The ambush and death of Michael Collins at Béal na mBláth in 1922

Michael Collins departed Dublin on August 20, 1922, beginning what would become his fateful final hours alive

When Michael Collins left Dublin on August 20, 1922, he was ill and feverish, and his doctor recommended that the trip be postponed. Had he merely been going on an inspection trip, it could have been delayed, but it appeared Collins had something more in mind.

Read More: Greatest quotes from and about Michael Collins

August 20, 1922

Collins’s convoy left Portobello (now Cathal Brugha) Barracks, Dublin, at 5:15 am on Sunday, August 20, and made its first stop at Maryborough Jail (now Portlaoise Prison), where Collins discussed transferring some of the prisoners there to Gormanstown camp to relieve the overcrowded conditions. He also spoke with some of the prisoners, including Tom Malone, about ending the Civil War. He asked if Malone would attend a meeting to “try to put an end to this damned thing.” As he left, he slapped one fist into his hand and said, “that fixes it—the three Toms [Malone, Tom Barry, and Tom Hales] will fix it.”

Then the convoy headed to Roscrea Barracks for an inspection and breakfast. At Limerick Barracks, the Officer/Commanding (O/C) of the Southern Command, General Eoin O’Duffy, met Collins and discussed his belief that the Civil War would soon be over and understood that Collins wanted to avoid any rancor. The convoy then headed through Mallow and spent that night in Cork City, where he stayed at the military HQ in the Imperial Hotel.

That evening, Collins met his sister, Mary Collins-Powell, and her son, Seán, and the rest of the evening was spent in consultation with the O/C of the area, Gen. Emmet Dalton. Dalton felt that “normality and law and order would not be too far off. We were in possession of the principal towns in County Cork. Michael Collins and I discussed this on the journey through West Cork.” Most of the escort spent the first evening in the Victoria Hotel.

A photograph of Michael Collins (RollingNews.ie)

A photograph of Michael Collins (RollingNews.ie)

Read More: The most amazing thing Michael Collins ever said

August 21, 1922

On Monday, August 21, Collins again visited with his sister, and then he and General Dalton went to the Cork Examiner to discuss the general Free State position on publicity with the editor, Tom Crosbie. Collins also visited some local banks in an effort to trace republican/IRA/anti-Treaty funds lodged during their occupation of the city.

First, they visited the Hibernian Bank, then the Bank of Ireland, then the Land Bank, and finally other smaller institutions to try to recover the funds. During July, the IRA collected £120,000 in customs revenue and had hidden this money in the accounts of sympathizers. At each bank, Collins told their managers to close the doors, and they would allow the banks to be reopened only if the managers cooperated fully. Collins had the bank directors identify the suspicious accounts, then he concluded that “three first-class men will be necessary to conduct a forensic investigation of the banks and the Customs and Excise in Cork.” He told William Cosgrave to consider three people but “don’t announce anything until I return.”

He and Dalton then traveled the thirty miles to Macroom where Collins met Florence O’Donoghue, who was in the IRA and was one of its leaders in County Cork in the War of Independence, but who was neutral in the Civil War. The first phase of the Civil War was ended, O’Donoghue later wrote. He and many others recognized at this point that the IRA/Republicans could not win the war and that Collins came south searching for peace. Collins was desperately trying to bring the War to a close, as well as trying to give some face-saving agreement to the leaders on the other side. It is thought that he asked O’Donoghue how to stop the War and to mediate for him. After lunch at the Imperial, they headed out to review the military in Cobh, and then returned to Cork in early evening.

Michael Collins at the wedding of Commander Sean McKeown (The Blacksmith of Ballinalee) and Miss A Cooney in June 1922 (Getty Images)

Michael Collins at the wedding of Commander Sean McKeown (The Blacksmith of Ballinalee) and Miss A Cooney in June 1922 (Getty Images)

Read More: Long-lost photo of Michael Collins taken hours before his death found in Dublin attic

August 22, 1922, The Fateful Day

Collins’s party left the Imperial Hotel, Cork, at 6.15 am on Tuesday, August 22. That day the convoy included the following:

A motorcyclist, Lt. John ‘Jeersey’ Smyth.

A Crossley Tender under the command of Cmdt. Seán (Paddy) O’Connell, Capt. Peter Conlon, Sgt. Conroy, Sgt. Cooney, John O’Connell and eight riflemen, Gough, Barry, Carmody, Coote, Edmunds, Murray, Caine, and McKenna.

Collins and Emmet Dalton in a yellow Leland Thomas Straight Eight touring car.

The driver was Private Michael Smith Corry and the reserve driver was M. Quinn.

A Rolls Royce Whippet armored car (A.R.R. 2), the Slievenamon. Capt. Joe Dolan was riding in the car. Jim Wolfe was the driver, Jimmy ‘Wiggy’ Fortune the co-driver. The Vicker’s machine-gunner on the armored car was John (Jock) McPeak. (He deserted on December 2, 1922, with Billy Barry and Pat and Mick O’Sullivan and took the armored car to the IRA; he said he did it for a woman. He was arrested in Glasgow in July 1923 and was imprisoned in Portlaoise where he went on a hunger strike). Cooney and Monks were the other members of the armored car crew.

The military detail was far too small for the protection of the Free State Commander-in-Chief, especially as they would be traveling through some of the most active anti-Treaty areas of south Cork.

The convoy went through Macroom towards Béal na mBláth about 8 am where it stopped to get directions, then through Crookstown, then to Bandon.

In Bandon, Collins briefly met in Lee’s Hotel with Major General Seán Hales, O/C of the Free State forces in West Cork. It is thought that Hales was informed of a meeting Collins had intended with Civil War neutrals in Cork that evening and that he had met with O’Donoghue and others the day before and discussed how an end to the War could be achieved.

At Clonakilty, the convoy stopped for lunch at Callinan’s Pub.

In the afternoon the convoy went to Roscarberry and Collins had a drink in the Four Alls Pub (owned by his cousin Jeremiah) at Sam’s Cross where Collins declared: “I’m going to settle this thing. I’m going to put an end to this bloody war.” But there is no sign he was open to compromise. Clearly, any hope he had of settling the Civil War would not be done at the expense of the Treaty. Collins told his brother, Johnny, that he would “go further with the British government once there was peace here.” His principal aim was to end the Civil War. He said “The British have given up their claim on us. When we begin to work together we can help those in the northeast.”

On the way back, Collins’s party passed by the burnt remains of his childhood home, Woodfield, and Collins pointed to the rugged stone walls. “There,” he said to Dalton, “There is where I was born. That was my home.” Still, Collins was as happy as Dalton had seen him. “He was able to let himself go, and also I think he felt things were now moving his way. He didn’t say much as we traveled along the flat road towards Bandon, he appeared lost in the myriad thoughts of a crowded and successful day.”

