Whistling Coon – The First Black American Recording Artist – By Wayne Johnson, Attorney, Political Economist

In 1891, the first Black Recording Artists, George W. Johnson, a slave freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, became the first Black recording Artist.   He sang such songs as the Whistling Coon, the Laughing Darkey, and Happy We Are Darkies, So Gay.


George Johnson earned his skills as a body servant to a slave master’s son who studied the flute. He purportedly accompanied the flute by whistling.   Soon he could imitate all the songs played by his master’s son.   When slavery ended he migrated north and put his trade to work as an artists and repertoire man in a recording studio. White folks would insert a nickel into these juke boxes and play all the happy-go-lucky slave songs.


Below are the lyrics to the “Whistling Coon.”



Copyright, 1878, by Sam Devere.

Oh! I’ve seen in my time some very funny folks,

But the funniest of all I know

Is a colored individual, as sure as you’re alive,

As black as any black coon;

You may talk until you’re tired,

but you’ll never get a word

From this very funny, queer old coon;

He’s a knock-kneed, double-jointed, hunky-plunky moke,

And he’s happy when he whistles this tune:-(Whistles.)

Oh, lie’s got a pair of lips, like a pound of liver split,

And a nose like an injun rubber shoe,

He’s a limpy, happy, chuckle-headed, huckleberry nig,

And he whistles like a happy killy-loo;

He’s an independent, free-and-easy, fat-and-greasy ham,

With a cranium like a big baboon;

Oh, I never heard him talk to anybody in my life,

But he’s happy when he whistles this tune :-(Whistles.)

Oh, he’d whistle in the morning,

through the day and through the night,

And he’d whistle like the devil going to bed.

Oh, he’d whistle like a locomotive engine in his sleep,

And lie whistled when his wife was dead;

One day a fellow hit him with a brick upon the mouth,

And his Jaw swelled up like a balloon,

Now he goes along shaking like a monkey in a fit,

And this is how he whistles that tune :-(Whistles)”



There is also a minstrel who went by the name Zip Coon.   He danced, sang, and otherwise entertained White people until they could laugh no more. He was a Black entrepreneur who became very wealthy.



Having listened to a few of these tunes, I can see why Black people become angry at being called a huckleberry nig, or just a plain ol’ nigger. It is not so much the words, but the way Black people were looked at, or down upon, that so angered them.


I suppose the words would not be harmful as James Taylor, San Francisco State University Professor, put it if you had a pocket full of riches to accompany the insults, or as actor Haddie McDaniel, Academy Awards winner, proclaimed… she’d rather be paid to act as a slave than actually be one.

Haddie McDaniel

I really believe that the words are not harmful if you do not respect, or look up to, the person calling you the names. Basically, if you do not look to the person for your self worth, it can be a laughing matter.


There are so many cruel things that Black folks had to endure in this country, that you will have to be a whistling coon, or a laughing darkie to keep from crying.   If you become angry at everything ignorant people say to you, you will be so preoccupied and consumed with anger that you probably will not have time to do anything constructive. That way you lose the battle, and you lose the war.


Until very recently, many people entertained themselves at our expense, and they were upset when we decided that we would no longer tolerate openly being teased.  Of course, there are folks who look down on us and still see us as Zip Coon, or the Whistling Coon. My advice would be to try to avoid them. Try to, on the sly, to take down their information so you can use it to your advantage one day. Hopefully, one day you will be able to “kick ass and take names” in a forum that you control.




We live in a culture of hate. If you did not know that then maybe what happened to young Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri will be a lesson for you and will open your eyes.

I have had many lessons and my eyes have been open for many years. 

I remember one beautiful spring morning. I was sitting at the kitchen table when my mother came to me and said:  “let’s go for a walk, son.”

We walked out of the house and onto Peralta Street in West Oakland, California. My mother walked at a brisk pace and I, being only four years old, walked as fast as I could to keep up.

