Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The R2C2H2 Newsletter: Support W.E. A.L.L. B.E. RADIO!!!

Happy New Year Everybody!!!
This is the official first newsletter of 2007 for all things R2C2H2 Tha Artivist!!!
Much love and thanks to those who supported my mission throughs words of encouragement, showing up at my events and by buying things from your favorite Artivist…Let's get down to basics…

1.) Support
Tha Artivist Presents...
copyright by r2c2h2
W.E. A.L.L. B.E. RADIO!!!
Check out new internet radio show Tha Artivist Presents…W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio.
That's right folks the
W.E. A.L.L. B.E. alternative to alternative news organization now has an official internet radio show…The show's official debut was Sunday Jan. 7 and every since then I have been getting nothing but rave reviews from participants and listeners alike…The one hour show is live every Sunday @ 4pm central time and can be heard on the following websites: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/weallbe and http://www.weallbe.blogspot.com
Please check out the first three shows which are currently archived and are available 24/7 for your listening pleasure…The topics discussed are current events, as well as politics, the arts, culture, history and entertainment…This month's theme is "Profiling Ordinary People doing Extraordinary Things"...Be on the listen for great conversations and topics as well as new and unique characters on a weekly basis…Spread the Word!!!

Freely subscribe to the show by clicking on the following link:


View original press release for show:


2.) Cool Gifts for Tha Art Lover in U (Valentine's Day is around the corner!!!)
The great award winning actress, activist, writer, entrepreneur and fitness guru Jane Fonda is a fan of Tha Artivist...R U???

A.)That's right folks as always Tha Artivist has art to sell…The going price for for 11"x17" unframed signed prints are $35 each plus $10 shipping and handling…
© 2006-1104 Andy Rousseau/Penha Photography.
Framed prints are $100 plus $15 shipping and handling…To check out what is currently available just click on the following links:


You can use PayPal (please click here to go to PayPal) to pay for unframed and/or framed prints or you can mail your check or money order to the following address:
Attn: Ron Herd II
R2c2h2 Art
p.o. box 751341
Memphis,Tn 38175

Please e-mail me at r2c2h2@gmail.com with the title and number of pic(s) you are expected to receive...You can expect to receive your order in 3-4 business days after your monies are received by us.

What folks have been saying about R2C2H2 Art prints:
"Thanks so much for the incredible artwork and the efficient process!"
---Brian S. (New York,NY)

B.) Also new Artivist Stuff by R2C2H2 merchandise is available for purchase at http://www.cafepress.com/r2c2h2:

What folks have been saying about Artivist Stuff merchandise:

"Ron, your work is still jaw-dropping. Way to make art accessible to poor student folks. The fam loved the art on clothing I gave as Christmas gifts. keep doing what you're doing."
---Kristin S.(Austin,Tx)

C.)If you are really feeling in a good mood you can also commission Tha Artivist to create you an original piece of art:

D.) Don't forget to get yourself a copy of R2C2H2 first award winning book,
James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant:


3.) Check out what's new on W.E. A.L.L. B.E. the alternative to the alternative news blog:
A.)The Outraged Negro is back!!!
copyright property of r2c2h2
That's right folks after a short hiatus your favorite angry Black man is back with a vengeance…Check out these new classics for starters:
On Brown v. Ford the Outraged Negro gives his final verdict...
Frank Wills not Gerald Ford is the Real Hero of Watergate...The Outraged Negro Weighs in...
Was Saddam Worth It? The Outraged Negro weighs in...
Mark McGwire Plutoed, Tony Gwynn was Rodney Dangerfielded

B.)Third Annual National Conference for Media Reform coverage Artivist Style…

Tha Rev and Tha Artivist @ NCMR 2007:That's right the brotha in the hat is none other than R2C2H2 Tha Artivist reporting for W.E. A.L.L. B.E.
Truly one of the most productive weekends in my entire life…Please check out http://www.freepress.net/conference to view the whole conference including all workshops in video and audio along with photos online…Make plans to attend this event in 2009!!! Be on the lookout for more articles relating to the NCMR 2007 in future W.E. A.L.L. B.E. installments...Here are some interesting tidbits on the conference from Tha Artivist point of view:
Rev. Jesse Reflects & Shines Truth On The Trials And Tribulations Of His Famous Mentor Dr. King
Van Jones Dream Hopefuls Dreams in closing keynote address for 2007 National Media Conference for Reform in Memphis

W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Salutes the legacy of Dr. King:
KING SIZE COURAGE Made Up For Dr. King's Shortcomings...
War, What is it good for??? Absolutely nothing according to MLK!!!

"Why Not Knowledge???":More Words of Wisdom for the New Year from Tha Artivist's Mom...

Bro. Malcolm says don't trust those Dems!!!

Tha Artivist's Teacher is the top Art Teacher in the nation!

Tha Artivist's Mentor and Friend Gets Recognition For Artastic And Humanitarian Achievements

Check out what the brilliant cultural analyst Mr. Bleebus has to say:

The Black Aaron Spelling at it again

J.) Nu Author and Artivist friend Dwight Fryer gets NAACP Image Award Nomination for first book, The Legend of Quito Road

K.) The Dr. Z Factor

L.) She loves it when they call her Big Momma...Boss Toliver is in the house!!!

Saddam Hussein was more Benito Mussolini than Josef Stalin...

Please go to
http://www.weallbe.blogspot.com/ to access more interesting articles…If you like what you see and read then make sure to subscribe.

*Don't forget to check out "From Tha Artivist With Love" talent showcase and art exhibition at MO's Memphis Originals on Valentine's Day...To find out more info please click on the following link:

Artastically yours,
R2C2H2 Tha Artivist

To check out the last newsletter please click here.

*If you would like to be removed from mailing list please reply back and type the word "remove" in the subject heading or body...Thanks!!!*

Nu Author and Artivist friend Dwight Fryer gets NAACP Image Award Nomination for first book, The Legend of Quito Road


Media Contact
Allison Boyer
Allison Boyer PR
Telephone 901.388.9156

Dwight Fryer, Memphis Author’s Debut Novel Wins a Nomination at the 38th NAACP Image Awards

Memphis, TN January 10, 2007 – The 38th NAACP Image Awards were announced on January 9, 2007 in Beverly Hills. Among the nominees was Memphis author Dwight Fryer whose novel The Legend of Quito Road earned him a nomination for Outstanding Literary Work from a Debut Author. This is the author’s first award nomination.

