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Black History

AFRICAN-ISH: The First Christmas Story

Both Joseph and Mary were of the lineage of David, Joseph descended from David’s son Solomon (and Bathsheba), and Mary extended from another son Nathan. Therefore, they were required to go to the little town of Bethlehem,  in Judea and there,  in a cattle shed Jesus was born.  (Bethlehem is 70 miles south of Nazareth and 5 miles southwest of Jerusalem).

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The four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John chronicled the full theme of Christ as the universal Savior.
The four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John chronicled the full theme of Christ as the universal Savior.

By Simon Burris

The narrative of Jesus’ birth and proof of his Hamitic (Black) African bloodline* began in the Old Testament in the book of Genesis chapter 10, in the Land of Ham, located in southwest Asia and Africa. Three most  prominent Hamitic personalities:  Abraham,  Isaiah and David.

People and places of Hamitic origins  are underlined.

(1) Abraham the patriarch was Babylonian (Ethnic Ethiopian). Gen. 11:31;  (2) Isaiah a prophet lived 750 years before Christ, predicted the virgin birth was a nephew of Amaziah a Judahite (Canaanite) king; and (3) David the great king of Israel  was a descendant of Abraham, also of  Tamar and Rahab (Canaanites).

The (Hamitic) Genealogy of Jesus Christ: Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-34

The Birth of Jesus:   (about 6-4 BC)

Mary the virgin mother of Jesus and her husband Joseph the “foster” father of Jesus, a carpenter, lived in Nazareth, a town in northern Palestine.

At this time Emperor Augustus of the Roman Empire decreed that a census would be taken. Everyone in his domain had to go to his or her hometown to register. He probably ordered  Cyrenius  ( Quirinius ) the Afro Roman governor of Syria / Judeadistrict to take charge and supervise the mandate.

Both Joseph and Mary were of the lineage of David, Joseph descended from David’s son Solomon (and Bathsheba), and Mary extended from another son Nathan. Therefore, they were required to go to the little town of Bethlehem,  in Judea and there,  in a cattle shed Jesus was born.  (Bethlehem is 70 miles south of Nazareth and 5 miles southwest of Jerusalem).

A short time later shepherds from the countryside as well as Wise Men (Magi) from neighboring countries  ArabiaBabylonia,and Persia  traveled to the nativity site, paid homage and worshiped the infant-Savior.

Now Joseph was warned by the Lord in a dream that Herod the Edomite king of Judea was plotting the murder of the child, fled with his family to Egypt, returning to Nazareth after the death of Herod.

Jesus had siblings, brothers Joseph, Simon, Epistle writers James, Jude, and several sisters. The last mention of Joseph occurs in the Gospel of Luke when he and Mary take the 12-year-old Jesus to Jerusalem. Mary played a vital role all through Jesus’ life, from the day He was born till the time of the crucifixion.

Conclusion:  The four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John chronicled the full theme of Christ as the universal Savior. *Descendants of Ham’s sons Cush (Ethiopia), Mizraim (Egypt), Put (Libya) and Canaan (Ancient Palestine/Israel). Genesis 10: 6-20

Footnotes: Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25?

The ancient Romans celebrated the winter solstice on December 25 as the birthday of the SUN; the Babylonians and Persians -SON of the SUN. Some 300 plus years after Jesus’ earthly demise, Roman Emperor Constantine in 336 legalized this date as the birthday of the SON of GOD – JESUS the CHRIST!   Originally:   Christ’s Mass.

Eurocentric racism:  Pope Julius II in 1508  commissioned  Michelangelo, Raphael and other Renaissance artists and church scholars to portray and depict almost all major biblical characters as  Europeans  (Caucasians), save servants and slaves.  

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Activism

Call to Protect Geoffrey’s Inner Circle from Threatened High-Rise Development

Geoffrey’s, located at 410 14th St., is part of the city’s Black Arts Movement and Business District which was formed in 2016 by reso-lution of the Oakland City Council to protect Black-owned businesses and enhance a downtown district that would encourage the historic African American legacy and cul-ture of Oakland.

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By Ken Epstein

Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, a downtown Oakland Cultural Center that has featured live jazz and served music lovers and the Black community for decades, is now under threat from a proposed real estate development that could undermine the stability and future of the facility.

Geoffrey’s, located at 410 14th St., is part of the city’s Black Arts Movement and Business District which was formed in 2016 by resolution of the Oakland City Council to protect Black-owned businesses and enhance a downtown district that would encourage the historic African American legacy and culture of Oakland.

Now, the Oakland Planning Commission is considering a high-rise building proposed by out-of-town developers next to Geoffrey’s, which would jeopardize both the survival of the venue and the Black business district as a whole.

In addition to running a business that has been a crucial institution in the local community and the regional arts scene, Geoffrey Pete, founder, has utilized his business to offer meals for thousands of unsheltered individuals and hosted countless community events.

The following petition is being circulated in defense of Geoffrey’s and the Black Arts district (To add your name to the petition, email info@geoffreyslive.com):

“The African-American community in Oakland has been seriously damaged by developers and public offcials who are willing and sometimes eager to see African Americans disappear from the city. Black people comprised 47% of the population in 1980; now they make up only 20% of said population. In response to this crisis the 14th Street Corridor from Oak to the 880 Frontage Road was established as the Black Arts Movement and Business District by the City Council on Jan. 7, 2016, in Resolution 85958.

Tidewater, an out-of-town developer, is proposing to build a high-rise building at 1431 Franklin, which will damage the Black business district and the businesses in the area including the iconic business of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle at 410 – 14th St.

We demand that the Planning Commission and the City Council reject this predatory building proposal and proceed with plans to fund and enhance the Black Business District.”

