Not the End

Happy Throwback Thursday, friends! As February draws to a close, so marks the official end of Black History Month. But that doesn’t mean that we should stop learning more about the people throughout history who have left their mark on the world. Remember: Black history is American history. But as for the official celebration meant to uplift those great men and women whose ideas and work made remarkable advances in music, medicine, sports, art, entertainment, science, farming, engineering, space exploration, architecture, and more, let’s take today to look at some little-known facts about some of these remarkable leaders:

As a child, Muhammad Ali was refused an autograph by his boxing idol, Sugar Ray Robinson. When Ali became a prizefighter, he vowed to never to deny an autograph request, which he honored throughout his career.

Before Wally Amos became famous for his “Famous Amos” chocolate chip cookies, he was a talent agent at the William Morris Agency, where he worked with the likes of The Supremes and Simon & Garfunkel.

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968 – which happened to be his friend Maya Angelou’s birthday.  Because of this tragedy, Ms. Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday for years afterward, and instead marked the day by sending flowers to Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, for more than 30 years, until Mrs. King’s death in 2006.

Louis Armstrong learned how to play the cornet while living at the Colored Waif’s Home for Boys. He earned the nickname “Satchmo” which was a shortened version of the moniker “satchel mouth.”

After a long career as an actress and singer, Pearl Bailey earned a bachelor’s degree in theology from Georgetown University in 1985.

After African American performer Josephine Baker expatriated to France, she famously smuggled military intelligence to French allies during World War II. She did this by pinning secrets inside her dress, as well as hiding them in her sheet music.

Scientist and mathematician Benjamin Banneker is credited with helping to design the blueprints for Washington, D.C.

Before becoming a professional musician, Chuck Berry studied to be a hairdresser. His famous “duck walk” dance originated in 1956 when he attempted to hide wrinkles in his trousers by shaking them out with his now-signature body movements.

Legendary singer James Brown performed in front of a televised audience in Boston the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Brown is often given credit for preventing further riots with the performance.

Politician, educator and Brooklyn native Shirley Chisholm survived three assassination attempts during her campaign for the 1972 Democratic nomination to the U.S. presidency.

Tice Davids, a runaway slave from Kentucky, may have been the inspiration for the first usage of the term “Underground Railroad,” though the origins of the term are shrouded in mystery. According to reports, after Davids swam across the Ohio River, his “owner” was unable to find him. He allegedly told the local paper that if Davids had escaped, he must have traveled on “an underground railroad.” Davids is thought to have made his way to Ripley, Ohio.

Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion, patented a wrench in 1922.

Before he became an NBA legend, Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Martin Luther King Jr. was stabbed by a woman in 1958 while attending a book signing at Blumstein’s department store in Harlem, New York. The following year, King and his wife visited India to meet Mahatma Gandhi, whose philosophies of nonviolence greatly influenced King’s work.

In 1967, chemist and scholar Robert H. Lawrence Jr. became the first black man to be trained as an astronaut. Sadly, he died in a jet crash during flight training and never made it into space.

Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis helped to end segregation in the U.S. armed forces while serving in the Army during World War II.

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall said that he was punished for misbehavior in school by being forced to recite the Constitution, ultimately memorizing it. His classmates included jazz vocalist Cab Calloway, Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes, and future Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah during their studies at Lincoln University.

Speaking of Thurgood Marshall’s classmate Langston Hughes – as well as his legal career, John Mercer Langston was the first Black man to become a lawyer when he passed the bar in Ohio in 1854. When he was elected to the post of Town Clerk for Brownhelm, Ohio, in 1855 Langston became one of the first African Americans ever elected to public office in America. By the way, John Mercer Langston was also the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, famed poet of the Harlem Renaissance.

Garrett Morgan, the inventor of the three-way traffic signal, also became the first African American to own a car in Cleveland, Ohio.

In addition to her career in Washington, D.C., Condoleezza Rice is an accomplished pianist who has accompanied cellist Yo-Yo Ma, played with soul singer Aretha Franklin and performed for Queen Elizabeth II. She also entered the University of Denver at the age of 15 and earned her Ph.D. by age 26.

At the very peak of his fame, rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Little Richard concluded that his music was the Devil’s work and subsequently became a traveling preacher, focusing on gospel tunes. When the Beatles revived several of his songs in 1964, Little Richard returned to the rock stage.

