Little Known Black History Fact: Oscar Micheaux

Little Known Black History Fact: Oscar Micheaux | Black America Web.

Go read this.  An excellent article about the first black film director who managed to beat the odds and make 22 silent films and 15 talkies.


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Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Fun, Life, randomness


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Black History Month – Canada’s First Black Fighter Pilot

Walter Peters was born in Litchfield, Nova Scotia in 1937, and growing up he had no idea he’d become a trailblazer in Canadian military aviation.

In the early 1960s, Peters enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and began pilot training.  This first step would lead to a career that would prove known the world over, even if his name wasn’t attached to it.  He would eventually assist in the development and spend two years flying with Canada’s military aerobatic unit, the Snowbirds.

Growing up, Peters was the youngest of six children.  They would move from Litchfield to Saint John in search of work when he was just a boy.  As his eldest daughter Shelley Carey said, “He said they [his family] had nothing, but they probably had less than nothing.”

Peters was a gifted athlete and won a scholarship to Mount Allison, where he would met and marry his wife, Nancy, a white woman from Sackville, New Brunswick.  Being an interracial couple in the 1960s was met with discrimination, but Peters never spoke publicly about the discrimination he faced.

Peters would go onto become a human rights officer as well as adviser to the United Nations Security Council.

Walter Peters passed away in an Ottawa hospital on February 24th, 2013.

You can read the details of his life in his obituary from the Globe and Mail, and watch videos from the Veterans Affairs website.

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Posted by on February 8, 2015 in Life, randomness


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Forrest Gump is actually really racist and really sexist

This is probably something that’s been pointed out by others, and I’ve seen it quite a few times.  Three things that are very clear about Forrest Gump;

  1. The movie takes every accomplishment from black people and gives it to Forrest Gump.
  2. The movie treats women as either manipulative, or in need of saving.
  3. The movie treats those who are social minded, progressive and left leaning like a bunch of idiots.

Amazingly, actually does a better job of showing this off than I could write.

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Posted by on February 6, 2015 in Fun, Life, randomness


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Black History Month – Dwayne McDuffy

I am a huge nerd.  A massive comic book nerd.  At least I was back in my younger days.  So it would be remiss of me to focus this blog on Black History Month for the month of February without mentioning someone who was even more passionate about comics than me.

I’m talking about Dwayne McDuffie.

Dwayne McDuffie is a comic book writer and a creator who worked on the animated series of Static Shock (which her created directly), Justice League Unlimited, and Ben 10.  McDuffie was also integral in the creation of the minority owned and created comic book company Milestone Comics.

He has also won three Eisner Awards for his work in comics.

His breakthrough into comics came when he interviewed for an assistant editor position at Marvel Comics.  At Marvel, he helped create the company’s first super hero trading cards.  Also while at Marvel, McDuffie wrote a mini series called Damage Control, a series that takes place in the aftermath of superhero/supervillain battles.

McDuffie became a freelancer in 1990, and wrote for Marvel, DC Comics, Archie Comics and wrote Monster in My Pocket for Harvey Comics.  In the early 90s, McDuffie along with three partners, founded Milestone Comics, with a desire to showcase not only multicultural characters, but multicultural creators as well.  McDuffie explained the reason behind the company.

If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren’t just that character. They represent that race or that sex, and they can’t be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people. You know, Superman isn’t all white people and neither is Lex Luthor. We knew we had to present a range of characters within each ethnic group, which means that we couldn’t do just one book. We had to do a series of books and we had to present a view of the world that’s wider than the world we’ve seen before.

Thanks to a distribution deal with DC Comics, Milestone was able to get it’s product to the local comic shops.  McDuffie helped create or co-create many of the characters, including Static Shock, Hardware, Icon, Xombi, and the multi-ethnic superhero group the Blood Syndicate.

He left comics to begin writing and producing which included Static Shock, Justice League Unlimited, Teen Titans, Scooby Doo, and wrote the scripts for many episodes of Ben 10.