Fryer’s book The Legend of Quito Road chronicles the story of a thirteen-year old boy whose religious father teaches him to make moonshine in 1932 Lucy, Tennessee. The themes of this historical fiction novel show that the worst things wrong with most of us were planted there by those who love us best. Fryer’s book is published by Kimani Press, which is a subsidiary of Harlequin. Any publisher, agent, record label, and studio network, have the opportunity to nominate an artist for the NAACP Image Award each year. Over 1,200 entries were received for this year’s awards show. From those entries a committee of 300 industry professionals and NAACP leaders chose five nominees for each of the 35 categories.

The NAACP Image Awards honors individuals and public works that promote diversity in the arts in film, television, music, and literature. The theme for this year’s show will be “Youth Create Chance.” The 38th NAACP Image Awards will air live on Friday, March 2nd (8:00 – 10:00pm ET/PT) on FOX.

Dwight Fryer is an ordained Christian minister and an international marketing manager at a global transportation company based in Memphis, a graduate of the University of Memphis and Christian Brothers University, and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Dwight Fryer is also a motivational speaker and has been requested to speak for many corporations, schools and non-profit organizations. He is working on his second novel, The Knees of Gullah, set to be released January 2008.

Visit www.DwightFryer.com for more on Dwight Fryer and his work.

Check out more related Dwight Fryer articles on W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:

In my own words: Bro. Dwight Fryer is a wonderful man whose generosity knows no boundaries...The phrase "TAKE LEMONS AND MAKE LEMONADE" was created with someone of Mr. Fryer's character in mind...He has turned personal tragedies like the loss of his daughter and painful life changing injuries into springboards to propel himself to carry on the good fight when others with less faith and hope would have just given up and lost all hope for a meaningful and productive life...His accessibility speaks to his greatness as well as to his humility...You can tell that he is a man with a strong spiritual faith because he is not afraid to share what he knows with anyone who is willing to listen and learn. He's also not afraid to be called a true believer in the awesome positive contributions mankind can make if we treat each other with the love and respect that we all deserve...Please check out his website and get yourself a copy of his book, The Legend of Quito Road...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Don't miss the talent showcase and art exhibition "From Tha Artivist With Love" Valentine's Day (Feb. 14, 2007) @ MO's Memphis Originals @ 7pm

For Immediate Release
For more information, contact:
Kim Brukardt, PR Consultant
901.682.3324 or 901.832.4527

photo courtesy of Ms.Wilma Potts
Ron Herd II AKA R2C2H2 the Artivist: Sharing the Love through Diversity at Mo’s

MEMPHIS, TENN. (January 17, 2007)…What better month to present Ron Herd’s “From Tha Artivist With Love, than Black History Month in February? His beautiful works embody the message of equality, which echoes through each brushstroke. Herd AKA R2C2H2 as he is known professionally will have his art opening on February 14, Valentine’s Day, at Mo’s Music and Art Café, 3521 Walker. The exhibit runs through February 28. Admission opening night is $7 and also includes poetry readings and a talent showcase by R2C2H2 who also is a musician. The event begins at 7 p.m. Call 901.324.7892 for more info or www.memphisoriginals.com.

And what is an artivist? “My job as an artivist (artist plus activist) is to actively promote understanding, love and appreciation for the creative arts as well as for creative people,” said R2C2H2. “I use my art to break down all types of walls and barriers of prejudice. My goal is to teach the world how to love and not just to tolerate.”
"Lady Sings the Blues"

R2C2H2’s “Tha Artivist with Love” exhibit will share the love through 10 colorful Expressionist pieces with a message including Delta Bluesman, Lady Sings the Blues, Howlin’ Wolf and Lady Wails the Blues.

“I feel artists are like synthesizers, taking in all foreign information and materials and mixing it with experiences and knowledge,” R2C2H2 added. “My art is created through the motivation of three of my main passions: My love of art, my love of music and my love of history, in particular, African-American History.”

Artists that he most admires include an eclectic list including Picasso, Charles White, Van Gogh, William H. Johnson, Romare Bearden, Lois Jones, Archibald Motley, George Hunt and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

R2C2H2’s collective career is as diverse as his message and includes that of musician, specifically trumpeter, visual artist, radio news talk blogger, actor and author.

Currently, he is an art instructor for Coleman Elementary Art Club and is a former instructor for Hope Presbyterian Church (spring break and summer camps, 2005). He was an “emerging artist” for the UrbanArt Commission, Memphis City Hall Project (2003) and an art instructor at the Memphis College of Art (2001). As an actor, he regularly performs in plays at the Hattiloo Black Rep Theatre. As an author, he wrote and illustrated James Reese Europe: Jazz Lieutenant, published by Booksurge Publishing (2005). The book, which was named to the Smithsonian

Institution's "Jazz Books for Kids and Young Adults" list, tells the story of one of the most popular black men in North America who organized the first black musicians’ union in the U.S. It can be purchased from R2C2H2’s website, www.r2c2h2.com or from www.booksurge.com. On the community front, R2C2H2 is a former arts educator at Chips In Motion's Reach & Teach Through The Arts Program (fall 2001-spring 2002) where members of disadvantaged communities are taught about health through the arts.

R2C2H2’s honors and awards are too numerous to list but include a multiplicity of scholarships for both academic and artistic achievement including the John B. Ervin Scholarship from Washington University in St. Louis, where he obtained his bachelor of fine arts degree in print making/drawing. He also received the William H. Kohn Award for artistic excellence, Eliot Review literary magazine (spring 2001), for which he has provided illustrations. He also provided illustrations for African Voices magazine (2004) and is an ongoing illustrator for The Sister Nineties Literary Magazine.

His one-person shows have included R2C2H2: The Movement at Wachovia Gallery of The Richland County Public Library in Columbia, SC (2005); Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale Library Art Gallery (2005); R2C2H2: In The Black at the Ross Gallery of Christian Brothers University (2005); R2C2H2: Visual Stories at the Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery (2004); R2C2H2: Visualizing Jazz at the Sheldon Art Galleries, St. Louis (2003); Featured Artist of the month, Hope Presbyterian Church (2003); FedEx World Corporate Headquarters fall exhibition (2002); St. Louis's Prince Hall, one-man show (2002); R2C2H2: Evolution of a Style at Vaughn Cultural Art Center of the St. Louis Urban League (2002); R2C2H2's Rhythm-N-Art series at Washington University (fall 1999-2001); and TheatreWorks in Memphis (August 2001).
His group showings have been presented within a myriad of venues including FedEx Corporate World Headquarters (winter exhibition, 2006-2007); Tunica Museum (2006); Zora’s Lounge in Memphis (2006); Legacy, Books and Café in St. Louis (2006); On the Street Gallery for Memphis College of Art (2006); NIA Art Group at Prairie View A&M, Texas (2006); Grambling University, La. (2006); Le Triptyque in Paris, France (2004-2005); Washington University in St. Louis (2002); California State University (2002); and St. Louis Exhibition (2001-2002).