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Arts and Culture

IN MEMORIAM: Autris Paige

Paige performed regularly at Four Seasons’ Yachats Music Festival in Oregon from 1983-2017, with artists from around the world. Puerto Ricans Ilya and Raphael LeBron, soprano and baritone, remember him: “He leaves us with a warm memory of the simplicity that made him great: as a human being, as a friend and as a masterful artist!” Baritone Anthony Turner of New York says: “Autris was the embodiment of class and elegance. He delivered every song with a warm silken tone and economy of gestures. Autris gave of himself, his truth, his joy and love.”  Pianists Dennis Helmrich and Gerald Hecht often collaborated with Mr. Paige said: “Autris Paige was among the most intuitively refined musicians we have encountered: a pure pleasure and a cherished memory.” Pianist Jeongeun Yom, pianist, responds,”Autris will be remembered for his kindness, cheerfulness, and above all for his voice, with which he touched  the listeners’ heart.”

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AUTRIS T. PAIGE grew up in Oakland, California where he attended Star Bethel Church and graduated from McClymonds High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State before pursuing advanced studies in musical theatre at the University of Southern California.
AUTRIS T. PAIGE grew up in Oakland, California where he attended Star Bethel Church and graduated from McClymonds High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State before pursuing advanced studies in musical theatre at the University of Southern California.

August 17, 1938 – January 12, 2023

AUTRIS T. PAIGE was the youngest child born to Estella and Overton Paige in Sugar Land, Texas on Aug. 17, 1938.  He passed away on Jan. 12, 2023 in Oakland after a brief illness.  He was supported and comforted by his longtime companion Donna Vaughan.

Mr. Paige grew up in Oakland, California where he attended Star Bethel Church and graduated from McClymonds High School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State before pursuing advanced studies in musical theatre at the University of Southern California.

He served in the U.S. Air Force.

In 1971, he made his debut with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, appearing in Candide at the Los Angeles Music Center and at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco. He appeared with Ray Charles and the American Ballet Theatre and performed in several musical theatre productions on Broadway including Lost in the Stars; Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope; as Walter Lee in Raisin; and in Timbuktu with Eartha Kitt.

Mr. Paige has also sung with the New York City Opera, the Houston Grand Opera, the Metropolitan Opera and with the San Francisco Opera. Other opera companies in which he performed include the Seattle Opera and the Glyndebourne Opera in England. He was featured in the PBS film and award-winning EMI recording of Porgy and Bess as well as the recording of the opera X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X.

When he returned to Oakland to “retire” he met Dr. W. Hazaiah Williams, Founder and Director of Today’s Artists Concerts (now Four Seasons Arts), who auditioned Paige and invited him to perform on his series. Mr. Paige began a new phase of his musical career.

He appeared many times under the auspices of Today’s Artists Concerts/Four Seasons Arts in New York’s Alice Tully Hall and in venues around the Bay Area in their Art of the Spiritual programs. He was featured in his own Spiritual Journey in 2009. His recently released solo CD, Spiritual Journey, based on this program, has received critical acclaim.

Paige performed regularly at Four Seasons’ Yachats Music Festival in Oregon from 1983-2017, with artists from around the world. Puerto Ricans Ilya and Raphael LeBron, soprano and baritone, remember him: “He leaves us with a warm memory of the simplicity that made him great: as a human being, as a friend and as a masterful artist!” Baritone Anthony Turner of New York says: “Autris was the embodiment of class and elegance. He delivered every song with a warm silken tone and economy of gestures. Autris gave of himself, his truth, his joy and love.”  Pianists Dennis Helmrich and Gerald Hecht often collaborated with Mr. Paige said: “Autris Paige was among the most intuitively refined musicians we have encountered: a pure pleasure and a cherished memory.” Pianist Jeongeun Yom, pianist, responds,”Autris will be remembered for his kindness, cheerfulness, and above all for his voice, with which he touched  the listeners’ heart.”

In 2011, Mr. Paige was featured in Four Seasons Arts’ annual W. Hazaiah Williams Memorial Concert with the Lucy Kinchen Chorale and later with soprano Alison Buchanan. In 2013, he performed his Spiritual Journey II in Berkeley with pianist Othello Jefferson. A second CD entitled Classics and Spirituals was released in September 2013. Pianist Jerry Donaldson of Oakland was a frequent collaborator with Mr. Paige, performing throughout the Bay Area.

A Celebration of Life for Autris Paige will take place Friday, Feb. 3 at 11:00 a.m. at Third Baptist Church of San Francisco, 1399 McAllister Street, San Francisco.

A repast will follow the service.

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Activism

16th Annual MLK Day of Service on the Richmond Greenway

The 16th annual MLK Day of Service in Richmond honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  was held Jan. 16 with a day of service to the community and activities for families on the Richmond Greenway.

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“…Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 16th annual MLK Day of Service in Richmond honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  was held Jan. 16 with a day of service to the community and activities for families on the Richmond Greenway.

The event was hosted by Urban Tilth and the City of Richmond. Event partners were Groundwork Richmond, Rich City Rides, Moving Forward, Hope Worldwide, The Watershed Project, Contra Costa Resource Conservation District, Building Blocks for Kids, City of Richmond, Cal Cameron Institute, Friends of the Richmond Greenway; and Pogo Park.

The celebration made possible with the support of the Hellman Family Foundation, City of Richmond, and hundreds of individual donors.

The day’s schedule included volunteer projects along the Richmond Greenway and a Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial and community celebration at Unity Park.

Among the community service projects were opportunities to take part in projects to transform and beautify the Richmond Greenway Trail, like tending to the Greenway Gardens, trash pickup, and planting native plant and trees.

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