 All of the sights, smells, and sounds were very different then than they are today.  But some things never change in their appearance, smell, and in their sound. It is the sound of gun shots, the smell of gun powder, and the figure of a police officer shooting at a Black man.

A few blocks into our walk we came upon a small crowd huddled around a police car. The door was open and standing outside of it was an Oakland police officer with his gun drawn and in a firing position.

I watched him aim his revolver; it was pointed at a Black man who was running down the middle of the street. He was running fast. His blazer was furling in the wind as he ran straight ahead.

The policeman fired his revolver; one shot, two shots, three shots; until he had run out of rounds.

The sounds of gun fire were loud; the smell of gun powder filled my nostrils; the blue haze of gun smoke filled the air around the officer. He missed each time; then slowly came out of his firing posture.  The Black man ran and finally disappeared onto a side street.

That was my first impression of a police officer; it was one of a police officer shooting at a Black man. I don’t know whether that man had committed a crime or not. The years past by, as the civil rights movement to address police terrorism spearheaded by descendants of slaves pressed forward.

It was February 21, 1965. I went to visit a friend. I walked up and onto his front porch to knock on the door. I saw the morning news paper. I picked it up and opened it. The headlines read: Malcolm X Shot. A few years later there was another killing.

It was April 4, 1968. I was at baseball practice when someone came onto the field and told us that Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated.

Riots expressing the outrage of African Americans started all over the United States. Oakland, California was no exception.

On my way home from baseball practice, 4 police officers assaulted me; they put a shotgun on my forehead while yelling at me: Run Nigger…that was my second personal impression of the police. There are thousands of unreported incidents like mine which happen every year. Every now and then some instances of police terrorism break out into public view.

Rodney King was unarmed.  Police officers beat him almost to death; they were acquitted. There was a riot. Then they were retried in Federal Court.

Oscar Grant was unarmed. He was shot in the back while he faced down on the ground. There was a riot. the officer who shot him to death was sentenced to 11 months with time served in the county jail.

Amadou Diallo was 22 years old and unarmed on the night he died. On February 4, 1999, policemen fired 41 shots into his body. All he had in his hand was his wallet with his identification card. Four police officers were acquitted of the killing by a jury.

Trayvon Martin was unarmed. On February 26, 2012, he was shot by a volunteer neighborhood watchman. There were demonstrations. The killer was tried and acquitted.

Ersula Ore was unarmed. She refused to show an identification card because she was not under arrest. She stated that she was a university professor, but that did not matter. She was thrown to the ground by police officers on June 30, 2014 in Mesa, Arizona. To justify their actions they alleged that she assaulted a police officer and resisted arrest.

Marlene Pinnock was an unarmed 51 year old mentally challenged woman and grandmother. She was beaten by a Highway Patrol Officer in broad daylight on I-10 in Los Angeles, California on July 1, 2014 for walking on the freeway.

Eric Garner was an unarmed 44 years old father of six. On July 17, he was put in a choke-hold while crying out: ‘I can’t breathe’. He choked to death on Staten Island.

John Crawford III was an unarmed 22 year old who went shopping. On August 5 he was shot inside a Wal-Mart store by an Ohio police officer while holding a toy gun he had picked up in the toy department of Wal-mart.

Michael Brown was an unarmed 18 year old high school graduate. On August 9, 2014 he was shot over 6 times according to witnesses until he was dead in Ferguson St. Louis Missouri. His body was left uncovered in the middle of the street for over 6 hours in a pool of blood according to witnesses at the scene. It is alleged that he committed petty theft and assaulted a local store clerk.

Ezell Ford was an unarmed mentally challenged man. He was shot in the back dead on August 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California walking home.

In each of these cases, the individuals were treated as though they were not beneficiaries of the rights and privileges promised to all citizens in the Constitution. Though descendants of slaves came to the table of constitutional rights late those rights nevertheless apply to them today. In far too many instances, the rights of descendants of slaves as well as all citizens are ignored when confronted by police officers.  Today, Ferguson, Missouri is an example.

