Dead Confederates and Street Names

In the city of Richmond, Va is a street named Monument Avenue. On it, every few blocks are statues of the various personages of the Confederacy from Virginia who participated in the Civil War. The street was later modified to contain statues of famous people from Richmond, Va to include tennis great Arthur Ashe and famous oceanographer Matthew Fontaine Maury.  8 US Presidents hailed from Virginia, yet in our State capital there is a major street dedicated to dead confederate generals. Welcome to the South.

Now to say that Civil Rights upset some folks in Virginia is an understatement. One County, Prince Edward, shut their entire Public School System down for 5 years to prevent desegregation. So racism is no stranger to the state.

The City of Alexandria, Virginia was also the home and residence of confederate General Robert E. Lee. The Lee-Custis Plantation sat on the very grounds of what became the Arlington Cemetery. Several of Lee’s descendants still live in the City. The reason Arlington Cemetery sits where it is is that through the front door of his mansion, Arlington House,  Lee would have to confront some of the hundreds of thousands of those he was responsible for killing as part of the war…Each and every day. In case you are wondering where the Custis name came from, Lee’s wife, Mary Anna Custis Lee, was indeed the great granddaughter of Martha Custis, George Washington’s wife.

Arlington House, Formerly confederate General robert E. Lee’s home

Law requiring Confederate street names questioned

Alexandria, a Northern Virginia city steeped in Civil War history, is considering repeal of an old law requiring certain new streets to be named for Confederate generals.

City Councilman Justin Wilson introduced legislation for Tuesday night’s council meeting to do away with a 1963 law requiring that any new “streets running in a generally north-south direction shall, insofar as possible, bear the names of confederate military leaders.”

Wilson’s bill also would eliminate a requirement that new east-west streets be named for persons or places prominent in American history.

Wilson said he wants to remove a series of anachronistic laws, and his proposal also would repeal a ban on “lewd cohabitation” and laws regulating a bygone fad of “rebound tumbling,” a form of trampolining.

As a practical matter, there is little likelihood that the city will be naming new streets any time soon. The city, inside Washington’s Capital Beltway and separated from the nation’s capital by the Potomac River, is essentially built out. In fact, the street grid of the city’s Old Town section dates to Colonial times.

Wilson said that symbolically, he believes it’s a good thing to strip from the code a provision that in some ways glorifies the Confederacy. But he made clear he is not proposing that the city change existing street names, some of which honor Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, whose Dred Scott decision denied citizenship and constitutional protections to blacks before the Civil War.

“I think we struggle in the city with our history,” Wilson said.

Alexandria was occupied by Union troops for most of the Civil War and, like the rest of Virginia, has a history of slavery and segregation. It is now a liberal bastion in Virginia – Barack Obama won 71 percent of the vote in 2012.

On historic Duke Street in Old Town, the building that was once home to the nation’s largest domestic slave trading company is now home to the Northern Virginia Urban League, which operates the Freedom House Museum there to tell the story of the slave trade.

Cynthia Dinkins, president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, said she personally supports any legislation that keeps the city from unduly honoring the Confederacy. Still, while she is wary of glorifying the Confederacy, she said care must be taken remember unpleasant parts of American history.

“Some of my challenge in dealing with Freedom House is that people don’t want to remember” that part of our history, she said.

Wilson said he has not heard of any opposition to his bill so far.

Officers with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which has occasionally protested when it sees efforts to scrub recognition of Confederate leaders from the public square, did not return emails and phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

A public hearing on Wilson’s legislation is scheduled for Jan. 25.

The Redskins, Leroy Jackson…And Jack Johnson

For those unfamiliar with sports history, Jack Johnson was the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion around the turn of the last century. His life and experiences were chronicled in a movie – “The Great White Hope”.

Unable to find anyone who could defeat Johnson, he was jailed for his relationship with a white woman.

Now, allegations have surfaced that the Washington Redskins, an NFL Football team which was the last in the NFL to bring on black players, because of then owner George Preston Marshall’s racism – fired one of their first black payers for the same “crime”.

