A Christmas Shout!
(an African-American Carol):

By DIRK KEMP

On a cold wintery day in 1891, nine days before the birth of Christ, a former slave turned minister, Daniel Joseph Jenkins; happened upon four orphaned African-American boys huddle together in a freight car for warmth, safety and the unity of strength in numbers.

Having been orphaned as a youth, while in American bondage, himself, their sad stories touched his heart; and at once, he knew his true calling: he had to help these and other disadvantaged youth. The Jenkins Orphanage first found a home behind the walls of 660 King Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Swelling swiftly, within four years, it became a home to over 500 of what the good Reverend named his "Black Lambs."

Counting on faith and good will the orphanage accepted donations, which included musical instruments. Having no musical talent, himself, the right Reverend Jenkins, turned to local musicians P.M. "Hatsie" Logan and Francis Eugene Mikell. As the "Black Lambs'" numbers grew, in 1893 they moved to the Old Marine Hospital at 20 Franklin Street.

Donning discarded Citadel uniforms, the Jenkins Orphanage Band debut on the streets of Charleston; eventually touring up and down the Eastern Seaboard, playing in the presidential inaugurations' of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, as well as around the world in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Vienna; raising money for their home and other "Black Lambs."

In less than 50 years, the Jenkins Orphanage welcomed its 5,000th "Black Lamb;" and it was at this time God, Claddys "Jabbo" Smith's golden trumpet choir blazing, welcomed his good Shepherd Daniel Jenkins home, giving him a room in His house in which to rest his weary, yet just staff of dazzling amber.

Under the direction of their elders' guiding hands the Jenkins Orphanage Bands seeded the roots of America's classical music, Jazz. These young amazing people (no different than you) introduced syncopation and improvisation to the art form. Their lively musical performances not only helped them to-help-themselves and others, but also, brought and continues to bring all Americans together in the warmth they shared.

(c) 2011 Dirk Kemp
12/19-20/2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Hanukkah! and a great Holiday during this very special time for family.