The people of Ferguson Missouri who have taken to the streets to practice their lawful rights have been repressed by military force. Their 4th amendment right to be secure in their person, property, and things was violated. Their 1st amendment right to free speech; their right to freedom of the press, their right of free association, their right to peaceably assemble and travel, and their right to record police behavior are now  repressed by police terror.

They are being treated like non-citizens; they are being treated as though they are the enemy.

All of these incidents suggest that the crimes committed against them were not the act of lone individuals. Rather, a clear pattern indicates the existence of a culture of hatred in police departments across the nation. That culture of hate stretches back over 150 years.

Fergeuson County St Louis police chief living room with confederate flag

Police counter cultures have hatred for descendants of slaves. Their hatred for descendants of slaves is irrational.  No twisting of logic can make their beliefs and superstitions fit into what reasonable people think and do. For example, I saw a picture of a confederate flag hanging on the living room of the Ferguson, Missouri police chief. How can a man who takes an oath to protect all citizens simultaneously practice a belief in the enslavement of citizens who are Black?

But in reality such beliefs have always been a part of police counter culture in the United States. From the Ku Klux Klan members to within the last past 20 years many racist groups have made a concerted effort to infiltrate police departments all over the United States. Many of them have come out of the military which is a festering ground for racist who want to be trained in martial arts. They have been successful.

Such policemen and women purposely try to instigate violent reactions from individuals who they stop for fabricated claims of ‘reasonable suspicion’. Police do that so they can suspend their victim’s 4th amendment rights and so that they can arrest them. So that they can ruin their lives with a police record.

Some police use descendants of slaves because we are the universal scapegoat; we are the socially sanctioned whipping post, and we are the economically exploitable lower class which they know is punked out by every higher class. We have played that role in the United States since its founding. They use a script written for them by their unions.

When police abuse their authority by using deadly force, they justify the use of deadly force with pre-scripted excuses such as: ‘I thought I saw a gun’ or ‘he or she resisted arrest’ or ‘he ran’ ‘or ‘he reached for my gun’ or ‘I feared for my life’. But something even more dangerous has emerged.

 police military

The government has unimaginable computer power to analyze every kind of material data and to make future projections. They do know something we don’t know. But if we are wise we can see that we got a glimpse of the future after the murder of Michael Brown. One unintended consequence of the tragedy in Ferguson Missouri is the revelation of exactly what police departments have been transformed into over the last 20 years.

Police departments have become military garrisons. The transformation of ‘protect and serve’ into incarcerate and destroy has been steady and is in real time the construction of a totalitarian state; our poorest neighborhoods have become concentration camps surrounded by cameras and electronic sensors. But they are also the canary in the coal mine for what all Americans regardless of color can expect in the future.

Police now dress in military uniforms. Their cameo uniforms, military weapons and vehicles are meant to intimidate and demonstrate what polices forces are prepared to do to civilian populations even small ones like Ferguson Missouri. 

Descendants of slaves should be very skeptical of anyone or organization telling you to ‘get militant’ and to use weapons in the face of the police arsenal you got a glimpse of in Ferguson Missouri. Ferguson is a very small suburb of about 21,000 people. Imagine what a city like Chicago or Los Angeles is armed with.

People who incite you to violent action are probably on the White Supremacist’s payroll; the very organizations who want to kill you. It happened in the 1950s and in the 1960s when ‘agent provocateurs’ infiltrated peaceful groups to make them appear violent to the public at large; think FBI co-intellpro. Even our beloved brother Malcolm X was set up and tricked and never found out the truth that his new organization was infiltrated by the police.

The Federal government through Homeland Security has literally given police forces all over the nation new weapons of war including deadly chemicals because they expect that over the next 10 years and into the 21st century there will be major civil unrest in the United States due to the global collapse of the U.S. dollar. At the top of their list of things to do is to get rid of as many Black people as possible because descendants of slaves have become nearly entirely economically useless.

