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No Nonsense Telling It Like It Is- Black History Month Facts- Today In History

On today, February 18, 1931, Chloe Ardelia Wofford was born.  We have come to know and love her as author, Toni Morrison! Toni was born in Lorain, Ohio.  At the age of 12 she became a Catholic and received the baptismal name “Anthony” which was turned into the nickname Toni.

Toni loved to read as a child and her father told her many folk stories that later influenced her writing.  She graduated from Howard University with a B.A. in English in 1953 and received a Master of Arts Degree in English from Cornell University in 1955.  While attending Howard University, Toni began writing fiction with an informal group of writers and poets.  She developed her first novel The Bluest Eye during this group.

In 1958 she married Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect and they had two sons.  Their marriage ended in divorce.  After her divorce, Toni became a textbook editor in Syracuse, New York and later moved to New York City to work as an editor for Random House.  During this time, she also taught at Yale University and Bard College.

Toni is best-known for her novels SulaSong of SolomonTar Baby and Beloved

  • Sula was nominated for the National Book Award
  • Song of Solomon won the National Book Critics Circle Award
  • Beloved won the Pullitzer Prize for Fiction and the American Book Award
  • In 1993 Morrison received the Nobel Prize in Literature
  • In 1996 Morrison was selected for the Jefferson Lecture by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities
  • In 1998 Beloved was adapted into the film Beloved starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover
  • In 2006 The New York Times Book Review named Beloved the best American novel published in the previous 25 years
  • In 2012 Morrison received the Presidential Medal of Freedom


Over the years, Morrison taught English at State University of New York and Rutgers University, New Brunswick Campus.  She was also the Robert F. Goheen chairwoman in the humanities at Princeton University.  Toni has also written children’s books and published the novel Home in 2012.

We honor Toni Morrison for her creativity and imagination.  We commend her courage for exploring what others may see as taboo topics.  She is truly a renaissance woman and writer!




Written By

Cynthia Rogers


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Categorized as Blog Topics, What You May Not Know

Serving Life By Default

U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, “The history of felony disenfranchisement dates to a time when these policies were employed not to improve public safety, but purely as punitive measures intended to stigmatize, shame and shut out a person who had been found guilty of a crime.”

United States Attorney General Eric Holder

What a poignant statement for the United States Attorney General to make.  The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights was held at the Law Center of Georgetown University this year.  U. S. Attorney General Holder used it as a stage to enlighten the participants of a mere fragment of the obstacles faced by the formerly incarcerated individuals in the United States of America.  His comments reverberated across the nation as a result of it.

An estimated 5.8 million Americans are disenfranchised because of restrictive laws directed at individuals AFTER they have paid their debt to society (Refer to Debt paid to society….Or is it? A previous blog on this site).  Of the aforementioned number of disenfranchised individuals 2.2 million of them are African Americans.  Holder said, “Although well over a century has passed since post-reconstruction states used these measures to strip African Americans of their most fundamental rights, the impact of felony disenfranchisement on modern communities of color remains both disproportionate and unacceptable.”

Let’s delve a little deeper if you will.  The State of Florida is home to 1.54 million of disenfranchised individuals.  Yes, one state is home to a quarter of the nations disenfranchised individuals.  What’s worse is they are basically barred for LIFE pending clemency from the sitting Governor.  The majority of the other states (excluding Iowa and Kentucky) have variations of the law that grants Civil Rights Restoration after certain portions of their sentence is completed e.g. probation, parole and restitution.  Yet, in Florida which has a major role in most Presidential elections 10% of the voting population is ineligible to vote regardless of what they have done since release to rehabilitate themselves and contribute to society.

This issue isn’t a black or white issue nor is it a political party affiliation issue.  Several Democratic and Republican leaders have weighed in on this issue proving that including but not limited to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

“These restrictions are not only unnecessary and unjust, they are also counterproductive.  By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, the laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes,” Holder said.


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Categorized as Blog Topics, Empowerment Issues & Politics, Blog Topics, News and Current events, Blog Topics, What Do You Think, Blog Topics, What You May Not Know

No Nonsense Telling It Like It Is- Black History Month Facts- Today in History

Today, February 17, 1942, Huey Percy Newton was born.  Later in life he would be recognized to the world as a co-founder of the Black Panther Party For Self Defense.  Known to many as the Black Panther Party!






Newton was born in Monroe, Louisiana but his parents moved their family to Oakland, California in 1945.  He graduated from high school without being able to read and later taught himself to read.  Newton attended Merritt College in Oakland and supported himself by robbing homes.  While in college he became involved in politics and became a member of Phi Beta Sigma.

