Friday, March 27, 2020

March is Still Women's History Month. Both Sides of the Story, FX on Hulu's "Mrs. America," Phyllis Schlafly vs. the Equal Rights Amendment, April 15th.

By Laura Medina

To the uninformed, to the hip and the trendy, not all women are alike and there are still young women who bemoan the fact that they have to work to earn a living.  They go to law school to marry a lawyer. They go to medical school to marry a doctor.  Not out of love, but of financial support through the means of socio-ethnicity privilege.  These dependent but manipulative young ladies are the daughters and grand-daughters of passive-aggressive retrogressive, conservative activist, Phyllis Schalfly, the anti-feminist activist.

FX on Hulu, on Wednesday April 15th, premieres "Mrs. America," a drama centered on the woman who ruin and stalled the legalization of the Equal Rights Amendment but fail to stop the social evolution of women's careerism, single-parenthood, and women having rights in domestic abuse that domineering Schlafly failed to recognized.

According to the Cate Blanchett, Schlafly is transgressive who fought hard to protect and save the status quo is that grown into upper-middle class women who eventually voted for Trump, still believing they, as females, still need a men to financially support them, protect them and use their husbands as a weapon and as a tool against people (other women) they perceive as a threat.  Voting Trump into office, is a joke on them.

Since the miniseries is set entirely in late Sixties to mid-Seventies, it's a generation battle between Baby Boomers versus the Greatest Generation that came of age during the Great Depression, when women...mothers...had to work because of the Wall Street Crash and marrying bad choices in men; or fathers dumping their families since they no longer can support a family.  That's Phyllis' childhood.

Surprisingly, Phyllis' mother, Odile Stewart (nÊe Dodge),[4] was the daughter of attorney Ernest C. Dodge.  She was a pioneering feminist that her daughter, Phyllis fought so hard against.  Before her marriage, she worked as a teacher at a private girls' school in St. Louis.[5] During the Depression, Schlafly's mother went back to work as a librarian and a school teacher to support her family.

Odile was a highly accomplished intellectual achiever who married down.

Schlafly's father, John Bruce Stewart, was a machinist and salesman of industrial equipment, principally for Westinghouse. He became unemployed in 1932 during the Great Depression and could not find permanent work until World War II.[9] He was granted a patent in 1944 for a rotary engine.[10]

Phyllis came from a hard-scrabble Great Depression life, worked as a ballistics gunner and technician at the largest ammunition plant in college.

For a woman who feared feminists are going to take away her privileges of a certain woman of a certain social status of a certain ethnicity, Phyllis was the biggest careerist in her own right and was strong enough to dominate her husband, Fred. She later earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law in 1978.[

In 1946, Schlafly became a researcher for the American Enterprise Institute and worked in the successful United States House of Representatives campaign of Republican Claude I. Bakewell.[11]
She played a major role with her husband in 1957 in writing a highly influential report, the "American Bar Association's Report on Communist Tactics, Strategy, and Objectives." Critchlow says it, "became not only one of the most widely read documents ever produced by the ABA, it was probably the single most widely read publication of the grassroots anticommunist movement."[12]
She attended her first Republican National Convention in 1952, and continued to attend each following convention.[15] As part of the Illinois delegation of the 1952 Republican convention, Schlafly endorsed U.S. Senator Robert A. Taft to be the party nominee for the presidential election.[16] At the 1960 Republican National Convention, Schlafly helped lead a revolt of "moral conservatives" who opposed Richard Nixon's stance (as The New York Times puts it) "against segregation and discrimination."[17]
She came to national attention when millions of copies of her self-published book, A Choice Not an Echo, were distributed in support of Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign, especially in California's hotly fought winner-take-all-delegates GOP primary.[18] In it, Schlafly denounced the Rockefeller Republicans in the Northeast, accusing them of corruption and globalism. Critics called the book a conspiracy theory about "secret kingmakers" controlling the Republican Party.[19]
In 1967, Schlafly lost a bid for the presidency of the National Federation of Republican Women against the more moderate candidate Gladys O'Donnell of California. Outgoing NFRW president and future United States Treasurer Dorothy Elston of Delaware worked against Schlafly in the campaign.[20][21]
Schlafly joined the John Birch Society, but quit because she believed that the main Communist "threats" to the nation were external rather than internal.[citation needed] In 1970, she ran unsuccessfully for a House of Representatives seat in Illinois against Democratic incumbent George E. Shipley

Phyllis tried to be a traditional housewife who wants to be financially supported by a man but her intellect, drive, and focus betrayed her.  She was more engine and fuel behind the machine.

