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Oct 31, 2011
Halloween 1964

When Halloween of 1964 rolled around,this 4th Grade kid was still greatly impacted by the events that had occured in November of the previous year.I imagine there were some youth of another generation impacted the same way when they saw the Challenger blow up right in their classrooms,and still others of a more recent generation,and more recently I'm certain there was a fourth grader out there still obsessed with what they saw on September 11,2001. Children are an impressionable lot.

In the time between November of 1963,and Halloween of 1964,this kid had become somewhat of a collector of all things Kennedy,and had even decided that his goal should be to run for President of the United States when he was eligible. This 9 year old was even consumed with the 1964 Presidential Election and was already learning what it was like to take an unpopular position,because he had declared to the dismay of his mom,(a staunch Johnson-Humphrey supporter and campaign worker) and the scorn of fellow classmates of his intentions to cast his vote in the school mock election for Senator Barry Goldwater,but that's another story for another time..

Given all this, when Halloween rolled around,it should not have been a big surprise to anyone that when most 4th graders were trying to find the scariest outfit for Halloween,or at least something to look like some TV character like My Favorite Martian,the moment he came across a John F. Kennedy mask,that JFK he was going to be.

It wasn't going to be too hard to be JFK on Halloween,all that was needed was the mask,and to wear the jacket and tie that was worn for church and sunday school every week.

He had no one to trick or treat with that Halloween. Luckily in 1964,everyone in the neighborhood knew everyone,and even if you went out alone,by the time you rang a person's doorbell,you were shortly going to be joined by other kids in the neighborhood. Now in this kid's mind there was more to portraying John F. Kennedy than dressing like him. One had to adopt a Bostonian accent or try as best as one could. It was also going to be important to be Presidential. This was also going to be practice for the time when the kid was actually going to be President of the United States.

When he reached his first door,he was joined by a group of about 5 other kids.
"Trick or Treat!" they all yelled . The adult at the door began hand out the candy.

 "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country."
The words were spoken clearly,concisely,and while the Boston accent may not have been perfect,the hand gestures were recognizable to anyone who had even as much glanced at a TV during that era. The other kids began to laugh. Being laughed at was nothing new to this kid. He had been laughed at for everything from being ugly,to being a poor athlete,and this thought of becoming President seemed absurd to most. The kid was willing to take it however.To be President it seemed,one had to be unpopular to a certain extent.. after all JFK had to take a bullet to the head because he was President.
Nevertheless,this seemed like a disaster in the making till the adult passing out the candy began to applaud. The other kids split at this point,but in doing so they missed out on the extra pieces of candy given to him by this adult.
This unique approach to Halloween continued at every door with other excerpts of Kennedy speeches given at every new door.

"The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world." The Christmas the year before,the kid's most prized Christmas gift was an LP containing many of Kennedy's speeches. For a year,he had played that record over and over and over again,memorizing many of the passages as a result. After awhile other kids were choosing to knock on doors before or after the kid would reach it,but in almost every instance,the kid was receiving extra candy and becoming a favorite of every adult he would speak with.

"Ich Bin Ein Berliner" was probably the only Kennedy passage that wasn't working that night,but every child within eye shot of the kid had to notice that his Halloween bag was more full of candy then the rest.
Then it happened..the kid's bag broke. In what seemed like seconds,every child anywhere close to the kid rushed up and took every last piece of candy that had fallen to the ground. In an instant the kid's Camelot was no more,and Halloween never seemed the same

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Posted: Oct 31, 2011 10:31pm
Nov 30, 2010

Adventures in Music and Storytelling-a unique collaboration featuring the music of acoustic bluesman Charlie Parr along with stories and poetry by David Daniels-founder of the Reggae Theatre Ensemble...

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Posted: Nov 30, 2010 9:57am
Jul 18, 2009

Some might wonder what my CD "4:20 Report" with the Talkin' Roots Crew has to do with Walter Cronkite... Truth be known,it could be said that Walter Cronkite was as big an influence on its inception as much as anyone.

