Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The 87th Annual Bronzeville Veterans Day Parade 2013

Video by Aki Antonia ©2013
The sound of the drums are always so intoxicating…. 
There is absolutely no way that I can hear the drums of a parade pass by ... without me wanting to go… 
to see what the parade is for…
Next thing you know, I'm marching right along… all the way to the Victory Monument on 35th and King Drive 
for the 87th Annual Veterans Day Parade in Bronzeville 2013. Let's gO! Left, Left, Left, Right, Left!

The Star Spangled Banner - Take 6.
Video by Aki Antonia ©2013
(Click on the video to see the Parade 
and to hear the National Anthem by Take 6)

(BAB) The 87th Annual Veterans Day Parade in Bronzeville was presented by The Chicago Defender Charities Inc. and was led by Col. Eugene Scott. This year's presentation sponsors and supporters included The Giles Post #87 and State Farm Insurance.
Students from  a variety of Chicago Public Schools JROTC units gave an excellent presentation during the parade and a rousing sound off and taps at the ceremony at Victory Monument  on 35th and King Drive.

 Veterans salute as taps are played at the Victory Monument ceremony. 
2nd Ward Alderman,  Bob Fioretti speaks at the Veterans Day ceremony.
3rd Ward Alderman, Pat Dowell speaks at the Veterans Day ceremony.

Veterans, The National Guard, Aldermen and Dignitaries including the Consulate General of France-Chicago gave presentations during this very poignant  ceremony honoring our veterans. 
4th Ward Alderman, Will Burns speaks at the Veterans Day ceremony.
Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle speaks at the Veterans Day ceremony.

Presenters included Col. Eugene F. Scott, Veteran, Rochelle Crump, Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, 2nd Ward Alderman, Bob Fioretti, 3rd Ward Alderman, Pat Dowell, 4th Ward Alderman, Will Burns and the Consulate General  of France-Chicago, Graham Paul who took a  touching moment to thank the African-American soldiers for their service in battles against France during the war.
A poem was read by Beverly Reed Scott and the National Anthem was sung by Trooper, Rick Murray.

The uniqueness of this 87th Annual Veterans Parade in Bronzeville is that this parade pays special attention to the African-American soldiers, who have always played a unique role in service to our country, even while they had to battle for their own rights at home as American citizens. 
At this parade there is usually representation from the African-American regiments of the military including the Buffalo Soldiers on horses…. and in the past I have met one of the actual  Tuskegee Airmen, who are also known as The Red Tails.

The ceremony is held at The Victory Monument on 35th and Martin Luther King Drive. The monument was erected by the people of Illinois in memory of the African-American soldiers who died in France from the 8th Infantry of the Illinois National Guard during World War I.
The Victory Monument
The Victory Monument was dedicated November 11, 1928 on Armistice Day. The bronze panels surrounding the base of the monument were sculpted by Leonard Crunelle, as well as the soldier standing on the top of the monument later added in 1936. 

The monument was erected by the people of Illinois in memory of the African-American soldiers who died in France from the 8th Infantry of the Illinois National Guard during World War I which was reorganized as the 370th Infantry of the 93rd Division of the United States Army.

I have passed by this statue many times in the course of my comings and goings in Bronzeville…but on  Veterans Day I am  reminded that this is no ordinary statute. 
This is the  Victory Monument!
Just to see the parade march down the majestic Boulevard of Martin Luther King Drive….. with its trees changing colors, the drums and flags waving…… and the students' precise performance is always very moving to me. 

Welcome to the 87th Annual Veterans Day Parade in Bronzeville!

