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Estevanico: The Man The Myth, The Legend

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Sometimes called “Mustafa Zemmouri,” “Black Stephen,” “Esteban the Moor” or “Steven Dorantes” (after his owner Andres Dorantes, a Spanish nobleman), Estevanico was a member of the Panfilo de Narvaez 300-man Spanish expedition which arrived in April 1528 near present-day Tampa Bay, Fla. The expedition was largely doomed from the start.
The post Estevanico: The Man The Myth, The Legend first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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The first Black person in the New World

By Merdies Hayes, Editor | Our Weekly

The history of slavery in the Western Hemisphere has, of course, been well documented but there is one name that is often overlooked in within the posterity of Black people in the New World: Estevanico.

Sometimes called “Mustafa Zemmouri,” “Black Stephen,” “Esteban the Moor” or “Steven Dorantes” (after his owner Andres Dorantes, a Spanish nobleman), Estevanico was a member of the Panfilo de Narvaez 300-man Spanish expedition which arrived in April 1528 near present-day Tampa Bay, Fla. The expedition was largely doomed from the start. This was not uncommon among the list of Spanish conquistadors who ventured to the New World seeking fertile land and untold riches imagined from the artful tales of Giovanni Verrazano who explored the northeast, Cabeza de Vaca in the Gulf of Mexico, Hernando Cortes in Mexico, Hernando de Soto near present-day Florida, and Francisco Pizarro far south in Peru.

Who was Estevanico?

Chroniclers from the 16th Century, who were contemporaries of Estevanico, considered him a Negro. However, modern historians claim he was descended from the Hamites who were White residents of North Africa. According to this theory, Estevanico could not have been Black. Historian Caroll L. Riley has asserted that Estevanico was “Black in the sense that we would use the word in modern America. Actually, in modern generic terms I suspect that Estevanico was very mixed.”

Riley also explained that if Estevanico was considered a “Negro,” his mixture must have been mainly Black. Estevanico in 1513 was sold into slavery to the Portuguese in the town of Azemmour, a Portuguese enclave on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. More contemporary accounts have referred to him as an “Arabized Black” or Moor, the latter term often used for Berber natives. History primarily refers to him as a Black African. A Spaniard, Diego de Guzman, reportedly saw Estevanico in 1536 and described him as “brown.”

Estevanico was reared as a Muslim—with some accounts of him converting to Roman Catholicism—but there is little historical account of his religious conversion.

The natives of one tiny island off the mainland coast (Galveston Island near Texas), encountered a strange sight in 1528: A band of emaciated White men lying naked and near dead on the beach. This group, in large part, was what was left from Narvaez’ expedition with de Vaca serving as its treasurer. Narvaez dreamed of riches when he reached the Florida coast and after finding mere traces of gold, he split the group and dispatched the ships toward the River of Palms (today’s Rio Grande) and took the land force toward a reportedly “rich” city brimming with gold and silver called Apalachen (near Tallahassee, Fla.).

A doomed expedition

Instead of finding their heart’s desire in wealth, the only things encountered in the Florida Panhandle were naked Native Indians, low supplies of food and even less game. The 260-man party lasted two weeks in this region, and eventually set out on makeshift boats with sails made from clothing. This was a fateful mistake. There was practically no food left or fresh water to drink. After constantly bailing water from their rickety crafts (and forced to drink salt water), only a few people survived and made it to shore. Narvaez was lost at sea.

Cortes, for his part, had listened faithfully to these “tales of riches” but found neither a queen called “Califia” nor gold and pearls along the west coast. He did, however, step ashore onto what he believed to be an island (Baja California) finding neither riches or fertile land, but would claim the land for the Spanish crown.

Cabeza de Vaca eventually made it to Mexico with only three men, among them Estevanico. There they recounted the horrors of slavery, starvation, cannibalism and disease which took the lives of 90 men. They reportedly posed as shamans, crossing the land curing sick Indians and attracting quite a following in being labeled “children of the sun” because of their long journey from the east. By the spring of 1529, those four men had traveled on foot along the Texas coast to the environs of Matagorda Bay (about 80 miles northeast of Corpus Christi) only to be captured and enslaved by the Coahuiltecan Indians. Six years later the four men managed to escape their bondage and entered Mexico.

