Category Archives: African American History


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced that it will award up to $1 million in emergency grants to preserve humanities collections and help restore operations at libraries, museums, colleges, universities, and other cultural and historical institutions affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
Cultural institutions in FEMA-designated disaster areas can apply directly to NEH for streamlined emergency grants of up to $30,000 through the agency’s website. This special Chairman’s Emergency Grant opportunity will be open until December 31, 2017.
With significant support from NEH, Humanities Texas will also award fast-trackHurricane Recovery Grants to cultural and historical institutions in Texas that suffered damage and losses as a result of Hurricane Harvey. Requests of up to $3,000 will be reviewed within ten business days and awarded quickly. Larger grants are also possible. Eligible costs include cleanup, conservation, rental of temporary meeting space, and basic institutional and operational costs, such as purchasing equipment and replacing inventory, shelving, and roofing. Please see the Humanities Texas website for information on eligibility and instructions on how to apply:

Houston League sets up Harvey Care Fund, requests donations

Responding to the devastation of the epic and historic Hurricane Harvey, the Houston League of BUsiness and Professional Women, Inc in collaboration with The Houston Sun has established a three tier HLBPW Harvey Care Initiative. To that end, the Houston League during the conference call explored the following:

  1. Ways to Support and Engage is Hurricane Harvey Welfare, Safety, and Care Actions
  2. Establish an Official Fundraiser Process for Hurricane Harvey Donations
  3. Collection and Delivery of Supplies for residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

It was decided to implement the above three initiatives and call upon all members, friends, organizations, the general public, and partners to support those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

a.    Collect, organize, label, bag your supplies, books, toys, games,  and deliver them to the Sun or prepared to caravan to the George R. Brown or an official shelter. Organize Clothing items by size, gender; items for children, and babies. Place items in separate labeled bags and deliver to the Houston Sun, 1520 Isabella St. 77004 beginning Wednesday-Friday, from 4-6 PM,  providing it is safe for you to travel. Used clothing should be gently used and clean.

b.    Participate in the  Houston League’s Care Initiative by emailing and posting to your social media Send donors to make contributions using PayPal. Those contributions will be distributed as follows: First, Impacted African American Small Business; secondly, Texas Southern University Beta PSI and thirdly, Family with Children.   “All funds are tax deductible and will go to businesses and families that have been vetted by the Houston League of BPW,” said Dorris Ellis, Publisher Editor of the Houston Sun and President of the Houston League of Business and Professional Women, Inc.

About the Houston League

The Houston League was organized in 1964 by Mrs. Luellia W. Harrsion as an affiliate of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. Its purpose is to:

  • To promote and protect the interest of business and professional women; to create good fellowship among them;
  • To direct the interest of Business and Professional Women toward united action for improved social and civic conditions;
  • To recognize achievements of business and professional women and to preserve the history of these achievements, that all people may be informed and that our young people may know their heritage and be inspired,
  • To develop youth through leadership, and

 To seek and create job opportunities.

Kaepernick takes Sankofa trip


Colin Kaepernick (left) and Marquise Godwin (right)  on recent trip to Africa
Map of Ghana











Paul Cuffee Spearheaded First Back to Africa MovemenMaat Andrews


Maat Andrews

The Houston Sun

Colin Kaepernick took to social media this Fourth of July announcing his visits to different African locations. Kaepernick’s hajj places him in great and interesting company.  He is not alone.

From within the seared hearts of the descendants of African-American slaves comes a burning desire to return to a time and most definitely a place of idyllic uninterrupted, uncolonized independence and autonomy.  Some choose to make the journey over water and land to a generalized state of Africa, a sojourn made popular when then-named Malcolm X went on a trek through several countries on the continent of Africa, changed his name yet again to reflect the spiritual transformations he experienced.

Seen now through the eyes of former San Francisco 49er quarterback and now free agent Colin Kaepernick, this journey, also popularized by the young Jackson-Five brothers in the 1970’s, during the height of their fame, did not begin with this first mass unfettered economic and intellectual generation with enough funds and knowledge to go actually go there in large numbers.

The yearning perhaps never died, as reflected in the re-occurring Back-to-Africa movements, the most recent large one energized by Marcus Garvey’s Twentieth Century UNIA movement, which had nation-wide grassroots participation.  The movement spurred at least 12 units in Louisiana even.

In the 1800’s the first Back-to-Africa movement (of historical note) was spearheaded by Paul Cuffee, who repatriated about 60 persons to Sierra Leone. Cuffee once protested to President James Madison when his ship was caught in an international conflict between the United States and England.  Cuffee’s ship had recently returned from Sierra Leone and was suspected of violating American embargoes against goods and supplies from the British, then colonizer of that West African country.

