Thursday, May 27, 2010


Since this woman was plucked from obscurity to be John McCain’s Republican vice presidential running mate she has complained about the "lamestream media" relentlessly. I wonder if it has dawned on her that she might be lame. I suppose it is not her fault that she was woefully unprepared to be McCain’s nominee or knows much about any of the complex issues facing the rest of us who live in the real world.

However, it is her unwillingness to state the facts correctly, then or now, that astounds me. Her self-appointed grandiose as the darling of the “Tea Baggers” movement, and dare I say, an ideology that is just a step away from the Klan, that shocks me and her vision of reality is dangerous not to mention antiquated. The days of “Whites Only” signs may be alluring to some, but I have seen them and trust me there is nothing appealing about that sort of intimidation.

There use to be a worst than Jerry Springer Show on television many years ago hosted by this guy Morton Downey Jr. who use to call this kind of nonsense “PABLUM PUKE”. I’ll simply call it speaking with fork tongue. The reason that I am rendering this commentary is because of Barbie’s recent Palinesque backward thinking comments concerning follow Tea Bagger and Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul. She was asked this straightforward question put to her during a Fox interview that troubles me: Was Paul right or wrong in his view that the 1964 Civil Rights Act went too far in banning discrimination in private establishments?

She responded this way:"I think there is certainly a double standard at play here. When Rand Paul had anticipated that he'd be able to engage in a discussion, he being a libertarian-leaning constitutional conservative, being able to engage in a discussion with a TV character, a media personality, who perhaps had an agenda in asking the question and then interpreting his answer the way that she did, he wanted to talk about, evidently, some hypotheticals as it applies to impacts on the Civil Rights Act, as it impacts our Constitution. So he was given the opportunity finally to clarify, and unequivocally he has stated that he supports the Civil Rights Act."

I saw the chilling interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and other interviewers, and they did not ask Paul about "hypotheticals." They asked whether he supported prohibiting private business owners from keeping blacks off their premises. Paul said he "would have tried to modify" the public accommodations part of the law and that “when you blur the distinction between public and private ownership, there really is a problem.” Paul had every chance to clarify in real time and he didn't. Let me add, when any sane person living in this century questions the Civil Rights Act or suggest a return to “Jim Crow” - we should question their motives. By the way, if you did not know, the Klan was formed in Kentucky after the Civil War to retain that slavery like ideal, which might have something to do with it.

Then there was CARABOU BARBIE’s best defense concerning what I think is an untrue-offense response to questions about the oil spill in the Gulf to which the "drill, baby, drill" cheerleader suggests that the president is on the take from Big Oil:

"The oil companies who have so supported President Obama in his campaign and are supportive of him now -- I don't know why the question isn't asked by the mainstream media and by others if there's any connection with the contributions made to President Obama and his administration and the support by the oil companies to the administration. If there's any connection there to President Obama taking so doggone long to get in there, to dive in there, and grasp the complexity and the potential tragedy that we are seeing here in the Gulf of Mexico."

Did she say “complexity”? The complex part - “complexity” - is that she actually had the nerve to say something like that considering her sorted history. The Obama remark is just one instances where she has said things that were untrue, not accurate, fictitious, or just plain lies. At least according to public campaign finance records that says; it was her camp who took more money from Big Oil. With respect to her response to Paul’s comment, when someone suggests returning to the days of “Bull Connor, Birmingham, or Selma – I just have to ask “how do they sleep at night”. Frankly, it sounds bigoted and racist to me.

“The John T. Wills Chronicles” designed to be a potent source of empowering knowledge for the enhancement of community and to PROMOTE LITERACY. I will be using this online information source as the new home for my blog “Thought Provoking Perspectives”.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Press Release

8 AM EST, May 24, 2010
Contact: John T. Wills

Introducing the “John T. Wills Chronicles”
"The Book Tree Radio Show"

I am proud to announce the launch of a powerful information portal “The John T. Wills Chronicles” designed to be a potent source of empowering knowledge for the enhancement of community and the minds of mankind. I will be using this online information source as the new home for my blog “Thought Provoking Perspectives” to include its use as a vehicle for other contributors who share my passion for the written word. I am also extending an offer to all authors, writers, poets, and progressive thinkers to become a contributor as a way to promoter yourself, your skills, your work, and to benefit others with the enlightenment of your stories.