Now, to be honest – growing up in the Washington area, during the time before the Redskins recruited Bobby Mitchell – most black folks rooted for and followed the Baltimore Colts with Johnny Unitas, and running back Lenny Moore. while the team had several black players before Bobby Mitchell, it was the thrilling combination of Sonny Jurgensen’s long “bombs” to Mitchell which turned things around.

Leroy Jackson, Former NFL Player, Cut For Getting Caught With White Woman: Nephew

A relative of a former NFL player who was a pioneer for civil rights in sports made a bombshell allegation.

David Irons, the nephew of former Redskins running back Leroy Jackson told Yahoo Sports that his uncle was cut from the team “because they caught him in a hotel room with a white woman.”

“Can you believe that?” Irons said, “They cut him for something that’s so common today. It’s unreal.”

In the Yahoo Sports interview, Jackson seemed to confirm Irons’ claim.

When asked why he was cut, Jackson said, “I think it probably was about a woman… interracial things and not being able to hold onto the ball.”

Jackson made history for being one of the first black players to be drafted for the Washington Redskins. While other teams in the NFL integrated much earlier, the Redskins held out until 1962. Yahoo Sports points out that owner George Preston Marshall was dead-set against hiring any black players until the Kennedy’s administration pressured them to do so.

Jackson wasn’t the first black player drafted, but he was the first to actually play a game.

The NFL has a long history of racism that extends far beyond the Redskins. James Harris, the first black quarterback in the NFL, described the alienation and humiliation he suffered. In once instance, he told 60 Minutes, all of his fellow teammates were put up in a hotel– except for him. He stayed at a YMCA and was asked to clean the equipment.

Today, out of 32 teams, only nine havestarting quarterbacks who are black.

Former Redskins Running Back, Leroy Jackson

A Long Overdue Change At U of Alabama

When Libertarians say they support private organizations making their own choices of whom to associate with…

This is what they really mean.

I really don’t see where the black women in this instance needed any validation whatsoever from a white Sorority…And my departed mother who was a lifetime AKA would be truly upset at losing these women to another Sorority (there was a major family “crisis” when one of her grand-nieces pledged Delta!)…

But, overall – in the long term…This is a good thing.

One would have hoped, however – that sans the social pressure from fellow students…The Sorors had the intelligence and morality to have figured this out on their own.

A Turnabout at Traditionally White Sororities, in Nine Days at Alabama

Nine days after the University of Alabama’s campus newspaper detailed chronic racial discrimination within the campus’s Greek system, the university’s president said on Friday that six minority students had accepted offers of admission to traditionally white sororities.

The announcement marked the first time since 2003 that those organizations said they had added minority students to their memberships. Other new minority members could follow, said the president, Judy L. Bonner.

“I am confident that we will achieve our objective of a Greek system that is inclusive, accessible and welcoming to students of all races and ethnicities,” Dr. Bonner said in a videotaped statement. “We will not tolerate anything less.”

Dr. Bonner said the sororities had extended 72 bids this week to students, including 11 black women.

By Friday afternoon, six women who are minorities had agreed to join the sororities, including Halle Lindsay, who accepted an offer of admission from the Alpha Gamma Delta chapter in Tuscaloosa.

“This is all so surreal and exciting,” Ms. Lindsay wrote on her Twitter account. “I love my sisters already and happy to be an Alpha Gam!”

The national headquarters of Alpha Gamma Delta did not respond to a request for comment.

News of the admissions capped a tumultuous week for the university, the site of a Wednesday demonstration by hundreds of students and faculty members who demanded an end to long-running racial biases on the campus.

In marching to the Rose Administration Building, the protesters recalled the actions of Gov. George Wallace, who 50 years ago tried to bar African-American students from enrolling at the university, where blacks now make up more than 12 percent of the student body.

Although segregation in Alabama’s Greek system had been the subject of periodic anger and conversations through the years, the issue resurfaced last week when The Crimson White published an interview with a woman who described the conduct inside the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority house during August’s recruitment process.

According to the woman, Melanie Gotz, the sorority’s alumnae forbade current students from offering bids to two black women, one of them the stepgranddaughter of a member of Alabama’s board of trustees.

