Sunday, May 31, 2009

Washington Post Launches Online Magazine Aimed at Blacks

The Washington Post Co. plans to launch a Web magazine today called The Root that aims to be a "Slate for black readers," according to one of its founders, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Slate, the online magazine founded by Microsoft and purchased by The Post Co. in 2004, offers a mix of news and opinion, arts and sports coverage. The Root will feature news and opinions on black issues in the United States and worldwide and include a genealogy application designed to help black users build their family trees.

The site, which began coming together in October, is the brainchild of Gates and Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham. Gates got to know Graham through several years of joint service on the Pulitzer Prize committee. The Root is a spinoff of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive (WPNI), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Post Co. and the parent of

When Graham broached the idea of The Root to Gates several months ago, "it took me precisely one nanosecond to say, 'I would love to do that,' " Gates said in an interview on Friday.

Gates has written extensively on black history and genealogy. On Feb. 6, Gates's "African American Lives 2," a documentary series using DNA analysis to help trace the ancestry of prominent black Americans such as Chris Rock, will begin on PBS. The Root dovetails with many of Gates's interests.

Gates said he has longed for a national black newspaper since childhood in rural West Virginia, when he first saw copies of the black-oriented Baltimore Afro-American in his local black-run barber shop. The Root will be a 21st-century version of a national black newspaper, Gates said, featuring articles from notable black writers, such as the New Yorker's Malcolm Gladwell.

Other prominent blacks have launched news and information sites aimed at black users. Radio star Tom Joyner launched BlackAmericaWeb in 2001 that features news and commentary on issues of interest to black users. Likewise, talk show host Tavis Smiley maintains a Web site, TavisTalks, as a virtual watercooler for black issues. And Ebony and Jet magazines have a common Web site.

"I am happy to be joining the distinguished company of Tavis Smiley and Tom Joyner and Ebony and Jet," Gates said. He said The Root will be unique because it will be the only black-oriented news and commentary site to have the genealogy application.

Gates will be The Root's editor in chief while former New York Times editor Lynette Clemetson will be the site's managing editor. Slate editor Jacob Weisberg helped with the site's startup and will remain involved but said Gates and Clemetson will drive the site.

"Though [Gates] has obviously been working on other things at the same time, he's been totally focused on The Root," Weisberg said in an e-mail Friday. "He's been involved in every aspect of the launch, working on it every day, and -- it seems -- every hour of the day, seven days a week."

In an interview on Friday, Graham said he expects The Root to lose money initially, "but hopefully not for as many years as Slate." Slate, founded in 1996, did not experience its first full year of profitability until 2007. The Root has signed up HBO and Coca-Cola as initial sponsors, Weisberg said.

The Root is WPNI's second spinoff, and Graham said he is considering others. Last year, the Web division launched, a site aimed at female users interested in "green living," or environmentally friendly products.

Sprig has grown more slowly than hoped, said WPNI publisher Caroline Little, despite what she called good content. Little said the site is narrowing its focus and relaunching with this year with a large publicity push. WPNI would not release traffic numbers for Sprig.

Source: Washington Post
Original Source:

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Carl Rowan (1925-2000) was a federal cabinet member, international ambassador and one of the most prominent black journalists of the 20th century.

Born in Ravenscroft, Tennessee, to Thomas David and Johnnie B. Rowan on August 11, 1925, Rowan grew up during the Great Depression. As a young boy, Rowan worked hoeing bulb grass for 10 cents an hour, later performing hard manual labor for 25 cents an hour when there was work available. In his autobiography, Rowan told of living with “no electricity, no running water, no toothbrushes … no telephone, no radio and no regular inflow of money.”

He graduated in 1942 from Bernard High as valedictorian and class president. Rowan moved to Nashville with 77 cents in his pocket and the dream of a college education. In order to earn his tuition for college, he moved in with his grandparents and got a job in a tuberculosis hospital the summer before enrolling in the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College (now Tennessee State University) in Nashville in the fall of 1942. Two years later, during World War II, Rowan passed a competitive exam to become one of the first blacks in Naval officer training.

After his stint in the U.S. Navy, Rowan graduated from Oberlin College majoring in mathematics and earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota in 1948. He began his career in journalism as a copywriter for The Minneapolis Tribune, and within two years, he had become a staff writer with special emphasis on the Civil Rights Movement. In 1950, Rowan married Vivien Louise Murphy, a public health nurse.

At the time, “no more than five blacks could claim to be general assignment reporters and few were writing anything serious about the American social, political or economic scene,” Rowan wrote in his autobiography, Breaking Barriers.

Among his early pieces were a series of columns entitled How Far from Slavery?, which he wrote after returning to the South to study issues of race. The articles contributed to Rowan being the first black to receive the Minneapolis “Outstanding Young Man” award. They also served as the basis for his first book, South of Freedom.

Rowan spent 1954 writing columns from India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia. These led to a second book, The Pitiful and the Proud. A third book, Go South to Sorrow, was published in 1957. Rowan was the only journalist to receive the Sigma Delta Chi award for newspaper reporting in three straight years: for general reporting in 1954, for best foreign correspondence in 1955, and for his coverage of the political unrest in Southeast Asia in 1956.

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed Rowan Deputy Secretary of State and he became the U.S. Ambassador to Finland in 1963. The following year, Rowan was appointed director of the United States Information Agency by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Rowan became the first black to hold a seat on the National Security Council and oversaw a staff of thirteen thousand. In 1965, Rowan resigned and began writing a national column for the Field Newspaper Service Syndicate and doing three weekly radio commentaries for the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company.

Rowan developed a reputation for being independent and often controversial. He urged Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to change his anti-war stance because he felt it was hurting the Civil Rights Movement, and he called for J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to resign citing abuses of power and corruption that brought him criticism. While Rowan had always been a spokesperson for civil and economic rights for blacks, he was also critical of those he felt should more aggressively addressing those issues affecting themselves.