In his spare time, East Memphis resident R2C2H2 embraces another medium. This year, he added blog talk radio to his repertoire with a new weekly internet radio show, “Tha Artivist Presents…at W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio,” www.blogtalkradio.com/weallbe. And he’s created a comic strip (www.soldierboygrip.blogspot.com) and a Web site for his first book (www.jazzlieutenant.blogspot.com). He also has a site with job information and internships, (www.ctherd.blogspot.com).

“Art is diverse in so many ways, yet all the elements involved are fundamentally the same,” R2C2H2 said. And so it is with people.

Mo’s, an incubator for the arts, exists to promote local musicians, filmmakers, writers, visual artists and craftsmen. For more on Mo’s, check www.memphisoriginals.com or call 324-7892. Mo’s myspace account is www.myspace.com/thememphisoriginals.


Friday, January 19, 2007

War, What is it good for??? Absolutely nothing according to MLK!!!

"On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, "Is it safe?" Expediency asks the question, "Is it politic?" And Vanity comes along and asks the question, "Is it popular?" But Conscience asks the question, "Is it right?" And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right."

"Don't let anybody make you think God chose America as his divine messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with justice and it seems I can hear God saying to America "you are too arrogant, and if you don't change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I will place it in the hands of a nation that doesn't even know my name. Be still and know that I'm God. Men will beat their swords into plowshafts and their spears into pruning hooks, and nations shall not rise up against nations, neither shall they study war anymore." I don't know about you, I ain't going to study war anymore."
---Both quotes by Dr. King

Pic: "War" by Douglas Ljungkvist to see more of his work please click here

Dr. King gave this speech entitled "Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam" at the world famous Riverside Church in New York City April 4, 1967...As soon as this speech was broadcasted across the nation, Dr. King went from being a media darling to being an unpatriotic has-been and iconoclast...He was soon voted according to a AP Gallop Poll as one of the least liked or admired Americans...Even his advisers and closest associates thought he was foolish for officially coming out against the U.S. Government and the war...One year later, April 4, 1968, The Dreamer lay dead on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel...Please listen not just hear what Dr. King is saying...He could have easily been saying this in 2007...Anyone running for President in 2008 as well as the whole U.S. Congress needs to be listening to this on a daily basis...

More related MLK stories on W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Tha Artivist's Mentor and Friend gets recognition for artastic and humanitarian achievements

David Kennedy photo - Clayvon Ambrose Wesley's art has taken him from St. Louis to other parts of the world. He is shown with his 8-by-6-foot painting, "Our Life Shall Not Have Been in Vain," part of his "Journey" series.
Artist's journey takes him around the world

By Jan Pollack

Clayvon Ambrose Wesley is known on four continents for his ability to address social and political issues through art. He also is recognized as a philosopher, fund-raiser and social activist.

Wesley, a former social worker who lives in Black Jack, is no shrinking violet. At 6 feet 4 inches, he has a commanding presence and a quick wit that adds to his natural storytelling ability.

Many of Wesley's paintings are contemporary and physically large, with bold geometric shapes and vivid colors.

His "Journey" series falls into this category, and it also demonstrates his philosophic side.

"Life is about a journey," Wesley said.

The series attempts to show the journey to the top of wherever it is "you want to go in life," he said.

Wesley paints life as a series of colorful levels and doors that represent choices. Stairs necessary to move from one level to the next are sometimes hidden but always present.

In his 10-part "Paper Bags" series, he uses a monochromatic technique, employing shades of browns and white. Names for some of the works in that series include "Justice," "Selfish," "Coupled," and "Homelessness."

Wesley graduated from Saint Louis University in 1973 with a degree in fine art and art history.

But his pursuit of an art degree was not his first choice.

"I had to overcome some obstacles in college," Wesley said. "I wanted to be a mathematician and scored 500 on my math SATs but, while I could do the work, I was told I didn't understand the theory."

He also learned he wasn't cut out to be a physician. Turned away from the pre-med curriculum, he chose to major in English only to learn, from the head of the English department, that he couldn't write a simple declaratory sentence. Even though he spent an entire summer writing to improve his skills, the program remained closed to him.

Finally, after ranking near the top in art on a battery of placement tests, he entered the university's art program on academic probation.

In 1982, Wesley studied at the Institute of the Arts for Restoration and Painting in Florence, Italy.

"I learned Italian on the Hill. And I took flash cards with me and whipped through them in about two hours," he said. "I had memorized some words used in art - draw, paint, colors - and I learned to speak only in the present tense, none of that past tense or present-perfect tense. All the preparation I had done was good because only Italian was spoken in the class."

While in Florence he boarded with a woman who spoke English, but when she found that he was learning the language, the two would have three-hour conversations in Italian.

"I could speak Italian in eight days. Total immersion works," he said.

Wesley is among the artists featured in the "African-American Artist: Past and Present" series of educational tapes studied in more than 40 percent of America's public schools, colleges and universities.

He worked about 10 years ago with area Catholic schools to create a juried art exhibit that drew about 4,500 entries.

They then created a St. Louis art exhibit for Senegal, Africa.

"We took the best 100 artworks to Senegal in 1999, where they eventually created a museum to house the works," Wesley said. "At the same time, Senegalese children were creating art. While there we picked the best 35 and put them together with 35 pieces of art created here in the area. This St. Louis-Senegal art exhibit traveled to schools in the city, county and throughout the state."

The trip opened his eyes.

"While in Senegal, I saw their realities of life," he said. "The French had pulled out, taking with them all the country's infrastructure. There were libraries without books."

When he returned to St. Louis, he began a book project for Senegal. First, he and his father sent 450 books. Eventually, with the assistance of others, Wesley shipped another 11,000 books.

He said that he is "immensely grateful" to his wife LaRena for the opportunity to meet with presidents, senators and foreign leaders in the United States, Europe, Africa, Brazil and other locations.

"Life is a series of obstacles, not excuses," Wesley said. "Who you meet on the way up is who you'll meet on the way down. Be good to them, for many of them can help you find your way.

"If you hurt, step on or cause great pain to someone while you're going to the top, rest assured that when it is your time to come down the steps (of success), those people are not going to stop and give you the time of day. You will receive your just desserts from those you injured," he said.

