Black History: A Woven Fabric

Bea Arthur & Marlene Warfield

Welcome, welcome back, hi! I am going to post with Black History in mind as this is February. When I started this blog my focus was on my father, a Black man. It was his biography as opposed to being about Black history. In writing Eddie’s story it was not possible to only write about other Black people. I wrote about how Eddie succeeded during a time when Blacks had to struggle to come up in a world that included White people. History is about, to my mind, the story of Life before the Present. And my father’s story is definitely Black history. The sitcom Maude is a part of Black History, too.

I have begun researching a book about the TV sitcom Maude, staring Bea Arthur, from the 1970s. Connecting this show with Black History never crossed my mind until a few days ago when I received a request regarding a woman who played the third maid during the 1977-1978 seasons of Maude. Her name is Marlene Warfield and she is a Black woman. Ms. Warfield is alive and well and enjoying life well away from the spotlight these days, as are others I’ve tried to contact who were associated with the show. During my research, I have become fascinated with Ms. Warfield’s involvement in the entertainment business. It is just amazing to me when I discover new information about people that ought to be shared with others, in my opinion, simply because of the inspiration it could provide. Which is why I wrote my father’s story. Happily, a lot of these people happen to be Black.

James Earl Jones tells off a former paramour, Marlene Warfield, in the play, “The Great White Hope” on Oct. 10, 1968. Location is unknown. (AP Photo)

Before appearing on Maude, Ms. Warfield won the Clarence Derwent Award in 1969 for Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance for the role of Clara in The Great White Hope, which she reprised in the 1970 film version. The Clarence Derwent Awards are theatre awards given annually by the Actors’ Equity Association on Broadway in the United States and by Equity, and the performers’ union, in the West End in the United Kingdom. Clarence Derwent (23 March 1884 – 6 August 1959) was an English actor, director, and manager. His will stipulated that two $500 prizes were to be given out annually to the best individual male and female supporting performances on Broadway and a £100 prize to the best supporting performances in the West End according to an online site History for Sale.

Her co-star was Mr. James Earl Jones. James Earl Jones was so good in this movie that I hated him in real life for the next few years. What a movie! He actually won a Tony award in 1969 for his role in the play. Of course my younger readers may remember James Earl Jones was the voice of “Luke, I am your father.”

Ms. Warfield appeared in many more roles on TV and in movies, such as Across 110th Street (1972), Network (1976) written by Paddy Chayevsky, she played Laureen Hobbs with Faye Dunaway and William Holden (ooh la la), Maude, The Jeffersons, Little House on the Prairie, Perry Mason, In The House, and ER.

Black History is woven into our lives. Sometimes we have to search for it. In the case of my father, Eddie Green, born in 1891, though he became a a well-known personality by the time of his death in 1950, his presence had somehow been overshadowed and hidden from recognition-until I wrote the book: Eddie Green The Rise of an Early 1900s Black American Entertainment Pioneer. My Black History for sure.

Hey, thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Connectedness

I love connections. While considering what to write today I decided to do a bit of research on Conrad Bain. He is the actor who portrayed Arthur Harmon, Maude’s neighbor, on the TV sitcom Maude from 1972-1978. My third book is going to be on the Maude sitcom. I’ve been concentrating on Bea Arthur because she played the title character. However, I liked watching Conrad Bain in the sitcom. I thought he was a funny man. A good actor. Seems I was a big fan of shows produced by Norman Lear. I actually connected with Mr. Lear in 2019 for a short telephone interview regarding The Jeffersons, which is my second book.

I am still working on my second book about the TV sitcom The Jeffersons. Take my advice – do not get lazy during your writing venture. And maybe get some friends to help you proof your manuscript. Anywho, I discovered that Conrad Bain was in the last episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in 1996. What does this fact have to do with The Jeffersons? Well, in that episode the Banks, represented by Will Smith, sold their house to the Jeffersons, portrayed by Sherman Hemsley and Isabelle Sanford, who stopped by to view the house on the same day that Phillip Drummond, portrayed by Conrad Bain, dropped by.

