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Little Caesars Pizza Founder Paid Rosa Parks Rent for 11 Years

And if you buy a Trump Schlepping Papa Johns after this, I hope you kids pimp slap you all the way to Birmingham.

Little Caesars founder paid Rosa Parks' rent for 11 years

Little Caesars founder paid Rosa Parks’ rent for 11 years

The civil rights icon and fierce political activist was supported from an unlikely source

Less than a week ago, when the death of Little Caesars founder Mike Ilitch made news, his family shared stories of his vision, work ethic and love of the Detroit community. He was the son of immigrant parents. He opened his pizza franchise’s first location by the time he was 30. He owned two of the city’s major sports teams, the Red Wings and the Tigers.

He also paid the rent of civil rights icon Rosa Parks for 11 years.

“It’s important that people know what Mr. Mike Ilitch did for Ms. Rosa Parks because it’s symbolic of what he has always done for the people of our city,” federal appeals court Judge Damon Keith, a Detroit resident, told Sports Business Daily.

In 1994, a man broke into Rosa Parks’ residence in Detroit and assaulted and robbed Parks, who was 81 at the time. Following the attack, Keith put out an inquiry to find a safer home for Rosa Parks. Ilitch read about the plan in the newspaper and called to offer his support. Ilitch pledged to pay Parks’ rent indefinitely.

Mike Ilitch paid her rent until she died in 2005.

Rosa Parks was most known for launching the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, by refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. But Parks’ activism work began more than a decade prior. She joined the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP in 1943 and remained a fierce advocate for civil rights and against domestic violence and sexual assault until the end of her life.

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Mike Illich

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2017 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Black Inventors and the Jim Crow Patent System

Having all or part of several Patents myself, this one deeply resonates with me. The problem with gaining Patents today have little to do with direct discrimination and everything to do with the cost of the Patent. A Patent today costs and average of $40,000 in legal fees. Putting the ability to secure a Patent far beyond the reach of your garage inventor and many start-up companies. What the New Jim Crow means is that few black inventors, who typically don’t have the financial resources or access to Venture Capital, can afford to file and prosecute a Patent. My company found a way around some of this by filing overseas in Asia and Europe, where the costs can be 75% cheaper than filing in the US.Other “proto-patents”, patent-able ideas and designs which had not been reduced to whats called “Art” are often sold to big companies in the face of the steep uphill battle to pursue commercial production.

The reason you don’t see more black inventors is The New Jim Crow, AKA Economic Racism.

Thomas L Jennings the first black Patent Holder in 1821

America’s always had black inventors – even when the patent system explicitly excluded them

America has long been the land of innovation. More than 13,000 years ago, the Clovis people created what many call the “first American invention” – a stone tool used primarily to hunt large game. This spirit of American creativity has persisted through the millennia, through the first American patent granted in 1641 and on to today.

One group of prolific innovators, however, has been largely ignored by history: black inventors born or forced into American slavery. Though U.S. patent law was created with color-blind language to foster innovation, the patent system consistently excluded these inventors from recognition.

As a law professor and a licensed patent attorney, I understand both the importance of protecting inventions and the negative impact of being unable to use the law to do so. But despite patents being largely out of reach to them throughout early U.S. history, both slaves and free African-Americans did invent and innovate.

Why patents matter

In many countries around the world, innovation is fostered through a patent system. Patents give inventors a monopoly over their invention for a limited time period, allowing them, if they wish, to make money through things like sales and licensing.

The patent system has long been the heart of America’s innovation policy. As a way to recoup costs, patents provide strong incentives for inventors, who can spend millions of dollars and a significant amount of time developing a invention.

The history of patents in America is older than the U.S. Constitution, with several colonies granting patents years before the Constitution was created. In 1787, however, members of the Constitutional Convention opened the patent process up to people nationwide by drafting what has come to be known as the Patent and Copyright Clause of the Constitution. It allows Congress:

“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

This language gives inventors exclusive rights to their inventions. It forms the foundation for today’s nationwide, federal patent system, which no longer allows states to grant patents.

Though the language itself was race-neutral, like many of the rights set forth in the Constitution, the patent system didn’t apply for black Americans born into slavery. Slaves were not considered American citizens and laws at the time prevented them from applying for or holding property, including patents. In 1857, the U.S. commissioner of patents officially ruled that slave inventions couldn’t be patented.

