Although Black History Month has ended, The Lessons of Ole Mister Johns celebrates Black History through “the lessons” that Ole Mister Johns tells his great-grandson. Periodically, we will share some of “the lessons” that Ole Mister Johns might tell to his great-grandson, Lil John on this blog and on our Facebook Page.
The Lessons of Ole Mister Johns is about the special relationship between a great-grandfather and his great-grandson. They spend their weekends together.
During their visit to the Capitol Mall, Ole Mister Johns tells Lil John about Benjamin Banneker, “One of the greatest architects of all times helped design and build what you see in front of you.”
‘Kemet’ was one of the ancient names given to the country that later became known as ‘Egypt’. However, more recently ‘Kemet’ implies an African-focused approach to the study of the ancient culture. Source: Kemet Expert, AfricanCentered Egyptology
Lil John is a student of Egyptology. In The Lessons of Ole Mister Johns, his great great-grandfather’s stories during their weekend visits are about ancient Egypt when African kings ruled.
Wow Grandpa. This is a meal for a king. How long have you been up?
Oh, I got up about 5 AM, took my bath, read today’s paper and then started our breakfast for kings he said amused. We are kings. Have you ever read about Egypt?
Yeah, you told me about that before. We are kings, Grandpa.
Source: The Lessons of Ole Mister Johns, © 2013, Cheryl Lewis Beverly
The story of Black History Month begins in Chicago during the summer of 1915. An alumnus of the University of Chicago with many friends in the city, Carter G. Woodson traveled from Washington, D.C. to participate in a national celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois. Thousands of African Americans travelled from across the country to see exhibits highlighting the progress their people had made since the destruction of slavery. Awarded a doctorate in Harvard three years earlier, Woodson joined the other exhibitors with a black history display. Despite being held at the Coliseum, the site of the 1912 Republican convention, an overflow crowd of six to twelve thousand waited outside for their turn to view the exhibits. Inspired by the three-week celebration, Woodson decided to form an organization to promote the scientific study of black life and history before leaving town. On September 9th, Woodson met at the Wabash YMCA with A. L. Jackson and three others and formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). ORIGINS OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH, Daryl Michael Scott, © 2011, 2010, 2009 ASALH
February is Black History Month. Ole Mister Johns teaches his great-grandson about Black History. In The Lessons of Ole Mister Johns, Ole Mister Johns helps his great-grandson choose the subject for a homework assignment. During a visit to the Capitol Mall, Ole Mister Johns suggests the following to his great-grandson, Lil John:
“Then you will write about Benjamin Banneker and help educate your classmates about a great man who is responsible for how the capital of the United States of America still looks today.”
Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731 – October 9, 1806) was a free African American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist and farmer. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker had little formal education and was largely self-taught. He is known for being part of a group led by Major Andrew Ellicott that surveyed the borders of the original District of Columbia, the federal capital district of the United States.
Banneker’s knowledge of astronomy helped him author a commercially successful series of almanacs. He corresponded with Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the United States Declaration of Independence, on the topics of slavery and racial equality. Abolitionists and advocates of racial equality promoted and praised his works.
Although a fire on the day of Banneker’s funeral destroyed many of his papers and belongings, one of his journals and several of his remaining artifacts are presently available for public viewing.
The Lessons of Ole Mister Johns is available in print … click here to purchase a copy. The Miss Nana Wyshall B. Wright Series of Bedtime Stories are also available in print or in digital format … click here to purchase one of the books in print or click here for a digital version.
This year, Second Wind Creations celebrates each day in February with Black History related posts in our blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter account. Stay tuned and learn more about Black History! Share your Black history stories in the comments section below.