“The John T. Wills Chronicles” will also introduce an exciting new Blogtalkradio Show called “The Book Tree” hosted by the dynamic SILVER RAE FOX. Silver will be the Literary Ambassador during on-air conversations with authors, poets, and literary minds every Wednesday starting June 2, 2010 at 8:30 - 9:00 PM (est) Silver Rae Fox will also be one of the main voices for The Book Tree Literacy Project designed to promote literacy.

"The Book Tree Internet Radio Show" is intended to showcase authors, writers, wordsmiths, poets and other relevant content to empower the minds of a broad base community who are interested in a variety of genres. The show will serve as inspiration to those individuals who aspire to develop writing skills and have a desire to publish their material. A project soon to follow, "The Book Tree Literacy Project", will focus on the importance of literacy, as well to promote and advocate literacy for children and adults in every community.

These initiatives will be sponsored by “The John T. Wills Chronicles” and the hugely successful BLACK EMPOWERED MEN Radio Show. If interested, please contact John at or Silver at or the BEM at for more information. We invite you to strongly support these literacy eradication initiatives and join this EMPOWERMENT REVOLUTION!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Prelude to November – Perception is Reality

This is my political recap of the elections held Tuesday. With respect to the outcomes, the Democrats had every reason to smile and maybe, just maybe, the Republicans had every reason to shudder while the rest of us had cause for much concern. I am sure you’ve heard, and seen reports, from the Tea Baggers who stridently shouted “it’s time to take our country back”. In fact, this is what Rand Paul said at his victory party, "I have a message, a message from the Tea Party, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We've come to take our government back." Whenever I hear that “Rebel Yell” I have to wonder; what are they talking about but I digress, and will get back to him later.

Let me talk about some of the other races that meant something. Starting in western Pennsylvania in a district once represented by the late Jack Murtha a pro-gun, anti-abortion Democrat. Republican strategists used this district as a campaign laboratory, of sorts, to test the themes and techniques that could use in the fall to nationalize the elections. You know the themes socialism, healthcare reform, invoking the names Obama and Pelosi to terrify voters. It did not work. Democrat Mark Critz won handily over Republican Tim Burns in a district that voted for John McCain in 2008.

Also in Pennsylvania Representative Joe Sestak easily defeated Democrat and onetime Republican Arlen Specter in the state’s Democratic Senate primary. This was the marquee event in terms of media coverage because Specter was a familiar and prominent presence in Washington having occupied his Senate seat for 30 long years. There was just one problem: For all but one of those years, he was a Republican and voters did not buy the idea that seemed more like a calculation in principle to save his job choosing instead to vote for a real card-carrying Democrat.

In Arkansas, Sen. Blanche Lincoln's fate was only slightly more telling as she failed to win a majority of voters in the Democratic primary for a runoff against Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Halter’s strategy was to attack her from the left while the voters may have wanted to punish her for the way she stalled and equivocated on healthcare reform. But the final verdict on Lincoln won't be in for several weeks, which most pundits predict a losing effort.

Now, let me get back to the far more interesting victory or maybe ominous. There was a candidate, Rand Paul, who became a cult figure among libertarians and Tea Party activists, not unlike his father Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex) who are both known to march to a different beat. Rand is a Republican with little regard for the GOP party line and believes in a philosophy that might best be described as radical individual freedom and privatizing as many functions as possible to reduce government to its barest bones. If Paul wins the general election, he would probably vote sometimes as a Republicans, maybe few times as a Democrat but more than likely he will vote with the Whigs.

In an interview the day after his primary victory, Paul could not bring himself to endorse the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. "I think there's a lot to be desired in the Civil Rights Act... I haven't read all through it, because it was passed 40 years ago and hadn't been a real pressing issue on the campaign whether I'm going to vote for the Civil Rights Act" suggesting that he might not have voted for it if he was around. In addition, he continued with his view that businesses should not be forced by government to adopt anti-discrimination rules. He had to be dragged into recognizing some of the largest moral achievements of recent American history, while still suggesting that the country should go back to the days of old.

It's simply astonishing in this day and age that a major party nominee for the U.S. Senate would try to breathe life into the long discredited notion that the Constitution might protect an individual business owner's 'right' to exclude customers on the basis of race. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was asked his thoughts about Paul's problems with the Civil Rights Act and its application to private businesses, to which he said, "Not being familiar with the context of his response or his questions I really can't opine as to his position."