That is why we cannot react emotionally and irrationally. A major problem for descendants of slaves is that we always react emotionally and thus irrationally when police kill our youth. And we want to get out into the streets to scream and shout. That’s exactly what they expect you to do. It’s a trap. What we need is a plan of action.

The anger expressed in Ferguson is understandable but not in the absence of a rational plan to address the murder which has occurred and the longer term plan to address the major social, economic, and spiritual problems pervasive in the Black community.

These are some of the facts: 28% of the black population living at or below the poverty level; an all White leadership structure; virtually all businesses are non-black; low educational achievement; 91% of the stop and frisk stops are descendants of slaves; 86% of all traffic stops are descendants of slaves. That is the general description of descendants of slaves everywhere and everyone knows it. We have become misfits in the modern world.

Those problems will not be solved even if and when the killer of Michael Brown is brought to justice. There will be more killings of young and older descendants of slaves.

Those social, economic, and spiritual problems underlying the general predicament of descendants of slaves will not be solved by bringing one police officer to justice.

But there is yet another pattern. There are people who swoop down on scenes like that in Ferguson and supposedly speak for the local people. Some of them are well meaning. But others do it whenever a police killing of a Black youth occurs.  They bring with them their entourage and turn tragedy into their theatre stage to promote their own agenda. Some of them are paid to do so by racist White organizations. Yes, Black people are paid cash to mislead other Black people!

None of them come to the scene with a plan to neutralize the culture of hatred in the police departments and to economically uplift the descendants of slaves. They are the modern day carpetbaggers.  

Most people have heard the famous quotation attributed to Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” If that is true, then we descendants of slaves should question our collective sanity. We should question our sanity because we may be insane. We keep doing the same rituals one killing after another killing after another killing expecting a different result. We believe that what we do will change the state of white supremacy.  It has not and it won’t.






Missouri Man is killed by white policeman, Family and Community Leaders Call for Calm – By Wayne Johnson, Attorney, Political Economist

The below facts are reproduced from Vox Publications:


“— Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson who was with Brown at the time, says that the two of them were walking in the middle of the street when a police car approached, and the officer told them to get on the sidewalk.

Eyewitness Piaget Crenshaw says that Johnson, Brown and the officer got into a verbal confrontation, and the officer attempted to put Brown in the police car. When Brown began to flee, with his hands in the air, she says, the officer got out of the car and started shooting at Brown. (Crenshaw has photos of the shooting, which have been turned over to the police.)

—Another eyewitness told the press that the officer was in his car when he started shooting at the boys. (At least one shot was fired from the police car.)

Johnson says that he and Brown started running when they heard the first shot. He told local news station KMOV that the officer “shot again, and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air. He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.”

Meanwhile, St. Louis County police, who have been called in to investigate Brown’s death, say that Brown assaulted the officer before he was killed. St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar told reports on Sunday that Brown shoved the officer back into the police car, “physically assaulted” him, and attempted to grab the officer’s gun. According to Belmar, the officer only began firing at Brown after the assault.”


One report alleges the victim was connected somehow to stolen cigars, and when the police investigated, a police officer shot Michael Brown to death. If that is the case, killing a man for stealing or smoking cigars seems like it should be an oxymoron.

Since I orignally posted this blog, news has come been revealed that this young man was actually detained for jaywalking.  That is such a minor offense.  News has also been disclosed that this young man was shot six times or more.  If that is the case, this officer was clearly doing way too much.


After three days of protest, looting, and vandalism, community leaders, pastors, The President, and Al Sharpton, called for calm. Even the victim’s mother and his stepfather called for calm.


Alfred Charles “Al” Sharpton, Jr. is an American Baptist minister, civil rights activist, television/radio talk show host and a trusted White House adviser who, according to 60 Minutes, has “become the president’s go-to black leader”.


I like it when Al Sharpton is strong and articulate, and shedding light on topics on which I am unfamiliar. However, I do not like it when he just appears to grab headlines.


What is calm?


Okay, if the family had been counseled by civil rights leaders to make calming statements to increase their potential settlement prospects, I can understand that and I am all for it. However, Michael Brown’s family has no more right to request calm or anything from a crowd of young Black men, who were just as likely as Michael Brown to be killed by white policemen.


