Too many women of every race sing the most well-known song from the opera “Porgy and Bess“, “Summertime” with no understanding that George Gershwin wrote it for a BLACK WOMAN SLAVE holding a white child telling him/her that everything is gonna be alright cause ‘your daddy’s rich and your MAMA’S GOOD LOOKIN”, while she’s breast feeding this child and cannot even FEED her own chillun’ or her chillun’ have been sold to the plantation owner 100 miles away and she may never see them again.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow and there’s absolutely nothing to be done about it. What’s your opinion? And please don’t tell me to just let it go!!! It’s an abomination and I must express my disgust.
Watch this video.
I’ll bet most people don’t know this. I didn’t. I tried to research it to put on my Facebook page to enlighten people but could not find anything about why DuBose Heyward wrote the lyrics. If you have a reference send it to me so I can disseminate it to our Conductors for them to circulate. We are so ignorant of our history and that is done deliberately on the part of whites. I remember reading the book, Black History, Lost, Stolen or Strayed. White folks know that without knowledge of our history, we are at a disadvantage.
In response to HB:
Dianne Reeves made a seething comment about this song in her rendition of it. I heard her sing it live in Montreux, Switzerland, in the 1990s. That’s when my mind was opened to the true meaning of the song. In this video does it sound like she’s singing a lullabye? Certainly, her reference to Oshun, the Yoraba Orisha has NOTHING to do with Gershwin’s interpretation.
We have to make certain assumptions about the song “Summertime” written by George Gershwin for the Broadway play or opera “Porgy and Bess” with lyrics by DuBose Heyward. If it’s a lullabye sung by a black woman, during slavery time, or shortly thereafter, there is NO WAY she is singing about her own husband being RICH. She must be referring to a white child’s father. And, of course, “your Ma is good lookin'” written by a white man was not referring to a black woman because the standard for good looking women was, of course, a white woman.
Heyward’s inspiration for the lyrics was the southern folk spiritual-lullaby All My Trials, of which he had Clara sing a snippet in his playPorgy. While in his own description, Gershwin did not use any previously composed spirituals in his opera, Summertime is often considered an adaptation of the Afro-American spiritual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, which ended the play version ofPorgy. Alternatively, the song has been proposed as an amalgamation of that spiritual and the South-Russian Yiddish lullabyPipi-pipipee. The Ukrainian-Canadian composer and singer Alexis Kochan has suggested that some part of Gershwin’s inspiration may have come from having heard the Ukrainian lullaby, Oi Khodyt Son Kolo Vikon (A Dream Passes By The Windows) at a New York City performance by Oleksander Koshetz’s Ukrainian National Chorus in 1929 (or 1926). [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summertime_(song)]
Did you see this article about the opera?
It is my contention that other people cannot tell MY story. Likewise, this reporter, Dan Sax, said “its depiction of black life by…white men” was met with “African-American opposition” (p. 2)
I agree with you. I cringe when black women sing it without understanding the role. This particular version is not memorable. Maybe this is an issue you could take up from a point of view of history, and find a way to make it an area for discussion in the hopefully global atmosphere of your upcoming conference. You are an organization that deals with the history of women in the business..This is an extension of that history–and remember these other “races” singing this piece probably don’t even know that Gershwin left behind instructions that the role in the play must never be sung by anyone other than a black woman. That may be a fragment of a fact–it could be that the entire cast has to be black–I’m not sure. In a workshop, that little detail you mention is a part of understanding what you should know in order to put the song ‘over’. I’m the wrong one to ask you to “let it go”. It’s part of the education process to discuss this with our younger sisters, and you do know two young black sisters brought “Porgy and Bess” back to Broadway just this past year, Susan Lori Parks and Dierdre Murray, playwright and musician,respectively. So the issue is timely.
To BHB: Thanks for the words of enlightenment and encouragement. Truth is Light and it will set you FREE!
In my twenties, thirties and forties, I held authors in the highest esteem. I wondered why there were so many books. In my fifties, I began to understand that everyone has a story to tell and that’s why there are so many books. Some people have multiple stories to tell, thus, increasing the size of the Universal Library.
In 2003, I moved from Florida to Georgia and, in 2004, I began compiling my poetry and memoirs. For 13 months, I wrote my first book IN PURSUIT OF A MELODY, which includes my memoirs, photographs, poetry, songs and two lectures. That book was published at TRAFFORD in Canada.
In 2006, I spent 5 months in China and Japan. When I returned to Georgia, I knew it was not the place for me, so I returned to South Florida. By the end of 2007, I was teaching 8th grade Music at a charter school. But I was laid off in January 2008. I received unemployment compensation for the remainder of the year and discovered www.lulu.com online.