Her anti-feminism is more of a backlash against her hard-scrabble upbringing when mothers had to work as means of survival and having an husband was and is still is an award.  Phyllis never wanted careerism as a means of fulfillment when her mother had it so rough yet her father failed her.

For all you Gen-Xers, Millennials and Gen-Zers, go ahead watch "Mrs. America" on FX on Hulu on Wednesday, April 15th to know the full scope that still rages on.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Naomi Knapp's Heart & Soul Meals on Pennies & Dimes for These CORVID-19 Recession Times or When You're Starting Out or Starting Over.

By Laura Medina

This scribe got to give credit where credit is due.

For the longest time, Naomi Knapp has to make do, as a divorced mom of two, which one of the children is born with food allergies, adding more challenges onto a limited budget.

Having to make do in a small town, next to a small city, Knapp manages and successfully fed her family on a very tight, very short, very limited budget that most can't fathom.

Her focused, resourcefulness now comes in handy during massive lay-offs due to CORVID-19 virus contamination.

Knapp takes ingredients that cost pennies and dimes then make them gourmet and healthy (especially with those with food allergies), that the recently unemployed can find useful and very much appreciated.

To all the single dads and moms, this one is for you...

Let's start off with Naomi Knapp's Chicken Soup.  With made from scratch gallon, this soup will fed heart and soul for two weeks for a family or a month for single people. Freeze well...

"Made a gallon of Chicken Noodle Soup." 🐔🍲😊💕

" Started with 10# chicken leg quarters and Italian dressing in two crockpots... cooked on high, 4 hours. Deboned and chopped up all chicken, set aside 4 cups for soup (and rest for chicken alfredo & bbq chicken sliders). Cracked all bones to expose marrow... threw all bones and skins into stockpot with 2 gallon ziploc bags of vegetable scraps to make chicken & veggie stock/bone broth. (I freeze all trimmings from veggies I cut to add to stock-- onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips, parsley, cilantro, etc... I use alot of veggies, so I make stock every 2 weeks or so.) Simmer stock 3 hours or more for a gallon of stock... or simmered longer to reduce to 2 quarts of concentrated stock.) Strain solids and season stock with sage, thyme, salt and pepper... chop 2 cups carrots, 2 cups celery, 2 cups onion, garlic cloves, fresh parsley... cook 20 minutes... add 2 cups medium egg noodles 10 minutes... turn off burner and let cool. Always tastes better the next day, as flavors meld together. Yeah, it takes 2 days, but the flavor is unbelievable. If only canned Chicken Noodle Soup tasted this good. " Naomi Knapp.💗

Naomi Knapp's Tomato Sauce for Anything...

"Next time your recipe falls for a can of diced tomatoes, kick up the flavor by roasting your tomatoes first. You won't be sorry. Just dump 4 cans 14 oz. diced tomatoes into a foil lined 13" × 9" baking dish (you do NOT want to scrub that dish afterwards). Add 4 garlic cloves, sliced, 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, salt & pepper to taste. Roast 425° for 80 minutes. Your tomatoes will reduce to a thickened blend of garlic tomato goodness." 😍💕

Naomi Knapp,..
"Delicious in pasta sauces, chili, red rice, sandwich spreads, warm bruschetta... or anywhere you'd normally use canned tomatoes. I often drizzle balsamic vinegar, add 1 Tbsp dried oregano and 1 Tbsp dried sweet basil before roasting for Italian dishes, but omit when roasting for other cuisines. Just adjust all seasonings for whatever flavors you prefer. Very inexpensive way to add tons of flavor. Skip the overpriced spaghetti sauces. Add these roasted tomatoes to homemade marinara, and you have an amazing, rich tomato base for a memorable pasta night. You're welcome." 😊