My books are connected by the actors in these sitcoms. I did not set it up to be that way. I think it is just supposed to be this way because the process has been smooth and uncomplicated, mostly.

Mr. Bain also appeared in three episodes of Dark Shadows which I used to watch religiously. He was the desk clerk at the Collinsport Hotel. Funny how the mustache makes him look so different. During his acting career Mr. Bain appeared not just on TV, but on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in films, including The Anderson Tapes and Postcards from the Edge. Mr. Bain was 89 years old in 2013 when he died. I would have liked to have been able to connect with him.

Connectedness. If by no other way than by being human beings, we are all connected. I like to see that as a good thing. That way I feel less lonely. Stay safe. Wave to your neighbors.

And thanks, for stopping by.

I Shouldn’t Have Left You

Without a Dope Beat to step to. I heard that on the radio the other day and I thought what a great title for a post. It’s a line from the song “Try Again: by Aaliyah. It’s been over a month since I wrote a post. As a matter of fact, I’ve been putting a little extra time into getting one of my father’s songs sampled or re-recorded by a more current artist. The song was “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” written by my father in 1917. In 1919 A White lady named Marion Harris, one of the first White women to sing the “Blues”, recorded the song and it sold over a million copies. They probably thought the song was a dope beat, or groovy, or, no, they thought it was Jake, Jack. Though the beat was too mellow to step to, unless you knew how to do the foxtrot. Or maybe the ukulele version lent itself to dancing. Bessie Smith version is definitely “Bluesy”. Anywho, I and my friends are working at trying to come up with a version that would be more modern. The closest I’ve found is Salt N Pepa’s Whatta Man – “‘cuz good men are hard to find”.

Now this version is a good toe-tapper: Fats Waller

Most of the other versions are a lot slower. I’m thinking of possibly having someone do a hip-hop version ft. Lil somebody: “You gotta Hug him in the mornin’, kiss him at night, give him plenty lovin, shawty, treat your man right, ’cause “a good man is hard to find” girl, I said a good man is hard to find, so work your stuff, girl, dadadadaBOOM. ” It needs a dope beat.

We need a dope beat. Something to lift us out of the low spot we’ve been in this year due to the Pandemic. Not to mention Life’s other slings and arrows. Writing about and focusing on the things my father accomplished in his life puts a smile on my face. Some of the other songs he wrote have really funny titles, like: You Can Read my Letters, but You Sure Can’t Read My Mind”, Or this one he wrote with Clarence Williams, You’ve Got the Right Key, But the Wrong Keyhole. Can you imagine someone recording The Right Key today? Comedians would have a field day. Find something that makes you smile and share it with someone.

Stay safe, find a dope beat and step to it.

And thanks, for stopping by. 😉

Laughter is SO Much Better

Too tired of US politics. Going to talk about my father. Hello good people. Maybe I would have done a blog about something scary for Halloween, but I had my trick yesterday-someone egged my car. Right in front of my abode. The freaks were out last night! You ever had to clean egg off of your car? I didn’t even get angry. Another thing that is just not worth the energy. Focusing on my father feels good to my soul, so I post a lot on Social Media about Eddie. Then I forget what I put online. Someone found this photo I posted with an article about 2 years ago on Twitter and they Retweeted it!. They liked it that much. And that made me feel good. It really made me LOL.

Eddie Green & Co in Sending A Wire

In 1929 Eddie was in a musical called “Hot Chocolates”. He wrote a couple of songs and he wrote the comedy sketches. One sketch was “Sending a Wire”. A newspaper article read: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle said “The whole town is talking about Eddie Green, prime colored comic, who will put on one of the funniest skits on the stage. He will dash from the Hudson Theater immediately after the final curtain to the National Broadcasting Company where he will re-enact his side-splitting “Telegraph Office” skit for Commander Byrd and his crew.” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle July 18, 1929).