As the rain trickled down and taps were played…  
and the Star Spangled Banner was sung acapella by Trooper Rick Murray in a deep rich voice….  
We stood in reverence for our veterans at the Victory Mounument at the 87th Annual Veterans Day Parade ceremony in Bronzeville. 
Some of us brushed away the tears as we remembered our loved ones who have served in the military for our freedom. 
As performer, Lupe Fiasco says " Freedom 'aint  Free 'round my way"… 
We need to remember that everyday…. but particularly on  Veteran's Day. 
To many of us, our freedoms are taken for granted and war is an abstract concept … 
a late night  black & white movie about combat 
in a distant land….. in another time, 
but as I looked around… I saw veterans from wars across time…
from the Buffalo Soldiers riding horses..
to a man wearing a jacket with Iraq and Kuwait on the back.
There were even students in the military uniforms of the Revolutionary War.
When Cook County  Board President, Toni Preckwinkle spoke, 
she reminded us of the importance of one of the wars that affected many of us. 
She spoke on the importance of what had happened right here in   America's history in regards to the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. 
She spoke about how this war and its outcome had a life changing effect on the nation and the world.
In light of this…I am including a few excerpts from a Proclamation that we may often point to….
but do we know what it actually says?

The Emancipation Proclamation

January 1, 1863

A Transcription
By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.
Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; 

and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth, and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN 
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.
All photos and video by Aki Antonia © 2013
111113 Post by Aki Antonia © 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

DuSable Museum A.W.E. is rocking….on November 8, 2013

To enlarge the image  pop the link!

at the
DuSable Museum
740 East 56th Place
773 947-0600

Friday, November 8, 2013

For more info go to:
DuSable Museum

Thursday, October 3, 2013

AFROFUTURISM book signing at Red KIVA.... A Portal N2 the Future...tonite! 10-3-2013

Celebrate the launch of the book 

Thursday, October 3, 2013
1108 W Randolph

"Meet fellow Afrofuturists, SF fans, futurists, book lovers, blerds, geeks, 
those who want a better world and more . Sci Fi/Superhero costumes, cosplay & nerd chic welcome (not required of course). 
Author Ytasha L. Womack is hosting and signing books, too. 
Come get your autographed copy and fly into the future!"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Andrew Dosunmu's MOTHER OF GEORGE ends Thursday October 3! Gene Siskel Film Center

"A lavish and exuberantly colorful wedding in Brooklyn’s Yoruba community unites restaurant-owner Ayodele (De Bankolé) and beautiful new arrival from Nigeria, Adenike (Gurira), but all is not well. 

Director Dosunmu, a former creative director for Yves Saint Laurent, brings visual bravado and striking styling to this tale of a fledgling marriage threatened by the bride’s failure to conceive, and her imperious mother-in-law’s secret and potentially scandalous plan for producing the all-important heir. 

Starring Isaach De Bankolé (CASINO ROYALE) and Danai Gurira (AMC's The Walking Dead), the film's eye-popping colors and striking widescreen compositions earned Director of Photography Bradford Young the Best Cinematography award at Sundance." -Source- The Gene Siskel Film Center
Actor and producer Tony Okungbowa was present for Q&A following the 3:00 show on Saturday.

For more information and showtimes on 
Mother of George
 go to the Gene Siskel Film Center website at:

Remaining dates:
Tue, Oct 1st at 6:00pm    
Tue, Oct 1st at 8:00pm
Wed, Oct 2nd at 6:00pm
Wed, Oct 2nd at 8:00pm
Thu, Oct 3rd at 6:00pm
Thu, Oct 3rd at 8:15pm

Friday, September 6, 2013

Maleness to Manhood Opens tonite 6PM at South Side Community Art Center

"A visual response by noted male artists of color to the ongoing violence and  multilayered crisis facing young Black  men in our community."

Opening Reception September 6, 
6 - 9 pm
Exhibit - September 6 - October 5, 2013
The Southside Community Art Center
3831 S Michigan
Chicago, Illinois
773 373-1026
To enlarge the photo, click on the image.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Africobra - Behind The Canvas at The DuSable

In “Behind the Canvas,” Dr. Carol Adams, cultural arts expert and CEO of the DuSable Museum, leads a discussion with members and protégés of the AfriCOBRA collective about the inspirations behind their incomparable and emotive masterpieces.
Panel members will include:

Rahmaan Statik Barnes
Napoleon Jones-Henderson
Dayo Laoye
Nelson Stevens
Raymond Thomas 

This is a FREE event. For more information, call 773-947-0600 ext. 254.
Source- DuSable Museum

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Art..Flow...and Impact N2 the Next Dimension..Africobra In Chicago at the DuSable Museum

Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free… by Carolyn Lawrence
From the moment I read the words in this  most colorful painting…
Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free… 
I could hear the drum  beating out the ritmos...
Rhythms of freedom…with colors bouncing out the flow of happy thoughts….and energy....