Olympic medal-winning athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith made headlines around the world by raising their black-gloved fists at the 1968 award ceremony. Both athletes wore black socks and no shoes on the podium to represent black poverty in America.

Cathay Williams was the first and only known female Buffalo Soldier. Williams was born into slavery and worked for the Union army during the Civil War. She posed as a man and enlisted as William Cathay in the 38th infantry in 1866, and was given a medical discharge in 1868.

Renowned African American architect Paul R. Williams mastered the art of rendering drawings upside-down so that his clients would see the drawings right side up. Williams’s style became associated with California glamour, and he joined the American Institute of Architects in 1923. However, because he worked during the height of segregation, most of the homes he designed had deeds that barred blacks from buying them!

Madam C.J. Walker was the first U.S. woman to become a self-made millionaire!  Madam C.J. Walker was born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana and became wealthy after inventing a line of African American hair care products. She established Madame C.J. Walker Laboratories and was well known for her philanthropy.

George Washington Carver developed over 300 derivative products from peanuts including: milk, coffee, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils, and cosmetics.

In 1926, Carter Godwin Woodson established Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month. The month of February was chosen in honor of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who were both born in that month.


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Time’s Ticking

Wednesday is the day YOU get to “Ask an Attorney.”  Just leave your question in the comments below, and if your question is selected, it will be answered on an upcoming Wednesday by one of our attorneys at Dean Burnetti Law.


Danny B. from Auburndale asks, “A couple of weekends ago, A car backed into my passenger side while I was on my way to my first day at a new job. After waiting around for the police to make a report, I hurried to work. A couple of days later, my upper back really started hurting and I started having migraines.  I’ve been out of work for months with Covid, and I can’t afford to call in and risk getting fired. Since we rotate weekdays off and my weekday rotation will come around next month, I was thinking about seeing a doctor then. Plus, by then, I should have health insurance through the company. Is there any legal reason why I can’t wait?”

Hi, Danny. I’m sorry to hear about your injuries. There are actually a couple of things wrong with your plan. First of all, you don’t need health insurance to care for an injury sustained in a car accident. Your own auto insurance (known as P.I.P.) is designed specifically to help you with medical expenses following a vehicle-related injury.

Secondly, about 7 years ago, Florida amended the law regarding P.I.P. (Personal Injury Protection coverage). The new amendment states that when car accident victims delay seeking medical attention for more than two weeks, the law figures that they couldn’t have been hurt very badly. That’s why the new law requires anyone injured in a car accident to see a doctor within 14 days of their accident in order to receive their full P.I.P. benefits, which is usually $10,000. This means you will need to see a qualified health care provider, including: Your private family physician or P.C.P., an emergency room doctor, a walk-in clinic doctor, or a licensed dentist or chiropractor. If you do not see a qualifying medical provider within this timeframe, your P.I.P. benefits will be limited to only $2,500.

Finally, these days, there are numerous walk-in clinics and chiropractors who have extended evening hours during the week, and many are also open on Saturdays and sometimes even Sundays to accommodate working people’s schedules.

If you haven’t reported your accident to your insurance company yet, I’d suggest you do so right now.  Next, call around until you find a doctor who will be able to work with your schedule, and make sure you explain that you need to see them ASAP in order to preserve your full P.I.P. benefits.  Finally, I’d check out a lawyer experienced in Florida’s auto accident laws (such as myself) and see what else they may be able to assist you with and what you are entitled to.

Best wishes!

~Dean Burnetti

[If you have a question for one of our attorneys, please write it in the comments below, and be sure to check back soon for a response.]

(The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.)

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Celebrate Eleanora!

It’s “Tuesday Newsday,” the day when Dean Burnetti Law brings you news of recalls, legal or political events, other important happenings, or just uplifting stories that make your heart smile…


Happy Tuesday Newsday, friends!  As continue our tribute to Black History Month, today, we’ll be looking at a young girl named Eleanora Fagan.  She was born on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia to an unwed teenage mother named Sadie.

Because Eleanora’s mother was unmarried, her parents sent her away from their home in Baltimore, and she moved in with her sister in Philly by the time Eleanora was born.  A few weeks later, her boyfriend, Eleanora’s father, left them to pursue a career in a jazz band.

Sadie soon married another man, but that marriage ended in less than two years. So, to make ends meet, she moved back to Baltimore with her sister’s mother-in-law and took a job serving on passenger railroads.  This left Eleanora in the care of the landlady and others for much of her early life and certainly added to her insecurity.

