*George Herriman was born on this date in 1880. He was an African American cartoonist whose comic strip Krazy Kat has been said by many to be America’s greatest cartoon.
Herriman was born in New Orleans, but his Creole family soon moved to California. As a teenager, he contributed drawings to local newspapers. In his early 20s, he moved to New York City and freelanced until newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst hired him for the New York Evening Journal. During the first decade of the 20th century, Herriman’s first success was called The Family Upstairs. Krazy Kat gained independence on October 28, 1913 as a cartoon character of his own, and ran until George Herriman died in 1944.
Krazy Kat never achieved wide popularity among newspaper readers, though it attracted a highbrow following. Fans included Pablo Picasso, Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Frank Capra, H. L. Mencken, and Ernest Hemingway. Krazy Kat’s lengthy tenure owed much to Hearst’s personal love of the strip. Acceptance by the cultural mainstream grew after Herriman’s death, as Krazy Kat appeared in an animated series by Paramount Studios and even in a novel.
Throughout the 20th century, cartoonists have considered Krazy Kat the founding father (or mother) of sophisticated comic strips.
Comedian and actor, Orlando Jones, mostly known for his roles on “Mad TV” and “Sleepy Hollow” has decided to launch a Bullet Bucket Challenge, similar to that of the now trendy ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The ice bucket challenge is raising awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)/Lou Gehrig’s disease, but Jones thinks there’s a disease that needs awareness too. It’s a disease that disproportionately affects Black people, and that’s the disease of violence.
It’s not that Jones doesn’t see the benefit of the Ice Bucket Challenge, in fact, he’s even sending his $100 check in support. The Ice Bucket Challenge has people to pouring a bucket of ice water on themselves and/or donate to in the name of awareness and finding a cure. Everyone from our favorite celebrities to YouTube sensations to your friends have participated in this challenge, posting up their videos of them shivering under the waters splatter, and at the end everyone challenges people close to them. So far, these viral efforts have raised above $15 million! The significance of the ice bucket is to feel the sensation for a few seconds that ALS sufferers feel on a daily.
Jones obviously supports this cause, he just wants to do more about the tragedy that’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri. “This past week I watched an America city become akin to something of a war zone. It’s an us versus them mentality,” Jones laments in the video.
The collective voices of outrage at the death of Michael Brown continue to grow in Hip-Hop. Lauryn Hill is the latest to stand in protest, at least in her music. Her song “Black Rage” is set to the tune of the Sound of Music’s “My Favorite Things” but it is far from a list of pleasantries. Instead, Ms. Hill talks about many of the atrocities in life that fuel Black rage and, in turn, give her perspective about her own life. This is one of her most haunting works to date.
August 21st, 1831, Nat Turner and 70 slaves began a two-day uprising in Southampton County, Virginia.
Turner, a slave preacher, believed that God had chosen him to lead Blacks to freedom. During the rebellion, Turner’s master was killed, along with about 60 other whites. As troops moved in to capture the slaves, Turner escaped and remained at large for two months. While he was a fugitive, it is estimated that around 53 blacks were arrested and tried, 20 were hanged, 21 acquitted, and 12 transported out of Virginia.
The revolt had repercussions throughout the South. It became clear to the whites that many slaves were willing to die for freedom. More rigid slave codes and laws were adopted as a result.
Warning’ by Langston Hughes
Sweet and docile,
Meek, humble, and kind:
Beware the day
They change their mind.”