Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Champions Who Walked Among Us - Article 13 - The Mathematician

  • What do you do when you're more intelligent than you should be?
  • How do you deal with a world where your talent, your gift is not wanted because of what you are?
  • How do you keep going in a hostile environment where rejection resides on your doorstep, only because you were born a woman?
March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry wrote himself into history with his famous quotation that still rings throughout the world in every nation where oppression rules, "Give me liberty or give me death!"

April 18, 1775, Paul Revere's ride through the nearby towns and villages on his way to Lexington loudly shouting, "The British are coming, the British are coming!" Crossed over into the history books.

April 19, 1775, the first shots in the Revolutionary War fell, and the test of strength between  thirteen colonies and their European mother had begun and would define their destiny.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic all seemed peaceful.  The monarchies had their grip on the people, and the relaxation of servitude was not even considered. Even though certain writers were espousing change and promoting ideas of democracy and liberalism, the season for these ideas to mature had not yet risen in Europe. People, who were not fortunate to be born in the upper class, were still treated with an air of disdain in most homes and were the recipients of humorless jokes. Children were abused and used as cheap labor, and many died of hunger.

The majority of the population stood in bondage to a system that prohibited their advancement due to their cultural status, lack of education, and money, which was controlled by those who ruled over them. These were years of decadence and indulgence.  Only a few of the genteel gentry noticed they were about to come to an end.

The eyes of the monarchies focused on the British colonies and the outcome of the war across the ocean. That such a war could take place on European national soil was unthinkable. Nevertheless, change was coming and quicker than the ruling classes thought.

April 1, 1776, in the home of one of the families of the Enlightenment, where the topic of liberality was often discussed, something would take place, which would make its imprint upon history once again––an infant was born.

There was no cause to celebrate when the young baby's eyes opened.  The middle child of a wealthy merchant, it was expected to follow forth in the role placed upon it––she was female.

Nevertheless, at a young age, this young girl's eager desire to learn and her tenacity to discover the world through the books in her father's library alarmed her parents profoundly, and they began to hinder her progress. Rules were implemented in the household to keep her from reading.  It was considered unsuitable and detrimental to her growth. After all, intellect belonged to the male species of the Homo sapiens–– she was female.

The traditions of the time dictated her role ––to bring forth children and satisfy her mate, thinking not required.

How do you explain to a thirteen-year-old girl it is not her job to decipher the mysteries behind Geometry?

She was in the thirteenth year of her life.  Revolution had finally reached the other side of the Atlantic, and the downfall of the Monarchy had begun in France. It was in this period of the country's disturbance and turmoil when the young girl would retreat to her father's library and read books, which caught her fancy.
  • Here, she would read the legend about Archimedes and his death. 
  • Here, she would hide herself as she began to teach herself mathematics.
  • It was here she began to grasp the understanding of Geometry.
Her parents, highly disturbed by her behaviour, hid her clothing when she went to bed so she could not get up in the mornings, took away her candles so she could not read at night, and deprived her of heating in her room to no avail.  The passion within this young teenage girl kept driving her to rebel against all hindrances and all objections, until her parents had to give in and accept what they considered unacceptable and the Mathematician was born.
  • How do you react the unusual talents given to someone at birth?
  • What kind of explanation do you give to your family, your friends, or even strangers when trying to explain an innate talent in yourself or one of your children, which is unexplainable? 
  • How do you curb the passion of a thirteen year old as she exploits her mathematical genius?
During the years of war, this young woman taught herself Calculus while other women were planning their marriage.

The Ecole Polytechnic was founded, and the call went out for students.  France desperately needed mathematicians and scientists, but the most intelligent of all was not permitted ––she was female.

Instead of falling into resignation or despair about the situation, the young woman, now turned 18, came up with an ingenious idea––the creation of M. LeBlanc.

The cleverness and eagerness she possessed forced her to dispose of any bashfulness that would block her goal. Knowing some of the male students attending the institute, she developed friendships with them and borrowed their lecture notes as she continued to teach herself.