From the time she started kindergarten, Eleanora started skipping school, and by the time she was 9, she was sent to a reform school where she stayed for the better part of a year.  Meanwhile, Sadie opened a restaurant and when Eleanora was released, she worked long hours there with her mom.  Eleanora dropped out of school by the time she was 11.

On Christmas Eve, 1926, Sadie came home to discover a neighbor attempting to rape Eleanora. The man was arrested and Eleanora was placed in protective custody as a state witness. After her release two months later, Eleanora took a job running errands in a brothel and worked side jobs scrubbing marble steps and kitchen and bathroom floors of the neighborhood homes.

By December 1928, Sadie moved to Harlem, leaving Eleanora with the aforementioned landlady.  A couple of months later, Eleanora joined her mom. Their new landlady ran a brothel and Sadie became a prostitute there.  Worse yet, within days of her arrival, the 13-year-old Eleanora became a sex trafficking victim at $5 per client!  A few weeks later, the house was raided, and Eleanora and Sadie were sent to a prison workhouse.  Sadie was released two months later in July, and Eleanora was released in October.

After Eleanora’s release, she started singing in nightclubs in Harlem.  She created a stage name wither her first name being Billie after Billy Dove, an actress she admired. Her last name was Holiday, which was the performing name of her father Clarence Halliday.

She teamed up with a tenor saxophone player for the next two years when she was heard and admired by Benny Goodman, Charles Linton, and Chick Webb.  This was also when she happened to meet her father who was playing in a band.

By 1933, 18-year-old Eleanora-turned-Billie made her recording debut with Benny Goodman.  She recorded two songs, one of which immediately sold 5,000 copies. She was declared a jazz genius.  Two years later, she was offered a role in a musical film by Duke Ellington.  By the following year, she was accompanied by tenor saxophonist Lester Young.  It was he who nicknamed her “Lady Day.”

Her success continued throughout the decade, despite the ongoing Great Depression.  She sang with Count Bassie and was offered numerous live radio spots.

Around 1939, Billie was introduced to a song based on a poem written by a Jewish schoolteacher from the Bronx named Abel Meeropol.  Its title was “Strange Fruit” and its theme was the illegal lynching of Blacks.

Barney Josephson, the proprietor of Café Society, an integrated nightclub in Greenwich Village, asked her to perform it at his club.  Billie feared retaliation from the Whites in the audience. The imagery of the song reminded her of her father’s death which also played a role in her resistance to performing it. (Billie’s father was exposed to mustard gas while serving in World War I. By 1937, he was on tour in Texas when he fell ill with a lung disorder.  He was refused treatment at a local hospital and was only allowed in the Jim Crow ward of the Veterans Hospital.  By then, pneumonia had set in, and without antibiotics, his illness claimed his life.  He died on March 1, 1937.)

When she was ready for her debut performance of the controversial song, the Café Society waiters silenced the crowd as soon as the first note was played. During the song’s long introduction, the lights dimmed and all movement ceased. As Billie began singing, only a small spotlight illuminated her face. On the final note, all lights went out, and when they came back up, she was gone.

Of the song, she later said, “It reminds me of how Pop died, but I have to keep singing it, not only because people ask for it, but because twenty years after Pop died the things that killed him are still happening in the South.”  When her producers at Columbia found the subject matter too sensitive, Milt Gabler of Commodore Records agreed to record it for his label on April 20, 1939. “Strange Fruit” remained in her repertoire for 20 years. (It was the equivalent of a top-twenty hit in the 1930s.)

Billie Holiday died on July 17, 1959 at age 44 of cirrhosis.  Though her life was short, the impact she left was incredible.

If you’ve never heard of “Strange Fruit,” its lyrics are as follows:

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burnin’ flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather
For the wind to suck
For the sun to rot
For the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop



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Never a Waste of Time

It’s Monday. Welcome to a new week. Today is the day for “Monday Ministry.” Did you know that Attorney Dean Burnetti went to seminary before he was called to the legal field?  The following is a devotion given to you by Dean…

1 Corinthians 15:58 – “So then, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless.”

Have you ever had one of those days where it feels as though you’ve been busy every moment but yet seem to accomplish very little?  I think we all have those particular kinds of days, and this has been one of those for me.


I finally stopped to read this verse only to appreciate that in those moments when I feel unproductive, I stop and refocus on something that would be of service to God. So I got up from my chair and spent time going around talking to the people in my office. Some of them have special circumstances and needs. Some of them just simply needed a word of encouragement.

