Saturday, December 08, 2007

4 real though

I have received inspiration for this post from several fellow bloggers – yawl know who you are. I have wanted to do this for myself; I guess another form of soul searching. So outside of the men and women in my family, these are the people that have informed, improved and assisted in proffering the disposition and molecular mass known and Torrance T. Stephens, PhD. And I would advise this as an exercise for all. For it will be fun, introspective and informative. Not to mention folk here consider himself the truth, just as these mutha fukas – yep they the truth, 4 real tough.

1] Cheikh Anta Diop (1923-1986) – I got a chance to see him before he died, and the Nile Valley Conference Meeting held at my alma marta, Morehouse College, if ever I could foster a man crush, it was with him. Got his PhD from the University of Paris, Sorbonne in 1960 in Egyptology after a nine-year struggle to do so.

I have read all of his books at least 5 times, and such may be an underestimation. The reason I rank him number one is because I read an interview conducted by the Third World Book Review. He said in essence that we as Africans in the Diaspora, for those of us who can just do one thing, do it and do it exceptionally. He said for the rare breed of folk such as he, master it all and don’t be afraid to self inculcate on new subject matter. He studied at the top physic laboratory in the country, was a paleontologist, historian, anthropologist, spoke nine languages and developed the test by which one could discern if melanin was I the bones of mummies found I archeological digs. Dr. Diop was the Director of Radiocarbon Laboratory at the Fundamental Institute of Black Africa (IFAN) at the University of Dakar. Diop’s seminal pedagogic challenges, which was irrefutable via science was that African culture and history was older than any other, and influenced the course of other cultures more than usually given credit. I took up his challenge.

2] Martin Luther King Jr. – Enough said. Not to mention he had Coretta.

3] Rube Foster (1879-1930) – Founder of the Negro Leagues (in picture). Made a way when there wasn’t one for the love of his self, his spirit and the love of sport. Didn’t hurt that he was one of the first multi millionaires of our persuasion of his era. As a pitcher and owner, his brand of baseball was solid defense good pitching and hitting. The same way I coached my Old national Pirates – from 14 to 14 yrs of age, had them from T ball to 13,14). His American Giants won all other recorded championships from 1910 through 1922. He was the founder of two things pf importance t me, the Negro Leagues and the screwball or fade-away. In fact he was paid to teach the screwball to Christy Mathewson.

4] Frantz Fanon (1925 – 1961) - In 1953, he was the Head of the Psychiatry Department at the Blida-Joinville Hospital in Algeria Here he was in charge of patient care and learned of the horrified stories of torture his patients -- both French torturers and Algerian torture victims -- told him. This was the period he penned Black Skin, White Masks (1952) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961). A pupil of the philosophical tractates of Jean Paul Sartre, he took exestentialism to the human level. BTW my favorite book by Sartre is “Being and Nothingness" (had to read it at least 8 time). Fanon developed leukemia, and The Wretched of the Earth, was completed in 10 months, and published by Jean-Paul Sartre in the year of his death. He died at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland in 1961 a year before my birth.


5] Voltaire (1694 – 1778) - My Nigga, writer extraordinaire ( the person responsible the most for my motivation to write). I love this quote "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Jones made me, me, because he was the ultimate humorist, the ultimate satirist and intellectual philosopher. Only difference was that he was an admirer of John Locke. For me his books were the shit. Candide – the optimist, Micromagus (man and geospatial analysis in the anti Alexander Pope sense if you asked me – none center of the universe), Zadig, the philosophical dictionary and his play the fanatical. Must read, again, if u asks me.

6] George Clinton – “Not just knee deep she was totally deep, when she did the freak with me” and “no head no backstage pass”. What else can I say. Oh yea, can u say FUNKY?
7] Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) - Can you say epitome of well read and riffle? Where would I be without my SKS and the 7.52 slug (full metal jacket of course, with potassium cyanide and candle wax over the top, I know TMI)?

8] Arthur Ashe (1943 - 1993) - Character and integrity, faith and truth, that’s what he defines. And last of the powerful one hand backhands, next to me, but you should have known that. My complete tennis idol. Taught me how to incorporate the game of the swed’s into mine. Shouts out to Joakim Nyström, Mats Wilander, Björn Borg, Anders Järryd, and Stefan Edberg. Long live the high looping forehand. Ashe was one of the first to speak out againts Aparthied and as result, he was excluded from the Davis Cup competition. in South Africa on March 23, 1970, because the country denied him a Visa. Add to that, his afro was tight.

9-tie] Denmark Vessey (1767 – 1822) & Nat Turner (1800 – 1831) – The essence of live free or die, and if I have to tell yawl more about folks who had their heads stuck on poles on the road leading out of town, or one who was lynched in Jerusalem, Virginia, the yawl really aint my folk Jones. But for the record, Vessey was a real man, it cost him $600.00 to buy his own freedom, a lot back in the day but he was not able to purchase the freedom of his wife and two children - Thats him in the pic with his back whipped all up. Nat, well after killing ONLY 50 white folks, they celebrated and had picnics on the Sunday of his lynching, I mean execution.

