Another Icon Has Left Us – Dorothy Height

The Old Guard is passing into the sunset.

Civil rights leader Dorothy Height dies at 98

Dorothy Height, a longtime leader of the U.S. civil rights movement and the chairwoman of the National Council of Negro Women, died on Tuesday in Washington. She was 98.

Trained as a social worker, Height began her career as an advocate for civil rights and gender equality during the 1930s, working to prevent lynching, desegregate the U.S. armed forces, reform the criminal justice system and work for free access to public accommodations in the United States.

Height died at Howard University Hospital of natural causes, a hospital spokesman said.

“Ms. Height was arguably the most influential woman at the top levels of civil rights leadership, but she never drew the major media attention that conferred celebrity and instant recognition on some of the other civil rights leaders of her time,” the Washington Post said in an obituary in its online edition.

Ms. Height was president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, relinquishing the title in 1997. The 4 million-member advocacy group consists of 34 national and 250 community-based organizations. It was founded in 1935 by educator Mary McLeod Bethune, who was one of Ms. Height’s mentors.

As a civil rights activist, Ms. Height participated in protests in Harlem during the 1930s. In the 1940s, she lobbied first lady Eleanor Roosevelt on behalf of civil rights causes. And in the 1950s, she prodded President Dwight D. Eisenhower to move more aggressively on school desegregation issues.In 1994, President Bill Clinton presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In 2004, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

The WashPo Bio -

Dorothy I. Height, founding matriarch of civil rights movement, dies at 98

Benjamin Hooks Has Passed

Civil rights leader Benjamin Hooks dies

Benjamin L. Hooks, a civil rights leader who led the NAACP from 1977 to 1992, has died, said the vice president for communication at the NAACP.

The cause of death was not immediately known, the NAACP’s Leila McDowell said Thursday.

Hooks was “a vocal campaigner for civil rights in the United States,” said the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1925, Hooks grew up in the segregated South.

Hooks served in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he “found himself in the humiliating position of guarding Italian prisoners of war who were allowed to eat in restaurants that were off limits to him. The experience helped to deepen his resolve to do something about bigotry in the South,” according to a biography published by the University of Memphis, where he was a professor in the political science department.

He also was a lawyer and an ordained Baptist minister who joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and led the NAACP for 15 years.

The organization “was suffering from declining membership and prestige when Hooks assumed his role as executive director,” the University of Memphis biography said. The NAACP added several hundred thousand new members under his leadership, it said.

During his tenure, the civil rights organization worked with Major League Baseball on a program that expanded employment opportunities for African-Americans in baseball, including in positions as managers, coaches and in franchise executive offices, the NAACP said.

He also worked with colleagues to set up a program in which more than 200 corporations agreed to participate in economic development projects in black communities, the NAACP said.

President George W. Bush awarded Hooks the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in November 2007.

“As a civil rights activist, public servant and minister of the gospel, Dr. Hooks has extended the hand of fellowship throughout his years,” Bush said. “It was not an always thing — easy thing to do. But it was always the right thing to do.

“For 15 years, Dr. Hooks was a calm yet forceful voice for fairness, opportunity and personal responsibility. He never tired or faltered in demanding that our nation live up to its founding ideals of liberty and equality.”

Julian Bond, the chairman emeritus of the NAACP, praised Hooks at the time.

“Benjamin Hooks has had a stellar career — civil rights advocate and leader, minister, businessman, public servant — there are few who are his equal,” Bond said, according to the NAACP.

Ending Segregation (Again) in Mississippi

Remember the battles over School Busing?

Mississippi School District Ordered to End Racial Segregation

A federal judge gave a school district in Mississippi 30 days to halt the ‘clustering’ of white students into certain schools and classes, saying it amounted to segregation.

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a Mississippi school district to halt local policies that had allowed some of the district’s schools and classes to become racially segregated.

US District Judge Tom Lee gave the Walthall County School District 30 days to amend its student transfer policy and ordered an immediate halt to the alleged “clustering” of white students into certain classes in Tylertown, Miss., elementary schools.