Now that I’ve finished, I realized that time was the most productive part of my day. They may have been small things in conversation, but they were all things that were in my service to God. Ultimately, I felt much better, and I became more productive because of my focus on the service that was most important in my life.

Today, you may be having one of those days when you just feel like you’re spinning and going nowhere. Stop and refocus on your service to the Lord. It may be something simple like showing somebody concern about their life and the problems that they’re facing. It may be just a word of encouragement. It may be something as simple as sharing a cup of coffee. But it will make all the difference in the focus of your life.

Stay healthy and have a blessed week!

~Dean Burnetti

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Have a wonderful weekend, friends!


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Celebrate Martin!

Happy Throwback Thursday, friends! As we continue with our look back during #BlackHistoryMonth, we thought it would be a wonderful time to highlight a bold young man known as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Nearly fifty-three years ago, on Thursday, April 4, 1968, Dr. King was fatally shot while standing on the balcony outside his second-story room, room 306, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.  It one minute after 6 p.m., and he was on his balcony, preparing to leave for dinner, when a bullet from a single .30-06 bullet fired from a Remington Model 760 rifle entered his right cheek, breaking his jaw and several vertebrae as it traveled down his spinal cord, severing his jugular vein and major arteries in the process, before lodging in his shoulder. The force of the shot ripped his necktie off. Dr. King fell backward onto the balcony, unconscious.

Dr. King was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where doctors opened his chest and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He never regained consciousness and died at 7:05 p.m.  According to sources, Dr. King’s autopsy revealed that despite being just 39-years old, his heart was in the condition of a 60-year-old man!  Doctors attributed this to the stress of his 13 years in the Civil Rights Movement.

In the months prior to his assassination, Dr. King grew increasingly concerned with the problem of economic inequality in America.  He organized a Poor People’s Campaign to focus on the issue, including a peaceful demonstration – a March on Washington.  In March 1968, he traveled to Memphis to show support for the poorly treated sanitation workers.  On March 28, a workers’ protest march led by King ended in violence and the death of an African-American teenager.  King left the city but vowed to return in a few days to lead another demonstration.

He returned as promised on April 3.  While his flight to Memphis was delayed by a bomb threat, he still arrived in time to make a planned speech to the people gathered at the Mason Temple (World Headquarters of the Church of God in Christ).  The speech, now known as the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address, recounted his 1958 attempted assassination.  He noted that the doctor who treated him said that because the knife used to stab him came so close to his aorta, any sudden movement, even a sneeze, might have killed him.  He then mentioned a letter written to him by a young girl who told him she was happy he had not sneezed.  He said, “I, too, am happy that I didn’t sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1961, when we decided to take a ride for freedom and ended segregation in interstate travel…”  He repeated, “If I had sneezed…” several more times, recounting numerous other events and acts of civil disobedience such as the Albany Movement of 1962, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, and the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965.

Near the close of his speech, he referenced that morning’s bomb threat: “And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats… or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! And so I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!”

He concluded by saying, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop … And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”

Just one day after speaking those poetic words, Dr. King was gunned down, and his life was snubbed short by a sniper.

According to biographer Taylor Branch, Dr. King’s last words were to musician Ben Branch, who was scheduled to perform that night at a planned event.  He said, “Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”

Five days later, on April 9, Dr. King was laid to rest in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.  Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to pay tribute to his casket as it passed by in a wooden farm cart drawn by two mules.

Dr. King’s violent death shocked the nation, but it came as no surprise to those closest to him.  As early as the mid-1950s, he had received death threats due to his prominence in the Civil Rights Movement. He had confronted the risk of death, including a nearly fatal stabbing in 1958, and made its recognition part of his philosophy. He taught that murder could not stop the struggle for equal rights.  After the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, King told his wife, Coretta Scott King, “This is what is going to happen to me also. I keep telling you, this is a sick society.”

Shortly after the fatal shot was fired, witnesses saw a man, later believed to be James Earl Ray, a fugitive from the Missouri State Penitentiary, fleeing from a rooming house across the street from the Lorraine Motel.  Ray had been renting a room there. Police found a package dumped close to the site, which included a rifle and binoculars, both with Ray’s fingerprints. Ray had purchased the rifle under an alias six days earlier.  A worldwide manhunt ensued.

