Friday, February 26, 2010

Celebrating the Black Press During Black History Month

By: Kevin L. Nichols

As we reflect on the significance of Black History Month started by Carter G. Woodson back in 1926, the role of the Black Press is inextricably tied to its celebration. Throughout slavery, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow segregation, the Black Press has been instrumental in publicizing the egregious acts of violence towards African Americans. It is impossible to fathom the amount of courage and conviction these individuals must have had to risk their lives for the sake of garnering the attention of the world on the racist and sexist torture that existed so visibly in our country. Heroes and sheroes such as Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells risked their lives to speak out against injustice. For their bravery, I will highlight a few of their accomplishments.

Frederick Douglass

Many of us know Frederick Douglass as an abolitionist who crossed color-lines by representing African Americans in positive light. He befriended many politicians and leaders of our nation and spoke out against African Americans’ mistreatment. What some do know is he created regular abolitionist papers called The North Star, Frederick Douglass Weekly, Frederick Douglass' Paper, Douglass' Monthly and New National Era. These writings discussed emancipation, the inequities of treatment between Black versus White soldiers, spoke out for women’s rights, and encouraged African Americans to educate themselves to improve their plight. Douglass’s leadership combated the negative stereotypes that existed during this time period and gave other African Americans hope for a brighter future.

Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Ida B. Wells was an investigative journalist who became the voice of anti-lynching. She published Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, and A Red Record, 1892-1894. She also became part owner of a newspaper called Free Speech and Headlight by 1889. In 1984, before Rosa Parks, Ida was asked to give up her seat on a railroad car and she refused. She was physically dragged out of her seat. When she returned to Memphis, she hired an attorney and sued the railroad company and published an article about it in "The Living Way," a black church weekly.

Both of these brilliant and talented members of the press dedicated their lives to raising awareness and educating others about the racial and sexual mistreatment of African Americans in our country. They paved the way for other leaders to have the fortitude, strength, and courage to preserve and speak out against injustice. Because of their valiant effort, it allows individuals like myself to write and speak about injustices that I see with the hope of making a difference. This month, we salute you.

Photos courtesy of Wikidpedia.com

Kevin L. Nichols is an author, President and CEO of KLN Publishing. LLC located in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit www.klnpublishing.com.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Must See King Tut at the DeYoung Before it Departs

Coffinette for the viscera of Tutankhamun (detail), Dynasty 18, Reign of Tutankhamun 1332-1322 BCE. 39.5 cm L x 11 cm W x 10 cm H. Photo: Andreas F. Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel and Sammlung Ludwig - Used with Permission

By: Kevin L. Nichols

What better way to celebrate Black History Month, than to visit the “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” exhibit currently on display at the DeYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park located in San Francisco. Some Americans believe that Black History only celebrates the accomplishments of African Americans, however, many neglect the vast achievements made by African American ancestors who belonged to such advanced civilizations as ancient Egypt. Europeans and “westerners” marvel at the complexity of the ancient pyramids, sophisticated jewelry, artwork, mummification process, preservation, and religious practices still today. As we celebrate Black History, let us look back 3000 plus years to understand the significance of the “boy king” known as Tutankhamun or King Tut.

King Tut lived between 1304-1322 BC. He had a tumultuous reign as a young boy for 9 years. Trying to undue the religious modifications of the previous king, his father, King Tut fought to restore the traditional religious practices of his ancestors. King Tut died mysteriously at either 18 or 19 years old and was honored like no other king found in Egypt. Solid gold sarcophaguses, masks, furniture, jewelry, and other royal possessions were buried with him in a tomb located in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. For centuries, archeologists sought to find this tomb and uncover its treasures. It was not until Howard Carter discovered the tomb in 1922. Since then, this exhibit has toured all over the world, however, the last time it was in the Bay Area was 30 years ago.

To see some of the artifacts that will be displayed and for more information about the exhibit, please visit http://www.tutsanfrancisco.org. This is a once in a life time opportunity to witness history. Target is sponsoring a free weekend February 20-21, 2010, so if you can, please try to visit before March 28, 2010 when it departs.

Kevin L. Nichols is an author, President and CEO of KLN Publishing. LLC located in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit www.klnpublishing.com.

Copyright KLN Publishing, LLC 2010 - All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Burger Gourmet - Downtown Oakland

I just had one of the most delightful experiences eating at a "mom and pop" type restaurant here in Downtown Oakland that I had to write about it. I had a 3:45 p.m. appointment and needed to eat a late lunch . . . really badly. I asked several bystanders where I could get a bite to eat within a tw0-three block radius but to no avail, no one could point me to a definitive location.

I stumbled upon a quaint restaurant with one of the original "open" signs in the window and decided that I wanted to grab a hamburger. I was greeted by a friendly sincere woman who was one of the owners of the restaurant. Upon exchanging pleasantries, she appeared to care whether or not I ordered the appropriate meal. I made a couple of suggestions while she bared with me but in the end I decided on a delicious bacon cheeseburger, french fries, and a Snapple Raspberry Iced Tea.