Seeing this photo again made me wonder why a skit about a telegraph office would be funny. Eddie was trying to send the wire and James Baskette was the clerk. Sending a telegraph or “wire” was the thing in 1929, it was fast and you could communicate with people across the world. It led to the telephone, the fax machine and now the internet, losing favor after the 1929 stock market crash. However Eddie kept up with the times in his comedic sketches, and the telegraph would have been of interest to him as he was already a ham radio operator (had his own station) and he loved to communicate with people all over the world. The internet would have been right up his alley.

Well, Warner Bros. certainly liked the sketch as they produced a film for their Vitaphone Varieties series. The skit from “Connie’s Hot Chocolates”, “Sending A Wire”, became a Warner Brother’s Vitaphone film that was said to be the funniest Vitaphone comedy act “which has yet been produced”, and that it “kept thousands shaking with laughter.” The film is registered in the Library of Congress as Sending A Wire, Eddie Green and Co. (Warner Bros. (as The Vitaphone Corporation) 1929 Sending a Wire © September 28, 1929 Murray Roth (director); Eddie Green with Jimmy Baskett & (NYC) (vitaphone varieties – Cinematop). There is just the one film in existence and I will probably never get to view it, but just knowing it exists helps me know my father as an entertainer.

This was all so long ago. Even before my mother met my father. As a matter of fact she was only six in 1929. Eddie was 30 years older. Chronicling my father’s life has been deeply satisfying. I know my own positivity comes through Eddie. (My inner sarcasm comes from Mom.) My ability to laugh out loud comes through him. I used to tell her I was funny because Eddie was (she didn’t think I was funny). It’s good to be able to keep Eddie’s name and face in the fore of people’s memories. I feel much better now. I love you, Eddie.

Friends and family, stay safe, love each other and thanks, for stopping by. 🙂

DESPERATE MEASURES

Theresa Harris – The Velvet Touch

I am desperate to get away from today’s news, which takes away my pleasure from finishing my latest book and pursuing information for my next book. So I decided to post about something that could perk me up. And I discovered that WordPress has reworked posting section. Let’s see if I can figure it out. Just so you know this is not a younger picture of me, though she is pretty. This is Theresa Harris. An American film actress, singer and dancer, born in 1906. I came across her while searching for something pleasant to write about.

TCM (Turner Classic Movies) had a pre-code movie showing in September and seems that this young lady played a major role in this era and after this era, but received almost no attention despite her skills. Theresa Harris attended Jefferson High School, studied at UCLA and studied also at the Zoellner’s Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles (the most celebrated musical organization in the West which devotes its energies exclusively to the highest class of chamber music) in the early 1920s before joining the Lafayette Players, an African American stock theater that performed at places like the Ebell Theater from 1928-1932.

Ms. Harris began her acting career in movies in 1931. Over her career, she appeared in at least 90 films, the last one in 1958. The pre-code years were good years for her as an actress because she played substantial roles that showcased her acting abilities. However, as time went on she was relegated to roles as a maid, or a bystander or a hat check girl.

In one of her pre-code movies, Baby Face (1933) she was Chico, friend of Barbara Stanwyck’s character. In Hold Your Man (1933) with Jean Harlow, she had a featured role as Lily Mae Crippen (uncredited). However, in 1936 she appeared as an angel (uncredited) in The Green Pastures, starring Rex Ingrahm, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson and Clarence Muse (also an angel) and Ernest Whitman. The last three gentlemen were also friends of my father, Eddie Green. In 1938 she was Zette, (credited) the maid in Jezebel with Bette Davis.

By the 40s most of her roles varied as to how important they were to the plot in how the role was listed and whether she received credit or not, but by now they were mostly maid roles, as in The Velvet Touch (1948) as Nancy (credited) with Rosalind Russell, or Miracle on 34th Street (1947-a good year) as the Walker’s maid. (uncredited), or The Big Clock (1948) as Daisy the Stroud’s maid (uncredited), with Ray Milland. Ms. Harris made over 30 movies in the 1940s. And at least 52 movies in the 1930s.