Reach Jan Pollack @ jpollack@yourjournal.com.

In my own words: I am glad to know this amazing man and of his amazing accomplishments..He has a heart as big as the African motherland and I wish him nothing but continued success in all of his endeavors...He is a true pioneer...Sometimes it's hard to recognize what or who we have in our own backyards or lives in terms of great value and worth to our existence, but let's make sure that priceless and selfless contributions made by people like Mr. Ambrose Clayvon Wesley won't be forgotten and always be cherished for the true jewels that they are because when we honor those type of people we honor the best in all of us!!!

Van Jones Dream Hopefuls Dreams in closing keynote address for 2007 National Media Conference for Reform in Memphis

Dream Hopeful Dreams
In the Conference’s closing keynote address, Van Jones asked people if they were prepared to succeed in the media and democracy movement.

“Can we write that story?” he asked. “We have to begin to say what is our agenda and is our agenda inclusive enough? Will it lift up enough people?”

Jones, who is the founding director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, called for a “city-by-city access agenda” outlining a vision to make high speed Internet free to everyone.

We have to think big, Jones said.

“Martin Luther King Jr didn’t get famous giving a speech called, ‘I have a complaint.’ That wasn’t the speech … The brother had a dream and we have dreams, beautiful dreams, hopeful dreams, helpful dreams, dreams about a country coming back together.”

“The reason we have this pro-democracy movement is because we believe this country can lead the world,” Jones said. “We need to be able to have a movement that stands for that.”
Above text courtesy of www.freepress.net

In my own words:
Mr. Van Jones was simply amazing and motivational...It was also inspiring to see a fellow Tennesseean doing so well (he's from Jackson,Tn which is not far from my hometown of Memphis)...It's funny how brothers and sisters from the American South tend to make big strides and impact on the political and social activism scene out West (the founders of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale for example were born in Louisiana and Texas respectively while the late former gangbanger turned street peace activist Stanley Tookie Williams, whose legacy reflects both the up and down side of this phenomena, was born in Charity Hospital in New Orleans)...The brother definitely knows what he's talking about and is blessed with the gift of gab and persuasion...Pure genius in motion and verse...Please visit The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and read his bio...Also check out the speech for yourself and get lifted(W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Subscribers please click on the following link to see video:http://weallbe.blogspot.com/2007/01/van-jones-dream-hopefuls-dreams-in.html):

To view more amazing photos, hear more great speeches by exceptional everyday people and to get more info on how you can get involved in this growing mass movement which will determine the future of generations coming of age as well as not even yet born please go to the official 2007 National Conference for Media Reform website:

Right on Jesse!!!

Rev. Jesse Reflects & Shines Truth On The Trials And Tribulations Of His Famous Mentor Dr. King

Rev. Jesse posing with the ladies (from left to right): Tha Artivist sister Molisa Thomas, fellow volunteer Michelle Maluwetig and Tha Artivist mom a.k.a. education expert and enthusiast Ms. Callie Herd...Please check out her award winning blog @ http://www.ctherd.blogspot.com

Rev. Jackson on Dr. King at the
2007 National Media Conference for Reform Jan. 12,2007
(W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Subscribers please go to the following link to view video:http://weallbe.blogspot.com/2007/01/right-on-jesse.html)

For all the faults that people tend to find in Rev. Jesse Jackson these days I think it's safe to say that his legacy will reflect more mightily on his positive contributions to humanity than on his personal shortcomings as a Christian man…Rev. Jesse Jackson is a special person...He is one of the few people to have actually been trained by the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and has done very much since Dr. King's death to spread his teacher's lessons…Rev. Jesse Jackson in that way is like Plato to Dr. King's Socrates being that one had to die for what was just and right in order for the other one to keep the hope alive!!! Like the Apostle Paul did for Jesus, Rev. Jesse Jackson has spread Dr. King's message of love, justice and acceptance far and wide…
Although I did not see the Rev. Jesse Jackson speak this past Friday (I was busy registering folks for the conference)...

Tha Rev and Tha Artivist:That's right the brotha in the hat is none other than R2C2H2 Tha Artivist reporting for W.E. A.L.L. B.E.

I did get a chance to meet him afterwards and asked him for an autograph for my sister…At first I thought I wouldn't have a chance being that he had a nice size entourage of brothers in suits as well as someone from a media outlet interviewing him as they made their way towards the escalator…I decided to take the staircase next to the escalator so that I can get myself together in advance and be in a better position to get his autograph…After he finished the interview Rev. Jackson hugged one of the female organizers of the conference…As Rev. Jackson and his entourage was making their way towards the door exit, I humbly called out to Rev. Jackson and asked for his autograph…Although he was in a rush he didn't brush me off, instead he paused while his entourage stopped and he took my paper and pen and asked me to whom to make the autograph out to…He had a quiet air of confidence and dignity which may sometimes be mistaken for arrogance by others, but which spoke to his ability to handle himself appropriately in certain situations, especially when dealing with the public… At the same time he was very humble...In his lifetime he must have signed millions of autographs and posed for millions of pictures, but it seems that he knew that this was expected of him because he's for the people and to be for the people you must be accessible to the people…Rev. Jackson, in spite of what people may say, is a true public servant in every sense of the phrase…He truly embodies the saying to whom much is given much is expected…In many ways Rev. Jackson is the closest we have to a contemporary Frederick Douglass being that he is a great charismatic orator and persuader with the gift to make people feel that they are a part of something significant and wonderful…And just like Douglass he is also a committed agitator for justice to the very end…Bro. Jesse instead of waiting for your state funeral (somewhere in the distant future) I am going to give you your flowers while you are breathing...I hope you enjoy the sweet smell of your life's essence and thanks for being you…
A fan of Bro. Jesse,
Tha Artstorian

To view Rev. Jackson's speech in its entirety please go to the official 2007 National Conference for Media Reform website:
Also to view more news, photos and audio from the 2007 National Media Conference for Reform please click on the following link:

KING SIZE COURAGE Made Up For Dr. King's Shortcomings...

Dr. King's Flaws Made Him Better Than Perfect
Tha Artstorian Reports...

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

--Dr. King from his "Strength to Love" speech (1963).

Dr. King was a man of peace, but he did know how to use a gun...He also was known for womanizing, drinking alcoholic beverages, and chain smoking...Although Dr. King was a great original orator he was accused of plagiarism or stealing other people's literary ideas and passing them off as his own (who hasn't done that before)...Some might have even heard him use a cuss word or two or three or four...And I say to this like Miles Davis said with his trumpet on that famous song from his famous Kind of Blue album, "So What!!!"

