On This Labor Day – I’m Grateful

Monique Brizz-Walker

Monique Brizz-Walker at work – NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Dear Readers:

As we prepare to commemorate another Labor Day, I find myself thinking about everything my grandparents instilled in me about the importance of hard work. They went to great lengths to remind me that job excellence was the highest form of gratitude that I could demonstrate.

There was a time when an African-American woman like me could only dream of having a full-time position with benefits and paid holidays. Of course there are days when I am ready to leave the building and retreat to the comfort of my home, but it does not take me long to realize just how fortunate I am. For me, this quote sums it up.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance,
and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Labor Day to all. Thank you for the important contributions you make to our great society.

Fondly,

Monique

Introducing…Lorna Simpson

Dear Readers,

Throughout this month, we will share highlights of the amazing work of renown Brooklyn artist and photographer, Lorna Simpson.

The world was exposed to Lorna Simpson’s brilliance in the mid-1980s. During this period in her life, she would create large-scale photograph-and-text-works that confronted and challenged narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history and memory.

With the African-American woman as a visual point of departure, Simpson uses the figure to examine the ways in which gender and culture shape the interactions, relationships and experiences of our lives in contemporary multi-racial America.

For this first installment of our spotlight on Lorna Simpson, I thought you might enjoy hearing from the artist, in her own words, Value of My Work. Stay tuned for updates.  As always, we welcome your thoughts.  Please let us know what you think.

Enjoy your weekend.

Monique

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Credits:
Lorna Simpson Biography – lsimpsonstudio.com

Lorna Simpson Video Credit is as follows:

This TALD Short Shot is related to the epic new documentary film, THROUGH A LENS DARKLY: BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS AND THE EMERGENCE OF A PEOPLE, by director Thomas Allen Harris, writer Don Perry, producer Dr. Deborah Willis, Executive Producers Kimberly Steward & John Singleton.

The film made its World Premiere @ Sundance; International Premiere @ Berlin; and won the Social Justice Award @ Santa Barbara Int’l FF and Programmers’ Best Documentary Award @ Pan African FF. It was just nominated for Best Diaspora Documentary Film for the 10th Annual African Movie Academy Awards. The film will be released theatrically by Zeitgeist Films, beginning with a New York premiere at Film Forum, Aug. 27th to Sep. 9th. For more info and trailer: http://1World1Family.me

 

 

Brooklyn – The City of Promise for Jamaican Writers

Dear Readers,

This article, For Jamaican Writers, New Place of Opportunity Is in Brooklyn, was written by Christina Brown for the Huffington Post, October 2013.

As an aspiring author, I was intrigued by Ms. Brown’s story.  Frequently, I receive e-mails from many of our readers who are looking for encouragement on how to start their writing projects, tips on how to stay motivated and general information about the process.  I am always flattered when I receive these notes; especially since I too am a writer in training. Ms. Brown’s article does not provide an overview of the writing process from beginning to end.  However, as a Brooklynite, I found myself relating to many of the illustrations she provided and the authors too!  I thought you might enjoy reading it.  As always, please let us know what you think.

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For Jamaican Writers, New Place of Opportunity Is in Brooklyn
Christina Brown – Huffington Post, October 2, 2013

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The smell of Jamaican patties and jerk chicken and the sounds of the West Indies Patois were very much in evidence during the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. Both cuisine and the language were a reflection of the popularity of Caribbean writers in general, and Jamaicans in particular, in the Brooklyn literary scene. On one night of the festival, at least 75 people lined the gallery at MoCADA, or the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art, to hear West Indian-born writers, including Diana McCaulay and Ifeona Fulani, both from Jamaica, wax poetic about how the cultural landscapes of Jamaica and America have influenced their material.

Buoyed by interest from American publishers and perhaps more importantly, readers who reflect the city’s consistent growth of Caribbean immigrants, a new generation of writers from Jamaica, is finding literary, if not financial, success. “We have to be happy that we have space at the table and happy that someone is willing to engage your part of the narrative,” said E. Wayne Johnson, 45, a Jamaican arts and literary enthusiast who has lived in Brooklyn for more than 20 years. Johnson is Arts Director of the Caribbean Cultural Theatre and helped organize the MoCADA event, held on September 19, which featured seven authors from the Caribbean, including McCaulay and Fulani, reading excerpts from their books. “We as a community are not consumers of our own work or culture. It might sound parochial, [but] the harsh reality of internationally successful writers has made it, because they were a big thing somewhere else,” said Johnson, with a soft but distinctive West Indian lilt.

