Saturday, February 25, 2012

Yemaya and Oshun

Monday, February 20, 2012

Ancient Egyptian Meditation Music Brought To You By Sharri Plaza

The Magic of Consciousness

The Language of the Divine Matrix Part 1/2

The Soul Travelers full length

The Road To Enlightenment [Full Length] (720p)

Universal Mind Meditation {Guided Meditation}

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Guided Kundalini Meditation

Third Eye Kundalini Meditation

Clearing the 6th Chakra - The Third Eye Chakra Guided Meditation

VIBRONIC SOUNDS PART 37 THROAT CHAKRA JONATHAN GOOLDMAN

Throat Chakra - (Vishuddha)

Clearing the 5th Chakra - The Throat Chakra Guided Meditation

Introduction to Energy and Chakras

The Dogon Tribe And the Nommos

Anansi The Spider and String Theory

The Ogdoad and the Dogon

The Ogdoad and the Dogon
Posted on August 23, 2010 by admin
The Dogon and the Ancient Egyptians have in common eight deities early in precreation. This is startling in that this shows a continuity of African Culture. The cosmoloogy and the culture of the Dogon also is both Scientific and Spiritual. This connection of the eight opens up knew discussions of Kemet and its expansive culture.
Here is the legends of the Nommo, again the myths themselves are not as important as the underlying science and continuity of culture. The point again as to begin to see Life with Deep Beginnings and few it with a multidimensional approach that has science tolerant of spirituality and things that we cannot explaint. The Myths themselves are teaching tools.
The Legend of the Nommo from http://www.willusurvive2012.com/dogon-indigenous-prophecies-2012.html – I will check more sources latter.
According to the Dogon, the Universe is considered ‘Amma’s Egg’. Amma, ‘He Who Rests Upon Nothing’, is the sky god and creator of the universe. Within his egg, Amma began spinning around, forming the po seed (the Black Hole at the Galactic Core). The po is ‘the smallest [heaviest and densest] thing that was made invisible, at the center’.
Amma then placed seven ‘words’ in the po, which began to vibrate strongly within the seed. The spiralling vibrations caused four clavicles to grow forth from the po. Suddenly, the Po burst forth, and eight new seeds were created. Amma planted these seeds in his egg near the clavicles of the Po. With these eight seeds, Amma intended to create eight celestial beings – four male and four female. The Dogon call these beings the Nommo Anagonno, best translated as ‘The Word (Nommo) that Became the Fish-Man’ (Anagonno).
These eight beings were going to be Amma’s perfect creation. As sister and brother yet husband and wife, the four fish-twins were going to make each other fertile, complete, and blessed with heavenly happiness and fulfilment. However, one of the male twins – Ogo – grew impatient as he waited for his female twin to gestate. Ogo decided to rebel from Amma. He jumped out of his celestial womb and stole parts of his own placenta. He then began creating and pro-creating with his own placenta in an attempt to re-create his own little world. His stolen placenta became impure, and his actions greatly threw off the divine order Amma had intended. The Dogon say that our Sun – whom they call Nay – is the stolen placenta, and that planet Earth is the rebel-world established by Ogo.
To re-establish order and purify creation of Ogo’s transgression, Amma decided to sacrifice one of the completed Nommo twins – Nommo Semi. Nommo Semi was composed of both a male and female Nommo Anagonno, and was a complete and perfect Being onto itself. Amma lifted Nommo Semi out of the celestial waters and tied the androgynous fish to the Kilena (Mother of charcoal) tree. In one swift cut, Amma sliced the umbilical cord and genitals of Nommo Semi. The sacrificed Nommo’s blood and life force – nyama – emptied from its naval and groin. Semi died a suffering and painful death. The Dogon say that Sirius ‘A’ – the visible star of Sirius whom the Dogon call Sigi Tolo – is the celestial embodiment of the sacrifice.
Amma then took the nyama of the sacrificed Nommo and dripped it on the former placenta of the celestial fish (the Sirius system) and the stolen placenta of its brother Ogo (our Sun, Nay). Amma’s goal was to purify his creation from the transgressions of Ogo. It required him taking a pure and perfected being (Nommo Semi) and sacrificing it. Amma intended for the spirit of Nommo Semi to heal Ogo’s torn placenta and become one with the Impure Earth Ogo created. When Amma sprinkled the sacrificed nyama, it did several things:
It caused the resurrection of the sacrificed Nommo. When Nommo Semi’s nyama dripped on its former placenta, it caused it to be reborn. Its re-birth however, multiplied Semi’s forms and transformed its nature. Nommo Semi resurrected in three simultaneous forms:
1. Kora Na – The Great Ark of Pure Earth, the force that Amma intended to carry humanity and the seeds (po) of agriculture to the ‘Impure Earth’. The Kora-Na is depicted as a step-pyramid with an antennae-looking rod at the apex.
2. O Nommo – ‘Nommo of the Pond’, the purifying force of fresh water on Earth.
3. Unum – The once androgynous Nommo Semi now manifested as the eight original ancestors of Humanity – four males and four females. The male and female souls of Nommo Semi now had their own separate forms. They were paired in four couples united in the image of the original eight Nommo.
The sacrificial Nyama prepared the heavens for the Kora-Na to travel from the Sirius System to Planet Earth. The Kora-Na travelled from Sirius to our planet Earth on the sprinkles of Nyama. It carried as its occupants the Unum of Humanity and the seeds of eight celestial grains. Also, the shape, design, and proportions of the Ark express all of the principles and science humanity would need for the reorganization and atonement of Ogo’s earth.
The Sirius System became the Ever-Living Placenta of the Resurrected Nommo. Even though the Kora-Na, O Nommo, and the Unum were going to travel to ‘The Impure Earth’ of Ogo, they were to forever remain connected to a lifeline that connected them straight to Amma’s womb. This ever-living placenta is the Sirius system, and as long as the connection with Sirius was maintained, the Resurrected Nommo would never die. The Sirius system floods the Impure Earth with rejuvenating and nourishing Nyama every sixty years, at which time the Dogon perform the Sigui ceremony to reaffirm the Earth-Sirius connection.
The sacrificial Nyama created parallel structures in celestial sphere and on Ogo’s earth. In heaven, it reorganised space and the cycles of time in our solar system. It also synchronised our system’s cycles with the cycles of the Sirius system. The Sirius System and this planetary system thus became twin placentas of a pair of the 8 ancestral Nommo.
On earth, it organised human culture and set the order for human interaction. This is the celestial foundation of the Earthly sciences of astrology, astronomy, and agriculture.
Lastly, the sacrificial Nyama set the stage for the day of total purification and renewal for planet Earth. This day is called ‘Izubay Minne’ – “Earth of the Day of the Fish”, which occurs when “the fish is sacrificed” and “His blood falls to Earth as cords of rain”. One day during the transition of these ages, Taba Tolo – the reuniting of the two placentas – will occur. Taba Tolo is when the Sun and Sirius come together in a grand conjunction. The Dogon depict Taba Tolo as the day a strong purifying stream of Nyama will pour down on the Sun and Earth from Sirius. This stream will wash away the corrupt order of Ogo and immortalize the sons and daughters of the Nommo.
Ogo’s self-willed actions really threw off the universal balance Amma had intended. Beyond creating the principle and act of theft, when Ogo took his own placenta and recreated his own world, it amounted to an act of incest. Amma felt that Ogo must be stopped from creating more chaos, as well as punished for his misdeeds.
Amma ordered one of the other Nommo – Nommo Titeyanye – to punish Ogo. Nommo Titeyanye smashed Ogo’s genitalia, making him infertile. Ogo fled from the heavens down to Earth. Once on Earth, Amma wanted to bind Ogo to this planet so that he could not disrupt the celestial order anymore. He transformed Ogo, who up until this point was in the form of an amphibious Reptilian, into Yurugu, the Pale Fox.
Once on Earth, the Pale Fox Yurugu continued his disruptive and chaotic behaviours. He attempted to create an artificial world outside of the divine order of Amma. That was what he was doing when the Ark Kora Na landed upon Earth. When it landed, the force of impact almost killed Yurugu, but he survived by fleeing underground. The impact of the landing threw the moon into the sky, which is part Kora-Na/Part Earth.
Out of the Kora Na emerged the eight ancestors of humanity. They came forth with eight grains, including millet, black rice, chickpea, and sorghum. Their mission is to cultivate the land and grow the celestial grains so that everyone could live in abundance. They were also supposed to reproduce and spread throughout the world bringing the spiritual technologies contained within the Kora-Na with them. The eight ancestors and their offspring were charged with conducting important ceremonies such as the Sigui ceremony. The Sigui is performed every 60 years when the planets Jupiter and Saturn are aligned. The Sigui re-establishes the bond of the Fish-people who sacrificed their divine self to their homeland across the waters – Sirius. The ultimate purpose the Dogon say they have is to maintain this extra-terrestrial connection by establishing sacred sites and celestial granaries throughout the world in an effort to prepare Earth for Izubay Minne ‘The Day of the Earth of the Fish’. When the Earth and Sirius align, the great conjunction, Taba Tolo – The re-uniting of the Twin Placentas -is going to occur.
At this time, a sacred, purifying energy force described as a ‘stream’ or ‘electric light’ from Sirius, known as the ‘Reorganiser of the World’ will cascade down upon the Earth and bring about a new order in the world. For the sons and daughters of the Nommo who are harmoniously in tune with the heavens and earth, this energy will nourish their mind, body and spirit. However, the stream will wash away the corrupt order of Ogo, those who are not in tune with the divine order established by Amma. This cosmic radiation will be like brimstone and fire falling from the sky, burning up the wicked and unrighteous. There will be nowhere to run or hide.
Source: http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=946&start=1095
Here is another verse from a blog – Also unconfirmed source
From solipsis@HEVANET.COM Sat Oct 18 15:42:14 2003
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2003 06:35:34 -0700
From: Palafax Solipsigossa
Subject: AMMA, GOD
To: WRYTING-L@listserv.utoronto.ca
At the beginning, first of all, was AMMA, GOD, and it did not rest on nothing… The Egg in ball of AMMA was closed; but made of four parts known as Clavicles. In the Clavicles of AMMA, all the things were Signs, besides that, nothing did not exist. AMMA maintained the unit because it had traced in itself the plan of the World… The total of the Signs of AMMA is two hundred and sixty six Main Signs, Complete Signes of the World, Bummô…
The Sign is, and walks in the tète; the words of the drawing are in the body. The Signs that AMMA sent in the World went, entered the things, which at this time were… AMMA having thought then drawn the World that he wanted to create, tried by way of test, to superimpose a little all the matters which formed a flesh coming from its own person. By kneading its hands gently, it thus worked seed of Senna which is smallest of the plants. It is said that AMMA scraped its throat, which made the Earth; its saliva became Water; it breathed while going up with the sky, it is Fire; it blew extremely, it is the Wind. It did not mix the Elements, it superimposed them: it posed the Earth, then Water, then Fire, then the Air… From seed of Senna and tree which one says that they were the things created of the First World, AMMA formed the First World, drawn up on only one foot revolving on itself and filled with Germs which are fertilized by the contact of two spines: That the top is the male Sky, that of bottom is the female Earth… Of this Creation carried out in secrecy in the Clavicles of AMMA, one knows few things, because AMMA gave up it, destroyed it, preserving only seed itself and the four Elements which it contained, as certain wild seed Germs which were to develop later…
AMMA took again its work and, starting from the Paramount Traces, Bummô, it drew inside its centre the marks Yala, reflections of the Signs in Space… AMMA having thus laid out Yala of Préfiguration of the World, act on them.
It opened the Eyes, causing the exit of Yala… Thus AMMA had bored the envelope of its own centre, and its Eye, as emerged of a hole, had become a Light which lit the World and revealed the Existence of all the things in formation… When AMMA broke Egg of the World and left there, a whirling wind emerged. Pô which is smallest of the things was made Invisible, in the center; the wind is AMMA itself. It is Pô which AMMA made leave the first… The beginning of the things is more Grand Secrecy of AMMA. AMMA, since it created all the things, all were in Pô; they grew while Pô did not grow.
The seed of Pô was formed like the wind and it is interdict to speak about it… AMMA makes begin the things by creating them as small as Pô. It continues to add gradually; and as it adds that which is serious of Pô, the things become large… At the interior of Pô which is the symbol of smallest, is a smaller thing still which is the Life When the Life increases, it increases while whirling, that imitates how AMMA left Egg of the World. The Life placed in seeds by the Word is like a fermentation. At the interior of AMMA, much of things fermented… The Egg of AMMA which had wrapped all the things inside became its Placenta; however this Paramount Placenta was double… Nommo Anagonno is the First of the Alive Things that AMMA created inside its Placenta. AMMA formed initially four Nommo Anagonno males by successive unfolding, then it created their binoculars. The first, known as Nommo Dié, Large Nommo, will remain with the sky at AMMA, of which he will be the vicar. The second, known as Nommo Titiyayne, Messenger of Nommo, will be the Guard and the Guard of the Spiritual Principles. The third, is known as O Nommo, Nommo of the Pond. It will be sacrificed for the purification and the reorganization of the World after the harmful acts of its Ogo twin. The fourth bears the name of Ogo…
Like its twins, Ogo had received the Word as of before appearing in the World. Ogo wanted however to use of the Word to equalize its Creator. It left its Placenta the eyes closed, before its time, tearing off with the Placenta a square piece. Thus making, it believed to take along its binocular with him… Ogo is descended in Seven Times in Empty Space. The piece of Placenta always connected to Ogo turned on itself. AMMA directed the Arch of Ogo which the piece of Placenta in direction of the east constituted, bus AMMA wished to cure the disorder caused by Ogo… AMMA transformed the piece of Placenta into Ground; the Arch was stabilized then, and AMMA made it dry to enable him to place itself. Thus, the piece of Placenta stolen by Ogo made the Second World, the piece of Placenta became Champ, became the Earth… The search for Ogo on the Earth to find its binocular had remained a long time unfruitful. Ogo, considering the Earth unusable, gives up the Earth and goes up… AMMA, seeing that, gives the order to Nommo Titiyayne to transform the remainder of the Placenta of Ogo into Extreme Fire, also Ogo could it seize only one small end of it while being burned. AMMA having hidden its Placenta, Ogo did not see it. Ogo stole Cereals of AMMA to replace its Placenta, and Ogo is descended while making a hole in Egg. For that, it used the small piece of Placenta stolen like Second Arch, and y hid seeds. The seed of Pô male, base of the World, directed Ogo in its descent… However Pô is the Origin of the Beings and the Goods, as the Placenta is the Original Envelope of the Man, who begins his Life as small as seed. This is why, Ogo while stealing one and the other, thought of having the source of all things… But AMMA preserved all the Placentas, all the possibilities of reproduction of the things to himself. AMMA then made turn the Placenta of Ogo and transformed it into Sun. In the same way, AMMA transformed the hole in Egg into the Moon not to lose the testimony of the flight; thus the Sun and the Moon are the Witnesses of the Placenta of Ogo. AMMA having ordered in Nommo Titiyayne to purify the Earth after having noted the disorder caused by Ogo, AMMA made proceed to the eviration of Nommo Sému… The blood of the eviration ran, impregnating the Placenta and giving him a new Life… The star Sigi-Tolo, Sirius, was born; it is the Witness of the Placenta and the umbilical cord of sacrificed, because Sigi-Tolo is the Navel of the World… At the time of these things, Ogo wishing to adapt itself what it missed, went up with the Sky. Ogo, approaching the victim, seized its Four Hearts of Sex which were placed under its foreskin. Then, Ogo flees while following the Line of the Flow of the Blood of Eviration. But Nommo Titiyayne having caught the end of the sex of Ogo, sliced with its mouth the end of the sex of Ogo.
Thus Nommo Titiyayne A took again the Hearts of Sex… Arrived on the Earth, Ogo thought of continuing its work, but AMMA plated Ogo on the ground, transforming it; since, Ogo lost its name, Ogo became Yurugu, the Fox Blade…
Noting the growing disorder caused by Ogo, AMMA proceeded to the sacrifice of that which had been just éviré. For that, AMMA extended the two arms of Nommo on a Fork, and it killed it after having attached it with an iron cord… That which dies being lying does not see much Suffering for that, Nommo died upright, the Suffering is larger. This is why Nommo, in order to organize the World died upright, because if you want to organize the World, you are obliged to see the Great Suffering… AMMA sent the four parts of Nommo to the four Cardinal Points, it organized the World. Nommo made pass its body in the World… AMMA took the pieces and A joined together, it has ressuscity Nommo. AMMA used for that the Earth of the Placenta; the Earth of the Placenta was alive and pure, with it, AMMA worked male alive Nommo and its binocular, with human form. By kneading the ground, AMMA said: “AMMA arranged what it had reversed. AMMA, after having destroyed, gave today what it itself had destroyed… ” When AMMA ressuscita Nommo, it gave him seeds of in top… After AMMA had Petri with the sky Nommo, it also kneads with the matter of the Placenta the Ancestors of the Men. AMMA created all the things, then it created the Man. Four Men, then their binoculars were kneaded by AMMA in the body of Pô… Amma Sérou was made air of the placenta; Lébé Sérou was made ground of the placenta; Binou Sérou was made water of the placenta; Dyongou Sérou was made fire of the placenta… The Egg in ball of AMMA was made of four Clavicles, and the four Clavicles were like four Eggs… AMMA was in the center, upright, turning on itself, the right arm with horizontal, all the lengthened fingers; it turned of the right-hand side towards the left… It turned fourteen times, it turned an infinity of time, and with each turn, AMMA created a Sky and a Ground stuck one to the other… The base of AMMA was like a Matrix of Woman, all the things left the interior of the Placenta of AMMA… Being held Pô, it extended the World. All the things went to the four Cardinal Angles. Being held Pô poured all that it contained in the Large Arch of Nommo, which was made remainder of the Placenta of Sacrificed… What remained alone was Pô-Tolo, the star of Pô. Pô-Tolo is smallest of all the things; she is the heaviest star. This why Pô-Tolo was heavy is that there was in her the remainder of the blood of the World turned by Pô. AMMA created Pô-Tolo the first of all stars. In the substance of Pô-Tolo, the witnesses of all the things of the whole World exist a little. It is the attic of all the things of the World, Pô-Tolo is the axis of the whole World. If one looks at Pô-Tolo, it is as if the World turned and if the World is looked at, it is as if Pô-Tolo turned; actually it is thanks to it that the World turns…
Moreover, as soon as Sigi-Tolo, Sirius, left, Pô-Tolo went to turn around him; this is why Sigi-Tolo is the Navel of the World…
The Arch was soft and wet, it carried all the things created by AMMA. One found initially Nommo ressuscity and the eight Ancestors, are four twin couples. They nine formed a Whole… In the center, on Estrade de Chef, male Nommo ressuscity had sat, with with dimensions of the Mud of Head in whom was the Snake of the Unit of the World with eight paramount seeds in the tète… In the west, Amma Sérou and its binocular, sister of dance; with north, Lébé Sérou and its binocular, woman sister; in the east, Binou Sérou and its binocular; with the south, Dyongou Sérou and its jumelle.Tous the animals and all the plants were with the Ancestors on the Arch. AMMA then reduced to leave its centre and on the Earth the Arch filled with all that it had created. It left by the opening which it had arranged in the Sky for the Sun pushed by AMMA in the west… The Arch was balanced in the Sky for Eight Periods during its descent. The limit of the Arch is East-West. It is balanced while leaning towards the south and still while leaning towards north. At the same time, the suspended Arch turned on it even in a kind of comings and goings… Nommo located Space and the Duration by means of four Muds of Head placed in the Arch. With each one of these Muds makes of copper, was related a red horse to the white face. The four animals formed a carrousel whose center was placed on their left and gave the indication of the Curve of the World… At the same time as it located Space and the Duration, Nommo protested the Word that AMMA had placed at the origin in seed of Pô. Nommo made sound this Word while making turn its voice in the Sky, it launched its voice to the four Cardinal Angles of Space… The hole of the revolving wind is main road of the breathing of the Ancestors descended from in top. It is their breath which helped to turn to go down and go to the bottom… When the Arch went down, Space was Four Angles; when the Arch is descended, Space became Four With dimensions… The Arch was posed of night on the dry ground of the Earth of the Fox by moving a cluster of dust; but as it was made Placenta of Nommo, i.e. of a wet and soft Ground, it slipped on mud. Thus the Large Arch is descended from Nommo, it is descended to north, of with dimensions of Niger. While being posed, the weight of the Arch made spout out to the Sky the blood which impregnated the Placenta… While going down from the Arch, Nommo posed initially the Left Foot on the ground; marking its taking possession of the Earth of the Fox…
All being accomplished, AMMA kept to himself the Principal Signs. What remains between the hands of AMMA and will not leave is a total of twenty two Principal Signs… The Signs being placed at the Four Cardinal Points in its opened Clavicles, AMMA is closed again, keeping to himself half of the Life of the Second World in order to make a Third of it… It is said that when AMMA created the World, it kept the Life of the World, AMMA drew each thing in its place and it was closed; AMMA drew the Life of the World in the Clavicles punts and closed them like a papaw fruit; When AMMA drew the Life of the things of the World, it drew half of the Life which it gave, and half of the Life that it kept; AMMA while making turn its Clavicles sent per half the Life in the things of the World; AMMA, to make finish the World, drew half of the Life of the World which it kept to himself; it will destroy the Life of the World, then the World will be finished…

http://www.secretoftheankh.com/?p=79

Benin Olokun Dance

"The Story Of Oshun & Ogun"