Naomi Knapp's Grain-free Zucchini Cheese "Bread"
Fresh, hardy cooking doesn't exclude food allergy suffers or those on a gluten-free and grain-free diet or lifestyle.
This one is for her kid with food allergies, who hates missing out on pizza...
4 cups grated zucchini
3 cups shredded mozzarella (divided)
1/2 cup grated parmesan (freshly grated for best flavor)
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 lg eggs
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Add crushed red pepper, if desired

Preheat oven 425°. Blend all ingredients in large mixing bowl with only 1 cup of mozzarella cheese (set remainder 2 cups aside for topping).

Butter a 7"×11" baking dish or line with parchment paper. Pour mixture in dish and bake 30 minutes. Add remainder of cheese and bake 10 minutes more. Let rest at least 15 minutes to firm up enough to cut.
Naomi Knapp,.. 

"I let mine sit longer, since it's so much softer than traditional bread. It was even better the next day." 😊

"I hate store bought marinara sauce because it always tastes way too acidic, thanks to preservatives. Tomato paste is super inexpensive and so easy to build up to marinara, pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce. My recipe for marinara is very simple."

Marinara Dipping Sauce

1 small can tomato paste
1 can full of water (or more if you want thinner sauce-- I like it thick)
1 Tbsp brown sugar (or less, to suit your tastes-- cuts acidity)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Dash Garlic salt
Dash dried oregano
Dash onion powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat and serve. Done!

Naomi Knapp's...

"That thick marinara is really good with a splash of red wine, or balsamic vinegar, too, depending on what you have on hand... and makes the best pizza sauce. I make mini pizzas with English muffins and use this as pizza sauce. It's also the base of my spaghetti sauce, as I add more paste, water and spices to build up volume for a pasta dish." 
"Red wine is essential to add for spaghetti sauce, in my opinion. NOT cooking wine... yuck! Drinkable red wine.🍷Makes all the difference. But pasta sauces are an entirely different conversation..."

With mounting CORVID-19 unemployment and recession, this scribe will keep you all posted with home-cooking for the 21st century.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

We Can't Forget March is Women's History Month. Take a Page from Fashionistas & Beauty-istas Then Watch Netflix mini-series, "Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madame CJ Walker," produced by LeBron James.

By Laura Medina

Ever Netflix released hair care innovator, Netflix mini-series, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madame CJ Walker, produced by LeBron James on March 20th, every fashionista and beauty-ista have been awing with inspiration and hope.

Since kids are being home-school during this CORVID-19 virus quarantine, you might as well make learning real history fun, cool, and inspiring.  
Even today, Madam C.J. Walker Hair Care is still very much relevant. Sephora currently sells her hair products...

Time to binge watch while using her hair care as in-house spa time; the way they should be and always have.

National Trust For Historic Preservation was kind enough to pass on their interview with Madam C.J. Walker's  biographer and great-great-granddaughter and biographer A’Lelia Bundles by Priya Chhaya.

Madam C.J. Walker’s story is about resilience, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Born Sarah Breedlove in 1867, Madam Walker successfully navigated challenges of being African American and a woman in early 20th-century America to create not only a hair care empire, but also to become a strong advocate for civil rights, the arts, and women’s financial independence.
With a life like that, it should come as no surprise that Netflix is premiering a miniseries based on Madam Walker’s experiences. Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker stars Octavia Spencer and chronicles the rise of a woman who is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records for being the first self-made female millionaire. 