Beginning on November 22,1963,while in 3rd grade,it was my childhood aim to become President of the United States. Much of that desire grew out of being glued to the television as Walter Cronkite reported on the events of that traumatic time. My mother,a political and Civil Rights Activist of the day encouraged me greatly. However she also had these words of wisdom. "In case you dont become President"she would say," you should discover another vocation in case you dont make it".

Starting in 3rd Grade,watching the news became a daily ritual,and when Walter Cronkite returned a drawing I made of him with a letter and autographed picture of himself,I knew if I couldnt become President,I wanted to be a journalist and reporter like Walter Cronkite.

I think what it was that drew me to him was his being present as history was in the making..Whether it was the Assasinations, Vietnam,the social upheavals of the '60s,or the Space Program,somehow Cronkite found his way to be in the middle of it,and I knew somehow if I wasnt making history myself,I wanted to be where it was being made.

My first writings were of a journalistic bent. I wrote columns for the Watkinson (High School) and Alaska Methodist University newspapers. In Denver in the 80's I had a freelance column published.

The last thing I expected in life was to write plays,and other performance material. At the time I wrote my first theater piece,given that l had veered away from that original course I had set out for myself,all I knew was that I was living out a countercultural existence (An existence I was first made aware of through Cronkite's network and CBS Reports),and that reggae music was making a profound impact in my life..

One of the things that drew me to the music of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh was that it seemed to me they were reporting on life as they saw it.
As anyone that has seen or heard my work knows,it is full of social and political commentary.
I was afforded an opportunity behind a newsdesk as the newscaster for the Minneapolis Cable Program The Hemp Channel

The 4:20 Report taken as a whole ( I feel that has to be pointed out in this day and age of downloads) was a concept CD,set in a kind of newsroom with the Talkin' Roots Crew acting as musical correspondents,and myself as the Anchorman.

..and That's The Way It Is. Rest In Peace Walter Cronkite

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Posted: Jul 18, 2009 5:11pm
Jun 21, 2009

A Medical Man Of 'Courage, Perseverance, Vision'

Special to The Courant

April 10, 2005

Dr. Evans H. Daniels Jr., 80, of Wethersfield, died Feb. 11.

A quiet, unassuming man, Dr. Evans Daniels Jr. dedicated his life to
helping the poorest and most medically needy families in Hartford.
He left behind a clinic - now the largest in the city - that
continues to do his work.

Daniels was born in Kansas City, Mo., and moved around the Southwest
as a child. His mother, Lessie James, died when he was young,
leaving him and a sister to be raised by their father, Evans Daniels
Sr., a chicken farmer.

The younger Daniels was so unassuming that not even his children
know many details about his early life. But they know he ended up at
Howard University, the prestigious black college in Washington,
arriving with one cardboard suitcase.

By the time the U.S. entered World War II, Daniels was a first-year
medical student at Howard.

"It was very limited what you could do as a black man," said his
youngest son, Scott Daniels of Wethersfield. Medicine, law or
education were the most promising options. "Being a doctor was very
prestigious." Money was extremely tight; Evans Daniels Sr. father
used to send his son eggs in medical school to sell for tuition and
spending money.

Evans Daniels Jr. became a medic with the 92nd Infantry Division, a
black unit, and served in Italy. He was awarded two Bronze Stars.
Years after the war, he told his children about some of his
experiences, such as the wounded white soldiers who would rather
suffer in the field than be attended by a black medic.

Daniels finished medical school after the war and married Helen
Jones, a Howard undergraduate who became a teacher. They had three

In 1952, after his graduation from medical school, Daniels came to
Connecticut at the invitation of Dr. Arthur Wilson, his commanding
officer. Wilson had a medical practice in Hartford, and Daniels
opened an office on Main Street to treat the patients Wilson could
not handle.

