To the Editor:
Here is knowledge and understanding! Share it with others!
I had an interesting conversation about a week or so ago with Piqua’s City Historian in which I posed several questions concerning the Mills Brothers and Piqua’s relationship with them.
One of the questions I raised was when did the Mills Brothers begin to drift away from their hometown Piqua connection?
And did their lack of what I call “Ownership Identity,” until more recently, have anything to do with the allegations of discrimination in the purchase of property “on the Hill” in the area of Park Avenue?
I thought the questions relevant from the standpoint of some caution, reservation or even disinterest in pursuit of my resolution to include them in the Smithsonian’s African American History Museum. The Museum was closed due to the government “shutdown” by President Donald Trump, but now with it reopening, I intend to contact my Republican Congressman, Warren Davidson, to use his ‘inside the beltway’ knowledge to investigate and/or lobby for their inclusion and “Ownership Identity” within the People’s museum.
A second question I raised was in reference to a Piqua Library created YouTube video titled “A Tour of Piqua in 1928 with the Music of the Mills Brothers.”
The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAl_s6uolDY
Probably no one else would see this video as an important “Teachable Moment” for “OUR” children, the community and a tolerant, inclusive, just and Christian American society, but something inside of me found it foundations to understanding the struggle of the Black experience in America. But take a listen to the wonderful “vocal orchestration” and the musical “Scat” of this period and then focus your attention on the second song selection titled “Shine.”
I knew the lyrics I was hearing was akin to a painful narrative that I had heard and read about before and I KNEW it was the story of Paul Lawrence Dunbar’s “We Wear the Mask” and I also KNEW no one could portray “The mask” greater than my much beloved Maya Angelou.
Please attend the Black History Month breakfast from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Transformed Life Church at 421 Wood Street, Piqua.
WHOSE we are Matters WHO we are!
— Larry Hamilton