“The district shall cease using race in the assignment of students to classrooms in a manner that results in the racial segregation of students,” Judge Lee said in his eight-page order.

“The district shall randomly assign students to classrooms at the Tylertown Elementary Schools through the use of a student management software program,” the judge said.

Desegregation Order Dates Back 40 Years

The action stems from a federal desegregation order issued in August 1970 – nearly 40 years ago. The case was closed for lack of activity in 2001. Continue reading

Gingrich – “Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s”

Health Care and Civil Rights?

Make no bones about it, the enactment of a Health Care Reform Bill is momentous. The “new” Republican Party, formed out of the ashes of Nixon’s resignation fundamentally is opposed to Civil Rights, and has been using race as a wedge issue since Raygun. They have spent the last 40 years trying to obscure that fact -  while continuing with policies which are fundamentally anti-minority.They have targeted white resentment, fought against every single remedy – such as Affirmative Action, and sought to return to the days of Jim Crow through stealth legislation.

One of their leaders, and father of the “Contract With America” strategy which propelled Republicans into a majority admits such in a rare slip of the tounge here in an article by the Washington Post -

But former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich said Obama and the Democrats will regret their decision to push for comprehensive reform. Calling the bill “the most radical social experiment . . . in modern times,” Gingrich said: “They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years” with the enactment of civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

In the following clip, Rachael Maddow not only takes that on – but puts context around what the Health Care Reform Bill actually means

more about “HOW LONG? NOT LONG!“, posted with vodpod

Time for Recall in Virginia

Virginia’s new Attorney General is one of the whack jobs. So whacky in fact, some voters are beginning to have doubts about “Kookanelli’s” qualifications to hold office. In this interview, Attorney General Cuccinelli threatens to get to the bottom of the Obama Birth Certificate “issue”.  Looks like things are going to get very rough here in Virginia with our new Republican Governor and AG. I’m not sure the state’s laws would support a recall election – but with the Birth Certificate issue, impeachment may indeed be a legitimate recourse.

Kookaneiili also raised the ire of throusands of College kids around the state -

Students irate at Cuccinelli over gay-rights policies

Campus activists across Virginia put spring break on hold Monday to mobilize against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, who has riled student groups with a letter advising public universities to retreat from their policies against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

More than 3,000 people joined the Facebook page “We Don’t Want Discrimination In Our State Universities And Colleges!” Nearly 1,000 people joined another, started by activists at the College of William and Mary. The University of Virginia group Queer & Allied Activism urged students to protest on Cuccinelli’s Facebook page and on Twitter.

Students at Virginia Commonwealth University, one of the few in the state not on break, planned a rally for noon Wednesday, with several hundred students committed. At Christopher Newport University, student Republican and Democratic leaders will discuss their next steps at a bipartisan meeting Friday. Continue reading

Remembering Bloody Sunday

This report from a participant in the celebration of the courage and tenacity of Civil Rights workers in the 1965 Selma-Montgomery Voting Rights March which was attacked at Edmund Pettus Bridge by Police in Selma, Alabama.

more about “Remembering Bloody Sunday“, posted with vodpod

Black Trailblazer Freezes to Death… Alone.

The sad story of Juanita Goggins, former State Congresswoman and trailblazer.

Once-revered SC lawmaker freezes to death alone

Juanita Goggins is seen in a 1974 AP file photo in Rock Hill, S.C. Goggins was the first black woman elected to the the South Carolina Legislature in 1974, and was hailed as a trailblazer at the time. Three decades later, Goggins died alone and freezing in the home she rented for 16 years, just four miles from the gleaming Statehouse dome.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — When Juanita Goggins became the first black woman elected to the South Carolina Legislature in 1974, she was hailed as a trailblazer and twice visited the president at the White House.

Three decades later, she froze to death at age 75, a solitary figure living in a rented house four miles from the gleaming Statehouse dome.

Goggins, whose achievements included key legislation on school funding, kindergarten and class size, had become increasingly reclusive. She spent her final years turning down help from neighbors who knew little of her history-making past. Her body was not discovered for more than a week.