The convoy left the Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen at 5 pm and headed back to Cork. Collins met his great friend John L. Sullivan on this journey. The convoy detoured around Clonakilty on the way back because of a roadblock. It stopped at Lee’s Hotel in Bandon for tea. (It has never been fully explained why the convoy returned this same way they came out in the morning, however when the anti-Treaty forces left Cork city they blew up most of the bridges and cut most of the roads, so there were few passable ways to travel in County Cork.) There, again, he met Hales, who was the brother of Tom Hales, by coincidence a member of the ambush party. “Keep up the good work! ’Twill soon be over” was Collins’s parting salute to Hales.

On the road out of Bandon, Collins said to Dalton; “If we run into an ambush along the way, we’ll stand and fight them.” Dalton said nothing.

A photo of Collins just hours before his death.

A photo of Collins just hours before his death.

In the early morning of Tuesday, August 22, the ambush party met in Long’s Pub (owned by Denis “Denny the Dane” Long, the “lookout” who spotted Collins’s party as it passed through Béal na mBláth).

The men who assembled at Béal na mBláth were not a column, but officers trained in guerrilla warfare who gathered to hold a pre-arranged important staff meeting. When Florence O’Donoghue met with the surviving members of the IRA/Republicans in 1964, they said they were unaware that Collins was in the area until that morning. The plan to ambush the party was decided as part of the general policy of attacking all Free State convoys, not as a specific plan to ambush this convoy. They saw the opportunity to overpower an enemy convoy on its return journey and they decided to take up the challenge and ambush it.

The IRA/Republicans stopped a Clonakilty man, Jeremiah O’Brien, who was taking a cartload of empty mineral bottles to Bandon. They commandeered his cart and took off one of the wheels, blocking the road. In combination with the mine they were placing in the road, the ambush party knew the convoy would have to stop abruptly. The ambush party remained in place all day, but there was no action. In the late afternoon, a message was received that Collins’s party was in Bandon, but as it was thought unlikely that the convoy would come through Béal na mBláth a second time, they began to disassemble the mine and evacuate the position.

Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Read More: Evidence shows man who shot Michael Collins met him before ambush

The ambush of Michael Collins

Originally, the ambush party numbered between 25 and 30, according to varying sources. Some men stayed all day, others came and went as the day went on.

The ambush took place at Béal na mBláth (between Macroom Crookstown, about ten miles short of Bandon) just before sunset, at 7.30 pm. When the first shots were fired, Dalton ordered: “Drive like hell.” Collins countermanded the order just as he had predicted and yelled: “Stop, we’ll fight them.”

Collins and Dalton first fired from behind the armored car, and then Collins shouted “there—they are running up the road.” The Lewis machinegun in the armored car jammed several times, and when it did the IRA/Republicans took advantage of the lull in firing to move their positions.

Then, Collins ran about fifteen yards up the road, dropped into a prone firing position, and continued shooting at the IRA/anti-Treatyites on the hill.

Dalton said then he heard the faint cry “Emmet, I’m hit.” Dalton and Commandant Seán O’Connell ran over to where Collins was lying face-down on the road and found a “fearful gaping wound at the base of his skull behind the right ear. We immediately saw that General Collins was almost beyond human aid. He could not speak to us. …O’Connell now knelt beside the dying, but still conscious, Chief whose eyes were wide open and normal, and whispered into the ear of the fast-sinking man the words of Act of Contrition. For this he was rewarded with a light pressure of the hand. …. Very gently I raised his head on my knee and tried to bandage his wound but owing to the awful size of it this proved very difficult. I had not completed this task when the big eyes quickly closed, and the cold pallor of death overspread the General’s face. How can I describe the feelings that were mine in that bleak hour, kneeling in the mud of a country road not twelve miles from Clonakilty, with the still bleeding head of the Idol of Ireland resting on my arm.”

Later Dalton said: “it was a very large wound, an open wound in the back of the head …and it was difficult for me to get a First-Field-Aid bandage to cover it, you know when I was binding it up. It was quite obvious to me, with the experience I had of a ricochet bullet, it could only have been a ricochet or a dum-dum.”

Michael Collins at the Curragh Barracks in Co Kildare with Col Dunphy, Major General Emmet Dalton, Comdt-Gen P MacMahon, and Comdt-Gen D O'Hegarty in July 1922 (Getty Images)

Michael Collins at the Curragh Barracks in Co Kildare with Col Dunphy, Major General Emmet Dalton, Comdt-Gen P MacMahon, and Comdt-Gen D O’Hegarty in July 1922 (Getty Images)

Read More: One-fifth of Ireland populations turned out for Michael Collins’ funeral

After the ambush

The ambush was over in approximately thirty minutes, and before it ended, darkness had fallen so it was impossible to get off an aimed shot. No one in the anti-Treatyite party fully knew that Collins had been shot or that the convoy suffered any casualty. It was only when Shawno Galvin came back to Béal na mBláth that they got the first report of any casualties.

Collins’s body was first placed into the armored car, then transferred to the touring car for the sad trip back to Cork City. On the way into Cork City, Dalton stopped the convoy at a church in Cloughduv. Dalton asked where was the priest’s house? Getting directions there, they knocked on the door and the curate, Fr. Timothy Murphy, came to the railing. Seeing Collins was beyond hope, he turned to get the sacred oils, but Cmdt. O’Connell misunderstood this to be a refusal of his ministry. O’Connell pointed a pistol at him, but Dalton knocked it away.

As they approached Cork City they stopped at the Sacred Heart Mission at Victoria Cross. Here Fr. O’Brien administered the Last Rites to Collins.

Then the convoy headed back to the Imperial Hotel, where Dalton, Cmdt. O’Connell, Sgt. Cooney and Lt. Gough went into the Hotel to inform Maj. Gen. Dr. Leo Ahern and asked him to take charge of the body.

Dr. Ahern first examined Collins’s body when it was brought to the Imperial Hotel, and then at Shanakiel Hospital. He was the first doctor to examine the body and pronounced Collins dead. His examination found a large, gaping wound “to the right of the poll. There was no other wound. There was definitely no wound in the forehead.”

From the hotel, Collins’s body was taken to Shanakiel Hospital in Cork, where Dr. Michael Riordan was detailed by Dr. Ahern to examine and prepare the body, and they conducted the autopsy. Dr. Christy Kelly was present during a thorough second examination later and confirmed a huge wound on the right side behind the ear, with no exit wound. In contrast, Dr. Patrick Cagney, a British surgeon in the British army during the war who had a wide knowledge of gunshot wounds and who examined the body still later confirmed there was an entry wound as well as a large exit wound.

Eleanor Gordon, Matron of Shanakiel Hospital, and nurse Nora O’Donoghue cleaned and attended to Collins’s wounds and also later testified to the nature of the wounds. His body was first taken to room 201, then to room 121 after the autopsy where Free State soldiers guarded it until taken to the ship for transport to Dublin. In the afternoon, Cronin & Desmond Funeral Service performed their duties. Fr. Joseph Scannell, Army chaplain, and Fr. Joe Ahern recited the funeral prayers.

Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Read More: Pathé newsreel shows Michael Collins sign “his own death warrant” on this day in 1921

Back home to Dublin

The steamship SS Classic left Penrose Quay in Cork and brought Collins’s body from Cork to Dublin. General Dalton sent this handwritten telegram from the Cork GPO to the Dublin HQ:

CHIEF OF STAFF DUBLIN

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF SHOT DEAD IN AMBUSH AT BEALNABLATH NEAR BANDON 6.30 [sic] TUESDAY EVENING WITH ME, ALSO ONE MAN WOUNDED. REMAINS LEAVING BY CLASSIC FOR DUBLIN TODAY WEDNESDAY NOON. ARRANGE TO MEET. REPLY DALTON.

As the vessel sailed down-channel from Cork, it passed the assembled remaining British vessels, upon the decks of which the British sailors mustered, saluted, and the Last Post played.

Michael Collins in October 1921 (Getty Images)

Michael Collins in October 1921 (Getty Images)

Read More: The many faces of Michael Collins- dead 97 years today

The Éamon De Valera factor

Though he was within a few miles of Béal na mBláth on the day Collins was killed, Éamon de Valera had hoped to meet him, but no plan had been made. Moreover, de Valera was not involved in the ambush; he had little political influence on the IRA at the time and no military influence at all. By this time, de Valera was trying to bring the Civil War to a halt, as well.

Liam Deasy spoke with de Valera the night before and de Valera’s position was that having made their protest in arms, and as they could not now hope to achieve a military success, the honorable course was for the IRA/Republicans to withdraw. Deasy explained that there were over a thousand men in the area and they would not agree to an unconditional ceasefire.

The next day, de Valera went to Long’s Pub, and his efforts at a ceasefire were rejected again. The most reliable evidence indicates when de Valera went to Long’s Pub he also tried to prevent the ambush but was rebuffed by the IRA/Republicans. Liam Lynch, O/C of the IRA in the south-west, specifically had given orders that de Valera’s efforts to cease hostilities should not be encouraged.

Again, Deasy met with de Valera and explained to him that the men billeted in this area would consider Collins’s convoy as a challenge that they could not refuse to meet.

Despite rumor and innuendo, there is no evidence that de Valera was involved in the planning or the ambush being laid for Collins.

Later de Valera was quoted: “A pity. What a pity I didn’t meet him.” And “It would be bad if anything happens to Collins, his place will be taken by weaker men.”

Harry Boland, Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, and Eamon Duggan in February 1922 (Getty Images)

Harry Boland, Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, and Eamon Duggan in February 1922 (Getty Images)

Read More: How Eamon de Valera got involved with Michael Collins tombstone

The funeral of Michael Collins

On the morning of August 23, Richard Mulcahy, as Free State Army Chief of Staff, issued the following message to the Army:

“Stand calmly by your posts. Bend bravely and undaunted to your task. Let no cruel act of reprisal blemish your bright honor. Every dark hour that Collins met since 1916 seemed but to steel that bright strength of his and temper his brave gaiety You are left as inheritors of that strength and bravery. To each of you falls his unfinished work. No darkness in the hour: loss of comrades will daunt you in it. Ireland! The Army serves—strengthened by its sorrow.”

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Michael’s sister, Hannie Collins, with whom he lived when he first went to London in 1906, had long planned a holiday to Ireland in August. On the morning of August 23, she went to work at the post office in West Kensington. As she was about to enter her office she was stopped, taken into the superintendent’s room, and told there was a rumor that her brother had been killed. She said she was not surprised—during the night she had had a premonition he had been killed. “I know how unhappy he had been for so long—At the moment of death the load went…from his mind, so it went from mine.”

She went to see her friends, John and Hazel Lavery, but they were not home, so she went to board the Irish boat train at Euston Station. (The Laverys had already gone to Ireland where Sir John was painting.) Winston Churchill, having been told of Hannie’s distress by the Laverys’ butler, reserved a compartment for her and paid her travelling expenses. A newspaper reporter at Euston recorded that “Miss Collins, dressed from head to foot in black, was seen off by a lady friend. She was a calm but pathetic figure. She traveled alone.”

George Bernard Shaw wrote to Hannie:

“Don’t let them make you miserable about it: how could a born soldier die better than at the victorious end of a good fight, falling to the shot of another Irishman—a damned fool but all the same an Irishman who thought he was fighting for Ireland—‘a Roman to a Roman’…I met Michael for the first and last time on Saturday last, and I am very glad I did. I rejoice in his memory and will not be so disloyal to it as to snivel over his valiant death.

“So, tear up your mourning and hang up your brightest colors in his honor; and let us all praise God that he had not to die in a snuffy bed of a trumpery cough, weakened by age, and saddened by the disappointments that would have attended his work had he lived.”

In Dublin, Collins’s remains were taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital where Dr. Oliver St John Gogarty embalmed the body and had Sir John Lavery paint Collins’s portrait. Albert Power sculpted the death mask.

The death mask of Michael Collins (Getty Images)

The death mask of Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Collins’s body was taken to the chapel in St. Vincent’s on Thursday, August 24, then in late evening to Dublin City Hall for the public lying-in-state until Sunday evening.

Michael Collins laying in state in Dublin (Getty Images)

Michael Collins laying in state in Dublin (Getty Images)

On Sunday evening, his body was removed to the Pro-Cathedral where it remained under guard overnight. His funeral Mass was said in the Pro-Cathedral on Monday, with Dr. Michael Fogarty, Bishop of Killaloe, the principal celebrant assisted by several other Bishops.

The gun carriage on which the casket was transported to Glasnevin Cemetery had been borrowed from the British and used in the bombardment of the Four Courts in June. The Free State Government specially purchased four black artillery horses from the British to pull the caisson to Glasnevin.

The funeral procession for Michael Collins (Getty Images)

The funeral procession for Michael Collins (Getty Images)

Collins’s death was never officially registered, there was no inquest, and there was no formal, independent autopsy. When the Fianna Fáil government was to take over in 1932, it was said that many papers relating to Collins’s killing were taken from Portobello Barracks and burned by the order of the Minister for Defense, Desmond FitzGerald.

Collins died intestate, leaving an estate of £1,950.9s.11d, which passed to his brother Johnny.

Michael's brother Sean Collins at Michael's coffin (Getty Images)

Michael’s brother Sean Collins at Michael’s coffin (Getty Images)

Read More: Michael Collins and the Bloody Sunday massacre, 98 years ago today

Praise for the fallen Michael Collins

The British press acknowledged Collins’s part in the struggle for Irish freedom. The Daily Chronicle called him a “young and brilliant leader.” The Evening Press described his death as a “staggering blow.”

The Daily Telegraph wrote: “He was a bitter and implacable enemy of England while the English garrison remained in Ireland and Ireland was not free to govern itself in its own way. …The dead man, without a doubt, was the stuff of which all great men are made.”

The London Daily Sketch editorialized: “The hand that struck down Collins, guided by a blinded patriotism, has aimed a blow at the unity of Ireland for which every one of her sons is fighting.  Collins was probably the most skilled artisan of the fabric of a happier Ireland. Certainly, he was the most picturesque figure in the struggle; and in the rearing of a new State a popular ideal serves as the rallying point to draw the contending elements. The death of Collins leaves the ship of the Free State without a helmsman.

