Category: African-American History

by William “Duke” Smither “Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.”– Frederick Douglass (Author, Editor, Diplomat… and ‘Escaped Slave’)   Over the years, while performing part-time as an actor with community theater-related productions, I was honored on occasion to portray the complex […]

By William “Duke” Smither “I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.” –  John F. Kennedy, 35th President […]

By William “Duke” Smither  “I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”  Harriet Tubman (a.k.a., the Underground Railroad’s “Black Moses”)   A few years ago, I wrote about the […]

by William “Duke” Smither “Love the life you live. Live the life you love.” – Bob Marley (a.k.a., Robert Nesta Marley, 1945–1981, Jamaican singer-songwriter, proud Rastafarian and Reggae musician extraordinaire)     Gone Too Soon… Proponents of Pan-Africanism, Ethnomusicology, and Black Music in general– but Jazz, our especially expressive music with African roots, in particular— […]

By William “Duke” Smither “Where I come from we say that rhythm is the soul of life, because the whole universe revolves around rhythm, and when we get out of rhythm, that’s when we get into trouble.”   — Babatunde Olatunji (Nigerian Djembefola, 1927-2003, Grammy award-winning, master-drummer, percussionist)   Talking Drums African musicians say that […]