Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Black History Month - Dennis Brown's birthday


The wind and the imagination can travel far and wide at no cost. (Ethiopia)

1957 – Reggae singer Dennis Brown was born.

Dennis Brown was one of the major stars of lover’s rock. Bob Marley said Brown was his favourite singer and titled him “The Crown Prince of Reggae”. He inspired reggae singers like Barrington Levy, Junior Reid, Luciano, and Richie Stephens.

He grew up in a tenement yard between North Street and King Street, and attended Central Branch Primary School. The first time he performed in public was at an end of term concert at his school, and he used to hang out at a record store on Orange Street where people would give him small change to hear him sing. His career started when he was eleven years old. As a young man, he was infliuenced by musicians like Delroy Wilson. Ken Boothe, and Bob Andy. He recorded about thirty songs for the great Clement “Coxsone: Dodd. Brown at Studio One, and worked as back up singer for other artistes like Alton Ellis. He went on to record for other producers such as Prince Buster, Derrick Harriott, and Joe Gibbs. Overall, he recorded more than 75 albums.

Brown's 1994 album Light My Fire was nominated for a Grammy Award, as was the last album recorded by Brown, Let Me Be the One (in 2001).

Also on this day in:

1960 – Four black college students began a series of sit-ins at a white-only lunch counter in Woolworth’s, Greensboro, N.C.

Four Black American students sat at a segregated lunch counter at Woolworth’s in North Carolina. The store had chairs and stools for the whites, but the Blacks had to stand to eat. I can vouch for that because I experienced this treatment in Miami in May 1960. A Miami restaurant refused to serve me and my aunts, and a janitor whispered to us that they were sending for the police to evict us. We went to a nearby Woolworth’s cafeteria, and were sent to the back of the store where there were no chairs or stools.

At the Woolworth’s in Greensboro, the four students were refused service, but they were allowed to stay at the counter. The manager of the store told his staff to let them alone, hoping they would just leave when they were not being served. Then he was afraid that violence would result, and he sent for the police. He didn’t have the students arrested, but he had policemen stationed at his store.

Next morning the students turned up again with 23 other men and 4 women. By
Feb 5, the size of the sit in had grown to 300. Ultimately, threats of violence from whites and a bomb scare forced the protestors out of that store.

That sit in sparked a massive movement and was a hall mark of the
American civil rights movement.

1965 - Demonstration in Selma, Alabama ended in 700 arrests as Blacks demonstrated against the state's voter registration requirements

No comments:


When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it. (Proverb from Rwanda and Burundi)

Welcome to this space where we can talk about proverbs that we can relate to (or not), and proverbs that make sense to us (or not). Most of all we can discuss how proverbs make us think about life and living. We can also share experiences of proverbs that have provided us with lifelines or just the chance to reflect.

Some of the proverbs here may also be found in "Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs", published by Random House and authored by Askhari Johnson Hodari and me. The foreword is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

One of the unique features of our book is that we arranged the proverbs according to life cycle, in sections including, Birth, Childhood, Love, Marriage, and Intimacy, Challenge, and Death.

For more proverbs and for information on Lifelines: the Black Book of Proverbs, please visit us at