If M. LeBlanc had not stood out among all the male students; if he had not been too intelligent; if he had not written the astonishing analysis paper for one of his class assignments; the secret may have never been exposed.  One of his analysis papers caught the eye of the Professor.  He was so impressed with the work, he demanded a meeting, and M. LeBlanc's secret publicize–– the 'He' was female.  After his initial shock, Professor LaGrange, became her mentor, and one of her staunch supporters.

1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was Emperor of France, and the Mathematician had begun corresponding with the German mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss. She was enchanted by his number theory, because she too had done some work in this direction. Gauss was delighted to have someone on his level with whom he could discuss his theories.

1807, Professor Gauss discovered that his beloved M. LeBlanc was indeed female.

The uphill road to recognition and acceptance would challenge her throughout her life.  Yet, the Mathematician kept going, never giving up.

1829, the Mathematician began to face her last battle, a battle that would lift her into History Books.
Can't you see her people?  Here was the woman, who suffered through,
  • Loneliness,
  • Isolation,
  • Lack of recognition,
woman who
  • Taught herself Geometry and Calculus,
  • Attended the Ecole Polytechnique by teaching herself from the lecture notes of others,
  • Became one of the developers of the number theory
  • Wrote the legendary work in the number theory proving that if x,y, and z are integers and if x^5+y^5=z^5 then x,y,or z must be divisible by 5 which became to major step toward proving Fermat's last theorem for the case where n=5
  • Worked on the theory of Elasticity
  • Finally, in 1816 became the first woman, to be recognized as one of the prominent mathematician  of her times,
 Sophie Germain, the Mathematician, stricken by an incurable illness, which would end her life.

Can't you see her fighting to survive, knowing every minute counted before she spread her wings and took flight?

June 26, 1831the Mathematician roused herself to leave the battlefield. Tired and weary, she prepared herself to Walk On.

She looked back in time at her accomplishments.  What a smile she must have had on her face, when she heard the trumpet sound, and her spirit began to rise. Her journey had been completed, and the Mathematician looked at the door that opened to eternity.

Can't you see her, Sophie Germain, the Mathematician, as she spread her wings, and step-by-step, she Walked On!

She Walked On people, I say, she Walked On! Sophie Germain Walked On!

Walk On!
All you people who are fighting against unbelievable odds,
Walk On!
When you are ridicule because you are different,
Walk On!
When the road ahead is paved with non-acceptance and rejection,
Keep on!
Searching until you find a way,
Keep on!
Knocking on until a door opens,
Keep on!
Asking, until you hear a yes,
And Walk On, I say Walk On!

Pat Garcia

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Champions Who Walked Among Us - Article 11- The Ice Breaker

It was three years before the ending of the nineteenth century, as this young infant opened her eyes, to see the light of the world, outside of her mother's womb.  The month, the day, the year,  February 27, 1897, and her birth herald something new, something, which had not happened before, was about to take place.   A seed had been planted in this baby, who would later become  a woman that would cause her to seek the expression of her God-given gift, on  stages outside of her own nation of birth.

What would you do, if you had been given something extraordinary that made you stand out?

Born in the state of Pennsylvania, in a family whose father was self-employed, and whose mother had the opportunity of attending the Virginia Seminary and college in Lynchburg, Virginia, the young girl grew up with a love for music.  It was a special innate gift, a seed that had been laid before she was born into the world,  which would define her life.  Her voice was unusual and began to manifest itself soon,  and her aunt ,who had noticed this peculiar gift, convinced her to join the church choir–– she was only six years old.  It was unusual, this Contralto voice, significantly different from other voices.  Peculiar, because this contralto voice set her apart from others, not only in her race, but across all races of people.  Unaware of the role she would play on the world's stage, the lively young girl, who loved to sing, stood on the side of her aunt  singing duets and travelling wherever her aunt would take her, singing songs of inspiration.
It was her aunt,
  • Who influenced  her childhood career,
  • Who contracted venues such as the YMCA, or concerts at local churches, or local community events,
  • Who made  sponsors  aware of her voice for certain special events they sponsored.
Three weeks before Christmas, tragedy struck. Her father was accidentally hit over the head while working. It was an accident, which came with complications that would demand his life a month later, and the young woman, who was now twelve years old would be left fatherless, along with her two younger sisters.