Sometimes saying nothing is worst that saying what you really mean but I can hear what Cantor wasn’t saying. Whether he heard Paul's remarks in context or not, I think he could have expressed a firm commitment to the Civil Rights Act and the American ideals it upholds is perhaps more troubling than Paul's musings. This philosophy has the virtue of being easily explainable and the drawback of being impossible. Separate but equal is the remedy for what was not accomplished during the last eight years, I suppose is the message.

The current federal role did not grow primarily because of the statist ambitions of liberals; it grew in response to democratic choices and global challenges. Federal power advanced to rescue the elderly from penury, to enforce civil rights laws, to establish a stable regulatory framework for a modern economy, and to force by law a wicked system that was designed to suppress the helpless. I might add that these are the same people who benefit from these same government handouts.

Their commitment to individual freedom defined as the absence of external constraint is nearly absolute. Taxation for the purpose of redistribution is theft. The national security state does not defend liberty; it threatens it. American global commitments are just another form of big government. Paul, Tea Baggers, and other libertarians are not merely advocates of limited government; they are anti-government. Their objective is not the correction of error but the cultivation of contempt for government itself. There is a reason why movements such as this has never been, and probably will never be, a national political force: because too many would find its utopia a nightmare.


I have launched an information portal “The John T. Wills Chronicles” that will be the new home of "Thought Provoking Perspectives". The sole purpose of the “The John T. Wills Chronicles” is to be a source of empowering knowledge for the enhancement of community and the minds of mankind. I am extending an offer to all authors, writers, poets, and progressive thinkers to become a contributor as a way to promoter yourself, your skills, your work, and to benefit others with your stories.


“The John T. Wills Chronicles” will also present an exciting new Blogtalkradio Show called “The Book Tree” hosted by the amazingly talented SILVER RAE FOX to further this effort. SILVER will be the Literary Ambassador during on-air conversations with authors, poets, and literary minds every Wednesday starting June 2, 2010 at 7:30 - 8:00 PM (est). Silver Rae Fox will be the main voice for the “The Book Tree Radio Show” and one of the main voices for The Book Tree Literacy Project designed to promote literacy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Black Tea Partiers Opinion

As I watch the news coverage of the Tea Party phenomena I don’t see but one or two Blacks participating in any of the demonstrations. I suppose it is because they are easy to spot in the crowd of Caucasians. Regardless, it dumbfounds me to see African America’s supporting a cause that does not speak to the issues that affect our current state of America. With that said, I came across an article in “The Root” written by a Chicago-based writer Lynette Holloway who wrote a story that I felt the need to share and thought it was worth offering my “Thought Provoking Perspective”.

She wrote about two Tea Party Negro’s who are proud of their affiliation. Charles Butler, a black Chicago-based conservative talk show host often called a traitor to his race because of his affiliation with the largely white Tea Party movement. Lloyd Marcus, a black Orlando, Fla. based conservative folk singer who has been described as a minstrel, a buck dancer and a boot licker because he performs at Tea Party events, he admits.

Both said they are used to getting flak over their membership in the nascent grassroots Tea Party movement. Like all members of the movement they are raising vociferous opposition to issues they believe are stunting the growth of America like rising unemployment, expanding taxes, uncontrolled government spending, a mushrooming federal government and strict Constitutional adherence – yada, yada, yada.

They are not completely alone in their march to the Tea Party movement. Scores of blacks and other people of color have joined, although just how many is unknown. Yet it's clear they are in the minority and according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll those who are members of the fledgling movement tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

Butler said he is a member because his hometown leader, President Barack Obama, is offering the wrong solutions to the nation's problems. He is very vocal about it on his show “The Other Side with Charles Butler,” which airs weekday evenings on Chicago's WVON, 1690-AM and has been on the air since 2007. Within the next several weeks, he plans to host a Tea Party on Chicago's South Side, Obama's old stomping grounds, which should be interesting.

Noticing that the Tea Party movement has flourished under Obama much like the militia did while Bill Clinton was President. The article referenced that some on the left have accused blacks like Butler and Marcus of being pawns in an odious, racist attempt to block the president's success. Indeed, racial animosity reared its ugly head when some people hurled racial epithets at black elected officials during a protest of health care reform.

