Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Artivist MCs Historic Jena 6 Forum @ Washington University In St. Louis...

Until The Jena 6 Are Free Neither Are We!!!

New Fans Of The Art Of Tha Artivist: (Left to Right) Bro. Tony Brown, R2C2H2, And Bro. Marcus Jones

Jena 6 Update On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio
Also, Check Out Mychal Bell's Father, Marcus Jones, And Radio Personality/Activist Tony Brown On Tha Artivist Presents…W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio Sunday Oct. 28, 2007 Edition…Click The Link Below To Listen:

Historic “Strangefruit: The Jena 6 Story” Event Planted Seeds Of Activism In Those Who Attended
By R2C2H2 Tha Artivist (with special contributions by Callie Herd a.k.a. Tha Artivist's Mom)

I wanted to share the updates of the “The Strangefruit: Jena 6 Story” event which took place Friday Oct. 26, 2007 from 6pm-9pm @ Washington University in St. Louis. It seems that the mainstream media is trying to change the truth, but I wanted to provide some facts.

The internet is a great vessel to get important information out…I wanted to provide you a hot off the press scoop, in hopes that you will share with others:

Tha Artivist With Some Jena 6 Fellas: (left to right) Bro. Tony, R2C2H2 and Bro. Marcus Jones (photo by r2c2h2)

Friday Oct. 26, 2007, I attended the "Strange Fruit: The Jena 6 Story" @ Washington University in St. Louis and it was a mind opening and numbing experience…Tha Artivist’s sister Molisa Thomas and her Alpha Omega Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc sisters organized this great event…I, R2C2H2 Tha Artivist, also served as Master of Ceremonies at this historic event as well…There were also hundreds of eager people from the campus and the greater St. Louis Community who were waiting to hear the word from the true men of the hour…This was the first time that I ever met Bros. Marcus Jones, the father of Mychal Bell, and Tony Brown in person…Since late July I have been keeping correspondence with these strong and courageous brothers through the blessings of technology: the internet and cell phone…Needless to say these brothers did not disappoint...I found them both to be very humble, thoughtful and appreciative…I also found what they had to say to be every bit insightful, encouraging and yet very sobering…

Bro. Tony Brown and Bro. Marcus Jones, the father of Mychal Bell giving the crowd the current 411 on what's going down in Jena town. (photo by r2c2h2)

Bro. Tony who initially broke the Jena 6 story with the Hangman Noose Incident in September 2006 and who was responsible for coining the phrase Jena 6 is a radio personality out of Central Louisiana…He owns and produces his own radio show, Eyes Open With Tony Brown, which is the most popular call-in talk radio show in the state Louisiana and which can be heard five days a week from 6am-8am Central time in three states (Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi) and over 200 cities…

Bro. Tony, a proud Kappa, shows Black Greek Love to Sis. Molisa Thomas, a proud Delta. (photo by r2c2h2)

Bro.Tony Brown has provided over 100 hours worth of coverage of The Jena 6 saga using his radio show as a platform…It wasn’t until the BBC with award winning journalist Tom Mangold did an expose on Jena, La. in May 2007 entitled “The World: Race Hate in America”, that any attention was truly paid to this gross miscarriage of justice…Bro. Tony was also the one that met with the families and told them how to market their case outside of Jena…He told the families to call the young men "The Jena 6" which would be something that is memorable, catchy and will place an historical emphasis on the landmark perspective of this case (think Scottsboro 9, The Chicago 8, Little Rock 9, Panther 21 etc.,..)…He also put the families in touch with the U.S. Justice Department, ACLU, and the NAACP…

To me Bro. Tony is a true unsung hero and pioneer…He is continuing the tradition of some of the best Black journalism ever…He is definitely doing and carrying out the important work of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, William Monroe Trotter, and Frederick Douglass…I hope that he continues to be a guiding light for truth and justice!!!

Bro. Marcus Jones and Sis. Molisa Thomas (photo by r2c2h2)

Bro. Marcus is definitely going through probably the toughest ordeal in his life, his son whose life hangs in the balance of a White Supremacist “Just Us” infrastructure that seems to devour our Black youths and warehouse them as if they were items in a WALMART aisle waiting to be brought and exploited by the lowest bidder hasn’t really provided much comfort to the man who moved back to Jena from Dallas to be a true Rock of Gibraltar for his son…His love and commitment to his talented son strikes down the many stereotypes of Black men not caring for the welfare of their kids…Although Bro. Marcus and Mychal’s mom are not together, that didn’t stop Bro. Marcus from keeping a strong long distance relationship with his son…Whenever his son excelled on the football field and/or in the academic arena, one of the first people he would share the good news with would be his father…

When we were sitting in the hotel lobby at the Sheraton in St. Louis Friday night, Bro. Marcus and I started discussing baseball because the World Series just started earlier in the week…Bro. Marcus told me of his fondness for baseball and of his love for softball…When he started to talk his mind began to wander back to the time he was playing a softball game…His son Bro. Mychal, who was eight at the time, was in attendance…Somebody on the opposing team started to taunt Bro. Marcus when he came up to bat…Little Mychal, not liking anyone to disrespect his dad defiantly walked up to home plate and told his dad and the person taunting him that nobody can talk about his daddy that way and that he will be willing to hit for his father!!! When Bro. Marcus finished telling the story as if it happened just yesterday, it really struck a chord in me…It blew me away the love that his son had for his father and vice versa…And I can tell as he told this story how hurtful it feels that he couldn’t protect his son now the same way his son wanted to protect him…However, his son's life serves a grand purpose and it was an honor to finally meet the father of the son of the new American Civil Rights Movement for the 21st Century…

R2C2H2: Just One Of The Fellas (photo by callie herd)

