Alessandro de Medici

Despite the many portraits of this 16th century Italian Renaissance figure, his African heritage is rarely, if ever, mentioned.[Editor’s Note: For more on this omission as it has occurred in the art world, read this January 2005 update.]

Alessandro wielded great power as the first duke of Florence. He was the patron of some of the leading artists of the era and is one of the two Medici princes whose remains are buried in the famous tomb by Michaelangelo. The ethnic make up of this Medici Prince makes him the first black head of state in the modern western world.

Alessandro was born in 1510 to a black serving woman in the Medici household who, after her subsequent marriage to a muleteer, is simply referred to in existing documents as Simonetta da Collavechio. Historians today are convinced that Alessandro was fathered by the seventeen year old Cardinal Giulio de Medici who later became Pope Clement VII. Cardinal Giulio was the nephew of Lorenzo the Magnificent. Read more about the blackness in this family tree.

SIGILLUM SECRETUM Part II Divine Darkness

By Mario de Valdes y Cocom
In the middle of the 14th century, one of the most profound examples of the symbol of the blackamoor can be seen in the use of this image to represent Christ. It is clear from the documentation we have for the city of Lauingen in Germany, for example, that at about this time, the city’s seal with the head of Christ wearing a crown of thorns is transformed to the head of a blackamoor wearing a golden crown. That the latter insignia is meant to represent the former is quite obvious from the accompanying inscriptions. One of the earlier ones read: “Sigillum civium de Lougingin” (seal of the city of Lauingen), while a later version clearly explains itself as the “Sigillum secretum civitatis palatinae Lavgingen (secret seal of the palatinate city of Lauingen).” Read the rest here.

SIGILLUM SECRETUM

By Mario de Valdes y Cocom

SIGILLUM SECRETUM (Secret Seal) On the image of the Blackamoor in European Heraldry(a preliminary proposal for an iconographical study)
byMario de Valdes y Cocom
Considering the deep roots of Christianity in the cultural experience of the African American community, it is only natural that even in the most cursory of discussions on Black history, the hope always is raised of discovering Christ as a man of colour. Moreover, in this global village of television and transatlantic travel, the standard Euro-centric portrayal of Christ is both anomalous and anachronistic, particularly in these racially sensitized times. It might therefore prove a great source of spiritual strength and psychological affirmation for those of us of African descent if a relatively unknown and forgotten medieval European tradition regarding the image of the black was reconstructed for all to see and share. What I am referring to are the coat of arms of the blackamoor which proliferated in both the private and civic European escutcheons (coat of arms) throughout the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. Read this fascinating history here.

The Sole of Africa

A Message From Mike Kendrick – Founder of The Mineseeker Foundation.

LANDMINES kill, maim, terrify and starve the population. There are over 70 million landmines buried beneath the surface of this planet. Every twenty minutes a land mine kills or maims someone??? usually women and children. They render over 800 thousand square kilometers of land useless and terrify millions of people who live in constant fear.The cost to human life is horrific and the economic effect is devastating. This is not an act of God, or a natural disaster – It is a man made disaster that is bigger, in terms of lives lost, than civil disruption and economic deprivation, including the Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina or the Pakistan earthquake.

Read all about The Mineseeker Foundation at The Sole of Africa.

You Did It

Dear ONE Member,

This Saturday at 1:27 AM, your elected leaders heard your voice and helped make possible a crucial victory against poverty by passing important trade legislation.

The final votes for the bill were: Yea / Nay
House of Representatives 212 / 184
Senate 79 / 9

When ONE Members first took action to protect the ???third-country fabric??? provision of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in September, it was little more than an obscure clause in a massive trade bill. Thanks in part to the hundreds of thousands of letters ONE Members sent to Congress, we were able to help get this important provision on the radar.

Your response to our final call to action last week was so incredible that rather than simply sending your letters, we called on ONE Members to hand deliver over a quarter of a million letters to Members of Congress.

Please take a moment to thank your elected leaders for helping make a difference against global poverty.

The last moments of the final Congressional session are generally reserved for the most vital legislation, and the fact that Congress took time after midnight on Saturday to pass this bill is, in part, due to your efforts to inform Congress that you care about this issue.

By renewing the “third country fabric” provision, America is helping to preserve as many as 150,000 jobs by allowing African apparel factories to import fabric and then export clothes to the United States. Quite simply, this trade benefit gives people a chance to work their way out of extreme poverty.

But thinking of this bill as 150,000 jobs doesn???t begin to reflect its impact. Each one of these jobs provides hope to a community, a chance for mothers and fathers to support their families, and helps send children to schools so that the next generation has a real chance for a future free from extreme poverty.

Take a moment to thank your elected leaders for helping make a difference against global poverty.

Sometimes extreme global poverty can feel overwhelming, but with this victory we can see measurable progress and are reminded that our actions make a real difference. More still needs to be done but it is important that we let Congress know how much we care about this issue so that you can count on their votes in the future.

Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck, ONE.org

P.S. If you want to find out more about this provision check out the ONE Blog, including a play-by-play of our efforts and the passage of the bill.