Tag Archives: freedom

The President and First Lady Host: In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement

Posted by: Audiegrl

February 9, 2010 marked the beginning of the 2010 White House music series with “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” – a concert celebrating Black History month.

Earlier that day, the White House also hosted a “Music that Inspired the Movement” workshop. High school students from across the country participate in a workshop to learn about how music influenced the Civil Rights Movement.

Robert Santelli, the executive director of The GRAMMY Museum, and Smokey Robinson, the legendary Motown singer, will facilitate the workshop with performances by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, one of the original Freedom Singers in the 1960s who traveled around the country carrying stories in song of local Civil Rights Movement campaigns to national audiences. Other artists participated as well, including: John Legend, John Mellencamp, and Toshi Reagon.

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In the evening, the President and First Lady hosted the “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” concert, featuring songs from the Civil Rights Movement as well as readings from famous Civil Rights speeches and writings with participants including Yolanda Adams, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Seal, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Howard University Choir and The Freedom Singers, featuring Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Rutha Harris, Charles Neblett, Toshi Reagon and more. Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Queen Latifah and Joanne Woodward will be guest speakers.

“The civil rights movement was a movement sustained by music,” Obama said as he welcomed his audience.

He said activists from coast to coast were inspired by spirituals, felt their will sharpened by protest songs and base broadened by artists of hope. He said their work paved the way toward a more just America that allowed him to make history in 2008 with his election.

“Tonight, we celebrate the music of the movement,” Obama said.

Singer Yolanda Adams’ moving rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” was an early highlight of a night filled with amazing performances.

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The celebration was supposed to come on Wednesday, but faced with another major winter storm the White House decided to move the concert ahead by a day to beat what could be a second crippling snowfall in a week. As guests packed the first floor of the executive mansion, heavy snow landed on the South Lawn and blanketed the rest of Washington.

Morgan Freeman

Actor and activist Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman, who read excerpts from historical works throughout the night, harkened back to the song lyrics Obama invoked during his election-night victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park.

“A long time coming,” Freeman said.

He later deadpanned: “I wish I could sing.”

Obama said the music helped the movement’s faith as their leaders were jailed and their churches bombed.

“It’s hard to sing when times are rough,” Obama said. “The hymns helped … advance the cause of the nation.”

The concert was to be televised at 8 p.m. Thursday on public broadcasting stations nationwide as part of the “In Performance at the White House” series. National Public Radio also planned a one-hour concert special from the event to be broadcast nationwide on NPR stations beginning Friday.

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Filed under African-Americans, Art, Artists, Barack Obama, Change, Children, Civil Rights Movement, Culture, Dr. Jill Biden, Education, Entertainment, First Daughters, First Lady Michelle Obama, History, Hollywood, Live Stream Video, Media and Entertainment, Music, News, Politics, Pop Culture, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Spirituality, Students, Technology, Television, TV Shows, Uncategorized, United States, Vice-President Joe Biden, Video/YouTube, Washington, DC, Women's Issues, Young Men, Young Women

Shoshana Johnson Pens Her Story In “I’m Still Standing”

Posted by guest contributor: Shanti

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“In March of 2003, when Operation Iraqi Freedom was only days old, world headlines were made when a U.S. army convoy was attacked in the city of An-Nasiriyah en route to Baghdad. Several soldiers were killed and others were taken prisoner.

Jessica Lynch became the face and name associated with this tragedy, but another female soldier, Shoshana Johnson, was also wounded and captured in the ambush. A video of Shoshana being interrogated by her captors was soon broadcast on Spanish-language television and then picked up by American media. Shoshana had become the first black female prisoner of war in United States history. She was held for twenty-two days.

When Shoshana returned to the United States, she received numerous awards for her valor, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Prisoner of War medals. She appeared on news networks and national television shows such as Oprah, Ellen, The Tonight Show, and Larry King Live, but she was bound by a military gag order. She was unable to discuss what really happened in Iraq — until now.

Shoshana holds nothing back in this harrowing account of an ordinary woman caught in an extraordinary circumstance. She reveals decisions made by higher-ups that may have led to the capture, describes the pain of post-traumatic stress disorder, and shares the surprising story of how a specialist in a maintenance company ended up on the front lines of war.

Divulging personal emotions and frustrations while raising fresh political issues, I’m Still Standing is the never-before-told and much anticipated story of the headline-making ambush, capture, and rescue described with the exceptional bravery and candor of a single mom and soldier who became an American hero. Source

CNN’s Larry King Live ~ Transcript of Interview with Shoshana Johnson aired February 2, 2010

KING: We welcome Shoshana Johnson back to LARRY KING LIVE. She is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She and other members of the 507th Maintenance Company were taken captive March 23, 2003. She was held prisoner 22 days. Author of a terrific new book I’m Still Standing; From Captive US Soldier to Free Citizen, My Journey Home.”