James Earl Ray, was apprehended and arrested two months later, on June 8, 1968, in London at Heathrow Airport.  He was extradited to the United States and charged with the Dr. King’s murder.  On March 10, 1969, he plead guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary.  As early as three days after he was sentenced, Ray made numerous lifelong attempts to withdraw his guilty plea, but he was unsuccessful; he spent the remainder of his life claiming he’d been the victim of a setup.

On June 10, 1977, Ray and seven other convicts escaped from the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee.  They were recaptured three days later on June 13, and returned to prison.  A year was added to his sentence.

On April 23, 1998, at the age of 70, Ray died in prison from kidney liver failure, caused by hepatitis C (probably contracted as a result of a blood transfusion given after a stabbing incident at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary).

The Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee is now part of the complex of the National Civil Rights Museum. A wreath marks the approximate spot where Dr. King was shot.


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Tangible Documentation

Wednesday is the day YOU get to “Ask an Attorney.”  Just leave your question in the comments below, and if your question is selected, it will be answered on an upcoming Wednesday by one of our attorneys at Dean Burnetti Law.


 Marcia S. from Lakeland asks, “I was involved in a car accident in 2019, and I suffered some significant soft-tissue injuries and a deep laceration on my scalp.  My case recently went to trial, and I was awarded a modest verdict.  While we were waiting for the jury to deliberate, my attorney and the defense attorney were talking with the judge, and I overheard the defense attorney say she thought my case would have been stronger if I’d have had

tangible documentation of my vehicle damage and my injury.  My lawyer later explained that this meant photos.  But by the time I hired my attorney, my car had been crushed, and we were unable to get photos.  Plus, by then, my laceration had been treated and had started healing.  I didn’t even think of taking photos of anything at the scene.  Is this something I should have done?”

attorney dean burnetti explains how to take photos after a car accident

Hi, Marcia.  What a great question!  I’m so sorry to hear about your unfortunate accident and injuries, but am glad you are doing better now.

Photos and video are always wonderful tools to help document any type of incident that might later be in dispute (such as a car accident, a bicycle accident, a slip and fall, a defective piece of machinery, mold exposure, etc.)  As a matter of fact, there are certain methods of photographing the vehicles involved, the accident scene, and the injuries sustained that are better than others.

For example, many people take a close-up photo of the damage to their vehicle, and that’s the end of it.  It would be preferable to take that same close-up as well as photograph a wide-angle view of the same thing.  By that, I mean go ahead and zoom in to take a detailed shot of the dent in your left rear bumper.  But then back up and take another shot of the entire rear of the car so that not only the dent shows, but where it is on the car is clearly seen, how large the damage is in relation to the size of the car, and the fact that it is actually your car can be clearly seen.

The same goes for injuries.  Go ahead and take a close-up of the abrasion to your knee, but then have the photographer back up and take a photo of both knees so the swelling can be compared to the good knee, and after that, have them take a photo of your full body so that it is undisputed that the knee injury actually belongs to you.

While you’re at the accident site, if you’re able to sneak in a photo of the damage to the other vehicle(s), that could be helpful, too.  While you’re there, see if you can get a photo of the accident scene, including where you were coming from and where you were headed, as well as where the other vehicle(s) were coming from and headed.  Be sure the photos aren’t blurry before you put away the camera, and if it’s dark outside, be sure to use your flash.

Finally, using everything I just mentioned, it’s even better if you can do the exact same thing again but with video.  While you or someone else is videoing the vehicle damage, the injuries, and the accident scene, you could narrate what it is the viewer is looking at.  If it ends up that you have a case and the video is needed, the lawyer can include the audio portion of the video if needed, or they can even make still shots from the video if necessary.

Best wishes!

~Dean Burnetti

[If you have a question for one of our attorneys, please write it in the comments below, and be sure to check back soon for a response.]

(The information contained herein is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.)

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Celebrate Bass!

It’s “Tuesday Newsday,” the day when Dean Burnetti Law brings you news of recalls, legal or political events, other important happenings, or just uplifting stories that make your heart smile…


Happy Tuesday Newsday, friends!  As you know, February is Black History Month.  So, today, rather than bringing you current uplifting news, we’re going to give a nod back to the history books and bring you some old uplifting news…

Who remembers the old western-themed show “The Lone Ranger”? Well, if you don’t, The Lone Ranger was a fictional former Texas Ranger who wore a mask and fought outlaws in Old West with his Native American friend, Tonto.

