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BOOK CORNER: Author tells colorful story of aging, friendship, loss

WAVE NEWSPAPERS — Morayo De Silva, a senior cosmopolitan Nigerian woman, is in good health and makes the most of her life living in San Francisco, enjoying road trips, conversing with strangers and recollecting characters from her favorite novels. After a fall, her independence crumbles, leaving her to rely on friends and chance encounters for support. In “Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun,” author Sarah Ladipo Manyika offers a story about aging, friendship and loss.

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By Marissa Wells

Morayo De Silva, a senior cosmopolitan Nigerian woman, is in good health and makes the most of her life living in San Francisco, enjoying road trips, conversing with strangers and recollecting characters from her favorite novels.

After a fall, her independence crumbles, leaving her to rely on friends and chance encounters for support. In “Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun,” author Sarah Ladipo Manyika offers a story about aging, friendship and loss.

“Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun” was inspired by many of the older women Manyika has encountered in her life.

“I’ve met many older women who have lived colorful lives, and yet, when it comes to fiction, I don’t find many stories that mirror this, especially so when it comes to the lives of black women,” Manyika said.

The book introduces readers to characters of different social and cultural backgrounds and will no doubt allow readers to expand their understanding of others.

“One of the reasons why I love to read and I think one of the reasons why other people love to read is to be able to expand our understanding of humanity and to expand our horizons,” Manyika said.

Manyika feels invested in all of the characters but if she had to pick a favorite it would be Morayo. The main challenges that protagonist Morayo faces are the physical and mental limitations that come with growing older.

“Morayo works hard to stay optimistic through the challenges that life brings. In the same way that she enjoys changing the endings of some of her favorite books, she also tries to embrace narratives that help move her forward rather than getting her stuck or depressed,” the author said. “I’ve written a character to inspire me and also, hopefully, my readers too.”

It is Manyika’s hope that readers not only enjoy the story but that it “gets readers to think and ponder life and not to be fearful of the ‘other.’”

In addition to being an author, Manyika is an educator, mentor, and mother. She lives in San Francisco. To learn more about the author and her work, visit sarahladipomanyika.com.

“Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun” is available for $14.95 in bookstores and online bookstores like Amazon and more.

This article originally appeared in the Wave Newspapers

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Activism

Title IX: 37 Words That Changed Everything

Civil rights attorney and Alameda County District Attorney primary winner Pamela Price has long been recognized as a significant contributor for the enactment of the groundbreaking Title IX legislation because of her role as the lead Plaintiff in the first sexual harassment lawsuit, Alexander (Price) v. Yale. Her story as the Plaintiff and later as a leading civil rights attorney making new law under Title IX is featured in Sherry Boschert’s new book, 37 Words. Her fight for justice as a young woman is also featured in the ESPN documentary “37 Words” which will air on ESPN channels starting on June 21st.

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37 Words Author Sherry Boschert in front of poster with keynote speaker Pamela Price. (Photo courtesy of Price).
37 Words Author Sherry Boschert in front of poster with keynote speaker Pamela Price. (Photo courtesy of Price).

By Post Staff

Civil rights attorney and Alameda County District Attorney primary winner Pamela Price was a featured guest at the 50th Anniversary celebration of Title IX in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the National Women’s Law Center (NWCL).

Price participated in a casual conversation with NWLC President and CEO, Fatima Goss Graves and Sherry Boschert, author of 37 Words, about the importance of Title IX and continuing to defend gender rights.

Price said the invitation-only audience included 75 high level women’s policy advocates and leaders from student chapters fighting on behalf of Title IX rights from around the country, as well as some of the behind-the-scenes pioneers of Title IX.

Attorney Price has long been recognized as a significant contributor for the enactment of the groundbreaking Title IX legislation because of her role as the lead Plaintiff in the first sexual harassment lawsuit, Alexander (Price) v. Yale. Her story as the Plaintiff and later as a leading civil rights attorney making new law under Title IX is featured in Sherry Boschert’s new book, 37 Words. Her fight for justice as a young woman is also featured in the ESPN documentary “37 Words” which will air on ESPN channels starting on June 21st.

The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) is a non-profit organization that has been on the leading edge of every major legal and policy victory for women and girls for nearly 50 years.