Rowan received the Peabody Award for his television special “Race War in Rhodesia” and was awarded an Emmy for his documentary “Drug Abuse: America’s 64 Billion Dollar Curse.” His newspaper column was syndicated by the Chicago Sun-Times and reached nearly half of homes receiving newspapers in the United States. He was on numerous public affairs television programs and was a permanent panelist on “Agronsky and Company.” He also aired “The Rowan Report,” a daily series of commentaries on radio stations heard across the nation. He served as a roving reporter for the Reader’s Digest and regularly published articles in the magazine. He was one of the most sought-after lecturers in the United States, speaking on college campuses and at conventions of teachers, business people, civil rights leaders and community groups.

Rowan once told Publisher’s Weekly, “You gotta get tired before you retire,” and he went on to publish several more books, including Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Thurgood Marshall and The Coming Race War in America: A Wake-Up Call.

In 1987, after reading about a high school where black students were embarrassed to stand as their names were called during an honor roll ceremony, he created Project Excellence to help black youth to finish school and go on to college. Since then, the organization has awarded more than $58 million to over 2,400 young people.

In 1988, Rowan, who had advocated strict handgun control, found himself in the center of a gun controversy when he was arrested and charged with using an unregistered weapon to wound a teenager who intruded into his backyard. Rowan argued that he had the right to use whatever means necessary to protect himself and his family. The jury deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial.

Rowan was a 1995 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his commentaries. In 1999, The National Press Club gave Rowan its Fourth Estate Award for lifetime achievement. On January 9, 2001, United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright dedicated the press briefing room at the State Department as the Carl T. Rowan Briefing Room. Rowan is one of the most honored journalists in American history. He has 44 honorary degrees and is in both the Black Journalists Hall of Fame and the Sigma Delta Chi Hall of Fame. He holds the “Missouri Medal,” the highest honor given by the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has received the E.I. Du Pont-Columbia University Silver Baton.

Rowan died of natural causes on September 23, 2000, at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. He was 75. He had been hospitalized for various illnesses, including diabetes, in the weeks prior to his death. He is survived by his wife, Vivien; two sons, Carl Rowan Jr., a lawyer; Jeffrey, a clinical psychologist, and one daughter, Barbara, a former journalist.

RELATED LINKS / REFERENCES: Wikipedia, CNN, AARegistry, Notable Biographies
Encyclopedia of World Biography, Reader Jill


Friday, May 29, 2009

COSEBOC: Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color

COSEBOC intends to develop a collaborative network of schools that nurture success in boys of color. Working with these schools, COSEBOC is committed to high standards, exemplary instruction, and the building of coalitions within and outside the community. The intended long-term outcome of this coalition will be boys of color who are fully equipped to achieve academically, socially and emotionally. These schools will serve as models for the educational community, enabling educators to replicate the promising practices modeled in these schools. COSEBOC will contribute to the body of research on achievement in Black and Latino boys.

The long-term goals of COSEBOC are:

1. Define high standards for schools successfully educating boys of color
2. Convene member schools for sharing of promising practices and community-building
3. Establish network of highly respected educators, researchers, policy-makers, and advocates focused on educating boys of color
4. Model promising practices and provide professional development for educators to replicate them widely
5. Support research and policy development related to pertinent issues concerning the education of males of color
6. Conduct advocacy with policy makers and elected officials in keeping with the needs of boys of color and COSEBOC’s adopted standards
7. Establish and promote a career pathway for boys of color to become educators
8. Raise the visibility of COSEBOC research, the defined needs of boys, and successes in successfully addressing those needs.

Strategic alliances and partnerships are a key strategy for implementing all of these goals. Partnerships with institutions of higher education will enable research, conferences, pre-service and in-service education of teachers and school leaders. Partnerships with education development and community-building organizations will support the academic and social development of students served.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Jackie Robinson Foundation - College Scholarship and Leadership Development for Minority Youths

The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is a public, not-for-profit national organization founded by Rachel Robinson in 1973 as a vehicle to perpetuate the memory of Jackie Robinson and his achievements. Serving as an advocate for young people with the greatest need, the Foundation assists increasing numbers of minority youths through the granting of four-year scholarships for higher education.

The Jackie Robinson Foundation provides much more than financial support. While each Jackie Robinson Scholar receives up to $7,500 a year in financial support, they also become an active member in the Foundation’s unique Education and Leadership Development Program, which is an extensive mentoring program that includes attendance at workshops, assignment of a peer and a professional mentor and placement into summer internships and permanent employment.


  • 57 new JRF Scholars
  • 12 Extra Innings Fellows
  • 259 total JRF Scholars and Fellows
  • JRF Scholars are enrolled at 93 colleges and universities
  • JRF Scholars represent 30 States and the District of Columbia
  • 92 corporations, foundations and individuals currently support the Foundation’s Education and Leadership Development Program (ELDP).


  • Over 1,200 students from 43 states and the District of Columbia have received scholarships.
  • Over $16 million in scholarship awards have been distributed.
  • JRF Scholars maintain a 97% graduation rate – more than twice the national average for minority students.
  • Founded in 1986, the JRF Alumni Association (JRFAA) includes over 1,000 graduates and is represented on the Jackie Robinson Board of Directors and Selection Committees.
  • JRF Scholars are selected by regional selection committees consisting of academic, corporate and civic leaders.
  • Applicants are selected on academic ability, financial need and leadership potential. Committees are based in the following regions: New York (National), Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New England, and Stamford (CT).


Contributorscan support the Jackie Robinson Foundation by sponsoring a Scholar ($10,000 a year for 4 years or naming a Scholar in perpetuity with a $200,000 gift), donating funds outright and/or contributing to the Foundation’s Endowment Fund. Notable contributors to the fund include Derek Jeter, Royce Clayton, John Gordon, Cendant, Con Edison, Random House Publishing and The Related Companies, the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, Michael Jordan, and Nike. For more information on supporting the Jackie Robinson Foundation and its mission, CLICK HERE .


More than 700 corporations, foundations and individuals have supported the Foundation since 1973, including Unilever (formerly Chesebrough Pond’s), Goldman Sachs, General Electric, JPMorgan Chase, Major League Baseball, the Starr Foundation, Deloitte, the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York University, Branch Rickey, Henry Kravis and John F. Kennedy, Jr. & Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. For information on JRF supporters, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Unsung African American Heroes

J A M E S _ A R M I S T E A D
P a t r i o t _ S p y

Wars are rarely fought without the use of spies and the American Revolution was no exception. Arguably, the most important Revolutionary War spy was a slave named James Armistead.