Chegada do Rei Osoosi

Osoosi priests - Sacerdotizas de Osoosi

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Sirius Mystery and Legacy of Akhenaten

One of the most controversial figures in African history is the Pharaoh Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV). As the central figure in the Amarna Revolution, Akhenaten not only instituted a series of controversial religious reforms but embarked on massive public works programs as well. His construction programme included the erection of new temples to the north and two other important palace complexes to the north and south. In the first stage the simple shrines were replaced with stone sanctuaries bounded by enclosed walls but open to the sky in a manner similar to the Heliopolitan sun temples. It has been suggested that his two main temples were symbolic substitutes for the two main Re shrines at heliopolis and Karnak--those of Re-Horakhty and Amun-Re. The replacing of Amen with the Aten as the central religious figure meant reforming the state religion from a system of so-called "ancestor worship" but retained the worship of Amen as a lesser figure. In time this reform brought upon dissention and the mysterious end to Akhenaten's rule. My concern here is to what degree did the "Atenists" view the "Sun" as the Supreme Diety or was this belief system a recognition of the long-held belief that the "Sons of Re" originated from another solar system as is believed among the Dogon in their belief concerning the "Nommo". What I find particularly interesting is the fact that with the information obtained in the "discovery" of King Tutankhamen's tomb there has been an increasing trend among white "Egyptologists" to suggest that Akhenaten was of "hebrew" bloodline to the point of claiming he is the biblical Moses. This is most interesting because as I research this subject and examine much of the artwork of the period I have noticed that many of the STELAE depicting Akhenaten and family worshipping the Aten usually have 10 rays of the Aten beaming down on them...there is a significance to this number 10 which I believe is a "Hidden Wisdom"..


Astral Projection Beginners Guide

Astral Projection Beginners Guide
This page is dedicated to the investigation and presentation of historical data that indicates the reality of an ancient connection between the warrior disciplines of Africa and Asia. There is irrefutable evidence pointing toward common cultural elements linking Africa and Asia in this regard.

The Bantu migration from the Kongo or Niger Delta Basin began about 1000 A.D - 1800 A.D. , and is recorded as one of the largest migrations in human history. The migration carried Bantu influence to East and Southern Africa where they introduced crops such as millet and sorgum, yams, bananas and plantains. There are also many indications that iron smelting, and the production of iron tools and weapons, can be attributed to Bantu influence. Iron technology was practiced in Nigeria, The Kongo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and the Great Lakes Area from about the sixth century B.C. However, the apex of Bantu influence may possibly be found in metaphysical elements introduced during the migrations.

The Bantu also spread the knowledge of a divine force that created the world, and empowered human beings to conduct their lives according to universal principles. These principles found in nature could be employed as allies in the human quest for survival. Through an analysis of language, archeology, and anthropology, historians have determined a Bantu influence 250 miles of the coast of East Africa, on the Island of Madagascar. Studies show that twenty percent of the of the vocabulary of modern Malagasy contains words of Bantu origin. Some historians indicate that Bantu tribes settled on the west coast of Madagascar contributing to the culture of the island. Others indicate that in fact, Madagascar came into being as a result of splitting off from a land mass that joined Africa, India, Australia and South America 65 million years ago. (see maps below) In any case, Madagascar can also be included as "a Land of the Blacks".

Many anthropoligists believe that the people of Madagascar descended from Africans and Indonesians who mixed before their arrival on the island. There is obviously a fusion of Bantu and Asian culture on Madagascar.






Morengy is a traditional Malagasy boxing art. It is based in Sava though other surrounding areas practice or imitate it. All blows are allowed and it's just a striking art, no weapons. They direct all their attacks on vital points on the body. It is not rare to have one of the combatants die from a blow even in sparring. There are laws that refer to this because it's so common. On the Isle of Reunion (a neighboring island of Madagascar), the art is spelled Morenque and has a configuration resembling Capoeira (see photo below right).





YOUNG MORENGY WARRIOR( Sakalava )* MORENGUE (Reunion)




DANMYE (Martinique) LAAMB (Senegal)



*Sakalava group in a market town in Madagascar’s ‘Wild West’.
Ruling them was always, as the Merina proverb says, like even today their lordly pride still makes them the least approachable and most mysterious of all Madagascar’s eighteen tribes. carrying mud: if you hold it lightly in your open palms, it spills over, and if you close your hands firmly, it slips through your fingers.

(This is characteristic of African people worldwide, we adapt, reconfigure and synthesize, thereby recreating the foreign culture

thrust upon us by circumstances...Shaha Mfundishi Maasi)






TAMIL MARTIAL CULTURE

"The Indian sub-continent was once connected with Madagascar of East Africa and Australia by the sunken Lemurian continent of the Indian Ocean. On the African continent itself are numerous fighting styles some also in forms of dances which resemble various Kung-Fu kicks and maneuvers. In Brazil, there is a martial art called Capoeira. It is a fighting style in a form of a dance brought to South America by slaves alomg with the Yoruba religion of West Africa. These ideas of combat must have crossed both Africa and Australia through Lemuria to the Indian sub-continent which may have had an influence on the scientific Tamil martial arts thousands of years ago".... Alex Doss, Thamizar Martial Arts.

At the turn of the 6th century A.D., martial arts spread from Southern India to China by a Tamil prince turned monk named Daruma Bodhidarma. From China, martial arts have spread to Korea & Japan. In South East Asia martial arts was introduced during the naval expansion of the Chola and Pallava Empires of the Tamil Country between the 2nd and 12th centuries A.D.



In Partap Sharma’s book called ‘Zen Katha: Inspired by the Life of Bodhidarma, founder of Zen and Martial Arts’, it states that it was the art of Vajramushti Bodhidarma had introduced to Shaolin







KUTTU VARISAI TAMIL MONKEY POSTURE



Tamil Nadu means "the Tamil homeland." The capital of Tamil Nadu is Chennai, formerly known as Madras. The Tamils that I have talked to do not see themselves as Indians. They are Tamils. They have the most beautiful script that I have ever seen. And their spoken language is like music. Some of my best friends have been Tamils and I consider them a very special people. They are Black people. And while they may not consider themselves Africans they believe that Africans and Tamils come from the same place--a now submerged continent that once connected South Asia with East Africa.......Runoko Rashidi





YOGINI GODDESS(Tamil Nadu TAMIL WOMAN



The Tamils are an important branch of the Dravidians. So who are the Dravidians? The Dravidians are among the earliest, perhaps the first, people to inhabit India. The early Greeks and Romans referred to them as Eastern Ethiopians. The term "Ethiopian" is a Greek work and means "people with faces burnt by the sun." There were Eastern Ethiopians and Western Ethiopians. The Eastern Ethiopians were in Asia and the Western Ethiopians were in Africa. They were both Black people with the only real distinction being the texture of the hair. The Eastern Ethiopians had straight to wavy hair and the Western Ethiopians had tightly curled or kinky hair. The Eastern Ethiopians lived in ancient Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and probably other parts of South Asia.
In ancient times the Dravidians were responsible for the mighty Harappan or Indus Valley civilization that dominated Pakistan and parts of northern India beginning almost five thousand years ago. Among their inventions or innovations in Pakistan and India were the windmill and sophisticated city planning. They domesticated rice and probably the chicken. Their ancient cities including trash chutes and flushing toilets. They played a game similar to chess and threw dice. And they resisted the onslaught of the Aryan or white invasions of South Asia. I have no doubt that the mighty Hindu deities Krishna, Kali, and Shiva are of Dravidian origin..Runoko Rashidi.




SOME AFRICAN FACES TAMILS OF CEYLON


"Wherever we are, us is"....Maulana Karenga




MAP: COURTESY OF THAMIZAR MARTIAL ARTS



The Venetian traveler Marco Polo visited Tamil Nadu twice during the thirteenth century and commented on how the Tamils viewed with great pride their black skin-complexions. He actually said that their young were anointed with oil of sesame which made them even darker and that, "Here the darkest man is better than the others who are not so dark," that they portray their gods and saints black and the devil as white as snow." You can find this passage in Marco Polo's Travels. There are many Tamils in Sri Lanka* today and they are engaged in a fierce struggle with the Sinhalese dominated government for greater respect and even autonomy.
The Dalits are the Black Untouchables of India. Whereas the Dravidians are a ethnic-linguistic group the Dalits are a social-economic group, the majority of which by the standards of race that we use in the United States would be considered Black....Runoko Rashidi.



MODERN TAMIL WARRIOR (Sri Lanka) * ANCIENT TAMIL GRAPPLING



Kalaripayattu - The Orient's treasure trove, a gift to the modern world and the mother of all martial arts. Legend traces the 3000-year-old art form to Sage Parasurama- the master of all martial art forms and credited to be the re-claimer of Kerala from the Arabian Sea. Kalaripayattu originated in ancient South India. Kung- fu, popularized by the monks of the Shoaling Temple traces its ancestry to Bodhi Dharma - an Indian Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu master.

Crafted in ancient South India drawing inspiration from the raw power and sinuous strength of the majestic animal forms - Lion, Tiger, Elephant, Wild Boar, Snake, and Crocodile ........ Kalaripayattu laid down the combat code of the Cholas, the Cheras and the Pandyas. Shrouded in deep mystery and mists of secrecy Kalaripayattu was taught by the masters in total isolation, away from prying eyes.

The animal forces quoted above are only a few of the elements that link African and Asian warrior discipline methods.






INDIA

Drums

Some historians think millions of Africans crossed the ocean.

The African-Indians are called Sidis*.

One of the strongest remaining links they have to their roots is the damaal or drum. Otherwise Sidi culture is not significantly different to that of other poor, rural Indians.

"The damaal comes from Africa," explains Yunus, a blind man who is the chief drummer of Jambur. "The skill of playing has been passed down from father to son. It is a gift from God," he says.


"A little like an image embedded in a hologram, the African presence in the history and politics of India remains generally obscured from view. It is only when the parchment that is the past is taken in the hand and lightly moved, in the manner of a ‘beam of coherent light’ needed to train upon a hologram, that this presence reveals itself. Then names begin to emerge, some historical developments start to make sense, and the role of a number of emphatic figures can be seen in true perspective"....N. Goswamy,Tribune newspaper








PALM PRINT OF GURU RINPOCHE (PADMASAMBHAVA) IN STONE. THIS IS A SIGN OF GREAT SIDDHA. HIS PICTURE IS IN THE INSET. THIS GREAT BUDDHA IS THE FOUNDER OF TIBETAN BUDDHISM."OM A HUM VAJRA GURU PEMA SIDDHI HUM"

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Malik Ambar: Siddi military guru of the Marathas

Marathas are a blend of the Warrior and Agrarian classes, speaking Marathi and generally having their roots in Maharashtra. They are also found in large Nos in Karnataka, Goa, and Madhya Pradesh & Gujarat.

A few Maratha clans claim themselves to be Kshatriyas (Warriors). Some such families were the Bhosales, Ghorpades, Jadhavs, Nimbalkars, Mores, Manes, Ghatges, Dafleys, Sawants, Shirkes, Mahadiks and the Mohites

The majority of Marathas, however belong to the peasantry class. The dividing line between the Kshatriya classes and the peasantry classes has become thin with the passage of time.A lot of matrimonial alliances are also taking place amongst them, unlike those in North or South India. The Maratha army and the administration also had people from all castes taking pride in it.


The term Siddis (also called Habshi, from Arabic ḥabashi) refers to a Negroid people in India. They are the descendants of slaves first brought to parts of Pakistan and India by Arab merchants in medieval times from the Bantu-speaking parts of eastern Africa. Siddis were referred to as Zanj by Arabs, and Seng Chi (a malapropism of Zanj) by the Chinese.

Many of India's kings and princes recruited Africans as their personal bodyguards, servants and musicians. In some parts of the country Sidis even rose to be powerful generals or kings themselves.






SIDDI TRIBE (Jhambur, India) MALIK AMBER(master siddi)

* There are several ways to spell siddi, sometimes it is Sidi,Siddi, Siddhi, or Ciddi. No matter how it is spelled, it refers to "Great Accomplishment........Shaha Mfundishi Maasi








SIDDI DRUMMER (Jhambur, India) AFRICAN QUEEN (India)




SIDDI DANCERS OF EAST AFRICA SIDDI MEN(India or Pakistan)



In Western India (today's Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra), the Siddi gained a reputation as being physically powerful and fiercely loyal. This made them popular amongst the local princes as mercenaries. The 17th century saw the largest influx of Siddis, as many were sold to Muslim and Hindu Kings by Arab and Portuguese slave traders. Despite their reputation as good fighters, many were also used as domestic servants and farm labourers. Some Siddi slaves escaped into the forests to form their own communities.The ancestors of the present-day Siddis of Southern Baluchistan and Karachi in Pakistan were slaves from Tanzania, Kenya and Zanzibar brought by the Omani Arabs. Some Indian Siddis are descended from Tanzanians and Mozambicans brought by the Portuguese. The Siddis descended from slaves live in their own tightly knit communities. Most of the original Siddis live in the Sindh region of Pakistan, and the Gujarat region of India, and some mixed with local Indian people.

In Medieval India one of the most famous Siddis who elevated himself to a position of great authority was the celebrated Malik Ambar 1550-1626, whose original name was Shambu, "One cannot go into the life and career of Malik Ambar in any detail here, except for registering the fact that as the power of this rank outsider kept growing, that of the Mughals in and around Ahmednagar kept steadily declining. Ambar trained his followers in the art of guerilla warfare, raised a very considerable force that remained loyal to him, and remained defiant of the Mughals". .N.Goswamy,The Tribune, Sunday August 13,2006

" "The Mughals, meanwhile, chafed. Especially Jahangir (1605-1627) under whose skin Malik Ambar succeeded in getting. The emperor, it seems, was obsessed with Ambar, whose outstanding military skills he could understand but could not bring himself to acknowledge, given his own exalted position as ruler of what was then perhaps the world’s mightiest empire. In his Memoirs he referred to Ambar several times, but always in angry, almost abusive terms: "Ambar, that black wretch", "Ambar of dark fate", that "crafty, ill-starred one", and so on.The two never came face to face or took the field against each other. *But a painter at the Jahangiri court – the greatly gifted Abu’l Hasan – realised for his patron a triumphal dream, for he painted for him an allegory, in which the emperor is seen standing atop the globe of the world and shooting an arrow through the severed head of Malik Ambar that is impaled on a tall pike.....Jahangir, in this elaborate allegory, is clearly meant to be seen as symbolising the forces of goodness and light while Ambar those of darkness and evil. It is doubtful if the whole matter would have been seen like this by a Deccani painter working for Malik Ambar. But then nothing approaching this has survived from there."......N.Goswamy, The Tribune, Sunday August 13,2006




MALIK AMBAR *DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH ABOVE







BLACK SPIRITUAL MASTERS OF INDIA
PhaDampa:

Phadampa is Known as Bodhidharma in China. Sources say ; Bodhidharma ( 526/527 CE) was the Buddhist monk traditionally credited as the transmitter of Zen to China. Very little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend, but most accounts agree that he was a South Indian monk who journeyed to southern China and subsequently relocated northwards. The accounts differ on the date of his arrival, with one early account claiming that he arrived during the Liú Sòng Dynasty (420–479) and later accounts dating his arrival to the Liáng Dynasty (502–557). The accounts are, however, generally agreed that he was primarily active in the lands of the Northern Wèi Dynasty (386–534.



PHADAMPA ALSO KNOWN AS BODHIDHARMA ANOTHER VERSION



Daruma Bodhidharma (Chinese: Ta Mo; Japanese: Daruma) was the third child of the Pallava king Sugandan from Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. At birth he was born with a breathing disorder and was banished by his family due to the evil practice of caste system introduced by the Indo-Aryans who had migrated from Central Asia. He was adopted and trained at birth in breathing exercises and combat, namely in the arts of Varma Kalai and Kuttu Varisai. Bodhidarma also studied Dhyana Buddhism and became the 28th patriarch of that religion.





MAHASIDDHA PHADAMPA (Bodhidharma) LATER DEPICTIONS

Bodhidarma’s "muscle exercises" were surely influenced by his experiences in the Tamil martial arts. The "muscle exercises" and the "18 hands of lohan", which were developed later on, display some characteristics of Buddhist Tantric, mudras and yogic postures.

*

Two Mahāmudrā teachers. From a small 14th-century painting once in the Jucker Collection, presently in the collection of the Rubin Museum. Vairocanarakṣita, an important Indian teacher from Orissa, best known for his single-handed translations of Dohā (‘couplet’) songs of the Mahāsiddhas, is on your left, with Padampa on your right*. They are identified beyond any possibility for doubt by inscriptions on the reverse side of the painting. Padampa's name is given as Dampa Gyagar Nagpo ('Holy Black Indian'.