NWLC launched a yearlong effort to mark its 50th anniversary as well as a refreshed strategic plan that will forge its efforts to ensure that women and girls — especially those of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community — can live, learn, and work with safety, dignity, and equality.

Earlier this month, in anticipation of Title IX’s 50th anniversary on June 23, 2022, the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE) which includes 35 organizations advocating for gender justice in education including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released a report, “Title IX At 50”. The report takes a look at Title IX’s impact over the last half century, celebrating the significant progress to end sex discrimination in education, while recognizing the work that remains to be done.

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Activism

‘Birding While Black’ Incident in N.Y.’s Central Park Brings Black Bird Wildlife Enthusiasts Out of Shadows

“For far too long, Black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor exploration activities are not for us,” Corina Newsome, who studies Seaside Sparrows, said in a video posted on Twitter. “Whether it be the way the media chooses to present who is the ‘outdoorsy’ type, or the racism Black people experience when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. Well, we’ve decided to change that narrative.”

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The organizers of Black Birders Week 2021. Photos from top, column 1: Georgia Silvera Seamans; Kellie Quiñones; Chris Cooper. 2: Ronnie Almonte; Deja Perkins; Ela-Sita Carpenter; Chelsea Connor. 3: Danielle Belleny; Tyler Jones; Yesenia Arroyo. 4: Earyn McGee; Akilah Lewis; Dara Wilson; Brianna Amingwa. 5: Sheridan Alford; Joseph Saunders. 6: Ayanna Browne; Rhamier Shaka Balagoon; Nicole Jackson
The organizers of Black Birders Week 2021. Photos from top, column 1: Georgia Silvera Seamans; Kellie Quiñones; Chris Cooper. 2: Ronnie Almonte; Deja Perkins; Ela-Sita Carpenter; Chelsea Connor. 3: Danielle Belleny; Tyler Jones; Yesenia Arroyo. 4: Earyn McGee; Akilah Lewis; Dara Wilson; Brianna Amingwa. 5: Sheridan Alford; Joseph Saunders. 6: Ayanna Browne; Rhamier Shaka Balagoon; Nicole Jackson

By Tamara Shiloh

Birdwatching is the observation of live birds in their natural habitat.

It’s a popular pastime and scientific sport developed almost entirely in the 20th century and made possible largely by the development of optical aids, particularly binoculars, which enabled people to see and study wild birds, without harming them, according to Britannica.

Many typically think of birding as a homogenous hobby, thus hearing the word “birdwatcher” rarely evokes images of Blacks enjoying the outdoors.

“For far too long, Black people in the United States have been shown that outdoor exploration activities are not for us,” Corina Newsome, who studies Seaside Sparrows, said in a video posted on Twitter. “Whether it be the way the media chooses to present who is the ‘outdoorsy’ type, or the racism Black people experience when we do explore the outdoors, as we saw recently in Central Park. Well, we’ve decided to change that narrative.”

In 2020, Newsome, along with a group of Black birders comprised of scientists, nature lovers, and friends came together to organize the first annual Black Birders Week, a social media celebration hosted by the Black AF In STEM Collective.

The birders group served as a springboard to shape a more diverse future for birding, conservation, and the natural sciences.

The third annual Black Birders Week ran from May 29-June 4 this year, according to https://www.blackafinstem.com, with the theme ‘Soaring to Greater Heights.”

Goals set for the Black Birders Week and the Twitter group are to:

  • Counter the narrative that outdoors is not the place for Black people;
  • Educate the birding and broader outdoor-loving community about the challenges Black birders specifically face; and
  • Encourage increased diversity in birding and conservation.

According to Newsome, Black birders encounter “overt hatred and racism in the field and are too often the only Black person, or person of color, in a group of bird or nature enthusiasts.”

Its formation came on the heels of the May 25, 2020, incident in New York City’s Central Park when Amy Cooper, later dubbed “Central Park Karen,” claimed she exhausted “all options” before she called 911 on Christian Cooper (no relation), a Black birdwatcher.

Christian Cooper has been an avid birdwatcher since age 10 and will soon host his own show, “Extraordinary Birder,” on National Geographic, according to NPR. He will take viewers into the “wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds.”

