Born on this day in 1967, Kurt Donald Cobain was born in the state of Washington. He was the founder of the band, Nirvana. They were the start of the grunge movement.
When Kurt was alive, the Nevermind album, released in 1991 could be heard playing on rock, alternative and other stations. It was a great album, full of songs that were the anthem of a generation of youths who felt that they were unrepresented in music. Kurt and his friend Dave Grohl who was one of many drummers for the band had seen a video on water births and thought that it looked cool. The cover, iconic now is a very male nude baby in a swimming pool with a dollar bill on a fish hook dangling in front of him.
The album did extremely well. Nirvana was asked to be the opener for Guns N Roses. Kurt declined, saying that they were "really talentless people who wrote crap music."
Kurt continued to have very specific ideas on how he wanted to have things done. He was also battling depression.
5 days after his birthday in 1992, he would marry Courtney Love who was already pregnant with Frances. I would be a little more than 2 years later that Kurt would take his own life.
The reason that I decided to include Kurt here is because of his felt influence for Generation X. Like Nirvana or hate them, like Cobain or hate him, if you are a Gen Xer, you know who he and Nirvana are.
Images courtesy of Wikipedia and Wikimedia
"When you go to the ride called Soaring at Disney's California Adventure, if you look, you will see the photo of James Herman Banning. He was the first black man to complete a coast to coast journey in the United States. Promise me that you will look for him."
A friend told me this as I packed to go on a trip to California. I had been to Disney before, both locations in the US, and many, many times. I had become a "collector" of "Hidden Mickeys", Mickey Mouse images not obvious at first glance. I wanted more secrets.
My friend obliged. "He died in a crash that could have been prevented. Where they were flying, the airport that they were leaving from, they would not let him have the control of the plane. So, he had to sit in the front seat, with no option except to sit there. There are no controls in that seat. The person who was flying the plane showboated, the engine stalled. They fell to their deaths. They were hauled to a hospital, but he died from his injuries. Really sad, completely avoidable."
I nodded, made a note into my notebook and went on the trip.
I made it to Disneyland, excited for the trip and to see Captain Banning's photo.
The line for the ride was so long on the pretty day that I went that I was unable to get a clean photo of Captain Banning. By the time I got to where the photo was, I was too close. So, I read the information, noted it in my notebook and there it sat, noted but not acknowledged for years.
James Banning was born during a time when racism was rampant and segregation was real. His passion was aviation, but no school would take him because of the color of his skin. His childhood dream was to be in the skies. He was unstoppable. He kept on and on, following his passion until finally, a school accepted him.
The trip cross country was financed one stop at a time, with the attempt being to always stop in cities and towns where either Banning or his mechanic knew someone. When they had problems, that did not always work out. Heavyweight boxer Joe Lewis even came to see the flying school that had educated Banning and donated money to the school.
Banning and his mechanic embraced their nickname, "The Flying Hoboes".
You can read of all of his wonderful accomplishments at Air Space Mag, Wikipedia and many other sources. The tragedy though, is that less than 6 months after he created the record for the first black man that flew coast to coast, a stunning accomplishment, especially with the airplane that they did it in, he would die because of prejudice and hate.
Today, on the anniversary of his death, I honor Captain Banning and his mechanic for their accomplishments and for pushing forward against the harsh odds of hatred and small mindedness. Thank you, for inspiring countless others to pursue their dreams, no matter what the odds seem to say.
Photo credit: Wikipedia, story credit: Wikipedia and online research
I write a lot about genetic genealogy, family trees, DNA, and home life as well as the occasional product review. Comments? Email me at CocktailsAndSwagger@Hotmail.com