History Notes: This Week in Black History (Oct.19-25th)

October 19, 1944: The U.S. Navy announces its decision to allow black woman to join the U.S. Navy through the “Women Accepted for Volunteer ServicesWAVES program. Members of the Waves program held the same rank as male personal and earned the same pay. The first black WAVE members served as administrative officers. Photo

U.s navy

October 20, 2006: The U.S. Air Force Officers Training School adds the history of the Tuskegee Airmen to its curriculum. The Tuskegee airmen were the first black military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. These courageous young men, fought to defend their country at a time where many people thought blacks lacked intelligence, skill, and patriotism.

mcnairOctober 21, 1950: Physicist and NASA astronaut, Ronald McNair was born. McNair, the second African American to fly into space, died during the launch of the Space Challenger mission in 1986.

Super Smart: McNair graduated magna cum laude, earning a Bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from North Carolina A&T State University and a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

October 22, 1961: “The Twist” originally written and released by Hank Ballard in early 1959, was a moderate success in 1960, peaking at No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, when Chubby Checker, born Ernest Evans, performed the dance craze on the Ed Sullivan Show, on this day, 53 years ago, the song catapulted to number #1.

Critics called “The Twist” provocative but it swept America bringing everyone, teens and adults, to the dance floor.

October 23, 1903: Samuel Harold “Sam” Lacy, a reporter, editor, and TV/radio commentator, who was credited as a figure that helped to racially integrate sports, was born today. For nine decades, Lacy spoke out against the racial injustices in the sports world. Lacy covered the integration of baseball, Jesse Owens’ medal-winning performances at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the Grand Slam titles by Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, and other major events of the day. In 1948, Lacy became the first black member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Lacy was also inducted into the broadcasters’ and writers’ division of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

October 24, 1986: Happy birthday to actor, rapper, singer and songwriter Aubrey Drake Graham. This performer, known by his stage name Drake, started from the bottom as Jimmy Brooks on the Canadian television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. With his own record label, OVO Sound, Drake has garnered a Grammy Award, three Juno Awards, six BET awards, and has set several Billboard records. Photo


October 25, 1940: Before there was Collin Powell there was Benjamin Oliver Davis, Sr. General Davis became the first African American general in the U.S. army. His career, beginning in 1898, lasted over 50 years, where he served in wars the Spanish-American war, the Philippine-American War, and both World Wars. His son, became the first black general officer of the United States Air Force in October 1954. Photo

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22 Things I’ve Learned by Age 23

History Notes: This Week in Black History (Oct.12th-18th)

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22 Things I’ve Learned By Age 23

Yesterday was my 23rd birthday. Here a few life lessons that I have learned by my 23rd year of life:

Be yourself

It is easy to conform and follow the latest, enticing trends of here and now. Discomfort is always felt by putting your neck out on the line and saying I disagree, I’m going to do my own thing. It’s not easy to be comfortable in your own skin…to really look at yourself in the mirror and say I love and accept you. For me, being myself, being comfortable with the person God has made me to be has taken prayer, daily reassurance and patience. Some days I find myself saying:

Yes, I am smart enough. Yes, I can do it if I work hard. Girrrl, Chelsea, you look so good today!

While I am not completely comfortable with who I am, I have come a long way, especially in this last year. Living abroad in Spain and China, blogging, and creating YouTube videos have helped me tremendously. Through these experiences I have felt raw and vulnerable because I was forced outside of my comfort zone and connected with my inner most thoughts. I learned that if I wasn’t true to myself, I would be eaten alive and crippled by criticism, doubt and fear.

I have embraced my quirkiness and nerdiness. I’ve learned that it’s okay to say I don’t drink, can’t dance, and that I prefer chillin´ at home, watching my favorite shows than going to a party or outing. There are traits and attributes that I would love to change about myself, but then I wouldn’t be Chelsea aka Rookie Notes, now would I?

pic 1

Success does not happen overnight

As much as I would like to be where I envision myself, I am not going to get there without hard work and consistency. My dreams can and will come true, I just have to grind first.