10] Sheldon Gilbert – Young cat, your folk can can learn from themm too. 32 year old CEO of Proclivity Systems. A Yale graduate. Also conducted genetic genetic research at Cornell University Medical Center and Rockefeller University. A self taught computer programer, he dropped out of the PhD program in computational genomics at New York University. His programing genious has moved beyond that of the basic Google-like searh engine. His is predictive, and analyzes the data left behind from a persons interaction on a Web site. Now a search engine that predics one future searches – that’s ingenious.

Rounding out the list: Ida B. Wells, Muhammad Ali, W.E.B. Dubois, Corretta Scott King, Paul Roberson, Pam Grier. Jack Tatum, James Vander Zee, Richard Pryor.

26 comments:

The Shadow said...

Greetings,

I always love to acquire new knowledge. I'd never heard of this brother before reading your Blog entry.

Are we a beautiful people, or what?

George Malik Al-Mahdi

Sizzle said...

i'd include: alice walker, nikki giovanni, dexter gordon, ella fitzgerald, and langston hughes. (can you tell i love jazz and writers?)

memphiz said...

your post are very insightful!!

Invisible Woman said...

Nice.

Don said...

Folk, I was running down the list thinking to myself I wonder what Torrance has to say about Ali then I get to the end and there is no Ali. I noticed he was honorable mention. Not bad.

From everything I've heard and read about Arthur Ashe, dude was a compassionate human being.

Good deal w/ Coretta. She took alot off MLK

Don said...

I know some of your readers won't like what I just said about MLK, but it's more of a praise to Coretta Scott King, if anything.

Girly_Girl said...

Totally unrelated comment:
I just read Don's (minus the bars) blog and all I have to say is...

I thought that I was your blog crush!!!

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

The shadow - and u know this, albeit Voltaire was white

Sizle - Y thank u maam. I can tell you love jazz, wonder who would be your top ten

Memphiz - thank u my beloved adopted hommie

Invisible - Thank you also

Don - yea I toyed with him or malcom X. So went with the teacher And Coretta is ( imean was te truth) And dont think folks gone get that mad, was expecting to get some flack for not placing Jesus on the list - just keeping it really real to myself

Girly - did Don hurt your feelings? LOL

Rashan Jamal said...

I'm a have to think about this one and put it down. Its hard to give props to the people that shaped you. Great post!

Don said...

No T, Saadia is saying that she thought she was YOUR blog crush.

You might want to handle that. lol.

Don said...

Good deal w/ Malcolm getting the nod over his pupil Ali.



Not too many people know Jesus.

jalishouse.wordpress.com said...

Great post.
I'll think about my list and write about them soon.

Torrance said...

Rashan - thanks, it was hard for me to narrow it down, even after eliminating relatives


Don - im slow, i didnt know folks could hav crushes on savage beast monsta, dogon priest country boys such as my self - im flatterd

girly - will u be my blog crush, with the aproval of your hubby first?

Don - aint that the truth about Jesus

Jali - im gonna make that spoken word soon

Lovebabz said...

Very illuminating your list. I think your right...we all should do this excercise. I would add Harriett Tubman--she was a badd ass Sister with a gun. Said she would have bought more slaves to freedom if she had more time to convince them they was slaves. I am going to work on my list for my new year's post.
Happy Holidays!
Love,
Babz

Mizrepresent said...

I think this is admirable and shows credence to the man that you are.

Lashawna/Superspice said...

Thank you for such a GLORIOUS post!!

SoCal Muchacha said...

Great read, Torrance. Always interesting to discover who/what has shaped someone's life. Something else I think as valuable as naming/acknowledging those who have helped shape and guide us, is to let THEM (if possible) know the important influence they have had upon on our lives.

A few years back an English lit prof of mine told me to send a paper I'd done on August Wilson to him, which I did not. Of course I assumed the last thing such an important and talented man would want would be some piddly little student sharing her thoughts with him. Now that he's gone I'll never get to know whether he would have enjoyed it, responded to it, or tossed it in the circular file. Who knows, maybe most folks feel like I did and in turn never let him know the importance of his work and how it affected so many, and that's a real shame. I know how much it has meant to me when others (especially students and/or their parents) have shared with me a way in which I made a difference to them.

Rambling done. :)

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

socal - i have never considered u to be a rambler


lashawna - y thank u hon

Miz - u know how i feel about u-wink

Lovebabz - that is insightful and show the character of such a person, she was the shit dang i missed her

MsPuddin said...

You know all the ignant things going on at my blogspot your page makes me want to go to church lol…

I always have admired Dr. King and his work…for my women’s studies class last semester I did a research project on Angela Davis, she is pretty amazing as well…

great list and accomplishments...

Miriam said...

Hi,

I am so glad to read your blog. Thanks! Wow! so much information. A lot of these great people had to deal with so much cruelty around them. Maybe I feel too much lol. Nat Turner, Voltaire...

Thanks for the lesson.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Ms Puddin - why u wanna go to church? and u did pick a great one in MLK.

miriam - Yep, Voltaire is the shit in these eyes.

Randolf said...

So, I do not actually believe it is likely to work.
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