This U.S. “Just Us” System Is Like A Schizophrenic Farmer…It seems to plant AND nurture its seedlings on one hand and yet destroys its own harvest with the other…This time around the Mad Farmer seems to have gotten a hold to one of its best and most promising fruits it could harvest or squander...However, thanks to grassroots organizing, passionate people who still believe, and the quick dissemination of information via the internet, Mychal Bell’s hopes of freedom are not as pessimistic as one might expect...However, although Bro. Marcus is very good natured and laughs when a joke or colorful commentary is made by yours truly, the strain of his son‘s life being toyed with as if it were a ball of yarn in the clutches of an unsavory feline has got to get to him…

Moving The Crowd Jena 6 Style: Bro. Tony Brown making the packed 609 Club audience in St. Louis aware that Bro. Marcus Jones, the father of Mychal Bell, is in the building. (photo by r2c2h2)

This was the first time ever that Marcus Jones and Tony Brown actually participated in a format together interacting with the public...From the responses afterwards it was received very, very well...If you are interested in having Bro. Marcus Jones and Bro. Mychal Bell come to your school, town, church, meeting, event etc.,…Please feel free to contact them by e-mail: (Tony Brown ) and ...You can also reach them by visiting Bro. Tony Brown’s radio show website

True Southern Gentlemen: Bro. Tony and Bro. Marcus introducing themselves to Sis. Adrienne Glore, the Dean of Student Activities @ Washington University in St. Louis. (photo by r2c2h2)

Some Quick Jena 6 And Just Us Facts:
1. The Judge in the case is the only judge for the town. He processes and presides over all legal cases and matters, be it Juvenile or Adult. He is the Judge that presides over all justice of the peace ceremonies, probate, lawsuits, etc.

2. The District Attorney Reed Walters is also the lawyer that defends the La Salle Parish School System or the school board. He was the one who recommended that all boys were expelled not only from the La Salle Parish Schools System, but the whole state of Louisiana along with them being put on trial in the criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system. This seems like a conflict of interest.

3. All of the boys have served a minimum of 4 months in jail before they got bail monies. In reality this should have been treated as a school fight within the La Salle Parish Schools System and handle in that manner with the punishment being given.

4.When the Appeals Court overturned the sentencing of Mychal Bell as an adult and he went to Juvenile Court after serving 10 months in adult prison, the Judge only gave him 1 day for the 10 months served and arrested him for violating his probation. And the Judge took the $45,000 in bail monies knowing that he was only going to give him a few days out of jail and charge him for parole violation.

5. The judge also is trying to make the parents of Mychal Bell pay $600 a month while he is incarcerated along with the court cost. Failure to meet this monthly payment will lead to the imprisonment of both Mychal Bell’s parents. This is being appealed.

6. Marcus Jones, Mychal Bell’s father, lost his job a few days prior to them going to court. This was done to insure that Marcus Jones would not have the money to pay his son’s monthly incarceration fees ($600 a month)

7. They are using the illegal release of Mychal Bell’s juvenile records to try to portray him as a risk to society. Many of his juvenile offenses have been misrepresented. For instance, one of the incidents was wrapping a car with toilet paper and the other one was getting into a fight with a basketball player. In reality these incidents should be dealt with on a school administrative/board level and without the intervention of the judicial system.

8. The State of Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the whole world.
Louisiana locks up more Black males than any state in the union known as the United States. Seventy-five percent of their prison population is African American. Sixty percent of those African Americans are imprisoned for non-violent offenses. The notorious Louisiana prison known as Angola still uses chain gangs to pick cotton.

9. In 2004, Louisiana spent $96,713 to incarcerate each child in detention, and $4,724 to educate a child in the public schools.

10. Mychal Bell in his 11th grade year had received over 10 scholarships for football. Some of them were UCLA and LSU. He has received many honors for his talent as a football player. Not long ago, Bell became the 1st African American football player in Louisiana to be selected for two combine games…These are games where talent scouts from the pros and college evaluate talent and rate players. It seems that Mychal Bell was well on his way to becoming a highly prized college recruit and professional National Football League player.

11. The following was stated: La Salle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters convinced an all-white jury of people who were more than twice the age of Mychal, that the 17-year-old's tennis shoes were his weapon of choice. During his trial no one gave testimony that they even saw Mychal kicked the so-called victim, Justin Barker. Many students say Barker taunted Bell all morning the day of the fight even using the term “nigger” profusely to describe Bell. Since then Justin Barker has been expelled for a year, according to Louisiana Law, for bringing a gun on the Jena High School campus.

12. The original lawyer for Mychal Bell, Blane Williams (who’s a Black man), was a public defender and he didn't call anyone in Mychal Bell’s defense.

13.) Coach Benjy Lewis, the only adult witness to the incident, stated that another student, Malcolm Shaw, was the initial attacker…He was only able to positively identify one other student, not Bell…Coach Lewis was not called to testify in Bell's trial.

14.) All six members of Mychal Bell's jury were white. The 150-person jury call included Black citizens, who make up 12 percent of the Jena's population, but none of the 50 potential jurors who showed up were black…One of the jurors was a high school friend of the victim's father.

15.) Mychal Bell’s father also talked about the lack of support from Jena’s Black community concerning the Jena 6…Many Blacks fear retaliation from Jena’s White community through the fear of losing their lives and jobs if they speak out or stand up…No place in town or Black Churches in Jena except for the one led by 25 year old Rev. Brian Moran of Antioch Baptist Church, would let the Jena 6 Defense Committee meet.

16.) Entertainment Mogul Tyler Perry, a Louisiana native, has donated full scholarships to any school of their choice for all Jena 6 defendants.

17.) Mychal Bell’s hearing is scheduled for December 6, 2007 (On his father’s Marcus Jones’ birthday) and Bryant Ray Purvis hearing is on November 4, 2007.

18.) There are only two Black owned businesses in Jena: a car wash and funeral home.

19.) There is only one Black person on the La Salle Parish School Board.