In 2007 he returned to comics, where he wrote Firestorm until its cancellation, Fantastic Four, and wrote every issue of Justice League of America vol. 2 from 13 to 34.  He also wrote Milestone Forever which was an event that put the Milestone characters into the DC Universe.

In 2011 McDuffie died due to complications during emergency heart surgery.

McDuffie’s legacy lives on and helped open the door to many black creators who wanted to get into comics.  And that legacy is continuing as Milestone Comics looks ready to launch once more.

On a personal note, McDuffie’s work in comics also opened my own eyes to minority characters.  Ones that were not treated as a stereotype, and helped me in creating what I hope are believable characters in my own Heroic League Project.  From Free Spirit to Emerald to the Bowhuntress to the Owl.

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Posted by on February 5, 2015 in Fun, randomness


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Oddities of entertainment media

Movies are weird.  In particular, American movies.  Not movies like Sucker Punch or the Dark Knight Trilogy or Pacific Rim, those movies are pretty much dead on in what they’re delivering.  Pure, raw, entertainment.  Sure, those films may have some underlying message, but those films are also just a major rush to watch.

No, I’m talking about films like American Sniper, The Interview, and to an extent, The Great Escape and Captains of the Clouds.  American Sniper and Captains of the Clouds hold a very odd similarity.  Strange because one is about a sniper in the conflict in the Middle East (which mostly is pure fiction), and the other is about Canadian bush pilots joining the war effort in the Second World War.  Both are basically massive propaganda films.

Captains of the Clouds was a fictitious telling of Canadian pilots preparing for the war in Europe.  By 1939, Canada had entered the Second World War, only a few weeks after Britain had declared war on Germany.  By late 1941, the United States had declared war on Japan after an attack at Pearl Harbour.  The U.S. government was having a difficult time convincing the American public that a war with Germany was a good idea.  So they looked north.  Or, more precisely, Hollywood looked north, and created war films about Canadian soldiers going to fight for freedom.  Basically, it was Hollywood saying “our northern neighbours are going to fight against this enemy, so we should too”.

American Sniper is also a propaganda film.  Based on the book of the same name by former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, the book has been noted as having completely fictitious events in it, and places where Kyle flat out lied.  And the movie is basically the same.  There was no enemy sniper that Kyle faced off against (which is basically a copy paste from Enemy at the Gates), and all Iraqis were portrayed as monsters and animals.  If anything, American Sniper solidified the fact that Kyle was a murderous psychopath.

But Hollywood is famous for twisting narratives.  Such as in The Great Escape, which was based on true events.  The movie states that a large number of British and Commonwealth soldiers planned and executed an escape from Stalag Luft III.  The focus is on British soldiers, but in reality, 150 of the soldiers who constructed the escape plan were Canadian, including Wally Flood, an RCAF pilot and mining engineer.  He was dubbed the tunnel king, and was a technical adviser for the movie.  At least in this movie, many of the facts were not twisted into complete fantasy.

And then we have The Interview.  A comedy with Seth Rogan and James Franco about two news show hosts who get a chance to interview North Korea’s glorious leader.  The CIA hears of this, and convinces the two to stage an assassination plot in an attempt to kill the dictator.  It’s a farcical comedy, and nothing more.  Rogan plays it straight and Franco plays the utter baffoon, especially with remarks in the movie where the dictator shows Franco’s character a tank and says Stalin gave it to his family.  Whereby Franco replies with “in our country, we call him Stalone”.  This movie never would have made any waves had it not been for one event.  North Korea hackers hitting Sony Entertainment’s servers and releasing information.  Followed by North Korea’s glorious leader banning the film.  A comedy, and a run of the mill one at that, became a target for freedom of speech.

In this day and age, movies should be about entertaining and maybe have an underlying message.  But even then the underlying message is screwed up.  Just look at the Hunger Games movies, which depicts incredible oppression against lower class citizens as children are made to fight to the death in an event built to appease the wealthy and powerful.  Yet, all the media cares about is the romance, completely ignoring the fact that children are killing each other.  Coupled with the fact that many of the characters have been white washed from the book (Katniss, for example).