Before we get into this, what do you make of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell controversy?

SHOSHANA JOHNSON, FORMER POW: Silly. If men and women want to serve in our military, I really don’t care who they want to sleep with. It’s all about serving your country.

KING: So you would repeal it?

JOHNSON: Yes, definitely.

KING: It’s been seven years since you were a POW. Do you think about it a lot?

I'm Still Standing by Shoshana JohnsonJOHNSON: Still. Very much so. The conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq is still in the media, so it’s hard to forget.

KING: How were you caught?

JOHNSON: During an ambush, vehicles were disabled. Basically, it seemed like the whole city of Nazariyah came out and participated in the ambush. I was shot and — shot and caught, basically.

Read the entire transcript here
Read a sample chapter

Shoshana Johnson tells her side of the story to Matt Lauer of The Today Show

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Shoshana Johnson actually said she wanted to tell her story, because there were a lot of distortions and half truths about the details of her capture. She wanted to set the record straight. I appreciate Shoshana’s resolve and passion for not only surviving the trauma of being a POW, but her courage and drive to THRIVE.~Shanti

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Filed under African-Americans, Army, Books, CNN, Culture, Entertainment, History, Iraq, Larry King, Larry King Live!, Marines, Media and Entertainment, Middle East, Military, NBC, News, Politics, Television, Terrorism, The Today Show, TV Shows, Uncategorized, United States, Veterans, Video/YouTube, War, Women's Issues

CANCELLED!! Tea Party Group To Get ‘Fired Up For Freedom,’ Burn Rep. Perriello In Effigy

Posted by Audiegrl

Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA)

Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA)

TPM/Eric Kleefeld—The local Tea Party organization in Danville, Virginia, is taking their opposition to freshman Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello to a whole new level — announcing that they will burn him in effigy, along with a similar image of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at a rally called “Fired Up For Freedom.”

At this point we feel we have no representation in Congress,” Danville Tea Party chairman Nigel Coleman told the Chatham Star Tribune, with the chief complaint being Perriello’s vote for the House health care bill this past weekend.

Perriello’s office declined to comment to TPM about this.

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***TPM Update I***

DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen has responded in a statement. “These shocking and despicable acts are becoming all too common at extreme right-wing Republican rallies. Hanging Members in effigy or displaying images of Nazi concentration camps on the steps of the Capitol have no place in any debate and Republican Members of Congress must condemn these actions,” said Van Hollen. “While there should be a robust debate about reforming America’s broken health insurance system, violent expressions are beyond the boundaries of a respectful debate. The American people are counting on Republicans to join Democrats in a constructive debate to help President Obama bring about urgently-needed health insurance reform.

***TPM Update II***

TPM: The plan by the Danville TEA Party Patriots to burn Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in effigy — a sort of Tea-Party Burning Man — has been called off, Greg Sargent reports: “We will not be going forward with the plan,” a crestfallen Coleman told me by phone moments ago. “We had to cancel it. The property owner won’t allow us to do it. The media attention was something that he didn’t want.”

Coleman said he was upset that people had gotten the wrong idea about his plan. “I’m disappointed that the story got out of hand and people misinterpreted something we thought would be a little historical lesson. They made people believe that we were committing an act of violence,” he said, adding that the “they” in question were the “liberal blogs.”

On Nov. 5, Perriello had a conversation with several of the TEA Party members, attempting to explain his position while they talked over him:

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Danville TEA Party to burn Rep. Perriello in effigy

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Filed under Change, Creepy right-wing antics, Health Care Reform, Partisan Politics, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Public Option, Republicans, Tea Party Protestors, Uncategorized

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty to Form “Freedom First” PAC

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R)

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R)

The Hill/Reid Wilson—Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) will form a political action committee to spread money to Republican candidates around the country as he takes steps that could lead to a presidential run.

Pawlenty advisers have invited supporters to a Nov. 4 event at the Minneapolis Hilton, where he will begin raising money for the Freedom First PAC, according to an invitation to the event obtained by The Hill.

A reception will cost donors $1,000 each, while a dinner with Pawlenty will cost $5,000 per person or $10,000 per couple.

“Gov. Pawlenty is in the process of starting the ‘Freedom First’ PAC,” said adviser Alex Conant, confirming that the group will launch “within the next few weeks.”

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Filed under 2012, Politics, Republicans, Uncategorized