Photo of the Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry, Fort Corcoran, Washington D.C., 1863 courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

#HappyMemorialDay 🇺🇸 from #BrooklynGirlCode! 🖤

Photo of the Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry, Fort Corcoran, Washington D.C., 1863 courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Photo of the Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry, Fort Corcoran, Washington D.C., 1863 courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Another Memorial Day is upon us! And with all the events going on in the world, it’s hard to take a moment to relax and reflect on what Memorial Day really means to us as American citizens. For some, it’s (paid) time off of work and a well deserved break. For others, it’s all about the family gatherings and cookouts and celebrating another season of summer. All of these traditions are well accepted. However, many might not know that the origin of Memorial Day actually started in Charleston, S.C. (a place where most of my family is from) in the 1800’s and the holiday began to commemorate 200+ Union soldiers that died due to the result of poor conditions at the Confederate Prison Camps in Charleston during the Civil War. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture posted a great photo on Instagram of a group of African-American soldiers from the war to educate readers on the origin of Memorial Day. NMAAHC stated in their caption:

“Today is the day that our nation takes pause to celebrate the service and sacrifice of our military heroes that gave their lives to secure our freedoms. The earliest commemoration of what would later become Memorial Day, was organized in a former Confederate Prison Camp in Charleston, S.C. on May 1, 1865. The celebration was established by over 1,000 newly freed African Americans, in addition to U.S. Colored Troops regiments and a small group of white Charlestonians. This group came together to honor the 257 Union soldiers that died as a result of the poor conditions of the Confederate Prison Camp during the war. They removed the soldiers from a mass grave that the Confederates made and created proper burial grounds for Union soldiers. Together they sang hymns, set flowers, and gave readings in honor of the soldiers’ sacrifice. #MemorialDay #MilitaryAppreciationMonth #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory”

Author Sewell Chan also wrote a great piece for the New York Times titled The Unofficial History of Memorial Day. In the article, Chan gets more in depth about the holiday. A great article to check out when you get a free moment from stuffing your face with cheeseburgers. Salute to all of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting to keep us free so that we can all have the opportunity to celebrate these holidays in peace! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode ❤

The Unofficial History of Memorial Day via The New York Times

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Cover art for The Last Poets' Self-titled 1970 debut album

Remembering #TheLastPoets for #NationalPoetryMonth

April marks National Poetry Month across the globe. So, it’s only right for #BrooklynGirlCode to take a little time out to remember one of the seminal groups responsible for the evolution of modern day poetry and what would later become Hip-Hop music. The Last Poets formed in Harlem, New York in 1969. But, little did they know that after forming, they would have a mega influence on many generations of music to follow and many of today’s biggest Hip-Hop stars including Common, Kanye West, Mos Def and others.

Salute to The Last Poets for all their contributions to music and American culture as a whole! Below is a recent Instagram post from The National Museum of African-American History and Culture paying homage to the legendary Last Poets.  ❤

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Long before records were spun at park jams and parties across New York City, spoken-word artists paired the natural rhythm of their works with music. From the Harlem Renaissance through the 1960s, artists relied on the spoken-word for powerful political and social commentary. Initially formed in 1968, over the years members of The Last Poets have included Gylan Kain, David Nelson, Abiodun Oyowele, Felipe Luciano, Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, Umar Bin Hassan, Sulaiman El-Hadi, and Nijala Obabi. The Last Poets is the debut spoken word album by The Last Poets, released in 1970. The Last Poets are considered one of the godfathers of Hip-Hop. Their politically charged Black nationalist poems, infused with drums and jazz, continue to inspire generations of poets and lyricists. This collective of The Last Poets was founded by Jalal Mansur Nuriddin, Umar Bin Hassan, Abiodun Oyewole, and percussionist Nilaja. #NationalPoetryMonth 📸: Gift of Umar Bin Hassan, © 1970 Douglas Records, Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

A post shared by NMAAHC (@nmaahc) on