The practice grew quickly. Daniels treated families as a general
practitioner. Sometimes his patients could pay him only in produce.

Patients would wait hours to see him, and often he didn't return
home until 11 or 12 at night.

"Dr. Daniels was very tolerant of everyone. I never heard him speak
a harsh word," said Nellie Mason, who worked as a nurse's aide for
Daniels for 30 years. "He was a very kind and gentle man."

Daniels and his wife divorced in the early 1960s, and he later
married Geraldine Nelms, who had four children. The couple had two
more children of their own.

Other children also filled the Daniels' Wethersfield house. There
was Trung, a Vietnamese friend of Scott's; Khadra, a Somalian girl
who is now a doctor; and Nina, a diabetic who needed medical
supervision. Many of the children stayed at the family's home for

"He cared not just for his family but for anyone he thought needed
help," said son Austin Daniels.

Although Dr. Daniels worked long hours, he was home for supper on
Thursdays and Sundays, spent two weeks on Cape Cod with the family
every summer and had lobster picnics on the beach at Rocky Neck. In
the fall, the family would pile into the car to see the foliage
along the Mohawk Trail in Massachusetts.

For his children, growing up in Wethersfield in the 1960s was
sometimes a challenge.

"We were one of the first black families in town," said his daughter
Karen Lewis, and there were several incidents tinged with racism,
such as the father who ordered Lewis out of his house after a play
date, or a woman who offered Geraldine Daniels a job as a
housekeeper because Daniels' children were so well behaved. After
they started driving, the Daniels children were often pulled over by

Decades later, Daniels expressed his own feelings about stereotypes
in his typically low-key way. He went to the Wethersfield Country
Club with his VIP tickets for the annual Greater Hartford Open golf
tournament. Leaving his own Mercedes at home, he drove up to the
valet parking in his son Chuck's junk car.

"They decided to shake things up a little," recalled Scott. "`I am
who I am. I don't need any trappings.'"

Daniels' medical practice continued to grow. A group of Hartford
leaders encouraged him to start a multi-practice clinic, and
Community Health Services, or CHS, opened in 1971 on Albany Avenue
in Hartford. Today, the facility is in a new building that serves
16,000 patients a year. Daniels was the first medical director and
chief executive officer.

Many patients were uninsured and could not afford to pay, but
Daniels never turned anyone away. He went to Mexico to learn Spanish
so he could communicate with his Hispanic patients.

"He was easygoing and very polite," said Chet Parboo, a physicians'
assistant at CHS. "He tried to teach the staff that money wasn't
everything and that serving people was important."

"It was his courage, his perseverance, his vision that made this
possible," said Michael Sherman, the current CEO. "Only a remarkable
man could have done it. It was clear that the love of his life was

Daniels and his second wife divorced in the 1980s, and in recent
years, he spent much of his time in Puerto Rico with his companion,
Elsie Esteves. Daniels, who died of cancer, left 13 grandchildren.

Daniels traveled to such countries as Guyana, Honduras and the
Dominican Republic to hold clinics in underserved areas, often
accompanied by Parboo. They paid their own way, stayed in churches
or people's homes and sometimes had to rely on speedboats for

"He had a great desire to provide care to people," Parboo said. "He
was never in a rush."

Dr. Terri Ashmeade, his youngest child, is the only one who followed
him in the medical field. She accompanied him on one of his visits
to Guyana, where they treated patients together. "We got to be a
little bit competitive in our diagnoses," she recalled. "I was
trying to stump him, but I never could."

David Daniels, the oldest son, weaves bits of his father into his

"Love and compassion: This is what drove him," David said. "He was a
quiet person. ... He expected excellence."
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant

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Posted: Jun 21, 2009 12:01pm
Dec 6, 2007
Music note: Spoken-word stocking stuffers

If you look around, there are some pretty good stocking stuffer CDs off the beaten track—especially if you’re a fan of strong spoken word and exquisite poetry.

