Black History Fact Of The Day: The Riding Saddle

Red, Black & Green Elsie Law LogoW.D. Davis invented an improved version of the riding saddle. He received a patent for his invention on October 6, 1895. W.D. Davis’s version of the saddle contained springs under the seat and above the stirrups. This made for a smoother ride, made the saddle more durable, and made the saddle easier to adjust.

W.D. Davis, who was also a top agriculturist of his time and a cattle breeder, created his improved version of the saddle while he was serving as a Buffalo Soldier.

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Book Excerpt Of The Week- “Death Of Innocence: The Story Of The Hate Crime That Changed America” By: Mamie Till-Mobley

“Emmett Louis Till, my only son, my only child, was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered at the hand of white racists on August 28, 1955. That was so many years ago, yet it seems like only yesterday to a mother who needs no reminders. After all, every shattered piece of my heart has its own special memory of Emmett.

They say there are lessons to be learned from every experience in life. It has taken practically all my life to sort out the lessons here. I couldn’t see how there might possibly be any good to come of something so evil. What could the lesson have been? How could anyone deserve this? Then there was there was the mistreatment, the indifference of those who I thought really cared, the betrayal by those I trusted, the injustice at the hands of the justice system.

It has taken all these years of quiet reflection to recognize the true meaning of my experience, and Emmett’s. It took quite a while for me to accept how his murder connected to so many things that make us what we are today. I didn’t see right away, but there was an important mission for me, to shape so many other young minds as a teacher, a messenger, an active church member. God told me, “I took away one child, but I will give you thousands.” He has. And I have been grateful for that blessing.

That’s why, for forty-seven years, I wasn’t quite ready to write this book. It took a long time for me to reach this kind of deep understanding. I have been approached, oh, so many times by people who wanted to tell my story or put words in my mouth to tell their version of my story. But I just couldn’t do that. I owe Emmett more than that. I owe him the absolute understanding I finally have come to appreciate; the deep understanding of why he lived and died and why I was destined to live so long after his death. You see my story is more than the story of a lynching. It is more a story of how, with God’s guidance, I made a commitment to rip the covers off Mississippi, USA- revealing to the world the horrible face or race hatred. It is more than the story of how I took the privacy of my own grief and turned it into a public issue, one which set in motion the dynamic force that led ultimately to a generation of social and legal progress for this country. My story is more than all of that. It is the story of how I was able to pull myself back from the brink of desolation, and turn my life around by digging deep within my soul to pull hope from despair, joy from anguish, forgiveness from anger, love from hate. I want people to know all of that and how they might gain some useful understanding for their own lives from my experience. But I also want people to know my Emmett, the way they might have known him had they met him so many years ago- as the driven, industrious, clever boy that he was at age fourteen. Forever fourteen.” -From, “Death Of Innocence: The Story Of The Hate Crime That Changed America” By: Mamie Till-Mobley

[SIDEBAR: Emmett Till would have turned 71 today.]

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The 2008 not guilty verdict in the Sean Bell case evoked outrage, emotion, and debate. It is not an anomaly that the police officers involved in the Sean Bell slaying were acquitted of all charges on all counts in State Supreme Court. I could run out of ink printing the names of people who have been victimized by the inaptly named justice system.

The American justice system has been especially terroristic towards the African American community. Many community members can cite historic and personal accounts to prove this. Therefore, it would be foolhardy (at the least) to turn to a system that has methodically oppressed us, and request that they free us. We can only free ourselves through extreme discipline and intelligent planning.

As a community we have been too compliant with leaders who organize ineffective, delayed reactions. The only strategy that can save us in this last hour is one that calls for a collective code of conduct that will be conducive to improving the conditions of our community, and shifting the paradigm of how we are treated by outside entities. The first step of this code of conduct should be based on economics.

The old adage of “money talks,” still reigns true in the new millennium. Any political scientist worth his or her library card will tell you that: “Economic powerlessness equals political powerlessness,” and conversely “economic power equals political power.” This means that if we continue to allow our wealth to be extracted from our community, we will remain impotent.

The power of the collective “Black Dollar” is often discussed. However, that power has been left unchanneled. Today is the day to change that. A one-time boycott is not going to bring long-term change and respect to our community. Our community has launched boycotts before. Our success and ascension will be based on what we consistently do. For this reason, we should initiate “BUY BLACK FRIDAYS.”

BUY BLACK FRIDAYS is a small step towards our community acquiring power via controlling our economics. Every Friday, people who acknowledge the injustice and oppression that the African American community has been consistently subjected to should do one of the following:

Option #1: Spend $0 on Friday
Option #2: Spend no more than $10 on Friday
Option #3: Only Shop at Black Businesses on Friday
[PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ABOVE OPTIONS CAN & SHOULD BE EXERCISED ON A DAILY BASIS. However, we can all at the very least focus on Fridays. This way we can take a collective stand and build our collective discipline. Please remember that this is only Phase 1!].

To the people who are tempted to label “BUY BLACK FRIDAYS” as racist, I say this: In the big scheme of things, this is about right & wrong, justice & injustice. The African American community is a strong, proud community that has endured the brunt of America’s iron fist. We must stop the pounding. I feel that any fair-minded individual will concur, and join in.

ANY business that is privileged to enjoy the support of the African American community MUST return that support.

I thank you in advance for your effort and dedication.

-Elsie Law AKA Starface

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