During the 20th Century, many waves of African-Americans went to Africa, mostly countries on the West coast, in search of meaning and spiritual solace.  Entire communities in various countries, especially Ghana, greet the more recent race-worn souls, such as Kaepernick, whose quests lead them to these locations.

One influential thinker in African-American ideas and philosophies, W. E.B. Dubois, Souls of Black Folks, expatriated to Ghana and died, auspiciously, at 103 years on the night before the Martin Luther King-led 1963 March on Washington, during which King delivered the “I Have a Dream” Speech.

Even though Dubois did not found the Ghanaian community of African-American intellectuals, who languish in equatorial heat, his presence inspired so many to relocate to that former empire (6th-12th Century CE).  Most black intellectuals offer Dubois praise for his influence in their lives and their journeys

Dubois fought maltreatment of blacks, offered methods of black ascension, collected and compiled data, – laying the foundation for establishing the field of social work and astronomically erected lists of other life accomplishments. Yet, the wear and tear on the human psyche that the American racial set of beliefs, practices,

and expectations extracts an exceptional toll on the black mind through eternal vigilance, as it did on Dubois, as it seems to do on Kaepernick.

The vigilance against harmful and not-so-harmful racially molded practices of the United States brand gets heavy sometimes and wears the brightness out of young eyes, looking for acceptance.  That exceptional racial brand sparks a certain alertness to manners, innuendos, movements of personnel, gerrymandered friendship circles, and close readings for what is not included in a story or book.

As in the case of Kaepernick’s journey, many travelers outside their native-born United States often comment that when they were in other countries, they felt lighter and freer, that they did not feel any racial prejudice.  When traveling to other countries, especially African countries, there is such a relief.  Not that racial prejudice ends at the United States borders, but it is less recognizable, less systemic, and in many cases less intense than the US brand.

Kaepernick, according to his tweet, went to Ghana for self-discovery.  This Sankofa, return home, is the kind of spiritual quest so many young African Americans went on during different decades of the 20th and early 21st centuries.  It is no surprise that these young people feel an awakening that could be part of a larger spiritual change.

As if an epiphany opened his third eye of awareness and his Christian compassion started flowing, Kaepernick donated his famous sneaker collection to San Francisco’s homeless and his custom-made suits to a program that helps people find jobs after being released from jail. Also, he helped raise funds for a plane load of blood and water for Somalia’s struggling population, according to an article by Nate Peterson on

From knee-bowing during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” to choosing to love as he stated in his Fourth of July declaration some people in local villages and African locations, the most remote from the well springs of attention and least powerful people because they matter in the human narrative also. These are the kinds of choices and sacrifices that leaders make, that heroes make.

Kaepernick may not be back on anyone’s football team this upcoming season, but he has chosen a life path that Christ would give a nod, Frederick Douglass would be proud, and one of which Mother Theresa would be inspired.





THS African American History Parade 2017

Left to right; top row:   President Austin Lane, Texas Southern University is the Grand Marshall, sitting on the top.  Mrs. Lane, passenger, and the Houston National Association of Corvette Association is the driver,  Deloyd Parker, Ex. Dir. Shape Community Center

Below: Parade participants are: Houston Southwest Can Academy and Dr. Ruth Hoffman-Lach

Photo Credit Tanuke Smith

Honoring History through the Streets of 3rd Ward

By Tanuke Smith

The Houston Sun foundation held its 2nd annual Black History parade, near the newly renovated and historic Emancipation park. On Saturday morning at approximately 10:30 am, parade participants formed a line on Tuam street facing Dowling.  Texas Southern University’s president Dr. Austin A. Lane, was the Grand Marshall. Mr. And Mrs. Lane greeted bystanders with smiles in an alluringly bright red convertible corvette.

Dozens of people flocked to the streets when they heard the music coming from the loudspeakers of the float, presented by the Houston Southwest Can Academy’s drill team.


Dressed in Pan African attire, community leader Deloyd Parker proudly raised his left fist and smiled as he optimistically greeted the crowd; members of the community clapped and whistled and cheered him on as he walked by.

“I lived in this community for over 25 years, and I am proud to say that brother Deloyd is a good man,” said Brenda Williams.

Bystanders near Dowling and Alabama removed their caps, hats, and other headgear as the grayish white van, pulling the trailer representing the Buffalo SoldiersMmuseum slowly rolled by. Douglass Johnson, and Calvin Woods high-fived one another as they spoke to the crowd saying” it’s been years’ scene we saw a real parade coming down Dowling.” Douglass shifted his eyes to the ground as he pondered on the last time he saw a parade routed down Dowling St.