For instance, Rasta bard David Daniels, who consistently packs the house with his performance scripts (Malcolm X Meets Peter Tosh, Black Hippie Chronicles and I, Edgar Hoover) has a pair of impressive discs, Talkin’ Roots and 4:20 Report (buy both and keep one for yourself). Daniels's extensive body of work resonates, sometimes thunderously, from a maverick spirit calling society to account for its political and social integrity—or lack thereof. Talkin’ Roots, which sold out two printings (hit used-record shops for this one), offers fine prose-poetry delivered in a range that goes from the serene (“David Crosby on the Radio&rdquo to stormy (“Dreams&rdquo. 4:20 Report is actually one full-length work, what used to be called a concept album. The concept is a news broadcast including commentary and coverage of a day’s events—not with your conventional TV or radio standards of practice, but from, as it were, stoner-land. The album is laced with tongue-in-cheek reference to the hemp aesthetic, but don’t take it as a joke. Artfully crafted, 4:20 Report slyly reminds you that the character and content of news media is directly related to the sensibilities of those in charge.

Chris Shillock had me worried for a while. I would catch this incredibly gifted cat reading his poetry at a hole in the wall here, at an out-of-the-way place there, and I fretted: Man, I'd think, it oughta be against the law for a poet this hellified not to reach the public at large. I now can sleep nights. Shillock isn’t doing The Tonight Show, but he has stepped in from obscurity with Invisible Jazz, sharing center stage with vocalist-composer Tabatha Predovich. The release event was a sure-fire attention getter. Held at Bedlam Theatre with prominent wordsmith-performers Sha Cage and e.g. bailey on the bill, the evening even rewarded Shillock with a nice taste of mainstream exposure in City Pages. Invisible Jazz finds Shillock and Predovich in superb complement, his pensive, baritone narrative and her sardonic way with a melody blending as naturally as can be. The dark edge they have together is beautifully intriguing. And the album has a nice range of different feelings: with a little Marty Balin-Paul Kantner style on “Ballade,” tangy jazz for “Invisible Jazz,” and the downright eerie ballad “Blue Nile,” the disc is just a fine piece of work.

Shillock also appears on the compilation Streets of Minneapolis with poets Scott Vetch and Larry Havluck and singer-songwriter LeNor Barry, recorded live at the now-defunct spoken word spot Surcumcorda. Shillock’s selection, performed with Colleen and Ed Jirak, is “Testament of Fear.” The overall feel of Streets of Minneapolis is so beatnik that Maynard G. Krebs would be right at home.

I’m throwing in Sha Cage and Dessa as ringers. After all, you can’t call either one anything close to off the beaten track, not with the crowds they consistently draw, but they’re so good, you wonder why they aren’t even more widely known. Each takes her artform—Cage spoken word, Dessa hip-hop—and makes it her own. Cage made quite a few people very happy back in May with her long-awaited Amber People. The piece “My Words” is a dry lament that demands social change—railing against everything from racism to homophobia to abortion to senseless war—in a way that renders done-to-death social issues vital with immediacy. You can also catch Sha Cage, by the way, on monster jazz bassist Yohannes Tona’s brand new Sand From the Desert. Finally, even if you can’t stand hip-hop, there is no resisting Dessa. A siren in every sense of the word, she laces the EP False Hopes from beginning to end with fascinating poetry and alluring song. When she raps, it’s laid-back and wry (“Mineshaft&rdquo. When she sings (“Kites&rdquo, it’s so sensual you can find yourself forgetting to breathe.

Really want to make a hit with somebody? Splurge and get them the whole shooting match, from David Daniels to Dessa. Then, make sure you have something very good in mind when they say, “Oh, how can I thank you?”