MAHASIDDA VIRUPA:




Virupa,the lord of all yogis, was born as the crown prince of a royal family in southern India, some 1020 years after the Buddha reached nirvana or enlightenment. When still a young child, he entered the celebrated Buddhist monastic academy of Somapuri. He took ordination from the abbot Vinayadeva and the teacher Jayakirti at Somapuri.He mastered all the five major sciences and became a great scholar of both Buddhist and non-Buddhist doctrines.



DRAVIDIAN YOGI ASCETICS WITH DREADLOCKS ;(like Rasta in Jamaica) CENTRAL INDIA

(courtesy of Project Guttenberg)



The principal Dravidian tribes are the Gonds, Khonds and Oraons. The Gonds were once dominant over the greater part of the Central Provinces, which was called Gondwana [71]after them. The above three names have in each case been given to the tribes by the Hindus. The following tribes are found in the Province:

Gond, Oraon or Kurukh, Khond, Kolām, Parja, Kamār. Tribal Castes: Bhatra, Halba, Dhoba. Doubtful: Kawar, Dhanwār.

The Gonds and Khonds call themselves Koi or Koitur, a word which seems to mean man or hillman. The Oraon tribe call themselves Kurukh, which has also been supposed to be connected with the Kolarian horo, man. The name Oraon, given to them by the Hindus, may mean farmservant, while Dhangar, an alternative name for the tribe, has certainly this signification.

There seems good reason to suppose that the Gonds and Khonds were originally one tribe divided through migration.72 The Kolāms are a small tribe of the Wardha Valley, whose dialect resembles those of the Gonds and Khonds. They may have split off from the parent tribe in southern India and come northwards separately. The Parjas appear to represent the earliest Gond settlers in Bastar, who were subjugated by later Gond and Rāj-Gond immigrants. The Halbas and Bhatras are mixed tribes or tribal castes, descended from the unions of Gonds and Hindus.



THE SO-CALLED TRIBALS OF INDIA :



ADIVASI DRUMMER ADIVASI WOMAN ADIVASI STILT DANCERS



Ādivāsīs (Devanagri: आदिवासी, literally: original inhabitants) is an umbrella term for a heterogeneous set of ethnic and tribal groups believed to be the aboriginal population of India.[1][2][3] They comprise a substantial indigenous minority of the population of India.



Adivasi traditions and practices pervade all aspects of Indian culture and civilization, yet this awareness is often lacking in popular consciousness, and the extent and import of Adivasi contributions to Indian philosophy, language and custom have often gone unrecognized, or been underrated by historians and social scientists.

Although popular myths about Buddhism have obscured the original source and inspiration for it's humanist doctrine, it is to India's ancient tribal (or Adivasi) societies that Gautam Buddha looked for a model for the kind of society he wished to advocate. Repulsed by how greed for private property was instrumental in causing poverty, social exploitation and unending warfare - he saw hope for human society in the tribal republics that had not yet come under the sway of authoritarian rule and caste discrimination. The early Buddhist Sanghas were modelled on the tribal pattern of social interaction that stressed gender equality, and respect for all members. Members of the Sanghas sought to emulate their egalitarian outlook and democratic functioning.

At that time, the tribal republics retained many aspects of social equality that can still be found in some Adivasi societies that have somehow escaped the ill-effects of commercial plunder and exploitation. Adivasi society was built on a foundation of equality with respect for all life forms including plants and trees. There was a deep recognition of mutual dependence in nature and human society. People were given respect and status according to their contribution to social needs but only while they were performing that particular function. A priest could be treated with great respect during a religious ceremony or a doctor revered during a medical consultation, but once such duties had been performed, the priest or doctor became equal to everyone else. The possession of highly valued skills or knowledge did not lead to a permanent rise in status. This meant that no individual or small group could engage in overlordship of any kind, or enjoy hereditary rights.

Tribal societies came under stress due to several factors. The extension of commerce, military incursions on tribal land, and the resettling of Brahmins amidst tribal populations had an impact, as did ideological coercion or persuasion to attract key members of the tribe into "mainstream" Hindu society. This led to many tribal communities becoming integrated into Hindu society as jatis (or castes) while others who resisted were pushed into the hilly or forested areas, or remote tracks that had not yet been settled. In the worst case, defeated Adivasi tribes were pushed to the margins of settled society and became discriminated as outcastes and "untouchables".

Adivasis who developed an intimate knowledge of various plants and their medicinal uses played an invaluable role in the development of Ayurvedic medicines. In a recent study, the All India Coordinated Research Project credits Adivasi communities with the knowledge of 9000 plant species - 7500 used for human healing and veterinary health care. Dental care products like datun, roots and condiments like turmeric used in cooking and ointments are also Adivasi discoveries, as are many fruit trees and vines. Ayurvedic cures for arthritis and night blindness owe their origin to Adivasi knowledge.



As soon as the British took over Eastern India tribal revolts broke out to challenge alien rule. In the early years of colonization, no other community in India offered such heroic resistance to British rule or faced such tragic consequences as did the numerous Adivasi communities of now Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Orissa and Bengal. In 1772, the Paharia revolt broke out which was followed by a five year uprising led by Tilka Manjhi who was hanged in Bhagalpur in 1785. The Tamar and Munda revolts followed. In the next two decades, revolts took place in Singhbhum, Gumla, Birbhum, Bankura, Manbhoom and Palamau, followed by the great Kol Risings of 1832 and the Khewar and Bhumij revolts (1832-34). In 1855, the Santhals waged war against the permanent settlement of Lord Cornwallis, and a year later, numerous adivasi leaders played key roles in the 1857 war of independence.




BHILS WOMEN

The Bhils are the third largest tribe in India after the Gonds and the Santhals. In the state of Madhya Pradesh, they are prominently found in the Dhar, Jhabua, and West Nimar regions. Anthropologists believe that the word Bhil is derived from the Dravidian word bil or vil, meaning a bow.







BHILS TRIBESMAN





BONDA WOMAN AND CHILD BONDA WOMAN



BONDA WOMAN AND CHILD YOUNG BONDA WOMAN



The Bonda or Bondo are an ancient tribe of people numbering approximately 5000 who live in the isolated hill regions of the Malkangiri district of southwesternmost Orissa, India, near the junction of the three states of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh. In contrast with many other populations in India, the number of females among the Bondas greatly exceeds the number of males.Known to be aggressive, the Bonda have resisted the efforts of the Indian government to "manage" them.





GADABA ELDER WOMEN



GADABA ARTIFACTS GADABA MALE ELDER

The Gadabas are agricultural tribe of Ganjam and Vizagapatnam district. They were formerly employed as palanquin bearers and plantation labourers. Their population is about 30,000. They speak Mundari language and have dark skin colour and mongoloid features.





GOND MALES

The Gondi (Gōndi) are a people in central India. The Gondi, or Gond people are spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra(Vidarbha), Chhattisgarh, northern Andhra Pradesh, and western Orissa. With over four million people, they are the largest tribe in Central India





KHOND ARTIFACTS KHOND WOMAN (Orissa)

The Khond, one of the Scheduled tribe of the Jharkhand State, are found in the districts of Singhbhum and Hazaribagh, they are an africoid tribe. They have probably migrated from the Orissa. In the State of Orissa, Khond is a major community.





MUNDA FAMILY YOUNG MUNDA WOMEN



MUNDA ELDER WOMAN MUNDA FAMILY



The Munda languages of India are among the most poorly known of the world’s languages. Spoken by so-called ‘tribals’ primarily in the eastern and central India states of Jharkhand and Orissa, with enclaves in adjacent states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal. Despite representing the oldest known layer of population in India, predating the Dravidian and Indo-Aryan peoples that dominate the area today, the linguistic relatives of the Munda in the large Austroasiatic language family are to be found in remote mountainous regions scattered across southeast Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, southern China, in addition to the far eastern Indian regions of Meghalaya and the Nicobar Islands), as well as the national languages of Cambodia and Vietnam.





NAGA MAN NAGA ELDER















NAGA ELDER

More than four million Naga tribal peoples are found in Nagaland, parts of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in North-East India, and parts of Myanmar (Burma) such as the Sagaing Division.



The ancient Indians belonged to the Kushsite African race, still numerious in a wide area of the globe, spread from India in the East to Senegal in the West. Of this group of ancient Blacks, the Naga People were and still are the largest subgroup of the Kushitic speaking branch of the Black African race. In fact, the Nagas still retain the title "Naga" in various forms throughout Africa and South Asia even today. There are many examples of the term "Naga" still being used to describe various groups in Africa and Asia, who are all of the Kushitic branch of the Black African race. For example, the Blacks of West Africa were called "Nugarmar-ta." "Nagomina" is the name of a tribe from West Africa, who were part of a series of great civilizations which existed in the region before 1000 B.C. The "Naga," are another group of people related to India's Naga people, who live in various parts of East Africa and in the nation of Sudan, the original homeland of all Naga and other Kushitic Black peoples. The word "Nahas" is another word for "Nubian." Names of tribes and nationalities such as "Nuer," "Nuba," "Nubian" are all related to the Naga tribes of India and South Asia. Long before the barbarians infiltrated India, the Blacks (Naga, Negrito, Negroid and all those belonging to the Negroid-Australoid Black race, as well as pure Negritic racial types ruled India as well as a substantial portion of Asia from Arabia to China and the South Pacific, as well as the Indian Ocean region.......Runoko Rashidi.





SIDDI WOMAN SIDDI MAN SIDDI GIRL




YOUNG SIDDI MAN YOUNG SIDDI GIRL YOUNG SIDDI BOY

MORE ON THE SIDDIS

The people known as Siddi and other so-called tribals, represent the indominable spirit of African people who adapt to the environment in which they have been thrust. Maintaining the essential sprit and core principles in spite of external factors is the true meaning of the word warrior. With regard to the siddi people themselves, the accomplishments attributed to them have influenced a term that indicates high, unusual, rare achievement. The term is siddha, and signifies a master of high spiritual attainment in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions.


A siddha சித்தா in Tamil means "one who is accomplished" and refers to perfected masters who, according to belief, have transcended the (ego or I-maker), have subdued their minds to be subservient to their Awareness, and have transformed their bodies (composed mainly of dense Rajo-tama gunas) into a different kind of body dominated by sattva. This is usually accomplished only by persistent meditation.



Tamil Nadu tradition of Siddhahood

In South India, a siddha refers to a being who has achieved a high degree of physical as well as spiritual perfection or enlightenment. The ultimate demonstration of this is that siddhas allegedly attained physical immortality. Thus siddha, like siddhar or cittar (indigenisation of Sanskrit terms in Tamil Nadu) refers to a person who has realised the goal of a type of sadhana and become a perfected being. In Tamil Nadu, South India, where the siddha tradition is still practiced, special individuals are recognized as and called siddhas (or siddhars or cittars) who are on the path to that assumed perfection after they have taken special secret rasayanas to perfect their bodies, in order to be able to sustain prolonged meditation along with a form of pranayama which considerably reduces the number of breaths they take.





MAHASIDDA VIRUPA * MAHASIDDA PADAMPA*(Bodhidharma) MAHASIDDA *TILOPA

It was the Mahasiddhas* who instituted the practices that birthed the Inner Tantras of Dzogchen practiced by the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. The other schools of Tibetan Buddhism and other Vajrayana Buddhists such as Shingon Buddhism practice Mahamudra meditation, also a practice initiated by the original Buddhist Mahasiddha.












Each Mahasiddha has come to be known for certain characteristics and teachings, which facilitates their pedagogical use. One of the most beloved Mahasiddhas is Virupa,* who may be taken as the patron saint of the Sakyapa sect and instituted the Lam Dre (Tibetan: lam 'bras) teachings. Virupa (alternate orthographies: Birwapa/Birupa) lived in 9th century India and was known for his great attainments.

Best known as Machig Labdron's teacher, the Indian mahasiddha *Padampa Sangye is counted as a lineage guru by all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He brought the lineage of Chöd to Tibet, carried the Buddha's teachings to China, and is even asserted, in the Tibetan tradition, to have been the legendary Bodhidharma.


Tilopa *(Tibetan; Sanskrit: Talika, 988 - 1069) was an Indian tantric practitioner and mahasiddha. He discovered the mahamudra process, a set of spiritual practices that greatly accelerated the process of attaining bodhi (enlightenment). He is regarded as the human founder of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.





MAHASIDDA NAROPA (student of Tilopa) TANTRIC YOGI


Nāropā or Naropa (Prakrit; Sanskrit: Nādapradā, 956-1041) was an Indian Buddhist yogi, mystic and monk. He was the disciple of Tilopa and brother, or some sources say partner and pupil, of Niguma [1] . Naropa was the main teacher of Marpa, the founder of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. As an Indian tantric Buddhist, he has a place in Vajrayana Buddhism as a whole, but he is particularly renowned in Tibetan Buddhism via his name being attached to the six yogas of Naropa, a suite of advanced yogic practices for the attainment of skills (siddhas).







MARPA (Student of Naropa) *MILAREPA (student of Marpa)



Marpa Lotsawa (1012-1097), or Marpa the translator was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher credited with the transmission of many Buddhist teachings to Tibet from India, including the teachings and lineages of Vajrayana and Mahamudra.

Marpa spent many years translating Buddhist scriptures and made a major contribution to the transmission of the complete buddhadharma to Tibet. Marpa continued to practice and give teachings and transmissions to many students in Tibet. After his third visit to India Milarepa became his disciple, who inherited his lineage in full. Marpa lived with his wife Dakmema and their sons in Lhodrak in the southern part of Tibet.

Milarepa* is one of the most widely known Tibetan Saints. In a superhuman effort, he rose above the miseries of his younger life and with the help of his Guru, Marpa the Translator, took to a solitary life of meditation until he had achieved the pinnacle of the enlightened state, never to be born again into the Samsara (whirlpool of life and death) of worldly existence. Out of compassion for humanity, he undertook the most rigid asceticism to reach the Buddhic state of enlightenment and to pass his accomplishments on to the rest of humanity. His spiritual lineage was passed a long to his chief disciples, Gambopa and Rechung.



The Mahasiddha* Tradition may be conceived and considered as a cohesive body due to their spiritual style which was distinctively non-sectarian, non-elitist, non-dual, non-elaborate, non-sexist, non-institutional, unconventional, unorthodox and non-renunciate. The Mahasiddha Tradition arose in dialogue with the dominant religious practices and institutions of the time which often foregrounded practices and disciplines that were over-ritualized, politicized, exoticized, excluded women and whose lived meaning and application were largely inaccessible and opaque to non-monastic peoples. They practiced non-violence and and-aggression.







VIOLENCE INFLICTED UPON BLACK PEOPLE IN ASSAM, INDIA (We must not remain ignorant to ethnic hatred that engulfs Black people around the world. Darfur is symbolic of the mistreatment of Black people that goes on daily across the planet). TAKE A STAND!






SOUTHEAST ASIA







There are several groups of dark-skinned people who live in various parts of Asia, Australia and Oceania. They include the Indigenous Australians, the Melanesians (now divided into Austronesian-speaking populations and Papuans, and including the great genetic diversity of New Guinea), the Andamanese people of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of the Indian Ocean, the Semang people of the Malay peninsula, the Aeta people of Luzon, the Ati of Panay, the Vedda people of Sri LankaHYPERLINK \l "cite_note-andaman-83"[84], and various indigenous peoples sometimes collectively known as Negritos.

Runoko Rashidi indicates that the first Asians were Negrito Africoid people with kinky hair, yellow to dark brown skin and short stature In his words, they were "the supreme lords of the earth" with "monumental civilizations" of advanced technology. Next, Afro-Australoids migrated into Asia 50,000 years ago. These Afro-Astraloids can still be found among the Gonds, Mundas, Veddoids and Kolarians of Sri Lanka and South India. These Australoids turned into the Mongoloid race by a process "only vaguely understood".

Rashidi identifies what he calls a "global African community" of the Africoid race Rashidi considers the terms "black" and "African" to be synonymous. Rashidi considers the Africoid race to be the first race in the world. If the first human migrations out of Africa have retained their Africoid appearance, then he considers them also to be Africoid. Rashidi cites Cheikh Anta Diop in the identification of two major Africoid races: one with wooly hair, broad flat nose, thick everted lips and the other with straight hair, aquiline nose, thin lips, and high cheekbones. Diop considers the latter type of black to include Dravidians and Nubians.



Each picture below is equal to 10,000 words!





TAMIL WOMAN MUNDA WOMAN





BLACK WOMAN OF INDIA, PRADESH BLACK MAN OF ASSAM


.

AGTA WOMAN (Philippines) BLACK MAN (Andaman Islands)





BLACK WOMEN OF THE PHILIPPINES BLACK PHILIPPINE MAN




SEMANG (Descendants of the aboriginal people of Southeast Asia) SCULPTURE OF SEMANG

"The Semang reside in the foothills of the Malay peninsula calling themselves Menik, Meni, Mendi, Monik,. In Thailand they are called Ngok (Ngo), or Ngok Pa, "frizzy people". Considered true negritos, the Semang are matrilineal,(with patrilineal ideas). Among them is evidence of an ancient tiger cult".........Black Jade, Brunson, Rashidi.

The Black (Africoid) race has been assaulted by the bias and corruption of human values, at the hands of caucasoid people for thousands of years. The pictures of the Black faces representing the aboriginal people of Asia is yet another page in the book that details the historical erasure of these faces from the contemporary landscape of Asia. One might ask, where have they gone? Did they just vanish into thin air?

It is truly difficult to find an unbiased account of these dwindling masses of Black people throughout the world. Many scholars and anthropologists will concede that the seed people of the world were African (Black) people, but the facts regarding their cultural contributions remain clouded by the myths of Caucasoid superiority. The introduction of the Caucasoid and Mongoloid racial elements into Asia has had a devastating effect upon the masses of aboriginal people who were there when they arrived thousands of years after the formation and development of the seed cultures. For instance, the Africoid roots of Asian spirituality have been co-opted by the dominant populations, that exclude any mention of Black spiritual masters. However, for the undaunted few who continue to "peel the onion", the voices and faces of the "Sacred Anscestors" emerge with a power and momentum that transforms them and enables the telling of "ourstory".







BLACK WOMEN OF INDIA



See below a sampling of melinated people:







ANDAMESE MAN NAGA MAN



HIMALAYAN HOLY MAN SEMANG MEN



SEMANG WOMAN SEMANG MAN



NEGRITO WOMEN OF BATAAN (Philippines) NEGRITO WOMAN OF PHILIPPINES



ASSAM (NAGA) WOMAN SOUTH AFRICAN BUSHMAN








KACHIN OF BURMA





HUNTER GATHERERS (Burma, Chin state ,embroidered cotton blanket) BURMESE BLACK WOMAN



HUNTER GATHERERS #2 KURIMA OF INDONESIA







KACHIN OF BURMA ANNAMESE HILLSMEN



DANCERS OF CEYLON
(Included are pictures of Black people from other regions of Asia and Africa to illustrate the oneness of Black people)





Symbols and principles of the African-Asian spiritual complex:

The spiritual traditions of the African continent hold the keys to comprehending the symbols that have influenced the cultural-spiritual institutions of Africa and Asia. As the forerunners of humankind, the customs and traditions of the African people worldwide, have been found to be influential in the cultural-spiritual elements found in the practices of other traditions.......'The customs and usages of some primitive African tribes can today throw some light on the meaning of these mysterious and doubtless symbolic figures"....Carl G. Jung, Man and his symbols, Anchor press pg.236.