Census data show Jamaicans account for nearly 200,000 of New York City’s Caribbean immigrants. Making them the third largest group among those foreign-born, surpassed only by people from the Dominican Republic and China. Excited by the opportunity to interact with readers and writers from the Caribbean, McCaulay flew from her hometown in Kingston, Jamaica, to participate in the book reading. She also joined a panel discussion at St. Francis College, on Sunday, September 22, to promote her second novel, Huracan. “I [like] reading to my own people … my book is about leaving and going home,” said McCaulay on Thursday night. The main character in her book grapples with returning to Jamaica after a loss in the family, a sentiment McCaulay believes her audience should readily understand.

Nicole Dennis-Benn & Dr. Emma Benn - ebony.com

Nicole Dennis-Benn & Dr. Emma Benn – ebony.com

Nicole Dennis-Benn, 32, originally from Jamaica, now a writing professor at the College of Staten Island, came to the festival to connect both with readers and other writers. Her novel, Run Free, about a transgender Jamaican boy is set to be published next year. “As a writer myself, it’s important for me to have a relationship with other Jamaican authors, especially given Diana McCaulay is [known] to write outside of the box,” said Dennis-Benn, with her wife Emma by her side.

Despite the population numbers that seem to illustrate a picture that Brooklyn is filled with people who may be able to identify with the characters in the poems, novels and stories of Jamaican writers, “It’s not like it’s a lucrative business,” said Johnny Temple, founder of independent publisher Akashic Books, and chair of the Brooklyn Borough President’s Literary Council. Many of the authors supplement the income from their literary work with other jobs. McCaulay is an environmental activist in Jamaica, and runs the non-profit, Jamaica Environment Trust. “There’s lots of fantastic writers … a lot of publishing companies in Jamaica are getting more established,” Temple said on the last night of the weeklong festival, after wrapping up the last of 60 events from Sept. 16 to 22, that attracted 350 writers from across the U.S. as well as the international writing community.

Temple has been a key organizer of the annual Brooklyn Book Festival since its inception eight years ago. He said at least 10 writers participating this year were from the Caribbean. “It’s incredibly diverse,” said Temple. “There’s so many different types of stories to tell.” “I think the new Caribbean writing is much more immediate and edgy and grounded in the realities of Caribbean living today,” said McCaulay. “It doesn’t have this kind of misty veil over something lost in the past … it’s more grounded in contemporary Caribbean life and work.”

Oonya Kempadoo - commonwealthwriters.org

Oonya Kempadoo – commonwealthwriters.org

Alex Neptune settled in the U.S. 40 years ago, after leaving his home in Georgetown, Guyana. “I don’t read too many novels so when I do read, I want to make sure I’m going to finish the book that I’ve started,” said Neptune, after the talk at the MoCADA. He works in New York’s insurance and real estate industry and he wanted Oonya Kempadoo, the British born, but of Guyanese lineage author, of All Decent Animals, to sign his copy of her book. “I don’t have to think too much about what the writer is saying … when she expresses herself on different issues, I can relate,” said Neptune.

“How are you doing?” a woman asked E. Wayne Johnson, who was perspiring in his salmon colored button down shirt as he carried chairs, trying to determine where to add seats in the already packed gallery before the group, Caribbean Cultural Theatre, opened Thursday’s book reading. “Yeah mon, I’m goodish,” responded Johnson, in the Patois dialect commonly heard throughout Jamaica.  Largely regarded as a spoken language, Patois has over the past several years increasingly gained traction as a literary language.  But in some circles, according to the West Indian author Robert Antoni, 45, its use had been considered a reflection of one’s typically low socioeconomic class and status.

“We writers of the next generation have stood up, and embraced this language. It has taken over our writing. I think if anything characterizes West Indian language, West Indian novels, West Indian poetry, it’s been the embracing of the vernacular … the vernacular is always posited against another language. That language is what we call proper English, but the vernacular is a living thing and proper English is locked up in the dictionaries,” said Antoni.

