthur Ashe, African American athletes have been at the center of modern culture, their on-the-field heroics admired and stratospheric earnings envied. But for all their money, fame, and achievement, saysNew York Times columnist William C. Rhoden, black athletes still find themselves on the periphery of true power in the multibillion-dollar industry their talent built.

Provocative and controversial, Rhoden’s $40 Million Slaves weaves a compelling narrative of black athletes in the United States, from the plantation to their beginnings in nineteenth-century boxing rings and at the first Kentucky Derby to the history-making accomplishments of notable figures such as Jesse Owens, Althea Gibson, and Willie Mays. Rhoden makes the cogent argument that black athletes’ “evolution” has merely been a journey from literal plantations—where sports were introduced as diversions to quell revolutionary stirrings—to today’s figurative ones, in the form of collegiate and professional sports programs. Weaving in his own experiences growing up on Chicago’s South Side, playing college football for an all-black university, and his decades as a sportswriter, Rhoden contends that black athletes’ exercise of true power is as limited today as when masters forced their slaves to race and fight. The primary difference is, today’s shackles are often of their own making.

Every advance made by black athletes, Rhoden explains, has been met with a knee-jerk backlash—one example being Major League Baseball’s integration of the sport, which stripped the black-controlled Negro League of its talent and left it to founder. He details the “conveyor belt” that brings kids from inner cities and small towns to big-time programs, where they’re cut off from their roots and exploited by team owners, sports agents, and the media. He also sets his sights on athletes like Michael Jordan, who he says have abdicated their responsibility to the community with an apathy that borders on treason.

Sweeping and meticulously detailed, $40 Million Slaves is an eye-opening exploration of a metaphor we only thought we knew.

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