From the Great Lakes Ancestral Homeland "Land Of The Gods"; The Twa (so called Pygmy) began a wave of migration approximately one million five hundred thousand years ago. Otherwise known as 'Homo Erectus' (upright man), the twa would eventually inhabit every continent upon the earth, and evolve into many racial and ethnic groups. These actions were instrumental in establishing certain fundamental cultural elements:

1.Pre-Totemic living (Living in large groups based upon territory).

2.Totemic living (The division of people into clans identified by symbols such as, forces of nature, plants, and animals.

3.Stellar mythos (Star veneration).

4.Solar cults (Sun veneration).

These elements were adapted and applied to regional and climactic conditions by the people who evolved from the Twa. Those who remained in tropic and equatorial regions retained dark complexions. While those settling in the colder regions with less sunlight lost pigmentation in varying degrees. Africans, Asians, Europeans, Latino and Oceanic people are all descended from the Twa people.

As human civilization evolved, Totemism became a prime element in the formation of cultures and their respective societies in which the role of the Shaman was highly influential. Shamanism has a widespread geographical range:

1. Africa

2. Asia

3. Polynesia

4. The Americas

5. Europe

Examples of African totemic animal symbols:

1. Lion

2. Panther (leopard)

3. Python

4. Baboon

5. Cobra

6. Viper

7. Crocodile

8. Falcon

9. Eagle

10. Crane

11. Bull *

* THE PROMINANCE OF THE BULL AS AN AFRICAN TOTEMIC SYMBOL

The bull symbolic of 'Amen', "the hidden one" also represented 'Apis' the god of the underworld (amenta) in the Ausarian drama. In the city of Tchert, 'Menthu' was venerated as a man with the head of a bull. As a deity of war, Menthu was depicted with bow, arrow, club and knife. Symbolizing the fierce power of the sun, menthu warred against the enemies on the Sun-deity with fiery spears (symbols of the shaman). Often styled as the "Mighty Bull", Menthu was the symbol of strength and courage when in combat with an adversary. Menthu was venerated in pre-histiric times. The horns of the bull symbolized life and strength, a symbol later co-opted by the architects of 'Judaeo Christianity' to represent evil in the form of 'Satan'.




LORD OF ANIMALS PROTOTYPE OF SHIVA

A seal discovered during excavation of the Mohenjo-daro archaeological site in the Indus Valley has drawn attention as a possible representation of a "yogi" or "proto-Shiva" figure.[3] This "Pashupati" (Lord of Animals, Sanskrit paśupati)[4]HYPERLINK \l "cite_note-4"[5] seal shows a seated figure, possibly ithyphallic, surrounded by animals.[6]HYPERLINK \l "cite_note-6"[7]HYPERLINK \l "cite_note-7"[8] Some observers describe the figure as sitting in a traditional cross-legged yoga pose with its hands resting on its knees. The discoverer of the seal, Sir John Marshall, and others have claimed that this figure is a prototype of Shiva.

"The seal dramatized on the following page is known as "The lord of the wilderness." His horned headdress, though seemingly abstract, may very well be a prototype to later Indian symbolism. Quoting again Dr. Heinrich Zimmer, "the curious headdress resembles to a striking degree one of the most common symbols of early Buddhist art. The posture is associated also and even more characteristically with the Buddha...The cross-legged posture of the meditating yogi." Thus it is through these images we discover a new and different interpretation of the origins of the cross-legged pose so often seen in Oriental Art. We are now at a point where the civil, spiritual, and cultural, patterns begin to enlighten one as to the tremendous contribution made by the African race to India and the world at large. From Harappa to Parsava to Krishna the Buddha; from Jainism to Yoga to Sankhya and the Gita, the investment the Black race has made to Indian culture and civilization affects one with a profound and sobering clarity"..........Wayne Chandler, The Jewel In The Lotus: The Ethiopian Presence In The Indus Vally Civilization.

The quoted information above, presented by my good friend and brother, Wayne B. Chandler sheds light upon the cultural traditions of the African continent, that hold the keys to understanding the spiritual symbols common to Africa and Asia. Totemism is the prime element in the formation of early society and the African-Asian Shamanic complex. Totemism is best understood as formation of groups of people into clans or kinship units, identified by animal, elemental or plant symbols. These elements have a widespread geographic range through Africa, Asia, Polynesia, Europe and the Americas.





BISON MARIA HEADDRESS, KHOND MAN, INDIA HORNED HEADDRESS (Indonesia)



KHOND DISPLAY WITH HORNS BISON MARIA DRUMMER





BISON MARIA YOUTH WITH HEADDRESS YAMANTAKA (The Black one, Tibet)



SAMURAI ARMOR (Japan) CERRONOUS (Celtic)



BISON MARIA DANCERS APIS (Kemet)



HORN HEADDRESS(Native American) HORN MASK (Bobo tribe Burkina Faso)





APIS BULL KEMET





CAPE BUFFALO (Sub-Saharan Africa) BISON HEAD DRESS



BISON-BUFFALO MOHENJO DHARO SEAL THE BLACK BUFFALO SEAL

At this point it should be obvious that the use of bull and buffalo horns as cultural symbols , is a widespread practice. It is our contention that the practice has roots in Africa. In sub Saharan Africa, the cape buffalo and bush cow are often used in ceremonies connected with the gaining of super-normal consciousness, and the honoring of the ancestors. The horns of the mask represent antennae that empower the wearer and elevate consciousness.

In the art of mask carving, the master craftsman summoned and enshrined ancestral forces vital to clan survival. The mask symbolized the mystery of life and the discipline required to gain the power of self mastery. A specific image (mask) was formed to serve as a conduit for vital power. As a vessel of power, the mask (or headdress) was consecrated as a sacred power object by the shaman-healer to be used in healing and empowerment ceremonies.

In ancient Kemet (Egypt), the bull symbolized Ausar in the form of the Apis bull. In this configuration, the soul of the Apis bull united with that of Ausar, the God of the underworld, and transported the dead for the renewal of life. Kemetic bull veneration embodied rebirth, resurrection, fertility, and vitality.

In ancient India, the bull was closely associated with Shiva the deity of pre-Aryan culture, representing the mystery of creation-preservation-destruction. On several clay seals (mentioned above) from Harappa and Mohenjo-daro the bull is depicted as a yogi with legs in cross legged position. Depicted around the yogi are two deer, an elephant, a tiger, a rhinoceros, and buffalo. The horns represent bull-like strength and fertility, with three faces symbolizing his super human nature. This depiction suggests the yogic -Shiva as the supreme deity of the indus valley. Indologists have associated the origins of Shiva, to this early Indian bull-god.


http://www.shahamaasi.com/18.html


Sacred Sexuality

Scared Sexuality Muata Ashby

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All The Lights The Light

All the Lights the Light
Alfred Ligon
Interviewed by Ranford B. Hopkins
Department of Special Collections
University of California, Los Angeles

Copyright © ca. 1984 by The Regents of the University of California

Alfred Ligon

Introduction
Alfred Ligon—spiritualist, doctor of letters, bookstore owner, former printer for the crusading journalist Ida B. Wells, former director-manager of a little theater group, and one of those who formed the great wave of Afro-Americans who migrated during the early 1900s to find the often times elusive "better way of life" in the North. Many events and activities charactize his life and lifestyle, not the least of which are the Aquarian Center and the Aquarian Bookstore which has been an important element in the intellectual life of Blacks in Southern California.

Bits and pieces of a self-effacing yet quietly determined, persevering, and programmatic personality emerge from this interview. Dr. Ligon would describe his life as a typical one. "My life has just been an average life, on the periphery of what was happening," he says at one point.

It is true, that in some respects, Dr. Ligon's has been a part of the flow of history, and not a life that has shaped that flow—in some instances by choice, in others by chance. His childhood in Atlanta was a happy one, seemingly unscathed by the poverty he grew up in. When his family moved to Chicago, Dr. Ligon was too young to realize the historical and political significance and impact the northern movement of Blacks would have on this country. Working as an apprentice in the printing shop of Ida B.


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Wells, Ligon came in contact, if only casually, with the political and social movers of the times.

But Mr. Ligon has never been impressed with greatness for its own sake. In philosophic terms, Mr. Ligon argues that each person must look to himself or herself as a potential leader and develop those qualities of leadership that are inherent in each one of us. This view of the individual or "common man/woman" as an important historical element is one that is taken to heart by local and community historians, who are exploring a "new" approach to history, reconstructing history not from the personal and social history of kings and queens but from a perspective much closer to the "grassroots."

Although Dr. Ligon's life may be considered "average" in some respects, we must certainly consider this too self-effacing a statement for a man who has given us—and kept operating—for over forty years, the longest-lived, still extant, and thriving Black bookstore in Southern California. Dr. Ligon has been perceptive enough to relocate the bookstore as the Black community has moved and changed locations.

The origins of the bookstore are in Dr. Ligon's interest in astrology and metaphysics. During the 1960s the bookstore underwent a metamorphosis from a spiritual bookstore to one which emphasized Black culture. It is for this cultural emphasis that the bookstore is most widely known today.


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― vii ―
Dr. Ligon is not, perhaps, aware of how significant a contribution he had made to the Los Angeles Black community as well as the entire Southern California intellectual community. Certainly the bookstore has been a significant link to the Black community for students in the widely dispersed Los Angeles area. As a new out-of-town UCLA student living in the rather sterile environment of Westwood, I recall that visits to the Black bookstore in Los Angeles were important links for myself and for other Black students with the vital creative community of Black writers and artists. By continuing to focus on Black people, their culture, and history, Dr. Ligon has been a leader in his own right in developing and nurturing a consciousness and intellectualism in the Black community.


Sylvia Curtis
Librarian
Black Studies Library Unit
University of California,
Santa Barbara


March 1984


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― viii ―
Interview History
Interviewer:
Ranford B. Hopkins, assistant editor/interviewer, Oral History Program. B.A., M.A., History, University of California, Santa Barbara. Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara; current research entitled, "Leadership and the Growth of the Afro-American Community of Los Angeles, 1900-1965;" interviewer was born, raised and resided in Los Angeles for twenty-two years.

Time and Setting of Interview:
Place: Office of the interviewee, above the Aquarian Bookshop, 1342 West Santa Barbara Avenue, Los Angeles, California.

Dates: February 10, 17; March 24, 1982.

Time of day, length of sessions, and total number of hours recorded: Interviews took place in the morning, beginning at eleven o'clock. Each session lasted about one hour. A total of three and one-quarter hours of conversation was recorded.

Persons present during interview: Ligon and Hopkins.

Conduct of Interview:
Research for the interview was conducted in three fields. First, a literature search was undertaken to locate any published material on Ligon. Two sources were found. One, a 1981 brochure commemorating the founding of the Aquarian Spiritual Center, Aquarian Library and Bookshop, and the Black Gnostic Studies, published by Ligon, was found to contain valuable biographical information. The other was provided by the Los Angeles Times article on Ligon and the establishment of his bookshop (March 29, 1982).

Secondly, Ligon and Hopkins had a preliminary discussion to identify and chronicle the major events in the interviewee's life.

Finally, an attempt was made to locate individuals who knew Ligon personally or by reputation and who might contribute still more information about him. These included Sylvia Curtis, a UCSB librarian, and Ann Powers, librarian at Santa Monica Public Library.


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The interview proceeded chronologically based on this research. Questions were posed to yield an oral autobiography that would document concomitantly the interviewee's status as a community leader. While there was a definite structure to the conduct of the interview, Ligon was encouraged to speak freely about any subject he wished.

Editing:
Editing was done by Rebecca Torres, administrative assistant in the Oral History Program. She checked the verbatim transcript of the interview against the original tape recordings, edited for punctuation, paragraphing, and spelling, and verified proper names. Words and phrases inserted by the editor have been bracketed.

Ligon reviewed the manuscript and approved the edited transcript. He made minor corrections and additions and provided or confirmed spellings of names that had not been verified previously.

Mitch Tuchman, acting director, reviewed the edited transcript before it was typed in final form.

Sylvia Curtis wrote the introduction. Torres prepared the front matter and the index.

Supporting Documents:
The original tape recordings of the interview are in the University Archives and are available under the regulations governing the use of permanent noncurrent records of the University. Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Oral History Program.

Table of Contents
TAPE NUMBER: I, Side One (February 10, 1982)
Childhood in Atlanta -- Early theatrical interests -- Move to Chicago--Jeni Ligon-Ballroom dancing in Chicago--Interest in metaphysics--The Brotherhood of Light-Black Gnostic Studies--Apprenticeship as a printer--Integrationists' and Self-helpers' debate.



TAPE NUMBER: II, Side One (February 17, 1982)
Working for the Southern Pacific Railroad -- Los Angeles black community, 1930s -- Founding the Aquarian Library and Bookshop -- Defining success -- Leaders -- Running a business -- Other black-oriented bookshops in Los Angeles -- Bernice Ligon -- Effect of black consciousness on Aquarian Bookshop.



TAPE NUMBER: II, Side Two (February 17, 1982)
Ron Karenga--Black studies.



TAPE NUMBER: III, Side One (March 24, 1982)
The Great Migration -- Religious background -- Chicago jazz clubs -- Ethel Waters at the Grand -- Chicago riot of 1919 -- Marcus Garvey movement -- Working in Saratoga, New York City, and Miami -- Charlotta Bass, Leon Washington, Frederick Roberts -- Architect Paul Williams -- The importance of publicity -- War years on the Southern Pacific -- Black migration to Los Angeles.



TAPE NUMBER: III, Side Two (March 24, 1982)
Traditional Baptist community and the Spiritualist Center -- Store on Rimpau -- Mail-order book service -- US.


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― 1 ―
Tape Number: Tape I, Side One
February 10, 1982
Hopkins
Dr. Ligon, I'd like to begin at the beginning. Where and when were you born?


Ligon
I was born at Atlanta, Georgia, in the year of 1906 on April 5.


Hopkins
Can you tell me something about your childhood?


Ligon
I might say that my childhood was very enjoyable, for the first ten years I spent in Georgia. I had a sister Belle—she was the oldest in the family—and a brother, and then another brother that during my early age passed away, and myself, and also a young sister. That was our family. Also, my mother, Hattie [Bell], and father, Hector. Most of the time he worked at one of the major hotels [in Atlanta] as a waiter. My mother, of course, was a housewife. I attended the public schools for the first three years of my life there in Georgia—the first, second and third grades.

We lived in Atlanta at the fork of Atlanta University and Morehouse [College], also known as Atlanta Baptist College. We were right on the edge of the campus, and I can recall during one of the summer months—I guess it was back in 1910 or 1911, as I started to school— a preschool summer school on the the campus of Atlanta University. That was a rather interesting experience, going to the


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summer school, and so I, kidding sometimes, tell people that I also attended Atlanta University. So I went to the university starting in my early school. [laughter]


Hopkins
What were your brothers' and sisters' names?


Ligon
My sister was Mary Bell and the brother was named after my father, Hector James. And my brother that passed away was Eddie Theodore, and the youngest sister was Jeni Ligon.


Hopkins
What were some of your hobbies and maybe some of your accomplishments or achievements in your early years?


Ligon
Well, interestingly enough, I guess when I was about seven or eight years old, my mother and auntie carried me to a performance of the Smarterset Company (that was a musical company that was known as [S.T.] Whitney and [J. Homer] Tutt). And they gave a live performance there in Atlanta, Georgia, and it so fascinated me that I became involved with that, and later on with the circus and the early movies and things; my hobby really became the theater, and for the next twenty-some odd years, I was caught up in the theater. The other hobbies— I had very little athletic hobbies, just childhood games, playing baseball, and various other things, but not to the great extent in which I became involved in the theater. After we moved into Chicago— There, with the experience that I had, with the background of the theater, I spent from 1916 to 1935 involved in the


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theater.

Incidentally, I might say that just this week (in terms of Black History Month) there was a celebration, at least there was an honor given to Count Basie, out [at] [A.C.] Bilbrew Library. With my background in terms of the theater and the bands in Chicago and so forth, I did an exhibit of some of my books in the Library while they were giving this honor to Count Basie.

There was a map that had been printed some years ago defining the numerous theaters and nightclubs in Chicago in the jazz period, in the jazz area in Chicago. I studied the map, and practically every nightclub and theater, I knew exactly where they were. In fact, all the theaters that were on the South Side: that was what was called the Jazz Area. Of course, I was young at that particular time, so I wasn't able to go into a number of the nightclubs, but I knew them, knew the bands that were playing there. So that has been a very rewarding experience in terms of my life.


Hopkins
Dr. Ligon, when did you move to Chicago?


Ligon
I came to Chicago in 1916. There was ten years in Georgia, my first ten years, and then I came to Chicago in 1916. And I lived in Chicago from 1916 to 1935.


Hopkins
Why did your family move to Chicago?


Ligon
My grandmother pioneered to Chicago earlier, I think perhaps around 1912. She came to Chicago because a


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couple of her daughters had moved to Chicago and were living there. Naturally she wanted to because Chicago was out of the South, and that was the difference in terms of people moving from the South to better their living conditions and better their working conditions and things of that kind. So I had one of the aunts that came to Chicago and was taking up nursing at Provident Hospital. And also, I don't recall just what my older aunt was doing, but she was there, living and working in Chicago. Then there was another one of the aunts that came to Chicago and was living there, so most of my mother's sisters had moved to Chicago, and also my grandmother (also we had several uncles that had left Georgia). And so, therefore, my mother and father followed her, and the family moved to Chicago.


Hopkins
What was your father's name?


Ligon
My father's name was Hector.


Hopkins
What was your mother's maiden name?


Ligon
She was Hattie Bell.


Hopkins
Why did you move in 1916? I understand that the family moved in order to better themselves in Chicago, but why 1916 as opposed to 1915 or 1920?


Ligon
Well, I think basically the answer to that is it was just more or less as a relationship to the time, to the time and the period. But I couldn't say definitely that that was just a particular year, that they had moved


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for any particular reason in terms of that year; but the time evolved in the sense of the cycles of time, that the family moved to Chicago.


Hopkins
Did you find life better in Chicago—your family?


Ligon
Well, I hadn't experienced that much of life to define it in terms of being either good or better as a young child. I enjoyed my experience in Atlanta. I had great experiences there that I can always relate to, although in sixty-some odd years I've never returned, but I've always anticipated going back so that I could see it. I know, of course, by this time it's an altogether different Atlanta, Georgia, but still there are fond memories which I had and experienced in Atlanta. I've been back to Chicago a number of times, but not to Atlanta.


Hopkins
Did your parents speak of Chicago at the time? Did they say, "Well, I'm glad we moved here," or "I'm not glad we moved here?" What were their impressions of Chicago as you can remember?


Ligon
I think we should all know that the South was different than the North. So that was one of the things: to move out of the South while there was a great deal of prejudice, because there were greater opportunities in the North than in the South. So that was one of the underlying factors that not only my family but the hundreds and thousands of families that moved out of the South, either


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from Georgia up north into the northern cities— Washington, Philadelphia, New York—and a number of folks moved into Chicago, and so forth.


