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WSSN Stories

“Black Man, Black Man!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

“What makes you so strong, black man? How is it that after 200 years of slavery in which skin color was the determining factor of your servitude and social status you could still produce a Frederick Douglass, a Booker T. Washington and a W.E.B. DuBois? What makes you so strong, black man? How is it that after losing 100 million souls in the “Middle Passage” of the slave trade, losing your name, your language and your cultural identity, you could still produce a Benjamin Banneker, a Louis Armstrong, a Duke Ellington, a Paul Robeson, a Jackie Robinson and a painter like Romare Bearden? What makes you so strong, black man? How is it that after two centuries of being someone else’s property and another century of Jim Crow laws, lynching and daily insults, you could still produce a Dr. Martin Luther King, a Malcolm X, a theologian like Howard Thurman and a labor leader like A. Philip Randolph. What makes you so strong, black man? How is it that even though for years they had a law making it illegal to teach blacks how to read, you could still produce classic American authors like a Langston Hughes, a Ralph Ellison, a Richard Wright and a James Baldwin? What makes you so strong, black man? How is it that after having your intelligence and moral worth devalued and degraded by some of the leading intellectuals of modern scholarship, you could still produce a noted pediatric surgeon like Ben Carson, a mathematician like Bob Moses and an inventor like Lewis Latimer, who made electric lighting practical by creating a longer-lasting filament for the bulb? What makes you so strong, black man? How is it that after being considered inferior by leaders of Western civilization, including the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, you could still produce a Joe Louis, a Muhammad Ali, a Hank Aaron, a Michael Jordan and an Olympic runner like Jesse Owens, who embarrassed Hitler by winning four gold medals competing against the “master Aryan race” in Germany. And Black Woman, What Makes You So Strong? How is it that after 300 years of being used –you could still produce a Harriet Tubman, a Sojourner Truth, a Fannie Lou Hamer, a Rosa Parks and early 20th-century millionaire Madame C.J. Walker? What makes you so strong, black woman? How is it that after being inculcated with the idea that your skin color is ugly, your hair nappy, your lips too big and your hips too wide, that the less you look like a blonde beauty, the worse off you are, you could still produce a Josephine Baker, an Angela Bassett, a Pam Grier and a Halle Berry? What makes you so strong, black woman? How is it that after being walked on and walked out on, after being popularly portrayed as a sexless Aunt Jemima and an oversexed temptress, you could still produce a Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, a novelist like Zora Neale Hurston, a poet like Maya Angelou and an Oprah Winfrey? What makes you so strong, black woman? How is it that after men, even your own men, told you were good only for housekeeping and making babies, you could still produce an educator like Mary McLeod Bethune and a teacher like Elma Lewis, whom former Boston University Chancellor John Silber has said: “Mother Teresa doesn’t have anything on Elma Lewis, not one thing” What makes you so strong, black woman? How is it that after being cast as lazy welfare queens, after even sociologists identified you as the primary source of social pathology behind the “breakdown of the black family,” you could still produce a sculptor like Meta Warrick Fuller and a Dr. Jane Cooke Wright, whose pioneering cancer research led to treating cancer patients with chemotherapy and who later became the first black woman to be named associate dean of a medical school in America? What is your source of this incredible human strength and resilience? Samson was a fool to tell Delilah his secret, and I’d be a fool to try and name it in this column. Suffice it to say that the strength lies within all of us – black, white, yellow, red and brown people. And when its power is harnessed, victims are transformed into victors. Thank you, black people, for the many marvelous things you have contributed to this wonderful world of ours. And for reminding us of the paradoxical power of the powerless.” [Reverend Jeremiah Wright].