In 1950 she was Esther (credited) in The File on Thelma Jordan with Barbara Stanwyck. She continued to make more movies until 1958. Obviously, somebody liked her style. In those days, as it seems to be, still, today, if you were Black and wanted to get ahead in the profession you had to work extra hard and then some, especially if you were not willing to give up your principles. Ms. Harris was well aware that the color of her skin meant that she would not get much of a chance to rise above the level of maid in Hollywood, post pre-code. In her words: “I never had the chance to rise above the role of maid in Hollywood movies. My color was against me anyway you looked at it.”

She managed to get a few small good roles and she even appeared on television. She lasted three decades in the movie world. No scandals. No bitterness. But she knew the reality of the times she was just doing what she loved to the best of her ability. The thing that really impressed me is that during all of these years, she invested the money she made, and when she retired she was quite comfortable, thank you.

I salute her for her courage, her stick-to-it-tiveness and for being a role model of how to be successful for ones self.

I do hope this publishes correctly and does not look all willy-nilly. Thanks, for stopping by.

Stay safe & Keep Coming Back

And Then There’s Maude!

Anything but tranquilizing, Right On, Maude! Hi there, well folks, I have begun writing my third book. I am awe struck that I have come this far as I only wanted to write one little book. I knew I could write one book. Today I am finishing my second book on The Jeffersons and I have started researching a third. I imagine that some of you beautiful people out there remember the 1970s tv sitcom, Maude. Maybe you watched it back then or you have seen reruns. I watched it, I liked Bea Arthur as Maude and Bill Macy as her husband, Walter. The reality of my life in the 70s though was that I was “doing my thing”. Remember “It’s Your Thing, Do What You Wanna Do”? Well I was partying hardy so even though I watched tv I barely remember most of the Maude episodes so I will be watching a lot of videos and I get to interview people who worked with the show.  I do remember the theme song which, I just found out about a month ago, was recorded by the famous Donnie Hathaway!

I know this is too interesting, but I just want to go back a bit to the beginning of my book writing online journey. I think it is amazing and right that the biography that I wrote about my father has a continuous connection to my second and third books. As if I am supposed to be writing these books. I started out by writing about my father who found his fame appearing as Eddie the waiter on the Duffy’s Tavern Radio Program from 1941-1950. They began taping in New York, moved to L. A. and then to Puerto Rico during these years. Duffy’s Tavern was a comedy and each episode (almost every one of them) a different guest appeared and became a part of the shenanigans. Way too many to list here, but a few were Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore, Billie Burke, Adolph Monjou, Charles Coburn, Boris Karloff, Larry Storch, Peggy Lee, Mickey Rooney, Ed Wynn and on and on. Ed Gardner, Jr. was the Bartender and Charles Cantor was the resident oddball guy who hung out at Duffy’s, by the name of Finnegan.

In 1945 Duffy’s Tavern with made into a movie by Paramount. In the movie they used almost every star on the Paramount lot, plus Ed, Eddie and Charlie. Bing Crosby was in this movie as you can see from this poster. Eddie’s picture is no where on this poster. Maybe he wasn’t famous enough yet. But after being in the entertainment business since about 1901 he was gettin’ there. Anywho, since I have written the book I have received pictures from fans of Eddie. Pictures that are treasures of theirs and now of mine.

 

Sometime in the early 40s this picture was taken. This is an old copy from the internet. I now have an original in hand. This is typed on the back of the picture: Produced by the Armed Forces Radio Service. Program: Jubilee. Bing Crosby and Eddie Green  “All Armed Forces Radio Service programs are stamped on flexible plastic transcription discs. In addition the the land-based broadcasting outlets ships of the United States Navy and Coast Guard in all oceans will receive the transcription of this show, which is not heard in the United States except in Army and Navy hospitals serving returned casualties.” Need I say more?