After days of escalating pressure, Dr. Bonner, in an abrupt reversal of the university’s longstanding contention that the privately run Greek organizations should fashion their own membership standards, ordered the sororities to engage in a protracted recruitment process.

On Friday, she said that step was “already yielding positive results,” and she expected the sororities to continue to broaden their membership throughout the academic year.

Why You Here if You Didn’t Come to Buckdance?

Conservatives, CPAC, and that racism thing again…

Interesting the mind convolutions where people will go to to deny the truth, and make the opposite fit their racist views. Frederick Douglass as a “conservative”?

These people are a joke. An evil joke – and typical of this segment of conservatism.

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.

Martin Luther King Jr.
US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 – 1968)

The New Jim Crow – The Voter Fraud Fraud

This is he result of searching high and low for the last 10 years for incidences of Voter Fraud…

And finding nothing but Republican racism.

New database of US voter fraud finds no evidence that photo ID laws are needed

A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.

In an exhaustive public records search, reporters from the investigative reporting projecdt News21 sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of fraudulent activity including registration fraud, absentee ballot fraud, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, casting an ineligible vote, voting twice, voter impersonation fraud and intimidation.

Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.

“Voter fraud at the polls is an insignificant aspect of American elections,” said elections expert David Schultz, professor of public policy at Hamline University School of Business in St. Paul, Minn.

“There is absolutely no evidence,” Schultz said, that voter impersonation fraud “has affected the outcome of any election in the United States, at least any recent election in the United States.”

The News21 analysis of its election fraud database shows:

  • In-person voter-impersonation fraud is rare. The database shows 207 cases of other types of fraud for every case of voter impersonation. “The fraud that matters is the fraud that is organized. That’s why voter impersonation is practically non-existent because it is difficult to do and it is difficult to pull people into conspiracies to do it,” said Lorraine Minnite, professor of public policy and administration at Rutgers University.
  • There is more fraud in absentee ballots and voter registration than any other categories. The analysis shows 491 cases of absentee ballot fraud and 400 cases of registration fraud. A required photo ID at the polls would not have prevented these cases. “The one issue I think is potentially important, though more or less ignored, is the overuse of absentee balloting, which provides far more opportunity for fraud and intimidation than on-site voter fraud,” said Daniel Lowenstein, a UCLA School of Law professor.
  • Of reported election-fraud allegations in the database whose resolution could be determined, 46 percent resulted in acquittals, dropped charges or decisions not to bring charges. Minnite says prosecutions are rare. “You have to be able to show that people knew what they were doing and they knew it was wrong and they did it anyway,” she said. “It may be in the end” that prosecutors “can’t really show that the people who have cast technically illegal ballots did it on purpose.”
  • Felons or noncitizens sometimes register to vote or cast votes because they are confused about their eligibility. The database shows 74 cases of felons voting and 56 cases of noncitizens voting.
  • Voters make a lot of mistakes, from accidentally voting twice to voting in the wrong precinct.
  • Election officials make a lot mistakes, from clerical errors — giving voters ballots when they’ve already voted — to election workers confused about voters’ eligibility requirements.

For a look at that database – go here

The New Jim Crow – Charter Schools

One of the problems with Charter Schools such as those recently implemented in Louisiana – is that they short circuit all of the existing Civil Rights laws.  Particularly in Lousisana the changeover to supposedly “private” schools enables religious discrimination.

The Old Jim Crow – Just Like the New Jim Crow – Now Dressed Up as Charter Schools

Segregation Fear Sinks Charter School

Nashville school officials have rejected a proposal to open a charter school in a middle-class part of the city, highlighting a broader national battle over efforts by operators of such publicly financed, privately run schools to expand into more affluent areas.

The Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools board voted 7-2 Tuesday night to reject an application by Great Hearts Academies, a nonprofit that operates prep-school-like charter schools, for five new establishments.

The Arizona-based group planned to open its first Tennessee school in a middle- to upper-middle class area in west Nashville, after being invited by parents who either were unhappy with local public schools or said they favored choice in education.