While the Netflix series approaches Madam C.J. Walker’s story with the respect it deserves, it does take some artistic license; dates are conflated, characters are invented, and for the sake of drama, some relationships are heightened. As fans of Madam Walker’s story (her home in Irvington, New York, Villa Lewaro, was a National Treasure), we are taking the opportunity to share more about Madam C.J. Walker’s life—and what the series changed—through her great-great-granddaughter and biographer A’Lelia Bundles.
For Bundles, this series is an opportunity, not only because it is a vehicle for sharing an important story about African American history, but also because it will introduce Madam Walker to a whole new group of people and encourage them to learn more about “[someone] who overcame great obstacles and inspired thousands of women.”
When Bundles visited the set in Toronto in fall 2019, she was impressed by the care that had been given by the production team to recreating the details of Madam Walker’s life from the wigs and costumes to the sets and props. She was particularly moved by a scene directed by DeMane Davis in which Octavia Spencer and Kevin Carroll (as attorney Freeman B. Ransom) confront the emotional topic of lynching.
Read on to learn more about Madam C.J. Walker’s life and some of the things you don’t see in the miniseries.
Images from the Netflix Miniseries Self Made
photo by: Courtesy Netflix
Let’s talk about place. The Netflix series sets most of the story in Indianapolis. What are some things viewers should know about where Madam C.J. Walker lived and worked?
Madam Walker arrived in Indianapolis in February 1910. She moved from St. Louis to Denver in 1905. She settled in Pittsburgh in 1908 after traveling for a year and a half throughout the southwestern and southern United States. She moved from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis because she was attracted to the thriving black business community. Located near the center of population during the early 1900s, the city provided a great transportation hub for her mail order business.
What was Madam Walker’s original product, and why did she create it?
While still a poor washerwoman in St. Louis, Sarah Breedlove (later known as Madam Walker), began to lose her hair. In the early 1900s, when most American homes lacked indoor plumbing, personal hygiene practices—including bathing and hair washing—were very different than they are today. As a result, many people had severe dandruff and scalp infections that caused baldness. To treat her hair loss, Madam Walker developed her Wonderful Hair Grower, a thick ointment called petrolatum with the consistency of Vaseline. Sulfur acted as a medicinal agent to heal the infections that caused hair loss. 
Self Made sets up a rivalry between Madam C.J. Walker and a character named Addie Monroe. Is Addie Monroe a real person? What is the inspiration for this character?
In trying to show many of the obstacles Madam Walker faced, the script writers have said that Addie Monroe is a composite representing several characters and themes and not meant to be a specific person. Inevitably many viewers who already know something about Madam Walker will draw comparisons between Monroe and Annie Turnbo Pope Malone. Madam Walker, then known as Sarah Breedlove Davis, worked as a sales agent for the real-life Annie Turnbo Pope Malone, who founded the Poro Company in St. Louis around 1902. After moving to Denver in July 1905, Sarah continued selling Poro products for about eight months. In April 1906, after her new husband Charles Joseph Walker joined her in Denver, Sarah Breedlove changed her name to Madam C. J. Walker and placed her first Walker advertisement in the Denver Statesman to promote her own product line.
While the two women were fierce competitors, the rivalry between Madam Walker and “Addie Monroe”—including the direct confrontations and arguments—is exaggerated in the series for dramatic effect. Annie Malone did not conspire with John Robinson, Madam Walker’s son-in-law, and did not lure a group of Walker agents.
Madam Walker was first exposed to the hair care business through her brothers, who were barbers during the 1890s in St. Louis. Later she consulted with dermatologists and pharmacists as she developed new products.
While Addie Monroe leaves St. Louis, the real life Annie Turnbo Pope Malone did not move to Indianapolis. She remained in Missouri, married Aaron Malone in 1914, and built a large factory and beauty school in 1917. After a bitter divorce from Aaron Malone in 1927, she moved her company to Chicago.
Both women were pioneers of the modern hair care industry and founders of companies that provided jobs for thousands of women. Both were also philanthropists whose large gifts benefited a number of African American organizations, schools, institutions, and individuals.
The show presents a conflict between Madam Walker and Booker T. Washington. How realistic is this depiction?
