The Toni Morrison Society recently placed a Bench by the Road in Fort-de-France, Martinique in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth Aimé Césaire. The bench placement represents one of the keystone events in the year-long celebration and commemoration of bench in Martinique, France and throughout the world.

Born in Basse-Pointe, June 26, 1913, Aimé Césaire was an early proponent of black pride, dedicating his life to the struggle against colonialism and its racial stereotypes and the fight to bring French overseas territories, including Martinique, equal status as regions of France.

The Bench by the Road Project of the Toni Morrison Society is a memorial history project established by the Society to honor an individual, place, or event that is of great importance in the history of Black people who are part of the African Diaspora. The Project was launched in 2006 on the occasion of the 75th Birthday of Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. Since 2006, the Society has placed nine benches in various locations including Sullivan's Island off the cost of South Carolina, which was the point of entry for 40 percent of enslaved Africans who came to North America, the city of Oberlin in Ohio, which was part of the Underground Railroad, and Paris, in honor of Louis Delgres, a French general and freedom fighter for Guadeloupe.

The Bench in honor of Aimé Césaire is the 10th Bench placement by the Society. As stated on the bench plaque in his honor to be unveiled on June 26th: "This Bench placed in honor of the 100th birthday of Aimé Césaire, son of Martinique and world renowned poet, playwright, author, teacher, anti-colonialist, and political leader."

"Everyone in Martinique is looking forward to the inauguration of the bench by the road dedicated to Aimé Césaire," said Muriel Wiltord, director Americas for the Martinique Promotion Bureau /CMT USA. "It is truly a great honor."

In 1935, Césaire was admitted to the prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris and was one of the principal architects of the Negritude Movement, the affirmation of a black and African Diaspora culture and heritage. Césaire's most famous poem, Cahier D'un Retour au Pays Natal, was published in 1939. From 1945 to 2001, Césaire served as Mayor of Fort- de-France and served in the French National Assembly from 1946 to 1993 as Deputy.

Césaire passed away on April 17, 2008 in Fort-de-France. In 2011, a plaque bearing his name was placed in the Pantheon of Paris, where some of France's most revered citizens are buried including Victor Hugo, Pierre and Marie Curie, Victor Shoelcher, Jean Moulin and André Malraux.

Aimé Césaire was a true champion of people of the Antilles, Africa, and the entire African diaspora. His words and his voice left a profound impression on all people, and his life serves as an inspiration to artists and activists around the world.

For more on the Bench by the Road project visit www.tonimorrisonsociety.org

For the original report go to http://www.charlestonchronicle.net/68570/2152/toni-morrison-honors-martiniques-aime-cesaire-a-towering-voice-of-the-20th-century


cuban_boxerCuba will erect a monument and a plaza to pay tribute to the deceased three-time Olympian and world champion boxer Teofilo Stevenson in the eastern province of Las Tunas according to Escambray.com. An ongoing future commemorative event Teofilo Stevenson Cup for boxing.

Lilian Rodriguez, president of the government in that territory, explained that sports and cultural events are being designed in remembrance of the athlete, who died June 11, 2012 of a sudden heart attack. According to Rodriguez, the plaza will have symbolic sculptures to represent the Olympics, plus stands and events for sports figures and the public to share experiences.

Dr. Alcides Sagarra, the former boxer’s main coach, announced that starting next year, the Teofilo Stevenson Cup will be held in Las Tunas where heavyweight boxing will be the priority. Several Cuban musicians like Pedrito Calvo and Odelquis Reve will also promote a festival in the country to honor and raise funds to help perpetuate Stevenson’s memory.

For its part, the orchestra H-Son, from Puerto Padre municipality, where Stevenson was born 60 years ago, has now decided to call itself H-Son La Pegada (The Punch), in memory of the famous boxer.

For original article, see http://en.escambray.cu/2012/cuban-province-to-honor-teofilo-stevenson/

butter_sheaThe 2012 Annual International Shea Butter Convention (ISBC) will be held at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, Georgia just outside of Atlanta. The convention center is located adjacent to the Hartsfiled-Jackson Airport. The convention which is co-sponsored by African Scientific Institute will take place on October 11-13th. .