Can a painting change your mind? 
Can it give you hope like good song on the radio… does?  
Can a painting make you want to dance to a happy  funky beat? 
I think so. 
I could feel the drummer in this painting by Carolyn Lawrence...
From the moment I read the words in this  most colorful painting…
Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free… 
I could hear the drum  beating out the
Rhythms of freedom…
with colors bouncing beats into a flow of sound….
Flowing in a African 6/4 time…
Do da Dat Doo Dat Da!…..
Do da Dat Doo Dat Da!
I could almost hear vocals being sung by Maya Angelou in a prose…voice…
Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free… 
Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free…
Black Children Keep Your Spirits Free…

AFRICOBRA Artist talk...at the DuSable Museum tonite!

Thursday, August 8, 2013
7:00pm – 9:00pm

In this gallery talk, Arlene “Arty” Crawford, the curator of 

AFRICOBRA: Art and Impact, highlights featured masterpieces in the exhibition and discusses the members of the AfriCOBRA collective in Chicago and the subsequent incarnations of the group as it began to move beyond Chicago to the rest of the United States. 

Arlene is a practicing visual artist with a commitment to community and activism. She is an Executive Board member of the African American Arts Alliance and a founding member of the Sutherland Community Arts Initiative and Sapphire & Crystals, a collective of African American women artists.

AFRICOBRA: Art and Impact explores works produced by the artist collective AFRICOBRA, formed in 1968 on the South Side of Chicago. Still in existence today, AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists) worked to make African-American art something unique in society, using different techniques to display aspects of blackness in their artwork.  
Source-DuSable Museum

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hot Fun In the Summertime!

At the… Celebrate Hyde Park Festival
on this previous weekend on 53rd St.....in Hyde Park
I saw a whole...lotta 'Nachals moving & grooving...at the the fest…..
It was all Retro/Nuevo like a good Coffy movie… 
and I was loving every second of it...
'Minded me ..of me.. being back in the Future…
Oops... Black to the Future … 
Sistas were looking all Umm-GAWA BLACK POWER…
Like they just stepped out of a magazine... 
Go on with 'cho BAAAAD Self…Sista!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Perfect Summer Day In Bronzeville...

This weekend in Bronzeville was off 2 a flow….Finally… 
I was looking out on Muddy Waters Drive… just chilaxing..
The orange day lilies and yellow daffodils had finally bloomed 
and I was into my  Zen…

Bronzeville is always beautiful in summer… 
With its stately Greystone  Mansions and the older trees moving gently in the breeze…. 
There are pots of flowers on many of the porches...
There's always the sound of some music as a car flows down the boulevards…
bumping some hip hop…or playing some smooth jazz... 

Somewhere  you can hear the the hum of a mower…… 
and smell the fresh  aroma of grass being cut… 

In Bronzeville ... in Chi-town... as the weekends morph into holidays….   
there's  always the smell of some Bar-B-Q  being cooked  somewhere…
on someone's grill ..all day.

On this Saturday morn…of 6-29-2013
I was walking my dog … my crazed ...Jack Russell Terrier who is "all that" …. 
All of a 35 lb.  combination of 'Marmaduke and Killer'…(at least in his mind) 
who was pulling at his leash…
and sniffing out all the spots  to leave his territorial mark on Bronzeville's dogworld….
We walked and chugged along as I picked up the trash from
Bronzeville's  most beautiful acreage...  
The lots…the lots that I call the Lord's Gardens…
These Summer days
When the summer rolls in, these dirt and rock filled vacant lots sprinkled throughout Bronzeville revert back to their  'Checagou' roots' transforming  them into prairies of wildflowers and weeds….

And to add to  the excitement of it all…in these summer days of 2013…. 
right here in my urban neighborhood….  
I've seen raccoons and possums and rabbits!.. Oh my!