Hitler was a vegetarian so does that make him a better person than Dr. King who loved eating catfish??? The reason I said all the above is to say that Dr. King was a human being like everybody else meaning that he was naturally flawed...But that's why his message is even more beautiful...Someone once said that the greater the hero the greater the flaws and Dr. King was no exception...This saying also has its basis in some of the great heroes and sheroes of the bible...It seems like everyone of significance who did extraordinary things were flawed ordinary human beings...For example before he became Paul the Disciple he was Saul the Mass Murderer...King David who overtook the gigantic Goliath could not overcome his gigantic addiction to lust and adultery and ended up killing a man for his wife...Noah, who built an arc to save civilization from a devastating flood, it could be argued wasn't believed by many because he was known as being an alcoholic meaning that he was getting 'flooded' every night with booze at his local pub...In spite of this these men were able to overcome their extraordinary shortcomings to achieve things that benefited the whole of humanity and are often cited more for their courage and conviction than for their personality flaws which in itself is great but could also have its consequences...Dr. King the son of a famous and well respected minister and whose original namesake, Martin Luther, also led a movement which transformed his time as well as those who came after, could in many ways be considered among the greatest of the individuals I mentioned...

In the mid-sixties Dr. King had a meeting with his powerful nemesis J. Edgar Hoover the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation...King wanted to complain about the over the top surveillance and abuses he felt that he and some of the key members of the American Civil Rights Movement were suffering from the American government in particular the F.B.I....Supposedly J. Edgar Hoover played for Dr. King an audio tape of him having sex with a woman that wasn't his wife in a hotel room and told him he would leaked this to the press if Dr.King didn't resign from his leadership duties to the American Civil Rights Movement...The FBI went so far as to send Dr.King a letter stating that Dr. King should "resign" a.k.a. kill himself because he is a fraud and is misleading Black Americans in particular and Americans in general...On both occasions he was warned that the tape will be leaked out to the mainstream press...Although a little taken aback Dr. King did not give in to these terrorist threats...It only made him stronger in his resolve to see his mission and message through...

Dr. King also had enemies among powerful Black folk as well...He was not well liked by many in the Black Baptist Minister Brotherhood because they felt that he was rocking the boat too much with all that civil rights nonsense and was making it unnecessarily hard on Black folks for no good reason...It could also be feared that Dr. King, a man known for liking expensive suits, but wasn't too fond of building personal wealth for himself or his family (he gave his prize money from his Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 to the movement and was finally convinced by friends and family into moving his family to a better house at that time valued $10,000 which was expensive) could affect their bottom line by taking people away from their churches thus redirecting their finances or money to the charismatic young minister or elsewhere...They even had Dr. King's father,Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., a famous minister and civil rights leader in his own right try to convince his son to give up leadership of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and move back to Atlanta to take over pulpit duties at Ebenezer Baptist Church...Dr. King refused his father and instead went on to lead a successful boycott campaign which catapulted his name into the nation's conscience...As the Black Baptist ministers became even more envious and enraged at his growing importance they tried to short circuit his influence in the Black Baptist Ministerial fraternity...When he saw he was getting the cold shoulder treatment from his peers,Dr.King, along with his close friends and associates (the under appreciated Ella Baker,Rev. Ralph Abernathy,Andrew Young, Dr. Joseph Lowery, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth among others) started the Southern Christian Leadership Conference or SCLC as we know it today on Valentine's Day 1957 in New Orleans...

Dr. King was also a victim of Black on Black violence...In Harlem he was stabbed in the chest by a mentally disturbed woman and was so close to death that had he sneezed or cough he would have died due to the blade piercing his aorta of his heart no crocodile hunter...Had this happened there would have been no "I Have A Dream" speech, no "Letter From A Birmingham Jail" and no Nobel Peace Prize among other things...

People are also always wondering where Dr. King would stand on gay rights and civil unions...Well I can tell you for a fact that Dr. King held the great organizer Bayard Rustin in high regard...He was the one that instilled the non-violence tactics of Gandhi in Dr. King during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts and was the one along with the great labor leader A. Phillip Randolph who actually created and organized the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King probably gave the most famous speech of his career...He also advised Dr.King on the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference...By the way Mr. Bayard Rustin,a Black man, was a well known homosexual, socialist and Quaker...To illustrate how strongly Dr. King felt about Mr. Rustin is the story where J. Edgar Hoover went to Dr. King and the other organizers of the March on Washington to "warn" them to distance themselves from Rustin because he was caught in a hotel room with another man and if this news got out it could ruin their march...Although many of the principal leaders did not agree with Mr. Rustin's lifestyle they respected his brilliant organizational abilities and they knew how important his contribution have been and will be to the success of their movement and so they stood by their man...

Although he supported Pres. Johnson's agenda on civil rights legislation, Dr. King was a staunch opponent against the Johnson Administration's escalation of the Vietnam War...Needless to say this pissed off Pres. Johnson who thought of himself as a friend of the American Negro or "Nigra"...Dr. King officially came out against the war on April 4, 1967 at the famous Riverside Church in New York and was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis,Tn exactly one year later...Even though Pres. Johnson started his "Great Society" program which was supposed to be a war against poverty, Dr. King reasoned that you can't fight a war on poverty at home while at the same time killing and destroying the basic human rights of poor people (North Vietnam) abroad...One thing that the mainstream media won't show you is the fact that Dr. King goals have changed from just securing civil rights to wanting to change the economic infrastructure of this country period where everyone would share the wealth thus ending poverty once and for all...He and his associates started to create the Poor People's Campaign which would unite the country's dispossessed as well as those who wanted liberty and justice and the pursuit of happiness for all...However, before he was to go to Washington D.C. to lead the kickoff rally and march, he received word that the Memphis Black sanitation workers were striking and requested his help...