“Other sons of Ireland have risen from lowliness to eminence in the struggle, but Michael Collins, by his valor, his sufferings, his elusiveness during the more turbulent periods of the past, and by his own personal charm, bound a spell round the popular imagination and wove a romance which endeared him to his friends and inspired respect in his foes.

“Since the historic hour in the early morning of December 6…the progress of the new State has been dogged and delayed by a malignant Fate.

“The next phase in the life of the Free State is veiled by the tragedy of the present. The helmsman has gone at a moment when no haven can yet be decried.

“What is to happen now?”

Seven years later, Winston Churchill would pay homage to his one-time military enemy and political ally. He admired Collins but evidently continued to be ignorant of the ideals that had driven and permanently separated the two men: “He was an Irish patriot, true and fearless. His narrow upbringing and his whole life had filled him with hatred for England. His hands had touched directly the springs of terrible deeds. We hunted him for his life, and he had slipped half a dozen times through steel claws. But now he had no hatred of England.”

Shane Leslie wrote the following lines:

What is that curling flower of wonder

As white as snow, as red as blood?

When Death goes by in flame and thunder

And rips the beauty from the bud.

They left his blossom white and slender

Beneath Glasnevin’s shaking sod;

His spirit passed like sunset splendor

Unto the dead Fianna’s God.

Good luck be with you, Collins,

Or stay or go you far away;

Or stay you with the folk of fairy,

Or come with ghosts another day.

Brendan Behan’s mother, Kathleen, nicknamed Michael Collins her “Laughing Boy.” She and her first husband had both served in the Rising. In 1935, when he was twelve years old, Brendan wrote a lament to the “Laughing Boy:”

T’was on an August morning, all in the dawning hours,

I went to take the warming air, all in the Mouth of Flowers,

And there I saw a maiden, and mournful was her cry,

‘Ah what will mend my broken heart, I’ve lost my Laughing Boy.

So strong, so wild and brave he was, I’ll mourn his loss too sore,

When thinking that I’ll hear the laugh or springing step no more.

Ah, cure the times and sad the loss my heart to crucify,

That an Irish son with a rebel gun shot down my Laughing Boy.

Oh, had he died by Pearse’s side or in the GPO,

Killed by an English bullet from the rifle of the foe,

Or forcibly fed with Ashe lay dead in the dungeons of Mountjoy,

I’d have cried with pride for the way he died, my own dear Laughing Boy.

My princely love, can ageless love do more than tell to you,

Go raibh maith agat for all you tried to do,

For all you did, and would have done, my enemies to destroy,

I’ll mourn your name and praise your fame, forever, my Laughing Boy.

A statue of Michael Collins in Co Cork (Ireland's Content Pool)

A statue of Michael Collins in Co Cork (Ireland’s Content Pool)

Read More: Michael Collins was Britain’s second greatest foe after George Washington

*Joe Connell served in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, the NFL, and received a degree from Pepperdine University School of Law. His interest in Ireland, and particularly in its history, reflects his Irish heritage. In time he came to concentrate his research/interest on early 20th century Ireland—with a focus on the period prior to the Easter Rising up to the founding and early days of the Irish Free State. He is the author of the eponymous Dublin in Rebellion, Dublin Rising 1916, Who’s Who in the Dublin Rising 1916 and his most recent book, Michael Collins, Dublin 1916-1923. Connell is a columnist in History Ireland and has written several books for Kilmainham Tales. He is available to speak to groups in the U.S. and can be reached at Jeac7140@gmail.com.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Business at The Butler Is Its Own Art

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Early morning visitors to The Butler Institute of American Art might catch a few masonry workers tending to the grout on the facade of the building. They’re working on the final phase of a four-year capital project to make needed repairs to the building.

Past phases included the recaulking of metal coping joints, marble joints and aluminum windows. All told, the project costs some $350,000, says development director Rebecca Davis. Donations from area nonprofits, including the Youngstown Foundation, J. Ford Crandall Foundation, Walter E. and Caroline Watson Foundation and others, funded the project, she says.

Writing grants and courting funds from area foundations and corporations are among Davis’ primary responsibilities. Contributed income accounts for up to 45% of the museum’s annual revenue, and includes planned gifts and state, federal, foundation and corporate grants, as well as memberships, individual giving and major gifts, she says.

Two of the biggest components are through the Ohio Arts Council and the state capital budget, the latter of which must go toward capital improvements or new equipment, and not repairs or general maintenance. Davis is preparing the museum capital budget proposal for the fall, she says.

“We’re not quite sure exactly what we’re going to be asking for yet,” she says. “We may be asking for money for an expansion.”

Looking ahead, Davis says The Butler is planning a major update for its environmental-control system, which is important for preserving the artwork. “That will probably be part of our capital-budget ask,” she says.

In 2018, The Butler received $500,000 in state capital-budget funding, and $279,000 the year before. Past projects funded by state-capital monies include replacing the historic passenger elevator, adding air-conditioning to The Butler North education sanctuary, installing LED lighting and replacing the turnaround driveway to make it more accessible.

With any grant received, The Butler must measure and report the effect of the efforts, Davis says. Impact is typically measured by increased foot traffic and firsthand accounts, she says. In a report Davis is currently completing, she plans to reach out to Kevin Llewellyn, who had a retrospective exhibition at The Butler for the past year.

“I know I can take from his social media just how important it was for him having this exhibition here,” she says. “He’s from Columbiana; he’s in Los Angeles now. It had a huge impact on him personally, I know from just what he said in the media.”

Bringing in popular artists is critical to the ability of The Butler to court funding, she says. Attracting artists such as Llewellyn, Kim Novak and John Mellencamp demonstrates the museum’s efforts to reach a cross-section of the community, she says.

“You have diverse exhibitions with diverse artists to bring in a diverse audience,” she says. “You might have Mellencamp coming in and you can pull in people that have never come to the museum, but they want to come and see his work because they love his music.”

Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is “most important” because it goes toward operational expenses, she says, “which is probably the hardest grants to get” because the arts make up “a small piece of the pie” for available funds for nonprofits. Thus, The Butler relies on investment income from its $25 million endowment fund for operations, Davis says.

Rebecca Davis displays art by the late Clyde Singer, former curator of The Butler.

Investment income from the fund makes up 45% of the annual revenues of the museum and accounts for a third of its $2 million budget, which includes the salaries of its 22 employees. Another 5% to 15% comes from earned income, which includes cafe and gift shop sales, education-class fees, museum rentals and the annual Holiday Craft Show & Sale.

To ensure The Butler maintains good stewardship of its endowment and other funds, director Louis Zona meets with the 40-member board of trustees five times each year to discuss all financial matters, as well as the collection, membership, development and planning, outreach and ethics.

“We have a fairly diverse board with several skill sets that help us manage that museum,” says Board President Thomas Cavalier. “We’ve been fortunate that we have a nice endowment that is conservatively managed. That provides some income to the museum.”

