May’s Trailing Vines And The Global Cafe Stories

©Renee 2013

Stories for the month of May. Springtime, May’s flowers, and sitting by the dock of the bay in the cool breeze and warm sunshine. Stories swirling with eyes closed. Just relaxing, hand dangling in the cold water near my sweet, iced tea.

Thinking of May….and world travelers. My own Global Cafe. Let’s look.


Born in St. Louis, Missouri to Luke and Martha Henrietta (née Rautenstrauch) Jones, tutored by a series of dancing instructors engaged by her aunt, she appeared in the St. Louis Municipal Opera chorus and then appeared with six other girls at an act at the Jefferson Hotel, where she was recruited by vaudeville performer Andy Mayo to appear in his act (as ringmaster for two men in a horse suit), taking his surname as her stage name. She appeared in vaudeville for three years in the act, appearing with Eddie Cantor on Broadway in 1941’s Banjo Eyes.

Mayo continued her career as a dancer, then signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn and appeared in several of Goldwyn’s movies. With Danny Kaye she played the dream-girl heroine in comedies including Wonder Man (1945), The Kid from Brooklyn (1946) and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947).

At the zenith of her career, Mayo was seen as the quintessential voluptuous Hollywood beauty. It was said that she “looked like a pinup painting come to life,” and she played just such a role in the 1949 film comedy, The Girl from Jones Beach. According to widely published reports from the late 1940s, the Sultan of Morocco declared her beauty to be proof of the existence of God. In 1949’s White Heat she took on the unsympathetic role of the cold and treacherous “Verna Jarrett”, opposite James Cagney. She was also cast against type as a shallow golddigger in The Best Years of Our Lives. Her career continued strong through the 50s, frequently in B-movie westerns and adventure films.

Born Virginia Clara Jones
(1920-11-30)November 30, 1920
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Died January 17, 2005(2005-01-17) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1939–1997
Spouse(s) Michael O’Shea
(m. 1947–1973; his death); 1 child

Michael O’Shea (March 17, 1906 – December 4, 1973) was an American character actor whose career spanned the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. O’Shea was born in Hartford, Connecticut. Unlike his five brothers who became policemen, he dropped out of school at 12 and began his acting career in vaudeville by touring with boxing idol Jack Johnson‘s show.

Johnson was born in Galveston, Texas, the second child and first son of Henry and Tina “Tiny” Johnson, former slaves who worked at blue-collar jobs to raise six children and taught them how to read and write. Henry Johnson traced his ncestry back to the Coromantees of modern-day Ghana. Johnson dropped out of school after five or six years of education to get a job as a dock worker in Galveston.

Coromantee (derived from the name of the Ghanaian coastal town “Kormantse”), also called Coromantins, Coromanti or Kormantine was the English name given to Akan slaves from the Gold Coast or modern-day Ghana. The term Coromantee is now considered archaic as it simply refers to Akan people, and was primarily used in the Caribbean. Coromantins actually came from several Akan ethnic groups – Ashanti, Fanti, Akyem, etc. – presumably taken as war captives. Owing to their militaristic background and common Akan language, Coromantins organized dozens of slave rebellions in Jamaica and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Their fierce, rebellious nature became so notorious among white plantation owners in the 18th century that an Act was proposed to ban the importation of people from the Gold Coast despite their reputation as strong workers. The Akans had the single largest African cultural influence on Jamaica, including Jamaican Maroons whose culture and language was seen as a derivation of Akan. Names of some notable Coromantee leaders such as Cudjoe, Quamin, Cuffy, and Quamina correspond to Akan day names Kojo, Kwame, Kofi, and Kwabena, respectively.


Next we have Kwame and Helena Fathia Rizk of Ghana. Helena relates to Gamal Naser of Egypt and other global cafe travelers. They were close friends of Shirley Graham DuBois and WEB Dubois. Helena’s brother married into a family in England. Also see Shirley Temple Black and Charles Alden Black and Ghana. *BLACK*

