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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.

Image result for trump golden shower

 

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Barnes and Noble Founders Donate $1 million to Spellman

A magnanimous gift to Spelman College.

Barnes & Noble founder gives Spelman College $1 million gift

The founder and chairman of Barnes & Noble Inc. and his wife have given $1 million to Spelman College in Atlanta.

The college said it planned to use the gift from Leonard and Louise Riggio to fund a scholars program in his name, and to support its planned arts and innovation center.

Leonard Riggio, founder and chairman of Barnes & Noble Inc. (center).

Leonard Riggio, founder and chairman of Barnes & Noble Inc. (center).

“From the moment I was surrounded by its warm embrace, I was head over heels in love with Spelman College, and especially with the beautiful people who study and teach there,” Riggio said of his visit to the college. “The whole of the place seems to have been lifted from the depths of our spirits, to the full realization of our hopes and dreams for a better America. If Spelman is not the paradigm of a great college, I do not know what is. The gift to the scholarship program and to the arts and innovation center from Louise and me commemorates one of the best days I’ve ever had.”

Half of the Riggios’ gift will be used to underwrite six outstanding Spelman students who have demonstrated stellar academic achievement and who are actively engaged in community service, the university said in a statement. The remaining $500,000 will be designated for the design and construction of an arts and innovation center that will house Spelman’s arts programs and Innovation Lab, which encourage creative collaborations at the intersection of the arts, technology, science and other liberal arts disciplines. Program planning for the facility is underway, according to the December announcement.

“Leonard and Louise Riggio have been longstanding supporters of education and the arts,” said Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell. “We welcome them as new donors to Spelman and welcome, too, their enthusiasm and faith in the values and mission of the College. Their generous gift supports the academic success of a group of talented, socially engaged students and, at the same time, helps the College launch the planning of a new facility that will encourage campus wide collaborations and community engagement.”

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

 

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Whitewashed – The Civil War Forgotten Battle of New Market’s Black Troops

District of Columbia. Company E, 4th U.S. Colored Infantry, at Fort Lincoln

Black Soldiers fought the ancestors of modern day Republicans during the Civil War…

After what I saw today in the Sessions confirmation hearing…It is a good time to remind them of that fact.

Note – you will have to go to the source site (The Atlantic) links provided here to see the footnotes.

Heroes of a Civil War Victory That History Forgot

ON THE MORNING OF SEPTEMBER 29, 1864, as dawn broke over eastern Virginia, some 7001 black soldiers in the 4th and 6th regiments of the Union Army walked directly into enemy fire. The ultimate target of their assault was Richmond, the Confederate capital, just 15 miles north of where they stood. Success against the rebels’ fortress, which had never been touched in four years of war, would be a knife in the heart of the Confederacy, which only partly explains the intrepid action that day by units of what were then called the United States Colored Troops (USCT).

The approximately 1,8002 soldiers arrayed against them were members of the Texas Confederacy, opponents of emancipation who were notorious for an especially sharp loathing of African Americans. When one of them saw the 4th and 6th approaching over the swampy terrain, he shouted, “n—ers, boys, n—-ers,” reveling in the prospect of what his unit called a “coon fight.”3

Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood

Less than two hours later, almost half the members of the 4th and 6th were injured, missing, or dead. The white officers who led the charge had been the first to die, and the black troops who took over from them were next. After that battle, Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood of the 4th Regiment wrote in his diary: “When the charge was started, our Color guard was full; two sergeants and ten corporals. Only one of the twelve came off that field on his own feet. Most of them are there still…. [It] was sheer madness.”

The Union fell back, but only briefly. More than a thousand soldiers from three additional USCT regiments soon returned to finish the attack. And once again, as the white officers fell, says historian Noah Andre Trudeau, “it fell to black sergeants to keep the unit organized, keep it moving forward, keep it coherent. They were taking over the units under fire, with men falling all around them.”

By the time the battle was won, at about 8:30 that morning, it had taken an estimated 800-plus Union casualties—some 130 black troops killed in action, approximately 660 wounded—and an estimated 45 others were missing in action.

News and official battle reports all testified to the courage, grit, and skill that the USCT troops showed under fire, settling any doubt of their fighting spirit. “They never halted or faltered,” the New York Herald correspondent wrote, “though their ranks were sadly thinned by the charge, and the slashing was filled with the slain and wounded of their number.”

No fewer than 14 African-American soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in what came to be known as the Battle of New Market Heights. Five of them were for leading the troops forward after their officers fell. Four were recognized for taking up their regimental flags from wounded or killed bearers, a job that turns a man into a clear, slow-moving target. One soldier, according to his Medal of Honor citation, urged his men forward as he managed to load and fire his weapon with only one arm, the other having been so badly mutilated it needed immediate amputation.