Those neighbors, as well as former colleagues and relatives, are now left wondering whether they could have done more to help.

“I’m very saddened. People like her you want to see live forever. She had quite a gift for helping others,” said state Sen. John Land, a fellow Democrat who was first elected to the House the same year as Goggins.

Goggins, the youngest of 10 children, grew up the daughter of a sharecropper in rural Anderson County, about 130 miles northwest of the capital. She was the only sibling to earn a four-year college degree. Her bachelor’s in home economics from then-all-black South Carolina State College was followed by a master’s degree.

She taught in the state’s segregated schools, married a dentist and got into politics. In 1972, she became the first black woman to represent South Carolina as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Two years later, she became the first black woman appointed to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Continue reading

Dept. of Education Starts to Enforce Civil Rights Laws Again

After a 8 year hiatus in enforcing any Civil Rights Laws, except those of the majority population – the new Administration has finally turned it’s focus on to enforcing Civil Rights again. I’m not sure what took the Obama Administration so long to figure out the Civil Rights well had been poisoned by the anti-Civil Rights conservatives of the Bushit Administration leading to a number of structural issues from education to jobs to the destruction of Minority Small Business…

But they seem to have gotten there – if a bit belatedly.

What will be interesting about the DOE’s efforts, is how they intend to execute against this objective. Since the Supreme Court hasn’t seen a Civil Rights violation it couldn’t overlook since the appointment of the infamous 5-4 majority – legal action, even in egregious cases isn’t likely to be successful. The SCUMUS 5 are no more likely to be sympathetic to the Civil Rights of Minority children, than a KKK Grandmuckus to the victim of a lynching. And that doesn’t even get into the issue of the lower courts poisoned with ideologues and syncopates during the Bushit.

Officials Step Up Enforcement of Rights Laws in Education

Bloody Sunday, Police Attack Civil Rights Workers in Voting Rights March. Cong John Lewis is seen on the Ground After Being Hit in the foreground.

Seeking to step up enforcement of civil rights laws, the federal Department of Education says it will be sending letters in coming weeks to thousands of school districts and colleges, outlining their responsibilities on issues of fairness and equal opportunity.

As part of that effort, the department intends to open investigations known as compliance reviews in about 32 school districts nationwide, seeking to verify that students of both sexes and all races are getting equal access to college preparatory curriculums and to advanced placement courses. The department plans to open similar civil rights investigations at half a dozen colleges.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is to announce the initiatives in a speech on Monday in Selma, Ala., where on March 7, 1965, hundreds of civil rights marchers were beaten by Alabama state troopers.

Mr. Duncan plans to say that in the past decade the department’s Office for Civil Rights “has not been as vigilant as it should have been in combating gender and racial discrimination and protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities,” according to a text of the speech distributed to reporters on Sunday.

It continues, “We are going to reinvigorate civil rights enforcement.”

At the end of high school, white students are about six times as likely to be ready to pursue college-level biology courses as black students, and more than four times as likely to be ready for college algebra, department officials said. White high school graduates are more than twice as likely to have taken advanced placement calculus classes as black or Latino graduates…

Some civil rights advocates said they had hoped the administration would move more quickly last year to ramp up the activity of the Office for Civil Rights, the department’s second-largest, with 600 employees.

“This whole area has been a dead zone for years, and people were worried that new actions were too slow in coming,” said William L. Taylor, chairman of the Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, a Washington group that monitors federal policy and practices. “There had been strong hopes that they would move more quickly. This sounds like positive movement, which we’ve all been asking for.”

Hasan Kwame Jeffries – Bloody Lowndes

This one is a few months old – but well worth watching . One of the interesting revelations is where the Black Panther symbolism actually came from…

11 Martin Luther King Quotes

Sometimes it’s good to go back and review a few lessons from the Master. In that vein – 10 +1 Quotes from MLK -

  1. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
  2. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. –Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, Dec. 10, 1964
  3. Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.
  4. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
  5. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
  6. When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
  7. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. –letter from Birmingham jail, April 16, 1963
  8. The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers. –”Strength to Love”
  9. I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.
  10. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. –”Strength to Love”

And Number 11?