Cooper told the New York Times that he loves “spreading the gospel of birding. [I’m looking forward to encouraging people] to stop and watch and listen and really start appreciating the absolutely spectacular creatures that we have among us.”

Black Birders Week co-organizer Earyn McGee conducts research near the US-Mexico border. Her concern is encountering U.S. Border Patrol officers while searching for lizards.

“We all have this shared experience where we have to worry about going into the field,” McGee said. “Prejudice might drive police or private property owners to be suspicious of or antagonistic toward Black scientists doing field work in normal clothes, putting them in danger.”

To learn more about the study of birding, read John C. Robinson’s “Birding for Everyone: Encouraging People of Color to Become Birdwatchers.”

Image: https://www.birds.cornell.edu/landtrust/black-birders-week/

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Black History

Jan Ernst Matzeliger’s Invention Revolutionized Shoe Manufacturing

A cordwainer is a shoemaker who makes new shoes from new leather. Lasting is the part of the process that sets the final shape of a shoe and holds it in place so the outsole can be permanently attached. Designing a machine to perform the lasting was thought to have been impossible. But Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852–1889), was determined to automate this task. And with persistence, he was successful. He revolutionized the industry of shoemaking with his lasting machine. It cut the cost of manufacturing shoes in half, thereby making shoes more affordable.

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Jan Ernst Matzeliger
Jan Ernst Matzeliger

By Tamara Shiloh

The craft of shoemaking was at one time difficult and manual work. But with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, cobblers and cordwainers cut, sewed, and tacked shoes with machines.

The inner and outer soles were attached with machines and other devices were used to sew uppers to lowers. The final part of the process though, remained manual: the lasting.

A cordwainer is a shoemaker who makes new shoes from new leather. Lasting is the part of the process that sets the final shape of a shoe and holds it in place so the outsole can be permanently attached.

Designing a machine to perform the lasting was thought to have been impossible. But Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852–1889), was determined to automate this task. And with persistence, he was successful. He revolutionized the industry of shoemaking with his lasting machine. It cut the cost of manufacturing shoes in half, thereby making shoes more affordable.

Little is known about Matzeliger’s early life. He was born on the northern coast of South America in Paramaribo, Dutch Guiana (now the Republic of Suriname). By age 10, he was apprenticed in the machine shops. He had an interest in machinery and mechanics, and at the same time, desired to see the world.

At 19, Matzeliger went to sea on an East Indian merchant ship. When reaching America, he decided to stay in Philadelphia. There he worked odd jobs, one being a shoemaker’s apprentice.

Being a Black man limited his professional options; he struggled to make a decent living. By 1876, he would relocate to Boston. After a brief stay, he settled in Lynn, Mass., where shoemaking was an established industry.

Matzeliger was soon hired at Harney Brothers’ shoe factory, where he operated a McKay sole-sewing machine and ran a heel-burnisher and a buttonhole machine. He wanted to learn more about the craft, so he studied the hand lasters as they worked.

A hand laster pulls and secures lining uppers over lasts (a mechanical form shaped like a human foot) to form leather shoes of designated size, then trims away the excess material with a knife.

At night, Matzeliger began to duplicate the movements of the lasters. He secretly made drawings as he experimented with various materials. Six months later, his employer offered $50 for the unfinished machine. Matzeliger rejected it.

Four years later, after reconstructing the machine using iron, Matzeliger was offered $1,500. Again, he rejected it and continued to improve his machine. After 10 years, people began to laugh at Matzeliger and his efforts, but he refused to be discouraged. Eventually, when the time became right, he sought investors and was able to finance a patent.

In 1883, Matzeliger received a patent for his lasting machine. The first public operation of the machine took place in 1885, when the machine broke a record by lasting 75 pairs of shoes. He later received several other patents for shoe-manufacturing machinery.

Unfortunately, in pursuing his work, Matzeliger sacrificed his health working long hours and not eating for long periods of time. He died of tuberculosis three weeks before his 37th birthday, never reaping the profit of his invention.

Encourage your tweens to read more in Barbara Mitchell’s “Shoes for Everyone: A Story about Jan Matzeliger.”

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