Last minute

Waiting to the last minute only screws me over. It’s something I am actively working on. Anyone have any tips?

Trust in the Lord

I always want to be in control and run my life’s show how I see fit. When this happens, everything usually falls apart. I have to remember that there is a Director who knows the scenes of my life and His timing is impeccable. I am learning that I am not the first person to have my problems or concerns, and I definitely will not be the last. When I relinquish control, and trust God, I know I will reach box office gold.

the Lord


The word definitely is not the same as defiantly. I finally, got the hang of the spelling of these two words.

Listen to your parents

I’m 23 and I think I know how to handle situations, but there are always those who have been there and done that. Those who have earned their “badges of life” know a thing or two and can be useful in providing insight. Although you may be grown, it never hurts to listen to your elders, including the ‘rents.

Don’t wait on others

As a Sociology major, I learned that groups and human connections are essential for survival. However, some of my biggest accomplishments and feats happened when I took the initiative and didn’t wait on others. I’ve learned that if you want to do something, just do it and do not depend on others to get it done. If I waited on someone to accompany me, I would have never moved to Spain nor would I have ventured to the Sahara Desert.

Sahara Rookie Notes


Know more than one language. You look cooler and smarter.

Travel Solo

With all the fear mongering that goes on in the news, it is easy to view the world as a bleak, dangerous place. I’ve traveled to a few countries and lived in two “developing” countries. Don’t get me wrong, I need to see a lot more of the world, but I’ve found that for the most part, life outside of America is not what is portrayed on the news. Common sense and respecting the culture you’re in goes a long way.

go leftNo life directions

It’s okay to be a late bloomer. It is okay not to go to graduate school right after undergraduate. It is okay not to know what you are doing. A lot of people look at me and think I’ve got it all together. The truth is, I have no idea what I am doing half the time; I make it up as I go and just trust that it will all work out.

Plans A-Z

Although life does not have any directions, always have back up plans. Never get too comfortable because the moment you think you’ve got life figured out, the rug is pulled from under your feet and you look like a deer in the headlights. Be prepared to do something else.


The adage it’s not what you know, it’s who you know is true.

Birds of a feather

It is easier to stay motivated and reach for the stars if the people around you are doing the same. When I look around and see my friends and peers soaring to high altitudes I feel encouraged and inspired. It pushes me to want the same for myself. The person you are and become is reflective of the company you keep.


If there is one lesson that I learned my 22nd year of life it would be to not overwork yourself. Overworking is counterproductive and a recipe for disaster. From spreading myself too thin, I’ve gotten sick and as a result, could not continue to keep working. Not what I wanted! I am learning how to call it quits and put my feet up. What’s life, if all you do is work?


Why so serious?

Of course, there are times where you need to be serious and focused. However, no one likes a person who is always on task, who cannot let a little loose and have fun. Embrace your inner child sometimes; you’ll age better. Photo

It’s okay not to be okay

Sometimes you just need to allow yourself to grieve and cry. When you are feeling sad or lonely, it’s good to reach out to others. No matter your situation, just know, there are better days ahead.

We are more alike than different

I have been fortunate to travel to unique destinations and interact with people who come from different ethnic groups, religions, socioeconomic statuses, etc. I’ve realized that people are people; there are good ones and bad ones. Across the board we share the same insecurities, fears, hopes and dreams. It’s odd, but sometimes I feel the most comfortable when I am with people who are perceived to be my opposite social mirror.

My class

Make it rain!

Whenever money is my goal I fail. I’ll get excited in the beginning, but then I will gradually lose interest. When I am passionate about an assignment, my work shines through and I can endure the bumps that come with the process. Get involved in activities that makes your heart skip a beat. For me, it is blogging.


If a guy is interested in you, you will know. If he isn’t he’s not the one for you. Leave him alone.