Going on to my second book. While writing The Jeffersons I discovered that a friend of Eddie’s, Lillian Randolph, had appeared in a Jeffersons episode as Mother Jefferson’s sister. Lillian and Eddie had appeared together on The Great Gildersleeves Radio Program and also on the Amos n Andy Radio Program. Lillian’s real life sister was Amanda Randolph who had stared in Eddie’s third movie Comes Midnight. Lillian is the woman who donated her dee-vorce money in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Back to Maude. I started researching my third book about the Maude tv sitcom about a month ago. I have had the great benefit of being able to call on writers who wrote for Maude and who also wrote  for The Jeffersons. (Mr. Moriarty was one writer who wrote 68 episodes according to Fandom). I’ve posted about this before but Mr. Bob Schiller and Mr. Bob Weiskopf not only wrote for Maude, they also wrote for All In The Family of which The Jeffersons was a spin-off and they wrote for Duffy’s Tavern Radio Show where it is quite possible they knew my father. It is all connected.

I was watching one of the Maude episodes, “The Kiss” when I realized Maude and Walter were so loud! I had found a newspaper article where the complaint about The Jeffersons in 1975 was that they were too loud. Well, this must have been a Norman Lear thing (I read that somewhere) because the characters in Maude talked really loud also. In “The Kiss” Walter tried to BS Maude about why she found him kissing the next door neighbor, Maude’s best friend. I wonder what I get to say about these episodes in my book? You’ll notice I said BS.

There is no set in stone title at this point. I’m wavering. Maybe God’ll get you for that, Walter or Right On Maude! (the 70s babee). I’ve got a year to figure it out. I love what I am doing. I love writing and research. I can get totally involved in it. My experience in this writing journey has far exceeded my imaginings.

I got an itch to do something and I did it and it has blossomed. I suggest to anyone else if you have something you think you can do or you have something you want to say, do it, put it down on paper, the sky’s is the limit but you gotta start the flight. And help will find you along the way.

Hey, thanks, for stopping by 🙂

America! Relax.

Every now and then I get the urge to SAY something (my daughter would attest to that). Today I want to reassure my fellow Americans that the Post Office is a lasting establishment. A true American entity. Since its inception we have had mail delivery continuously six days a week. Didn’t I learn about the pony express in grammar school? As a child I thought those pony express riders were heroes.  The mail got through no matter what. The phrase “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”, was modified over time to refer to postal service workers, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from their appointed rounds”. I mean, for heaven’s sake, Benjamin Franklin was the first Postmaster General. The organizing of the Post Office was signed into law by President George Washington on February 20, 1792! This was major.

A few years later we gained The Postal Reorganization Act of 1970-Here is the first paragraph: “The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by Act of Congress, and supported by the people. The Postal Service shall have as its basic function the obligation to provide postal services to bind the Nation together through the personal, educational, literary, and business correspondence of the people. It shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities. The costs of establishing and maintaining the Postal Service shall not be apportioned to impair the overall value of such service to the people.” We have since updated the USPS logo. Eagles are powerful, stately, determined and undeniably American, which reflects the spirit of the Postal Service and its employees.

The Marvelettes waited patiently for their mailman everyday. Or should I say postman. Wait, oh yea, wait a minute Mr. Postman-What a hit that was. Mail delivery was essential to living life. Still is. To so many people. People waiting for love letters or prescriptions. People waiting for hospital supplies. Checks. At one point Saturday delivery was almost cancelled, however, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, passed reversing the cuts to Saturday delivery.

And how many of you remember Mr. McFeely? Speedy Delivery!! He stopped by Mr. Rogers place every day. He was always on time and always had a smile on his face. He was so much fun. One of the most popular characters on the show. Mr. McFeeley would sometimes bring videos to show children how macaroni or plastic combs were made. I always looked forward to mail delivery when I watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Today I read that our postal system is by geography and volume the globe’s largest postal system, delivering 47% of the world’s mail. Nothing since the pony express has brought the United States Postal Service to a halt. Yet according to an article I read today by Bill Moyers, “citizens tremble” when they think of voting by mail as opposed to going outside and voting in person. Because of one man.