But as I said, movies, and to a greater extent, the media that reports on them, are weird.

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Posted by on February 4, 2015 in Life, randomness


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Black History Month – George Reed

For today’s history lesson, we turn our attention to another football player, but this time an American who came north and played in the CFL.  George Reed is known in Saskatchewan as a record breaking running back for the Saskatchewan Roughriders during the 1960s and 1970s.  He appeared in four Grey Cups, helping the Riders win their first in 1966.  Reed is one of three running backs always mentioned as the best in the history of the CFL (the others being Mike Pringle and Johnny Bright), and is one of only 8 former Roughriders to have his number retired.

Like yesterday’s entry, Rueben Mayes, Reed was a Pac 8 college player for the Washington State University Cougars, where he was teamed along with future Rider teammate and fellow Canadian Football Hall of Famer, Hugh Campbell.

Reed’s play during his 13 years with the Roughriders is not the main point of this article.  He is also a naturalized Canadian citizen, and was made a Member of the Order of Canada for his work with children with disabilities.  His contributions to help the handicapped and his work and creation of the George Reed Foundation, saw the Province of Saskatchewan recognize his work in 1973.

Since then, Reed still works with the foundation, and lives in Regina.  He is often seen in the stands with thousands of other Rider faithful during game days.

Reed’s message as founder and chair of the George Reed Foundation is very clear;

We need heroes. They believe in us, and teach us to believe in others and ourselves. They inspire us to become more than who we are. A true hero touches the lives of many people, and does so selflessly and without thanks. True heroes walk among us, silently giving their time, their energy and their passion.

Of the many organizations that the foundation helps, is the Saskatchewan Special Olympics and those athletes who compete at provincial and national levels.  But the foundation’s work speaks for itself.

The George Reed Foundation was founded by #34 himself, with a strong focus on helping the disabled and disadvantaged who are physically and intellectually challenged. We support programs and projects that focus on education, continuous learning and inspiring healthy and active living.

George has personally been a long time supporter of Saskatchewan Special Olympics, and lends his name to them in creating a future legacy fund. As well, over the years George has provided his support to pictogram development-a method of symbolic communication. The George Reed Foundation and the University of Regina are working to create a centre of study for pictogram research and development. We envision the centre further exploring other means of visual communication, and the creation of scholarships to support students who want to help people with physical or intellectual disabilities.

George Reed, born in Mississippi, has become a Saskatchewan icon not only for his abilities on the gridiron, but also for his contributions to making Saskatchewan residents who are physically and mentally challenged get the assistance they deserve.

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Posted by on February 3, 2015 in Fun, randomness


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Black History Month – Rueben Mayes

Mayes, a rookie of the year with the New Orleans Saints, set records in Washington State and impressed with his play during high school in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

It isn’t often when a Canadian sparks interest in the National Football League.  And even rarer still is when that Canadian is from Saskatchewan.  But for seven seasons (1986 to 1993) Rueben Mayes of North Battleford, Saskatchewan did just that.

New Orleans Saints’ fans will know the name Rueben Mayes.  He was a stellar running back who was named Rookie of the Year.  In 1986 he rushed for over 1300 yards.  He’d never hit that mark again in in five seasons with the Saints (in his last season with the Saints, he didn’t play) and two more with the Seattle Seahawks.

Mayes first gain notoriety at North Battleford Comprehensive High School, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.  In 1980, he led the NBCHS Vikings to an undefeated season and SHSAA 3A Provincial Football Championship.  Later, Mayes would play for the Washington State University Cougars, where he’d set rushing records and was voted All-American and tenth in Heisman Trophy voting.  He established an NCAA rushing record in 1984, rushing for 357 yards in a game against Oregon which still remains a Pac-10 Record.

Mayes is currently the regional director for development for Sacred Heart Medical Centre in Eugene, Oregon.  Mayes is one of three Saskatchewan residents to have played in the NFL, and the only African American to do so.  While his achievements may not be as stellar as many would think in an NFL career, Mayes was Saskatchewan born and did the entire province proud with those he did establish.

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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Fun, randomness


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