20.) Black residents are not allowed to participate in the political life of Jena meaning that they cannot vote for the mayor, alderman, city council, fire chief and/or school board because the Jena officials have the Black neighborhood zoned out of the city limits…They have a city ordinance saying that if you don’t live in the city limits you can’t vote…This also eliminates the Black community from getting federal and state grants…This is ironic considering that the Black neighborhood is considered Jena by the U.S. Postal Service due to zip code location.

21.) Black residents in Jena make up about 12% of the population of Jena which has approximately 3,000…This means that there are at least 360 Black folks living in Jena, La…About 85% of Jena’s population is White…

22.) Jena was named for Jena, Germany, where French Emperor Napoleon I won the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt in 1806.

Blackout Day Friday Nov. 2, 2007
Overall, there was much said at the program, but something else that should be mentioned is that on Friday, November 2, 2007 there will be a national "Blackout Day". We are asking everyone in support of the Jena 6 to not buy anything on that day and to wear black in support of the cause. They want you to continue to write and call your congressmen and senators to demand a federal investigation by the Justice Department into the way Blacks are imprisoned in Louisiana in general and the Jena 6 case in particular.

Jena 6 Caravan For Justice Friday Nov. 16, 2007
They will be having a caravan from Jena to Washington, DC on November 16, 2007 to meet with the Justice Department to request intervention in the Jena 6 case along with injustice anywhere.

Support The Jena 6 Defense Fund
The Jena 6 group is asking people that want to give donations for Jena 6 to donate it the Jena 6 Defense fund or NAACP or purchase shirts only from their approved vendor which is donating 30-40% to the defense fund. The website is located at: You can send donations as well as letters of support to the following address:

The Jena 6 Defense Committee

PO Box 2798,
Jena, LA 71342

A Legal Request
After talking to Marcus Jones personally I am asking students that are majoring in law to assist The Jena 6 in applying and finding the various laws that are in place to stop the Judge from using his kangaroo “Just Us” system. The Jena 6 also deserves The Dream Team treatment. Although you might be learning how to be a lawyer, this will be a good way to allow you to learn how to apply the law in real life situations.

Special Thanks
St. Louis and Wash U African and African American Studies students, George Warren School of Social Work and the Alpha Omega Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and Roper’s Ribs (that was some great barbeque indeed!!!) were very gracious and gave them the royal treatment. Many volunteered invaluable time to help in this cause of correcting an injustice that should have never been.

Jena 6 Coverage On W.E. A .L.L. B.E. News And Radio
It is truly an honor to know that W.E. A.L.L B.E. News & Radio was among the first to help disseminate info on the Jena 6 to the masses using the internet...Please take advantage of the internet radio interviews and articles we were able to produce and gather detailing the different perspectives concerning this ongoing historical event.

Check Out More Jena 6 On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio:
10-07-07~Actual Show:
*Summary of Show

09-30-07~Actual Show:
*Summary of Show

09-23-07~Actual Show:
*Summary of Show

08-05-07~Actual Show:
*Summary of Show:

07/29/07~Actual Show:
*Summary of Show:

More Jena 6 On W.E. A.L.L. B.E.:


Monday, October 29, 2007

The First Annual Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival Definitely Hits A High Note With All Those Involved…

By Ron Herd II/R2C2H2 Tha Artivist
(W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News Special)

copyrighted image by r2c2h2

Purpose Of The Jimmie Lunceford Festival
The Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival or JLJF was started to honor the amazing legacy of James Melvin Lunceford, the first high school band director/ orchestra leader in Memphis City Schools History…He went on to form, with help from his nine former students from Manassas High School and college buddies from Fisk University, one of the most formidable if not the greatest jazz swing band of all time...The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra would regularly broadcast live from The Cotton Club in the 1930s, gaining a national following especially among African Americans…

Jimmie Lunceford: First Among Equals

Jimmie Lunceford, along with the likes of Benny Goodman and Benny Carter, was among the first to integrate his orchestra…Jimmie Lunceford was also the first to use electric guitar and electric bass in jazz…Another first occurred when The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra became the first all-Black jazz orchestra to play the legendary and prestigious Paramount Theatre in New York…They had back to back booking engagements 6 weeks apiece and played to sold out audiences!!!

Inspite of all these amazing accomplishments and more, including being the most popular band leader of choice among African Americans as well as among legendary bandleader peers (Glenn Miller once said "Jimmie Lunceford Has The Best Of All Bands. Duke [Ellington] Is Great, [Count] Basie Is Remarkable, But Lunceford Tops Them Both.") during his lifetime, he remains forgotten about 60 years later by the jazz world and the community (Memphis) that he loved the most…However, three days in Oct. 19-21, 2007 has provided the catalyst for a long due renaissance celebration for one of jazz’s and the Memphis Sound’s most neglected sons…

The Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival or JLJF was created by Ron Herd II a.k.a. R2C2H2 Tha Artivist and Artstorian…An artivist is one who uses his/her talents to actively promote and initiate positive change and bring awareness for humanity at large while an artstorian is a historian who uses his/her artistic talents to record and tell history in an creative and unorthodox fashion…

Discovering Jazz’s Rosetta Stone…
Almost Nine Years Ago As A Freshman In College The Founder Of The JLJF Discovered The Genius Of The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra By Accident Or Rather By Design…He brought a tape issue of the 1984 Cotton Club Movie Soundtrack on sale at the campus bookstore at Washington University in St. Louis...The soundtrack included songs by well-known Cotton Club personalities and luminaries such as Duke Ellington, Adelaide Hall, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters and Count Basie...However, it was the distinctive sounds of The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra that caught Tha Artivist by surprise…

This was a time of discovery for Tha Artivist...He was just beginning to be immersed in the wonderful history and music tradition known by people around the world as jazz, America’s most unique artistic and freedom of expression contribution to the world which came from their most oppressed and repressed people, the descendants of African slaves…

As Tha Artivist, a natural scholar and historian, started to research more about Lunceford, he found out that he was not only a very popular music personality during his lifetime but was also a Memphis City School teacher back in the 1920s, Tha Artivist’s hometown!!!