In the 33 years Cavalier has served on the board, “I can’t recall a time when we haven’t balanced our budget. Dr. Zona does an outstanding job in managing that museum,” he says. “He doesn’t present anything unless it’s something that would be beneficial to The Butler. And he’s got a good handle on our finances and knows what we can and cannot do,” he says.

Having a successful financial track record is important to ensure the museum exists in perpetuity, he says, because it demonstrates to donors that their contributions are well managed, he says.

“A lot of museums in the country have gone out of business because they haven’t been able to manage their expenses and get the support of the community,” Cavalier says. “If you start to run into financial trouble, I think your donors tend to back away, too. People want to be part of a successful operation and The Butler certainly has been successful.”

The Butler hasn’t had to touch the principal of its endowment, relying instead on fundraising, contributions and membership fees, he says. Four banks help manage the investments of the fund, which has increased over the years, he says.

“Our endowment, we look at it as being very sacred,” Cavalier says. “In the past, when we’ve raised money, we’ve added to the endowment.”

Membership fees bring in “a couple hundred thousand dollars we can always count on,” Zona says. Some 300 comprise the Trustees Circle, which ranges from $300 to $3,000 in annual fees and includes a number of perks, including discounts at the gift shop and for art classes, reciprocal privileges with 14 Ohio art museums, recognition on a plague in Beecher Court, invitations to exclusive events at The Butler and other perks. About 1,000 make up the general membership, which costs between $50 to $100 annually, he notes.

Early in his career at The Butler, Zona learned the importance of maintaining strong connections with local business owners and influencers. The Butler has received some major gifts that were part of someone’s estate.

“You can’t count on that, but you try to be a good citizen. You try to make the museum accessible to everyone. And I think ultimately it pays dividends,” Zona says.

In the 1980s when Zona wanted to raise money for what would become the West Wing addition, a colleague recommended he speak with Chuck Schaff, a local business owner.

“He came in to walk around The Butler with me and he said, ‘Why do people come here?’ ” Zona recalls with a laugh. “I said, ‘Chuck, some people really like art.’ He said, ‘I’ll help you.’ ” 

Together, Zona and Schaff raised $4 million for the expansion project that was completed in 1987. The expansion includes the Hopper Research Library, Sweeney Children’s Gallery, Donnell Gallery of Sports Art and Beecher Court, as well as a kitchen and downstairs storage space, he says.

The Butler hosts about 120,000 visitors each year, a large number of whom are children. And while The Butler has become “quite a hot spot for teachers,” Zona recognizes the need to attract younger patrons.

“Every time we have a party for the Trustees Circle to thank them, there’s always somebody in the group who will come up to me and say, ‘Notice that all the hair is gray here?’ ” he says.

To attract the next generation of patrons, The Butler created its Young Collectors Group three years ago, Davis says. The museum hosts three annual events for residents 25 to 45 years old – some of whom have never been to The Butler – to get them familiar with the museum and drive an appreciation for the arts and collecting.

One event focuses on prints “because that’s a way to get into collecting,” Davis says. The event included speakers such as Jeff Byce, real estate broker, auctioneer and founder of ByceAuction Ltd., to discuss art auctions, and a representative from Sotheby’s to discuss how valuations work. In addition, local artists attend the events to sell their work and explain their processes.

The Butler has also partnered with Column & Stripe, the young friends group of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Davis says. The partnership brings patrons from Cleveland to tour The Butler.

“They were very impressed,” Davis says. “Some of them have been here before and they just wanted the tour with Dr. Zona.”

To keep to the founder’s vision of having a museum accessible to everyone, Zona wants to add a gallery of African-American art in the near future.

“In our community, 50% of the people that live here are African-American,” he says. “I’m seeing more and more African-American families coming through The Butler.”

Such an expansion would cost anywhere from $1.5 million to $2 million, “so, at this point it’s a pipe dream,” he says. “But we’ll see.”

Pictured: Louis Zona’s favorite painting at The Butler is Robert Vonnoh’s “In Flanders Field Where Soldiers Sleep and Poppies Grow.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Ghana draws African-American tourists with ‘Year of Return’

African-Americans are flocking to Ghana as it marks the “Year of Return” and the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship landing in Virginia. [AFP]

US preacher Roxanne Caleb blinked away the tears as she emerged from a pitch-dark dungeon where African slaves were once held before being shipped across the Atlantic to America. “I wasn’t prepared for this. I’m heartbroken,” she told AFP as she toured the Cape Coast slave fort on Ghana’s ocean shore. “My mind still can’t wrap around the fact that a human being can treat another worse than a rat.”
Caleb is among the African-American visitors flocking to Ghana as it marks the “Year of Return” to remember the 400th anniversary of the first slave ship landing in Virginia.

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The West African nation is banking on the commemorations to give a major boost to the number of tourist arrivals as it encourages the descendants of slaves to “come home”.
Cape Coast Castle, 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the capital Accra, is a major magnet for those visiting
The white-washed fort lined with cannons was one of dozens of prisons studding the Atlantic coast where slaves were held before their journey to the New World.
A string of prominent African-Americans have headed to the site this year to mark the anniversary since the first slave landing in 1619.
Among them was a delegation of Congressional Black Caucus led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that toured last month.

SEE ALSO :Ghana captain Gyan backtracks on retirement ahead of African Cup

‘Can’t forget history’
For those visiting it is an emotional rite of passage. “This has been understanding my history and my roots where I came from,” Caleb said. “I am very thankful I came here as part of the Year of Return.”
Sampson Nii Addy, a corrections officer with the Montgomery police department in Alabama, said he and his family had found the tour an “education”.

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“I think every black person needs to come around to learn history; how people were treated,” the 52-year-old told AFP. “We can’t forget history but we can always learn something from it.”
Ghana, one of the continent’s most stable democracies, has long pitched itself as a destination for African-Americans to explore their heritage and even settle permanently.
In 2009 President Barack Obama visited with his family and paid homage at the Cape Coast Castle.
The “Year of Return” has added fresh impetus and the country is hoping it will increase visitor numbers from 350,000 in 2018 to 500,000 this year, including 45,000 African-Americans.

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Kojo Keelson has spent nine years guiding tour groups around the Cape Coast Castle and says 2019 has seen a surge in interest as Ghana looks to rake in tourism revenue of $925 million (830 million euros). “It’s like a pilgrimage. This year we’ve a lot more African-Americans coming through than the previous year,” he told AFP. “I’m urging all of them to come home and experience and reconnect to the motherland.”