Spouse(s) Fathia Rizk

Kwame Nkrumah was born in 1908 in Nkroful, Gold Coast. Nkrumah trained to be a teacher at Achimota School in Accra from 1925 to 1935. For the following five years he worked as a teacher in several schools in the Gold Coast including a Catholic school in Axim, while saving money to continue his education in the USA. In 1935 he sailed from Takoradi, the Gold Coast’s main port, to Liverpool in England, and made his way to London where he obtained his student visa from the US Embassy. It was while he was in London in late 1935 that he heard the news of Fascist Italy’s invasion of Abyssinia, an event that outraged the young Nkrumah and influenced his political development. In October 1935 Nkrumah sailed from Liverpool to the United States and enrolled in Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He graduated with a BA in 1939, and received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1942. Nkrumah earned a Master of Science in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1942, and a Master of Arts in philosophy the following year. While lecturing in political science at Lincoln he was elected president of the African Students Organization of America and Canada. As an undergraduate at Lincoln he participated in at least one student theater production and published an essay on European government in Africa in the student newspaper, The Lincolnian.

During his time in the United States, Nkrumah preached at black Presbyterian Churches in Philadelphia and New York City. He read books about politics and divinity, and tutored students in philosophy. Nkrumah encountered the ideas of Marcus Garvey and in 1943 met and began a lengthy correspondence with Trinidadian Marxist C. L. R. James, Russian expatriate Raya Dunayevskaya, and Chinese-American Grace Lee Boggs, all of whom were members of a US-based Trotskyist intellectual cohort. Nkrumah later credited James with teaching him “how an underground movement worked”. Nkrumah’s association with these radicals drew him to the attention of the FBI and he was under surveillance by early 1945.

He arrived in London in May 1945, intending to study at the LSE. After meeting with George Padmore, he helped organize the Fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester, England. Then he founded the West African National Secretariat to work towards the decolonization of Africa. Nkrumah served as Vice-President of the West African Students’ Union (WASU). Nkrumah’s association with left wing radicals meant that he was watched by Special Branch while he was in England between 1945 and 1947.

Like Helena Fathia Rizk and Gamal Abdel Naser, from Egypt as well:

Farouk I of Egypt (Arabic: فاروق الأول Fārūq al-Awwal) (11 February 1920 – 18 March 1965), was the tenth ruler from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty and the penultimate King of Egypt and the Sudan, succeeding his father, Fuad I of Egypt, in 1936.

His full title was “His Majesty Farouk I, by the grace of God, King of Egypt and Sudan, Sovereign of Nubia, of Kordofan, and of Darfur.” He was overthrown in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 and forced to abdicate in favor of his infant son Ahmed Fuad, who succeeded him as Fuad II of Egypt. He died in exile in Italy.

His sister Princess Fawzia Fuad was the first wife and Queen Consort of the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Spouse Farida (née Safinaz Zulficar)(m. 1938; div. 1948)
Narriman Sadek
(m. 1951; div. 1954)
Princess Ferial
Princess Fawzia
Princess Fadia
Prince Ahmed Fuad
Full name
Farouk bin Ahmed Fuad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin Muhammad Ali bin Ibrahim Agha
Father Fuad I
Mother Nazli Sabri
Born (1920-02-11)11 February 1920
Abdeen Palace, Cairo, Egypt
Died 18 March 1965(1965-03-18) (aged 45)
Rome, Italy
Burial Al-Rifa’i Mosque, Cairo, Egypt

Nariman the beautiful child was the sole child of her parents. Her name in the Turkish language means (the beautiful fascinating of vivacious spirit). She did not imagine that one day she would become the queen of Egypt.She was born in Cairo on 31 October 1933. Her father is Husain Fahmy Sadek, Deputy Minister of Transportation. He is the son of Ali Bek Sadek, one of the famous honorable personalities of Egypt at that time. The last position he occupied before his death was the Secretary General of the Ministry of Transportation. Her mother was Asila Hanem, daughter of Kamel Mahmoud, one of the famous honorable personalities of Menia Governorate.

The Abaza clan, “deeply rooted in Egyptian society and… in the history of the country”  is an Egyptian family that has played a powerful and long-standing role in Egyptian cultural, economic, intellectual and political life. Their main stronghold is the Sharqia Governorate. The family today maintains strong connections by marriage with other Egyptian elites.

The Egyptian Abaza Family very well known in Egypt because “they seem to have produced an extraordinary number of exemplary individuals. Their family tree – every single generation – is littered with high profile politicians, intellectuals, business moguls and literary sensations”

The Abkhazian Abaza Family descends from its modern founding father Hassan Pasha Abaza.