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Credit
Article from The Huffington Post

Happy Valentine’s Day

Image

Dear Readers,

Have a great day and weekend. Remember the greatest love of all is inside of you.  Remember to celebrate you for all that you do.

Monique

Valentine’s Day – Brooklyn Style

Dear Readers,

For me, Valentine’s Day is not complete until I have the “perfect” slice of chocolate cake and a glass of champagne.  Brooklyn has several wonderful bakeries to make your day special.  Today I am pleased to share a few special shops that are among my favorites.  To complete the list, I have included some champagne suggestions as well.  Whether you spend the day with a loved one or solo, at home or in one of the City’s many trendy restaurants, remember to take celebrate the most important person of all – you!

Baked
359 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, New York – Red Hook
Hours: Weekdays 7:00 am – 7:00 pm, Weekends 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Website: Please click here.

Brooklyn Cupcake
335 Union Street, Brooklyn, New York – Williamsburg
Hours: Sunday – Wednesday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Thursday – Saturday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Website: Please click here.

The Chocolate Room
269 Court Street, Brooklyn, New York – Cobble Hill
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 12:00 noon – 9:00 pm, Friday – Saturday 12:00 noon – 10:00 pm
Pop Up Store  82 Fifth Avenue
Website: Please click here.

Heavenly Crumbs Boutique Bakery
335 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Friday – Saturday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm
Website: Please click here.

Jacques Torres Chocolates
66 Water Street, Brooklyn, New York – DUMBO
Hours: Monday – Saturday 9:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Website: Please click here.

Nunu Chocolates
529 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, New York
Hours: Monday – Friday 7:00 am – 9:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Website: Please click here.

Have a great week.

Monique

Celebrating African Heritage Month

Dear Readers,

For as long as I can remember, the decision to dedicate the month of February to honoring  the achievements of people from the African Diaspora has been met with mixed emotions.

Many people of African heritage have asked, “Why are the achievements of our ancestors recognized for only one month out of twelve?”  They went on to view this designation as insensitive and inconsistent when compared with the years this history was not taught or recognized.

For others, in February 1976, when former President Gerald Ford extended what was then known as African Heritage week to what would become African Heritage month, this was a major victory.  The month-long celebration was embraced as an important way to recognize the significant contributions our ancestors made to America.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act.  As a nation, we have truly come a mighty long way.

Throughout February, many remarkable Brooklyn institutions will host programs for African Heritage month.  Brooklyn Legends applauds these efforts and receives them in the spirit of celebration.  We embrace the position that the accomplishments of people from the African Diaspora and the Caribbean transcend time.  This is especially true for the heroines you will read about here at Brooklyn Legends.  They embody the grace, determination and hard work which will impact future generations

In honor of African Heritage month, and the first year anniversary of Brooklyn Legends, we proudly salute the phenomenal Brooklyn women we have featured this past year.  The stories that we have shared are archived on our blog.  If you would like to become reacquainted with each one, please use our search browser.

Here’s our salute to another African heritage month, and another year of Brooklyn Legends.  We are proud to have you share this journey with us.  Stay tuned for more highlights of some of Brooklyn’s most dynamic achievers.

Have a wonderful week!

Monique

Holiday On Ice

Dear Readers,

I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas with family, friends and loved ones.  Each year is special but, for me, this year was even more exciting. Stan and I went to see Pippin last night and it was truly spectacular.  While we always enjoy seeing a great Broadway show this was our very first Christmas play, and we have been married for 26 years.  In a word, it was priceless!  I am already contemplating next year’s adventure.

Earlier today I was speaking with a friend who was looking for fun things to do with family members who are spending their first Christmas in New York City.  I can imagine how exciting this must be for them.  Since children are involved, we knew there were 2 requirements – affordable and fun.

Ten minutes later, and with the help of a quick tour on the internet, we came up with 11 ice skating rinks to explore.  We were even more pleased to discover that 3 are located here in Brooklyn.

After working with my friend on this project I thought of each of you, and I decided to share this information for today’s post.  No pressure is intended, nor is any commitment required except for one; whatever you decide please have fun!