Tourists visit the ‘Door of No Reutrn’ at Cape Coast Castle in Ghana where enslaved Africans were loaded onto ships to the Americas. [AFP]

‘Love to come again’
Akwasi Awua Ababio, the official coordinating “Year of Return” events, pointed to high hotel occupancy rates as he said “enthusiasm is very high and we’ve got huge numbers coming from the US and Caribbean”.
He insisted that beyond the major economic boost, Ghana was also looking to use the new connections it is forging to convince the descendants of slaves to resettle for good and help the country develop. “Human resource is always an asset and we need to see how we can welcome them home to utilise their expertise and networks,” the director for diaspora affairs at the presidency said.
The African American Association of Ghana brings together those who have moved to West Africa and offers help to integrate them into their new surroundings.
President Gail Nikoi praised the “Year of Return” initiative by Ghanaian leader Nana Akufo-Addo and said the country was “setting the stage for future engagements and involvement of African-Americans and other Africans from the diaspora in the development of this country.”
But she said the authorities could still be doing more to help attract arrivals and convince them to stay. “Dialogue and engagement is the first step,” she said.
While most of those visiting Cape Coast were not thinking about settling back permanently — they said the trip had opened their eyes to both their own history and what Ghana has to offer. “It has broadened my horizons about how we came to be here and what our ancestors went through,” said William Shaw, 57, from Montgomery. “I would love to come again. There is a lot more to see here in Ghana… at least once in a year I’d advise African-Americans to come back to their native land and learn about their history.”

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North Carolina Mesothelioma Victims Center Now Appeals to A Person with Mesothelioma Anywhere in North Carolina To Call Them For Direct Access to Famed Attorney Erik Karst-Get Honest advice About Compensation

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

RiverArts Pop-up Exhibit Features Local Black Artists

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Work by five local black artists was on display in a pop-up gallery at the RiverArts education center over the Legacy Day weekend. — Photo by Peter Heck

For this year’s Legacy Day, RiverArts held a special pop-up, one-weekend-only, exhibit of local black artists in the RiverArts Education Center on High Street across from the EverGrain Bakery.  There was an impressive range of subject matter, styles, and format with photography, oil, pastels, sculpture, and multi-media. Among the featured artists was Sam Shoge who displayed his marvelous birds-eye drone photographs of Chestertown and Kent County. Shoge founded and manages Shore Studios which specializes in aerial photography.

Also, art by Kevin Harris was on exhibit with several of his powerful and evocative depictions of scenes from black history including a child in a cotton field and a hanging empty noose.  Harris uses plate glass for his canvas, which gives his work a special luster with a stark realistic look.  See more of Harris’s work at his blog here.

There were lovely nature scenes, most with young children, by Evelyn Young. Her work beautifully captures the joys of childhood.  Alan Johnson contributed both sculpture and paintings, including a striking portrait of Henry Highland Garnet.

Artist Samuel E. Moore had on display several scenes of local life, focusing on the bays and beaches that are so prominent in Kent County along with boats and green fields.  Moore is also known for his dramatic abstracts which you can see on his FaceBook page here.   Betty Smith’s work brought personalities to life as in her superb group portrait “Sunday Best.”

This exhibit was an excellent addition to the Legacy Day activities and a fine representation of the breadth and depth of talent in the local black community.  Look for these and other local artists throughout the year at RiverArts and the numerous other venues in and around Chestertown.

Photo Gallery from RiverArts Pop-up Exhibit of Local Black Artists 

Photography by Jane Jewell and Peter Heck

Sam Shoge with birds-eye views of Chestertown and Kent County

Artist Evelyn Young with her lovely stylized nature scenes. — Photo by Peter Heck

Artist Kevin Harris captured much of the African-American experience throughout history. — Photo by Peter Heck

Art by Samuel Moore — Photo by Jane Jewell

“Poised for Flight” by Evelyn Young 

“Lady on the Bench” by Samuel Moore 

“””

“Sunday Best” by Betty Smith 

A boy in a cotton field –  untitled painting by Kevin Harris 

An empty noose – untitled painting by Kevin Harris

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RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Buttigieg makes his case to Lowcountry voters

By MIKE McCOMBS

Sally Hannock of Coosaw was one of the 600 or so people who came out Saturday to Whale Branch Middle School to hear South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg make his case to Lowcountry voters why he should be the Democrats’ choice to unseat Donald Trump as U.S. President in 2020.

A Massachusetts native who moved to Beaufort two years ago, Hannock lists Buttigieg and Kamala Harris among her favorites so far, but she had been desperate to see Mayor Pete for the first time.

“He’s smart and calm and clear,” Hannock said. “I just want to hear him. Anything he says has to be better than Trump. But he’s so smart. I just want to hear him.”

And hear him she did. 

“This country is running out of time,” Buttigieg said. “This election is about the future and our insistence that the future be better than the past.”

Here’s a look at what Buttigieg had to say, both on his own and in response to questions:

– “It’s time for a secretary of education that actually believes in public education,” he said.

Betsy DeVos has been an abject failure, particularly for the students she claims to represent.

– Patriotism, national security and God do not belong only to the Republican Party.

“We get to speak up and nobody is going to question our loyalty to the republic,” Buttigieg said.

– One of the biggest threats to our nation is white nationalist violence and it must be addressed as domestic terrorism.

– “We have got to confront climate change as one of the biggest national security threats of our time,” he said.

– Much like military service, we ought to give young Americans the opportunity to serve their nation through national civilian service. Buttigieg proposed creating a million paid public service jobs.

– Like the Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe after World War II, Buttigieg proposes a Douglas Plan that would create an equitable system (justice and economic) for black Americans. He said populating the current system with good people isn’t enough.

– “We are “running out of time to support rural America,” he said. The biggest issues are the closing of rural hospitals, a chronic teacher shortage and a lack of access to the Internet.

– Dollars currently outvote people. It’s time for serious campaign finance reform.

– We need to make government more representative. Getting rid of gerrymandering and the Electoral College is a start.

– We need to work harder to address the problems in front of us. We have to deal with today’s problems so our children can focus on their own problems when they are actually in charge.

– He expressed his support for Medicare for all who want it,

“I believe in universal health care,” he said. “Every other country has figured this out. But how do we get there?”

He said the public option is better than the corporate option, but demonstrate it by leaving the corporate option. If the people see for themselves it is a better option, they’ll get there by their own choices.”

– We have to do a better job of taking care of both the mental and physical health of our veterans. We made them a two-way promise. We have to provide better access to the VA facilities and programs. And we have to have a rural training program to better facilitate good care.

– Buttigieg said he wouldn’t hesitate to use executive authority to undo all the bad executive orders of this president. Issues like family separation, the handcuffing of the EPA and overtime rules. However, “I would rather local cement these policies in through legislation.”

– We have to rein in the NRA, Buttigieg said. “The kinds of weapons that I carried overseas have no place in our neighborhoods, he said. But the NRA’s own corruption is doing some of the job.”

– And lastly, lobbyists are becoming too powerful. It’s time, Buttigieg said, for Americans to use the Founding Fathers’ secret weapon and pass and amendment to overturn Citizen’s United.

Above: Rain couldn’t keep die-hard Democrats away Saturday morning for presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s campaign rally at Whale Branch Middle School, where he received an energetic welcome. Photos by Bob Sofaly. 