Arriving in Texas

Estevanico was assuredly the first African to traverse Texas. In fact, historians believe he was the first African to visit the indigenous people of Mexico and may have reminded the inhabitants of the ancient sculptures of the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica (1200-900 B.C.) which depicted persons with Black facial features. Estevanico, by extension, may have been considered by the native population as a descendant of the gods. Some writers have claimed that the Olmecs were related to the peoples of Africa, based primarily on their interpretations of said facial features, even contending that epigraphical and osteological evidence may support their claims. Further, some researchers have claimed that the Mesoamerican writing systems are related to African script. To date, however, genetic and immunological studies over the decades have failed to yield evidence of precolumbian African contributions to the indigenous populations of the Americas.

By 1539, Dorantes had either sold or loaned Estevanico to Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza, who later assigned him to the company of Fray Marcos de Niza, the latter charged with leading a follow-up trip to the region of the failed Narvaez expedition. In a strange coincidence, Estevanico and others were surprised to encounter de Vaca near present-day San Antonio, Texas. By then, de Vaca had been working as a trader among the various Native Indian tribes. They resided in that region for about four years with Estevanico working as a shaman or medicine man versed in several Native Indian languages and also demonstrating his prowess as a seasoned explorer.

Estevanico must have been a strange sight to the native peoples. He rode around with a special gourd trimmed with owl feathers that signified his status. He reportedly had an entourage of some 300 natives, kept two Castillian greyhounds as pets, and possessed a special “medicine” wand with bells affixed to it said to ward off (and supposedly cure) various diseases. He also carried with him special plates made of turquoise specifically for his meals. He even had a special lodging constructed fit for a man of his stature.

Dreams of untold riches

Like the others before him, Estevanico was consumed by discovering the Seven Cities of Gold. His ultimate goal was to reach one of the seven famed cities of Cibola (near modern Zuni, NM) which was said to have streets paved with gold. When Estevanico and his entourage arrived at Hawikuh, a Zuni pueblo made of stone buildings several stories high, he expected to be treated as the man of stature he’d become accustomed to.

But the Zuni’s didn’t trust him. They especially disapproved of his gourd covered with owl feathers which were a symbol of death to that tribe. Also, his rather unusual stories about great White kings from far away further drew suspicion among the Zuni tribal leaders. There are two general accounts surrounding the fate of Estevanico. In one scenario, the Zuni people decided he was a spy (or simply a fraud) and killed him. Some accounts contend that he offended the Zuni people so much that they staged three executions eventually cutting up his body into little pieces. A second theory is that the Zunis didn’t kill him and that Estevanico staged his own death with the help of his allies, therefore finally gaining his freedom from slavery. The latter theory is supported by the fact that his body was never found.

His mysterious demise

The Zunis were asked why they killed Estevanico and they said that he claimed a huge army was following him with weapons meant to kill their tribe. Several of his Native Indian escorts reportedly escaped from the Zunis and returned to Mexico to inform Fray Marcos that Estevanico was dead. In his report to Viceroy Mendoza, Marcos said that he continued to travel north to at last enter Cibola (or Hawikuh) and upon arrival he witnessed a chief with Estevanico’s turquoise dinner plates, his two greyhound dogs, and his famed “medicine” bells.

Irrespective of his demise, Estevanico is one of many historical figures of color who manipulated their situation to move between cultures and transcend their humble beginnings. His is a true story of transformation from a slave to a man of legend evidenced by the Zunis memorializing him in a black ogre kachina (a doll measuring about a foot high with protruding teeth, a black goatee and black facial paint) which they called Chakwaina.

A legendary adventure

The tale of Estevanico is more than a story told in the oral tradition. Often, the history and contributions to society by Black persons prior to European settlement in the New World are considered less authentic and reliable in terms of literary content because it was believed Blacks did not ascribe to a written language. Estevanico did not write a diary or narrative of his exploits.

However, two small thin volumes of literature provide a wealth of information about this early explorer. John Upton Terrell published “Estevanico The Black” in 1968 and at only 115 pages, it ranks as one of the most informative books about an extraordinary figure who doesn’t always receive due attention in secondary education. In 1974, “Estebanico” was issued by Helen Rand Parish. Even smaller than Terrell’s book at 128 pages, she wrote that Estevanico could be considered “new historical history” particularly for young readers.

