cover Battle of Manassas
Thomas ‘Blind Tom’ Wiggins
and 1st Battle of Bull Run
“Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.” – 16th US President Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War
July 1861, Manassas Virginia
Everything caught them off guard. From the cunning strategy of General Beauregard, to the fortitude of the Confederate army; from the induction of psychological warfare – known later as the Rebel Yell. From length and intensity of the American Civil War’s first major land battle, and ultimately to the realization, that the stampede of Union troops headed in their direction, were not galloping in jubilant celebration, but running in a chaotic retreat.
Hundreds of civilians had been picnicking in the distance, anticipating a swift and victorious ending. The reality of war crashed down like thunder, as they turned and fled with their soldiers. While the 1st Battle of Bull Run was a clear win for the Confederacy – with thousands dead, wounded and missing, the Battle of Manassas – the bloodiest combat in the Republic’s 85 year history – proved too costly to stand as a war victory, so Blind Tom offered victory in song.
“In an age before recorded sound, Blind Tom’s Battle of Manassas was perhaps the only reference point whereby soldiers, citizens and slaves could make sense of the aural assault.” Author Deirdre O’Connell, The Ballad of Blind Tom
Battle of Manassas
composed by Thomas ‘Blind Tom’ Wiggins
courtesy of Tiesha Dynell Wiggins
Born blind and into slavery, Thomas ‘Blind Tom’ Wiggins, also suffered from a severe mental health disorder (believed to be autistic savant), that allowed only limited awareness to self: a passionate appetite and a musical ability, that had never been seen. At age 5, he composed The Rain Storm. By the age of 8, he was performing live on a sold out national circuit. And by age 11, he became the first Black American to give a command performance by invitation of the White House. But it was 1861, and the sounds of war, that gave rise to Battle of Manassas, a masterpiece of its time.
“Tom’s impressionistic musical description of the battle pits the harmony of the right hand against the discord of the left. An insistent bass conjures the trudge of marching columns, tonal clusters evoke the roar of cannon and musketry. A brooding soundscape then ducks, weaves and punches its way into a medley of popular and patriotic songs – Yankee Doodle, Dixie, The Star Spangled Banner and Le Marseillaise – discord tugging at the heels of the melody until it finally implodes into the chaos of a harem-scarem finale.” – The Ballad of Blind Tom
Blind Tom died as a free man in 1908, but remained under the care of the former wife of General Bethune. In a career filled with music, Thomas Wiggins became the highest paid pianist of the 19th Century, making a fortune for the Bethunes, who became financial supporters of the Confederate army. And so, the Confederacy of the last slave would see a man pay for his own loss of freedom, exposing an ideology, that had to be defeated.
written & edited by Kendall F. Person
Communication leads to community, that is
to understanding, intimacy and mutual value
– Rollo May
w/ Beautiful Day
“You have created an excellent meeting space, both informative and engaging.” – Let’s Cut the Crap
Back Down Memory Lane
Four Moments that Define The Neighborhood
I remember moving from the blogger platform to WordPress and feeling really nervous, like I was moving across country in real life. An old friend, fortunately, allowed me to leave without cleaning up, for she made sure that anyone who arrived after January 1, 2013 was sent to my news digs, thepublicblogger.com. To my knowledge, no one from the blogger medium ran after me, begging me to wait up or stay, so I had zero followers, although I arrived with four months worth of posts in tow. By selecting an appropriate theme, and familiarizing myself with WordPress landscaping, there was nothing left to do but build.
My First Post: Pole Worker at Night – a music review. Pole Worker at Night by Killa K.I.D. and TheAlien321 would go on to receive a nomination for the 2013 Song of the Year, but more importantly, the song was a random selection, and a pretty straight forward review, but it was a part of the PShaw Productions catalogue, and it was their music that gave imagination to adding sound to everything. The seemingly stable working relationship between PShaw Productions and The Neighborhood would eventually implode, but by then, the city of Philadelphia and The Neighborhood would be intertwined.
First Follower: valeriu dg barbu blog His community is not only still alive, but thriving. I stayed for a minute, read a nice post, each one is in 3 languages English Italian and Romanian My initial plan was to make a really big deal about him being my first follower, and was going to inquire as to rather he remained a neighbor, but in the end, the thought of him still watching over me, is better than the discovery, that not only does he not know me, but must have followed me by mistake.
Post that Changed Everything: A Lonely World Not only does A Lonely World remain the neighborhood’s most popular show, it is only one of two editorials I have written on a popular topic while it was still current (the other being Beyonce’s Legacy). But more importantly, it offered confirmation that I was no longer just a fictional writer, but had evolved, and would eventually master the craft of writing itself. A Lonely World became so popular, that several parents, teachers and even the school districts superintendent in Columbus, Texas, who was at the center of the storm, contacted me directly to offer their side of the story. But it was the path taken, comparing two very different occurrences (if you look only on the surface) that would begin in earnest to drive my stock upward and soon after the release of A Lonely World, the neighbors began to come. I had used songs to help amplify posts before, but the collision of Lonely World (2013 Winner Song of the Year) by P Shaw Productions with A Lonely World the editorial, then completing the background with a collection of pictures of children from around the globe, was the exact moment the tagline materialized.