Born around 1748 in New Kent, Va., Armistead was given permission by his master to join the revolutionary cause. Although many fought as soldiers, blacks, both free and enslaved were being used by the British and the Americans to gain intelligence against each other. Armistead, however, was used by both sides, making him a double-agent.

In 1781, he joined the army and was put in service under the Marquis de Lafayette, who was desperately trying to fight the chaos caused in Virginia by turncoat soldier Benedict Arnold. His forces diminished by British Gen. Charles Cornwallis' troops, Lafayette needed reliable information about enemy movements.

Armistead began his work posing as an escaped slave, entering Arnold's camp as an orderly and guide, then sent what he learned back to Lafayette. He later returned north with Arnold and was posted close enough to Cornwallis' camp to learn further details of British operations without being detected. By also being used as a British spy (who fed them inaccurate data), Armistead was able to travel freely between both sides. One day, he discovered that the British naval fleet was moving 10,000 troops to Yorktown, Va., making it a central post for their operation.

Using the intricate details Armistead provided, Lafayette and a stunned, but relieved George Washington lay siege to the town. Concentrating both American and French forces, a huge blockade was formed, crippling the British military and resulting in their surrender on Oct. 19, 1781.

Rex Ellis, vice president of Colonial Williamsburg's Historic Area, says Armistead's role was critical to the American victory. "If he had not given the information that he gave at the strategic time he did, they would not have had the intelligence to create the blockade that ended the war."

Despite his critical actions, Armistead had to petition the Virginia legislature for manumission. Lafayette assisted him by writing a recommendation for his freedom, which was granted in 1787. In gratitude Armistead adopted Lafayette's surname and lived as a farmer in Virignia until his death in 1830.


E U N I C E ∙ H U N T O N ∙ C A R T E R

M o b_B u s t e r

The 1920s and 30s were a time when organized crime was an unseen hand playing a significant part in urban life across the country. In no city was that more evident than New York. At the time, law enforcement hadn't made the connection between racketeering and petty crime. Then Eunice Hunton Carter came along.

Born in Atlanta in 1899, to activist parents, Carter became a social worker who practiced in New York and New Jersey for several years before earning a law degree from Fordham University Law School, the first black woman to do so. In 1935, she was appointed by New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia to study situations in Harlem. But soon her street smarts and work as a Women's Court prosecutor with knowledge about prostitution cases, and a theory that the streetwalkers were connected to the mob, got her hired as an assistant district attorney under then-special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey. Her investigative work showed that when prostitutes were arrested, they all seemed to have the same lawyers, bondsmen and alibis, leading her to theorize that prostitution was an organized racket.

As it turns out, the investigation revealed that mob figures were providing these services to the prostitutes in exchange for 50 percent of their take, which brought in millions for the underworld. Dewey ordered raids on 80 brothels, arresting 100 prostitutes. Carter's questioning of several resulted in evidence that led to New York's most powerful mob figure — Charles "Lucky" Luciano, who was not found to be directly connected to the brothels, but gave a non-interference nod to its operation. Essentially this meant he was, in fact, a crime boss.

"This was the beginning of the end for organized crime they way it operated," said Peter Kougasian, an assistant Manhattan district attorney. "It showed that they were not invulnerable and it also represented an end for major political corruption as well." The case tried by the famed "Twenty Against The Underworld," as Dewey called his team, and resulted in a 30 to 50-year sentence, for Luciano, although he was paroled and deported to Italy in 1946.

After her role in what had been the largest organized crime prosecution in U.S. history, Dewey (who was elected New York District Attorney in 1937, appointed Carter head of the D.A.'s Special Sessions Bureau. In 1945, she entered private practice and continued her activities in organizations including the National Council of Negro Women, the United Nations and on the national board of the YWCA, on which she remained until her death in 1970.


R E B E C C A ∙ L E E ∙ C R U M P L E R
A ∙ M e d i c a l ∙ M i l e s t o n e

Because medical practitioners focus more on their patients than any notoriety, historical figures in medicine are often rendered obscure. Such is the case of Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African American woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S.

Crumpler was born in 1831 and raised by an aunt who spent much of her time caring for infirm neighbors. The aunt likely influenced her choice to go into the medical profession, especially since medical care for the needs of poor blacks was almost non-existant during the antebellum years.

Between 1852 and 1860, Crumpler worked as a nurse in Charlestown, Mass. However, a wider door had been opened for women physicians across the country, possibly due to heavy demands for medical care of Civil War veterans, leading a new generation of women — including Crumpler — to pursue an M.D., which she earned in 1864 from New England Female Medical College.

"It was a significant achievement at the time because she was in the first generation of women of color to break into medical school, fight racism and sexism," said Manon Parry, curator at the National Library of Medicine's History of Medicine Division. "It was common theme that minority females went in to the profession to provide medical care for underserved communities."

After the war, Crumpler moved to Richmond, Va., where her main focus was on the health needs of freed slaves. In her work with other black doctors, she tended to large groups of the poor and destitute that would have had little access to medical care and a new path was forged for healthcare in underserved communities. Her experience there, and later in Boston, led her to publish her now-renown Book of Medical Discourses In Two Parts, one of the first known medical writings by an African American and an early guidebook on public health.


P H I L I P ∙ E M E A G W A L I
A ∙ C a l c u l a t i n g ∙ M o v e

It's hard to say who invented the Internet. There were many mathematicians and scientists who contributed to its development; computers were sending signals to each other as early as the 1950s. But the Web owes much of its existence to Philip Emeagwali, a math whiz who came up with the formula for allowing a large number of computers to communicate at once.

Emeagwali was born to a poor family in Akure, Nigeria, in 1954. Despite his brain for math, he had to drop out of school because his family, who had become war refugees, could no longer afford to send him. As a young man, he earned a general education certificate from the University of London and later degrees from George Washington University and the University of Maryland, as well as a doctoral fellowship from the University of Michigan.

At Michigan, he participated in the scientific community's debate on how to simulate the detection of oil reservoirs using a supercomputer. Growing up in an oil-rich nation and understanding how oil is drilled, Emeagwali decided to use this problem as the subject of his doctoral dissertation. Borrowing an idea from a science fiction story about predicting the weather, Emeagwali decided that rather than using 8 expensive supercomputers he would employ thousands of microprocessors to do the computation.