In my opinion, one man does not hold all of the power. Society may act as though they believe one man can disrupt a complete American system which might be what would cause people to tremble. But it’s not true. I believe today’s Post Office “scandal” is being used as a way to derail the American public’s thinking process. To confuse.

I say, relax. Don’t be skeered. Thank your mailman or mailwoman. They are a part of a great institution. I should know, I used to be a mail sorter.

Fun Fact: My father, Eddie Green, once got in trouble with the Post Office, according to my mom. Eddie would dress my mom’s female friends in long scarves, take pictures and send them on postcards to men who ordered them through magazines. One of the photos showed a bit too much and Eddie became a friend of the postal inspector. (Not really, he had to pay a substantial fine.) I wonder if he got his idea from this Mata Hari postcard?

 

 

Thanx, for stopping by, KCB

But Was it Funny?

eddies laugh jamboree - green goodHello out there! What a lucky girl am I. I have started researching a third book. Just writing those words down makes me have to stop and ponder. I’ve never considered writing 3 books. Just the one-about my father- a rags-to-riches biography about the legendary Eddie Green, Old Time Radio icon (Duffy’s Tavern once a week radio show and others), composer, filmmaker, singer, dancer magician, TV star. A Black American who made it big despite the travails of Blacks in the early 1900s.

I never thought I would write a second book about a 70s TV sitcom, The Jeffersons, which I am working on finishing as I begin work on my new book about another 70s TV sitcom, Maude. Remarkable.

The first choice was mine, the next 2 were my publisher’s idea. Imagine that. And, it’s been a blast. I love research. I love reading. I started reading when I was four years old. My father left me a set of classics and a set of encyclopedias. I love words. Also, I have met the nicest people, period.

What these books have in common is that they are about Comedians and comedy. My father was into producing, he owned a string of restaurants, he wrote music, but he was first and foremost a comedian, he made his fame as Eddie the waiter, on the Duffy’s Tavern radio program in the 40s. The TV programs, The Jeffersons and Maude were comedic, while managing to focus on social controversial issues, such as abortion, politics and racism. But they made people laugh.

I was struck by a thought one day (probably because of the civil unrest these days) that most of the writers on each of these shows were White. Even on the almost all Black show The Jeffersons. One of the White writers on the Jeffersons was once asked by a Black person how he, a White man, could write for Black people. Basically his answer was a question: Did you laugh?

duffyscastonstageDuffy’s Tavern was on the air for ten years. It was funny. Especially Eddie the waiter’s lines. Apart from a very few, the weekly guests were White. The cast was White. The announcer was White. Eddie was the only Black cast member on that show. And he was hilarious.

The Jeffersons had very few Black writers. But the show was funny. It ran from 1975-1985.

I thought Maude was funny. Most of the writers were White. And I’m Black.

I think it sucks that Black writers, good Black writers, have to work at getting into script writing. Or that when they do get in, the public does not hear about it. I’ve spoken with a Black writer that wrote for a White TV show (had one Black cast member that I can think of) and that TV show made a mint for everybody thanks to that Black writer. Because people thought it was funny.

Maybe its just about being funny.

7109066004r (2)My father made a movie titled Mr. Adam’s Bomb (1949).  His idea was to show the world how regular every day Black people reacted to the use of the Atom Bomb. It was a horrible episode in our country. Eddie, as an ex vaudevillian and as a comedian chose to include humor and singing and dancing as in this movie as he had in his first four movies.

From the reviews I have read over the past ten years, some Black people don’t get it. They don’t get the dancing. The audience singing. And of course the comedy is way old time. But it was the only way Eddie knew to express himself as an entertainer. A Black comedic filmmaker, who liked using chorus girls in his movies, taking on the aftermath of the Atom Bomb through his people for his people and by his people.  But like I said above, some Black people today don’t get a Black man’s sense of humor from 1949. Eddie always wanted to look at the “up” side of life.