Today, all of my books are available in soft and hard cover format, as well as ebooks. This is my book store.
It has been my supreme pleasure to teach children about the Amazing Musicwomen who brought blues and jazz music to the forefront of American society and abroad! Also, I have taught students about the intricacies of the Music Business.
Through a grant from BankAtlantic to my non-profit organization, I was able to visit summer camps at three elementary schools to present my children’s songs.
Many of my songs have been recorded on CDs by my group Jazz Hotline and by other artists like Freddie Hubbard and Sandy Patton. My CDs are available at www.cdbaby.com/jcartwright and www.cdbaby.com/jcartwright2
I’ve taught others how to write and publish their books:
Finally, I’ve instituted a blog for a new project featuring my book about my spiritual journey: www.divineconnectionchurch.com
I’ve added a tab specifically for my friends and associates who spend their time writing books. I know the awe with which I held authors before I became one and, now that I’ve published 9 books, I am still in awe of those who write fiction as well as non-fiction.
Visit the Author tab for more information.
Listen to THE KNOWLEDGE TOUR interviews
Visit my friends’ blogs:
In light of the riots in London, I’m writing this blog, today, to explore the bottom line of what’s going on around the planet with young people who are sick of unemployment and poverty; black people who are tired of unemployment, poverty and racism; Jews who are tired of all other religions; Muslims who are tired of Christians; people of color who are tired of the superiority complex of white people; white people who are tired of everybody including their own.
The theory and activity of “Divide and conquer” worked in the 16th to 20th century. It is not working in the 21st Century because too many people have access to instant means of communication with the Internet.
Watch these videos and leave your comments on what you think is going on.
Comprised of the islands of Jamaica, Haiti & Hispanola (Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Tortola, Anchilles, Antiqua, Barbuda, St. Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, Barbados, Tobego, Trinidad and many others
In Triangular Road, Paule Marshall wrote, “Bajans seldom socialized with the other islanders who had also immigrated to Brooklyn. Trinidadians were considered too frivolous, a people who lived only for their yearly carnival. Jamaicans in their view were a rough lot who disgraced the King’s English. . . . Those from lesser-known islands St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia were dimissed as ‘low-islanders’. American black people needed to stand up more to the white man. Bajans were called ‘The Jews of the West Indies’ because they could ‘squeeze a penny’ and ‘turn a dime into a dollar,'” a commendable trait in my view. (Marshall, 2009, p.86)
Dr. David Duke’s report on Jews who monetized the Transatlantic slave trade fails to excuse or present apologia for the 2% of white families that owned slaves, while 40% of Jewish families in America owned slaves.
9/11 UNREPORTED Information
And who’s responsible for this???
Rodriguez heard and felt at least three explosions going off down in the basement levels within seconds of each other.
Absolute pandemonium broke out, with screams of “Bombs! Bombs!” rising above the din as terrified workers scattered in all directions, frantically seeking ways to escape.
[NB: There were a total of six basement levels. Level-2, immediately below Rodriguez’s position and the apparent location of the first explosion, was a “Mechanical Floor”—a restricted access area.]
But the “bombs” were by no means confined to the basement levels. READ MORE
“Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans, and the catastrophe towards which this world is headed – be it ecological, social, demographic or a general breakdown of civilization – will be unavoidable. . . The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and in human responsibility.” — Vaclav Havel, President of Czechoslovakia in his address to the U.S. Congress
“Over the past week this quote has been going through our minds like a mantra as we’ve watched the news and contemplated the causes of so much of the suffering and the goodness that are at play in our lives and world right now. May we all develop our capacity to be honest with ourselves and each other, to see deeply and clearly the nature of our reality, to discern the likely consequences of our personal and collective decisions and to care deeply about the impacts of our choices for action or inaction, and awaken great compassion for all living beings that guides how we live together in this precious and fragile world.” — Joel & Michelle Levey, www.WisdomAtWork.com
I believe that Earth is a living organism and we are simply inhabitants much like ants on a hill. Divinity is our imagination recreating our reactions to what happens around us, rationalizing what it is we want it to be.
I’m thinking peace and quiet, harmony and being. For it is the threat of non-being that pushes us toward the future. Without that threat, effortless being would be achieved only if we could imagine ourselves being quiet and living in peace. My poem further illustrates my thoughts on this issue.
I AM, THAT I AM
By Joan Cartwright (Grateful Goddess)
What am I?
I am a Human Being.
A human being what
Being whatever my mind can envision.
What does your mind envision you being?
My mind sees me being a mentor, a teacher,
A guide to joy.
My mind sees me bringing joy to
And out of other humans being.
What do you envision your human being?