Photo by Petercruise/FlickrCC

Photo by Petercruise/FlickrCC

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

With an impressive 80-year history, the Rink at Rockefeller Center is a favorite New York City destination for residents and tourists.  If you decided to visit Rockefeller Center, please be prepared to wait for there is a 90-minute ice schedule.  However, when your time does come,  you will be transported to a winter wonderland.

Prices: Adults $27; Seniors/Children (under 11): $15.   Skate rental: $12
Hours: Open daily 8:30 am until midnight
Location: 600 Fifth Avenue
Nearest Subway: B, D, F, M to 47th-50th Streets/Rockefeller Center

Photo - Bryant Park Corp

Photo – Bryant Park Corp

The Rink at Winter Village in Bryant Park

Considered to be one of Manhattan’s best locations for seasonal skating and admission is free.  Open from November 1, 2013 until March 2, 2014, this is one of the best bets in Midtown without the crowds.


Prices:
Free admission.  Skate rental: $15
Hours:  Sundays through Thursdays 8 am – 10 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 8 am – midnight
Location: Between 40th and 42nd Streets & 5th and 6th Avenues
Nearest Subway: 7 to 5th Avenue; B, D, F, M to 42nd Street/Bryant Park

Photo by tomasfano/Flickr cc

Photo by tomasfano/Flickr cc

Wollman Rink in Central Park

Located in beautiful Central Park, with an added bonus of New York’s breathtaking skyline, Donald Trump’s ice skating rink is open from late October until early April.  If you decided to go to visit, please be prepared to wait for it is very crowded.  Like Rockefeller Center, it is a favorite destination for New York City residents and tourists.  This rink also offers private lessons as well.  To make the most of your visit, be sure to visit their website for accurate information.  Please follow this link.

Prices: Adults: Mondays through Thursdays $11.25; Children: (under 11) $6; Seniors: $5
Fridays through Sunday and Holiday Weeks, Adults: 18; Children: $6 (under 11); Seniors: $5.  Skate Rental: $8 and Locker Rental: $11 (includes a $6 refundable deposit)
Cash only – no credit cards
Hours: Mondays and Tuesdays 10 am – 2:30 pm; Wednesdays and Thursdays 10 am to 10 pm; Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 11 pm; Sundays 10 am to 9 pm  please visit the link above to confirm public skating hours).
Location: 59th Street and 6th Avenue
Nearest Subway: A, B, C, D, 1, 9 to 59th Street; N, R to 5th Avenue; B, Q to 57th Street

Photo by The Standard

Photo by The Standard

The Standard Ice Rink

Located in New York City’s Meat Packing District, this “miniature” skating rink is open for only a few months each year.  While children are most certainly welcome, this venue is geared towards adults, especially in the evening when the rink takes on a party atmosphere.


Prices:
Adults: $12; Children $6.  Skate rental: $3
Hours: Weekdays noon until midnight and weekends 9 am until 1 am
Location: 848 Washington at 13th Street
Nearest Subway: L to 8th Avenue, A, C, E to 14th Street

Photo by Trump Org.

Photo by Trump Org.

Trump Lasker Rink

Trump Lasker Rink, on the north end of Central Park, is far less  crowded than Wollman Rink.  Many sources confirm this is the perfect place to take professional classes due to the crowd size.  Public hours are limited due to its many hockey programs.  If you would like to visit Lasker Rink, please visit their website by clicking here.

Prices: Adults: $7.50; Children: $4.00; Seniors $2.25.  Skate rental: $6.50
Hours: December 25th – December 28th: 10 am to 11 pm, December 29th and 30th: 10 am to 10 pm, December 31st: 10 am to 7 pm, January 1st: 10 am to 9 pm
Location: 110th Street and Lexington Avenue
Nearest Subway: 2, 3 to 110th Street; C, B to 110th Street

Photo by Fred George

Photo by Fred George

Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers

The Sky Rink, at Pier 61, is open year-round, 7 days a week to skaters (novices and professionals) of all ages.  This twin rink facility is also home to the Sky Rink Skating school.  There is so much to do at Chelsea Piers.  This is well worth a visit.