African American Mayors Association Releases Comprehensive Report on the Future of Work in Cities

Study finds that cities have underutilized tools to mitigate job losses

WASHINGTON, — The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) just released a new report entitled, “The Future of Work: The Effect of Job Automation on African-American and Latino Workers in Three Cities.” This is the first in-depth study on automation that pairs economic analysis with educational analysis to offer localized solutions to anticipated job loss due to automation. The report examined three local economies: Gary, Ind.; Long Beach, Calif.; and Columbia, South Carolina. The study found that while jobs lost to automation may range anywhere from 9 percent to upwards of 50 percent for black and Latino workers in the cities studied, localities already have many often underutilized tools to mitigate such losses such as online training programs and apprenticeships.

Mayors have a close-up view of the needs and experiences of residents and local industries. They also have close connections to school boards and county and state government officials. Thus, local leaders are in strategic positions to marshal and coordinate resources and disseminate information about education and workforce training programs. In addition, local leaders can lobby state and federal governments to support high-quality, evidence-based programs and develop comprehensive systems of workforce development. With information about the needs and resources within their communities, local leaders can be at the forefront of efforts to prepare their workforce for the future.

“I am excited that the African American Mayors Association is leading on the important issue of preparing black and brown workers for the future economy,” said AAMA President, Hardie Davis, Mayor of Augusta, GA. “Mayors serve an important role in not only understanding the future of work, but also in developing strategies to prepare young adults for employment, and in retraining the existing workforce to be active, productive participants in the changing labor market.”

“What we have discovered through this is that research has the power to transform the American economy and, in particular, to revitalize black and brown communities and prepare an entire generation for the work of the future,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, SC. “There is still time to ensure our cities are ready to take on the demands of an increasingly global economy. We don’t have to get left behind–we can be essential to transforming the role the United States plays on the international stage.”

“I am grateful to the researchers, collaborators and contributors who worked with us to bring this report to fruition,” said Stephanie Mash Sykes, Executive Director and General Counsel of AAMA. “Cities all across the country are grappling with similar challenges in regard to educating and retraining their workforce for the next phase of job automation. It is important that AAMA is a leader in developing solutions to the challenges that have a disproportionate impact on black and Latino workers. While there are still many unknowns in regard to the magnitude of job losses, what is known is that now is the time for elected officials to work closely with educators and industry leaders to ensure workers have the needed skills for the future economy. AAMA looks forward to working closely with cities on next steps.”

AAMA collaborated with Dr. Zoelene Hill, Education Researcher for AAMA, Dr. Patrick Mason, Florida State University, the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute For Race & Justice at Harvard Law School, and the NALEO Education Fund on the report. Google.org funded the report which can be viewed online.

On Thursday, Sept. 19, AAMA will convene a forum at Harvard Law School to further discuss the findings. For details and RSVP information for the September event, contact Jamie Pascal, Manager of Policy and Programs for AAMA at Jamie@ourmayors.org.

British-Nigerian actress Carmen Ejogo star in Madam CJ Walker, 1st African-American self-made female millionaire

Home | News | General | British-Nigerian actress Carmen Ejogo star in Madam CJ Walker, 1st African-American self-made female millionaire
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– Carmen Ejogo is set to feature in a historical film, Netflix’s Madam CJ Walker

– The movie is about first African-American self-made millionaire female millionaire

– The British-Nigerian actress is to play the role of Addie, a hairstylist and nemesis of Madam CJ Walker

Netflix’s Madam CJ Walker limited series is assembling its impressive cast and British-Nigerian actress, Carmen Ejogo, has been invited to star in the upcoming series.

In 2018, Netflix announced a four-part drama series about Madam CJ Walker which is to be executive produced by Octavia Spencer alongside NBA legend, Lebron James.

Inspired by her great-great-granddaughter’s book, On Her Own Ground, the four-part limited series, Madam CJ Walker, tells the story of black hair-care pioneer and mogul Madam CJ Walker and how she overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and family challenges to become first African-American self-made female millionaire.

Ejogo, who is known for her roles in Selma and True Detective, has been cast to play Addie, a hairstylist and nemesis of Sarah Breedlove (Madam CJ Walker).

Top facts about Deadpool’s Brianna Hildebrand bio: age, height, girlfriend, photos with long hair

She is a savvy businesswoman herself, who parlays her good looks and social standing into a profitable African-American hair care business.

She stars alongside Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip, Blair Underwood, When They See Us, and Kevin Carroll, The Leftovers. Madam CJ Walker is expected to be premiered in 2020 on Netflix.

Ejogo began her career as a teenager hosting the Saturday Disney morning show from 1993 to 1995.

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Legit.ng reported that American actor Chadwick Boseman has been picked for the role of Yasuke, the first black man samurai who served under Japanese warlord Oda Nobunaga in the 16th century Japan.

According to history, Yasuke was the first black man to set foot on Japanese soil. He was a native of Portuguese Mozambique who was brought to Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries. Yasuke arrived to Japan in 1579 in the service of Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano.

Lavagirl Taylor Dooley’s life from A to Z

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How Kelsey Lu found her tribe among L.A.’s black art scene

Life in flux has defined Kelsey Lu’s 20s — ever since the artist got her break touring with Southern rap crew Nappy Roots around 2011.

A singer and classically trained cellist, she’s gained steady traction in recent years for her ethereal and haunting twist on pop.

In 2016, she released “Church,” her debut six-song EP recorded live with her cello and a loop pedal at a church in Brooklyn. She’s collaborated with experimental video artist Kahlil Joseph on short films. She’s worked with Solange, Kelela and Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, further cementing herself as part of a new wave of genre-bending black artists. And, in April, she released her first full-length album, “Blood,” through Columbia Records, home to superstar acts including Beyoncé and Adele.

Sitting in her manager’s Highland Park bungalow, Lu, 30, described her whimsical, folk-soul sound, which, she says, requires a sense of openness and patience. “My music isn’t something that you hear all the time. It is something … that has taken time and thought and effort into making it,” she said. “That’s something that, in mainstream music, is lacking nowadays.”

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But the shift is happening.

Since “Blood’s” release, Lu has been on a whirlwind tour, taking her to the experimental micro-city Arcosanti, Ariz., a Martha’s Vineyard art show, and overseas to the Sydney Opera House, among other places.

Lu wrote “Blood” over the course of a few years at spaces including the iconic EastWest Studios in Hollywood, and in the U.K. In that time frame, she also moved to Los Angeles — a city where, she said, she found her community.

“Blood” is Lu’s foray into bigger instrumentation and production. She calls it an ode to her home and her parents.

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At the woman-led festival Yola Día in L.A. on Aug. 18, Lu began her short and sultry set with “Blood’s” opening track “Rebel.” The song tells the story of her parents meeting in the 1960s. After playing the song’s rolling pizzicato intro, Lu began to sing — her cello and bow resting precariously in her left hand, while she gripped the microphone with her right:

“Then when you went to art school / Breaking hearts and all the rules / You met the man of your dreams / To society, he was unconventional / But you didn’t mind being outside.”

The song has a double meaning: As an interracial couple, Lu’s parents rebelled against the norms of society at the time, and Lu herself is something of a rebel — pushing back on the way she was raised and forging her own path.