For all that, New Market Heights is little more than a footnote in Civil War history—a battle, scholars agree, that deserves better.

Its relative obscurity derives in part from lack of access to the site. Only the largest battlefields were acquired in the years just after the war. Later, given the racist Jim Crow laws enacted after Reconstruction, there would have been considerable resistance in the South to a celebration of black heroism. The land at New Market Heights is now divided into parcels and will remain that way until the National Park Service (NPS) can convince its owners to sell or donate it, which so far they have not agreed to do. In the meantime, the Civil War Trust has listed New Market Heights among its  “most endangered” sites4.

That lack of access inhibits both scholarly and public interest. “A key part of battlefield research, any battlefield research, is walking the ground and understanding the terrain and reaching deductions from that,” says Robert Krick, a historian at the Richmond National Battlefield who has written several books on the Civil War. “The fact that there’s been no preserved property at New Market Heights also prevents casual visitors from seeing it, appreciating it, getting enthusiastic about it. [It’s] just not quite on their radar.”

The Battle of New Market Heights is also obscured by the ten months of fighting for Richmond that followed. More battles were lost than won during that time, and New Market Heights, while critical, was not conclusive. “The New Market Heights operation was only one of several efforts to breach the lines at Petersburg and Richmond in the summer of 1864,” says Pulitzer-Prize-winning Civil War historian James McPherson. “Most of them were not ultimately successful, so [New Market Heights] just didn’t get the same kind of publicity.”

Literally thousands of Medals of Honor were issued during the Civil War, almost a third of which were later rescinded due to fraud or lack of merit.5 But the 14 awarded for New Market Heights were never even questioned, and only four others were awarded to African Americans in the Union Army during the whole course of the war.

Portraits of 15 African-American soldiers and sailors who received Medals of Honor for service in the Civil War, the Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War.

Civil War historians—McPherson included—cite contemporary reports to confirm that actions which rose “above and beyond the call of duty” at New Market Heights would have justified such medals in any of America’s later wars. Captains and officers, almost all of whom were white, spoke of the black troops’ bravery in their logs, reports, and correspondence. Major publications, including the New York Times and New York Herald6, covered the victories of the USCT, and news of the heroism shown at New Market Heights drew special notice. On October 5, a week after the battle, Civil War correspondent Thomas Morris Chester wrote that “the officers and men of these regiments…wiped out effectually the imputation against the fighting qualities of the colored troops.”

Less than 20 years after the war ended, in the time of Jim Crow, that reputation for bravery was effectively withdrawn. But for later generations, the medals awarded for New Market Heights preserved the USCT’s record for valor. In that respect, at least, they were more fortunate than the African-American soldiers who came after them….Read the rest Here…

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Black History

 

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Could You Pass the Voting “Literacy Test”?

Under the Chumph and Republicans we are headed bak to the days of Literacy tests to deny minority voting rights. The following is one such test of black voters used by Louisiana, Of course there were few schools for black children, which racists insisted played no part in being able to pass the test. Remember – one wrong answer, in the 10 minutes allotted to complete the test means you aren’t smart enough to vote… This test was sourced form the Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement site which contains a lot of information as well as historical artifacts. Go there, it is well worth a visit.

Voting Test 1

 

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Willie Rogers – Last Tuskegee Airman

Rest in peace, Mr Rogers…

Willie Rogers, the last member of the original Tuskegee Airmen, dead at 101

Rogers was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007

Willie Rogers, 99, who is considered one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, reflects on his service and his life at home as he will turn 100 years-old on March 4, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Rogers, the oldest surviving member of the original Tuskegee Airmen, has died at the age of 101. Rogers died Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, said Rev. Kenny Irby, the pastor at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The last member of the original Tuskegee Airmen, Willie Rogers of St. Petersburg, Florida, died Monday. He was 101 years old. The Airmen were members of the first African-American military aviation squadron in U.S. armed forces history.

“He didn’t like a lot of fuss,” said Clinton Glover, Rogers’ nephew. “He was humble. That’s who he was.”

Rogers was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942 and served as a member of the logistics team in the 100th Air Engineer Squad and the Red Tail Angels. During a mission in Italy, Rogers was shot in the stomach and leg by German soldiers in January 1943. He spent three months in a London hospital recovering from his wounds.

On April 29, 1945, following Germany’s surrender and the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, Rogers, along with other American troops, took inventory of the camp.

Former President George W. Bush welcomed the Tuskegee Airmen’s 300 surviving members to the White House in 2007 and awarded each of them the Congressional Gold Medal. Neither Rogers nor his daughters, Felicia Rogers and Veronica Williams, attended the ceremony, and they didn’t even know about their father’s participation with the group until 2012.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that “part of the reason for that silence, he’d tell his family, was because his work was on the ground in logistics and administration, not in the sky where the heroics took place.”