A few minutes after I started eating and logged onto my laptop computer, she came over to me and asked me how my meal was. I could not believe it. Customer service is one thing, but this visit to Burger Gourmet was remarkable and really moved me. Not only was my meal delicious, but the down home hospitality that I received was so incredible, that I had to share it with others. Please make sure you patronize this business.

Friday, February 5, 2010

When Money's Tight and You Still Want to Get Away...Choose Monterey!

By: Kevin L. Nichols

Despite the influx of funds from the federal stimulus, the economy still has not recovered from the financial crisis. The unemployment rate is approaching 12%, gas prices are relatively high, and families are continuing to lose their homes due to widespread foreclosures. Vacations, travel, and stressless reprieves are anomalies that many hard working families cannot afford presently. However, families will have to develop innovative ways to reincorporate necessities such as finding joy in their daily lives, alleviating stress, and spending quality time together, and what better way then taking a local “stay-cation” down the coast to the Monterey Peninsula. My family did and here is how we did it:

Maximizing Your Time Together

We left early in the morning to maximize having two full days of enjoyment in the area. We arrived at Monterey Bay Aquarium when it opened. It is wise to stay at a hotel that allows you to purchase aquarium tickets because they have two day tickets for the price of one. Given the fact that the aquarium is so massive and that there is so much to learn and explore, two full days from sun-up to sun-down is just enough time to ingest it all.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium is an enormous marine science laboratory that educates thousands of parents, children, schools, educators, and scientists from all over the world. Its sister institute, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), located in Moss Landing, aids the aquarium in being one of the most technologically advanced aquariums in the world. Recently, it had the only great white shark in captivity worldwide – now the apex predator is back in the wild.

All of the sea otters and most of the birds that reside in the aquarium are in captivity because they cannot survive in the wild on their own, either because they have been injured, separated from a parent prematurely, or were washed ashore by an accident or due to pollution. The aquarium has numerous exhibits displaying these animals for visitors to observe firsthand in recreations of their natural habitat. Some of the thousands of animals at the aquarium are Southern sea otters, penguins, jelly fish, tuna, sharks, crabs, sting rays, sardines, and their latest inhabitants, the sea horse exhibit.

The Secret Lives of Seahorses exhibition is fascinating. So much can be learned about these unique creatures. I learned that when male and female sea horses mate, they dance together, beautifully and cross their tales with one another. Another interesting fact is that males carry and birth their children…something that I was not quite prepared to witness on the high-definition screen. Overall, this exhibit is definitely the highlight of the aquarium currently, and I recommend that you see it for yourself before it departs.

The aquarium also has various educational movies and interactive displays that teach visitors about sustainability, how to protect our environment, and what we can do to preserve marine life around the world. These tips range from throwing your trash away in the appropriate receptacles so that it does not end up into the ocean, refraining from pouring solvents and harmful liquids down sinks, toilets, etc., to choosing the appropriate seafood at the grocery store from regions around the globe that agree to farm/raise/fish seafood responsibly. For more information and to download your own Seafood Watch Card, please visit www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company

Bubba Gump’s is always a fun family restaurant with good food and affordable prices. The restaurant is based on the movie and character “Forrest Gump” starring Tom Hanks (a Bay Area native). It features a large selection of seafood and chicken dishes with a New Orleans, Louisiana flare to it. Dining at a restaurant like this brings about a festive atmosphere with flavorful food that everyone can enjoy. We had an exceptional waiter, Chris Willis, who was amazingly attentive, which added to this excellent experience. For more information, please visit Bubba Gump Monterey.

InterContinental’s “The Clement”

The Clement is the perfect hotel to stay at in Monterey. Its location alone is the most practical for a vacation on Cannery Row because it is literally a stone’s throw from Bubba Gump’s and Monterey Bay Aquarium. This alleviates the need to move your car once you arrive due to the fact that most of your destinations are in walking distance, including the premium outlets.With the exception of a little hiccup during the valet process, this was a seamlessly delightful experience. It has superb amenities. It is upscale and inviting. The staff was warm and courteous. The rooms have iPod docking stations, fire places, complimentary bottled water, Starbuck's Coffee, HD flat screen televisions with Direct TV satellite service. The bathroom had a separate bath tub and shower. The hotel offers high speed internet, a fine dining restaurant, fitness center, spa, and a complimentary voicemail that welcomed me to my room from the concierge (I must say that this was a nice touch). The Clement also has bath robes and shoes that provide comfort and reprieve. For more information on this hotel, please visit The Clement

This recession effects us all in various ways. Although many families are acting fiscally responsibly by conserving, downsizing, and saving, it is possible to splurge intelligently. Sanity is not a luxury that we can all afford without external stimuli. That is why I recommend packing some lunches, filling up the tank, and taking a drive down to the other "peninsula" in the Bay Area. What do you think? Please leave your comments.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Black Youth Rising Book Launch and Fundraiser

Friday, February 5, 2010
6:00pm - 8:00pm
Kuwa Restaurant 1015 Clay Street Oakland, CA 94607


Come to the Oakland book launch of Black Youth Rising & the Leadership Excellence fundraiser