There’s no real-life evidence of this particular behind the scenes conversation, though Washington did initially keep Madam Walker at a distance. While he had snubbed her at the 1912 National Negro Business League (NNBL) convention in Chicago, she still managed to make a speech before the group where she said “I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there, I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations…I have built my own factory on my own ground.” A year later, Washington’s attitude toward her had changed considerably in part because of her $1,000 contribution to the building fund of a black YMCA in Indianapolis. He invited her to make formal remarks at the 1913 NNBL convention in Philadelphia. When Washington visited Indianapolis in 1913 for the YMCA dedication, he was a guest in her home and she had her chauffeur pick him up at the train station.
In episode two of “Self Made,” we hear from members of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), the largest federation of local black women’s clubs that was founded in 1896 to advocate for African American women’s rights and equality (including suffrage). What should viewers know about NACW?
In Episode 2, Margaret Murray Washington says, “It’s just not our place…We live in a man’s world…We choose to be here [in the kitchen] …We club women, we socialize in the serving room.” But given the origins of the NACW and its founding members, it is unlikely that they would have consigned themselves to the kitchen. The NACW was founded in 1896 (predating the NAACP) and included very independent women. Many of the early members and officers were college graduates, and outspoken, political activists and educators who traveled internationally.
While it would not be unusual for women today to celebrate with a champagne toast, this scene would have been very unlikely because many of the club women were supporters of the Temperance Movement and were opposed to drinking alcoholic beverages.
Did Madam Walker live next door to John D. Rockefeller, and did she visit him?
Madam Walker’s Villa Lewaro and Rockefeller’s Kykuit (a National Trust Historic Site) are about three miles apart in Westchester County, New York. There is no evidence, however, that the two owners met each other. It is unlikely that she would have walked onto his property or consulted him for advice.
You’ve spoken about how you hope this film will spark more interest in Madam C.J. Walker and her life. Where can people learn more about this fascinating figure?
A four-part series can only scratch the surface, so I truly hope viewers will be inspired to want to learn more about Madam Walker! Scribner has released a new paperback edition of my book, On Her Own Ground, with a revised epilogue and a few updates. I recently recorded the audio version, which was a lot of fun. The title will temporarily be Self Made and the cover will have Octavia Spencer dressed as Madam Walker in order to tie in with the series. I’m sure that will become a collector’s item!
Today, Madam Walker’s legacy is carried on by the Madam Walker Legacy Center (a cultural venue in Indianapolis), MCJW (a line of hair care products manufactured by Sundial Brands and sold exclusively at, Villa Lewaro (Madam Walker’s mansion in Irvington, New York) and the Madam Walker Family Archives, which includes hundreds of photos and letters I’m fortunate to have inherited from my family. The Indiana Historical Society recently digitized more than 40,000 items from the Madam Walker Collection, which the Walker Estate donated during the early 1980s, and opened a new Madam Walker exhibit in September 2019.
“Do Big Things”: Madam C.J. Walker’s Great-Great-Granddaughter on History, Ancestors, and Villa Lewaro," A’Lelia Bundles 
Every time I walk through the doors of Villa Lewaro -- the mansion my great-great-grandmother, Madam C. J. Walker, called her “dream of dreams” -- I always take a moment to imagine the ancestors and the magic they must have felt in these rooms. From the columns of its majestic portico to the balustrades of its grand terrace, the original stucco facade sparkled with marble dust and glistening grains of white sand when the washerwoman-turned-millionaire took possession in May 1918.
The New York Times pronounced it “a place fit for a fairy princess.” Enrico Caruso, the world-famous opera tenor, was so entranced by its similarity to estates in his native Naples that he coined the name “Lewaro” in honor of A’Lelia Walker Robinson, Madam Walker’s only daughter.
Walker told her friend Ida B. Wells, the journalist and anti-lynching activist, that after working so hard all her life -- first as a farm laborer, then as a maid and a cook, and finally as the founder of an international hair care enterprise -- she wanted a place to relax and garden and entertain her friends.
She also wanted to make a statement, so it was no accident that she purchased four and a half acres in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, not far from Jay Gould’s Lyndhurst and John D. Rockefeller’s Kykuit amidst America’s wealthiest families. She directed Vertner Woodson Tandy -- the architect who already had designed her opulent Harlem townhouse -- to position the 34-room mansion close to the village’s main thoroughfare so it was easily visible by travelers en route from Manhattan to Albany. 