Lately…these prairie gardens have become so lush with vegetation and undomesticated creatures darting in and out that… sometimes…. 
in my mind.... I feel like I'm on a Bronzevillian Serengeti.

   I was into my Zen… 
          my Native American mindset of being one with Mother Earth… 
of seeing green... 
and being at peace with the Earth…
It is a mindset that I pull from 
my African-American and Native American spirit...
 or  what I call my my Afro-Mestizo  生Life示Spirit…. 
I was into my celebration and appreciation of Mother Earth...
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. 
So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. 

Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother. 

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. 

If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. 

All of  a sudden ….as I was looking on Muddy Waters Drive….(43rd St.)
I heard the music  jumping 
and I knew they were rolling….
Here they came… 
It was the  bikers rolling on….The  Historic Bronzeville  Bike Tour*….

(*The  Historic Bronzeville  Bike Tour is an annual bike tour through  the Bronzeville neighborhood sponsored by the Bronzeville Area Residents and Commerce Council (BARCC).
The tour of 2013 marked their 10th Annual tour of Bronzeville.

This year's tour highlights included the  Bronzeville Information Center (BVIC), 
the home of  trumpeter, 'Satchmo' Louis Armstrong home, 
the Nat King Cole home, 
Chess Records/Blues Heaven,
The Forum Building
the Quinn Chapel AME Church, 
the Grichard Gallery ,
the Dawson/Hybrid Garden,
Chicago's Chicken  & Waffles
Munchies/ Mississippi Rick's  
and the Welcome Inn B&B

A historical marker  notes the  home of  singer, pianist, Nat King Cole.
The  home of  singer, pianist, Nat King Cole at  4023 S Vincennes.
A historical marker notes the home of trumpeter and Jazz Ambassador, 
'Satchmo' Louis Armstrong.
The home of trumpeter and Jazz Ambassador, 
'Satchmo' Louis Armstrong 
at 421 East 44th St. in Bronzeville, Chicago.

And the bikers were rolling....

They were rolling down 43rd St.  a.k.a. Muddy Waters Drive….
 Down to where the two streets that intersect are named after two great Black men! ....
 Bluseman,  Muddy Waters and Nobel Peace Prize winner,  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
So... I got my Mojo working.... 
and decided to join the roll through Bronzeville on the Historic Bike Tour!
The bikers were rolling on... to  43rd and Calumet to  the new art  installation  on at the Forum building and beyond….
And as they were rolling by, I decided that I had to roll out ...to catch up with them…

What an amazing experience it was.... just to roll through my neighborhood... 
and to see it with fresh eyes…
On this tour...to roll down the streets of Bronzevillle was simply an exquisite experience! 

To see… 
To see... the older elegant architecture of Grand Boulevard 
(King Drive), Oakwood Boulevard and Michigan Avenue 
mixed with newly restored, rehabbed and new homes, 
is like seeing the community come out a long winter sleep....

To see... the transformative spirit of lawns  and landscaping and flowers and freshly cut grass as opposed to weeds, is like a breath of fresh air for a community that has been kept littered and unkempt for  far too long....

To meet...
It was interesting to meet  some of Bronzeville's old and new residents....its stakeholders
To hear.. about the struggles of homeowners and elders who have spent their years growing up in Bronzeville and to learn about how they view its present and future..

To hear ...about the historic vision of those who blazed the trail in Bronzeville…
during the Great Migration of African Americans to Chicago.. and beyond..
To hear....about the businessmen and women who invested in this Historic Black Metropolis..

To stop in  at some of  Bronzeville's  established and new businesses and to meet their business owners.... 
To meet  a variety people from many  diverse cultures and ages who have moved here to be a part of Bronzeville's future..

To stop... and see the new gardens in Bronzeville... 

To take a look ...at the rehab work that  many homeowners have done... 

To learn about...  Bronzeville's  Musicians,  Artists and Cultural messengers...
To see the Bronzeville Walk of Fame 

To get a sense of ...Bronzeville's rich history  and  a glimpse into Bronzeville's future ....
All photographs and video by Aki Antonia c2013