Butler said during their interview that "I'm involved in the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party because I feel that people should be able to express themselves and their values without a filter of some other group, as if he were on air. "People call you a traitor. They call you all kinds of disparaging names. I couldn't care less about being called an Uncle Tom, because again, that leads to the Mis-Education of the Negro. Anyone who has read the book by Harriet Beecher Stowe would know that Uncle Tom was a hero. We have a lot of those fallacies going on in the community, like the Democratic Party has helped black folk. That is patently untrue."

Butler does not hesitate to turn racially charged rhetoric on other blacks. When a Tea Party protester tried to interrupt a meeting last year, which was attended by Michael Steele, chairman of the RNC: "I told him, 'We're not having any of this [N-word] [expletive] today”. Butler, who grew up middle-class in Pontiac, Mich. has been a political operative in the Republican Party for over 25 years and also canvassed for votes on campus for Richard M. Nixon's presidential campaign in 1972.

He said the Republican Party represents the core values of most blacks more so than the Democratic Party. "When it comes to black people and how we participate in the political and social practice, we're conservative,'' he said.”The myth of President John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt is greatly exaggerated compared to Republican presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon, who I consider great civil rights leaders.''

He went on to say Dr. Martin Luther King had a number of things to say about JFK and his promise to use the signature of a pen to eliminate discrimination while appointing Southern segregationist judges to the federal bench for life. "Republicans have never gotten the credit they deserve for defending civil rights.'' Butler also said the Democratic social welfare policies of Roosevelt and Kennedy negatively affected black people then and continue to affect blacks today.
Lloyd Marcus, a longtime black conservative from Orlando, Fla., agrees. He said Democrats are focused on keeping blacks thinking they are victims and dependent on social welfare. "They should be upholding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as shining examples of doing the right thing and working hard for their achievements.''

Marcus has attended 150 Tea Party Express events across the nation from Washington to California and was a fixture at events on Tax Day. He is best-known for his "Tea Party Anthem.'' The first stanza is: "Mr. President! Your stimulus is sure to bust/ It's just a socialist scheme/ The only thing it will do is kill the American Dream.'' The song and other performances have garnered fiery criticism from liberals and Democrats whose towering presence is hard to miss at the tea parties. He said many opponents have written him passionate hate mail. Yet, he continues to perform the anti-Obama song, which he wrote out of unmitigated disappointment.

"President Obama got 96 percent of the black vote,'' Marcus said.” I am convinced that most voted for him because he is black and didn't care what he was gonna do when he got into the Oval Office. That was a racist decision on their part. Now, simply because we are standing up and saying we don't want universal health care rammed down our throats, they are calling us racist. That is wrong.'' He believes more blacks will be drawn away from the Democratic Party, as Obama administration initiatives such as health care reform and "cap and trade" policies begin to negatively affect Americans.

"I have been interviewed all over the world and asked why there aren't a lot of blacks in the Tea Party,'' Marcus said, "And what it should do to attract more blacks and women. I tell them, 'What it's doing right now.' We don't need to pander to blacks or women. I think we have too much identity politics.” Wow!!!

This article was reported in the Root, written by Lynette Holloway a Chicago-based writer and a former New York Times reporter and associate editor for Ebony magazine. I found it interesting and decided to add my commentary to it for your informed reading pleasure.

Rarely am I at a loss for words. I understand that everyone has the right to think and believe whatever they want but Richard Pryor said it best when he titled one of his comedic albums. I would only ask what planet are they living on when they say the conservatives have help anyone but the rich and where were they from 2000 – 2008. Talk Mis-Educated Negro’s…

Friday, May 14, 2010

What Next???

I was once told that the definition of insanity is to continue to do what you have always done and expect a different result. This becomes obvious when it comes to matters of race. As sure as things change they remain the same. Every minority group has struggled to achieve the “American Dream” in its own distinctive way. I must say, and most would agree, that African Americans have endured the harshest treatment. Certainly, people of our hue have had to suffer these indignities longer than any other ethnic group. Having lived through the Jim Crow era I can't avoid hearing echoes of a horrible time that I had hoped was long gone. Through the use of Black Codes during that era the authors went to great lengths to try to keep "agitators" from awakening the Negro sense of pride and injustice, which brings me to the new laws in Arizona.

Recently, Arizona passed a law that said a certain ethnic group MUST carry papers to prove they are legal, which sounds a lot like the “Black Codes” from the days of slavery. Then, like now, those codes were meant to control the labor force and to separate one race from another. Although there was the general perception that the illegal immigrant was the “New Negro”, we don't have to pretend anymore. Arizona's passing of that, at best, mean spirited immigration law "breathing while Latino" wasn't about high-minded principle or the need to maintain public order. If I can keep it real, it was all about putting Latinos in their place in the same manner as it was designed to do long ago, but it didn’t end there.