This revelation hit Tha Artivist or Artstorian like a ton of cymbals!!! As he researched more he found out that Memphis holds an unique place in not only the blues, but also jazz music history…You see the Father Of The Blues, W.C. Handy, started out in Memphis, but many of his most popular songs that he penned on Beale Street has become jazz standards...One of Handy’s band members, the great trumpeter Johnny Dunne, was considered by many to be the greatest trumpet player in New York in the 1920s before the great Satchmo's (Louis Armstrong) arrival on the scene in the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra…By the way Louis Armstrong’s second wife was a Memphian who also had some jazz chops…Lil Hardin Armstrong was the band pianist for the great King Oliver Creole Jazz Orchestra…Lil discovered Louie when he came from New Orleans to play for his mentor (Papa Joe as he affectionately called King Oliver) in Chicago back in the early 1920s...As a matter of fact Lil was responsible for starting Louis on his phenomenal solo career…She was the one that told King Oliver or Papa Joe that Louis (who was terribly shy at the time ) was going quit his band to pursue a solo career…She was the one that got him the booking with the legendary Fletcher Henderson Orchestra and she was also the one that arranged the historic, landmark and revolutionary Hot Five And Seven recording sessions of the mid 1920s...If it weren’t for the intervening efforts of this visionary Memphian then Jazz as we know it would be entirely different…Another Handy Band alum, the great clarinetist Buster Bailey was also a key proponent in the Hot/Dixieland jazz clarinet sound and was a favorite musician of choice for Fletcher Henderson and other notable band leaders…Alberta Hunter another Memphian and Blues/Jazz great wrote important songs that introduced the world to the vocal gifts of Bessie Smith (Downhearted Blues)...She also was an unique song stylist herself being among the first to record vocals and songs with some of jazz’s and blues’ greatest instrumentalists such as Louie Armstrong and the mercurial Sidney Bechet…

However, what makes Jimmie Lunceford’s contribution to jazz even among these sure Giants very, very unique was the fact that he started music education in the Memphis City Schools...It could be said that Lunceford was the first to teach jazz in public schools…He basically started the first music education program in Memphis City Schools with money out of his own pocket and with donations from the North Memphis Community that surrounded Manassas High School…Manassas High School holds an unique place in Jazz History and lore…The seeds that Lunceford planted in the 1920s created a great harvest of superior musical talent for decades to come…People like soul great Isaac Hayes, jazz greats Booker Little, Charles Lloyd, George Coleman, Hal Maebern, Frank Strozier just name a few; legendary music educators such as Dr. Andy Goodrich and Prof. Emerson Able (who kicked Issac Hayes out of the high school band but ended up playing for his former student as a saxophonist for WattStax and the Isaac Hayes Movement)…Even music giants such as rocker Arthur Lee (whose daddy taught at Manassas High School and was a member of the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra) and jazz diva Dee Dee Bridgewater (whose father, Matthias Garrett, was also a well known trumpet player and teacher at Manassas) have unique ties to the jazz powerhouse which Lunceford created maybe unknowingly so back in the mid 1920s!!!

So it is truly a shame to realize that Jimmie Lunceford has been neglected by the Memphis Community, a community through his educational efforts he has given so much to and where he is buried at in historic Elmwood cemetery for 60 years since his death…In spite of all of his success, Jimmie Lunceford would on numerous occasions come back to Memphis to perform free concerts for the students at Manassas High School and he would make himself accessible to the students to talk about their dreams and aspirations...He would also give large sums of money to create music education programs for kids to keep them out of trouble and to help them be productive and positive with their time…Unfortunately, it seems as if the Memphis City Schools in particular and U.S. Education in general has forgotten this lesson as many of Memphis’s public schools do not carry music and arts program…This is really a shame considering Memphis’ mythological place in American music history and popular culture…A true role model and hero in every sense of those terms it is also a shame that this man and his beautiful legacy lay buried in Elmwood Cemetery forgotten about…That is until now…

Although Tha Artivist had much respect for this Invisible Giant and Missing Chapter of the Memphis Sound, he always thought that someone with more resources and connections than he would come along to rectify this historical injustice in his hometown…However, years passed and nothing was done…Jimmie Lunceford doesn’t even have a brass note on the street (Beale Street) and in the town he helped to make famous…

The Catalyst For The JLJF
It wasn’t until August 2007 when Tha Artivist by accident or rather design discovered the face of the photogenic Jimmie Lunceford seemingly staring back at him from the front cover of The Memphis Flyer from his sister’s car backseat that Tha Artivist knew that it was indeed his destiny as well as a part of his legacy to get the word out about the Magnificent Jimmie Lunceford!!! After reading the brilliant cover story article by Preston Lauterbach he also knew that it was time to start an unique festival celebration to honor this man apart in the 60th year of his passing...As he began his odyssey towards realizing this aim he was met by indifference, scorn and disdain…But as the great Fredrick Douglass said “there’s no progress without struggle”…However, he was surprised to discover that Jimmie Lunceford wasn’t necessarily forgotten, but that those who remembered him were getting older and dying off…This increased Tha Artivist’s efforts in spite of the obstacles he faced to get something done a.s.a.p. so that the people who knew and loved Lunceford will finally see their great friend and leader get his due!!! And thus a new Memphis tradition is born…

Please read the following to see what eight weeks of wood shedding and making the impossible possible can do!!!

Oct. 19, 2007~1st Annual Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival Symposium @ Manassas High School

(photo by r2c2h2)
On Oct. 19 what better way to start off a tradition than to have the opening symposium at its place of origin??? And it couldn’t be a better day either because it was homecoming for the Manassas High School community and football team…When Tha Artivist planned this he wasn’t aware, but what better way to honor the guy who also was your football coach way back in the day???

