Monday, November 17, 2014

Aztlan



Legendary Home of the Aztecs


Aztlan is a legendary city that is said to have been located in present day southwest parts of America. However, even though legend speaks of Aztlan there has never been a physical location found to prove its existence. Aztlan,  much like the Seven Cities of Gold, has a magical history, and might just be legend and myth.


Aztec Tradition

Some believe the reason there is no proof of Aztlan is that it was spoken of by the Aztecs who were said to have fled Aztlan in 1111 CE and then moved toward the south for more than two centuries. They finally found a dwelling in the Valley of Mexico that they called home. Once they arrived at this location, records were reportedly rewritten to make the entire Aztec tribe sound more legendary and god-like. These new writings were filled with myths and legends that spoke highly of Aztlan; no defeats or weaknesses were mentioned.


Meaning of the Name

The actual meaning of the term Aztlan connotes a “place of whiteness.” The legends surrounding Aztlan have numerous connections to the name. It is believed that this city was surrounded by snow or in a land that was filled with white giants. Some ancient Aztec legends even state that Aztecs made their way to the city of Aztlan by crawling from the center of the earth. Aztlan is often attributed with having seven caves or temples which link this city to the Seven Cities of Gold. Legend even has it that Aztlan might actually be Atlantis, but popular belief is that it existed in southwestern America. 


If you want to learn more, read about the Aztecan Goddess of Love.






 

 

 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Alice Coachman Davis



 Happy Birth To A Sports Pioneer

When you talk about a true sports pioneer, the conversation must include Alice Coachman Davis (November 1923–July 2014).  Although Coachman is perhaps not as well-known as other African American sports folk heroes, such as Jesse Owens or Wilma Rudolph, her place in sports history deserves attention.
Her impressive career  - despite the upbringing she received as a child in Georgia where most women did not receive encouragement to ‘be phyiscal’ -  included:
  • Being the first African American woman to ever win Olympic gold. She achieved this in the 1948 Olympic Games, smashing records and seizing the gold for the high jump.
  • She was not deterred by her financially strained upbringing, by racism, or by the attitudes of those who believed women had no place in track and field competitions.
  •  She played sports with the boys in her neighborhood, practiced jumping using primitive means, and waited for her opportunity.
  • It was at a meet at the Tuskegee Institute that Davis was discovered. From that point, she would go on to win national titles for the high jump for ten consecutive years.
  • The Olympics were a natural next stop for someone so talented. Unfortunately, World War II prevented the 1940 and 1940 Olympics from being held. It is believed by many that Davis would have dominated at these events. As it is, she was only able to compete in the 1948 games, where she won her single gold medal. It was presented to her by King George VI.
  • Although she made the front page of her Albany, GA newspaper, and although a parade was held in her honor, the Mayor nonetheless refused to shake her hand.
  • Coachman went on to become a teacher and a coach. At age 80, she was brought into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
To learn more about her, click here. Want to learn more about folk heroes/heroines?