Trust your gut. Your  inner voice is there for a reason.


Smoothies work for me as I get much of my fruit and veggie servings from it. When I drink fruit/veggie smoothies I feel invigorated and my skin looks better.


It is always the moments after an explosion or temper tantrum (yes, adults have them too) where you realized that you looked like a complete idiot. Be slow to anger. Photo



In case you’ve missed it, check out:

Rookie Tips: How to Get a Passport in the USA (Part I)

Rookie Tips: How to Avoid ATM Fees While Traveling Abroad

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History Notes: This Week in Black History (Oct. 12-18th)

ChamberlinOctober 12, 1999: Wilton Norman “Wilt” Chamberlin, one of the greatest and most dominant American basketball players in NBA (National Basketball League) history died on this day at the age of 63. The 7-foot-1 basketball star played the center position as he played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. Before playing for the NBA, Chamberlin was a part of the Harlem Globetrotters and University of Kansas basketball team.

Chamberlin was the man! He holds multiple NBA records in rebounding and scoring. He is the only player to score 100 points in a single game and averaged more than 40 to 50 point in a season. Chamberlin was a part of two winning NBA championship teams; he earned the title Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for four regular seasons, the NBA Finals MVP award, Rookie of the Year, and was selected to be a part of 13 All-Star Games. In 1978, Chamberlin was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame; in 1996 he was chosen as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.  Photo

October 13, 1914: Businessman and inventor, Garrett Morgan, received the patent for a device called the Morgan Safety Hood and Smoke Protector, otherwise known as the gas mask. Garrett’s gas mask gained national attention when it was used to rescue 32 men trapped in an underground tunnel beneath Lake Erie. A few years later, Morgan’s invention was refined and used by the U.S. Army during World War I.

In the early days of the gas mask, Morgan had difficulty selling his invention, especially in the South where racial tensions were rampant. In order to sell his product, Morgan hired a white actor to pose as the inventor, while Morgan played the role of a Native American sidekick named Big Chief Mason. This tactic proved successful.

nobleOctober 14, 1964: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in the advancement of civil rights using non-violence. At the time of the award, King, 35 years of age, was the youngest person to receive this honor. King was influenced by Mohandas Gandhi as he advocated for a nonviolent approach to racial equality. King, lead the successful boycott of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus system in 1955. As a powerful orator, King appealed to Christian and American ideals as he used intense rhetoric to gain support for the Civil Rights Movement. For example, after his famous I Have a Dream Speech,the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education, was passed and the poll tax, which was used to keep people from voting, was abolished. Photo

King donated his prize of $54,600 to the civil rights movement.

October 15, 1991: It’s my birthday today! I want to give a huge thank you to all of my readers and supporters. I feel blessed to have reached 23 years. I hope and pray the next 23 years are as good as my first.

Black menOctober 16, 1995: The Million Man March, a political demonstration promoting African American unity and family values, occurred on this day at the National Mall in Washington, DC. It is estimated that between, 400,000 to 1.1 million people, the majority of whom were African American males, took part in this event.

The event, lead by controversial Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, came at a time where African Americans felt urgency. A republican congress came to power during President Bill Clinton’s first term. As a result, many African Americans felt that issues concerning blacks would be limited and/or not a part of the national agenda. Such issues included environmental hazards, arrest rates of black men, and drug use among African Americans. Furthermore, two weeks prior to the March, racial tensions were high as the highly publicized O.J. Simpson not-guilty verdict was reached.  Photo

October 17, 1871: President Ulysses Grant waged war on the Klu Klux Klan as he suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus in all counties of South Carolina. This suspension made sure Klan members would not be freed from jail by sympathetic legislators. The Klan’s power subsequently declined and did not rise again until the 1920’s.

Habeas Corpus is a legal action that allows a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or a court.  