The Abaza family until now 2013 is the biggest family The family is noted for producing the. largest number of noble style holders in Egypt, such as Pashas, Beks/Beys, Hanims, Saheb or Sahebet Ezza, Mqama, Saada, Maaly and Oussma, intellectuals, politicians, business people and men/women of letters.

It is considered the largest extended family in Egypt.

In addition several living Abazas hold the title ‘His or Her Excellency‘, for example serving ministers in government or diplomats.

Usually, but not in the latest post-revolutionary parliament, there are several Abaza members of either of Egypt’s two Houses of Parliament. In recent governments there were two Ministers and the Chief District Attorney of Cairo is also an Abaza. The current Chief Prosecutor of Egypt is married to an Abaza. In addition, a large amount of economic activity is undertaken by the wealthiest Abaza Family members. The Abaza opposition Wafd party leader lost his position in 2010.

The Abaza Family name is widely recognized by people in most of Egypt.

The Abaza family originated in Abkhazia, a region at the Caucasian Black Sea coast, near Russia and Georgia. Abkhazia is home of the Abkhazians, a people related to the Circassian people and speaking the Abkhaz language. However, intermarriage into native Egyptian families, specifically native upper-class families, was and remains common for Abazas thus ensuring native Egyptian ancestry for the entire clan.

The Abkhazians were one of several Muslim ethnic groups living in the Russian Empire who left during the ethnic cleansing of Circassians in the mid-19th century. However, some sources indicate that the Egyptian Abazas emigrated from the Caucasus 600–800 years ago. Many moved to Turkey, but later emigrated again and settled in various Arab countries. In their new Arab home, the Abkhazians took – or were given – the last name “Abaza” (See below). Political activity for the family began at least from the time of Ali Bey Al-Kabir (a Georgian) who appointed an Abaza as the first Egyptian governor of Lower Egypt.

In the study Egypt in the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha, Afaf Lutfi Sayyid-Marsot mentions a traditional belief amongst the Egyptian Abaza Family that they were named after a “beloved grandmother… or her place of birth”. Family elders sat on the Majlis (council) created by Ibrahim Pasha, “uhda” (or royal endowments) of villages and land were obtained by the family and “the Abaza flourished”.

During the accession of the young King Farouk, “the Abaza family had solicited palace authorities to permit the royal train to stop briefly in their village so that the king could partake in refreshments offered in a large, magnificently ornamented tent they had erected in the train station.”

Members of the Egyptian Abaza clan consider themselves a family, and are categorized as a ‘family’ or ‘clan’ in the country in which they are well-known. The Egyptian Abaza Family is thought to number around 50,000 members but this is difficult to verify. There is a common stereotypical assumption widely held in Egypt that all Egyptian Abaza are exceedingly wealthy. This is a false generalization, although most of the Abazas are of an at least Upper-Middle-Class status and have incomes higher than the vast majority of the Egyptian population. In addition, most feudal land held by the Abazas was lost in the land reforms conducted in the 1950s and 60s under the government of Gamal Abdel Nasser, before that, the Abazas had also lost land during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Family members are active both in Government and opposition circles, and are generally known to value their aristocratic and noble class position. For example, unlike most Egyptians, the Abaza Family is known to strictly use the name ‘Abaza’ following the individual’s first name instead of the father’s name.

Today many Abazas are involved in public life and include those who hold positions in government, generals, opposition activists, human and animal rights activists, a major Egyptian sociologist, a composer and philosopher of science, journalists, businessmen and women and in many other fields. The family is Muslim but Abazas are known to be of the more liberal aristocracy of Egypt.

The Abaza Family is connected by marriage to many other aristocratic families and to major politicians. The son of Mahmoud Ezzat, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood‘s ruling body, is married to an Abaza, the late Omar Suleiman‘s daughter is also married into the family and there are marriages with the Royal House of Muhammad Ali of Egypt and the descendants of Prince Mahmoud El-Yasgy who was in charge of all of Egypt’s factories during the country’s industrial revolution under Mohamed Ali Pasha.

There is also a town in Russia named Abaza.

Notable Egyptian Abaza

The number of Abazas involved in Egyptian public life is very large. This is a short list of some modern examples as well as important historical figures.

This entry was posted in Current Affairs And News, Famous People, Faraway Places and Travel, Sandcastles, Powderpuffs and Stars, Special Girls, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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