On Tuesday, the Governor signed a measure making it illegal for any course taught in the public schools to "advocate ethnic solidarity." Arizona's top education official, Tom Horne, fought for the new law as a weapon against a program in Tucson that teaches Mexican American students about their history and culture that he claimed was to teach "ethnic chauvinism." He has complained that young Mexican Americans are falsely being led to believe that they belong to an oppressed minority. History tells us the same claim was made during slavery and segregation when they said, “Negro’s love the Master”. Therefore, they felt the way to dispel that notion was to pass oppressive new legislation aimed squarely at Mexican Americans. That'll teach the kids a lesson, all right: We have power. You don't.

The education bill begins with a bizarre piece of nonsense, making it illegal for public or charter schools to offer courses that "promote the overthrow of the United States government." Then it shifts from weird to offensive, prohibiting classes that "promote resentment toward a race or class of people," that "are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group," and that "advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals." If you think about this language – we all should be concerned.

I am going to overlook whether it can apply to any other ethnic group – for a moment. Let’s just look at the intended targets. More than half the students in the Tucson Unified School District are Latino, the great majority of them Mexican American. The land that is now Arizona once belonged to Mexico. Might teaching that fact "promote resentment" among students of Mexican descent? Or does this mean they do not want to teach basic history? What about a class that taught students how activists fought to end discrimination against Latinos in Arizona and other Western states? Would that illegally encourage students to resent the way their parents and grandparents were treated? Ok, I’ll digress. There was no history concerning Negro’s presented or taught until about 1900.

Let say the Mexican American students should not be taught to be proud of their heritage. The good “citizen’s councils” of Arizona do know that about 30 percent of the state's population is Latino, and that number continues to rise. As a result, I would argue that this demographic shift has induced culture shock among some Arizonans who see the old Anglo power structure losing control. It is evidently threatening to some people that Mexican Americans would see themselves as a group with common interests and grievances. Or even more threatening that they might see themselves as distant heirs to the men and women who lived in Arizona long before the first Anglos arrived. Therefore, any sense of solidarity among Mexican Americans must be delegitimized. This ethnic group has to be taught to see itself as a population of unaffiliated individuals.

It's important to distinguish between Arizona officials' legitimate concerns and their illegitimate ones. The state does have a real problem with illegal immigration, and the federal government has ignored its responsibility to enact comprehensive reform that would make the border more secure. To which I believe is the fault of the “Party of No”. But Arizona is lashing out with measures that will not just punish the undocumented but it will negatively affect Mexican American citizens whose local roots are generations deep. Mexican Americans are inevitably going to feel proud of who they are and where they came from; even if acknowledging and encouraging such pride in the classroom is against the law, which is simply absurd.

It was once proclaimed by a great man that injustice any where is injustice everywhere or was it injustice to anyone is an injustice to everyone. I said that to say this, in 1896 there was a landmark case Plessy v. Ferguson where the US Supreme Court decided in the jurisprudence of the United States upholding the constitutionality of racial segregation in public accommodations (particularly railroads), which established the doctrine of "separate but equal” that was the law of the land for a half century. Less we not forget…

Monday, May 10, 2010

"The Horne" - Elegance and Grace Personified

Lena Horne the electrifying beauty and uncompromising performer who shattered racial boundaries by changing the way Hollywood presented black women for six-decades through a singing career on stage, television and in films, died Sunday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is best described in her own words saying “my identity was clear because I no longer have to be a 'credit,' I don't have to be a 'symbol' to anybody. I don't have to be a 'first' to anybody. I don't have to be an imitation of a white woman that Hollywood sort of hoped I'd become. I'm me, and I'm like nobody else.”

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Her father was a civil servant and gambler who largely abandoned the family, although Ms. Horne reconnected with him in the late 1930’s. Her mother, an actress, was largely absent from Ms. Horne's early life because of work on the black theater circuit. Shifted at first among friends and relatives, Ms. Horne was raised mostly by her maternal grandmother, a stern social worker and suffragette in Bedford-Stuyvesant, then a middle-class Brooklyn neighborhood. Ms. Horne said she was influenced by her grandmother's "polite ferocity."