During this time Newton met Bobby Seale and they co-founded the Black Panter Party for Self Defense in 1966.  Seale was chairman and Newton was minister of defense.  The party spurred the Black Power movement during the 1960s and 1970s.  Their political format was based upon better education for African Americans, jobs and housing.  They believed violence or the intimidation of violence, could bring about social change.

While some believed the party to perpetuate violence, the Black Panthers started several social programs in Oakland including the Free Breakfast For Children Program and founded the Oakland Community School.

Unfortunately, Newton was accused of embezzling $600,000 of state aid from the school in 1982.  At this time, Newton ended The Black Panther Party.  The charges were dropped in 1989 after Newton plead no contest to cashing a $15,000 state check for personal use.  He was sentenced to six months in jail and 18 months probation.

Violence surrounded Newton’s life from a young age.  It was rumored during his lifetime he killed or ordered the assasinations of many. Ironically, Newton was shot and died in 1989 in West Oakland by Tyrone Robinson, a drug dealer and Black Guerrilla Family member.  This time police evidence concluded Newton was unarmed disputing Robinson’s claim that Newton pulled a gun on him.  Robinson was sentenced in 1991 to 32 years in prison.

Newton’s last words he spoke before he was shot twice in the face were  ”You can kill my body, and you can take my life but you can never kill my soul.  My soul will live forever!”

Despite a violent past, Huey Newton, changed the face of a nation inspiring Black Power and Black Pride!


Written By

Cynthia Rogers

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Categorized as Blog Topics, What You May Not Know

All I Really Want is to be Happy!

How to Live a Happy Lifestyle

5 steps to Living a Happy Life

Don’t let people get to you. If someone says something mean to you or one of your friends, just let it go. You shouldn’t get yourself down over something said to you. You can be anyone you want to be, no matter who says what!

Do the things you love. If you like skateboarding, then skateboard. If your passion is painting, then paint. The most important thing in your life is you.

Remember your duties. It’s important to keep up with your busy schedule, but don’t let your obligations bum you out. Sticking to a routine will lower stress.

Spend time with your family and friends. These are the people who get you through the day, so don’t shut them out. Without them, you wouldn’t have many people to talk to!

Look on the bright side of life. If things aren’t going too smoothly, try to find a positive about the situation. There’s almost always something good to look forward to!

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Categorized as Blog Topics, Empowerment Issues & Politics, Blog Topics, Homelife and Family, Blog Topics, What Do You Think, Blog Topics, What You May Not Know

Your Life May Be Too Much

As I raise my two children single-handedly, I have always wondered how much of my life (in detail) will I give when they ask? Will I honestly answer questions about my past? Or will I only provide the sides that I want my children to know. For many years I have been an open book to the teens that I have mentored; revealing my human side, allowing them to speak about any and every topic that crossed their inquisitive minds; giving answers that were true and often blunt at times. I always thought, they aren’t connected biologically and after all I am here to give my guidance and experience to the degree that I choose. So, why would I waver when expressing the same to my children?

So, my 13-year-old daughter asked me if I had a certain experience in my life; and my answer was yes. Before answering I knew this information would shock my daughter, confuse her or even change the way she sees me from that moment on. She ultimately wanted to know if I had ever experienced an….abortion.

After hearing her words, I felt a drop in the pit of my stomach. For the first time, “candid Tiff” was stifled, not knowing how honest I should be at this point or if I should refuse to answer the question altogether. I chose to be honest, allowing this conversation to be a teachable moment. I looked her in her eyes and silence came over me before I spoke the answer, “Yes.”

Her eyes widened, the look of shock washed over her face and with a resounding, “Ma, you did?!” rang my ears. At that point, the “secret” was out, the cat was out of the bag and the storm had stirred. She was only the third person that I had ever told. I’d held this secret in my soul for a decade.

We spoke of when it happened, how it happens and most of all, why I made this decision. She was concerned, spoke about losing a sibling but saying she loves the little brother she has.  She told me that she was glad I was okay but she never would have guessed I would have gone through such an ordeal. I reminded her of my “human” status although I wear multiple hats daily.

After we talked, she hugged me and thanked me for being honest, mentioning that it helped her see things different. She said, “I feel better now.” My daughter’s “feel good” moment helped me face a hidden secret that I have held for years. Weight lifted….lesson learned…..Next question.

Tiff’s Editing Cafe



Categorized as Blog Topics, What Do You Think