My note..Talkin'Roots is available at Northern Sun Merchandising
This article was a surprise to me..just thought I'd share it

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Posted: Dec 6, 2007 3:05pm
Oct 17, 2007
..Just wanted to let my friends and others on Care2 that I will be a featured guest on the Internet Radio program Lights Out With Lucky Tomorrow October 18th at 9 PM (CST USA) I'll be sharing my Reggae/Rasta based stories and presenting spoken word material from my CD's Talkin' Roots and 4:20 Report with the Talkin'Roots Crew.If the last time I was on the show is any indication,look for a freewheeling and fun time on the radio...

Hope you can tune in!
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Posted: Oct 17, 2007 2:08pm
Aug 2, 2007

Of the places around the US where I have lived,Minneapolis is one of the more unique spots. It is a major US City,complete with much of the culture associated with a city of its size..At the same time,there is a "small town" feeling to it. I think much of that comes from the fact that much of Minneapolis is inhabited by folks from small town and rural Minnesota. Many who were born here remain here,and sometimes those that do move here from other places find it difficult to find a niche here-the positive and negative of "Minnesota Nice" as we call it.

As we watch the tragedy of the 35W Bridge collapse unfold,keep in mind that many of us have not seen anything quite like this.Those things happen in other big cities while the worst most Minnesotans have had to endure is a major blizzard (like the 3 foot snowfall that hit on Halloween 10 years ago..) It's this fact that makes it all the more compelling. There's also the  possibility that some of us will either know someone or know someone who knows someone affected by this.
It's all rather shocking,however Minnesotans are a tough resillent bunch It takes a certain kind of person willing to endure below zero winters year after year,and though there are some difficult days ahead,Minnesotans will come through this..

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Posted: Aug 2, 2007 5:31pm
Dec 15, 2006
Some of you may know already about my Reggae based spoken word/music CD David Daniels with the Talkin'Roots Crew 4:20 Report.. Well,have some news for you I-Pod folks..You can now check out this CD via Apple I-Tunes..and here's the link 

For those who might be interested
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Posted: Dec 15, 2006 9:34pm
Nov 21, 2006
I find it hard to believe that it's been 40 years since the Assasination of Presdent John F Kennedy. I was in 3rd grade,yet I remember the course of events from the time my teacher informed the class of the shooting as if they occurred yesterday.

Guess every generation has that "epic event"..I know I've heard the stories of exactly what my mom was doing December 7th 1941,just like most of us can recall what we were doing Sept 11th

November 22,1963 was the event that greatly shaped my worldview,and as I get older I have a sense of amazement when I realize I am increasingly sharing my recollections of the day to folks that werent even born then!
I now feel as if I understand the amazement and sometimes bewilderment my elders faced when I would have a blank expression when they'd describe to be growing up in World War II America,or in the case of my grandparents,The Depression. I also have a greater appreciation for was a window into their worldview and "roots" so to speak.
My idealism as well as cynicism stems much from those events some 40 years ago now..
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Posted: Nov 21, 2006 9:46pm
Nov 14, 2006

I've often gotten the question "What's a Black Man like you doing listening to that redneck music?" when I happen to mention that I like old time music. Many,both black and white gasp when I tell them the banjo is originally an African Instrument,and that bluegrass is a mixture of African-American,and Celtic music derived from the part of the US where those influences got to mingle. The music reaches me instictively,much like reggae. There are also personal "roots" as to why I like this music...The first dancing I ever did was Square Dancing. In Alaska,where I lived for a time,bluegrass music was part of the territory. I might also add that my heritage is African-American,Scot-Irish (on the maternal side) coming from the Carolinas..home of old time music.

This weekend I got to catch The Carolina Chocolate Drops,an African American string band dedicated to keeping this traditional music alive and bringing forth its African roots. It was a great show! I felt as if I wasnt alone..someone else understands too! and it was a big deal to me that I was recognized by them onstage.

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Posted: Nov 14, 2006 7:58pm


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David Daniels
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