My lord what a morning,
My lord what a morning,
My lord what a morning,
When the stars begin to fall.
You'll hear the trumpet sound,
To wake the nations underground,
Look in my God's right hand
When the stars begin to fall,
When the starts begin to fall. {1}

Her mother, left with three daughters to bring up, had no time to mourn the loss of her mate.  She moved into the home of her father and mother-in-law, who themselves had already impregnated the history book with their new beginning.  Benjamin Anderson, born before the Civil War, was a freed slave and the first Black African- American to move into a neighborhood in South Philadelphia.
It was her grandfather;
  • Who vaccinated her with the vaccine of equality,
  • Who through the daily doses of self-esteem he poured into her character, built up her self-esteem,
  • Who opened her eyes to see the significance of the gift she had been given,
And The Ice Breaker with the contralto voice was born.

Can't you see her People?

See the young girl being prepared to go on the world stage to change history!
See the young girl as her grandfather  prepares her mentally to greet the world!
See her as she sits at his feet, and he imparts in her the ability to stand with the wind against her face!

The hypothesis that Africans had limited brain capacity was a theory, which circulated for years throughout the scientific community of the United States. That the Negro lacked the ability to take care of himself was one of the main reasons for the continuation of slavery in the Southern parts of the United States. Even though the Negro spirituals, which were born out of  captivity and imprisonment in the South, were beginning to become known, no one had thought that a Negro could sing classics, or sing in another European Language.  That feat was considered impossible––that is until The Ice Breaker came along.

With the passing of her grandfather, one year after her mother had moved in with her and her sisters, finances were sparse in the family, and The Ice Breaker knew she would not be able to attend high school, or take those music lessons  she so desperately needed.
  • What do you when your lack of money stands as an obstacle on the road of your  destiny?
  • How do you deal with the mental anguish you encounter within yourself, the emotional ups and downs, which throw you into a whirlwind of what ifs?
  • Where do you turn when the road does not go any further?
 The Ice Breaker continued to sing. She continued to attend church and sing in the choir.  If she were given the opportunity, she sang at every occasion and every event. The Ice Breaker became, through her obstacles unstoppable, as she strengthened her muscles of faith with the obstacles thrown at her, and a door opened.

As is typical of so many black churches during those times, many young black men and women received the opportunity to study, because their home church supported them, and so it was for The Ice Breaker.  The church stepped up to the plate and provided for her high school, and her singing lessons, and The Ice Breaker was on her way to stardom.

The Ice Breaker was good, in fact, she was more than good, and she had the quality, the talent to be one of the greatest, if only she did not have that unchangeable skin pigment coloration  –– she was black.

She graduated from high school and applied for the Philadelphia Music Academy, which is now the University of Arts. Fortunately for her, they said No.  Her skin pigmentation made her unacceptable for such a renowned music school.  However, the doses of self-esteem she had drunk at her grandfather's feet had given her the bounce back mentality, and the rejection left her undaunted. She just kept going.

Through private studies financed by her church, The Ice Breaker continued with her music lessons.  People like, Guiseppe Boghetti, and  Agnes Reifsnyder, natives of her city, saw the star hanging over her head and reached out to help her, and the divine hand of justice stepped in.  The Ice Breaker begin to rise.
  • 1925 – first Prize at a singing competition sponsored by the New York Philharmonic
  • 1925 – First appearance with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • 1928 – First appearance at the Carnegie Hall
However, invitations dragged. As soon as a door opened, a slap came her way and she was thrown back – she was black.

What do you do when your gift is throttled by a society that is bathed in ignorance?