Join the 10th Annual International Shea Butter Convention to advance international commerce and technologies to foster a self -sustainable economic engine fueled by innovative shea products. ISBC is hosted by the American Shea Butter Institute (ASBI), a biotech institute dedicated to the improvement of human health and wellbeing through basic and applied scientific research. ASBI is internationally recognized as a leader in the innovation and advancement of Shea Butter for new commercial uses and products. ASBI  co-founder and CEO is Samuel Hunter, MD, PhD, an African Scientific Institute Fellow.


ISBC is a platform dedicated to Developing the shea industry in the United States and Internationally and to the empowerment of a shea based economic engine to fuel a viable and sustainable Sub Sahara Africa. The convention is the industry’s longest running international convention of its kind and is proven and established incubator for developing and facilitating USA-Sahel Africa business relationships. ISBC is comprised of a diverse community including scientists, educators, students, change agents, entrepreneurs, and resolute explorers alike, all working together with the intention to improve & empower the shea butter value chain as a sustainable global economic engine for Sub Sahara Africa.


Conference attendees in the past have included heads of state, manufacturers, scientists, distributors, technology experts, shea entrepreneurs, dermatologists, representatives from shea cooperatives, multi-lateral institutions & NGO’s from across the world.

Register Online Now



The Slavery Abolition Memorial in the French city of Nantes opened its doors in March.  Nantes was one of France's leading slave ports and it made the city rich. But the city covered up its dark history for decades.

The city known for its art festival and its Mardi Gras-style carnival, has always boasted of its history as a great industrial city and colonial port. A collective silence covered up the fact that the prosperity of the city's great families, were built on the slave trade.

In the Spiegel Online curator Jouseau said, that for a long time there remained a "loss of memory," supported by a distorted look back at the period of the slave trade. It wasn't until the end of the 1980s that historians, organizations and local politicians began to experience a shift in thinking. The idea to firmly establish the history of slavery into the town's landscape came next. "It wasn't an easy path," Ayrault, the town mayor recalls. "But after initial resistance from reactionaries in the town, the majority of people and politicians ended up backing the plan."

The site of the memorial, the Quai de la Fosse, was the wharf where the slave ships moored before they departed for Africa. The installation comprises a sloping wall of opaque glass that cuts through the wharf's promenade, while a total of 1,710 panels laid into the sidewalk feature the names of slave ships.

In other panels quotations are engraved of black writers, activists and historical figures from diaspora.

The memorial is designed by the Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko and the American architect Julian Bonder. According to the designers the memorial is designed in a way visitors will experience the confinement felt by the slaves on board the slave ships.

According to Nantes officials the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery is unique in Europe.
Exlplore the memorial at the official website at http://memorial.nantes.fr/en/ 
Source: Afro-Europe.blogspot.com
herbiehinsideAmbassador Herbie Hancock believes what the world needs is a little jazz diplomacy. The renowned jazz pianist's first major initiative since being named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador last July is to establish International Jazz Day to be held on April 30 of every year. That date coincides with the last day of what has been celebrated as Jazz Appreciation Month in the U.S.

This year's inaugural event — organized by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in partnership with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which Hancock chairs — will include star-studded concerts in Paris, New Orleans and New York as well as jazz-related events in several dozen countries from Algeria to Uruguay.

Hancock said he had little difficulty lining up support for his proposal from the 195-member U.N. cultural organization "because so many countries have been affected in crucial ways over the years by the presence of jazz."

"Jazz has been the voice of freedom for so many countries over the past half century," Hancock said in a telephone interview ahead of Tuesday's official announcement of International Jazz Day.

"This is really about the international diplomatic aspect of jazz and how it has throughout a major part of its history been a major force in bringing people of various countries and cultures together."

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova endorsed the initiative. In a statement, she said International Jazz Day is intended to bring together people all over the world "to celebrate and learn more about the art of jazz, its roots and its impact, and to highlight its important role as a means of communication that transcends differences."

The official kick-off will be on April 27 with an all-day program at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris that will include master classes, roundtable discussions and improvisational workshops. An evening concert will feature Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, South Africa's Hugh Masekela and Brazil's Tania Maria, among others.

Hancock will begin the April 30 celebrations with a sunrise concert at New Orleans' Congo Square, the birthplace of jazz, which comes right after the first weekend of the city's Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The concert will present local jazz luminaries Terence Blanchard, Ellis Marsalis, Dr. Michael White, Kermit Ruffins and the Treme Brass Brand. Hancock plans to perform his funky standard "Watermelon Man" with high school students from around the world via an Internet link.