The only step left was to find 8 machines and connect them. (Remember, it was the 80s.) Through research, he found a machine called the Connection Machine at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which had sat unused after scientists had given up on figuring out how to make it simulate nuclear explosions. The machine was designed to run 65,536 interconnected microprocessors. In 1987, he applied for and was given permission to use the machine, and remotely from his Ann Arbor, Michigan, location he set the parameters and ran his program. In addition to correctly computing the amount of oil in the simulated reservoir, the machine was able to perform 3.1 billion calculations per second.

The crux of the discovery was that Emeagwali had programmed each of the microprocessors to talk to six neighboring microprocessors at the same time.

The success of this record-breaking experiment meant that there was now a practical and inexpensive way to use machines like this to speak to each other all over the world. Within a few years, the oil industry had seized upon this idea, then called the Hyperball International Network creating a virtual world wide web of ultrafast digital communication.

The discovery earned him the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers' Gordon Bell Prize in 1989, considered the Nobel Prize of computing, and he was later hailed as one of the fathers of the Internet. Since then, he has won more than 100 prizes for his work and Apple computer has used his microprocessor technology in their Power Mac G4 model. Today he lives in Washington with his wife and son.

"The Internet as we know it today did not cross my mind," Emeagwali told TIME. "I was hypothesizing a planetary-sized supercomputer and, broadly speaking, my focus was on how the present creates the future and how our image of the future inspires the present."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Wealthiest Black Americans

Forbes Wealth Valuations
The Wealthiest Black Americans
Matthew Miller, 05.06.09, 7:00 PM ET

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most lucrative brands in the world. Today The Oprah Winfrey Show airs in 144 countries, drawing 44 million U.S. viewers each week. Her Harpo Productions helped create the likes of Dr. Phil and Rachael Ray. She's produced Broadway shows and has her own satellite radio channel. For all of this, she consistently earns more than $200 million a year.

And unlike many others on our list, her business is weathering the recession well. Winfrey continues to entice viewers with money-saving tips, celebrity interviews and relationship advice. She's debuting a new show this fall, which will be hosted by frequent guest Dr. Oz, and is planning to launch The Oprah Winfrey Network early next year.

In Pictures: The 20 Wealthiest Black Americans

With a net worth of $2.7 billion, Winfrey tops the inaugural Forbes list of the Wealthiest Black Americans. She is the only billionaire on the list of 20 tycoons, all of whom are self-made. The group built their fortunes across a spectrum of industries spanning athletics and entertainment, media, investments, real estate, construction and restaurants.

Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson became the first African American billionaire in 2000 after he sold the network to Viacom for $3 billion in stock and assumed debt. Since then, sagging Viacom and CBS stock, plus investments in real estate, hotels and banks--industries pummeled in the past year amid the recession--have dragged Johnson's net worth to $550 million, we estimate. He ranks third on the list; his former wife and BET co-founder, Sheila Johnson, ranks seventh with $400 million.

Between Winfrey and Robert Johnson, in second place is golf phenom Tiger Woods, worth an estimated $600 million. Woods left Stanford University after two years at age 20 to turn pro and has dominated the links ever since, winning 66 PGA tournaments--including 14 major championships.

Woods' career winnings exceed $80 million, but his real money is made off the course. His annual prize money represents less than 15% of his income, with splashy sponsorship contracts from Nike, Gatorade, Gillette, Accenture, AT&T and others raking in at least $100 million each year.

Rounding out the top five are two basketball greats: Michael Jordan ($525 million) and Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Jr. ($500 million), both of whom parlayed their time on the court into lucrative endorsement and business deals in retirement.

Why did we compile this list? Readers and some leaders in the African-American community asked us to. Following the publication of the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans in September, we received scores of letters from various minority leaders lamenting that their communities were not included.

Like our signature rich lists, The World's Billionaires and Forbes 400, the Wealthiest Black Americans list is a compilation of net worth--not income.

Our estimates are purposely conservative and should be considered "at least" figures. While we try to value everything from individuals' stakes in publicly traded and privately held companies to real estate holdings and investments in art, yachts and planes, we do not pretend to have access to list members' tax returns and bank accounts.

Two real estate mavens who have survived the recent property slump appear on the list.

The grandson of a hotel doorman, Don Peebles, worth $350 million, runs one of the country's largest minority-owned real estate development companies. Peebles Corp.'s portfolio includes hotels, apartments and office space in Miami Beach and Washington, D.C.

Peebles left Rutgers University in 1979 to become a real estate agent in the District of Columbia, later working on Capitol Hill as a page and an intern. Today he owns 13 acres of prime Las Vegas land behind Steve Wynn's Encore casino that are slated for redevelopment.

Quintin Primo III is worth $300 million. The minister's son grew up in Chicago. He earned his MBA at Harvard in 1979 and took a job in Citicorp's real estate lending division. Primo founded Capri Capital in 1992 with childhood friend Daryl Carter and achieved initial success extending mezzanine loans to small borrowers that larger firms neglected to serve. Today Capri's portfolio is larded with apartment complexes; the firm's assets under management have swelled to $4.3 billion.

Last June Capri announced it will invest $2 billion in a Saudi venture, building hotels, office towers and condos in one of King Abdullah's anointed "economic zones." Primo also plans to invest $1 billion in distressed assets and half-built construction projects in the U.S. with financing from the U.S. Treasury.

Ulysses Bridgeman, Jr. garnered his $200 million through a combination of athletic grit and business savvy. "Junior" was picked in the first round of the 1975 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers, but was promptly traded to the Milwaukee Bucks with three others for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He went on to rack up 11,517 career points.

Upon retiring in 1987, Bridgeman bought five Wendy's franchises to generate income while he planned his next career. Today he controls a sprawling dining empire with 161 Wendy's and 118 Chili's locations. Last year, sales of his Manna Inc. holding company were $530 million.

With a net worth of $125 million, Kenneth Chenault, chief executive of American Express, rounds out the group. Chenault attended Harvard Law and held posts as a consultant and a lawyer before joining Amex in 1981. He became the company's chief executive in 2001. The company's shares are down nearly 50% in the past 12 months as profits shrink, delinquencies rise and cardholders throttle back spending.