The Ice Breaker went to Europe.  The year was 1930, and The Ice Breaker had found her audience. The Europeans enthusiastically welcomed her, and her career took off.  It was here;
  • She would become world renowned,
  • She would meet the Finnish pianist Kosti Vehanen, who became her accompanist and vocal coach for many years,
  •  She met Jean Sibelius,
  • She found herself and her music.
What a joy to sing! The Ice Breaker made headlines, and the United States was put to shame.

The Ice Breaker battled racial prejudice almost all of her life, before recognition came from the country where she was born. Yet, this gentle soul had no room for hate, and no room for grudges, she loved the country of her birth and returned to its stages in 1935.

My lord what a morning,
My lord what a morning,
My lord what a morning,
When the stars begin to fall.
You'll hear the sinner moan,
To wake the nations underground,
Look in my God's right hand
When the stars begin to fall,
When the starts begin to fall.{2}

The Ice Breaker swept away all doubts about her ability. Her forgiving heart melted the callous hearts of the people she met, who were still harboring  racial hatred within their hearts.  She had succeeded, or had she really?

It was 1939, and Adolf Hitler was getting ready to execute the most hideous crimes known to humanity. Millions would be murdered, because one man had convinced a nation, they were the superior race.

That  same year the invitation went out to sing at the Constitutional Hall in Washington D.C. to an integrated audience. The District of Columbia was still segregated, and the Black Americans, who were invited to attend, were to sit at the back of the auditorium. It took only minutes for the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) to make history. They declined to let The Ice Breaker sing at the Constitutional Hall – reason declined?  Her skin pigmentation was different from theirs––she was black.
  • Where do you go when there is a roadblock that says no entry without the proper skin color? 
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt led the way as thousands of  women resigned from the DAR.   The First Lady and her entourage, along with the assistance of the NAACP, arranged for her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial, and so began the first open-air concert with over seventy-thousand people, and millions who heard the concert on radio.

My lord what a morning,
My lord what a morning,
My lord what a morning,
When the stars begin to fall.
You'll hear the christians shout,
To wake the nations underground,
Look in my God's right hand
When the stars begin to fall,
When the starts begin to fall {3}

It was April 8, 1993, and The Ice Breaker was tired.  She had seen the world and done much. Many of her dearest friends, Albert EinsteinJean SibeliusKosti VehanenSol Hurok, her dear sisters and her husband, who had supported her while  she made history,  had crossed over.

Had she not been the first black woman with the golden contralto voice that travelled the world?  Yes!

 Had she not been the first black woman to sing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra?  Yes!

 Had she not won the hearts of the Europeans and forever engraved her voice upon their hearts? Yes!

Had she not  returned to her own country to open doors for others of her race who would march on behind her? Yes!

 Had she not stood for freedom and liberty for all when she sang her rendition of My Country Tis of Thee at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 to millions? Yes!

 Had she not forgiven and accepted an invitation four years later from the DAR to sing at Constitutional hall for the American Red Cross? Yes!

 Had she not been a faithful wife to the man who stood behind her with love, encouragement and his full support for forty-three years until his death? Yes!

 Had she not been the first African-American to sing with the Metropolitan Opera in New York? Yes!

 Had she not sung for Presidents, Eisenhower and Kennedy at their inaugurations? Yes!

 Had she not done all that she could to insure the doors of opportunity were opened for all people, regardless of race, creed or color? Yes!

The Ice Breaker looked back, and then she looked up.  

Can't you see her, People, The Ice Breaker, Ms. Marian Anderson, the lady with the golden contralto voice, picked up her garment , and she spread her wings!

She had fulfilled her purpose!  Her job was done, and The Ice Breaker  looked back with a smile upon her face, and she  got up and Walked On!

She Walked On, People, she Walked On!  Ms. Marian Anderson, the woman  with the golden contralto voice, Walked On!
My lord what a morning!

Walk On!  All people wherever you are,
Bound my faith,
Determined to excel!
Walk On!
Though obstacles stand in your way,
Don't stop, keep moving,
One step at a time,
Walk On, People, I say, Walk On!
My lord what a morning!