He then will fly to New York for a sunset all-star jazz concert for the international diplomatic corps at the U.N. General Assembly Hall to be hosted by Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas and Quincy Jones. The concert will be streamed live via the U.N. and UNESCO websites.

Its lineup already includes Hancock, Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding, Jack DeJohnette, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and Jimmy Heath. The Americans will be joined by an international cast of musicians spanning different genres, including Richard Bona (Cameroon), Hiromi Uehara (Japan), Zakir Hussain (India), Angelique Kidjo (Benin), Lang Lang (China), and Romero Lubambo (Brazil).

For Hancock, the two concerts symbolize the jazz globalization he's observed since he launched his career a half century ago.

"It's America's music, born and bred in America, that has spread its wings throughout the rest of the world," said Hancock.

As Monk Institute chairman, Hancock has seen more foreign musicians selected as finalists in its yearly competitions as well as fellows for its two-year jazz performance college program at UCLA. The fellows include guitarist Lionel Loueke from Benin, who's now a member of Hancock's quartet.

Hancock sees his latest initiative as an extension of his 2010 CD, the double Grammy-winning "The Imagine Project," a globe-trotting, genre-mixing effort that featured a United Nations of pop and world music stars from 10 countries.

"I'm really excited about International Jazz Day because so many artists from various countries and genres have a connection to jazz and will be able to honor this music that has had a profound effect on them," Hancock said.

"I hope that this day spreads the joy of spontaneous creation that exists in this music," he said. "My feeling is that jazz will be getting its just due."

Source: The Associated Press.


Supporters of a national historical park honoring Harriet Tubman gathered in Washington D.C. last month for "Harriet on the Hill Day," where they advocated for the bill's passage. Efforts to get a national historical park honoring Tubman have heated up in recent months in communities in Maryland. Last June, Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, visited the Tubman Home in Auburn. Supporters of the park want Hanna to sponsor the Tubman national historical park legislation in the House. Last month, U.S. Sen. Gillibrand visited the Tubman Home and not only pushed for a national historical park, but said that she hopes the Tubman Home can get federal funding to help build an interpretive center across the street. Gillibrand co-sponsors the Tubman park legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Source: AuburnPub.com

Harriet Tubman was one of the most courageous and selfless heroes in American history. She lived the last 50 years of her life in Auburn, NY raising funds to continue her trips to Maryland on the Underground Railroad to bring freedom seekers North, served as a nurse and spy during the Civil War, worked steadfastly for Abolition of Slavery and Women's Rights, and ran a home for elderly and indigent African Americans. In a raid up the Combahee River in South Caroline in 1863, she lead a mission which freed over 750 slaves. She is the only woman in American military history to conceive and conduct such a raid. 2013 will be the Centennial of Harriet Tubman's death. The national recognition she so richly deserves is long overdue.                                          


To sign petition:  www.change.org/harriett_tub_homepetitions/harriet-tubman-national-historical-parks-act

Petitioning: United States Congress
Created by Laurel Ullyette
Auburn, New York 



Bahama_cruiseStraw vendors in the Berry Islands argue that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines’ (RCCL) newly opened signature store on its private island is on course to sink the island’s economy — with revenue slashes of 75 percent projected. Spokesperson for the Coco Cay vendors, Mary Neely-Knowles, said the straw vendors stationed on the private site simply cannot compete with the resources of the mega cruise company.  It’s a fear she said is already manifesting on the island, even though the new signature/logo store has only been opened for roughly two weeks.

“We are selling T-shirts with the Coco Cay logo on it and they are selling T-shirts with the Coco Cay logo on it and Royal Caribbean . . . their t-shirts are $10, ours is $18,” she told Guardian Business yesterday. “And we can’t sell any lower [because] most of our T-shirts come from the States or Nassau [where] they start from $7 to $8, so you have to sell $15. “So why do they need to sell the same straw items, the hats, T-shirts, lotion, sunglasses and things that we are selling? We can’t compete.”

African_Union_flag_bakground_700Addis Ababa - In accordance with the provisions of  Article 29 (1) and (2) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union with respect to the process of  accession to  the Constitutive Act  and admission as a Member State of the Union, and following a request  by the Republic of South Sudan to become part of the African Union  family of Member States, the Commission has received the requisite number of written communications supporting the admission of South Sudan to the African Union as the 54th AU Member State.