At thepublicblogger.com, blogging is a performance art and every post is a show.
You have me spellbound. Have not come across a blog like yours. Not blogger centered but . ‘out there’ (aptly called public blogger) engaging passers by with riveting performances. Awesome. Congrats. – Rambling Rose
Rise of the Dynasty Overture
by Renan Javier
artist Danijel Firak, Zagreb Croatia
music by Renan Javier, Vancouver B.C.
Kelly Lewis writer, Los Angeles
maclyphx poet, Weatherford Texas
IvySoul Robinson singer, Philadelphia
Terrance TheAlien Foster rapper, Philadelphia
Crystalkay Fairrington student, Dublin Ireland
developed by Kendall F. Person
Water is the waves to your soul.
Staring, as it rolls my mind I behold,
how soothing it looks.
Takes my world off the wrong hook
enabling me to read a righteous book.
As I bounce from read to stare
my life becomes so clear.
– IvySoul Robinson, Singer
Sightless he’s guided by the shrill howl carried on the wind to the savaged lands damaged by human hands. The battle rages on as the immortal warrior fights through the ages to save the world from mortal destruction. Summoning elements of the earth for the people in need who now grieve, despite their negligence, he tirelessly sows the seeds for rebirth. – Kelly Lewis, Poet
What Lies In The Glass Tomb Can Either Define You Or Change You
Are We Curious Enough To Unleash What Intrigues Us
Or Fear What Might Be Opened
It Can Be Considered Pandora’s Box
Something Out Of The Ordinary
– Terrance TheAlien Foster, Rapper
Dagger in the Heart
Beseech my heart
and leave it on the ground.
The dagger left in my heart
as I sink and drown.
You led me with false hope
Saying you still love me
But why do you keep claiming
That you are beyond saving
I reached my hand out
You left it there hanging
Tears streaming down your face
As we both fall from grace
– maclyphx, Poet
They cannot make me hate myself, or feel alone.
They can only spew hatred and lies about the body I borrow,
Even then, when others believe them and the lies they condone,
I will write. And my freedom will rise from what was once my sorrow.
– Crystalkay Fairrington, student
this is… The Neighborhood
A collaboration – is when each Artists creates and delivers, something of themselves, perhaps a song or a painting or a poem, then the pieces or works of art, are spun together, and while the work of each artist remains individual, the completed production becomes The Show. – Kendall F. Person
from Dublin Ireland, exclusive & unplugged,
J.P. Kallio, in a raw performance of Losing Faith,
The Neighborhood’s 2015 Song of the Year
On behalf of The Neighborhood and all its artists, performers & contributors, I would like to welcome everyone to Magnificent Discoveries: An Artists Collaboration. The Neighborhood has always been a place where talented artists could seek a stage to amplify our talents in a very different way from any that we see in mainstream media. Artists Collaborations showcase the best of each artists, while highlighting the community we seek and the family that we find in our fellow contributors while focusing on a magnificent discovery of an online society, that is, The Neighborhood.
An Artists Collaboration of the Divas Sacred Dance
An Artists Collaboration of the Divas Sacred Dance
inspired by Chavel Edwards
set design by a ballet of artists
score by Renan Javier
written & edited by Kendall F. Person
She stood frozen in the darken room. There were others around her, but their presence she could not sense. She thought this is my time but her body felt differently and her heart beat wildly, as if it were trying to explode. Our Ballerina – her name – had dreamed of this night since she was a little girl. She remembered her breathing exercise and inhaled a long, deep breath. But before she could exhale, the room began to brighten, the curtains would start to rise and for our Ballerina – ready or not – it was showtime, and the Divas begin to dance.
Rather He used her as target practice or just had bad aim, was irrelevant once the pellet left its chamber and was on its way. It could not change directions nor stop in midair. No way to warn her or yell “get out of the way!” A guided missile – in miniature – shot passed her friends, and without malice nor glee, lacking intent or ability to imagine the effect, when it hit its target, life’s ballet would begin.
The cadence of the dance was the only sound in her head, but her nerves made her one step off, but one step was all it took. The nine women that shared the stage, were all veterans of the dance, except our Ballerina, who had the skills to be a diva, but not the mental fortitude. Had she stayed in the moment, all would have went well, as her natural talent could have carried her across the stage. But her heart would not slow down and her eyes began to blur, and when she turned around on a pirouette of beautiful legs, the nerves would bend then crack, her nightmare come to life – and our beautiful Ballerina… collapsed on center stage.