Prices: Admission $10.  Skate rental: $5
Hours: Given the various programs, please click here.
Location: Pier 61, Hudson River Greenway at 23rd Street
Nearest Subway: A, C to 23rd Street

Photo by City Ice Pavilion

Photo by City Ice Pavilion

City Ice Pavilion

City Ice is a fabulous roof-top skating facility in Long Island City and is open year-round.  The “Pavilion” boasts an NHL-size rink and offers public skating and hockey programs for youths and adults.  It is also home to the City Ice Pavilion Skating School and is a favorite of people throughout the five boroughs.

Prices: Weekdays: $5; Weekends and Holidays: $8.  Skate Rental: $5
Hours: Given the various programs, please check out City Ice Pavilion’s website by clicking here.
Location: 47-32 32nd Place
Nearest Subway: 7 to 33rd Street; E, R to Queens Plaza

Photo by Riverbank State Park

Photo by Riverbank State Park

Riverbank State Park Ice Skating Rink

Riverbank State Park is in the Hamilton Heights enclave of Manhattan.  This spectacular park is a  28-acre structure that rises 69 feet above the beautiful Hudson River.  This is a state-of-the-art facility with a covered roller-skating rink that, in the winter, transforms into an ice skating rink.

Prices: Adults: $5; Children (age not specified) $3.  Skate Rental: $6
Hours: Open November through March, Fridays 6 pm to 9 pm and Saturdays and Sundays 1 pm to 4 pm and 6 pm to 9 pm.
Location: 679 Riverside Drive
Nearest Subway: A, B, C,D to 145th Street/St. Nicholas Avenue; 1 to 145th Street

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Abe Stark Rink at the Coney Island Boardwalk

The Abe Stark Rink is located right next to the famous Coney Island Boardwalk.  A hidden gem, this public skating is available on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from mid-October through late March.  Ice Hockey and Ice Skating classes are also available.

Prices: Admission: $9. Skate Rental $5
Hours: Saturdays and Sundays from 1 pm to 4 pm
Location: Coney Island Boardwalk and W. 119th Street

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

McCarren Rink

Last year when the McCarren Pool reopened, in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, the New York City Parks Department decided to install an ice-skating rink to fill the winter lull in activity.  The rink opened last month (November 2013) with 7,200 square feet of ice set up in the center of the pool area.  It is truly a beautiful sight.

Prices: Adults: $8; Students and Seniors: $5; Small Children: $4.  Skate Rental $5
Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11 am to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday 11 am to 11 pm
Location: 768 Lorimer Street
Nearest Subway: G to Nassau Avenue; L to Bedford Avenue

Photo: dbox/NYC Parks Department

Photo: dbox/NYC Parks Department

Lakeside Rink in Prospect Park

Just in time for Christmas (December 20th), the Lakeside Rink in Prospect Park opened to the public.  Prospect Park has been without an ice skating rink since the old one closed in 2010.  This $74 million project includes two rinks (one covered and one open air) and 32,000 square feet for skating.  This is the first new structure to be built in Prospect Park since the 1960s.  Be sure to stop by and check out Brooklyn’s newest gem.

Prices: Weekdays: $6; Weekends $8; Children under 12: Free.  Skate Rental $5
Hours: Monday through Thursdays: 11 am to 6:00 pm; Fridays and Saturdays: 9 am to 10 pm; Sundays 9 am to 8 pm.
Location: Use the Parkside and Ocean Avenue entrance to Prospect Park
Nearest Subway: B, Q to Parkside Avenue

Credits:
Information on the Top 11 Ice Skating Rinks in New York City – Newyork.com

Songs of Christmas

Dear Readers,

In my last post, I shared some of the beautiful decorations that can be seen throughout our City.  Today, I would like to share some of the songs that seem to put everyone in the spirit of Christmas.  After all, where would we the wonderful gift of music?

Bethlehem's ChildBefore I continue, I must tell you about an inspiring concert I attended this past Sunday, December 8th, at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Brooklyn.  For years, it has been my honor to accompany Pauline Budd, my good friend and neighbor, to this special performance; which is a mainstay in our community.   St. Mark’s Church was almost filled.  It felt as if there were more than 200 guests in attendance.  On this occasion, The Chancel Choir, under the directorship of Oscar Stephenson and accompanied by an orchestra, presented Bethlehem‘s Child with ease, elegance and amazing grace.