Also, “The Moor’s Account” by Laila Lalami (2015) provides a more fictional account of Estevanico. The author created her own back story about the events that led up to his enslavement and then fills in gaps of what we know about the Narvaez expedition that would eventually place Estevancio’s name in the history books.

No one knows where Estevanico is buried. Hawikuh no longer exists, having been abandoned in 1670 following a series of wars the Zunis fought against the Spaniards and the Apache. But Estevanico’s story, recorded in colorful detail by his fellow explorers Cabeza de Vaca, Fray Marcos, Coronado, and Pedro de Casteneda, endures as one of the great adventures in American lore.

The post Estevanico: The Man The Myth, The Legend first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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IN MEMORIAM International Soccer Icon Pelé Dies at 82

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves. 

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Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Pelé, the international star who was instrumental in three World Cup championships with Brazil across three decades and who energized U.S. soccer with the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, has died.

The 82-year-old legend had been hospitalized since November, and his doctors reported that Pelé’s cancer had advanced, requiring care related to renal and cardiac dysfunction.

He has been receiving regular treatment since doctors removed a tumor from his colon in 2021.

“Father. My strength is yours,” the international star’s son, Edinho, posted on social media.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Três Corações, Brazil, on Oct. 23, 1940, Pelé became soccer’s first superstar.

He led the Brazilian national teams to World Cup glory in 1958, 1962, and 1970.

In 1956, he joined the Santos Football Club, where he played inside left forward, winning nine São Paulo league championships and, in 1962 and 1963, the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup.

Sometimes called “Pérola Negra” (“Black Pearl”), Pelé became a Brazilian national hero. According to Britannica, he combined kicking power and accuracy with a remarkable ability to anticipate other players’ moves.

“After the 1958 World Cup, Pelé was declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government to ward off large offers from European clubs and ensure that he would remain in Brazil,” Britannica researchers wrote.

On Nov. 19, 1969, in his 909th first-class match, he scored his 1,000th goal.

Pelé made his international debut in 1957 at age 16 and played his first game in the World Cup finals in Sweden the following year.

The Brazilian manager was initially hesitant to play his young star. But, according to Britannica, when Pelé finally reached the field, he had an immediate impact, rattling the post with one shot and collecting an assist.

He had a hat trick in the semifinal against France and two goals in the championship game, where Brazil defeated Sweden 5–2. At the 1962 World Cup finals, Pelé tore a thigh muscle in the second match and had to sit out the remainder of the tournament.

Nonetheless, Brazil went on to claim its second World Cup title.

Researchers said rough play and injuries turned the 1966 World Cup into a disaster for Brazil and Pelé, as the team went out in the first round, and he contemplated retiring from World Cup play.

Returning in 1970 for one more World Cup tournament, he teamed with young stars Jairzinho and Rivelino to claim Brazil’s third title and permanent ownership of the Jules Rimet Trophy. Pelé finished his World Cup career, scoring 12 goals in 14 games.

Pelé’s electrifying play and penchant for spectacular goals made him a worldwide star.

His team Santos toured internationally to take full advantage of his popularity. For example, in 1967, he and his team traveled to Nigeria, where a 48-hour cease-fire in that nation’s civil war was called to allow all to watch the great player.

Pelé announced his retirement in 1974 but, in 1975, agreed to a three-year $7 million contract with the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League and to promote the game in the United States. He retired after leading the Cosmos to the league championship in 1977.

Pelé was the recipient of the International Peace Award in 1978. In 1980 he was named Athlete of the Century by the French sports publication L’Equipe, and he received the same honor in 1999 from the International Olympic Committee. In 2014 the Pelé Museum opened in Santos, Brazil.

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COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips

THE AFRO — Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours. 
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By Megan Sayles | AFRO Business Writer
Report for America Corps Member
msayles@afro.com

We’ve all heard the age-old saying that “hard work pays off.”  But, sometimes, working too hard can do more harm than good.

“Burnout” is a form of work-related stress in which an individual experiences physical, emotional or mental exhaustion caused by their job’s demands. It can also make workers feel distanced from their jobs and engender negative feelings about them, according to the World Health Organization.