There was a scream when the pellet shot through, then embedded inside her leg. There was panic and chaos and blood that terrified her closest friends. Still beautiful even now, but a younger version, she was back then, and the site of her collapsing, was the cruelness of life’s ballet.
Loud screams she did emit, lit up the silent sky. At last she did speak, her friends clinging to every word, but as she retold the story, they were not the words anyone expected to hear.
The audience did gasp, our Ballerina begin to cry, but the music played on and the ballet continued without her. Storm clouds formed within her head, the end of the world, she truly dread. But two of the veteran dancers, without ever breaking stride, one in front, the other behind, with grace and keeping time, slowly lifted one leg – like swans magically appeared – they arched their backs and in unison they said, “You are a diva in the sacred dance, pick yourself up and make them believe it was a part of the performance.”
“My outfit!” Chavel screamed. My outfit, is it okay?” No concern for the pain, no yells at the shooter or curses to what hit her. She was a star in life’s ballet, and wherever she had to go – the hospital or a ball, the sacred dance of the diva, was to always look like one.
Our Ballerina did rise, then soared across the stage; not just finding their rhythm, but forcing them to dance to hers. With climax now reached, the audience on their feet, cheering them on with shouts of “ENCORE!” And with the curtains falling and the show now closing, and everyone knowing, it was the name of our Ballerina… that would define the sacred dance.
this is…. The Neighborhood
the story within the story
The Americas ed (no. 72)
“Dear Millennials: Youth is Fleeting. Stupid is Forever.”
– Oliver Markus Malloy, Inside the Mind of an Introvert
You Know How to Love Me
by Phyllis Hyman
Seesaw is Not the Game for Self- Esteem
by Kendall F. Person
Advice for the Ys & Zs. A message to the Xs and Boomers.
I write about her often, no doubt it’s because she was of my favorite performers, and one of only two, that I attended a concert, before their untimely demise. Teena Marie died of natural causes, and after 20 year of sold out tickets and cancelled shows, at last live at Arco Arena. I did not appreciate Bob Marley’s brilliance until well after he was gone. Tupac’s death reminded so much of my younger brother, it is difficult to conjure up those spirits much. But more importantly than personal emotion, what makes her life germaine to this post, was a lifetime of low self esteem, that caused the magnificent Phyllis Hyman’s mind to crack, yet the world outside her head, hailed her in the highest esteem.
Our emotions exist in varying degrees. But unlike hope, which cannot be stolen, stripped or beaten out of us; and with amends, the otherwise ruthless nature of regret, can keep the conscious from devouring us whole. Even the brutality of addiction and depression, once we learn our triggers and discover what soothes the heart and ignites the brain, they too have internal controls. But self-esteem stands alone in its deference to defenses, yet it is the one we need most.
When Phyllis Hyman committed suicide, by overdose, it was not precipitated by an addiction to drugs. And even in her depression, there was a difference, as it was less mental illness, than a very real, yet imagined psychological struggle. No matter how many albums she sold or concert halls she filled, inside her mind existed utter failure. No abusive boyfriend to isolate, then beat into submission. No backstory, that I have heard, in fact, she loomed large over her entourage. Even on stage, she never hesitated to mic check a background singer, if she perceived one was out of order, in volume or pitch.
“Self-esteem reflects an individual’s overall subjective, emotional evaluation of his or her own worth.”
Self-esteem is one emotion, that actually can be gutted – on time and on schedule – by someone else. When a man is verbally abused long enough “You are worthless!” he may come to not simply believe it, but accept and embody. His life may crash, ending up on skid row, and with self-esteem stripped down to his soul, he has no way of ever making it back, to the man he once was. Sexual and physical abusers, bullies, active racist and when homophobia manifest into violence, it is the attacker taking from you, what they do not have. For a brief moment, mean delivers an adrenaline explosion, which is often mistaken for self-esteem, but it is often nothing more than false, fleeting bravado.
Ms. Hyman became her own worst critic and her harshest judge: rarely acknowledging how much her music and her life meant to us. An hour before her biggest performance, sold out at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem New York, the internal struggle of Phyllis Hyman came to a close, while fans awaited curtain call… of one of the world’s great shows.
Generations Y & Z, after stunning political victories and breathtaking wins in academia and sport, we see you and look forward to hearing you too. Young Voices, however, I offer a bit of advice: Protect yourself esteem at all costs. Treat it like hope. Fight for it, like raging war against regret. When we believe that we are someone, and we accept our self, with equal weight on faults & greatness, we begin to see, with hard, dedicated work, we can achieve. Then the possibility of an angry or bitter or disappointing human being, diminishing our self respect and internal love, lessons, before its ultimate collapse. And as long as we do not play seesaw alone, or with anyone known to weigh down their pockets, our self-esteem remains intact, allowing life to reach balance.
this is… The Neighborhood
On July 24th until sundown on the 27th,
Xers and Boomers take your seat,
as the Ys and Zs tell us “What is on their mind?”.