01 Walk On - Kelli Coffey - Permission requested.

Pat Garcia

{1}  http://www.akh.se/lyrics/my_lord_what_a_morning.htm
{2}  http://www.akh.se/lyrics/my_lord_what_a_morning.htm
{3}  http://www.akh.se/lyrics/my_lord_what_a_morning.htm

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Reader Appreciation Award, Thanks To All Of You

Writing is as much a part of me as breathing. I cannot do without it. It permeates within my body and flows through my bloodstream with all of those red and white corpuscles that keep me alive. Therefore, it is always a joyous occasion for me, when a fellow writer, or in this case, writers nominate me for an award.  Most of the writers that I know are busy, calendars full with things to do, and they are constantly writing very good stuff, trying to fulfill a deadline. So when they take the time to think of me by nominating me for an award, it is a special honor.  So this morning, I would like to say thank you to MIcki Peluso and Raani York.

Micki is the author of  And The Whippoorwill Sang.  If you haven't read her book, please put it on your list. Her book will walk with me for the rest of my life. For more information about the book, check out my Book Review website or go directly to Micki's website at http://mallie1025.blogspot.de.  The testimonies from people who have read the book are real and touching.

Raani is the author and friend to Jake, one of her guest bloggers that I have come to love.  Whenever he writes a blog, I am usually in stitches, laughing. She also writes promi articles that I consider among the best.  If you would like to get to know Raani's guest blogger, or her articles about the prominence in our times, please check out her website  at: http://raaniyork.wordpress.com 

Both, Micki and Raani are great writers, and I say to them thank you.

In agreement with this award, I nominate the following nominees:
http://foodforays.com - Tami McVey
http://mypenandme.wordpress.com - Mary Ann Blickhorn

I would also like to thank my readers. It is true, the heart of  a writer beats quickly ,when he or she knows, there are people out there who are reaching out, waiting expectantly, to read what he or she has written.  So, a special thanks goes out to my dependable, loyal, and faithful readers, you are the best.

Pat Garcia

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Champions Who Walked Among Us - Article 10- The Grandmother

Four months and two days had already passed as she entered into the world. The year was 1898, and on the third day of the month of May, she let out the first cry highlighting her existence.  Unknowing to her parents, the cry she expelled would ring throughout her entire life and cause her to stand up and fight, no matter the cost to those people and things she cherished the most.

Times were difficult for her race.  Growing up among a family of ten people, this young girl knew what it meant to cower in your bedroom, while unknown people, without faces, attacked your home late in the midnight hours. She knew the meaning of having prejudices and judgmental opinions follow you wherever you went. Her race, identified as a people with peculiar ways and traditions, had incurred  the jealousy of many nations, since ancient times, and were caused to wander throughout the world, no home, no country, no place to dock and stay––treated with toleration, since they had been driven from their own homeland.

The year, 1906, saw her and her family fleeing the only country she had ever known, hoping to escape the brutal mob attacks upon their lives. Her father had already departed the land, leaving them behind, to find a place to escape the poverty surrounding them.  He looked for the country, which would offer more opportunities for his children to develop and grow. Since they were born in a country where the climate was rather chilly, he sought an area in the United States, which would be similar to their climate conditions in their homeland. The young girl was eight years old at the time of her departure and had not seen her father for three years.
  • What would you have done when you were terrorized because of what you were?
  • How would you have felt sleeping with one eye opened and one eye closed if you were a child, not yet eight years of age?
  • Where would you have gone if you knew you were unwanted?
Her father had chosen Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a new life began for the little girl.  However, the ostracism did not stop, even though they were in the land where dreams come true, the land of the free. Enrolled in school, she excelled and became the class valedictorian.  But, what revealed itself as a joyous occasion for her became a nightmare for her parents.  Not overjoyed at her intellectual success they made plans for her to become a seamstress and to marry a much older man who would be able to keep her in her proper place.
  • How would you have reacted to the plans of those who were responsible for you?
  • Would you have acquiescently accepted their fate for your life?
  • Would you, at the age of fourteen, have had the guts to slip away in the midnight hours and run unknowingly in the direction of your destiny?
Arriving at her sister's home, she found an ally––someone who understood her, someone who would be the mediator and would assist her to take the step towards her destiny.  It was here in Denver, Colorado, at the age of fourteen, that the young teenager who was not yet married, not yet a mother herself, would receive the information she needed to rise, and The Grandmother was born.