At the end of the performance the members of the congregation, especially Pastor, Rev. Dr. Glyger G. Beach, were justly proud.  I want to publicly thank Pauline for always including me in this experience.  The Choir is working to record their music for the future.

For now, I hope you will enjoy a few of my favorite Christmas songs:  What Child is This, by Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli, Go Tell It On The Mountain/Mary Had A Baby by Vanessa Williams and O Holy Night by Jennifer Hudson.



Enjoy the weekend and remember Christmas is almost here!

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Credits:
Mary J. Blige and Andrea Bocelli – Oprah Holiday Special
Vanessa Williams – Album Cover – Amazon.com
Jennifer Hudson – soul1music.blogspot.com
Bethlehem’s Child Cover – Sheet Music Plus
All Videos – from YouTube

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The Wonder of It All – Welcome Christmas

Dear Readers,

Happy Holidays!  It is hard to believe that in a few more weeks, it will be Christmas.  I absolutely love this time of the year.  Perhaps it is my imagination but most of the people I encounter appear to be happier, kinder and gentler.

This is also the time of the year when sparkling lights, and other decorations, seem to rule the night!  I am amazed to see how easily some of New York City’s iconic buildings are transformed.  For me, walking along and listening to all of the compliments is priceless.

With this in mind, I thought, why not do something different for today’s post?  So, I have assembled some of my favorite holiday photos from my Pinterest account to share with you.  For full disclosure some of the photos that you will see are from past years.  Other photos come from some of my favorite places outside of New York City, but the sentiment is still the same – Joy!

In case you missed the reference, Brooklyn Legends is also on Pinterest.  When you have a moment, please visit us at Brooklyn Legends on Pinterest.

Have a great day and remember to enjoy the splendor of the season.

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Photo Credits:
Central Park – Linda Stopa-Jansen via Pinterest
Godiva – etralalondon.blogspot.co.uk
New York Public Library Tree – Gary Burke via Flickr
New York Public Library Lion with wreath – Patrick Terhune
Bryant Park – theholidayshopsatbryantpark.com
Grand Central Light Show – English.people.com.cn
Grand Central – exterior – Angela via Pinterest
Bloomingdales – Jane Bert via Pinterest
The United States Capitol – ipreferparis.net
Van Cleef & Arpels – Christina Stouffer via Pinterest
Macys – Fineartamerica.com
Radio City – imgfave.com
Rockefeller Center (day) – Emily Nolan via Pinterest
Rockefeller Center (night) – indulgy.com
Tiffany & Co – Theresa Pisano Gogliormella via Pinterest
Empire State Building Lobby – media-cache-ed0.pinimg.com
A Likeness of Bo – helloonline.com
The Obama Ladies – Huffingtonpost.com
The White House Christmas Tree – Huffingtonpost.com
Dyker Heights – gonyc.about.com

Thank You President Nelson Mandela

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Dear Readers,

Brooklyn Legends joins the world in mourning the loss of President Nelson Mandela, who has been justly referred to as one of the world’s greatest sons!  It is heartwarming to read the tributes from around the world for there was a time when Nelson Mandela’s name was not always highly regarded in some circles — even here in the United States of America.

In the late 1980s, President Ronald Reagan placed President Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) on America’s official list of terrorist groups.  In 1985, then-Congressman Dick Cheney voted against a resolution that called for Mandela to be released from prison.

In 2004, after President Mandela criticized the war in Iraq, an article published in the National Review said “his (Mandela’s) vicious anti-Americanism and support for Saddam Hussein should come as no surprise, given the longstanding dedication to communism and praise for terrorists.”  As late as 2008, the ANC remained on America’s terrorism watch list.

Why is this so important to remember now?  For me the answer is simple, we should never forget that Nelson Mandela’s struggle continued long after he was released from prison.  We should watch as many will clamor to be a part of President Mandela’s funeral so that history can record their name.  We should never forget that the leaders of our own country did not always lend their voices in support of all that he was fighting to achieve for his people and his country.  How could they?  These were the same injustices that African-Americans were fighting against here in America.

Nothing was given to President Mandela.  He earned every accolade, every triumph and every reward that he received.

Thank you President Mandela for staying the course.  Rest in peace!