Mainstream History would have you believed that Dr. King was an universally beloved figure during his time, but this wasn't the case...As a matter of fact he was loathed or treated indifferently by those he tried to help...For example, Dr. King wasn't welcomed by the whole of the Memphis Black community...As a matter of fact many saw him as an outsider who was just trying to get media coverage for himself who didn't care if the city's Black sanitation workers got their fair compensation and justice...There were even Black Churches in Memphis that did not support King or the cause for which he came to support (this is nothing new...For example Dr. King wasn't allowed to speak from the pulpit in numerous Black churches throughout Alabama during his time which seems crazy now, but at that time many thought that this was rational)...Ironically, it was people in the Memphis White Church and business communities that actually reached out to Dr. King...Many thought that Dr. King had a messiah complex...Members of SNCC (The Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee) sarcasticly called Dr. King "De Lawd"...When he came out against the Vietnam War according to the mainstream media Dr. King went from being one of the most admired Americans to being one of the most despised and hated...Longtime friends and associates also turned against Dr. King because of his stance fearing that it could lead to a nationwide backlash in the gains that were achieved on the civil rights front...Agents of the U.S. government including the F.B.I. and C.I.A. did their best to discredit Dr. King while he was in Memphis...They used provocateurs or double agents to cause riots and then blamed them on Memphis' Black gangs and youths..Dr. King was disappointed,but like many other times in his life he refused to give in to the pressure and went ahead with his agenda...In the last speech of his life Dr. king not only talked about "being at the mountain top" and "getting to the promised land", but he also talked about supporting Black businesses such as Memphis' Tri-State Bank and Black insurance companies as well as boycotting such big corporations as Coca Cola,Wonder Bread, Hart's Bread and Sealtest Milk who took Black dollars, but discriminated against Blacks in hiring practices...This speech showed that Dr. King was a Black Nationalist and had more in common with some of the principle stances and beliefs of Malcolm X than people still realize...Hear and read the "I've Been to The Mountain Top" speech for yourself:


In conclusion I would like to say that courage is the most important trait one could have because without courage you aren't able to do anything else of true significance and excellence...Although Dr. King was a man with issues like all of us, he never let his issues get in the way of what he felt he was called to do...Dr. King was an ordinary man who took extraordinary chances and was able to make the most of his opportunities because of his refusal to give up when times got tough...Dr. King earned his crown in name as well as in deed...Now it is time to earn ours.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bro. Malcolm says don't trust those Dems!!!

Tha Artstorian reports...
As the new congress already completed its first 100 hours, many people believe that high hopes are definitely in the house because the Democrats are in the driving seat...However, Bro. Malcolm X a voice of reason and justice is calling us from the grave to be aware of the wolves in sheep clothing or politrixans who spend more time traveling with their pages to Europe or playing golf and the gaming tables at American Indian reservation casinos than attending town hall meetings in their district, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, keeping the internet free from corporate control and open to the masses, and voting their collective constituents' moral conscience by stop giving the Bush Administration the money and the means to wage an unjust war and demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq immediately...As Democrats such as Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden and others are gearing up for a run at the White House let us reflect on what Bro. Malcolm, who recently left his longtime mentor Elijah Muhammad, had to say about Democrats, Republicans, racism,economics, voting, politrixs, Black Nationalism and brotherhood...Interesting to note that during his time as well as ours rich powerful white men from oil rich Texas (Lyndon B. Johnson and George W. Bush) ruled the White House amid scandals and ill prepared and fated wars in foreign lands (Vietnam and Iraq)...Check out his famous actual audio speech,"The Ballot or the Bullet", from April 12,1964 in Detroit, Michigan and the text in the following links below...

"The Ballot or the Bullet" speech both text and audio (in two parts):

Also you can hear it here:

For all of Malcolm's recorded speeches in their entirety go to the following link:

Some more Malcolm X on W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:

Another complementary perspective concerning Malcolm X, Democrats and American politrixs:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mark McGwire Plutoed, Tony Gwynn was Rodney Dangerfielded

When I was looking at ESPN last tuesday (Jan. 9, 2007) it did not surprise me that Mark McGwire did not get into the Baseball Hall of Fame...My problem with this process is simply that it sounds really silly when I hear great players sweating about getting into the hall which is meant to immortalize some of the greatest to ever play this kid's game...Really that's pine tar!!! I was somewhat disappointed to read that Tony Gwynn felt validated by getting in...Validated??? Tony Gwynn is arguably the greatest hitter outside of say Barry Lamar Bonds and Hank Aaron that we have had seen since Ted Williams...The numbers speak for themselves: 3,000 plus hits, over 300 stolen bases and an incredible .338 batting average...He is only one of four players to ever achieve this feat and the only player to do it in the last 80 years...He won 8 batting titles which is tied for the most ever in the National League, and hit .300 or better 19 years straight, another unheard feat in the modern era of baseball...Only Ty Cobb had more consecutive seasons with .3o0 or better at an unbelievable 23, but that was a time when his only competition was other white men and most games were played in the eastern and midwestern United States in a league which was a little under half the size of today's Major League Baseball...And given the numbers and amazing things he had achieved in his long productive career why wasn't Tony Gwynn who received a little over 97% of vote wasn't made an unanimous Hall of Fame or given the vote of 100% confidence by the baseball writers??? How could some of those dorky baseball sports writers, some of whom probably were not good enough to make the grade in little league or tee ball, let alone the minors and major leagues have the nerve in not making him an unanimous Hall of Fame inductee??? Their rationale to justify their snobbish and self serving position was that if Babe Ruth or Joe Dimaggio didn't get an unanimous vote why should they meaning Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr., two of the greatest players and goodwill ambassadors of the game of their generation??? Some even had the audacity to not vote at all no we shall overcome...That's like saying since Black players weren't allow to play with Babe Ruth then we should not let Black players ever play with white ballplayers let alone allow them to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame alongside white players...This what happens when you let fools become gatekeepers of even more foolish and outdated "traditions"...How could we let numb brains like these, equivalent to the religious right fervor and fanatics in politics, be the moral voice and conscience for sports??? Billy Sunday is definitely turning over in his grave now!!!
As far as Mark McGwire goes how did he cheated when number one there was no law in place outlawing the use of steroids...Outside heresay, an envious former teammate's book and vendetta, his body change in physique (how many people actually still look the same since the day they were born let alone junior high or high school 20 plus years removed???) it hasn't been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he took steroids and although he might have pissed on himself in front of the pedophile laden and page turning prima donna windbags known as the United States Congress (how can you take these people seriously when they can't get their own moral house together, page scandals, campaign finance reform loopholes, CIA leaks, Halliburton, indian reservation casino scandals,Tom Delay, Duke Cunningham, William Jefferson, I. Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney's buckshots to the face,fighting wars on lies and rumors of other false wars now stuck in a major Civil War without any direction or exit, and the current Hurricane Katrina man made disaster efforts, honestly with all this mess how can they reprimand anybody for possibly cheating in a little kids game...Even Pres. Nixon could have keep his presidency in this three ringed circus no Frank Wills or accidental Presidency...These are indeed strange times)
What are these two hiding beside noticeable shrinkage???
By the numbers Mark McGwire is a hall of famer...His 583 homers place him in the top ten all time in homeruns...He is in the top ten in slugging percentage and he has the highest number of homeruns per at bats than any player in history (over Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds)...Even when he was smaller he hit 49 homers as a rookie and slugged .619 quite impressive for any era...He won a championship with the Oakland A's as well as a gold glove for defensive work at first base...But his claim to fame and the hall is based on his prodigious homerun hitting...Back in '98 when the country hated Pres. Clinton AS IF HE WAS ACTUALLY A BLACK MAN WHO WAS U.S. PRESIDENT, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire was the most loved ebony and ivory combo since Eddie Muphy and Nick Nolte in 48 Hours (funny how fickled people are and how times changed...Or have they???)