Gaiamind Poems is available at http://stores.lulu.com/divajc
Joan Cartwright’s Gaiamind Poems is available at http://stores.lulu.com/divajc
The voices of women are raising in an alarming quantity. Women poets. Women musicians. Women speakers. Women teachers. Women with messages that must be heard are stepping in the limelight beautifully.
For centuries, it’s been “a man’s world”. The tide is changing and the voices of women are rising with a message of harmony, sanity and peace. Violence by hand, gun, chemical, pure neglect is diminishing. We are happy people on Earth, again.
According to Herstory, things are as we make them. We make them peaceful. We make them harmonious. We make things from abundance that surrounds us. We are co-Creators with the Universe. It is ours to create within. We create happiness and peace.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT
Click to read post
The injustice suffered by Africans in America and around the world at the hands of vile and vicious European slavers is coming to bear with the rough reality of the shooting of 20 people in Arizona, murder of two Miami police officers, natural disasters that are destroying luxury properties owned by Europeans in Europe, Australia and other parts of the world. That there is justice in the Universe is evidenced by the rebellion of poor people everywhere. There is no vile act that will not be reconciled. As poor people, black, brown, red, yellow and white awaken, the powers that be need to pay attention and accept that their actions reap reaction, not only from people but nature, itself.
This is why it is so important to hold our Saturday classes where all these facts can be brought out so our children understand the price paid for them to have so many opportunities available to them. Also, I agree with you that today’s Blacks are lacking in courage; but, additionally, they have adopted the white man’s ways to the extent that keeping up with the Jones and conspicuous consumption causes them to have a false sense of security.They have become “comfortable” and are satisfied with the fact that they can own and drive expensive foreign cars and homes they can’t afford to pay for. It’s all about appearance instead of reality. No Black person in America is free and will NEVER be free until we understand how our history and culture were stolen from us; and, we are no longer original people. We are the white man’s slaves and clones. The more we emulate him, the more satisfied we are with ourselves. We must seek and embrace our own culture because our roots are not only deep, but they are richly profuse in every aspect of human advancement in every area and aspect of life. We are the original people; but, we’ve allowed ourselves to be relegated to an inferior status. Never, will any white person make me think I’m inferior to him or her. If I were to take a more subjective view, I would say that the Black race is the superior race. No race of people has been able to endure the horrendous treatment to which we have been subjected and still we rise! Additionally, there are false assumptions based on education, color and other shallow values that keep us separated, unlike other ethnic groups who come together to support each other as they help the other one to advance. We are so busy pulling each other down that we don’t take time to realize that together we are stronger than we are as one. I pray daily for my people and pray that I can live long enough to see them open their eyes, their hearts and their minds to realize that we are our brothers’/sisters’ keepers.
The history that your teacher never taught!
Our ancestors did not have TV or Newspapers and most could not read but they understood the difference between existing as slaves or living as free men. This is a value and a courage that is non-existent in today’s society. It appears that one thing is certain, there will never be another Crispus Attucks in this country!!!!
Untold story of U.S. slave rebellion retold centuries later
January 23, 2011
Details of paintings depicting 1811 Louisiana slave revolt by New Orleans folk artist Lorraine Gendron.
By Mitch Potter Washington Bureau
DESTREHAN PLANTATION, LA.—A long-lost chapter in American history is being written anew, today, as southerners begin to come to terms with the previously untold story of the continent’s largest slave revolt.
And, while historians today debate the details, a consensus is forming around just how close New Orleans came to becoming a free black colony precisely 200 years ago when a makeshift army of some 500 slaves, some just a few years out of Africa, rose up in carefully calculated unison with epic consequences.
Here at the pastoral Destrehan Plantation, the aftermath of the January 1811 insurrection was especially brutal — newly unearthed colonial records show the estate was the epicentre for a judicial reckoning, with the white slaveholders ordering as many as 100 ringleaders shot or hanged.
The black rebel leaders then were decapitated, with their heads mounted on stakes in a horrific necklace of retribution stretching 70 kms down the Mississippi, all the way to the gates of what was then America’s most crucial frontier city.
“It is one of the most striking moments of amnesia in our national history. What you had in the end were plantation owners sitting down to sumptuous five-course meals as they looked out the window at their own beheaded slaves,” said historian Daniel Rasmussen, who began his investigation as an undergraduate student at Harvard.
“The planters were outnumbered and terrified. They thought of their slaves as sub-human and they saw ritual beheading as a prime way to get their message across.
“And what followed this gruesome display was a concerted attempt to write it out of the history books. The southern newspapers suppressed the story, either refusing to publish or delaying for months. Only a few papers much further north published small paragraphs condemning the savagery of the planters.”