The Lone Ranger first appeared as a radio show in 1933.  This spawned a series of books which evolved into a popular television show starting in 1949, and then went on to more stories in comic books and several movies.

While the TV actor (Clayton Moore) who played the Lone Ranger was White, the real lone Ranger was a Black man.  (Yes, the character was based on a real person.)

Bass Reeves, born in July 1838 in Crawford County, Arkansas, was born into slavery.  He was the namesake of his grandfather, Bass Washington.  His family’s owner was Arkansas state legislator William Steele Reeves.

When Bass was about eight years old, his owner moved and left him in the custody of the owner’s son, Colonel George Reeves, a sheriff and one-time Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.

When the Civil War began, George joined the Confederate Army and took Bass with him.  Though it is unknown as to how many years this lasted, at some point during the war, Bass and George had a physical altercation over a card game. Bass beat George severely and fled to the Natives Territory where he lived among the Cherokee, Creek,  and Seminole Native tribes.  There, he learned their languages and he remained with them until 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment was born which abolished slavery

As a freedman, Bass moved to Arkansas started a farm.  He remained there for a decade until Isaac Parker was appointed as a Federal Judge for the Natives Territory. Isaac appointed James Fagan as a U.S. Marshal and directed him to hire 200 Deputy Marshals.

James had heard about Bass.  He knew Bass knew the Natives Territory well and was fluent in several Native languages. He immediately sought Bass and recruited him as a Deputy, making Bass the first Black Deputy to serve west of the Mississippi River.

Bass was initially assigned to the Western District of Arkansas, and he served there until 1893 when he transferred to the Eastern District of Texas.  In 1897, he transferred to the Muskogee Federal Court in the Native Territory.

All told, Bass worked for 32 years as a Federal Peace Officer in the Indian Territory, and he became one of Judge Parker’s most valued Deputies. Bass was a marksman with a rifle and revolver, and he developed superior detective skills.  He was an expert marksman and master of disguise, had a Native American companion, and even rode a silver horse.

By the time he retired in 1907, he had arrested more than 3,000 dangerous felons. Upon Oklahoma achieving statehood, Bass then became an officer of the Muskogee Police Department where he served for two years before he left due to Bright’s disease which claimed his life on January 12, 1910.

While the thought of an African American cowboy in the Old West might seem out of place, it was actually more commonplace than the old Western movies would lead us to believe. In the 1800s, the Wild West attracted many enslaved men and women with the hope of freedom and wages. After the Civil War ended, many freedmen went West where there was a high demand for skilled labor. These African Americans made up nearly a fourth of the legendary cowboys.

(By the way, Bass was also the great-uncle of Paul L. Brady, who became the first African American Federal Administrative Law Judge in 1972.)




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Just Like Honey

It’s Monday. Welcome to a new week. Today is the day for “Monday Ministry.” Did you know that Attorney Dean Burnetti went to seminary before he was called to the legal field?  The following is a devotion given to you by Dean…

Proverbs 16:24 – “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

As Believers, it’s important that we understand the power of our words. The Bible repeatedly talks about our tongue and controlling it.

As a Christian, you may find yourself with all the right words when you are at church. But in the workplace, social life, and family, we often don’t carry on the consistency that we display at the church. As a result, so often we can be viewed as hypocrites by others.

The point is that our words can be one of our greatest tools for success — or destruction — in our walk with Christ. They are seeds that you plant in other people. They do not come back without some form of harvest for the good — or for the bad.

The Bible describes kind words as being honey that is sweet. Healthy for the body. Kind words of encouragement that you share with everyone around you, whether it be in your family, your work, or your social life, will actually increase the physical health of others around you. We know that it increases their emotional health, but I believe the Bible is true when it says it has a positive impact on their physical health.

As Believers, the words that come from our mouths affect the emotional, spiritual, and physical health of our children, our spouses, and our families.


Do you want to increase the physical health of you children?  Speak kind words. Do you want to increase the health of your spouse?  Speak kind words of encouragement. Do you want to positively increase your own personal physical health?  Speak kind words of encouragement to yourself.

The great American novelist, Henry James, in saying good-bye to his nephew,
Willie, said something the boy never forgot. As they parted, he put his
hand on the young man’s shoulders and remarked, “Willie, there are three
things that are important in human life. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.”

God has a kind word for you today:  He loves you.

Stay healthy and have a blessed week!

~Dean Burnetti

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Have a great weekend, friends!


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