Slaves’ inventions exploited by owners

During the 17th and 18th centuries, America was experiencing rapid economic growth. Black inventors were major contributors during this era – even though most did not obtain any of the benefits associated with their inventions since they could not receive patent protection.

Slave owners often took credit for their slaves’ inventions. In one well-documented case, a black inventor named Ned invented an effective, innovative cotton scraper. His slave master, Oscar Stewart, attempted to patent the invention. Because Stewart was not the actual inventor, and because the actual inventor was born into slavery, the application was rejected.

Stewart ultimately began selling the cotton scraper without the benefit of patent protection and made a significant amount of money doing so. In his advertisements, he openly touted that the product was “the invention of a Negro slave – thus giving the lie to the abolition cry that slavery dwarfs the mind of the Negro. When did a free Negro ever invent anything?”

Reaping benefits of own inventions

The answer to this question is that black people – both free and enslaved – invented many things during that time period.

One such innovator was Henry Boyd, who was born into slavery in Kentucky in 1802. After purchasing his own freedom in 1826, Boyd invented a corded bed created with wooden rails connected to the headboard and footboard.

The “Boyd Bedstead” was so popular that historian Carter G. Woodson profiled his success in the iconic book “The Mis-education of the Negro,” noting that Boyd’s business ultimately employed 25 white and black employees.

Though Boyd had recently purchased his freedom and should have been allowed a patent for his invention, the racist realities of the time apparently led him to believe that he wouldn’t be able to patent his invention. He ultimately decided to partner with a white craftsman, allowing his partner to apply for and receive a patent for the bed.

Some black inventors achieved financial success but no patent protection, direct or indirect. Benjamin Montgomery, who was born into slavery in 1819, invented a steamboat propeller designed for shallow waters in the 1850s. This invention was of particular value because, during that time, steamboats delivered food and other necessities through often-shallow waterways connecting settlements. If the boats got stuck, life-sustaining supplies would be delayed for days or weeks.

Montgomery tried to apply for a patent. The application was rejected due to his status as a slave. Montgomery’s owners tried to take credit for the propeller invention and patent it themselves, but the patent office also rejected their application because they were not the true inventors.

Even without patent protection, Montgomery amassed significant wealth and become one of the wealthiest planters in Mississippi after the Civil War ended. Eventually his son, Isaiah, was able to purchase more than 800 acres of land and found the town of Mound Bayou, Mississippi after his father’s death.

A legacy of black innovators

The patent system was ostensibly open to free black people. From Thomas Jennings, the first black patent holder, who invented dry cleaning in 1821, to Norbert Rillieux, a free man who invented a revolutionary sugar-refining process in the 1840s, to Elijah McCoy, who obtained 57 patents over his lifetime, those with access to the patent system invented items that still touch the lives of people today….Read More Here

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in Black History

 

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Yale to Change Calhoun College to Grace Hopper College

John C. Calhoun was a Southern Congressman prior to the Civil War from South Carolina. He was know for two things, his ardent support of slavery, and along with Henry Clay, in being one of the principal causes of the Civil War, with Clay rallying Southern states to secede from the Union. The blood on this man’s hands included not only the 650,000 Americans on both sides who died during the Civil War – but countless civilian casualties.

Admiral Grace Hopper was a Washington area heroine. She is credited with creating the first structured programming language, COBOL. Met her several times first professionally as a Department Head while working at the Old Navy Yard, and second, as she would come to the University to give talks about technology and technology history. She was an icon for all of us to try and emulate.

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Yale to Rename Calhoun College for Computer Scientist Grace Hopper

Yale’s Calhoun College — named after the nation’s seventh vice-president and prominent defender of slavery, John C. Calhoun — has long been a source of controversy, with students calling for the university to rename it, most recently in a wave of protests that began in fall 2015. On Saturday, the university announced that they would be dropping John C. Calhoun’s name from the college and naming it after a female computer-programming visionary, Grace Hopper.

Back in April 2016, Yale president Peter Salovey said that they would not be renaming Calhoun College, which he explained by saying that “erasing Calhoun’s name from a much-beloved residential college risks masking this past, downplaying the lasting effects of slavery, and substituting a false and misleading narrative, albeit one that might allow us to feel complacent or, even, self-congratulatory.”

He’s since appeared to have come around to the arguments against the name. “John C. Calhoun’s principles, his legacy as an ardent supporter of slavery as a positive good, are at odds with this university,” Salovey told reporters following news that the university would in fact be dropping Calhoun’s name.