Anywho, maybe it doesn’t matter the color of the comedy writer. Maybe it’s just about being funny. Or silly. Some of the Walter and Maude lines cracked me up. Florence playing a old timey Black maid and shouting “Oh lawd” and throwing her hands up was too funny. Eddie in Duffy’s Tavern laughing out loud because someone called to make a reservation was hilarious.

The bobsSchillerandWeiskophNow here’s a Fun fact: Mr. Bob Schiller and Mr. Bob Weiskoph (both gone now) wrote for Maude. The two Bobs also wrote for Duffy’s Tavern and probably knew my father. I love their picture.

I hope you can find something to make you laugh out loud or to make you smile.

Thanks, for stopping by.

 

 

 

courage

Baltimore1890horsedrawnambulance
Baltimore 1890 Horsedrawn Ambulance-courtesy Google Images

It’s not always easy to figure out how to begin a post. Especially if my brain wants to think about something else, like going to the store to buy cookies (I just discovered Biscoff Lotus cookies). Or if my brain simply doesn’t want to work at all. But since the pandemic has blown up again it’s good for me to sit here and share. Between this latest virus and the riots across the world I fear for us (people). It’s difficult to see a future of joy and happiness. However, I know that we, as human beings are capable of having such a future. In life today though it seems that Blacks still have to fight the hardest to be happy. It seems that more and more Black men are being shot by police. Can this change for the better? Judging by the past I think that it can, however, it will be a mighty long process. When my father was born, 1891 and as he performed as a comedian through the Southern states of America, Blacks were  being lynched on a constant basis.

As far as pandemics go, when he was a small child in East Baltimore he lived with typhus due to the fact that there was no sewage system, especially in the poor neighborhoods. By 1890 Baltimore Harbor was a national joke. While other cities in Europe and in the United States had installed sewers Baltimore had not. Outbreaks of cholera, typhoid or other diseases occurred fairly often. City code required indoor toilets, but it was up to individual property owners to build cesspools, cisterns, or gutters. These emptied into an unfortunate stream called the Jones Falls; its polluted course ran from the wealthier to the poorer areas of town and finally into the harbor. As Eddie’s family were desperately poor this was one reason he left home at nine years old-he wanted to find a better life for himself.

Perrybradford-1200x1200-croppedI have been asked to do an essay on a Mr. Perry Bradford. Perry was born in 1893. As a vaudeville performer and composer and songwriter, he too worked in theater circuits throughout the South and into the North. I imagine that he had the same worries as every other Black man in the South at that time. But he had a goal in mind. Bradford persevered in getting the recording industry to value recordings of African-American artists. In 1957, Little Richard had a hit with Bradford’s “Keep A-Knockin'”. In 1965 he wrote his autobiography Born With the Blues. Later in 1994 his song “Crazy Blues” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Perry lived a long time, too. He died in 1970.

ArlandoSmithMore recently, there was Arlando Smith, born 1952. Arlando came up during the Civil Rights era, police with hoses and dogs and batons. He worked at becoming successful. Arlando was a TV writer and director. During my research for my book on The Jeffersons I learned about this gentleman. He worked on What’s Happening Now, All In The Family, Silver Spoons, 227, The Richard Pryor Show, She’s The Sheriff, The Robert Guillaume Show. The Jeffersons (2 episodes) and Malcolm and Eddie. He was the stage manager for All in the Family, 51st Annual Academy Awards, The Richard Pryor Show, What’s Happening, Sanford and Son, That’s My Mama, Good Times, and The Jeffersons (48 episodes). In 2015 when Arlando Cooper Smith died The San Pedro Sun reported that: “Smith was an award-winning director who directed the first episode of La Isla Bonita Telenovela. He also contributed to several American television series, Arlando Cooper Smith made the Isla Bonita his home, has selflessly supported the island in ways too numerous to count for many years. He will be missed by all those who knew and loved him.”

These gentlemen became successful in their fields despite the Race issue, despite lynchings, typhus, and lack of money. Despite hard times. You don’t hear too much about these men. Until I wrote the book about my father few people knew of his many contributions to the entertainment industry. These men were either forgotten or overshadowed. Or simply not known about because of their positions in the background as opposed to being a principal character on a program. Because of who they were-their character-and because of their courage they achieved success, friendship and love.