The symposium was held at Manassas High School where the great Jimmie Lunceford taught and formed the nucleus for his amazing band/orchestra…

Rhythm Is Their Business: Overton High School Jazz Orchestra performing at the 1st Annual Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival Symposium at Manassas High School. (photos by r2c2h2)

The great Overton High (Tha Artivist’s Alma mater) Jazz Orchestra led by the wonderful Bro. Jeff Huddleston played signature Ellington tunes and other jazz standards in the spirit of Lunceford…They really were crowd pleasers for everybody stopped what they were doing including the several hundred students in attendance and started to nod their heads and tapped their feet in perfect unison…I couldn’t think of any better way to start the tribute to a man who actually initiated the first or one of the first jazz studies programs in the history of U.S. public schools…

SEATED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Elaine Turner, Preston Lauterbach, David Less, Prof. Emerson Able And Rev. Kenneth Whalum. (photo by r2c2h2)

AbovePanel Discussion @ the 1st Annual Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival Symposium @ Manassas High School...Our Distiniguished Guests Included Prof. Emerson Able; Mrs. Elaine Turner, founder of Mmephis Heritage Tours; Preston Lauterbach music jounralist for The Memphis Flyer who wrote the cover story about Jimmie Lunceford for the Flyer back in August; Music mogul David Less, the founder of Memphis International Records; Also featured was the well known Rev. Kenneth Whalum Jr. whose paternal grandfather, well known businessman and community leader Harold Whalum was one of Jimmie Lunceford's best friends...Harold Whalum actually died in a car crash after singing at Jimmie Lunceford's funeral 60 years ago...Not pictured above but who also participated was George C. Monger who recently became the youngest person ever to run for the Memphis City Council at 18 years of age. (photos by r2c2h2)

The panel discussions were just as lively as the music and featured distinguished Manassas alumni such as Mrs. Elaine Turner, historian and founder of Memphis Heritage Tours and Memphis music legend and educator Prof. Emerson Able…Other distinguished guests included David Less, co-founder with Prof. Able of the Beale Street Blues Festival and founder and ceo of Memphis International Records; Music journalist Preston Lauterbach who wrote the great cover story on Jimmie Lunceford for The Memphis Flyer; Political upcomer and budding music mogul George C. Monger who became the youngest person at age 18 to ever run for Memphis City Council; and last but not least the great Pastor Kenneth Whalum Jr. whose paternal grandfather the legendary Memphis Business and Civic Leader Harold Whalum was best friends with Jimmie Lunceford...As a matter of fact Harold Whalum died in a car crash after singing at Jimmie Lunceford’s funeral 60 years ago…

The accomplished panel stressed to the audience, mostly Manassas High School kids and some members from the greater Memphis Community, the importance of remembering Jimmie Lunceford’s legacy and the fact that he took the least and made the most and that he used kids from their high school and neighborhood to build arguably the greatest swing band ever…

The charismatic Pastor Whalum reminded the audience that Jimmie Lunceford was the Jay Z, Beyonce and Keyshia Cole of his time and that his biggest fans were African Americans as well as White…Pastor Whalum due to his unique familial connection to the Jimmie Lunceford saga also reminded the audience of how important it is to keep positive and progressive people around you...He told the audience of how in spite of his early struggles that Jimmie would also get great counsel and support from his grandfather, Harold Whalum, and that in turn Jimmie would offer the Whalum patriarch the same type of support and love…He also stated that his grandfather was the type who wouldn’t mind dying in service to a great friend or to humanity and that is what exactly happened...He also stated that why it is important for us in general and African Americans in particular to be our brother’s keepers as well as to be a shoulder to lean on because it takes a village to make things happen…Our condolences are with the Whalum family at this time with the passing of Rev. Kenneth Whalum’s namesake and his grandfather’s son the great Rev. Kenneth Whalum Sr. earlier last week (Monday Oct.22)…I am sure that Sr. is with his father and Jimmie in blue heaven…

Mrs. Elaine Turner, an authority on Memphis Black History, urged the audience to practice the African tradition known as Sankofa or looking back on the past for lost inspiration and knowledge in order to prepare for a better and greater present and future...She encouraged the audience to be active in discovering their roots and planting seeds of pride and self determination for the future generations to come…

Bro. George C. Monger With Lady Hill And Tha Artivist

George C. Monger supported the clarion call to honor Jimmie Lunceford’s living legacy by bringing back music and arts education to all of the Memphis City Schools…George also told people about the travesty of Jimmie Lunceford not having a brass note on the Beale Street walk of fame and reminded all in attendance that it is our duty to make this a reality…He also encouraged the youthful audience to get involved in local politics to bring about change because they are the leaders that they are looking for...He also told young people to not be a slave to materialism and to keep peer pressure at bay by doing the right thing and seeking and being in the right company.

Preston Lauterbach, David Less and Prof. Able basically told the audience to never forget Lunceford and to seek out as much as they can about the Man who taught at Manassas High School and who took a group of young Black males from North Memphis and made them into Superstars!!!