Near misses include former Merrill Lynch chief Stanley O'Neal and Citigroup chairman and former Time Warner head Richard Parsons. Both O'Neal and Parsons were compensated primarily with stock and options while at the helms of their respective companies; the value of their stakes in those companies has languished since the onset of the recession, shoving their fortunes below the $100 million mark.

Def Jam founder Russell Simmons barely misses the cut with a fortune of $110 million.

Also not on the list: Linda Johnson-Rice, chief exec of Johnson Publishing Co. Her father, John H. Johnson (died 2005), founded the company with a $500 loan from his mother in 1942 to publish Negro Digest. Over time he added such keynote brands as Ebony and Jet magazines, Fashion Fair Cosmetics, plus television, fashion and book publishing divisions.

As the recession punishes the publishing industry, revenues at JPC have fallen precipitously, knocking Johnson Rice out of contention for the list.

Reported by: Steven Bertoni, Keren Blankfeld Schultz, Andrew Farrell and Duncan Greenberg

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Jets’ Greene worked his way from warehouse to NFL

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP)—Shonn Greene’s mind drifted a few times while he unloaded trucks and assembled furniture in a store warehouse in Iowa.

He couldn’t help it. His NFL dreams never included couches, La-Z-Boys and dining room sets.

“I didn’t let it get the best of me,” the New York Jets’ third-round draft pick said.

The big, bruising running back was as far from a football field as one could be two summers ago. Greene was working at McGregor’s Furniture in Coralville, Iowa, and making $8 an hour after being ruled academically ineligible at the University of Iowa.

He used the money from the heavy lifting to pay for his tuition at Kirkwood Community College, where he worked on improving his grades.

“Shonn didn’t talk about it much,” said Rebecca Fried, the warehouse service manager who hired Greene in the summer of 2007. “He’s just a very soft-spoken person and he doesn’t like to talk about himself. He wasn’t where he wanted to be at the time, so he wasn’t ready to talk about it. He was just trying to fix it.”

After two years as a backup at Iowa, Greene appeared ready to step into the Hawkeyes’ starting lineup. Then came the news that his poor grades would keep him off the field.

Greene stayed positive even during those Saturdays when he was holding hammers instead of footballs.

“I had my mind set that this is what I was going to do and this is how I was going to get there,” Greene said. “I basically followed the game plan and worked by that.”

Greene, from Sicklerville, N.J., worked at McGregor’s until Christmas 2007 before he headed home. Fried left the door open for Greene to come back when he got back.

He didn’t need to. Greene got his grades up, re-enrolled at Iowa and got another shot with the Hawkeyes.

“He came in last June and showed up at the door and I was like, ‘Oh, are you back?”’ Fried recalled. “And he said, ‘No. I’m starting.”’

When Greene got back to Iowa, he was sixth on the depth chart at running back. Undeterred, the 5-foot-11, 225-pound Greene bulldozed his way into the starting lineup.

He rushed for a school-record 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns, was selected the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year and won the Doak Walker Award as the country’s top running back. He capped a big season by rushing for three touchdowns in a 31-10 win over South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. Shortly after the victory, Greene announced he was entering the draft.

“It was just the moment of the bowl game,” Greene said. “We had a great win, everybody was happy and stuff and I just felt like it was right at that time.”

Greene would’ve been a top candidate for the Heisman Trophy if he stayed at Iowa, a possibility he considered before choosing the NFL.

“It was like a gut feeling with the production I had,” he said. “It was just a dream. Everybody dreams of playing in the NFL if you’re into football. That opportunity was there and I decided to take it.”

The Jets traded up with the Detroit Lions to get the first pick of the third round and jumped on Greene with thoughts of teaming him with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington in their backfield.

“He’s a pretty good player,” said quarterback Mark Sanchez, the team’s first-round pick. “Sharp kid, good hands. I mean, when he’s running into that pile, look out. Give him the ball as deep as you can and watch him run and meet him in the end zone. He’s a stud.”

Greene has been impressive in rookie minicamp, barreling his way through defenders and showing a good burst.

“I love the way guys bounce off him,” coach Rex Ryan said between practices Saturday. “He comes rolling in there, guys are going flying. Guys are trying to tag him, his teammate went flying today, bounced off him.”

Ryan also provided visual proof, whipping out a photo of Greene taking off on a run after flattening Blake Hoerr, the team’s director of grounds, who was holding the padded blocking bag.

“He hits that hole and you say, ‘Man, that’s a big man coming through there,”’ Ryan said. “He runs low. He’s a big ol’ rascal.”

Ryan also pointed out a weakness in Greene’s game: While defenders bounce off him, so do some passes.

“Sanchez throws him a pass and it just banged off of him and Mark says, ‘Sorry, I should have put that on the other shoulder,”’ Ryan said. “And he responded, ‘I just don’t catch very well.” At least the kid’s honest. Those are things we can work on.”

Greene acknowledged that there have been moments he’s been able to think about those days when he could only dream of playing football.

“But not too much,” he said with a big smile. “We’ve got this big playbook that’s kind of stopping me from thinking about stuff like that. I have at times, and it’s just a great accomplishment.”


Saturday, May 9, 2009

The History of West Africa: Ancient Mali - Ancient Ghana - Songhai - Kanem Bornu

Ancient Ghana

It is generally accepted that the ancient state of Ghana emerged sometime around the 7th century AD. Its oral records however, which list over 144 kings, place its existence sometime around the 7th century BC. The actual name of this state was Wagadugu. It was the Arabs and Europeans who would mistake the word Ghana, meaning ruler, for the actual name of the state. The kingship of Ghana, as with all Sahelian monarchies to follow, was matrilineal. It was the sister of the king who provided the heir to the throne. Ghana's kingdom consisted of a monarchy quite different from those of their contemporary European counterparts. The king was assisted by a People's Council whose members were chosen from the various social strata. This social organization indicates a long evolution of political development that extends well beyond the kingdom's founding.