Hopkins
Can you give me a kind of profile of your mother and your father in terms of what their occupations were, and what their interests were, and what their goals were?


Ligon
Well, as I said, of course, my mother basically was a housewife. My father was at first a waiter in some of the hotels there in Atlanta, Georgia. Then later on he opened up a restaurant himself and had a restaurant in Georgia for a number of years and sold the restaurant and came to Chicago. There wasn't any other basic background that I can recall. He was just a family man.


Hopkins
Was the restaurant successful, or not?


Ligon
Well, I guess, at that particular time, we would say that it was fairly well— It supported the family for a while.


Hopkins
In terms of income, how would you rate your family? Were they middle class, upper class or working class?


Ligon
Poor. Oh, they were poor. [laughter] Just struggling along.


Hopkins
How about your brother and your sisters, can you give me a little biographical sketch of each one of them?


Ligon
Well, not very much; I can only just say that they were average. My sisters both were married early, but


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there were no children, no heirs [of] either my brother or my sisters. Of the three children that lived over a period of time, I was the only one that had children; I have a boy and a girl. But my older sister and brother, there were no children; and also my younger sister, no children, which establishes nothing. I've tried to define them in terms of their outstanding personalities.


Hopkins
I remember when we talked last time, you mentioned that Jeni was involved in the theater and was fairly successful in the theater. Can you account for us?


Ligon
Yes, that was in 19—, I believe it was in 1934. My sister came out with a small stock company—what they call a musical stock company—out to Los Angeles. She was in Detroit at that particular time [and] had been appearing in one of the cabarets there as an entertainer. She had made quite a success being quite young at that particular time, and she was induced to come out with a group of entertainers to California, here in Los Angeles.

During that period, about 1935, she appeared on a program that was given by Earl Dancer, who at one time was a manager for Ethel Waters. He lived out here with his family, and he was a producer in the motion picture colony. I might say that he did a number of things. He had a group of singers out here that was quite prominent. I can't think of the names of them right now, but they gave a concert at the Wilshire Ebell [Theater],


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and a number of the producers from the studios came, and my sister sang and danced at that time and made quite a hit. Usually they say she stopped the show. At that appearance she was given a contract at MGM, and, I think, as far as I can recall, the contract was for— I'm not sure now, let's see—the contract was for one thousand dollars a week, which was one of the first young black girls that had received a contract of that kind. And she did a picture. The first picture was— I can't think of the name of it. I'll have to recheck to get the name of the picture that she did, but it was a musical, and she danced and had a bit in it with "Bojangles" [Bill] Robinson and Fats Waller. It wasn't Follow the Sun; that was one she did in England. It was something about— I can't recall the name at this time; I'll have to check on it.


Hopkins
She made a motion picture in England as well?


Ligon
No, she went for a stage presentation in England. It was a stage presentation. She went to England to appear [for] one of the big producers in England, Cochran, in a production called Follow the Sun.


Hopkins
When did she go to England?


Ligon
It was in 1936. No, 1935. She went to England in 1935, because I was in New York at the time that she went to England, and then I came out here to Los Angeles in 1936 to be with my mother—and other factors.



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― 9 ―
Hopkins
Can you trace for me, then, your activities or life in Chicago from 1916 to 1936 before coming to Los Angeles?


Ligon
Well, I was basically, as I say, interested in the theater, and I was involved in trying to be an actor. And I was also related to the dance field. I was an assistant instructor with a Professor [Oranto] Buckner, who conducted a number of dance schools in Chicago for quite a period of time. I was in what they call ballroom dancing and social dancing in Chicago; so my life revolved around that particular activity.


Hopkins
Were you trained by a professional?


Ligon
Professor Buckner. He taught, conducted ballroom dances. And he taught what we call also the social dances.


Hopkins
What was your visit to New York for? Why did you go to New York?


Ligon
Well, during the summer period, my brother and I went to New York, to work at one of the road houses as a waiter. Then after the summer season, we came— At least, we went to Saratoga, New York, and worked as waiters, and then we came down to New York for a short while. Then I came out here.


Hopkins
Did you have any formal education in Chicago at all? You were ten years old when you arrived.


Ligon
Oh, yes, I went to the public schools there.



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Hopkins
Can you recall the public schools by name?


Ligon
Most of my schooling through the public schools was at the John Henry Farren School, and then I went into the technical business of printing. My sister was working at a printing shop, and I went in as an apprentice and came out as a finished pressman and printer.


Hopkins
Did you apply that skill at all?


Ligon
Well, during that particular period. Even now I still have a press in my workshop, and I do printing myself. I still do certain things that are printed.


Hopkins
Have you published any books?


Ligon
Published books? Of my own? No.


Hopkins
Where you were the publisher for an author?


Ligon
We didn't go into that particular line of books, but I've done things along that line—not directly off my press, but we've gotten into publishing things of that kind, sure. Since I've been in the book business, I've been involved in doing things of that kind.


Hopkins
Dr. Ligon, you came to Los Angeles in 1936. Why did you come to Los Angeles?


Ligon
Well, as I stated, basically I came out to be with my mother. Also I became interested in the metaphysical field of studies, and I came out here to study at one of the schools, known as the Brotherhood of Light. I studied under the Brotherhood of Light, or what is now known as the Church of Light, and then I later on studied to become


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a minister and a doctor of metaphysics.


Hopkins
And did you achieve that goal?


Ligon
Oh, yes.


Hopkins
And now you are Doctor Ligon?


Ligon
Yes. [tape recorder turned off]


Hopkins
Can you tell me something about the Brotherhood of Light?

Well, the Brotherhood of Light is what we refer to as an occult organization, teaching the metaphysical philosophy that has been taught over periods of years, defining the insight or utilization of the tarot cards, the astrology, the basics of psychism, and various other phenomenons. That's the background of their teachings. They take their basic philosophy from the Egyptian Pharaoh known as Akhnaton, and so that's the background of their teachings.

Now, you received a doctor's degree from this organization?


Ligon
Not from that one, no. I received my doctorate and ministerial papers from Dr. [Marie] Pence's School of Christ and also the School of Universal Science. Dr. [Susie] Jackson's is where I received my [doctorate]. They are both established teachers here in Los Angeles.


Hopkins
Are they in a similar belief as the Brotherhood of Light?


Ligon
Yes, they are. The Brotherhood of Light, they do


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not issue, authorize doctorates. Dr. Pence's is a licensed school that issues doctorates of ministerial and metaphysics; so I studied with them. However, my background— For the present time, I'm using Dr. Mark Edmond Jones. He's one of the most noted writers in the field of occult and metaphysical philosophy that is known, and that course we study for twenty years. You have to study that particular teacher for a period of twenty years to get the background in terms of lessons. However, they do not even issue any doctorates or things of this kind. It's the monumental philosophical approach that is encouched within the studies is what is the value. So you don't need to— When you actually go into that, you are what you are, in terms of a master of philosophical ideas.


Hopkins
I'd like to go into this in a little more depth. Can you tell me what kind of training you had? How did it start, what were the various phases, are you still undergoing the process or has it ended?


Ligon
Well, no, in the matter of learning, nothing ends. We are continuously expanding, in terms of the knowledge that's available. It's always expanding into further and further fields of research, and so, therefore, we do not say that this has ever stopped to a great extent. I have related [to] or associated myself with various fields of the philosophical ideas. Of course, as I said, the earlier one was the Church of Light; however, I've studied


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material of Dane Rudhyar, who was another one who has given quite an in-depth study in terms of philosophical ideas as encouched within these studies. I have studied the material of Alice Bailey, the school of Arcana studies—the Arcane school you might define it—and the Rosicrucians and theosophical and various other groups that we have studied. I served on the World University Round Table for a number of years, on their board, and that's another group that incorporates the esoteric teachings. However, at the present time, I'm involved in a group of my own referred to as the Black Gnostic Studies. We have found that one of the most interesting books of the present day is the book called the Stolen Legacy. The Stolen Legacy defines that the philosophies that are taught, basically, or the philosophers from which we receive or which personages receive their philosophical teachings—like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates and, oh, there's a number of others—that these so-called Greek philosophers received their teachings from the Egyptian schools known as the Egyptian mystery schools or the mystery teachings. And Dr. [George G.M.] James, [who] authored the book called Stolen Legacy, has given us that particular insight: that the philosophy we call Greek philosophy is the philosophy that comes out of the African schools or the mystery teachings.


Hopkins
When did you become interested in the occult and


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these kinds of studies?


Ligon
Back in 1930, '31, '32, I first became interested.


Hopkins
How and why?


Ligon
Oh, I began to listen to one of America's greatest astrologers, Evangeline Adams. [I] became interested in astrology, and that led me to begin to read other material that is related to astrology. I got into the philosophical teachings of the Rosicrucians [Ancient Mystic Order of the Rosy Cross], and from that, I picked up Dane Rudhyar. From that I got into Mark Jones, and from that Manly P. Hall, and I guess you could name numbers of others in my background. One evolved into the others.


Hopkins
I'd like to come back to the Black Gnostic Studies later, because I know that it's very much a part of the whole Aquarian Spiritual Center and the Aquarian Bookstore. As I was reading your biographical sketch, I understand it's in the third cycle of your life that a lot of these—


Ligon
Yes, that's what I, at the present time, I am devoting myself, my time, to these studies, to what we refer to as the black gnostic studies. Actually, the black means "the hidden" and the gnostic means "to know wisdom." It's the hidden wisdom which we are relating to and studying to enable a person to know themselves, and that's the background of the material, of what we define as gnosticism.


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And we have gotten into certain books, that were first given insights from the teachings of the books of J. A. Rogers. His books were the ones in which I found—In terms of his research, he went to certain books that, although [they] had been published several hundreds of years ago, embodied certain basic ideas that we as black people should begin to understand. Certain books that I would like to show you or speak about. J. A. Rogers and his book Africa's Gift to America stated that the Africans were knowledgeable in the sense of masonry, because he says that masonry actually started in Africa. And the book The Arcana of Freemasonry defines that insight, or gives us that insight, as to what masonry is and taught in Africa. And [in] his other books, J. A. Rogers defines that the origin and evolution of the human race started in Africa, and the origin and evolution of religion started in Africa, and that masonry found its grand climax in the Great Pyramid of Egypt.

The book by Dr. [Albert] Churchward [The Arcana of Freemasonry] defines that the Great Pyramid of Egypt, which was the greatest monument or structure that has ever been built, was built by black people. And his other book, the Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man, also defines the ideas that man, as he originated in Africa, moved out of Africa and populated the whole world. So that's the further insight that we give, in references to


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the black gnostic studies. One of the other books that have carried a great deal of insight are the books of Gerald Massey. He has one book called The Beginnings, which is a very interesting book, and also Ancient Egypt is another in the series of books which he has authored that gives us that same basic insight, or further insight, into the idea of the black gnostic studies, which we are devoting so much of our time to.


Hopkins
Now, the Black Gnostic Studies [group], do you have students that attend sessions? Can you tell me something of the structure?


Ligon
We have had series of lectures over the past ten years that people here in the Los Angeles area have attended, and now we are circulating our lesson material throughout the United States and the Caribbean. So that's the extent of the studies now.


Hopkins
Is there a formal membership?


Ligon
One becomes a member of the Aquarian Spiritual Center, and then they can receive the black gnostic studies.


Hopkins
Can you estimate your enrollment?


Ligon
Well, our enrollment at the present time is running about one hundred persons. Constantly, we keep up with that enrollment, but over the period of the last ten years, we have had several hundreds that have been members. They come in and stay for maybe a couple years or


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three years, get their basic training, and then they move on. There are numbers and numbers of personages who are still members, of course, of the Black Gnostic Studies, but they are not participating in the studies at the present time.


Hopkins
Dr. Ligon, I neglected to ask you a couple of questions about your experience in Chicago, and I'd like to go back to that if I might. I noticed that you were involved as director/manager of the Aethiops Little Theater School.


Ligon
That was because somehow I've always been interested in the black approach that relates to our people. And when in Chicago, as I stated, I was interested in the theater, and in order to name a small group which I had that was expressing through the little theaters, we referred to them as the Aethiops, meaning the Ethiopian Theater—that's the Greek spelling for the word Ethiopia.


Hopkins
Has that theater continued in Los Angeles?


Ligon
Not after I left [Chicago]. As I say, when I came out here, my theatrical career was somewhat diminished because I became more interested in the metaphysical field. So that was a period in my life which I have enjoyed immensely—the theater, the dance theater, and other things—but I haven't continued it at the present time.



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Hopkins
When you were in Chicago and were apprenticing as a printer, you knew or met Ida Barnett-Wells, the political activist?


Ligon
Yes, at the time in which I was working there in one of the printing shops that was was owned by Ida B. Wells' sister. And of course, Mrs. Barnett-Wells came a number of times to sit in the front office, and a number of the politicians and social personages in Chicago would come and talk with her. I was in my late teens at that particular time, but she was a very beautiful and gracious lady, [whom] I now value having been in her presence and having known her to that extent. That is one of the things that I have cherished and, as I said, other personages that came into the printing shop and things of this kind; so I knew them by sight. That was one of the things that evolved in that community at that particular time, back in 1923, '24, '25.


Hopkins
Did that heighten any interest in political activity for you or any greater enthusiasm for black people? What was your impression?


Ligon
Living in Chicago at that particular time, so much history was being made in that particular time. Reading one of the newspapers, especially the Chicago Defender and the New Pittsburgh Courier, which carried so much information about the blacks at large, I just read and observed the things that were going on around us in the


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political arena and also in the theater. So that was how I became basically knowledgeable of the different personages: Kelly Miller, Oscar [Stanton] De Priest, [Sr.], [William] Monroe Trotter, [Dr. William E.] DuBois. There's hundreds of others—I guess you could go down the line—that I knew of and have seen and heard speak.


Hopkins
I don't want to put you on the spot with this question, but it's been fascinating to me in reading black urban history that there's always this debate between the integrationists (DuBois)—this is generalizing, of course—and the self-helpers on the side of [Booker T.] Washington. Do you line up on one side or another? What are your feelings in terms of blacks' involvement in politics?


Ligon
I think basically that they both had their forte in their approach towards life. Lots of times people don't understand them when they come to eclectical factors, but what could we have done without DuBois and also Booker T.? They each had so much to offer to the ongoing conditions of people at various stages, in relationship to their life. So perhaps their philosophical ideas to some extent may have been somewhat different. It was not that it was not needed to advance people in the totality of their approach. I would never divide them in terms of an opposite factor, but we just more or less have to study each one of their philosophical ideas as [it]


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relates to the times in which they were expressed.


Hopkins
Could you detect in the Chicago black community—as much as you could being you were a youth at that time—a certain allegiance in the black community on one side or another? That is, in the community at large, did there seem to be a split in the black community, lining up between DuBois and Washington?


Ligon
No. Just basically, to look back [at] it, as I said, each one carried their own weight in terms of the black community. There were those who were related basically to DuBois and accepted DuBois in terms of his teaching and his ideas and, of course, also Marcus Garvey. There were thousands—I have seen in relationship to Marcus Garvey, through Chicago—the parades and the pomp and ceremony that was expressed at that particular time. Each carried their owned masses that were relating to their particular ideas, but one did not annihilate the other or downplay the others—only more or less the propaganda that was expressed. DuBois would define Marcus Garvey as a buffoon or something of that kind, but that was DuBois in terms of his approach, because he was more or less on what was defined as the intellectual field, and Marcus Garvey was more or less relating to the masses on a more man-to-man relationship, more of the commonness of man, man's common humanity. That was related, and he appealed to people along that line. DuBois was, in


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relationship to his talented tenth, and things of this kind, he was of another ilk. So that's the difference. So what I'm trying to say is, those things are basically necessary for the ongoing of peoples if they could understand it, but then we like to bring a dialectical phase within the structure of these various philosophical ideas and not see, in the totality of them, their relationship to the whole.


Hopkins
I know we have to close soon because I know you have other obligations, but I would like to end by asking you, when you arrived in Los Angeles, what were your impressions before coming to the city? Did you have some preconceived notions about Los Angeles?


Ligon
I didn't. I didn't have any preconceived [notions]. I just wanted to see Los Angeles, and things of that kind. Naturally, when I came out here and [saw] what was going on, I became interested, naturally, in Los Angeles and [in] observing what was going on in the theater, and in the political area, although I don't try to say that I was completely involved in these things. But I have always—I guess I could define in terms of my life—I've been interested in the black evolutionary movement. Evolutionary and revolutionary movement, I should say. So observing from that particular phase of life, I knew and read people like Leon [H.] Washington, [Jr.], who, in the early phases of the jobs, defined "Do not


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spend your money where you can't work." He was beginning the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper, which was bringing forth certain insight in that particular sense. Those who were there—Mrs. [Charlotta] Bass was also, relating to her newspaper, a very progressive person in the community, and various other personages were around at that particular time, people like Mrs. Bass. This book was published by her: Forty Years. Are you familiar with that? And then, of course, the works of Dr. Alexander Somerville, his autobiography, A Man of Color—all of those basic insights which we were getting. Here's another book which we refer to, The Petitioners, by Loren Miller, and work which he was doing. We catch your eye and understanding. Of course, I, being in the book business, was always interested in seeing those kinds of books being published about people whom we related to.



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Tape Number: Tape II, Side One
February 17, 1982
Hopkins
Dr. Ligon, the last time we left off, we were about to bring you to Los Angeles. I understand that when you arrived in Los Angeles in 1936, you took a job with the Southern Pacific Railroad.


Ligon
Yes that's right.


Hopkins
Can you describe that experience?


Ligon
What the job was like?


Hopkins
What I'm after is to find out how you became employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad? Was it difficult for a black person to become employed for that job?


Ligon
Well, no. At that particular time, of course, in '36, jobs were opening up out here on the coast. There had been numbers of jobs only for blacks in certain categories, such as maids and butlers and chauffeurs and things of that kind. However, on the Southern Pacific Railroad, they had been employed as waiters for quite a number of years. And, although they were just coming out of the Depression, the road was opening up now to hire more waiters on the railroad. So I went down and applied for a job as a waiter, since that was my background. And within about three or four weeks, I was called to go to work. I was given a trial run up to San Francisco and back, and, of course, I was able to take care of myself as a waiter. Then I became a permanent employee and


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stayed with the Southern Pacific for thirty years.


Hopkins
For thirty years?


Ligon
Yes, I worked for thirty years, then retired after sixty-two years of age.

So I found a job. The working conditions were changing from what they had previously been. There had been a lot of difficulties in terms of the antagonistic conditions that exist between the stewards and the waiters and the personnel at large, but at that particular time, changes were beginning to take place, and over a period of time, there were a number of great changes that—Before I retired, I became a steward. Some of the first black stewards [were] on the Southern Pacific Railroad, or on the railroads in general. So that was the extent of my experience with the Southern Pacific.


Hopkins
Was there a union?