October 18, 1926: One of the pioneers of rock and roll, Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry was born on this date. Berry, one of the first to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are known for songs including “Maybellene (1955),” “Roll over Beethoven (1956),” and “Rock and Roll Music (1957).”

In case you’ve missed it, check out:

Today’s Note

It’s All About Dem O’s #We Won’t Stop

Rookie Tips: How to Get a Passport in the USA (Part I)

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How to Get a Passport in the USA (Part II)

4. Photocopy of ID

Each form of identification presented to the passport official should have a photocopy. Photocopies should:

  • be on a plain, white 81/2 X 11 sheet (your standard computer printer paper).
  • show the back and front of your identification
  • show identification images on only one side of the plain white sheet

Photocopies should not:

  • have images that are enlarged or decreased. Images should reflect original size of identification.
  • have any marks on the page

For more information on how to photocopy identification, please visit travel.state.gov

5. Passport Photo :

You will need a passport picture. But this is not any picture; it has to follow U.S. Department of State guidelines. Normally, you can get passport photos taken at many post offices (check to see if you have to make an appointment), Warehouse stores: Sam’s or Costco, or even your local drugstores: Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS. Some things to keep in mind when take your passport photo:

  • Have a neutral expression with both eyes open
  • It should be taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
  • Your photo should have been taken within 6 months of applying for your passport
  • The picture should be in color on glossy photo quality paper, measuring 2 x 2 inches in size

passport hp2Should I buy extra passport pictures and take them abroad with me?

Maybe. It has been my experience that each country may have different passport photo requirements. I know that when I needed to get passport photos in Spain, they would not accept my American sized pictures as they wanted a different size.

Can I take the passport photos myself?

Sure. However, it is recommended by the Department of State to get your photos taken at a professional photo lab to assure that requirements are met. If the photos are not up to the criteria listed by the Department of State, your passport can be delayed. From my own experience, it is much easier to get the pictures taken by a professional. Save yourself the headaches and printer ink. photo

How much do passport photos cost?

Passport photos costs vary on location. I have called around to a few places and this is what I’ve found:

  • USPS (post office): 2 pictures for $15 (this may be the must expensive option but they guarantee your photos will be accepted)
  • CVS & Walgreens: 2 pictures for $12
  • Rite Aid: 2 pictures for $9
  • Sam’s Club: 2 pictures for $5.26
  • Costco: 4 pictures for $5 

*It is important to note that not every location will take passport photos, but the majority will. Also, these prices are reflective of Maryland. They may be the same or different depending on your state of residence.

Do college campuses take passport photos?

It depends on your local university. Check and see. I know my college took passport photos for $10.

For more tips and advice on passport photo criteria, please check out this link

 6. Money

Depending on the type of passport you are applying for, determines the associated application fees. Applicants above 16, who are applying for their passports for the first time, will pay

  • $110 application fee (payable to the Department of State) &
  • $25 (payable to the acceptance facility that your passport goes through)
  • $0 Standard shipping
  • Total: $135

The fees listed above are the bare minimum for applicants applying for their first passports. It does not take into account the cost for an optional passport card ($30), passport photos ($5-$15) expedited processing ($60), or overnight delivery ($14.85).

Does the passport cost the same if I am less than 16 years old?

If you are renewing your passport or are a minor (under 16 years) it will cost less.


Final Question:

I just want to travel between the U.S. and Canada or between the U.S. and Mexico; do I still need a passport?

Yes, you still need a passport. But, the good news is you can opt to get a passport card instead of a book. You can only use the passport card if you are driving or sailing into Mexico or Canada. If you visit these countries by air you need to get the book. The passport card, again, is $30.

I hope this helped you. I would love it if you liked my facebook page for more updates!

In case you’ve missed it, check out:

Rookie Tips: How to Get a Passport in the USA (Part I)

Rookie Tips: How to Avoid ATM Fees While Traveling Abroad

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Rookie Tips: How to Get a Passport in the USA (Part I)


*In order to travel internationally, (by air) United States citizens, including newborns, must have a passport issued by the U.S. Department of State. You must have a passport to enter and return from most countries. Below is a detailed guide of obtaining your first passport.