Fueled by its economic vitality, the kingdom of Ghana rapidly expanded into an empire. It conquered local minor states, requiring tribute from these subordinate vassals. This tribute, however, was not the main form of Ghana's wealth. Ancient Ghana boasted a mixed economy of extensive agriculture, iron smelting, stonemasonry, carpentery, pottery, goldsmithing, and cloth manufacturing. A strong trade emerged in goods that passed from western Africa east to Egypt and the Middle East. This trade primarily involved gold, salt, copper, and even war captives to be sold as slaves. Pictured above is a gold weight from the Akan people of Ghana. Evidene connects the Akan to the great Kingdom of Ghana. It is seen in names like Danso, shared by the Akans of present day Ghana and the Mandikas of Senegal and Gambia, who have strong links with the medieval kingdom. The matrilineal practice is also shared.

The kingdom of Ghana never converted to Islam, even though northern Africa had been dominated by the faith since the eighth century. The Ghanaian court, however, allowed Muslims to settle in the cities and even encouraged Muslim specialists to help the royal court administer the government and advise on legal matters. Unlike the Ghanaians however, their northern neighbors the fervently converted to Islam. In 1076, calling themselves Almoravids, they declared a holy war, or jihad, against the state of Ghana. The Almoravids destroyed the kingdom, converting a great deal of northern Ghanians. After this however Ghana ceases to be a commercial or military power. For a brief time (1180-1230), the Soso people, who were strongly anti-Muslim, controlled a kingdom making up the southern portions of the Ghanaian empire, but the Almoravid conquest effectively halted the growth of kingdoms and empires in the Sahel for almost a century. It was to be Mali who would later pick up the legacy of the Sahelien states.

Ancient Mali

Located in west Africa is the second great Sahelian kingdom: Mali. The Sahel is the savannah region south of the Sahara which, after 750 AD, became the center of culturally and politically dynamic cities and kingdoms because of the strategic importance of the Sahel for trade across north Africa. The historical founder of Mali was a mystic by the name of Sundjata Keita or Sundiata. An historic figure, was said to have begun as a royal servant and magician among the Soso peoples who then ruled the Ghanian empire. According to African oral histories the small state of Kangaba, led by Sundiata defeated the nearby kingdom of Soso at the Battle of Kirina in 1235. The Soso had been led by king Sumanguru Kante. The clans of the heartland unified under the vigorous Sundiata, now king of the vast region that was to become the Mali Empire, beginning a period of expansion. The rulers of Mali nominally converted to Islam, but held strong ties with traditional Mande religions. Sundiata was said to have ruled Mali from 1230-1255. Under Sundiata and his immediate successors, Mali expanded rapidly west to the Atlantic Ocean, south deep into the forest, east beyond the Niger River, and north to the salt and copper mines of the Sahara. The city of Niani may have been the capital. At its height, Mali was a confederation of 3 independent, freely allied states (Mali, Mema, and Wagadou) and 12 garrisoned provinces.

The most significant of the Mali kings was Mansa Musa(1312-1337) who expanded Mali influence over the large Niger city-states of Timbuctu, Gao, and Djenné. Mansa Musa was a devout Muslim who built magnificent mosques all throughout the Mali sphere of influence. In 1324 Mansa Musa made a pilgrimage to Mecca with an entourage of 60,000 people and 80 camels carrying more than two tons of gold to be distributed among the poor. Of the 12,000 servants 500 carried a staff of pure gold. It has been said that the gold markets of regions such as Egypt were ruined for months or years after Musa's visit through their respective kingdoms. Mansa Musa's fame as well as that of his state was known far and wide. This panel is of the Catalan Map of Charles V (1375). It is entitled, Mansu Musa: Lord of the Negroes of Guinea. (Photo courtesy of History of Africa)

It was under Mansa Musa that Timbuctu became one of the major cultural centers not only of Africa but of the entire world. Under Mansa Musa's patronage, vast libraries were built and "madrasas" (Islamic universities) were endowed; Timbuctu became a meeting-place of the finest poets, scholars, and artists of Africa and the Middle East. Even after the power of Mali declined, Timbuctu remained the major Islamic center of sub-Saharan Africa. Timbuctu's sister city of Djenne was also an important center of learning. Recent archaeology has placed the antiquity of Djenne at 200 to 250BC. After the death of Mansa Musa, the power of Mali began to decline. Losing its sphere of influence, its subject states began to break off and establish themselves independently. In 1430 Tuareg Berbers in the north seized much of Mali's territory, including the city of Timbuctu. A decade later the Mossi kingdom to the seized much of Mali's southern territories. Finally, the kingdom of Gao, which had been subjugated to Mali under Mansa Musa, gave rise to a Songhay kingdom that eventually eclipsed the magnificent power that was once Mali. Pictured above is the famous Mosque at Djenne. (Photo courtesy of World Heritage City)

Songhai: Africa's Largest Empire

With the decline of Mali, the kingdom of Gao reasserted itself as the major kingdom in the Sahel. The people of Songhai were farmers and fisherman who lived along the Niger River of West Africa. After centuries of trade with merchants from across the desert, they were converted to Islam around the 1200s.

A Songhai kingdom in the region of Gao had existed since the eleventh century AD, but it had come under the control of Mali in 1325. In the late fourteenth century, Gao reasserted itself with the Sunni dynasty. Songhai would not fully eclipse Mali until the reign of the Sunni king, Sonni Ali, who reigned from 1464-1492.

Sonni Ali aggressively turned the kingdom of Gao into the Songhai empire. Ali based his military on a cavalry and a highly mobile fleet of ships. With this military, he conquered the cities of Timbuctu and Djenne, the major cities of the Mali.

Great Mosque of Djenne

He also appointed qadis, Muslim judges, to run the legal system under Islamic legal principles. These programs of conquest, centralization, and standardization were the most ambitious and far-reaching in Africa at the time. However, while urban centers were dominated by Islam non-urban areas retained traditional African spiritual systems. The vast majority of the Songhai people of the time, around 97%, retained traditional African spiritual practices - even when accepting Islam. Thus within West African Islam itself, the many cultures that made up Songhai shaped various African traditional beliefs around it. This fusion of African spirituality and Islam was reflected in everything from philosophy to architecture
The Berbers, who had always played such a crucial role in the downfall of Sahelian kingdoms, were driven from the region.