Mayor Turner and First Daughter Celebrate Black History Month with Free “Hidden Figures” Screenings for 3,000 Students

Mayor Sylvester Turner and First Daughter Ashley Turner hosted free viewings of the award-winning movie “Hidden Figures” for nearly 3,000 students from area school districts over the last two weeks. The film’s plot focuses on female African-American mathematicians at NASA, specifically Katherine Johnson, who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon.

“We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Black History Month than to expose students to the story of Katherine Johnson and her pivotal role in American history,” said Mayor Turner. “I hope the students learned that no matter their environment, if they stay focused and push forward, they can do something as amazing and transformative as sending a man or woman into space.  I want to thank our generous sponsors and my Director of Education Juliet Stipeche and Director of Community Relations Janice Weaver for making this project happen.”

“Our children are our future,” said Ashley Turner. “We don’t only want to talk about believing in them, but we also want to demonstrate that we care by investing in them and providing resources. This experience provided 3,000 students and teachers from 28 area schools the opportunity to have a learning experience outside the classroom that taught them valuable life lessons of perseverance, determination and collaboration.”

Before viewing the movie, the students watched a short welcome video in which the mayor and the First Daughter talked about the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).   It is estimated that by 2018, there could be 2.4 million unfulfilled (STEM) jobs.

“Thank you for making the adventure occur for our young Lions!  They were all talking about the impact the movie had on them and how it was one of the best kept secrets about science,” said Kenneth Davis, principal of Jack Yates High School.

“Excellent movie,” said Agnes Perry, principal of Michael DeBakey High School for Health Professions. “Our students enjoyed the presentation and mentioned that they were inspired, especially our young ladies. They felt empowered. I want to thank Mayor Turner for providing the opportunity for our students to see the movie and experience a hidden part of history.”

“As an educator, I have often seen how financial constraints prevent students from luxuries such as going to a movie theater and viewing a film,” said Charlotte Harris, assistant principal of Milby High School. “You not only made it possible for students to experience going to a movie theater, but through this experience, you also opened their eyes to a world of endless possibilities.  Thank you for providing our students with the opportunity to get a glimpse into history and see the profound impact education can have on one’s future.”

The mayor’s first young ambassador, Yash Semlani also attended a viewing and addressed the crowd. Students were treated not only to a free screening but also had popcorn, drinks and a snack, and they walked the red carpet. The tickets were graciously donated by African American business leaders who partnered with Fandango for special viewings across the country. In Houston, sponsors included the American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, former Major League Baseball executive Jimmie Lee Solomon, New York investment bankers Bill Lewis and Charles Phillips, Horizon Group International Vice President Al Kashani, I’m Ready Productions CEO Je’Caryous Johnson and Martye Kendrick of Johnson Petrov.

African American History and Symposium set


The Houston Sun is calling on you, the public again to help bring African American History and achievements alive. All cultures can participate. Put on your creative, proud hat and join our 2nd Annual African American History Parade, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 at 10 AM. “Let’s showcase the accomplishments of black folks and take that knowledge to the streets. Spectators will learn and value the work of Freedmen and their descendants in American. So, it’s Show and Tell time on February 18, 2017 at 10 AM. Let’s teach the community about our diverse history and culture,”  Publisher Dorris Ellis said. It is important to note that this Parade and Symposium is set at the time of Brotherhood Week so that cultures can learn about each other as we work toward a more perfect union in America.

Texas Southern University’s President Dr. Austin Lane is the Grand Marshall and esteemed educators and civic leaders will serve as honorary Presidents. Among them are: Yvonne Gibbs, Dr. Thomas Freedmen, Captain Paul Matthews, and Ovide Duncantell.

Staging is at Hutchinson and Tuam near Emancipation Park at 9:00 AM. So go ahead and think about who or what you are going to represent. Each individual or group in the parade is asked to do a little homework and decide upon a person, invention or iconic event that was created, invented or made known by an African American. Be creative and showcase their entry to the spectators and to the judges. The esteem panel of judges, vibrant Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, The imaginative Sister Mama Sonja and the artistic Michelle Barnes at the end of the parade at Texas Southern University. Awards will be presented to the winners at the beginning of the Symposium at Texas Southern.

Following the Parade, we host the From Crisis to Solutions Symposium, moderated by State Representative Dr. Alma Allen and co-sponsored by the Barbara Jordan – Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs in room 114 from 12:30-4 PM. The Symposium starts with Parade Award Presentations, and opens with a performance by the TSU Dr. Thomas Freedman’s Debate Team. Engagement between the community and the panelists will be guided Dr. Allen. Among the panelists are: Rep. Senfronia Thompson,  Dr. Richard Petrie, Percival Gibbs, and, Aileen Fonsworth.

Families, educators, religious and community leaders, business social organizations leaders, plus the total human network who can place solutions on the table to empower generations present and future.

The goal is to find solution to known problems.

Making life better for the present and the future is the focus.