The board denied the application because members worried that low-income parents wouldn’t be able to easily transport their children across town to a school on the west side, meaning the plan could effectively cause “segregated schools,” said Olivia Brown, spokeswoman for the district.

“Rather than enhance diversity in the district, this would send us in the opposite direction,” said Edward Kindall, one of the board members who voted against the plan. “I went to segregated schools and this gets us dangerously close to separate but unequal.”

The school board also approved, by votes of 9-0 and 8-1, two other charter schools Tuesday, both of which will cater mainly to low-income students. Mr. Kindall backed both schools.

Dan Scoggin, chief executive of Great Hearts Academies, said the school would have been open to all students, and that his organization planned to build other schools elsewhere in the city. Continue reading

Before the Apollo – There Was the Howard Theater

Saw a number of acts here as a kid – From Duke Ellington to Moms Mabley to Nancy Wilson and Pigmeat Markum… Even saw Tina Turner shake a shapely leg there…

During the 60’s this was one of two venues which had black musicians on stage in DC. The other being the Carter Baron Ampithater, and outdoor venue only open during the summer…

Jackie Wilson, Temptations, Booker T and the MGs – every major black act in America played here from the 20’s to the 60’s.

New Howard Theater

The Original Theater Built in 1910

D.C.’s Howard Theatre: What made it an essential sanctuary of black Washington?

Marvin Gaye sang his debut hit “Stubborn Kind of Fellow” when he returned to the Howard Theatre in October 1962 with the first Motown tour. The audience went wild over its hometown son. His mother, who was in the audience, poked everyone around her and told them, “That’s my boy!” The lineup included Marv Johnson, Mary Wells, the Miracles, the Marvelettes and the Vandellas. The Supremes, making their stage debut, were the opening act. Miles Davis had been a headliner the previous week.

Before New York’s Apollo Theater, there was the Howard. Built in 1910, it was the first legitimate theater in the country open to African Americans. The Howard Theatre helped make Washington the early cultural capital of black America. Over 60 years, virtually every top African American entertainer performed on its stage, including Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, the Drifters, Ruth Brown, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Ike & Tina Turner.

Going to the Howard at Seventh & T in the District’s Shaw neighborhood was a part of growing up for generations of Washingtonians, some of whom went on to achieve fame of their own. Atlantic Recordsfounder Ahmet Ertegun said he got his doctorate in black music there. One of its ragtime musicians taught Billy Taylor to play piano. After Billy Eckstine won several amateur night contests at the Howard, theater manager Shep Allen told the teenager he was a professional, lent him a tuxedo and booked him to do a show. Shirley Horn said a show she saw there made her switch from classical piano to jazz. Pearl Bailey danced in the chorus line while taking voice lessons. And Duke Ellington often won the theater’s band contests with his first quintet, the Duke’s Serenaders.

The Howard closed in 1970, a victim of desegregation, competition from larger venues and the 1968 riots. A 1975 reopening lasted only two weeks. Occasional shows followed, but it wasn’t the same. The theater was a go-go palace when it finally closed in the early ’80s.

With the Howard Theatre set to reopen this week, here’s a look at its legendary past through the eyes of people who were touched by it.

***

Gloria Thomas Gantt, 85, was a cashier at the Howard from 1959 to 1970. She became a manager for shows in the late ’70s.

I worked with Tina Turner, James Brown, B.B. King, Gladys Knight & the Pips. All of the big stars, I got a chance to work with them.

The Temptations had people all up and down the aisle. At that time, they were Number One. They were the star of the show. The women used to go crazy. Throw up their bras and underwear and everything onstage. Then they would write down their phone numbers. The star of the show, David Ruffin, would come down into the audience [when he sang] “My Girl.” If you were sitting there, he would sing to you. He would take the numbers and put them in his pocket and just keep right on singing. He never missed a beat.

Women would call me at the box office. “Could you tell me where so and so in James Brown’s band, where they are stayin’?” I’d say, “Honey, that’s a good question, ’cause I don’t know.” But somehow they would come in and go backstage, and they would find ’em… (More)

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