Ligon
Yes, yes. The union was just forming at that time, and it was quite viable in helping the working conditions at large in terms of the waiters, as we began to get upgraded in the sense of our salaries and so forth. So that very helpful for those who were the newer employees that were coming in and for the workers at large—the waiters and cooks on the road. Of course, prior to that time, [A. Philip] Randolph and the Pullman porters had been organized; so then the waiters began to follow along that particular line too. And we began to


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organize also. So that was a rather joint relationship between the Pullman porters and the waiters and also the chaircar porters.


Hopkins
So, you were saying, then, that the waiters were part of the Sleeping Car Porters Union [Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters].


Ligon
That was an independent group, but then they were basically under the national group of the A.F.L., American Federation of Labor.


Hopkins
Was there a name for that union that the waiters belonged to?


Ligon
Just a— We'd usually go by numbers.


Hopkins
Was that union integrated racially?


Ligon
No, that was just for the waiters and cooks, which were all black. At that time there were one or two Caucasians, persons that were cooks prior to my coming to [be] employed by the Southern Pacific, and they were also, of course, admitted to the union.


Hopkins
So in the main, then, the majority of the cooks and waiters would have been black. How about conductors and engineers?


Ligon
No, they were a different group.


Hopkins
Were there blacks, as you can recall, when you were employed there, as conductors or engineers?


Ligon
Not in our division, not in the Los Angeles division.



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Hopkins
You came in 1936, and the Depression was still going on?


Ligon
Somewhat, yes.


Hopkins
How would you compare the employment possibilities for blacks in Chicago with that of Los Angeles? Can you speak to that at all?


Ligon
Well, I didn't work that long in Chicago—as being employed in that particular sense—so I couldn't make a very good comparison, because, as I said, at that particular time unions were just beginning to form. Although when I first started to work, I worked for a short while in Chicago at the Palmer House as a waiter, but we were not in a union at that time. But later on, of course, the hotels formed a union and that was helpful for them, those who were in the hotels. But I wasn't. That's some forty-six years ago now, so that's a condition [about which] I can't make a comparison in relationship to the groups there in Chicago. Although I know that when the waiters began to organize, they were organized nationally in the sense of the different branches of the waiters, union.


Hopkins
Can you tell me something about the character of the Palmer [House] hotel? Was it a large hotel for whites, but they employed blacks, or am I wrong there?


Ligon
A large hotel for blacks?


Hopkins
For whites? But they employed blacks? I don't


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know. If you can tell me about the Palmer. Let me just inquire about the hotel?


Ligon
No, you have to ask questions, because I just don't know what you would like to know in reference to the history. But as I understand, for years some of the employees that the hotel employed were bellboys and waiters and things of that kind, especially through the South. And when we came north, there were waiters and bellboys that were also black and white. However, I understand (this was the history that was oral more or less than otherwise that I know) that the owner of the Palmer House, Mr. Palmer, had left in his will that as long as there was a Palmer House, there would have to be black employees. That was something at that particular time that had been spoken of. I think at that time the bellhops were Caucasian. I believe they had some black maids. The maids in the hotel were black, but perhaps all the other personnel were Caucasian. But the waiters were still black—not the captains, what we would define as the head waiters: they were Caucasians—but the others were all black.


Hopkins
When you came to Los Angeles, where did you live when you first arrived?


Ligon
When we first arrived we were living on Adams and Stanford, near the corner: 2602—something like that—Stanford Avenue.



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Hopkins
Can you describe the black community in Los Angeles when you arrived around 1936? Were most of the blacks in that area, or were they elsewhere?


Ligon
At that time most of the blacks were from Central Avenue back to about Hooper and Pomona and various other places like that. And there were just a few perhaps in some pockets on the West Side. But the extent of the black community was, we could say, from Twelfth Street down along Central, perhaps just a very little west of Central, but mostly in the area east of Central over to maybe Pomona and Hooper and, I guess, up to Alameda. I'm not definitely sure; I'm not familiar with all that territory now. Coming on back down to Fortieth Street or that region along Central—east and west of Central—that was the largest proportion of the blacks at that time. That was in 1936.

In about five or six more years, the population began to grow, because of the airplane plants opening up during the war period. Then, of course, Los Angeles has taken a complete turn since that time.


Hopkins
When you first arrived in the thirties, in the pre-World War II era, where would you say the wealthiest blacks lived? Or did they also live in this Central Avenue area?


Ligon
Oh, yes, there were a few. I don't know, I never keep up with things of that kind. [laughter] There were


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a few prominent blacks that were living—I don't know— I think shortly after that the Blodgett Tract was started, and that was somewhat of an exclusive area.


Hopkins
I'm sorry, which tract?


Ligon
The Blodgett Tract. It's out south now, and it's known as the Blodgett Tract, and he [Louis Blodgett] had a building around Twenty-fourth and Central, right next to the big theater there, the Lincoln Theater. He was a pioneer in real estate and was building very beautiful homes for blacks out in South Central Los Angeles. And there were perhaps others that I wasn't familiar with that would be defined in the higher echelon that was here in Los Angeles, but I didn't pay that much attention to where they were living.


Hopkins
The Blodgett Tract, do you know any of the streets that encompass that tract now?


Ligon
Not now. It was out about 118th Street and, I guess it was still around—I don't know—about around Avelon, I think it was, in that region.


Hopkins
Materially speaking, did the average black, if I can use that term, seem to live better or worse than the average black in Chicago? Can you make a comparison along those lines?


Ligon
Well, I think all cities produce the same thing: from those who are, perhaps, in some of the better jobs to those who are unable to find employment. I found that


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kind of situation.


Hopkins
The reason I keep harping on this area is that it's been said, by some, that Los Angeles was a near racial paradise for blacks. Do you agree with that statement?


Ligon
Racial paradise?


Hopkins
Well, that the race relations between whites and blacks were better in Los Angeles, that employment opportunities were better in Los Angeles, that housing conditions were better for black Angelinos than they were for blacks of the same economic status in New York or in Chicago.


Ligon
No, I think that depends on the population. When there was a small amount of population, then those who were employed fared very well, but as the conditions improved, if the employment conditions were not improved, then we would have found it difficult. But most of the employees and the employment— As the blacks moved in, they found work because of, as I said, the airplane industry. The war industry opened up, and a number of the blacks were able to find jobs, and they came out here—that's why they came out here, basically. So that didn't overbalance the population in that sense; so there was no conflict. There would have been a conflict had they entered out here and been unable to find jobs. That's what I think about the relationship.



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Hopkins
Dr. Ligon, can you trace for me, then, your life from the time you arrived in Los Angeles, that is, your activities from 1936 to about 1962?


Ligon
Well, I think [one of] the things that interested me was, of course, when in 1940 I started my bookshop, the Aquarian Library and Bookshop. I started that, and just more or less working on the road and enjoying life in general [are] basically the things in which I would define in terms of my life. My family, my mother, and my wife, and my sister were all here, and we enjoyed being here in Los Angeles because I enjoyed the weather, I enjoyed the congeniality of those who we were friends with. My life has just been an average life, on the periphery of what was happening.


Hopkins
You started your bookstore in 1940 or 1941?


Ligon
I think it was '41.


Hopkins
How did you go about starting a bookstore?


Ligon
How did I go about it? Well, we, my sister and I, purchased a place at 802 East Jefferson. And there was an upstairs and downstairs, and downstairs we had store space. I thought it would be a very nice idea to have a bookshop merely because of my interest in the metaphysical and occult background that I was interested in. I found a book referred to as The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ [Levi Dowling], defining the coming of the Aquarian age. I became quite interested in


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its philosophical approach, and then I began to sell that book. In conjunction with, at that time, what we called the Aquarian Library and Bookshop, we began to get other books that were being published at that time, especially those that [were] related along the subject matter of [the] metaphysical and also a few of the black books. So that was how I got started in the book business.


Hopkins
When you started the bookstore, and it was located on Jefferson, were you living at that site?


Ligon
Yes, we had living quarters upstairs, and we had store space downstairs. My sister was in the theatrical profession, and she started her dancing school there, and I had the bookshop.


Hopkins
Oh, she started the dancing school in the building?


Ligon
In the building, sure.


Hopkins
Was the dancing school successful?


Ligon
Yes at that time it was very successful, for the period in which she conducted it. It had one or two other locations that we moved from that particular location, but it was very successful over a period of years.


Hopkins
Is it still being conducted?


Ligon
Oh, no, she's left the city now. She's up in Vancouver.


Hopkins
How about the bookstore? Was it successful?


Ligon
Well, to me it was successful. It wasn't— Now,


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you see, we make our success economically. I don't base success on economics. It's what you do in terms of fulfilling your own life, and if you feel it has been worthy of the things which you have been doing, then it's successful. So, I feel the bookshop has been successful to the purpose in which it was put forth, in terms of its operation. We have been able to maintain ourselves in the community for the last forty years, and we have not completely relied on the bookshop as a financial success, because I worked for thirty years. My wife took care of the bookshop until the uprising. And then with the people actually beginning to become more interested in the black field, then, of course, we needed more attention to the bookshop. Prior to that time, we were more or less in the metaphysical field, and that was not too much in terms of the blacks, but there were more of the Caucasians who were supporting us at that time. And so that was the difference. But then as people became interested in the black field, we began to take on our stock, in the sense of the black books that were published. Because after the uprising, which I think was around '65, the blacks really became interested in the black material—history. And for a period of years, I would say two-thirds of all the important material that had been published by blacks has been republished. So it was made available and we were very happy that we were able to be
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a part of that operation, in the sense of getting books and providing books for the schools and people who were interested along that line.


Hopkins
You say at one point that you were largely supported by the white community. In what sense? You mean they were your major patronage?


Ligon
Because of their interest in the metaphysical, and as we started the bookshop, I was interested more or less in the metaphysical. As an adjunct, I carried the black books, but, you see, at that time we would basically find that black people, which at that time referred to themselves as negroes, were not interested in black material at large.


Hopkins
Were they interested in the metaphysical?


Ligon
No. No, not in the approach which we take. They were interested in Christian literature, but we were not interested in that particular field. We were interested in a metaphysical and occult approach to the metaphysical philosophical expression. And so that was the difference.


Hopkins
What was the response of the black religious community on the whole to your bookshop?


Ligon
Well, we didn't carry books that were relating to that particular field. The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ does not define the acceptance of a personage, the anthropomorphical basis of a personage, known as


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Jesus the Christ. So that would be the difference. We were not catering to that group of persons. That is what we would define as Christians. When I received my ministerial papers, it was through the spiritualist groups, and the doctor of metaphysics we became through the so-called science of mind: Dr. Holmes, Dr. Pence, who was my teacher, Dr. Jackson, and various others who were in that field, which is basically the metaphysical field as it relates to the Christian concept.


Hopkins
Can you follow for me, then, the growth and development of the Aquarian Bookstore? I know it's developed into much more than just a bookstore now. I think you have the [Aquarian] Spiritual Center and then you have the Black Gnostic Studies [group].


Ligon
I think I related some parts of that earlier when I was speaking of the ideas that were founded in J. A. Rogers's books. We found within the structure of his approach, that is Roger's approach, that he did give us an insight to a great interest in terms of the basic idea of what the blacks had contributed to civilization. Then, later on, we began to read the works of Dr. James; Stolen Legacy, which defined that it wasn't the Greeks that gave mankind their philosophy, [but] it was the Africans that brought forth what we define as the philosophical ideas that were accepted by Aristotle and Plato and Socrates and various others; they came out of the African


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mystery system. That's the background in which we now approach and began basically to understand more and more the emphasis to the whole philosophical field, what we refer to as religion and history.


Hopkins
I understand that you moved to your shop at the Santa Barbara [Avenue] address. What address was that? You moved to Santa Barbara Street or Santa Barbara Avenue in 1957?


Ligon
Yes.


Hopkins
What was the address there?


Ligon
1302. We still have that. That's part of the Aquarian Spiritual Center, and, of course, the Aquarian Spiritual Center offers to those interested the gnostic studies. The gnostic studies more or less define— We use the word black gnostic studies or black gnosticism only defining that the word black as it is used in the metaphysical sense, only mean[ing] the hidden knowledge (gnostic meaning knowledge) which is all around us, but we are not aware of it. So a person becomes aware of that hidden knowledge. And that's what we define, trying to make a person aware of the hidden knowledge that's found in a number of books as we have outlined them and also stated that one actually also begins to know himself.


Hopkins
Why did you move the shop to West Santa Barbara Avenue? You were in pretty much the heart of the black


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community at that time.


Ligon
Because the black community moved. It shifted. At that particular time we had moved for a short while over past Crenshaw. We were over between La Brea and Crenshaw over on Rimpau. And then we moved from Rimpau over here to 1302 back in '57. But the location of the bookshop had been at 1302, and then it was down at—I believe it was Sixth or Seventh—at the corner of Jefferson and Central for a while upstairs. I can't recall the exact address now. But then we moved the bookshop, and we worked out of our postbox for a short while while we were living over on Rimpau. And then we opened up the bookshop again [at] the permanent location at 1302 in 1957.


Hopkins
When you arrived in the 1930s and through the 1940s, can you recall some of the prominent leaders in the black community in Los Angeles, people that maybe have stuck in your mind over time, in those early decades?


Ligon
[laughter] I think we tried to get into that before. But as I said, my interest in terms of leaders and things of this kind, I don't try to define people as leaders. When one begins to understand himself, we accept people as people, and what are we going to find? Those who are politicians, are they leaders? Are those in the church, are they leaders? Who must I look for in


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terms of a leader if I can't look for it in terms of myself? So my philosophical concept is that I'm master of my own destiny, and I do not look for leadership. However, there are numbers of those in the black community [who] were doing things that I basically related to: people who are head of the [Los Angeles] Urban League (I think that was at that time Mr. [Floyd] Covington) and Blodgett, who was doing things along that line, and a number of other people who were busy in their own fields. But I didn't look to them in terms of leadership because, of course, they were doing their thing at the same time I was doing my thing. So that's my philosophical approach.

I think we have been oriented towards accepting people in that particular sense. I think that's an old, old, antiquated concept. We look for it as a key in terms of here's the ruler of the people, and then we lose the concept that we must be leaders in terms of ourselves, and no one can be above us in terms of our own approach towards life. So I don't give that concept in my life.


Hopkins
Right, I can understand. There are always some people who seem to wield some kind of power, whether it be economic or political, and they seem to influence the lives of [people] more than others, and like you mention, the N.A.A.C.P. [National Association for the Advancement


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of Colored People] and the Urban League are two organizations that have done a great deal of work in Los Angeles and also on the national level. There was an organization, also, called the Forum? Are you familiar with them?


Ligon
I've never attended, but I've read about them. That was a forum open for community discussion and so forth that used to meet on Sundays and discussed political and social conditions and things of that kind. I never participated in that organization, but I do recall I read about it.


Hopkins
Was it difficult for you to get insurance for your bookshop when you first opened, to get services from the publishers to get the books you needed?


Ligon
No, it wasn't difficult. I began to establish my credit. As long as I [could] establish my credit and meet my monthly budget, then that was the only thing that was needed. I recalled that slowly I began to build up an economic base in the manner of making purchases from different larger organizations that are publishing, and I have had no difficulty over the period of years. I don't think, as far as I can recall, I've ever missed a payment, but that was having the ability to judge and understand how you are budgeting yourself and the background in terms of the needs, that you don't overbudget yourself and [that you] keep up the budget in the sense of your


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rent and employees and so forth. I basically operated the bookshop as a business, and that hasn't bothered me a great deal. There were no barriers that I can recall that were put up in the sense of that, because the person who was in business was only there in business for the money. As long as you can meet their demands, that's all that is needed, because it was said that, at the time, it wasn't that we needed a great deal of outlay. Things were very much cheaper, and so with about two or three hundred dollars—I think I started the business around that particular time, and that wasn't a great amount at that time to actually start a small business— My business was in the home; so there wasn't that much overhead with which we were confronted. And since my wife was able to take care of the bookshop, there wasn't that particular overhead, so I didn't have a large overhead. The only thing I had to do was get the books.

When we had our classes in the metaphysical field, the books that we provided for them could be purchased in the bookshop; so that was a clientele which we had. Later on, as the interest in blacks became demanding, then we were able to get books in that particular field. It's been an equitable distribution.


Hopkins
We spoke in the preliminary interview, before the tape, about some of the other bookstores that existed in the black community in Los Angeles. Can you recount


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for me those again?


Ligon
Around 1943, '44, '45, as far as I can recall, We had available rooms for small meetings, and there was some of the socialist groups that were meeting in our available space—lecture room, I call it. As I understand it, Miss Adell Young, who was also a worker in the community, she became heir to a legacy left by a Mr. Gordon, and that legacy was that they (she or whomever the legacy was indirectly left for) would do something to help the community, and it was [with] that she started the Hugh Gordon Bookshop in memory of Mr. Gordon. I think, as far as I can recall, the historical perspective was that he had been in World War I, I believe, and he wanted to do something for the community. He left a legacy that established—I guess it was for a bookshop. Miss Adell Young started the bookshop that was basically oriented towards the black literature. I wasn't completely interested in the black literature at that time, because my forte was in the metaphysical field. So she started the bookshop which has been successful for a number of years.

She passed away some time ago, and then as far as I can recall now, there were one or two other bookshops that had started in the community, but they only lasted for a short while. However, over the period of time in which—I don't recall when it was established—it was


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only maybe a couple of years ago that it ceased, because that was the Hall Bookshop, that was out in a district further west on Santa Barbara, known as Hall's bookshop. Mr. Hall was murdered during the time of a robbery at his place, and of course, then the bookshop fell to others, and they were not able to continue to maintain the bookshop. So that bookshop was closed, and Mrs. Young, she passed away. There was Mr. Whitley who took care of the bookshop for quite a number of years after her passing, and of course, he retired. Someone else had the bookshop for a short while, but I think it was closed up. And that was it, there was one or two other small bookshops in the community, but I don't even recall their names. One I think was out on Main Street—Fifty-fourth or Fiftieth somewhere—but he was only there for a short while. People got into the business because they felt there was a great profit in it, but there's no great profit in books, especially when there's a great deal of competition. But then then there's not a great deal of competition, but as I usually state, there's not enough reading blacks that like to read books, so we just attempt to serve those who want to read, and that's a small percentage of the thousands of people we find here. It's only a small percentage. If, on the average, we say we have twenty sales a day, out of half a million people, I think that's a very small percentage in terms of a
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bookshop.


Hopkins
To your knowledge, are you the only black-oriented bookstore in Los Angeles?


Ligon
Yes, there's no other bookstore that I know of.


Hopkins
And the Gordon Bookstore is now out of business?


Ligon
Hugh Gordon is gone. Hall's gone. And any other bookstore that I know of that carried the kind of stuff that we carry is not there. Not only that, as far as we know, there is only really about a dozen bookstores that completely oriented themselves in the kind of stock that we have here throughout the United States. There is one or two in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, maybe a few other small places—Detroit, Washington—and maybe a few other places. I don't know, but I think if there were more, we would actually know something about them. As people go to different places they come here to the bookshop, because we have been established and we are perhaps known throughout the United States.


Hopkins
Turning from your sales, would you say that the black readership has grown in the 1980s, or is there less than in the 1960s? How would you compare the 1980s and the 1960s?