May we all have courage.

 

 

 

 

I LOVE YOU MAN!

Quote from Nelson Mandella:

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

I have been wracking my brain to figure out how I could discuss the subject of police procedures if I have yet to offer any kind of solution. Talking about how heart wrenching it is to watch a person being held down with a knee till dead or being shot is just that, talk. So what can we do?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says the city will have a moratorium on adding new names to the statewide gang member database; Los Angeles Police Commission President Eileen Decker said the department will also review the process governing use of force reviews, and will include accelerated efforts to train officers in de-escalation and crowd control; The commission will support the use of an independent prosecutor to oversee police misconduct cases, and She said the city will also support legislation for increased juvenile diversion programs. Okay gang database, use of force reviews, crowd control, overseeing police misconduct cases and legislation for increased juvenile diversion programs.  Why talk about our juveniles right now? And crowd control? what about the Knee on the Neck Issue which has led to a Black man’s death?

At least California Governor Newsome has ordered carotid hold be removed from state police training materials. Ok, this is good, hopefully it will be enforced.  However will all police forces adhere to this?

I found the Minneapolis Police Policy online which defines Neck Restraint: and Chokeholds as two separate things:  USE OF NECK RESTRAINTS AND CHOKE HOLDS

Choke Hold: Deadly force option. Defined as applying direct pressure on a person’s trachea or airway (front of the neck), blocking or obstructing the airway

Neck Restraint: Non-deadly force option. Defined as compressing one or both sides of a person’s neck with an arm or leg, without applying direct pressure to the trachea or airway (front of the neck). Only sworn employees who have received training from the MPD Training Unit are authorized to use neck restraints. The MPD authorizes two types of neck restraints: Conscious Neck Restraint and Unconscious Neck Restraint.

Conscious Neck Restraint: The subject is placed in a neck restraint with intent to control, and not to render the subject unconscious, by only applying light to moderate pressure. (04/16/12)

Unconscious Neck Restraint: The subject is placed in a neck restraint with the intention of rendering the person unconscious by applying adequate pressure. (04/16/1

Steve Karnowski of the Associated Press reported: “Minneapolis agreed Friday to ban chokeholds (my bolding) by police and to require officers to try to stop any other officers they see using improper force, in the first concrete steps to remake the city’s police department”. So, technically, this may not stop Minneapolis police from using neck restraint, in my opinion.

Why not consider teaching our old timer police officers and our new inductees how to love? Human Beings are not born with Hate. Hate grows in us. But Love is more natural to the Human soul. I have known a young man who was brought up to hate Black people, period. But at the age of about 21 he wound up with having to become familiar with a group that included Black people. He told me, and I could see it on his face, that his hatred had become uncomfortable. His upbringing had been all wrong. His feelings of hate had changed. To Love. Just plain and simple love for people, period.

No, I don’t visualize police going around hugging people. But we could institute Attitude Adjustment training. I’ve written to two presidents regarding war and the killing of Black men. I will write to Heads of Police Departments regarding police training. I imagine I will be the subject of many jokes. Hahah! Attitude Adjustment! She must be crazy!

Through no fault of my own, I have had unpleasant dealings with the police. Their approach is usually intimidating-“What are you doing in this neighborhood”?; “Let me see your pupils”!, “Get out of the car”! “What do ya mean you don’t know where he lives?!”. There is no “Good afternoon, how are you”? or “How Can I help you”? Or, can you help us? To Protect and Serve is just something painted on their cars. When I was little we used to wave at the police when they drove by. Police Mens mean business today. And they carry Power.

In the beginning humans are like the little boy in this post. They really love each other. We can help others find that within themselves again. Preserve law and order, by all means, protect citizens, but lose the battalion-like attitude.

Love and Peace, ya’ll and thanks, for stopping by.

Elva