R2C2H2 Tha Artivist Presents Memphis Music Legend And Educator Prof. Emerson Able (left) With The First Annual Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival Legacy Award...This award is a lifetime achievement award given to those who dedicated their lives to excellence in music and music education...The other honorees were Mrs. Kathryn Perry Thomas,well known Memphis City Schools Educator And Master of classical piano...She used to practice her classical piano while Jimmie Lunceford rehearsed the band at Manassas High School back in the 1920s; Legendary Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra Alum and jazz great Prof. Gerald Wilson, WHO RECENTLY WON TEACHER OF THE YEAR AT UCLA (2006) where he has taught jazz for 18 years...At almost 90 years of age he still leads his own big band and tours extensively...A gifted arranger and song writer, Prof. Wilson was also commissioned to write the 50th Anniversary Monterrey Jazz Festival theme song; Legendary Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra alum trumpeter Snooky Young who still plays trumpet in Prof. Wilson's band; Jimmie Lunceford Biographer and Jazz-o-phile Eddy Determeyer whose Rhythm Is Our Business (University of Michigan Press, 2005) was the first biography written about Jimmie Lunceford.(photo by George C. Monger)

Speaking of Superstars it was truly a treat to present Prof. Able (notable Manassas Alumni, exceptional musician and one of the proud and few legendary Manassas High School Band Directors) with one of the first ever Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival Legacy Awards in the school where he helped to enrich an already historical and exceptional music tradition...The award recognizes those who have dedicated their lives to excellence in music and music education…The other four honorees were Sis. Kathryn Perry Thomas, Bro. Gerald Wilson, Bro. Eugene “Snooky” Young, and Bro. Eddy Determeyer…

Tha Artivist Pictured With Proud Manassas High Alumni from left to right Mr. Phillips, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Able And Ms. Turner. (photo by Devon Hill)
Many thanks to Manassas High School Alum and Principal, Dr. Gloria Williams, and the entire Manassas High School Community for letting us do this historic event on one of their most glorious days of the year…Football Homecoming!!! I think it is actually a very fitting tribute to a man who was also their football coach way back in the day!!!

Oct. 20, 2007~Wreath Laying Ceremony @ Elmwood Cemetery

(photo by r2c2h2)
The wreath laying ceremony was one of the events that will definitely be significant for many JLJFs to come…

For an hour 11 people stood around one of the forgotten pioneers of The Memphis Sound’s final resting place in historic Elmwood Cemetery in South Memphis…

Rev. Gracie said the prayers over this sentimental, somber yet celebratory occasion…

Prof. Emerson Able, Tha Artivist And Friends Pay Tribute To The Late Great Jimmie Lunceford At Graveside In A Wreathlaying Ceremony At Elmwood Cemetery Where The Forgotten Music Master Is Buried. (photos by r2c2h2)

Prof. Able, one of the greatest and most entertaining Memphis Griots a.k.a. storytellers and historians around , edutained the gathering with his invaluable information about pioneers in the Memphis sound in general and Jimmie Lunceford in particular…He also told a colorful story about the Great Cab Calloway causing a near riot in a popular Memphis entertainment venue some years ago…Prof. Able said that he got the real scoop from the great Cab Calloway himself when he saw him in a Broadway production in Memphis…Warren Burger, jazz fan and future U.S. Supreme Court Justice, was at the time a college student passing out pamphlets with Cab’s picture at the venue…Some White people took great offense and asked him what he was doing as a White man passing out booklets with a Nigger’s face on it…Warren took quite an offense to this and before anyone knew it a full scale riot was on…Prof. Able colorfully quipped that Burger fought the mob as if he was a Black man fighting for his life…

Local Gospel Music Great Bro. Julius Bradley also offered kind words of praise for a man who truly embodied the terms “educator” and “role model” and who served his community well through his love of music and teaching…

(photo by r2c2h2)
Rev. Gracie read the proclamation for the late great Jimmie Lunceford provided by U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen…
(photo by Teleka Trezevant)

After laying the wreath with the words “Thanks Mr. Jimmie Lunceford” inscribed on the banner (thanks Sis. Demarras Allen for donating and designing the beautiful wreath) on the grave of a true music master, Tha Artivist grabbed his trumpet and paid tribute by blessing the occasion with some hot jazz Dixieland music stylings in the spirit of Louis Armstrong…Everybody was definitely in a good mood after that!!!

Tha Artivst Blowing Black Gabriel Or Louie Armstrong Style At The Gravesite Of Jimmie Lunceford During The Wreathlaying Ceremony @ Elmwood Cemetery. (photo by Teleka Trezevant)

Please Also Check Out The Memphis Commercial Appeal Article Written By The Wonderful Sis. Pamela Perkins For Another Perspective On This Important Event:

Also Thanks To Bro. Mike Maple For Shooting A Great Photo Of Tha Artivist In Action For The Memphis Commercial Appeal Article.

Oct. 21, 2007~Special Tribute To Jimmie Lunceford On Tha Artivist Presents…W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio…
Our Highest Rated Show By Far…Thanks To The Numerous People That Tuned In…We Helped Paid Tribute To The Incomparable Jimmie Lunceford By Having Some Of The People That Know Him Best Speak About His Life, Career And Legacy…

The guests included were well respected retired Memphis City Schools educator and classical pianist Kathryn Perry Thomas and jazz great and educator Prof. Gerald Wilson…Both of these amazing people were recipients of the first annual Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival Legacy Award which recognizes a life dedicated to excellence in Music and Music Education… Also legendary Mississippi Educator and Civil Rights Activist Dr. Gene “Jughead” Young Called In And Offered His Respects And Support For Another Great Black Mississippian (Lunceford Was Born In Fulton, Ms On June 6, 1902)…

As Always Please Spread The Good News!!!

Please Visit The Official Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival Website:

Support The Jimmie Lunceford Scholars Fund For Deserving Memphis City Schools Students:

Special Thanks

The Following Are The Folks Who Helped Make This Historic Festival A Reality…Without Their Support Whether It Be Financial, Spiritual, Emotional, Or In Kind Services This Idea Doesn’t Manifest Because It Definitely Takes A Village:
Manassas High School
Manassas Alumni Association
Champion Awards
Overton Jazz Orchestra
Bro. Tyrone Thomas And Hotwings Express
McEwen’s On Monroe
Sis.Demarras Allen
Elmwood Cemetery
Sis. Callie Herd
Sis. Teleka Trezevant
Sis. Lizzie Taylor
Bro. Marvin Butler
Bro. Sudhakar Borra
Bro. Rufus Jones
Sis. Sabrina Burris
Bro. Ernest Taylor
Bro. O.C. Pleasant
Sis. Joyce Crawford
Prof. Emerson Able
Bro. Pastor Kenneth Whalum Jr.
Bro. Preston Lauterbach
Bro. Kathryn Perry Thomas
Prof. Gerald Wilson
Bro. Eddy Determeyer
Bro. George C. Monger
Sis. Laurie Deen
Sis. Annette Young~Pres. Of Manassas High Class of 1954
Sis. Michelle Purdy
Rev. Gracie
Sis. Elaine Turner
Bro. David Less
Bro. Julius Bradley
Bro. Sylvestor SartorThe Honorable Judge Bro. D'Army Bailey
Bro. David and Sis. Yvonne Acey

Bro. Brandon Hood
Bro. Ricky Richardson
Sis. Betty Mallott

Tha Artivist Quoted In The Nation Article Concerning The NCRM In Crisis.