In her sister's home, she became acquainted with the different splitter groups that argued for a homeland for their people.  Here, she would learn of the difficulties concerning their acceptance in a society that was not sure if they wanted them or not; here, she would find others who were tired of being victims; here, she would find people who no longer were willing to sit back and be tolerated, because of the birth heritage they received, without having any say-so in the matter.

The Grandmother lived only one year at her sister's, but that was enough to lay the foundation for her future.  One year later, the reconciliation between her and her parents caused her to return to them, with the stipulation she could finish high school and go to college.  She had used her tenacity and patience to her advantage, and these same quality traits­­–– tenacity and perseverance–– would become two of most valuable assets throughout her entire lifetime.

To be or not to be is not a question of compromise. Either you be or you don't be![1]

It was the year of 1917, the United States had entered World War I, and this young lady had found the man she wanted to marry, under the condition, he promised to move them to the little piece of dirt surrounded by alien forces in Palestine.  The man said yes, and The Grandmother took the second giant step toward her destiny.
  • Little did she know how much she would have to offer on the altar of sacrifice;
  • Little did she know her plans of living a life as a mother and wife would take a subordinate role in her destiny;
  • Little did she know she would travel the world being the one of the most recognized politicians in a man's world.
This woman was the first to command the respect of an entire Army as Commander-In-Chief. She was The  Grandmother.

Thrown into politics, she did whatever was necessary to get the job done.  Decisive, she made decisions that were unfavorable to others. She took her position, and she did not waver.

I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.[2]

Whether women are better than men I cannot say - but I can say they are certainly no worse.[3]

You'll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.[4] 

See The Grandmother, whose heart's desire was to be a good wife and mother, juggle her responsibility;
See her as she recognizes her spouse would not take the same high road she had taken;
See her as she struggles to do the right thing by her children;
See her as the pain in her soul burns through her breast, because she cannot deny the call––the call to follow her destiny.

The year was 1974.  The Grandmother stepped back from public life. Although she had been ill for some time, it had been her desire to stand up and be counted that  kept her moving on.  As she stepped down in 1974 from her political office of Prime Minister, the woman, who was called The Grandmother was weary and tired.

Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.[5]

Four years later, The Grandmother awoke.  She probably looked with her inner eyes at the events, which were affecting her beloved country, as she took an inspection of all she had accomplished on her journey.
  • Had she not fulfilled her desire to move to Palestine? Yes!
  • Had she not been one of the original signers of the Israeli Proclamation of Independence? Yes!
  • Had she not been the first ambassador to Russia for her newly established Country? Yes!
  • Had she not kept her political party together and became the first woman Prime minister? Yes!
  • Had she not struggled against a disease that slowed her down and crippled her ability to participate in certain events? Yes!
  • Had she tried to raise her children with the consciousness of how crucial it was to fight for something, which was bigger than your own desires? Yes!
  • Had she not hid her tears as she walked the lonely road of her destiny? Yes!
AThe Grandmother looked back, she smiled and letting out a sigh, she could hear the clock ticking.
I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.

December 8, 1978, the alarm went off, and The Grandmother stood up to Walk On.

It was time to take her flight ––her journey was over.  With a deep sigh of satisfaction, The Grandmother Walked On!
She Walked On, People, She Walked On!
Golda Meir, The Grandmother, who came into the world as Goldie Mabovitz in Kiev, Ukraine, Walked On! 
Walk On all you female torchbearers Walk On!
The way is sometimes steep,
The hills are sometimes rugged,
But Walk On! I say, Walk On!

01 Walk On – Song by Kellie Coffey – permission requested.

Pat Garcia

[1] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/golda_meir.html
[2] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/golda_meir.html
[3] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/golda_meir.html
[4] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/golda_meir.html
[5] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/golda_meir.html