Roughly around the same year Christopher Columbus reached the western hemisphere, Askia Muhammad Toure (1493-1528), established the Askia dynasty of Songhai. Muhammad Toure continued Sonni Ali's imperial expansion by seizing the important Saharan oases and conquering Mali itself. From there he went on to conquer the land of the Hausas.

The vastness of Askia Mohammed's kingdom covered most of West Africa, larger than all of the European states of the era combined. With literally several thousand cultures under its control, Songhai ranked as one of the largest empires of the time.

In order to maintain his large empire Muhammad Toure further centralized the government by creating a large and elaborate bureaucracy. He was also the first to standardize weights, measures, and currency, causing culture throughout Songhai to homogenize. Muhammad Toure, a fervent Muslim, he replaced traditional Songhai administrators with Muslims in order to "Islamicize" Songhai society.

Rendering of West African Gold Merchants Using Weights and Measurements:

He also appointed qadis, Muslim judges, to run the legal system under Islamic legal principles. These programs of conquest, centralization, and standardization were the most ambitious and far-reaching in Africa at the time. However, while urban centers were dominated by Islam non-urban areas retained traditional African spiritual systems. The vast majority of the Songhai people of the time, around 97%, retained traditional African spiritual practices - even when accepting Islam. Thus within West African Islam itself, the many cultures that made up Songhai shaped various African traditional beliefs around it. This fusion of African spirituality and Islam was reflected in everything from philosophy to architecture

The Mausoleum of Askia Muhammed, at Gao Mali

Under the leadership of Askia Mohammed, the city of Timbuctu once again became a prosperous commercial city, reaching a population of 100,000 people. Merchants and traders traveled from Asia, the Middle East and Europe to exchange their exotic wares for the gold of Songhai. Timbuctu gained fame as an intellectual center rivaling many others in the Muslim world.

Students from various parts of the world had long come to Timbuctu's famous University of Sankore to study Law and Medicine. Medieval Europe sent emissaries to the University of Sankore to witness its excellent libraries with manuscripts and to consult with mathematicians, astronomers, physicians, and jurists whose intellectual endeavors were said to be paid for out of the king's own treasury.

Unfortunately for Songhai it was to be its very size that would lead to its downfall. A vastly spread empire, it encompassed more territory than could actually be controlled. After the reign of Askia Duad, subject peoples began to revolt. Even Songhai's massive army, said to be over 35,000 soldiers, archers and chain-mailed cavalry, could not keep order. The first major region to declare independence was Hausaland; then much of the Maghreb (Morocco) rebelled and gained control over crucial gold mines.

The Moroccans defeated Songhai in 1591 and the empire quickly collapsed. Their victory was due in part to new forms of European weaponry acquired from Spain and Portugal. The Songhai rulers were forced to retreat southward to the Dendi region near the Niger River. They would retain ruler ship for a time over their own people, but the powerful military and prosperity of their empire would never recover.

Under the Moroccans the scholars at Timbuctu were arrested for treason and some even killed or taken back to Morocco. The university of Sankore destroyed. Ahmed Baba, an African university scholar of the time, is reputed to have lost over 1,500 books from his personal collection alone under the Moroccan occupation. By 1612, the remaining cities of Songhai fell into general disarray, with Morocco unable to keep the empire intact or same from attack under their rule. Numerous states broke off to form smaller independent kingdoms or federations. And one of the greatest empires of African history disappeared from the world stage. Not since then has any African nation rose to prominence and wealth as did mighty Songhai.

For more information see the following:

Adeleke, Tunde. Songhay

Hale, Thomas A. The Epic of Askia Mohommad

Hunwick, John. Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire: Al-Sa 'Di's Ta'Rikh Al-Sudan Down to 1613 and other Contemporary Documents

Koslow, Philip. Songhai: The Empire Builders

Mann, Kenny. Ghana, Mali and Songhai: The Western Sudan

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Kanem-Bornu & The Hausa States

Ghana, Mali and Songhai had come and gone on the African stage. Near central Africa another great empire called Kanem would rise around 1200AD. Kanem was originally a confederation of various ethnic groups, but by 1100AD, a people called the Kanuri settled in Kanem and in the thirteenth century the Kanuri began upon a conquest of their neighbors. They were led by Mai Dunama Dibbalemi (1221-1259), the first of the Kanuri to convert to Islam. Dibbalemi declared physical jihad (holy war) against surrounding minor states and so began one of the most dynamic periods of conquest in Africa.

At the height of their empire, the Kanuri controlled territory from Libya to Lake Chad to Hausaland. These were strategic areas, as all the commercial traffic through North Africa had to pass through Kanuri territory. As a result of the military and commercial growth of Kanem, the once nomadic Kanuri eventually turned to a more sedentary way of life.

Pictured here is a painting of the king of Bornu in royal procession arriving at one of his provincial residences around 1850AD.

Pictured here are Bornu horsemen trumpeters sounding the Frum-Frums.

In the late 1300's, civil strife within Kanuri territory began to seriously weaken the empire. By the early 1400's, Kanuri power shifted from Kanem to Bornu, a Kanuri kingdom south and west of Lake Chad.

When Songhai fell, this new Kanuri Empire of Bornu grew rapidly. The Kanuri grew powerful enough to unite the kingdom of Bornu with Kanem during the reign of Idris Alawma (1575-1610).

Idris Alawma, a fervent Muslim, set about building an Islamic state all the way west into Hausaland in northern Nigeria. This state would last for another two hundred years, but in 1846, it finally succumbed to the growing power of the Hausa states.

Bornu Horsemen

The Bornu were well known for their cavalry. These trumpeters may have served to lead the medieval African kingdom's powerful shock troops into battle.

The Hausa States

Around 1100AD hills rich in iron ore dotted the landscape of the region that would come to be known as Hausaland, between the eastern reaches of the Niger River to the west and Lake Chad in the east. Until the 1100's, Hausaland was made up of a number of decentralized agricultural and pastoral villages.

Map of Hausa Kingdoms:

There are different versions of Hausa origin myths that allude to several of these high places as sites of important hill-cults. On these sacred grounds, priests or cult-guardians exercised religious and political power within local societies active in agriculture and trade.

Scholars disagree about the precise nature of Hausa growth. Some have argued that the Hausa came from the north (southern Sahara), others from the east (Lake Chad), still others that the Hausa were the indigenous inhabitants of the region. But most generally agree that sometime around 1000AD, localized cult sites and markets began to evolve into walled towns called "birane" and ruled local rulers called "sarkis".