The one Mssrs Robertson and Limbaugh, and a bunch of their ilk, should have tattoed to their foreheads -

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.


Beck’s Witch Hunt: The New McCarthyism

My father was the object of a McCarthy witch hunt. It was never mentioned in our house, and I was too young at the time to know about it. I didn’t find out about it until I was in College, and a History Professor pulled me aside and told me the story.

From the McCarthy era onward, first McCarthy, and then the FBI under Hoover tried assiduously to tie black intelligentsia to communism as a method to suppress the Civil Rights movement.

My father’s “crime”?

In a Government class, teaching about the political and economic system of communism along with the political and economic systems of Capitalism and Democracy, as well as Fascism and government/corporate fascist states in a segregated black school.

The issue wasn’t what was being taught, as the curriculum and content had been approved by the school administration, peers,  and Board…

It was to Who.

more about “Beck’s Witch Hunt: The New McCarthyism“, posted with vodpod

On Massive Resistance and School Integration in Virginia

Black students recount early days of integration

I remember this period vividly, as I was one of the first wave of black students in my County to integrate a previously white school. In my case a Junior High School, covering grades 7 and 8. There were 7 of us, 5 girls and 2 boys, who in 1963 volunteered as part of the rolling integration plan, which had started in 1960 with the integration of a few Elementary Schools by a few volunteers. We were a select group, considered the brightest kids in our area, out of the pool of potential candidates, and received some special counseling by both our parents and the local NAACP relative to how to react to some of the things which undoubtedly would be thrown our way – both physically and mentally.

Farmville School in Prince Edward County, Virginia, serving white Children

Modern, brick, Farmville School in Prince Edward County, Virginia, serving white Children

Monton School in Prince Edward County, Virginia, for Black Children built out of plywood and tar paper

Moton School in Prince Edward County, Virginia, for Black Children built out of plywood and tar paper

RICHMOND — For some of the black students who took the first steps toward integrating Virginia’s public schools more than a half-century ago, the memories of their hardships have not faded with time.

“That was the worst two and a half years of my life,” said Andrew Heidelberg, one of 17 black students to attend previously all-white Norfolk public schools in 1959, as Virginia’s efforts to resist racial integration began slowly to unravel. Continue reading

The NRA is a “Civil Rights” Group?

This from a whackjob righty who claims the NRA is the nation’s oldest Civil Rights Group -

Granny got her gun

Granny got her gun

The Washington Post’s front-page Obama story on Friday includes a glaring error. Reporters Krissah Thompson and Cheryl Thompson began with a reference to Barack Obama’s first speech before the “nation’s oldest civil rights organization.”

This is a standard claim in stories on the NAACP, but it’s untrue – the NAACP just turned 100, but the National Rifle Association was founded in 1871. This is only true if “civil rights group” can only be used as an honorific synonym for “black interest group.” If the election of Obama ends one era of the “civil rights” struggle, can reporters stop using the “civil rights” tag just for black groups?

So what? If they dig up Moses (Charlton Heston) and make him President…

They going to stop using guns to kill people?

Obama to the NAACP – No Excuses!

President Obama’s Address to the NAACP.

What I’ve seen this AM is that a lot of (mainly conservative) folks are trying to paint this as a “Bill Cosby” moment by President Obama…

They are lying to themselves – and anyone else stupid enough to listen.

more about “Obama Addresses the NAACP“, posted with vodpod

President Obama on Affirmative Action, Post Supreme Court 5-4 Ricci Decision

President Obama tries to be politic about the recent 5-4 Supreme Court abortion on Ricci today in an AP Interview -

This is how then future President Obama responded to George Stephanopolos last year -

Obviously the Ricci decision was politically motivated, making law from the bench – instead of a narrow reading of the Constitutional Law as it applied to the case.The issue here isn’t what should have been done relative to Ricci and the other 19 firefighters – the issue here is how the court attempted to make law by making that decision relevant to other cases.

The New Jim Crow… Indeed.

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