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, the new namesake of the residential college, was a visionary computer programmer who earned her master’s and Ph.D. at Yale. She served in the Navy during World War II and was a pioneer in automatic programming (and, unsurprisingly, faced resistance from the heavily male tech world at the time). In 2016, Hopper received the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously.

The change is expected to take place sometime between now and the fall.

Someone the Yale students can be proud of!

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Roland Martin Interviews One of the “Little Rock Nine”

Fascinating interview. Having been one of those in the first group to integrate schools I can understand and sympathize with what they went through. My experience was in no way as bad as theirs as by the time I came along there weren’t any vicious white mobs or Federal Troops.The courage of these , then kids, was off the scale!

 

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Black History

 

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Donald Trump on Frederick Douglass…

Does the Chumph realize Douglass has been dead over a 100 years?

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Trump’s statement on Black History Month –

“I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things, Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice. Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today. Big impact.”

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2017 in Black History

 

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White Woman at the Center of Emmit Till Murder…Admits to Lying

60 years later, the white woman who accused Emmit Till of fondling her has confessed that it didn’t happen.

Emmett Till (Wikipedia Commons)

‘Not true’: Woman admits she made up claims that led to Emmett Till’s brutal lynching

The woman at the center of the brutal murder of Emmett Till — which helped launch the civil rights movement — has revealed for the first time that she had fabricated the most sensational part of her testimony, reported Vanity Fair.

Carolyn Bryant Donham has never spoken publicly since she testified in the murder trial of her then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, who were each acquitted less than a month after they kidnapped, tortured and executed the black boy.

After their acquittal, the pair proudly admitted what they’d done to Look magazine, saying they basically had no choice but to kill the teenager for behaving lasciviously toward Bryant’s wife.

But Donham, who later divorced Bryant and married twice more in the following years, admitted to author Timothy Tyson that she’d made up some of the claims that led to Till’s death.

Donham was 21 years old in 1955, when she spent about one minute alone with the 14-year-old Till, who was visiting family in Mississippi from Chicago, while working in the store she owned with her husband.

The teen, whose mother called him “Bo,” bragged to his cousin and some other boys that he had a white girlfriend back home — and the boys dared him to speak to the woman working behind the counter.

A 12-year-old cousin briefly went inside but left Emmett alone with Donham for about a minute, and she later claimed Till had grabbed her and made lewd comments.

His cousin, Simeon Wright, recalled decades later that couldn’t have been possible — and, it turns out, he was right.

“That part’s not true,” Donham told Tyson, who conducted the first-ever interview with the elderly mother of two for a new book, The Blood of Emmett Till.

She also claimed Till had wolf-whistled at her, but Tyson notes that might not have been intentional because the boy had a lisp.

Donham claims she couldn’t remember anymore the rest of their brief encounter.

The interview was actually conducted in 2007, after Donham approached the Duke University scholar about helping to write her memoirs.

“That case went a long way toward ruining her life,” said Tyson, who said the Donham family reminded him of his own.

He said Donham’s views on race had changed over the years, along with much of the country’s.

“She was glad things had changed [and she] thought the old system of white supremacy was wrong, though she had more or less taken it as normal at the time,” Tyson said.

Donham told the author she “felt tender sorrow” toward Mamie Till-Mobley, who insisted on an open casket to show the world her son’s mutilated body, and she expressed something like regret about her role in his slaying.

“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him,” Donham said.

Donham, who retreated back into seclusion, has also written a memoir, “More Than a Wolf Whistle: The Story of Carolyn Bryant Donham,” but it will not be available to scholars until 2038, at her request.

 

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Rep. John Lewis Books Sell Out on Amazon

John Lewis books are selling out everywhere…

Rep. John Lewis’s books sell out following Donald Trump’s attacks

One side-effect of Rep. John Lewis’s heated and very public spat with President-elect Donald Trump: Ballooning interest in books written by the civil rights icon.

The Georgia Democrat’s “Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement” was sold out on Amazon and was the site’s No. 2 bestseller. Used copies of the hardcover edition were going for nearly $100.

Claiming the top spot on the list was another book by Lewis: “March,” a graphic-novel trilogy about the civil rights movement. The third installment won the National Book Award last year.

Amazon listed both books as “temporarily out of stock” on Sunday. Sales for both had ballooned more than 100,000 percent, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (Disclosure: Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, is also the owner of the The Washington Post.)

On Friday, Lewis said he didn’t see Trump as a legitimate president and wouldn’t be attending the inauguration for the first time in 30 years.

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