As we celebrate Black History Month recognition is given to the mighty men and women of valour who paved the way for all of us. We recognize them for their heroic courage, dedication, commitment, and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, intimidation, and even death… all for the equity for people of color. As we take time to celebrate this notable occasion, we remember how God has delivered His people. We remember the way God led His people through trials. We remember the victories God has given, and we remember the blessings God has bestowed. Why do we remember? We remember so that we can keep in mind the great price paid for our freedom and for our salvation. For it is that memory that connects us and brings our histories and lives together in ways that are life renewing and life giving. So remember the story by recalling the story. Remember the story by making the story your story. Remember the story by doing the story, and remember the story by being the story.


Black History Month… a time of reflection, rejoicing, and recommitting. Black History Month, a time to think about what it means to be an African American. Black History Month, the story of God’s action in the United States. Black History Month, the story of good beating evil, of liberation, of freedom. Black History Month! Whenever I reflect on the legacy of Black History, my mind also reflects on the passage in [Hebrews 12:1-3]. In this passage, God instructs us to listen to the stories of believers who have gone before us—to learn from the stories of the great cloud of witnesses. Here’s how the author of Hebrews says it in [12:1-3]: When life gets hard, and we get weary, and we’re tempted to lose heart, the Bible says, “Remember the great heroes of the faith who faced horrible suffering and great temptation to sin, yet they persevered spiritually because they looked to Jesus.

Macy’s Celebrates Art, Expression and Culture During Black History Month

Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Chef Marcus Samuelsson will be joining the Macy’s Celebrates Black History Month later this month at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles.

(Black PR Wire) NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This February, Macy’s celebrates Black History Month by welcoming a host of stars from a variety of fields including fine art, music, literature, the culinary arts, and spoken word. Black culture has electrified the pulse of American life for generations, from music and fashion to film, television and activism. It has created a wave of change that has helped propel the country to new heights. This year, our celebrity guests will share how creative self-expression and a strong connection to their heritage have shaped their careers. As part of Macy’s Black History Month celebrations, Grammy-nominated artist BJ The Chicago Kid, “Insecure” actor Jay Ellis, award-winning Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Marcus Samuelsson, and “The Read” podcast host Crissle West will join other emerging stars in conversations focused on the influence and impact of black culture on all facets of American life.

“Macy’s is once again thrilled to celebrate the contributions African Americans have made to our nation with special events in our stores. Macy’s values the diversity of all of its customers and inclusion and respect are at the heart of our core values. We are happy to join with our associates and customers nationwide in honoring the legacy of African American achievement during Black History Month and beyond,” said Kristyn Doar-Page, Macy’s vice president of Diversity & Inclusion Strategies.

In New York City and Washington, D.C., writer and pop culture commentator Crissle West will moderate thought-provoking conversations with local artists. In Philadelphia and Atlanta, Chef Marcus Samuelsson will share stories from his new book, “The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem!” In Chicago, BJ The Chicago Kid and Jay Ellis will participate in an engaging panel discussion and talk with the audience.

Rapper, spoken-word poet, actor and activist Saul Williams serves as the national ambassador for Macy’s Black History Month Celebration. Exclusive video performances and interviews from Williams, hailed as the “poet laureate of hip-hop” by “CNN,” will be featured at www.macys.com/celebrate.

“I am very glad Macy’s is furthering the discourse around artistic self-expression in black culture. As a performer who uses words to bring attention to social justice causes, I feel it is paramount to stimulate engagement and awareness through our words and our art,” said Williams.

BJ The Chicago Kid is an R&B recording artist who recently delivered a soulful rendition of the national anthem preceding President Obama’s farewell address. His debut album, “In My Mind,” has been nominated for three 2017 Grammy Awards. He recently released a mixtape, “The Lost Files: Cuffing Season” and a new video for his homage to Marvin Gaye, “Uncle Marvin.”

Jay Ellis is a talented actor best known for his roles on HBO’s “Insecure” and BET’s “The Game.” His other credits include guest-starring roles on “Hart of Dixie,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “NCIS,” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“I am grateful to be among those Macy’s has selected to discuss the powerful impact artistic black voices are having on today’s American culture,” said Jay Ellis. “There couldn’t be a better time to come together to talk about the strides we have made and the road ahead.”

Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind Red Rooster Harlem, Ginny’s Supper Club, and Streetbird Rotisserie. He is a committed philanthropist and the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from “The New York Times.” Samuelsson has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards, including Best Chef: New York City, and was tasked with planning and executing the Obama Administration’s first State dinner. Samuelsson was also crowned champion of television shows “Top Chef Masters” and “Chopped All Stars,” and served as a mentor on ABC’s “The Taste”. In October of 2016, he released his newest book, “The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem!”

“I am thrilled to be celebrating Black History Month with Macy’s,” said Marcus Samuelsson. “I look forward to paying homage to black culture’s impact on the culinary arts and sharing some of my favorite bites and stories with guests in Philadelphia and Atlanta.”

Crissle West is a writer and the female co-host of the hit comedy podcast, “The Read,” a weekly show covering the latest in entertainment news. Crissle’s written work has been published in “ESSENCE” magazine and she has appeared on panels covering race, gender, and sexuality.

“I am really looking forward to engaging with young people and sharing stories of how black culture has influenced my personal and professional journey,” Crissle said.

At each of the Black History Month events, Macy’s customers will have an opportunity to meet and greet with event talent. For additional information on Macy’s Black History Month festivities, please visit macys.com/celebrate.

Macy’s Black History Month events will be held at the following stores:

Macy’s Herald Square (New York City) – Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m.
Macy’s City Center (Philadelphia) – Thursday, Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m.
Macy’s State Street (Chicago) – Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 5:30 p.m.
Macy’s Baldwin Hills (Los Angeles) – Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m.
Macy’s Lenox Square (Atlanta) – Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m.
Macy’s Lenox Square (Atlanta) – Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.
Macy’s Aventura (Aventura, FL) – Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.
Macy’s Union Square (San Francisco) – Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.
Macy’s Metro Center (Washington, D.C.) – Thursday, Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m.

About Macy’s

Macy’s, the largest retail brand of Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M), delivers fashion and affordable luxury to customers at approximately 670 locations in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as to customers in the U.S. and more than 100 international destinations through its leading online store at macys.com. Via its stores, e-commerce site, mobile and social platforms, Macy’s offers distinctive assortments including the most desired family of exclusive and fashion brands for him, her and home. Macy’s is known for such epic events as Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks® and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®, as well as spectacular fashion shows, culinary events, flower shows and celebrity appearances. Macy’s flagship stores — including Herald Square in New York City, Union Square in San Francisco, State Street in Chicago, and Dadeland in Miami and South Coast Plaza in southern California — are known internationally and are leading destinations for visitors. Building on a more than 150-year tradition, and with the collective support of customers and employees, Macy’s helps strengthen communities by supporting local and national charities giving more than $69 million each year to help make a difference in the lives of our customers.

For Macy’s media materials, including images and contacts, please visit our online pressroom at macys.com/pressroom.

Educate Me Foundation Working to Grow the Number of Teachers for Students across the Country


The axiom, “Those who cannot do, teach,” missed the point, as far as Blake Nathan is concerned.
In fact, Nathan created the Educate Me Foundation on a wholly opposite premise: To mentor and encourage African-American students, high school and college, to pursue careers in education, especially as teachers—and to help existing black teachers find new opportunities.
All with one goal, Nathan said: “To increase the number of African-American teachers in classrooms where they would have a cultural connection. That dynamic makes a huge difference for black students.”
Nathan, 27, speaks from his own experience. Growing up outside of Atlanta, he said he had just three black teachers from kindergarten through 12th grade. An engineering major at historically black Tennessee State University, he said he had just five African-American professors.
Then, as a middle school teacher of engineering and technology, in Indianapolis, Nathan said he was the only black male teacher in his district.
“There are hundreds of thousands of (black) students who have the same story as me,” he told Urban News Service. “Having taught black students, I know how important it is for them to have someone who has been where they are, someone who can relate to them on a personal level and have that cultural competency with them. (To continue reading, please visit www.wssnews.com)