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Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Heart of the Matter

By: Marcia King-Gamble

February is black History month. It’s also the month of love, and so I thought I’d get right to the heart of the matter with some little-known facts about both.

This month’s blog was supposed to be about what touches my heart; and there’s nothing that touches my heart more than learning something new. So, here’s what touched my heart this month, and what I’d like to share with you.

In terms of black history, I was amazed to find out that before Rosa Parks there was 15-year-old named Claudette Colvin who refused to move to the back of the bus. Claudette was thrown into jail. So why is Rosa better known, when only nine months before, Claudette had done something similar? The answer…well the NAACP and other black organizations felt Rosa, who was solidly middle class, and also a secretary for the NACCP would be a better representative of the cause.

Did you know that Martin Luther King’s iconic speech, I had a Dream was mostly improvised? At some point Martin threw away the crafted speech and adlibbed. The original speech was far more political and a lot less historic. It had no reference to dreams.

I bet you didn’t know that the earliest recorded protest against slavery was made by the Quakers in 1688.  And did you know that of the 12.5 million slaves that left Africa only 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage?  In fact, less than 388,000 slaves arrived in the USA. The vast majority, (4.7) million were sent to Brazil. Now doesn’t that explain its beautiful people?

Another interesting fact I did not know, is that one in four cowboys was black. It is even believed the real Lone Ranger was inspired by an African American man named Bass Reeves. It seems that even back then the west was far more liberal, and tolerant of diverse cultures.  

We all know who Betty Boop is. But who would have thought that in 1930, cartoonist Max Fleischer would create the Kewpie-faced sexy Betty Boop, modeling her off black Jazz singer Esther Jones; better known as Baby Esther? Another woman, Helen Kane claimed it was modeled after her, but Esther was booping long before Helen came along.

Now onto what this month is better known for --------Valentine’s Day and love. Did you know Cupid’s lover’s name was Psyche and their daughter’s name was Voluptus?  Voluptus means pleasure.
Were you aware that Cupid’s mother was Venus? And that Venus was so jealous of Psyche’s beauty she instructed Cupid to shoot Psyche with an arrow so that she would fall in love with the most hideous creature. The irony of the story was that it backfired, and Cupid ended up falling in love with Psyche. The rest is of course history.

On a lighter note, did you know every Valentine’s Day more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold?  It is also the second largest card giving day. Christmas is the first.

And finally, were you aware that Valentine wasn’t just one person, but two? A gruesome fact is that both men were executed on the same day (February 14th) except different years.

And that my readers are what’s touched my heart this February 2019th.

Be kind! Be grateful! And to paraphrase  Bob Marley,  you  could be loved! You are loved!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Lose yourself in love this Valentne's Day with my  latest releases :

About Marcia King-Gamble
Romance writer, Marcia King-Gamble originally hails from a sunny Caribbean island where the sky and ocean are the same mesmerizing shade of blue. This travel industry executive and current world traveler has spent most of life in the United States. A National Bestselling author, Marcia has penned over 34 books and 8 novellas. Her free time is spent at the gym, traveling to exotic locales, and caring for her animal family. Visit Marcia at or “friend” her on Facebook: Be sure to join her mailing list.


Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for the history lesson, Marcia. I did know some of what you shared. Didn't know about so many kidnapped Africans ending up in Brazil or about about Betty Boop and black cowboys including The Lone Ranger. I am ever so grateful Martin Luther King went "off-topic" in terms of his prepared speech.

Sarah Raplee said...

I'm always up for a history lesson, Marcia!

I didn't know Betty Boop was modeled after a black jazz singer. Or that most people stolen into slavery ended up in Brazil, although I did know about the terrible toll in lives lost on the hellish Middle Passage.

Thanks to The History Channel and Travel Channel on tv, I learned about the brave teen, Claudette Colvin, who suffered in the fight to end segregation; and about black cowboys and the Lone Ranger being modeled after Bass Reeves.I did not know Dr. King's historic, heart-grabbing speech was mostly adlibbed, but the man was a gifted speaker with angels inspiring him, so I'm not surprised.

Two men being behind the St. Valentine's legend does surprise me.

As for the holiday itself, "The greatest thing I ever learned was to love, and be loved in return."

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Thanks Sarah and Judith for popping by. You ladies are always so well-informed. I learned much of this from doing research. It was an eyeopener for me. I also had no idea that inoculation was introduced to America by a slave.

Diana McCollum said...

Thanks , Marcia for very informative blog post. I knew some of what you shared, but not everything. Have a Happy, Happy Valentine's Day!!

Maggie Lynch said...

Thank you for sharing those historical lessons. I did know about King's speech because he has been a fascination to me since those early days. Anyone who believes in non-violent protest and action is a miracle to me. I've read a lot about him and watched most every history show. I know that as time went on he was more and more frustrated with his handlers. So, it doesn't surprise me that he improvised that great speech and many others as he moved toward the end of his too short life.

I did not know about Claudette Colvin. Unfortunately, it doesn't surprise me that it was political intervention that chose a specific type of person to be the standard bearer for equal rights in Rosa Parks. That doesn't make her contribution or suffering any less, but it does bother me that Claudette is forgotten in the popular media and history books.

Again, today, I do know that many advocacy groups carefully select who will be their standard bearers based on whatever exigencies are most important to them at that moment in time. It might be a rabble rouser, or a quiet dignified person, a very poor person or a middle class person. It might be a child or an old person, whatever image they believe will speak loudest to the need at the moment.

The other things you shared were all new to me: Betty Boop, two Valentine's executed, and the statistics on how many slaves died in the passage and how many ended up in Brazil. For Black History Month my church pastor has been delivering sermon's on new things she's learned each Sunday. I am continually amazed at all the history I was never taught and still is not taught today.

It really disturbs me that we have missed out on the richness of an entire group of people who have been in this country since it's founding. And it reminds me that the richness of other non-white cultures in this country have also not been taught to us as well--Native Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Hispanic were all critical to the growth of our country. So, a big Thank You for sharing this today.

Marcia King-Gamble said...

Thank you Diana and Maggie for your insightful comments and supportiveness of this post. Of course we could go on about the truth about Christopher Columbus, but perhaps for another post. I hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day.