Tulane University, the African American Museum in Treme and Destrehan Plantation all are filling in the blanks with the launch of a yearlong look at the 1811 uprising.
But it is Rasmussen’s riveting new book, American Uprising: The Untold Story of America’s Largest Slave Revolt that is turning the most heads, in academia and beyond.
Collating clues from dust-encrusted plantation ledgers, colonial court records, obscure snippets of antebellum correspondence and the oral memory of slave descendents, Rasmussen’s study recreates the intense planning and careful timing that underpinned the audacious bid for freedom, involving slaves from a dozen plantations, along the river.
Two Asante warriors, Kook and Quamana, likely battle-hardened from wars in Africa, conspired with Charles Deslondes, a mulatto slave-driver of mixed parentage, who Rasmussen describes as “the ultimate sleeper cell.”
All had been, in one way or another, “sold down the river” — a cliché first conceived to describe the especially horrific nature of slavery at the southernmost end of the Mississippi, where extreme violence underpinned the extreme wealth of the lucrative French sugar plantations.
Spiked collars were the norm for the uncooperative — the spikes pointing inward to prevent sleep. Deslondes, working on behalf of his plantation owner, was responsible for administering punishment, including the lash for those who would dare refuse the backbreaking labours of harvesting, beating, boiling and refining the sugar cane.
Haiti was also a factor. The slave revolution of 1791 was, in its own way, a shot heard round the slave world, as French colonial refugees and their slaves washed into New Orleans. It remains unclear whether Deslondes came from Haiti.
Louisiana was a vital American territory 200 years ago, but just barely — Napoleon had sold France’s claim to the vast Mississippi watershed to the United States a few years earlier for a paltry $15 million, a gift that would ultimately open the drive to the Pacific. But Louisiana’s French colonial class had nothing but contempt for its new American overseers, who were in January 1811, preoccupied in battles with the Spanish to secure a tract of west Florida. New Orleans was nearly defenceless.
“The attack came at just the right moment — the Americans were fighting the Spanish and with the harvest completed, the French planters were focused on the month-long series of lavish carnival balls and all-night parties leading up to Mardi Gras. And several days of steady rains had turned the road to mud, impeding any counterattack. Their guard was down,” Rasmussen said in an interview with the Toronto Star.
“Scarcely a resident in New Orleans had a musket. The city had a weak detachment of 68 troops.”
The rebels rose first at André Plantation, after sunset on January 8, 1811. And within hours, they were on the march to New Orleans. A ragtag army, perhaps, but one that marched in uniform, having seized militia clothing and weapons from plantation armories. Their numbers grew as the march advanced and as rumor of the uprising swept down the river road, the ruling class fled for the safety of the city.
“The planters couldn’t understand it — the idea that the slaves were not just savages, but that this was something planned. You had an army marching in military formation, wearing military uniforms, carrying flags and banners and chanting, “Freedom or death,” said Rasmussen.
New Orleans was on the edge of chaos — not least because its own population was 75 per cent black, awakening the fears of a second front rising up within the town itself. The city would order its taverns closed, imposed a curfew on all black males and summoned able-bodied whites to arms. Simultaneously, fleeing French planters regrouped on the West Bank of the Miscopy upstream from the city.
The two forces, American regulars and French planter militia, ultimately were able to confront the freedom fighters from both sides in a series of pitched battles beyond the city gates in the days that followed. Surviving slaves fled to the swamps and manhunts ensued, with dozens rounded up for the rough justice to come.
In the end, 21 slaves were interviewed by their colonial overseers in a bid to piece together the roots of the conspiracy and assign criminal blame. Elements of the story, says Rasmussen, survive in the oral histories of slave descendents, passed down and told “even to the present day at family reunions.” But the main snippets are to be found, refracted through the writings of the white ruling class, which show extent of fears never before told.
“They were sitting on a powder keg and, when it exploded and was put down, everything changed. Instead of a mini-Haiti, Louisiana society became militarized. The revolt pushed this old aristocratic society into the hands of the American government,” said Rasmussen.
“What you see is that the foundations of American power in this part of the deep South were built upon the commitment to restore and uphold slavery. Essentially, the French planters decided to cling to the United States as an ark of safety.”
As for Kook, Quamana, and Charles Deslondes, only now are historians weighing how to elevate them alongside the likes of far better known revolutionaries like Nat Turner and John Brown as major figures in the American struggle for emancipation.
“None of this has ever been taught in American schools and the hope now is that these men, who were executed for the strongest ideals will take their rightful place in history,” said Rasmussen.
“They were political revolutionaries, they deserve a place in the national memory and there is a sense now that they are getting it. We need to wrestle with this history if we are ever to truly understand it.”