These rulers were no doubt intent on exploiting the agricultural and mineral wealth of the surrounding countryside and its inhabitants. This growing political power of the cities led in time to an extensive "Hausaization" of the lands between the Niger and Lake Chad. Beginning in the late twelfth century, these villages combined into several kingdoms ruled by partly divine kings. The first of these centralized kingdoms was Daura.

1959 picture of Kano, a city that traces back to one of the early Hausa kingdoms.

Being in close contact with one another, these kingdoms all shared a common language, Hausa. In the late 1300's Islam began to filter into Hausaland through traveling merchants. But the pace was relatively slow. It was not until the 1450's that a group of people from the Senegal River, known as the Fulani, began immigrating in large numbers into Hausaland that a strong Islamic presence took root.

The Fulani immigration was driven by the desertification of north and western Africa. A pastoral people, the Fulani were in search of a land that could support their herds. Devoutly Muslim, with a great deal of indigenous beliefs intermingled therein, the Fulani not only brought Islam and its teachings, but also began to set up Islamic schools and learning centers all throughout Hausaland.

The Hausa, particularly after the influence of Islam, were closely allied with Kanem-Bornu to the east. Because of the military presence of Kanem-Bornu, the Hausa kingdoms were relatively stable and peaceful.

Pictured here is the 11th century Gobirau Minaret at Katsina, Nigeria. Mosque architecture reflects a synthesis of local African and imported traditions, some of great duration.

Friday, May 1, 2009

King Behanzin of Abomey

King Behanzin of Abomey-The king Shark

Said "no more" to slavery in West Africa

We fought to our death...and we never forgot you were gone from us

My great-great Grandfather, Behanzin

Behanzin in 1894
Behanzin (d. December 1906, in Blida, Algeria) is considered (if Adandozan is not counted) eleventh King of Dahomey (now Benin). Upon taking the throne, he changed his name from Kondo. He succeeded his father, Glele, and ruled from 1889 to 1894. Behanzin was Abomey's last independent ruler established through traditional power structures, and considered to be a great ruler.

His symbols are the shark, the egg (a rebus of his name), and a captive hanging from a flagpole (a reference to a boastful and rebellious Nago practitioner of harmful magic from Ketou whom the king hanged from a flagpole as punishment for his pride). But, his most famous symbol is the smoking pipe, seen on the picture to the right. This is because he claimed that there wasn't a minute in his life, even when he was a baby, that he was not smoking.

Behanzin was seen by his people as intelligent and courageous. He saw that the Europeans were gradually encroaching on his kingdom, and as a result attempted a foreign policy of isolating the Europeans and rebuffing them. As price just before Glele's death, Behanzin declined to meet French envoy Jean Bayol, claiming conflicts in his schedule due to ritual and ceremonial obligations. As a result, Bayol returned to Cotonou to prepare to go to war against Behanzin, named king upon Glele's death. Seeing the preparations, the Dahomeans attacked Bayol's forces outside Cotonou in 1890; the French army stood fast due to superior weaponry and a strategically advantageous position. Eventually Behanzin's forces were forced to withdraw. Behanzin returned to Abomey, Bayol to France for a time.

The peace lasted two years, during which time the French continued to occupy Cotonou. Both sides continued to buy arms in preparation for another battle. In 1892, the soldiers of Abomey attacked villages near Grand Popo and Porto-Novo in an effort to reassert the older boundaries of Dahomey. This was seen as an act of war by the French, who claimed interests in both areas. Bayol, by now named Colonial Governor by the French, declared war on Behanzin. The French war machine justified the aggression by characterizing the Dahomeans as savages in need of civilizing, and pointing to what it called the "human sacrifice" of the annual customs and at a king's death, and to the continued practice of slavery, as evidence of this savagery.

Some of this propaganda still exists today: in the Musee de l'Homme in the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, there is a large print, again illustrating the alleged savagery of the Dahomeans, of a battle in the war against Dahomey where a Dahomey Amazon killed a French officer by ripping out his throat with her sharpened teeth. The story is somewhat more complex, however, since the traditional accounts of the event handed down in Benin have the Amazon as a trusted wife of Behanzin who had sworn to avenge members of the royal family who had been executed by Behanzin for treachery after divulging battle plans in return for bribes from French agents. Further, the French officer at issue was allegedly the head of French military intelligence who committed the 'savage' act of corrupting family members to betray their own --an unthinkable evil in Dahomean society; the Amazon was reduced to using her teeth after her ammunition ran out at the battle's peak.

Similarly, the usual European allegations of Dahomean savagery do not take into account the role of the annual customs in Dahomean society, the deepness of traditional belief in the spirit world, the complex social organization seen in the court bureaucracy and policy making process, and the fact that at many of the very points where blood flowed most freely in Dahomean history, it was also flowing freely in Europe, through wars, civil wars, and revolutions. This is not to excuse any of the evils of the Dahomean traditional society, but only to put them in perspective and to point out that the term "savage" when applied to Dahomey by defenders of its European colonization is used more for its propaganda value than for its ability to describe honestly the level of organization or the cultural values of traditional Dahomean society.

Through superior intelligence gathering, superior weaponry, subversion by some members of the royal family who had been corrupted by bribes, and a campaign of psychological warfare that included cutting down most of the sacred trees in the Oueme and Zou, and an unexpected attack strategy, the French succeeded in defeating Dahomey, the last of the traditional African kingdoms to succumb to European colonization. Instead of attacking Abomey directly by marching straight north from Calavi just north of Cotonou, French General Alfred Dodds attacked from Porto-Novo, moving up the Oueme valley until he was within striking distance of Abomey, via Cove and Bohicon.

The French were victorious, and in 1894, Behanzin surrendered his person to Dodds, without signing any instrument of national surrender or treaty. He lived out the remainder of his life in exile in Martinique and Algeria. After his death, his remains were returned to Abomey.

Behzanzin was succeeded by Agoli-agbo, his distant relative and one-time Army Chief of Staff, the only potential ruler which the French were willing to instate.

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Behanzin Hossu Bowelle

Who Was Behanzin