Beneath The Radar

Thieves Of Black History
"This Is Our History...If We Don't Defend It, Who Will?"
---R2C2H2 Tha Artivist

[from the November 12, 2007 issue of The Nation]

If Beale Street could talk, as James Baldwin famously imagined, then somewhere around Memphis's South Fourth Street it would let out an agonizing cry. Facing east, the garish neon commodification of the blues stands behind you--a trap for tourists and an insult to the legacy of a great musical tradition. Commerce here is thriving from a culture it doesn't respect. Ahead sprawls the desolation and poverty of the communities that gave blues its meaning and to whom the blues returned some dignity.

A block away at the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center, around eighty people have gathered to prevent the pilfering of yet more local black heritage. Twenty years ago, the Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated, was turned into a National Civil Rights Museum. The chair of the executive committee of its board, J.R. "Pitt" Hyde III, is a wealthy white Republican. Charged with safeguarding a vital landmark in the nation's racial history, Hyde lobbied for the defeat of Harold Ford Jr.'s bid for the vacant Senate seat from Tennessee in what was widely regarded as the most racist campaign of the 2006 election. While Hyde has been representing the civil rights museum, the company he founded, AutoZone, has been embroiled in a longstanding EEOC racial discrimination lawsuit.

The board, on which blacks are a minority, is packed with those who dedicate their lives not to civil rights but to corporate profits. And they know how to do business. Recently the board discussed exercising an option to buy the museum building from the State of Tennessee, which owns it, for $1. (Apparently they never made a formal offer, as they knew it would be rejected.) Black history on sale at bargain prices.

For some, the moral price of surrendering such a crucial site to big money was too high. Community activists have been fighting back, battling not only for control of a building but the stewardship of history. "No race holds a monopoly of beauty, of intelligence, of strength," wrote Martiniquan poet and activist Aimé Césaire. "There is a place for all at the Rendezvous of Victory." But who gets which place and what stories they hear when they get there is determined by power, not happenstance.

The struggle over the future of the Lorraine Motel highlights three crucial developments in the nearly forty years since King was assassinated. First, it demonstrates how much of the civil rights agenda remains to be accomplished. King had been in Memphis campaigning for better pay and conditions for striking sanitation workers. "In the past in the civil rights movement, we have been dealing with segregation and all of its humiliation; we've been dealing with the political problem of the denial of the right to vote," he said ten days before he died. "I think it is absolutely necessary now to deal massively and militantly with the economic problem."

Hyde and the corporate agenda he represents remain at the core of that "problem," which keeps one in four Memphis residents (who are mostly black) below the poverty line.

The civil rights movement made great strides in achieving integration. But that victory prompted white supremacy to become more skillful and subtle in its bid for self-preservation. Segregation was outlawed, but its economic, social and cultural legacy was left intact. Black people in Memphis now have the right to go into any restaurant they like. Unfortunately, many cannot afford anything on the menu.

Second, the story of the Lorraine museum is a brazen example of the crude but effective manner in which the right, which fought so hard to thwart the work of the civil rights movement in its heyday, has sought to buy, co-opt or otherwise manipulate the movement's most popular emblems.

Four years ago fundamentalists stood on the steps of Alabama's Supreme Court building, waving Confederate flags and singing "We Shall Overcome" as they protested the removal of the Ten Commandments from the rotunda. A few months earlier, opponents of affirmative action went to the building to protest a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment--ratified to protect the rights of freed slaves. They called on universities to judge applicants not by "the color of their skin but by the content of their character," words of course lifted from King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

"Nowadays they like the fact that they can sit down to dinner at the site of the King assassination," says Circuit Judge D'Army Bailey, a founder of the museum who was ousted from the board. "It gives them a good feeling. Corporations want to be identified with it because that kind of identification brings pacification. It's been hijacked."

Finally, the struggle in Memphis shows that despite all this, the spirit of the civil rights movement--the grassroots campaigning, organizational commitment and moral purpose that mobilized so many--persists. "This is our history," said Ron Herd II, 27, during the public meeting at the labor center. "If we don't defend it, who will?"

Together, local campaigners and members of the Tennessee General Assembly's black caucus have blocked the board's bid to lease the museum for an extended period and effectively quashed its hopes of buying it outright--at least for now. Recently members of the City Council's park committee approved a motion that could lead to Memphis gaining control and working toward an agreement with the National Park Service similar to those at historical sites in Little Rock and Atlanta.

"Progress in human affairs," wrote E.H. Carr in What Is History?, "has come mainly through the bold readiness of human beings not to confine themselves to seeking piecemeal improvements in the way things are done, but to present fundamental challenges in the name of reason to the current way of doing things and to the avowed or hidden assumptions on which it rests." That was as true forty years ago on the streets of Memphis as it is today.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Reminder: 10-26-07~Tha Artivist To Be Master Of Ceremonies @ Strangefruit:The Jena 6 Story Featuring Marcus Jones (The Father Of Mychal Bell) & Tony B

(click to enlarge image)

The Alpha Omega Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Presents:

The Jena 6 Story

The Father Of Mychal Bell
ALEXANDRIA, LA Radio Personality

R2C2H2 Tha Artivist Is The Guest Moderator Or Master Of Ceremonies

When: Friday
October 26 , 2 0 0 7

Where: Lab Sci Building
Room 300 @ Washington University In St. Louis

Time: 6 : 0 0 P M

Admission: Free

Co-sponsored By:

The African American Studies Department
Of Washington University In St. Louis
Collegiate 100 HSSU Chapter
George Warren Brown School of Social Work

Check Out More Jena 6 On W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio:

11/8 & 11/9 @ 9 AM~Witness And Participate In History By Attendng Voter Fraud Public Hearing In Tunica,Ms.