In 1933, when she was 16, Ms. Horne was reunited with her mother and new stepfather, a white Cuban. It was the peak of the Depression, and they lived on relief in Harlem. Ms. Horne was pushed into a job at the Cotton Club by her mother, who knew the Harlem nightclub's choreographer. The segregated club attracted white clientele who liked to watch the top black entertainers of the day, such as Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, surrounded by what was promoted as a "tall, tan and terrific" chorus of girls.

The Horne, as she was endearing called because of her striking beauty and voice, was considered one of the most beautiful women in the world came to the attention of Hollywood in 1942. She was the first black woman to sign a meaningful long-term contract with a major studio, a contract that said she would never have to play a maid. This single act transformed the image of the African American woman in Hollywood. As film historian Donald Bogle said, "Movies are a powerful medium and always depicted African American women before Lena Horne as hefty, mammy-like maids who were ditzy and giggling… Lena Horne becomes the first one the studios begin to look at differently... Really just by being there, being composed and onscreen with her dignity intact paved the way for a new day" for black actresses.

In Hollywood, Ms. Horne received previously unheard-of star treatment for a black actor. Her reputation in Hollywood rested on a handful of classic musical films. Among the best were two all-black musicals from 1943: "Cabin in the Sky," as a small-town temptress who pursues Eddie "Rochester" Anderson; and "Stormy Weather," in which she played a career-obsessed singer opposite Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. She shared billing with hugely famous white entertainers such as Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball, Mickey Rooney and Red Skelton but was segregated onscreen so producers could clip out her singing when the movies ran in the South. "Mississippi wanted its movies without me," she once told the New York.

Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios featured Ms. Horne in movies and advertisements as glamorously as white beauties including Hedy Lamarr, Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable. James Gavin, who has written a biography of Ms. Horne, said: "Given the horrible restrictions of the time, MGM bent over backward to do everything they could. After MGM, she was an international star, and that made her later career possible, made her a superstar." Ms. Horne appeared on television and at major concerts halls in New York, London and Paris. She starred on Broadway twice, and her 1981 revue, "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music," set the standard for the one-person musical show, reviewers said. The performance also netted her a special Tony Award and two Grammy Awards. She was formidable and the first black cabaret star for white society.

As a songstress her repertoire consisted of sophisticated ballads of Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Frank Loesser and Billy Strayhorn. She loved the music but also said she liked surprising the white audience who expected black entertainers to sing hot jazz or blues and dance wildly. In her singing, Ms. Horne showed great range and could convincingly shift between jazz, blues and cabaret ballads. New Yorker jazz writer Whitney Balliett praised her "sense of dynamics that allowed her to whisper and wheedle and shout."

She told the New York Times in 1981, "I thought, 'How can I sing about a penthouse in the sky, when with the housing restrictions the way they are, I wouldn't be allowed to rent the place?" In the late 1940’s and 1950’s, she chose to focus on quietly defying segregation policies at upscale hotels in Miami Beach and Las Vegas where she performed. At the time, it was customary for black entertainers to stay in black neighborhoods, but Ms. Horne successfully insisted that she and her musicians be allowed to stay wherever she entertained. One Las Vegas establishment reportedly had its chambermaids burn Ms. Horne's sheets.

In 1963, Ms. Horne appeared at the civil rights March on Washington with Harry Belafonte and Dick Gregory and was part of a group, which included authors James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry that met with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy to urge a more active approach to desegregation. Ms. Horne also used her celebrity to rally front-line civil rights activists in the South and was a fundraiser for civil right groups including the NAACP and the National Council of Negro Women.

Working closely with NAACP Executive Secretary Walter White, Ms. Horne said she wanted to "try to establish a different kind of image for Negro women." They successfully challenged the casting system that had long marginalized black performers onscreen by having them portray servants, minstrels or jungle natives. To Ms. Horne's surprise, her efforts to overcome servile screen parts was resented by many black actors who viewed her as a threat more than a pioneer. She said she was perceived as a danger to the system of informal "captains" in the black acting community who worked as liaisons with film producers when they needed "natives" for the latest Tarzan picture.

After the triumph of her 1981 Broadway show, she led an increasingly isolated life in her Manhattan apartment. Over my lifetime I have seen and known giants who have illuminated the world. None shined brighter then “The Horne”. A life rich in wonder that now belong to the ages. Rest In Peace Ms. Horne as you take your rest among the ghost of the great.