Although it cannot be medically diagnosed, burnout can lead people to lose their sense of self and feel as if they are not accomplishing enough. Since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychological Association found that the risk of burnout has increased for workers due to extra stress, increased household demands and longer working hours.

This makes it even more important for people to know the signs of burnout and the strategies to combat it.

Natasha Charles is the founder and CEO of Intuitive Coaching with Natasha Charles, a comprehensive life coaching and consulting firm. She created the business after gaining 20 years in senior administration roles.

Charles was motivated to open the firm in 2018 out of a desire to create a business focused on inspiring continuous improvement. There, she works with individuals and executives to create lives that they love and offers them personalized solutions to address critical work and business challenges.

“It’s really about thinking about you, the person, and all that you are,” Charles said. “People tend to be very focused on one aspect of their life, and a lot of times, it’s about their career, so it’s really about making space for all of your goals and all of your dreams.”

When someone experiences burnout, Charles said they could be actively doing their job while simultaneously worrying about their other responsibilities and priorities, whether personal or work-related. She also stressed that burnout can be experienced no matter what profession you are in and what you are being paid.

Aside from the physical and mental impacts of stress, burnout can impact finances if it causes an employee to take extended periods of time off or miss work, according to Charles. It can also reduce their productivity.

In the beginning of 2022, the term “quiet quitting” emerged, and for some, it’s being used as a method to avoid burnout. It involves individuals meeting the minimum requirements of their job descriptions, investing no extra time or effort than what is mandatory.

For Charles, quiet quitting is a signal that a person is not fulfilled by their job and may need to think about changing workplaces or careers.

“I get that people are not always able to up and quit, and it can take time to find what that next role is,” Charles said. “I would come from a space of encouraging the person to start thinking about what that is. What is it that you ultimately desire to be doing in your life and seeing your work?”

One of the most important steps in reducing and preventing burnout is educating yourself about the syndrome, so you can be aware of the warning signs, according to Charles. She also said it was crucial for employers to talk to their employees about it.

Awareness can help prevent the shame and guilt that comes with burnout and allow people to give themselves grace.

After a person has weighed whether they are experiencing burnout or not, they should think about how they want to confront it. This could include engaging in self-care, asking for extra support at work or home, and creating stronger boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

When burnout is impacting your performance, it’s time to consider making a career change, Charles said.

To ensure your work life does not invade your personal life, Charles said people need to assess the goals they have for all areas of their life. Once you’ve set goals, it’s easier to devise a plan and set the necessary boundaries to achieve them.

Charles also said it’s important to carve out time for yourself where you’re not constantly checking your phone or email for work reasons.

“There is life beyond your work. There is an entire world out there to be discovered,” Charles said. “There’s a world within us to be discovered as well, and I encourage everyone to invest in discovering those pieces.”

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

The post COMMENTARY: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin: Avoid Burnout with These Simple Tips first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting 

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.
The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Canadian rapper Tory Lanez faces more than 20 years in prison and deportation after a jury in Los Angeles found him guilty in the 2020 shooting of hip hop star Megan Thee Stallion.

Lane, 30, was found guilty of three felony counts, including assault with an unregistered semiautomatic weapon, carrying a loaded gun, and discharging a firearm in a vehicle with gross negligence.

The case fired up social media and highlighted the misogyny that still reigns in hip hop. Many on Twitter routinely attacked Megan, accusing her of lying among other vicious vitriolic comments.

The 27-year-old Megan, whose real name is Megan Pete, testified that Lanez offered her hush money and didn’t care about her injuries and pain suffered because he shot her.

Lanez, who declined to testify, claimed there was another shooter, Pete’s friend who was also arguing with the hit maker as they drove home from a party.

“[Lanez] told me to dance,” Pete told the jury, adding that he also cursed at her following the shooting.

Sentencing for Lanez is scheduled for Jan. 27.

“You showed incredible courage and vulnerability with your testimony despite repeated and grotesque attacks that you did not deserve,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon said, referring to Pete.

“You faced unjust and despicable scrutiny that no woman should ever face, and you have been an inspiration to others across LA County and the nation.”

The post Tory Lanez Found Guilty in Meg Thee Stallion Shooting  first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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