Was Your Vote Counted For The Candidate Of Your Choice???


When: THURS.-NOVEMBER 08 & FRIDAY- NOVEMBER 09, 2007 @ 9:0O A.M.




The public hearing will be in reference to the August 7, 2007 Democratic Primary Election. The issues to be examined:

The election was certified without the counting of the Absentee Ballots

Election Irregularities!

Would the counting of the Absentee Ballots change the outcome
of the election?

Come Out To Protect Your Constitutional Right To Vote!!!

About The Honorable Sis. Louise Linzy,
Mississippi Burning Again...This Time It's Voter Fraud...
It's 2007 But It Seems Like 1957!!! On August 10, 2007 Sis. Louise Linzy, the first Black woman police officer in Tunica County, Ms. (home of the second largest gambling mecca in the country behind Las Vegas) was denied another historic achievement when the county refused to count votes that would have made her the first woman judge in Tunica County...

Please Read More About This Courageous Sister's Story Through The Following Links And Show Your Support By Spreading The Word:

Listen To Actual W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Radio Interview With The Honorable Sis. Linzy By Clicking On The Following Link:

Mississippi Still Burning Like Southern California...

Rally Organizer John Gibson Says:
The Justice Rally was a great success.

There were over 200 people who attended the Justice Rally. It would have been more, if the Clarion-Ledger had announced the start time accurately. The newspaper announced the rally as beginning at a time that was past the scheduled conclusion time. The newspaper did this in spite of having been repeatedly given accurate information orally and in writing.

Let's keep the pressure on for full truth and justice.

Rally Participants Demand Probe Of Civil Rights Killings
By Chris Joyner

Joe Ellis/The Clarion-Ledger
Louis Allen Jr. (left) draws the crowd's attention to a photo of his grandparents, Louis Allen Sr. and Elizabeth Allen, held by his sister, Regina Allen, as they and other family members seek justice in Louis Allen Sr.'s 1964 slaying and other civil rights-era killings in Mississippi at a state Capitol rally on Monday.

THE NAMES ON THE SIGNS — Lamar Smith, Benjamin Brown, Wharlest Jackson, Adlena Hamlett — were reminders of some of Mississippi's darkest days during the civil rights movement.

About 60 people rallied on the steps of the Capitol with signs in hand Monday, demanding that the state become more aggressive in investigating the deaths while there's time to bring culprits to justice.

John Gibson, a rally organizer, said the group has identified 55 Mississippians killed during the movement, which started in the 1950s.

"In the vast majority of these cases, there has been no justice," he said. "We are here to demand a full measure of justice for all of Mississippi's civil rights martyrs."

If state prosecutors are uninterested in pursuing the cases, Gibson asked that a special prosecutor be named.

Henry Allen's father, Louis Allen Sr., was shot to death in his driveway in 1964 in Liberty. Speaking before the group, Allen said he hoped the rally would inspire more interest in the cases. This month, the Allen family offered a $20,000 reward for anyone with information leading to the arrest and prosecution of Louis Allen's killer.

"I've been pretty patient because it's been 43 years, but ... I'm going to get justice some sort of way," Henry Allen said. "If I have to sit on the White House steps, that's what I will do."

Louis Allen Jr., the grandson of the slain Amite County man, said the toll-free number set up by the family already has resulted in some new tips.

"I believe there are good people both black and white who are interested in bringing this to an end," he said.

Rally organizers called out the names of possible suspects in some of the unsolved crimes and blasted Gov. Haley Barbour and Attorney General Jim Hood, among other state officials, for not bringing more cases to trial.

Barbour spokesman Pete Smith said the governor supports prosecuting criminals in any crime.

"The governor has always said that if there is enough evidence out there to bring people to justice, then they should be held accountable," Smith said.

Smith would not answer questions on whether the governor believed he had any greater role to play in pushing investigations into civil rights-era cases.

Hood, who was not at his Jackson office across from the Capitol at the time of the rally, said prosecuting decades-old cases is more difficult than many believe. In most, witnesses have died and evidence has disappeared or was never collected at the time, he said.

At the same time, Hood said the prosecution of Edgar Ray Killen for the 1964 deaths of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney was a long shot, too.

"When I came in, I thought Mike Moore had worked those cases completely out," he said. "You never say they are over, because someone could come forward."

In 2005, a jury found Killen guilty of three counts of manslaughter. He now is serving a 60-year sentence.

At Monday's rally, organizers passed around a list of names of others connected to the 1964 slayings.

"Nine are still living," Gibson said. "Killen is one, so there are eight that are still not in jail."

Hood said he presented evidence on a number of suspects to a grand jury, but only Killen was indicted.

He would need new evidence, he said.

A bill to establish a cold-case unit within the U.S. Justice Department to investigate civil rights-era killings has been stalled in the Senate since June. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has put a hold on the bill because he wants its sponsors to find money to cover the $11.5 million annual cost.

The bill is called the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, named after a 14-year-old African American who was brutally slain while on a summer vacation in Money in 1955.

Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP, said the state should mirror the commitment at the federal level, including the establishment of a cold-case unit to dig up new evidence.

"It is now time for the state of Mississippi to do the same thing," he said.
To comment on this story, call Chris Joyner at (601) 360-4619.