Kelsey Lu

Kelsey Lu’s debut album, “Blood,” came out this year.

(Tyler Mitchell)

Born Kelsey McJunkins, music saturated Lu’s childhood in Charlotte, N.C.

Her father, a portrait artist and musician, blasted jazz while playing congas in his studio. Her mother played piano and took Lu and her older sister to the Charlotte Symphony, where she grew fascinated by the cello.

She followed her older sister’s footsteps and began playing the violin at 5.

Lu recalled the exact moment she knew she had to try the cello, at 9 years old. She was in the middle of her violin lesson, but a cello was “propped against a window,” pulling her attention, Lu said, her soft voice occasionally rising into a full-bellied laugh.

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“Just the moment I played it, I fell in love with it. Something about the way it just hit my body. The vibrations were so strong.”

Scarred by a karaoke session gone awry (it involved Jennifer Lopez’s 1999 hit “Waiting for Tonight”), Lu sang in secret while continuing her training in classical music. When she announced her plans to sing instead of playing cello for a high school talent show audition, her mother laughed.

But when she sang Etta James’ “At Last,” her mother began crying. “She was like, ‘I didn’t know you could sing.’ I was like, ‘Neither did I.’ ”

While Lu found solace in music, she also felt constrained by the strict boundaries and confines of the Jehovah’s Witness faith her parents enforced. At 18, she left home to attend the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.

It was there that she found artistic freedom during late night sessions in empty practice rooms. “I started improvising over music that I liked,” she said. “And then I started collaborating with dancers and mixing music with other forms of art.”

Meeting like-minded art students continued to expand her worldview, but Lu also found the music conservatory setting stifling. After a year, she left school and began working at a restaurant, where she connected with local musicians.

“That was really what catapulted finding my own voice,” she said. While performing with a local rapper, she caught the attention of Nappy Roots, who invited her to tour with them for the next year and a half.

In between touring, she moved to New York in 2012, taking her cello, an iPhone and not much else. She began making songs on Garageband — her first, “Monster,” was created with empty wine bottles, cardboard ridges and the gentle meow of her sister’s kitten. She learned to use a loop pedal, a tool that gave her the power to layer her songs and perform live with her cello.

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By the time Lu moved to L.A., she had honed her identity as an artist. And importantly, found that her “creative health” spiked in the city.

She attributes that to getting tuned into the black arts community and finding her tribe at places such as the alternative art space Underground Museum.

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Film by Kelsey Lu and Alima Lee

When Kahlil Joseph first met Lu at the Underground Museum, he “assumed she was a big star,” the artist said by phone, calling Lu both “raw and refined.” Pretty quickly, he could tell “there was a deep soul but also an original voice that was all her own,” he added.

Late last year, Lu organized one of her favorite performances to date, an intimate show in a home designed by the late Paul R. Williams, a prolific black architect favored by Hollywood elite. Performing songs from the not-yet-released “Blood,” she was backed by all-black string players, including her older sister.

Being immersed in black art is important to her because it’s personal.

“Lifting up and showing just how diverse we are as people, especially in things like the arts and culture, where we’ve been either muted or we’ve been stripped and stolen,” she said. “So for me, it’s important to highlight the beauty and bomb-ness that exists.”

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

Buoyed By Fresh Support, Rep. Al Green Plans New Call To Impeach Trump

Rep. Al Green speaks during a press conference in May with activists urging Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Rep. Al Green speaks during a press conference in May with activists urging Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

With a majority of House Democratic lawmakers now behind him, Rep. Al Green says he’ll try for a fourth time to impeach President Trump when Congress returns next month.

Green first filed articles of impeachment the day before Trump was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2017.

Now, more than 120 House Democrats have publicly said they support an impeachment inquiry, according to NPR’s tracker.

“Things start with a spark, and sometimes the spark is ignored,” Green said following a Houston forum with his constituents earlier this month. “Other times the spark can cause others to become consumed with the righteousness of a cause and participate in the cause itself.”

The eight-term congressman has remained the lone lawmaker calling for Trump’s impeachment from the House floor for more than two years. But during that time, he’s been joined by a steady stream of Democrats as they took control of the chamber this year.

However, Democratic leadership, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are urging patience and remain resistant to Green’s plan. New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan is the lone leadership member behind an impeachment inquiry.

“This is not a position I’ve reached lightly,” Lujan said in a statement Monday.

Try, try again

Green first made his impeachment call from a Republican-controlled chamber days after Trump fired his then-FBI director James Comey in May 2017.

The move came on the heels of concerns that Trump obstructed a Department of Justice investigation into Russian ties to his 2016 presidential campaign.

At the time, only a handful of lawmakers were publicly supportive of impeachment, including Democratic California Reps. Brad Sherman and Maxine Waters. Green, who is African American, said he received several racist and threatening messages in response.

He said he’s upped his security since those messages.

“There’s always a canary in the coal mine,” Green said. “It has been my misfortune to be the canary in the coal mine.”

Since that first call, Green has called for impeachment on the House floor two more times. In the most recent attempt on July 17, the House voted 332 to 95 to stop the discussion.

Green says his impeachment case against Trump began in a law school class he attended at Texas Southern University in the early 1970s.

“And my guess is, if I hadn’t gone to law school, I wouldn’t have had that sense of how to remove a president from office,” said Green, 71.

And Green has made it a central talking point, talking to voters from Michigan to Mississippi during a bit of an impeachment tour this summer.

Although, Green, a former judge and head of the Houston NAACP, is quick to say he also discusses “kitchen table issues,” such as Social Security, health care and voting rights.

But “part of the kitchen table issues now is that of impeachment,” Green said. “Wherever I go, I usually bring it up … It’s just rather unusual for me not to bring it up because we truly want to deal with the issues that are impacting all of us – this has to be one of them.”

“It’s not the best thing… politically”

But not everyone agrees that impeachment is the answer.

At a local forum for Green’s 9th Texas congressional, longtime acquaintance Riyad Abu-Taha says beating Trump in the 2020 presidential elections maybe more beneficial. Green had ended the meeting on his case for impeachment.

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“I think the best thing to do is really to find a good good candidate from the Democratic Party where you know they can beat [Trump] in 2020 and then you know then he can be tried for criminal acts,” said Abu-Taha, who runs a Houston area media group.

Green has also faced off against Pelosi and other House Democratic leaders who want to take a more conservative approach. Recently, Rep. Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said an impeachment inquiry was already underway.

However, Nadler has yet to issue a direct statement saying he’s publicly in support, in line with Pelosi’s directives to her party to be patient.

That’s irritated Green, who says lawmakers need to be clear about their positions on impeachment, and face the consequences either way.

In the end, Green knows he’s taking significant political risks.

“I don’t know how people will ultimately see this when they go to the polls to vote. Taking this position is no assurance that I’m going to get re-elected,” Green said. “So I’m just convinced that it’s not the best thing to do politically for me, but it’s the right thing to do. And when you do the right thing, in my opinion, the other things will take care of themselves.”