Time Frame:

If you do not have a passport, but want to travel internationally it is best to plan ahead. The time frame for:

  • Standard processing: 4-6 weeks (sometimes longer depending on demand)
  • Expedited processing: within 3 weeks or sooner depending on the situation

What you need (brief version):

  • Application Form
  • Birth Certificate
  • Photo ID
  • Photocopy of ID
  • 1 Passport Photo
  • Application Fee

What you need (thorough version):

1. Application Form

To get started you will need a DS-11 form which is the application for a U.S. passport. This form is available at your local post office, courthouse, county’s clerk office or online at travel.state.gov

When completing the form either by hand, or online and then printing it out, it is important to note that you should not sign your application until you are instructed to do so by the Acceptance Agent.

After you have filled out the DS-11 form, you must submit the application in person at an authorized Passport Agency or Passport Application Acceptance Facility. Go to http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/ to find the nearest facility that you can submit your application.

Do I need to include my social security number?

Yes, it is absolutely necessary to include your social security number. Failure to provide this information can cause a delay or rejection of your application.

Are walk-ins to my nearest passport facility acceptable?

Usually, your nearest passport facility, like your post office, requires an appointment. When you go to http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/ to find the location of your passport facility, the schedule and number to make an appointment is often listed.

stevenson road

2. Birth Certificate

Your birth certificate is the next component needed for obtaining your U.S. passport. All official documents must be submitted with the DS-11 form. All documents will be secure and safely handled and returned to you. Please keep the following points in mind when bringing your birth certificate:

  • Do not bring photocopies. Only the original birth certificate will be accepted and then returned. If you have lost the original birth certificate, fortunately you can retrieve another one at the Vital Records office in your state. Visit usa.gov to find your state’s Vital Records Office.
  • Your birth certificate should have a raised seal and contain parent(s) names.

What if I do not have a birth certificate?

In lieu of a birth certificate these official records are also accepted:

  • Certificate of Citizenship
  • Naturalization Certificate
  • Certification of Birth (American citizens born abroad to parents with U.S. citizenship)
  • Passport- a previously issued passport that is undamaged and fully valid (10 years for adults, 5 years for minors)


3. Government Issued Photo ID

When applying for your passport, in person, you must show one of the following forms of identification:

  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Current State ID
  • Current Military ID
  • Previously issued, undamaged passport

What happens if I do not have the above identification?

If you do not possess the above, government-issued identification there is still hope. You need to bring as many identifying documents with you as possible. You must have more than one of the following forms of identification; presenting only one form of identification will not be accepted. An example of a combination of alternative identification you can bring is:

College ID+ Library Card+ Social Security Card + Employee ID

When in doubt bring as much identification as possible. Try to find identification that has your picture. In the case of obtaining your passport, more is better.

If you do not have access to any self-identifying identification, An Identifying Witness (a person who can swear to your identity) can be used. For the qualifications of the identifying witness, please visit travel.state.gov.

Does it matter if I apply for my passport out-of-state?

Yes. If you are applying out-of-state, you need to provide a second form of identification. For example, I am from Maryland and I went to college in Pennsylvania. If I applied for my passport in my university town, I would have to bring my driver’s license and college ID in addition to another form of ID to prove my identity. Again, when in doubt, bring as much identification as possible. Nothing is too small.

Drivers L

*If you are a United States Citizen, it is possible to travel to Canada or Mexico with only a passport card by driving or by sea.

To read the second part of How to Get A Passport, Read Tomorrow’s Post (10/9/2014).

In case you’ve missed it, check out:

How to Your Spanish Student Visa (Part I) How to Get your Spanish Student Visa (Part II) 

Rookie Tips: How to Avoid ATM Fees While Traveling Abroad

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