Here’s Black History
It’s cold out there, but the barbershop was crowded. They were talking: about music, about Celine Dion, about Black history.
Genius was talking about Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson and the duo winning a Grammy in 1992. That’s when the 411 came that René Angèlil, the husband of Celine Dion, had passed away.
Professor put his hand up and said, “[…] Celine’s husband was a good guy. No one ever said a bad word about him. He made Celine an international superstar. Another good thing about him is that he never forgot his friends. He gave big Eric, a big Black guy, a job. And Eric toured the world.”
“Also, he [René Angèlil] met Trevor Payne… Excuse me, Dr. Trevor Payne, in high school, in the early 60s and helped put Trevor, a budding musician, in a position with the Jubilation Choir to eventually backup some of the biggest rock performers in the world.”
I don’t know any performers that can sell out the BELL Center for 10 shows.
“Back in the day, Dr. Trevor Payne and the choir used to rehearse in the basement of the Union United Church. I don’t know what problems he had with the church, but time proves that Dr. Trevor Payne was right (for moving out of the basement) because he’s been backing up some of the biggest performers and groups in the world, including Celine and U2.”
I hear they’re going to give René Angèlil a state funeral, not a big funeral, a state funeral. This will be the funeral of the century. God Bless him! He deserves it.
Dropout put up his hand and said, “Happy birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr King had to be a very important person in the USA. Why? Because they shut down the Stock Market on his birthday. You know when they do that you must be important. A lot of people in Montreal are angry with Dr. Martin Luther King because it’s a holiday in the U.S. every year, the third Monday of every January, but not in Montreal, Canada, so the people here don’t hear that song ‘Happy Birthday’ by Stevie Wonder.”
Everybody in the barbershop shouted, “Amen!”
Money put up his hand and said, “Black History Month in Montreal, Quebec, Canada is embarrassing. The people in Montreal running Black History don’t know what Black History is all about, just like the people running that annual Black Film Festival don’t know about [historic] Black films…”
School Boy interrupted and said, “Gimme an example”
“That’s very easy,” Money continued. “Down home aka Nova Scotia, Blacks and Whites went to separate schools. And if you don’t believe me just ask Rev. Darryl Gray. Or Google The Montreal Gazette, September 21, 2008. Black history program considered: The English Montreal School Board paved the way for the possibility of several new programs in its network including after school black heritage programs. But the recommendation adopted by EMSB commissioners on Thursday night is nowhere what we asked for,” said Rev. Darryl Gray… “
Note the date and year, 2008. We’re now in 2016.
School Boy asked, “Why won’t that happen?”
“That’s easy,” Dropout responded. “It’s all part of Canada’s dark history. It’s Black History.”
“Let me explain about Black History” Professor said. “I have a PhD in white folks. That’s why I don’t want you around them, which is why racism works for them and always will. I know some white folks who are so paranoid they always think you’re talking about them, who think they’re so important. When the players go into a huddle they think they’re talking about them. Also, white folks are so strange; when you meet them they’ll ask you where you’re from? And you tell them I’m from the island of Montreal. So they ask where were you born, etc. They don’t like your answer and they tell you you’re from Europe. And if they have a cross hanging on their neck, the symbol of Jesus Christ, I tell them Jesus Christ was Jewish, a Hebrew. He looked more like us (Black) than you. In the Bible it states: “His hair was like lambs’ wool, his skin was the color of the earth…”
Everybody in the barbershop again said, “Amen!”
Just Chillin’ said, “I agree with you, those guys doing the Black History Month events know nothing about Black history.”
Professor said, “Be specific.”
“I will be specific,” Just Chilin said. “Do you know about the Mann Act in the USA? It was put into law because of Jack Johnson, the world’s first Black heavyweight boxing champion in 1913. The Mann Act banned the transport of a woman across state lines for immoral purposes. It was all because of Jack’s desire to be treated… no, respected like a human being, not a nigger and live his life. The problem is some of Jack’s girlfriends were white. He was a precursor to Muhammad Ali, as flamboyant, in fact more so than the Muhammad most of us have come to know and love.”
There was another resounding “Amen” in the barbershop.
Those people who run Black History Month business don’t know that Marcus Garvey was the first Black in North America to inspire Blacks to have “a sense of pride and dignity…”
Dr. Martin Luther King noted the importance of Marcus (technology now provides the solution and information) when in 1965 he placed a wreath on Garvey’s grave. “He was the first man of colour in the history of the United States to lead and develop a mass movement. He was the first man on a mass scale and level to give millions of Negroes a sense of dignity and destiny. And make the Negro feel that he was somebody,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said in a tribute to Marcus Garvey.
This is Black History!
Remember, Marcus Garvey was only in North America for 18 months, but his influence lingers…
Prior to Alex Haley’s blockbuster book (and mini series), ROOTS, Black America’s history was distorted. But the successful record-breaking mini-series ROOTS helped Americans rediscover their Roots—how they got to the USA. This is Black history.
Montreal had a solid connection with Marcus Garvey, the late Henry Langdon of the UNIA (United Negro Improvement Association).
Black people running… coordinating Black History Month activities know nothing about history [our] Black History. They don’t even know who Joe Louis (the Brown Bomber) was. He’s buried at Arlington Cemetery and why he’s buried there.
The late Sammy Davis, Jr., the world’s greatest entertainer has a connection to Montreal. That’s Black History!
The great Paul Robeson who appeared (and sold out) Her Majesty’s Theater in downtown Montreal couldn’t stay at the local hotels. He couldn’t visit the Laurentians, north of Montreal, with the “No dogs, no Niggers, no Jews policy in effect.
Remember the great Jackie Robinson who played baseball in Montreal in the 1940s? Only the sports fans embraced him, or they wouldn’t have put him in the east end where everybody speaks French, and not in the west end where most people spoke English.
Sports writer Wendell Smith, when he came to Montreal to follow the emergence of Jackie Robinson, couldn’t sit in the press box; he had to sit in the stands with the fans because he was Black. This was… is Montreal history.
Tony Bennett, the old crooner, still going strong, used to go to the deep south and do benefit concerts to support Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. He could’ve been murdered by the KKK or other racists for his political stance…
That’s Black history!
There was another resounding “Amen” from everybody in the barbershop.
I’m tired of the term Visible Minority; we are not visible minorities. White people are the visible minorities; they are about 10 to 20% of the world’s population—and shrinking…
Oh, if you see that Bob White guy, you tell him that.
Every time I stop by the barbershop Rufus the barber says, “Bob was here. He picked up his notes and left for the CommunityCONTACT.”