Ligon
It hasn't grown a great deal. The thing about it is, with the upsurge—it was because of the black studies—the people at the schools began to use books.


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Colleges and various other places began to orient people towards reading black books. So that was one of the things. Now, with black studies, as far as I can observe, they haven't been using as many of the black books as they used to, and most of the colleges have their own bookstores, and so we don't get trade from them. Whether we've established ourselves here, people who know what we have—our regular patronage—is he only thing that we rely on. That, maybe, is an average of fifteen to twenty people a day. So with that clientele, we have to work on a very small budget.


Hopkins
Dr. Ligon, can you tell me something about your family: when you met your wife, your children? Do you have children?


Ligon
Yes, I have two children. Interestingly enough, they were born under the sign of Aquarius, one on the first of February, the other on the fifteenth of February. My mother's passed away, and my sister, of course, is the only other relative that I have living at the present time, but she's not here in Los Angeles. She's up in Vancouver, British Columbia. My mother, she passed away when she was living out here. My father passed away earlier in life, in Chicago, and since that time, I've had a passing of my sister and my brother. And, of course, my first wife has passed away. My present wife has a daughter, and I have a son and a daughter, and


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between the two of us, we have nine grandchildren and two great grandchildren. That's the extent of the family.


Hopkins
When were you first married, and what was your first wife's name?


Ligon
Hazel.


Hopkins
And what year were you married?


Ligon
Back in 1936.


Hopkins
And then your present wife you married in—


Ligon
That was in '48.


Hopkins
And her name?


Ligon
That's Bernice.


Hopkins
What's her background, Bernice?


Ligon
She was born in Riverside, California, and lived there until the 1940s, when she moved up here to Los Angeles. Her father was out of Georgia, like my family was. They were early pioneers that settled down in Riverside back in the early 1900s, and there's quite a number of them that have lived in Riverside and are still living there.


Hopkins
In reading your brochure here on the bookshop, I notice that they state that the bookshop meant more to the community in the early 1960s than it did prior to the '60s. Can you tell me why?


Ligon
That's because black people were not interested in reading black material. It was only because of the [Watts] uprising that they became interested in the


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blacks, and they were establishing the black studies and various other things of that kind that actually turned the negroes into blacks. [laughter] That's the point of emphasis: negroes then became blacks. But prior to that time if you were to call a negro a black person that was almost [inaudible]; so the acceptance of their own states of consciousness as being black was why the bookshop began to become viable and meaningful to those who were black.


Hopkins
Can you tell me something about the journal Uraeus?


Ligon
That was a journal that was established through the Aquarian Spiritual Center, and its focus is on the metaphysical and occult material, helping us spread the basic philosophical insight which we have expressed that relates to the ongoing of the material that's found in the Stolen Legacy, The Book of the Dead, and other material that comes out of the African concept, basically the background about the Churchward books and Dr. Massey and [Higgins?] and Dr. James and Dr. Jackson and various others, Dr. William Leo Hansberry and so forth. That's the forte in reference to the Uraeus.



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Tape Number: Tape II, Side Two
February 17, 1982
Hopkins
The editor of the journal?


Ligon
Ms. Kakwasi Somadhi is the editor.


Hopkins
I understand that you had some rather renowned individuals who have been associated with this center, at least, well-known people like Ron Karenga.


Ligon
No, Ron Karenga was associated, not as a member of the center, but during the time in which he established the US group, he was utilizing the center as its meeting place. That's the manner in which he was related to the Aquarian Spiritual Center. But he was independent in terms of his group that he started there at the center.


Hopkins
The final question I would like to ask you, outside of the spiritual center and the services that you have for spiritual uplift and philosophical uplift for the black community, are there other services that you perform for the community?


Ligon
Oh, I guess in one particular sense. I was thinking just a while ago, since you were stating that you were taking the history, that it would be incorporated into UCLA's oral history [collection], that it was during the times in which some of the first black studies were instituted out at UCLA that those who were the teaching staff at that time came over to our bookstore and asked


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that we bring the books out for the classes when they first instituted the program out there. They wanted to relate to the black community, and they knew that we had the bookstore here. And while we were able to bring the books out to the classes there, we did, for a couple of years. Black studies [Center for Afro-American Studies] got their books through us, which was economically very grand in terms of the starting of the black studies and relating to the students out there. So that was one of the things in which we were very happy to have made that kind of contact. Those who were on the staff defined that they wanted to relate to blacks. If they were going to relate to blacks, then they would not try immediately to get their books through their own bookshop out there. And so we had the privilege of going out and selling the books. So that is one of the things that is historical perspective in the sense of how they related to us.


Hopkins
But that's past now?


Ligon
Oh, yes. I never hear from them at the present time. [laughter] We supplied a number of the books earlier for the [Center for Afro-American Studies] library there in Campbell Hall and things of that kind. So that was one of the insights— We felt we had a close relationship to the group at that time.



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Tape Number: Tape III, Side One
March 24, 1982
Hopkins
Today, Dr. Ligon, I'd like to clarify some of the points that we discussed earlier and also expand on others. I remember that you said you arrived in Chicago from Atlanta, Georgia, in 1916.


Ligon
That's right, yes.


Hopkins
This was at the height of the so-called Great Migration.


Ligon
Right.


Hopkins
Now, you were about ten years old at that time?


Ligon
Yes. [In] 1916 I had reached the age of ten. Yes, I would say ten.


Hopkins
Did you have a sense of a great migration at that time? Did you feel as though hoards and hoards of people were leaving?


Ligon
No, not a kid of [ten]. I wasn't interested in migration or anything else in terms of that. Of course, my mother was in Chicago, because she had left with her sister and came to Chicago; my older sister and my younger sister were there with her. That was the only thing I was thinking about—coming to Chicago. [laughter] No, we were not conscious of, actually, what were the larger facets of things going on in the environment around us. I didn't realize that, sure.



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Hopkins
What was your religious background?


Ligon
The family? They were Baptists.


Hopkins
Did you attend Baptist church in Chicago?


Ligon
Yes, sure. I attended church in Georgia. They were Baptist and we attended church in Atlanta—Mount Olive. In Atlanta, Georgia, I went to one of the oldest established churches, known as Friendship Baptist Church, and I think there was a Dr. Carter who was pastor there. When we came to Chicago, our family was members of the Mount Olive Baptist Church. Dr. Fisher was the pastor there, had been pastor for quite a number of years. Later on—I'm not sure, but I think—Dr. L.K. Williams became pastor of Mount Olive. He was head of the National Baptist Convention. When they moved from Twenty-seventh Street and Dearborn to their present location on Thirty-first [Street] and South Park, sure, we were members. My grandmother, her four sisters and my brothers, my parents, and I attended there during Sunday school for a number of years throughout the twenties.


Hopkins
Also, you said that you had become familiar with some of the jazz theaters on the South Side of Chicago. How did you become familiar with those?


Ligon
I'm not definitely sure, but I thought I had stated in my article that I became interested in the theater long before I got to Chicago. When I was a kid, about six or seven years old, I was introduced to the


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theater. I continued that interest when I came to Chicago, just being observant, going to the movies, seeing the stage shows, and things of this kind. Of course, a lot of those who were in the entertainment field were also entertaining in the various cabarets, as they were known, and various other places of entertainment. Naturally, I read about them and followed them. I wasn't old enough to go into some of the places, but I knew what was going on—the bands and things of that kind. Later on—I guess it was around about 1926 or 1927, when I was eighteen or nineteen years old, I began to go (after leaving Mount Olive on Thirty-first Street) to South Park. There was the Royal Gardens, on Thirty-first and Cottage Grove, where King Joe Oliver and his band was playing. And later on—I'm not definitely sure during the particular time—I think that's when Louis Armstrong came up to play, and they were playing there. They used to have matinees for the young ones during that time. I'd leave after church, which was around 1:30 or two o'clock, and we'd go down to the matinee at the Royal Gardens. That was one of the first intros in terms of going to night clubs. Then I recall that later on King Joe Oliver expanded his band [and] had a big, beautiful aggregation of, I think it was, ten or twelve pieces that played at the Plantation across from the Sunset on Thirty-fifth Street and South Park. They used to have
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matinees. I belonged to a social club, and some matinees we would go there and dance enjoy that entertainment.


Hopkins
Can you explain to me what was the setup of the jazz theaters?


Ligon
They were cabarets, but there were popular halls that had vaudeville—that was the Grand Theater. There were the the dramas which were at the Avenue Theater in Chicago, and then there was the Monogram, that was an established T.O.B.A. [Theater Owners' Booking Association] house that had vaudeville. So, all of those shows were playing. And then there were several other small houses that would have maybe one or two acts at different times throughout the community. When you get interested in these things, you just follow them up and know where they are. Actors like Mamie Smith and Bessie Smith and the blues singers and—oh, [there are] so many I could start naming. The varieties of numbers of shows and things that I kept up with over the period of years.


Hopkins
Did these houses play to an integrated audience, or were they largely black?


Ligon
Well, in Chicago, it was come who may, whoever wished to. But then, being basically in the black community, they mostly were patronized by blacks, but there wasn't any segregation.

I don't recall having been there at the particular performance, but when Ethel Waters became very famous, it


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was merely because [of] one of the writers on one of the prominent Chicago papers. He was one of the theatrical writers; Anston Stevens, I believe his name was. I even have the clipping at this time. He went out to the Grand Theater, where Ethel Waters was appearing, and gave her a write-up in the daily paper that actually made her quite famous because of his insight into the performance. So he was able to put a type of critic behind her that enabled her to become a star performer on the Keith circuit. That was one of the things which I have kept a record of in terms of Ethel Waters and her career.


Hopkins
Did you meet her?


Ligon
Not until we came out here. Her manager, Earl Dancer, later became the manager for my sister. When I came out here, he was the manager for her, my sister, Ethel was living in New York at that time. And then when she moved out here, I had the opportunity to meet her.


Hopkins
You were in Chicago during the time of the great race riot of 1919. Do you have any recollections of that race riot?


Ligon
Sure. The greatest part which I can recall was that at the height of it, there was shooting on State Street. I was living at Forty-fifth and Wabash, which is just one block from State Street, and we were there in our living room and could hear shooting that was being carried on just a block away, on State Street. A lady, a


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family who were also from Atlanta, lived right across the street from us, and, as far as I can recall, her son got shot. I'm not sure whether he was killed or not, but I think he was killed when he was out there on State Street, perhaps shooting at some of the whites. As I understood it, they came down into the black neighborhood. Then, later on, they put the state militia on to quiet things down. Some of the stores had been closed, and so things opened up. I remember that particular incident, sure.


Hopkins
The riot went on for, as I recall it, a week or two weeks almost?


Ligon
Oh, I don't think it was two weeks. I think the height of it was maybe about two or three days, and then it began to quiet down. But they brought the militia in. I don't recall just the extent of it in terms of its time, but I do recall that it [originally] started on a Sunday, so the height of it must have been maybe Monday or Tuesday. And then it quieted down as far as I can recall.


Hopkins
Did you leave your home during those days?


Ligon
Not that I can remember. We stayed right there, but lots of the things were shut down. I don't think I went to school at that time.


Hopkins
What were relations like between blacks and whites after the riot, as you can remember?



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Ligon
I don't recall. No, I don't recall just what they were.


Hopkins
Did it make your family want to leave Chicago?


Ligon
Oh, no. You see, in one particular sense, you felt quite safe in the black community. It was more or less the whites who had remained there in the community [who] perhaps felt alienated in terms of wanting to move. But in 1919, where we moved, there were several white families still living along in that community, but we were some of the early ones that had moved in certain places of Chicago at that time. Later on, I recall down to Thirty-fifth and Grand Boulevard, which is now known as Martin Luther King Drive, in Chicago— It first was Grand Boulevard; then it became South Park; now it's Martin Luther King [Drive]. One of my aunt's dear friends that lived down just off of Thirty-fifth Street on Grand Boulevard, she was a black person who was just getting into that vicinity. A number of black people were just getting into that vicinity on Grand Boulevard. I guess that's why they called it Grand Boulevard, because a number of the very prominent whites, rich whites, lived in along that section on Grand Boulevard. And that was one of the first houses that was bombed in Chicago, and I think that was in the early '20s, so I recall that because I had gone over to the homes where they lived. As I said later on I know that Ida B. Wells


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[Barnett] moved in that section, Thirty-fifth down to Forties. But eventually, later on, all of it was taken over by blacks.


Hopkins
Of course many people have addressed the causes for the riot, but at that time can you remember what was said as to what caused the riot?


Ligon
As far as I can recall, there was one or two little incidents in which they have stated— Nobody exactly knew what the story was. One of them said someone had been drowned down at the beach there at Thirty-fifth Street and the lakefront. There were some parts of it that a number of the blacks congregated in, and then on another part of it, a number of the whites. I think one of the black boys swam over to where the whites were; he was either stoned or something like that. Then again, some of them stated that it was the Marcus Garvey movement who had been perhaps parading on that particular Sunday, and they burnt the American flag down on Thirty-fifth and Indiana, and that was close to where one or two of the other organizations that had been allied to the Muslims, that's what they were. I can't recall just who the head of it was at that time, one of the prominent heads of it had had an office at Thirty-fifth and Indiana. That was a Marcus Garvey parade, and the Muslims were partly blamed for the riot. No one actually, as far as I can recall, knew what was the


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incident that caused the greater part of it.


Hopkins
You spoke of the Marcus Garvey movement. We would like to talk about that. What was Marcus Garvey's impact on Chicago?


Ligon
I couldn't say. I wasn't in the movement. I just knew that there was a movement of that particular nature. Wasn't interested in it. [laughter] At that particular time, you know. Of course, we observed, because I lived on Wabash, which was a rather prominent street at that time for the blacks; practically every Sunday one of the black groups had parades. The Elks, the Shriners, the Pythians, the Marcus Garvey movement, and maybe other movements, had parades nearly every Sunday or every other Sunday. It was just an interesting period to live in, to observe, and see what was going on, whether you realized what was going on or not. Then, later on, as you read about these things, historically, you can put them in their proper perspective. But when you are actually a part of it, you don't get too much feedback, because you just don't know. As I spoke about some time ago, I was reading the popular paper in Chicago, the Defender. There was so much information there, people writing and so forth. Mr. Robert S. Abbott, who was founder of the Chicago Defender, kept abreast of the news and [it] was one of the most popular papers at that particular time in the country. So I can


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recall reading different things about him, but I can't retain the knowledge, exactly what was [written].


Hopkins
What was your parents' view, as you can recall, on the Marcus Garvey movement? Were they followers?


Ligon
No. As far as I know, my mother wasn't. You see, my father passed away about four or five years after we moved to Chicago, and he wasn't active in any of the groups, and of course my mother wasn't. She was trying to raise the rest of the family, so we didn't participate in that. She only attended church. That was about it.


Hopkins
I know it's difficult to surmise this, but was the movement taken seriously by blacks that you knew? Or was it just something to watch?


Ligon
People of my age were not involved, as far as I knew, in the movement. Most of those with whom I was associated belonged to the church at that particular time, except that we had an interest in our social movement. But in the sense of the others participating, because our parents didn't participate, birds of a feather basically flock together [laughter]; so we were not involved in those movements. My immediate acquaintances, as far I knew, their parents didn't participate.


Hopkins
In our first two sessions, you mentioned that you had been a waiter in Saratoga, New York.


Ligon
Yes.



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Hopkins
Did you like Saratoga?


Ligon
Yes, it was an interesting experience. It was also a health resort. They had mineral springs there—people coming there for health reasons. That was the first experience I had with something of that kind, so that was interesting. But I was working there; so the money was good. [laughter]


Hopkins
What year were you there?


Ligon
Nineteen thirty-five.


Hopkins
Just one year before you came to Los Angeles?


Ligon
Right. My brother and I had worked a couple of years before that up in Mackinack Island at the hotel. That's off of Lake Michigan. [There was] a very popular hotel that was up there. We worked a couple of summers there, and then we went there during that first part of the season, but we decided we would go to New York, to Saratoga, and work the rest of the season. So we went over there. And then we had an offer to go to Miami, Florida. Some of the waiters, who were actually traveling waiters, would move from season to season, from place to place. So in the winter we went into New York to stay until the first of the year, and then we went down to Miami to work there for the winter season. And I came from Miami right out to Los Angeles.


Hopkins
Did you visit New York City?


Ligon
Yes. We stayed there the time that I visited New


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York, from September until the last of December.


Hopkins
Did you ever entertain the idea of living in New York?


Ligon
Not at that time, no. As I said, my mother had moved out to California, and so she had asked me to come out there to be with her.


Hopkins
I know at one point, too, you said that your sister was involved in printing, and later you became an apprentice to a printing shop. But I wasn't clear on why you became interested in printing.


Ligon
When I first started in, I was working there in the shop as an errand boy. At first—I think I was thirteen or fourteen years old—and naturally I took some printing up in school and also in the shop there, and I just became a printer, because it was a job. I enjoyed it.


Hopkins
So, you were doing it for extra money or for your livelihood?


Ligon
Not extra money. It was money! [laughter] It was a regular job. As I said, when I came out of school, later on, at sixteen, I then had a regular job there, working.


Hopkins
Another point to clarify here for me is that I remember we talked about your coming to Los Angeles in 1936, and you were a waiter on the Southern Pacific Railroad, and that eventually the waiters organized into


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a union, and you were a member of a union which didn't have a name. But you mentioned it had a number. Can you remember the number?


Ligon
No.


Hopkins
OK.


Ligon
I know later on that Mr. [William] Pollard was the head of the union. There was another gentlemen—I can't recall his name right now—at the time [who] organized the union. He was quite active in the union organization. But he got a job and went to Washington. William Pollard was the head, and later on he got a government job to come to Washington. It was a diner's car waiters' union, number such-and-such a thing, but they were members of the American Federation of Labor. So they were just chapters of other unions.


Hopkins
Did you urge any of your friends or family to come to Los Angeles from Chicago, or maybe Atlanta?


Ligon
No, not directly. Of course, my auntie came out here; my mother was out here; my sister came out. My brother, when we left Miami, went back to New York, and he lived in New York for almost the rest of his life. I didn't keep in contact with a lot of my friends in Chicago; so I never encouraged them to come out.


Hopkins
You had this training in printing. Did you consider becoming a printer in Los Angeles or working in that trade at all?



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Ligon
No, I didn't. When I came out, a couple of months [later] I got a job on the railroad, and so that was satisfactory. Mrs. Bass, who had a printing shop and a newspaper— Since I did have knowledgeable training, I went over and worked in the shop for a while, just doing things of my own as far as printing, for the bookshop and things of that kind. But I didn't take any regular job. It wasn't needed.


Hopkins
We talked a little bit about leaders last time, and at this point, I'd like to ask you about a few people who have come through history as being leaders. I would like to ask your response to them. Charlotta Bass: do you have any impressions, or can you characterize her?


Ligon
Oh, I think she was a very fine woman. She impressed me a great deal because she was motivated in the sense that she wanted to do something in the community where she lived. She dedicated her paper to progressive ideas, and I think she was a very progressive person. So I had great admiration for Mrs. Bass.


Hopkins
Leon Washington?