A ceremony will be organised as soon as possible with the Chairperson of the AU Commission for the deposit by the Government of South Sudan of the instrument of accession of the Constitutive Act of the African Union. A communication has already been sent to the Republic of the South Sudan, all Member States, Permanent Observers and International Organisations informing them of the membership of South Sudan in the African Union.

It is worth recalling that according to Article 29 (2) of the Constitutive Act of the AU relating to the process of acceptance of a country to become an AU Member State, the Chairperson of the Commission, upon receipt of a notification from the country to that effect, transmits copies of the notice to all Member States. Admission is decided by a simple majority of the Member States.  Meanwhile, the decision of each Member State is transmitted to the Chairperson of the Commission, who shall upon receipt of the required number of votes communicate the decision to the State concerned.

It is in this regard that the Commission has the honour to inform the esteemed Ministry of Foreign Affairs that it has received the requisite number of communications from 33 Member States including the Government of The Sudan, more than the required simple majority of Member States, in support of the admission of South Sudan to the African Union, thus making South Sudan the 54th member of the Union.

Source: Africa Union

Photo: African Union Flag

HAVANA, Cuba – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and internationally acclaimed actor Danny Glover visited Havana last week to attend the opening session of the regional workshop entitled ‘Cuba and the Afro-Descendant Peoples of the Americas’.

glover_conferenceThe UNICEF-supported event was organized by the Juan Marinello Cuban Institute for Cultural Research in connection with the International Year for People of African Descent.

A memorable gathering

Upon arrival to Havana, Mr. Glover visited the National Folklore Ensemble, where he witnessed a music and dance workshop established with boys, girls and adolescents to help preserve their African inheritance.

“The work is extraordinary, wonderful. It’s what many cultural institutions in the world should do,” Mr. Glover said. “As a Goodwill Ambassador, I must say that I feel proud that UNICEF supports this type of initiative. We cannot talk about the transformations that are taking place in Latin America without regard for the African influence.”

During his trip, Mr. Glover and the other members of the delegation were met at the headquarters of ‘La Colmenita’ by company director Carlos Alberto “Tin” Cremata, and given an impromptu performance by members of the troupe.

cuban_ladiesUNICEF Permanent Representative in Cuba José Juan Ortiz Brú welcomed the workshop participants and thanked them for their advocacy efforts in support of the rights of Afro-descendants and excluded populations.

“It is a real privilege that Danny Glover and James Early are here with us, once again, in the process of reasserting the values of African culture in Cuba, Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Mr. Ortiz Brú.

Iowa’s Drake University Bulldogs and Mexico’s CONADEIP All-Star to make sporting history

african_footballThe sport of American Football will be played for the first time ever on the African continent in May of 2011 at the inaugural Global Kilimanjaro Bowl. The town of Moshi in Tanzania will host the historic game between the Iowa’s Drake University Bulldogs and an all-star team from Mexico, the CONADEIP all-stars representing the CONADEIP Conference on Saturday, May 21, 2011 under the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. Texas-based Global Football will organize the Global Kilimanjaro Bowl where in addition to competing on the football field, Drake University and the CONADEIP all-stars will undertake a series of projects to benefit the local community and enjoy a cultural experience.

Players and coaches from both teams will climb the imposing 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro - the tallest mountain in Africa! The two teams will ascend Kilimanjaro by different routes, culminating their climbs by meeting at the summit and hoisting their respective university and national flags in a moment sure to be captured by media worldwide and celebrated by everyone connected with these teams and their universities.

MikeBloombergNEW YORK (August , 2010) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,  once again welcomed hundreds of influencers in New York's Caribbean-American community to his official residence on Thursday, August 12 to kick-off celebrations for the 43rd West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA) Labor Day Parade.

The 2010 Carnival festival, which each year attracts millions of revelers and spectators to Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway on Labor Day Monday, will be held from September 2 to 6, starting with a benefit concert for Haiti on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum on Thursday, September 2.


The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) joins in the excitement of the Scotiabank Caribana Festival and presents From the Soul: Caribana Art Exhibit, July 23 to August 13, 2010, Canada’s largest ever single juried display of works of art by African Canadian artists. Curated by renowned African Canadian artist and activist, Joan Butterfield, the exhibition is produced by the Association of African Canadian Artists, in conjunction with Scotiabank Caribana and the ROM. From the Soul will be on display in the Museum’s Bronfman Hall, Level 2 during the citywide festival, which takes place from July 15 to August 13, 2010.



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