Indeed, the Times reported that her new neighbors were “puzzled” and “gasped in astonishment” when they learned that a black woman was the owner. “Impossible!” they exclaimed. “No woman of her race could afford such a place.”
The woman born in a dim Louisiana sharecropper’s cabin on the banks of the Mississippi River now awoke each morning in a sunny master suite with a view of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades. The child who had crawled on dirt floors now walked on carpets of Persian silk. The destitute laundress, who had lived across the alley from the St. Louis bar where Scott Joplin composed ragtime tunes, now hosted private concerts beneath shimmering chandeliers in her gold music room.
But the home was not constructed merely for her personal pleasure. Villa Lewaro, she hoped, would inspire young African-Americans to “do big things” and to see “what can be accomplished by thrift, industry and intelligent investment of money.”
“Do not fail to mention that the Irvington home, after my death, will be left to some cause that will be beneficial to the race -- a sort of monument,” she instructed her attorney, F. B. Ransom. As the largest contributor to the fund that saved Frederick Douglass’s Anacostia home, Cedar Hill, she understood the importance of preservation as a way to claim and influence history’s narrative. 
For her opening gathering in August 1918, Madam Walker honored Emmett Scott, then the Special Assistant to the U. S. Secretary of War in Charge of Negro Affairs and the highest ranking African-American in the federal government. At this “conference of interest to the race” -- with its who’s who of black Americans and progressive whites -- she encouraged discussion and debate about civil rights, lynching, racial discrimination, and the status of black soldiers then serving in France during World War I.
After a weekend of conversation, collegiality, and music provided by J. Rosamond Johnson -- co-composer of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” -- and Joseph Douglass, master violinist and grandson of Frederick Douglass, Scott wrote to her, “No such assemblage has ever gathered at the private home of any representative of our race, I am sure.”
After Madam Walker died at Villa Lewaro on May 25, 1919 -- barely a year after moving in -- her daughter continued the tradition of hosting events, occasionally opening the home for public tours to honor Walker’s legacy. Later dubbed the “joy goddess of Harlem’s 1920s” by poet Langston Hughes because of her impressive soirees, A’Lelia Walker feted Liberian President Charles D. B. King and his entourage in 1921 with a Fourth of July fireworks display and concert by the Ford Dabney Orchestra. 
In November 1923, limousines lined Broadway as several hundred bejeweled and fancily dressed wedding reception guests arrived from Harlem’s St. Philips Episcopal Church where my grandmother Mae had married her first husband, Dr. Gordon Jackson. The following summer, more than 400 sales agents and cosmetologists journeyed from all over the United States and the Caribbean for the seventh annual convention of the Madam Walker Beauty Culturists Union.
In the late 1970s, as I was beginning to research the Walker women’s lives, I made my first visit to the house. Sold after A’Lelia Walker’s death, it had been a retirement home for elderly white women since the 1930s. Even with its beauty then obscured and its furnishings meager, I still could see the lingering grandeur in the hand-painted murals and the marble stairs. When I interviewed blues legend Alberta Hunter a few years later, she told tales of weekend parties and of playing the Estey organ as she gently awakened the other guests. 
Through the years I’ve watched as ownership has moved from the Companions of the Forest to Ingo and Darlene Appel and then to Harold and Helena Doley. They all have been stewards in their own caring way. For more than two decades, the Doleys have invested considerable resources and patience to restore the home and the grounds, even hosting a designer show house benefiting the United Negro College Fund in 1998.
As one of the grandest and earliest mansions built and owned by an African-American and by an American woman entrepreneur, Villa Lewaro is one of the few remaining tangible symbols of the astonishing progress made by the first generation after Emancipation. Without this evidence, our history is easily misinterpreted and dismissed. Without something to touch and see, our children and grandchildren have no way to verify the accomplishments of the ancestors.
It is vital that we work to find ways to imagine Villa Lewaro’s future so that it can continue to inspire others and to be, as Madam Walker dreamed, a monument to the brain, hustle, and energy of this remarkable woman, and a milestone in the history of a race’s advancement.
A’Lelia Bundles is Walker’s great-great-granddaughter and author of On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker. Her website is