Mark McGwire admitted to the mainstream press that he used androstene or "Andro" as a part of his physical strengthening regimen...Nobody cared as long as he kept hitting those gopher balls a country mile and beat that "Infidel" I mean "Blacspanic" I mean Black or Afro-Dominican(???) known as Sammy "You the Man" Sosa (note how they tried to make Sammy appeared more Black than Hispanic in the press...Sammy kept saying he was Dominican and they kept calling him a Black Dominican interesting...I guess it did help him in the congress testimony because in spite of knowing how to count his money, do commercials with Ken"Used to be Good" Griffey and read his contracts and his name in the paper he couldn't speak no Ingles when it counted...Smart move.)...

I wrote the above to say that as long as those two were putting people in the seats and making the feudal baseball lords money than all was right with the world...People got to understand that before inmates are allowed to run the asylum they ask for permission from their overseers first...They get permission by their overseers looking the other way while handing over the keys at the same time...Kennedy Patriarch Joe Kennedy said it best when he stated it ain't a crime unless you get caught...

Organized crime did not become a problem in this country until the United States overseers passed the Prohibition Law which made alcohol illegal and legitimized crime...Small time crooks became big business moguls overnight...Even when Prohibition was deemed a failure and repealed it still took some of the top law enforcement agencies decades to realized that America actually had an organized crime problem aided by the U.S. Law and Order establishment lack of initiative or desire to curtail it...However, the government let that problem go on so long and unchecked that by that time it was officially identified in the 1960s, organized crime affected every part of American life from govenrment to entertainment to food to clothing to labor and teamster unions and yes even sports ( the 1919 Black Sox scandal anyone)...Sounds like a familiar pattern to me...America or at least its capitalistic overseers and feudal lords value the $bottom line$ more than they do peace of mind while the American public gets drunk and delusional by its rot gut quality booze products in this case being one dimensional he-man baseball players...More to come because I ain't outraged yet just a little bothered...
Yours truly even if you think that violating the rules of a kid's game is just the same as committing war crimes,
Views of the Outraged Negro are not the official views of W.E. A.L.L. B.E. and its contributors...Please e-mail the Outraged Negro at outragedandnegro@gmail.com or post on this article if you have any questions or comments.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Dr. Z Factor

The following article is about one of my professor friends from my college days and beyond 'The Talented Dr. Z'...Somehow, although I never took a class from her we have been able to stay in contact for almost five years now through the magic and power of the internet...Dr. Z is a very talented and resourceful human being whose classes are some of the most popular among students at Wash.U....What makes Dr. Z even more wonderful and spectacular is the fact that she is so humble and accessible...She always makes time to let people express how they feel without feeling intimidated or rubbed the wrong way...The fact that we are friends speaks volumes about her respect for differences of opinion and 'eccentric folk'...I think what endears me to Dr. Z the most is the fact that in my last year @ Wash. U. (yeah I graduated) we had lunch together at the Wash U. Alumni House with the great Mr. Sam Pollard, a creative film partner of the great Spike Lee and the late great Henry Hampton (fellow Wash U. Alum and visionary behind the award winning "Eyes on the Prize" American Civil Rights Movement documentary)...It was us along with fellow graduating art student comrade plus up and coming film visionary Ms. Cheers (Sam Pollard is a family friend) that I had the pleasure to get to know Dr. Z on a more personal level...I was very impressed with what she had to say...If you meet her without knowing her background you would never guess that her father was a talented jazz drummer that played with some of the greatest jazz musicians in history unless you think people like Charlie Parker or Thelonious Monk were average,that her grandmother helped to send her to college from saving her numerous winnings from playing the numbers (Black lottery) back in the day and so forth...Another factor that makes Dr. Z so special is the fact you can tell that in spite of her ivy league education and numerous professional accolades and success that she is very proud of who she is and where she came from no Anthony Hamilton...Every since that time we have been in contact wishing each other well on projects, holidays and all else in between...I not only see Dr. Z as a fan (she has brought art as well as an autographed copy of my book), but also as a friend and comrade in teaching the world how to love beautiful things and beings...She will be in the Netherlands this winter and spring spicing up the culture by sharing her love for food and food for thought (see the following article below for more details)...Thank GOD for Dr. Z and may she continue to spread her infectious passion for learning, tolerance and the arts!!!

Dishing Up Food for Thought

Literary historian Rafia Zafar's research, writings, and teaching blend food and American literature, depicting a cultural identity that is full of different flavors.

By Kenneth J. Cooper
(Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis Magazine)

In her American literature class, Rafia Zafar and her students talk about food. Once she brought along canned versions of a traditional Scottish dish hard to find on grocery shelves but the subject of elaborate verse in the late 18th century, when a young United States was trying to figure out what kind of nation it was going to be. "Food and American literary identity," in Zafar's words, is the meat of this innovative course.

"Food is used as a way of maintaining boundaries. So, as a writer, you use food to say who you are and what group you belong to," explains Zafar, professor of English, African and African American studies, and American culture studies, all in Arts & Sciences. "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are."

This interest in food in the American literary imagination has led "Doctor Z," as she is known to undergraduates, to teach the course and spend more than a decade on a related book-in-progress, And Called It Macaroni: Eating, Writing, Becoming American. Draft chapters sprawl across three centuries and the subcultures whose culinary contributions prompted some Americans to write.

"Food is used as a way of maintaining boundaries. So, as a writer, you use food to say who you are and what group you belong to," explains Zafar. "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are."

Crystal Alberts (right) is a graduate student who is helping team-teach a literature and food course with Professor Zafar, who also serves as Alberts' dissertation director. Alberts says that Zafar does more than just lecture at students, she gets them involved in pointed discussion.