Ligon
Leon Washington? Yes, he was also quite militant in the community in terms of trying to get jobs for people. I think he was one of the first ones that began to say, "Well you don't spend your dollars where you can't work," and put on pickets over to the five-and-ten-cent store. I had also witnessed the same kind of


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movement in Chicago, just before we left. So I also admired him a great deal. I thought he was a very fine person.


Hopkins
Were you familiar with Frederick Roberts?


Ligon
No, I just knew of him, but I knew very little about his political activities.


Hopkins
Did you vote for him, or were you in a position to vote for him?


Ligon
I don't recall having voted for him at that particular time, no.


Hopkins
Just a few more people: Paul [Revere] Williams, the architect?


Ligon
Yes, I knew him then. It was only later that I became more knowledgeable about some of the things which he was doing. I thought he was quite prominent in the field of architecture, and I had great admiration for him. I can't recall now the numbers of buildings which he did. I think, but I'm not definitely sure, that he built a home for Bill ["Bojangles"] Robinson, that was out here. I think it was one of his designs. I am not sure—because the story just came down to me—that the fellow that used to work with Jack Benny—


Hopkins
Eddie Anderson?


Ligon
Eddie Anderson, yes. They built a very nice home for him, too, but I don't think Williams built it, because the story came out that no architect could build


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it, and Jack Benny had to come over and build it. Have you heard that story, something about that?


Hopkins
Yes, in fact, I heard that Williams was willing to design the home, but no one would build it for him. It was interesting.


Ligon
Yes, well, I had just heard that story. I think it came to me during Black History Month. They had a tour, and that was a story that they told us about the home. I've seen the home. I've been in Bill Robinson's home, but I have never been in Eddie Anderson's.

Another home that was built, I think by Williams, was one of my wife's friends'. [They] built a home that, I think, later on Joe Louis lived in, that his wife had. I don't know just what she did, but this party [said] she had been a maid for a very rich personage, who passed away, [and] she left her stocks and bonds and things for her—I guess I'm getting forgetful. [laughter] There was an article in Ebony about her. The lady left her, oh, about half a million dollars or something, and she lived back up in the hills there off of Pico [Boulevard] — Carrie Anderson. On the next street behind her was where this home that the young lady, the lawyer that married Joe Louis, built, and I think Williams designed that home, too.


Hopkins
Williams's work was, of course, citywide, both in the black community as well as in the majority


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community. Your own impressions— Do you feel that the average black knew that Williams was black and that he was carrying on this work? Was he a popular figure in the community?


Ligon
As far as I know, I don't think so. I don't think so. Basically, people who move in that particular circle, the masses don't touch them. And so they don't become knowledgeable of those things unless it's publicized. So if you don't get the publicity, that's what it is— Unless, otherwise, are you catering to the black community— What do you do? Just for instance, as I said, I started the bookstore in 1941, and some people who have been here practically almost that long didn't know about my bookstore, mainly because they didn't search it out. So it depends upon the interest of what you want. If you can find the books that you want in some of the other stores, then why search out a black bookstore, unless you are completely interested in the black material. So that's the other factor, just as that article you saw today. It's a starvation business in terms of people wanting to relate to the black community, because it's basically of their interest. Otherwise, even though you are catering to the black community, but what do you have? Do you have things which they want, or do you have things which they are interested in? And unless they are interested, they


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don't know you exist. They know, perhaps,if there's a cabaret or a theater that exists in the community; they know where they are. They know where the liquor store is around the corner; they know exactly where it is. But [there are] people who live right here in the community that never read a book, that never even entered this particular store, never are interested. And the same thing is what has happened, although sometimes that shows the interest. There is a school right down here about three blocks away, and I've had kids coming in, grown now, saying, "Oh, yes, I used to pass this place when I was going to school, but I never knew it was a bookstore." So they go to school, but their heads are not into that particular field, and they never know what's happening, basically in the community. A bookstore right there, and they never go into it until they have actually been requested to go into it. There's something which they want in relationship to it— A lot of times they may be in college, and the teachers tell them to read a certain book that pertains to blacks. So they come here and say, "Oh, I didn't know this was a bookstore." So that's the same thing in reference to Paul Williams. And, of course, then lots of people were building houses and would hire someone. They don't know anything about them unless they can read about them—read it in the newspaper or something. So that's it.


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Just a little incident: there was the neighborhood paper, the Wave. It's thrown around in the neighborhood (there the man goes right there now [pointing outside])—throw the papers around, and right next door to me, there's a couple of young ladies that live there. They threw the papers on the sidewalk, and I went up to pick up one, but they didn't throw them directly in [front of] my house. I said, "Can I have this paper here," to the ladies, asking them if I could have the paper. [They] said, "Yes, take them all. We're not going to use them." There are newsy things in the paper, but even the throwaway papers they don't read. So that's the condition in which we find ourselves in terms of the interest of the people who, even though, just are around us. So as you said, you read the article about me this morning, but lots of them even don't know I live across the street. They never know what actually goes on in terms of this bookstore, which is right here, serving the community.


Hopkins
Maybe this article will stimulate business.


Ligon
Well, yes and no. I've gotten some response from it this morning, but the response was some of my friends calling saying, "I like the article." So we don't really expect too many people, because that's a daily paper. I was looking at the circulation, one million and a quarter, in terms of its circulation. And so out of


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that, how many blacks are going to read it and will respond? That would be the question.


Hopkins
Again, back to Paul Williams. The L. A. Sentinel, which, I believe, came into publication in 1934, and of course, the California Eagle was still going on at that time: did they cover Paul Williams's work at all, I mean, where it was prominent?


Ligon
I don't know.


Hopkins
Obviously then, it wasn't a common occurrence to see articles about Williams? OK, do you have any idea why the California Eagle went out of business?


Ligon
Mrs. Bass was unable to carry it on. I think somebody else took it [over], either Leon Washington or somebody. One of the other lawyers, I believe, took it on for a while; but just to stay in a paper, you've got to be dedicated. Just like a bookshop, you've got to be dedicated, because especially when you have to completely earn a living and get some kind of a profit out of it, you have to be well established to get the circulation, get the ads and things that will support a newspaper. We would have to say that the black community at that particular time supported three newspapers. What was the other one? The Dispatch.


Hopkins
The Herald-Dispatch.


Ligon
The Herald-Dispatch, the Eagle, and the


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Sentinel. I think at that time they were all operating, perhaps around the same time, in the forties and fifties.


Hopkins
Did the Sentinel seem to represent a great deal of competition for the California Eagle? One was a weekly and one was a daily, I think.


Ligon
All three of them were weeklies. I think it was just a matter of policy. The Sentinel became a larger circulation, more or less because the variety of their news coverage was more precise than what the Eagle was, as I can recall. I can't put my finger on just what the factor was, but I think Mrs. Bass, in terms of her operating the paper, perhaps could continue that. But I think the other factor was that either you have been in the business long enough to know all the ins and outs of how to operate a paper profitably— And if you go into it and you don't know, then of course, you are going to run into some situations. So you would have to see how many people are knowledgeable in terms of actually operating a newspaper and can get around the difficulties that one is confronted with in the sense of operating the newspaper. So when you are knowledgeable in terms of that, then you can operate far easier than just going into it thinking that it's a nice business to have, which a lot of people do. I think perhaps that was the cause of the Eagle passing away, because those who were in there after Mrs.


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Bass had passed away were not knowledgeable in terms of all the things that were needed. And lots of times, you see a business like that, and you say, "It's been operating for quite a number of years. It must be profitable." Then you get into it and find it's not profitable, and you become discouraged. So you lose interest.


Hopkins
Which paper did you read when you first came?


Ligon
I read all of them if I felt there was something of interest. We'd get the Defender once in a while. But I don't have the time to read the papers now. I have too many books; I've got eight or nine books that I need to read. [laughter]


Hopkins
Do you have recollections of H. Claude Hudson of the N.A.A.C.P.?


Ligon
Oh, yes, he was a very fine person, from a distance. I have never been intimately involved in the N.A.A.C.P. I know from what I observed from a distance, he's a very fine person. He established the Broadway Federal [Savings and Loan Association]. He was behind that in terms of its economic field, operating and so forth. He was one of the pillars in the community that was very prominent.


Hopkins
Did you know of a Miss [Betty] Hill, who chaired the Westside Neighborhood Association?


Ligon
Didn't know her. I can't recall her.


Hopkins
Dr. Ligon, did you serve in the armed forces


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during World War II?


Ligon
No, we were held on the railroad for that service, carrying soldiers and things. Transportation was our service. We were not actually members of the armed forces, but we had to serve in terms of the meals and things as we carried either the soldiers or their families back and forth.


Hopkins
Did you want to enlist?


Ligon
I wasn't jumping up and down in terms of going to enlist in the army.


Hopkins
Do you have any memories or recollections of that period in terms of your help as a waiter in helping the soldiers? Are there any stories that come to mind?


Ligon
Well, in the department in which we worked on the train, we carried mostly the soldiers' families out of Los Angeles up to San Francisco. I was running on the Daylight. We very seldom [carried soldiers]; only later, we had soldiers. Sometimes we had a contingent of soldiers, say fifty or seventy-five, that we had to serve coming from Los Angeles up to San Francisco, so we had to take care of them. But beyond that we only had just the people in terms of the families that we carried. On the Daylight for the period of a number of years we carried six or seven hundred people on the train, which was a large contingent to serve, more or less just one meal, but we had quite a thing. We could serve around a


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hundred with the two diners at a time at one sitting, so it wasn't so bad.


Hopkins
Of course, during these years Los Angeles experienced its greatest influx of blacks. You had been here some five or six years by that time. I guess you had decided that this was your home. How did you feel about this influx of blacks coming to Los Angeles? Did you have any opinions or feelings about it one way or another?


Ligon
No, because, you see, when you are established in your community, you don't actually realize what is going on outside of that community, and then only when you can get away and see the expansiveness of it. Just as you said, when I first moved here, practically all the community activities were on Central Avenue, around that vicinity. And there was one other community, I think, right here on the West Side. There was one up on the northwest side where a community of blacks was living. But then, later on, in the period after the war, some of the blacks came in. And, of course, when the blacks move in, where are they going to stay, except in moving where places are available? And, of course, those are the Caucasians'. So, now it was expanded, but you don't realize until you get out and look around to see what has happened. It's surprising to see how many blacks have moved in and are actually living in this vastness of Los


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Angeles. It's so spread out, but then you can ride around. When we moved here in 1957, I think, I moved down the corner to 1302, and we were the only blacks in this block and across the street and immediately in this vicinity. Then, little by little, they moved away. Now, of course, before all the blacks could come in, the Mexicans are coming in and taking over the community. So that's the way it is; unless you are involved in these things, lots of times it's the state of your own awareness. If you are living in a certain place, you are established there, you don't go house hunting. Only unless you have some friends that are moving in a certain vicinity, and so you realize some people are there, when you go visit them. But unless that is part of your awareness, if you are not in the real estate business, you are not concerned.


Hopkins
So then, you didn't feel that there was this great migration of blacks per se. You were aware of it though?


Ligon
Yes, sure, we knew there was a number of blacks coming in. We weren't aware of exactly where they were staying. [laughter] As I said, you only realize it after you move around and see where they've gone. Just like I, just for an example, when I left Chicago back in 1936, I knew basically the boundaries of the blacks, and when I went back the last time in 1979, two years ago, to


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see my brother who had just passed away, they were living out on Lake Shore Drive, out in the Eighties. Seeing the blacks all around there, it would actually just blow your mind. Because earlier than that, the blacks wouldn't think about living over in that vicinity. In earlier times, I do recall, where the Chicago University is in Chicago, that that region had been taken over, Forty-seventh and then back in the streets that were bounded by Chicago University and all that district. But then to know that back beyond Sixty-third Street, going on out to Lake Shore Drive and to the lakefront—Jackson Park and all around there—that was still taboo. There were no blacks living there. But now to go out there and see it just completely taken over by blacks, it's one of those kinds of startling things. You can actually see the movement of people, the migration, and the changes.


Hopkins
Did you have any problems moving on West Santa Barbara Avenue in terms of response— [tape ends]



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Tape Number: Tape III, Side Two
March 24, 1982
Ligon
There was no definite problem. The only problem is that— Of course, that was no problem because the manager who had the place had been in the real estate business. He was connected with one of the big firms, the Southern California Real Estate Corporation, and he wanted, of course, to sell it, because he wanted to move. So when I approached him about the place, he was happy. He felt that with my credentials, I would be able to take it over. The only thing there was a clause in the covenant, that they had agreed not to sell to any blacks. But, of course, that had been broken by the lawyer—


Hopkins
Loren Miller?


Ligon
Loren Miller. So that was still placed in the deed, that that had been a clause in it. That was the only thing.


Hopkins
This Southern California Real Estate Corporation. I ran into this name during my own research. Do you know anything about that company?


Ligon
No.


Hopkins
Was it white owned or black owned?


Ligon
Oh, yes, it was white.


Hopkins
Did they have black real estate agents?


Ligon
I don't think so, no. Not that I know of.



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Hopkins
Why did you want to move out on West Santa Barbara Avenue? There wasn't a large black community out here at that time, was there?


Ligon
No, but then we had been living far beyond that. We had been living over on Rimpau and beyond Crenshaw. That's where we were living. Of course, that had been taken over by a number of blacks, so this community was fast changing, because they were surrounded by blacks. So they were vastly changing— At that particular time, we thought this was a very nice location; so that was it in terms of the location.


Hopkins
I want to come back to the Rimpau store, because I know at one time you operated your business from your home there, but I'd like to ask you, concerning the spiritual center, what was the reaction of the traditional, if I may use that term, black religious community here, say the Baptists and the Methodists? Did they have any opinions? You must have attracted some people away from their following.


Ligon
No, no. We were still working at that particular time in the church in which we were participating. And ours was a different approach to what we were doing there for the church. It was a spiritualist church, and we were involved in that community. But then I was doing my metaphysical approach, which also involved occult philosophy, and most of them which were having classes in my


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home, they were Caucasians.


Hopkins
So you were still a practicing Baptist in Los Angeles?


Ligon
That wasn't a Baptist. That's what is known as the Spirtualist church.


Hopkins
When did you stop attending the Baptist church?


Ligon
Oh, before I left Chicago.


Hopkins
To discuss, then, the Rimpau mail-order book service that you had. Can you describe that for me?


Ligon
The books of interest— As I stated, we still had a number of clientele who wanted certain books in the metaphysical field, and some in the black, so they kept contact with us, and I'd provide it for them. And sometimes I would send out announcements about certain books to the mailing list that we had, and there was response. So I did it that way.


Hopkins
I'm not clear as to why you gave up the formal store and then worked as a mail-order service, or did you run them jointly?


Ligon
No, because when I moved over to Rimpau, that wasn't a commercial district that I was in, and I couldn't afford at that particular time to rent another store. I had had a store, from the 802 [East Jefferson Boulevard] and then I did have another office, lecture room, and so forth over on Jefferson and Central. When we moved from there over to Rimpau, then I didn't have


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the facilities or the finances to carry on with two places; so I just did the mail-order business.


Hopkins
I see. Was that as successful as had been the formal stores?


Ligon
No, it wasn't as large, because we didn't have the facilities to carry on as large, but I just kept in contact with those whom I served as a doctor of metaphysics and the lectures which we were carrying on.


Hopkins
Dr. Ligon, was there any kind of small business association for blacks that you could borrow money from or could get advice on how to run a business? Was there anything like that?


Ligon
I don't know. Well, I guess there was, but I wasn't interested in that. As long as I was able carry on my activities, then I worked independent of any other organization.


Hopkins
Why did you abandon the mail-order service on Rimpau?


Ligon
I didn't abandon it. When we moved over here on Santa Barbara, we had space enough to restructure the bookstore, so we had a bookstore then.


Hopkins
Moving on again to the 1960s: In connection with your store, how did Ron Karenga come to be associated with your bookstore, or with your spiritual center?


Ligon
He wasn't associated with it in that particular capacity. We had a lecture room that we were able to


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lease or rent for organizations—at least we had for a while when we first went in there. We had a church that was taking the rental on Sundays and one day or night a week. Then we had other groups that would come in on maybe Friday nights, whenever it was available. And then on Sunday afternoons after one o'clock it was available for meetings, and Ron Karenga established a relationship with us in terms of renting the facilities. So he started with Don Walden, who was out of San Francisco, the— Well, just what they were called escapes my attention now. But also later on out of that, there was a branch from a fellow that was up in San Francisco, I think it was Don Walden. He was on the radio and was making a great deal in the black community in terms of one's blackness, and Ron Karenga established a branch down in Los Angeles from that Afro-American movement—I don't know if that was the name. Then later on he conceived the idea of establishing the US group. Of course, he was still there at my place, and he used it as a center to establish his US group. That's why he was there.


Hopkins
Was there any protest among any of your clientele or neighbors or friends concerning Ron Karenga's US group being established here?


Ligon
As far as I know, they were not concerned, because the activities we were carrying on— As long as


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they were orderly, and we were not rowdy, the people hardly knew what was going on.


Hopkins
I [know] from the last time we talked that the Aquarian Bookshop supplied books for UCLA's various lectures and for the black studies department [Center for Afro-American Studies] to some degree.


Ligon
That was for the black studies department when they first started. They invited us to come out and sell them books because they wanted to relate to the black community.


Hopkins
Were you aware of the conflict between the US group and the Black Panthers at UCLA's black studies department at that time?


Ligon
We heard about it and read about it, but not that much. Those were the younger groups that I was not completely involved in. I wasn't involved in any of their activities, and so my state of consciousness was not oriented towards what they were doing in terms of the conflicts and going with the schools and all those kinds of things. We were interested in selling books. We went out there to sell books. What was going on beyond that, I had very little interest in, because I had other things to do.


Hopkins
Also, we know that Frank Greenwood's Touring Artist Group was associated to some degree with the operation here. What was that association?



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Ligon
I found Frank Greenwood a very intelligent young man. He was a protest artist in the sense that he didn't quite want to cater to the prejudiceness of the racism in Hollywood. He was independent and wanted to do some things at the [Aquarian Spiritualist Center] theater. So we helped make it available in terms of utilizing the center to put on a number of his presentations. So that was how we became involved in Frank Greenwood's activities, Don't You Want to Live?, or one of those things that we presented on Saturdays and Sundays at the center for almost seven or eight months. But a great deal of the personages that catered to the group, as a response to the movement that was carried on there, was more of those in the progressive field. It wasn't very successful.

But then he had given concerts and other—


Hopkins
Well, thank you Dr. Ligon again for giving us your time. We certainly have enjoyed these sessions with you and have gained a great deal of knowledge.



About this text
Courtesy of Dept of Special Collections/UCLA Library, A1713 Charles E. Young Research Library, 405 Hilgard Ave, Box 951575, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575; http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=hb4g5009q6&brand=calisphere
Title: All the lights the light oral history transcript : Alfred Ligon
By: Ligon, Alfred, 1906-, Interviewee, Hopkins, Ranford B, Interviewer
Contributing Institution: Dept of Special Collections/UCLA Library, A1713 Charles E. Young Research Library, 405 Hilgard Ave, Box 951575, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575; http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/special/scweb/
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