This is not about Michael Brown.  That is an old plantation trick, getting the slave masters hand picked “niggras” to control the masses when there has been an unjust incident.  This is their time, the young Black man’s time,  to protest, and to protest as they see fit.

This reminds me of the Rodney King case when they rolled poor Rodney out to stop the violence and the looting and ask:  “[C]an we all get along?”  It was not about Rodney King then.  People saw themselves and their babies on the other end of that beating, and they wanted the practice to stop now.  They wanted those in charge of the system to feel their frustration.

Who, if not the young Black men, have a stake in the venture? Michael Brown is gone.   His folks standing to profit on his death will not do anything for the youth who are thinking I want justice for myself.  Maybe their protests should be more organized and orchestrated.   Maybe they should not loot items that have no real value.  Maybe they ought to be looting books on effectively changing the system, because ministers standing at the podium begging for attention will not bring salvation.


This reminds me of the Watts riots, and the Gil Scott Heron song “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

A montage of pictures of the Watts riots in Los Angeles, August 11 15, 1965

Photos of the Watts Rebellion (1965)


I apologize, but if I am killed by a white racist pig (a pejorative term for person in authority), find the S.O.B. and bring him to justice, like President Obama supposedly brought Osama Bin Laden to justice. If you cannot find him, locate his closest racist family member.  I did qualify it with “racist,” meaning find one of his racist relatives do not just grab the first person you see and torture him or her, like the white racists would do when they heard a white woman had been violated by a so-called “nigger.”


If there is a thing as justice, let it be served by my peers on one of the racists responsible for my death.   If you loot, please do not loot a kind or a conscience person’s business.   Find an evil racist’s store and put him out of business forever.


Killing people at random is what the Jews do to the Palestinians when they cannot locate the alleged culprits of the unsophisticated rocket attacks. Killing or acting out indiscriminately is just wrong. There should be a method to the madness.



One of the community leaders ridiculed the alleged looters and said, they are not concerned with Michael Brown, and they see this as an opportunity to loot.   I agree. While chaos is erupting what better opportunity to loot?


What does it mean to loot?




  1. 1.

Goods, especially private property, taken from an enemy in war.

o   Stolen money or valuables.

“Two men wearing stocking masks, each swinging a bag of loot”

Synonyms: Booty, spoils, plunder, stolen goods, contraband, pillage;Informal; swag, hot goods, ill-gotten gains, take”A bag full of loot”

o   Informal

Money; wealth.

“The thief made off with $5 million in loot”


Verb: loot; 3rd person present: loots; past tense: looted; past participle: looted; gerund or present participle: looting

  1. 1.

steal goods from (a place), typically during a war or riot.

“Police confronted the rioters who were looting shops”

Synonyms: plunder, pillage, despoil, ransack, sack, raid, rifle, rob, burgle, burglarize


How does one define a merchant who sets up shop in the community and cares little about the residents, or sells bad food or goods whose prices have been grossly over inflated?


Looting can be a strategic time to rid the community of buzzards who prey upon the residents. What better time to take from those who have exploited you but when all Hell has broken out? What better time to move than when there is cover of darkness?


News accounts have also been disclosed that alleged rioters have taken on the police by fire bombing their headquarters with Molotov cocktails.  Apparently, the rebellion has taken on a larger purpose than just looting.


Now, I will not advocate getting killed or rioting; however, something needs to be done to curb this police violence other than holding hands and singing we shall overcome.  We often hear about nonviolent protest when we discuss Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  According to some of his last speeches, even he had become frustrated and was willing to explore other, more effective, options towards the end of his life.


Looting is not and should not be an end. It should be a means to an end.   If you are tearing down your own community, and eliminating opportunities for yourself and your people, I agree, it should not be done at all.    However, I see no substantial  harm in taking on different strategies.  Is that not what the United States history professors taught us the alleged Boston Tea Party was about?