From the 1700s, Zafar considers a New Englander's poem in heroic couplets about "hasty pudding," a cornmeal porridge popular then. Corn is indigenous to the Americas, and that ingredient distinguished the dish from European ones made from other grains. "He is propounding that there is a national identity," she says of poet Joel Barlow.

Barlow's inspiration was another 18th-century poet who wrote about "haggis," the canned goods Zafar took to an early meeting of her class last semester [fall 2006], to the amusement of her students. Scots believed the hearty dish of cooked sheep's stomach stuffed with oats and other parts of the sheep fortified soldiers before battle. A statue of the author of that ode, Robert Burns, stands on campus near Skinker Boulevard.

A later chapter explores African-American cookbooks published during the civil rights movement, when expressions of black pride encompassed traditional "soul food." That chapter is titled "The Signifying Dish," a reference to a book of African-American literary criticism by Henry Louis Gates, The Signifying Monkey, and also to the verbal jousting that is part of black culture. Zafar says food played a central role in the movement, with its sit-ins at lunch counters that asserted the right to "commensality," the technical term for eating together.

Other assigned reading in the class, so popular with students last fall that enrollment had to be limited to 30, include writings by Ernest Hemingway (A Moveable Feast), Alice B. Toklas (The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook), and Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate). "We read a lot of heavy, hard-hitting books that are canonical. The course description makes it sound like it's a fluff class, but it's not," says Crystal Alberts, a graduate student who is team-teaching the course with Zafar.

The breadth of the food course and readings reflect the range of the academic specialities of a professor with appointments in three disciplines. Her work straddles cultures in the same way she does as the New York-born daughter of a Jewish mother and African-American father, a jazz drummer who converted to Islam, gave his two children Arabic names but brought them to Unitarian Sunday school. (Rafia means "the patient one" and Zafar "victor.")

Academically, Zafar describes herself as a specialist in 19th-century American literature, "literary historian," and "African Americanist," roles that overlap and reinforce each other in the three books she has written or edited. We Wear the Mask: African Americans Write American Literature, 1760-1870, for instance, makes direct comparisons between the works of black and white contemporaries.

"I am interested in the cultural and historical stuff around literature," Zafar explains. "I'm interested in why people write for cultural-historical reasons, instead of why people write for aesthetic reasons."

Serving up different courses

Zafar came to the University in 1998 as director of the African and African American Studies program, succeeding Gerald Early, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, who had drawn to the program literary scholars like himself. In its early years, the program had focused on the social sciences under psychologist Robert L. Williams, who coined the term "ebonics" for black English, and Jack Kirkland, a professor in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

Personally, Zafar liked being surrounded by other literature specialists, but set out in her four-year tenure to create "a full-service African and African American Studies program." She helped bring in a political scientist, an anthropologist, and two historians but was unable to land a sociologist. The new director, John Baugh, is a renowned linguist.

One of the historians she brought in was Leslie Brown, assistant professor of history and of African and African American studies in Arts & Sciences, who says under Zafar the program "began to spread out and look more at issues of gender and class." She also encouraged, in Brown's view, a model interdisciplinary approach to the subject area.

"You want a wide range of theoretical approaches," Zafar says. "I think students benefit from knowing there are different ways of approaching a body of knowledge."
Crystal Alberts (right) is a graduate student who is helping team-teach a literature and food course with Professor Zafar, who also serves as Alberts' dissertation director. Alberts says that Zafar does more than just lecture at students, she gets them involved in pointed discussion.

Her own approach to teaching is more inquiring than didactic, frustrating students who try to ascertain her political perspective. "Sometimes students think I'm an Afrocentrist or a nationalist," she says, "or they may not."

Zafar lets students express their opinions in the food course, Alberts says, but always brings the discussion back to the points she has plotted in advance. "Rather than lecturing at them, she always gets them involved," Alberts says of Zafar, who is also her dissertation director.

The other course she teaches is on black women writers. The first studied is Phillis Wheatley, the Boston slave whose volume of poetry in 1773 became the first book to be published by an African American. In the 1960s and 1970s, when student protests forced black studies into college curriculums, nationalist scholars dismissed Wheatley for appearing to disown her homeland in a verse that expressed relief at having escaped Africa—even as a captive.

Zafar makes a more nuanced and sympathetic reading of the 18th-century poet, who in recent decades has undergone a racial rehabilitation, which Zafar contributed to in her book on early black literature. She interprets the controversial verse as a religious statement of a Christian convert who believed her faith to be the path to salvation, and "doesn't mean she was unaware of who she was in that historical moment" racially.

"I love Phillis Wheatley. I think she's complicated," Zafar says. "Things are never black and white."

Her scholarship tastes of life

Zafar has found inspiration for her research and teaching in her own life. She lived for a time in Harlem and grew curious about the renaissance of black writers, artists, and scholars that was centered there in the 1920s. She quizzed her grandmother about a storied period whose stars included Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and W.E.B. DuBois. Zafar decided to write about the Harlem Renaissance, but first was drawn deeper into the recesses of history.

She wondered "when African-American literary consciousness began. I started reading further back." That led to the book on early black writers and also to her co-editing another about the slave narrative that Harriet Jacobs wrote on the eve of the Civil War.

In 2002, she returned to her starting point, with the publication of "Fictions of the Harlem Renaissance" in The Cambridge History of American Literature, Volume Six. She evaluates academic challenges to the period's significance, including whether it was really a "renaissance" since its output did not make America more egalitarian. She dismisses that notion: "How can you say any literary movement that produces that much writing and scholarship is a failure?"

Her first book was a byproduct of genealogical research. She co-edited the memoirs of her great-great-grandfather, who during Reconstruction became one of the first black officeholders in Virginia. God Made Man, Man Made Slave: The Autobiography of George Teamoh was published in 1992.

Then there's the food stuff. How did that begin? With a love of food, and a job. "In 1973, while an undergraduate at City College of New York, I became the first employee—I'm almost positive—of Giorgio DeLuca, who would shortly become famed for his part in Dean & DeLuca," the gourmet food store, Zafar explains.

Hauling and cutting cheese has eventually led to the course, the book, and a Fulbright/Walt Whitman Chair in the cheese-producing Netherlands. She will spend the spring semester of 2007 at the University of Utrecht teaching and lecturing on, among other cultural and literary matters, food.

Kenneth Cooper, A.B. '77, is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning free-lance writer based in Boston.

If you want to read more about Wash. U. personalities that inspire R2C2H2 Tha Article please check out the tribute to Virginia 'Boss' Toliver.