Six years later in November 2013, Rogers received his Congressional Gold Medal. Besides that award, Rogers’ portrait was placed in the St. Petersburg Museum of History, and he received the keys to the cities of Lakeland and St. Petersburg, Florida.

“He would always say there were many who deserved attention more, but were not here to receive it,” Williams said.

Rogers lived in St. Petersburg after the war and opened his own business — Rogers Radio Sales and Services. He was born in Apalachicola, Florida, in 1915.

From 1942 to 1946, approximately 15,000 men and women participated in the Tuskegee Institute during World War II. The U.S. military trained civilians as part of the Tuskegee Experience, starting in May 1940 when students completed their pilot training program.

The Tuskegee Airmen would turn out to be one of the most successful fighter units in U.S. history — fighting in more than 200 combat missions and never losing a single bomber to enemy fire. No other group can claim that achievement.

Although African-Americans were often discriminated against while serving in the military, Rogers was still able to put that into perspective.

“He could give dates, names, locations of events from the war,” Williams said. “But he didn’t like to give specifics about what occurred to him. He saw things that were bad. And he experienced treatment because he was African-American that wasn’t fair.

“He recognized that we as a people, and he as a black man, have come a long way, but that there is still more to go. But in God’s eyes, there is no color, he’d say. We are all one and he lived by the greatest commandment — to love one another.”

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2016 in Black History

 

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A Pardon for Marcus Garvey?

Nearly 100 years ago, Marcus Garvey was the central figure in a black self-help movement though the Universal Negro Improvement Association. He would champion “Back to Africa”, and actually start a steamship line. Unquestionably, Garvey was an early target of J. Edgar Hoover’s racism.

Marcus Garvey’s son wants President Obama to pardon his famous father. Time is running out.

Julius Garvey

Julius Garvey, the son of black nationalist Marcus Garvey, is pacing the lobby of a Washington hotel. His collar is starched. His glasses polished. He holds a stack of fliers displaying photos of his famous father under a headline that reads, “The Exoneration of Marcus Garvey.”

Julius Garvey, an 83-year-old vascular surgeon, is on a mission to clear his father’s name, tarnished by a 1923 federal mail-fraud conviction that he believes was bogus. He wants the country’s first African American president to pardon the fiery founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. Marcus Garvey, who died in 1940, led a “back to Africa” campaign that made him a seminal figure in the push for racial and economic justice for black people.

“My father was central to the civil rights movement in the early 20th century,” said Julius Garvey, who lives on Long Island. “His organization was the dominant civil rights organization. It shaped the thinking of that part of the century. It gave birth to the Harlem Renaissance. Black is beautiful — my father was the basis for that ideology.”

Marcus Garvey’s activism is chronicled in the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture. His son was among the 7,000 dignitaries, celebrities and elected officials who were invited to the museum’s opening, where President Obama spoke about the nation’s history of racial oppression.

Marcus Garvey, 1924

The Obama administration rejected a posthumous pardon for Marcus Garvey five years ago. And Julius Garvey says he knows that time is running out, both for him and for Obama’s tenure in the White House.

“It’s urgent from the point of view of this president, because his term is up,” Garvey says. “The point is the injustice has been allowed to sit for [almost] 100 years. It is a continuing injustice that needs to be corrected.”

Marcus Mosiah Garvey was an immigrant from Jamaica who had already foundedthe Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) when he arrived in the United States in 1916. Eventually, the UNIA claimed millions of members around the world — although those figures remain in dispute.

In 1918, Garvey established the Negro World newspaper and a year later bought an auditorium in Harlem. He called it Liberty Hall, where thousands flocked to hear him speak.

“Black people are subjects of ostracism,” Garvey said in 1921 to thunderous applause. “It is sad that our humanity has shown us no more love — no greater sympathy than we are experiencing. Wheresoever you go throughout the world, the black man is discarded as ostracized, as relegated to the lowest of things — social, political and economical.”

Garvey preached that the problem could be solved only through black pride and self-reliance.

In 1921, the UNIA elected Garvey “President of Africa.” In an iconic photo, Garvey and UNIA members marched through the streets of Harlem in military uniforms, carrying banners that read “We Want a Black Civilization.”

To ferry black people and cargo to Africa, Garvey launched a steamship line, which he called the Black Star Line. The company sold stock for $5 a share, allowing black people to own a piece of the steamship.

This sale, along with Garvey’s rhetoric and following, attracted government attention. Soon after World War I, Garvey was targeted by future FBI director J. Edgar Hoover — as part of a “lifelong obsession to neutralize the rise of a black liberator,” Julius Garvey said.

In documents released later, the FBI acknowledged that it began investigating Garvey to find reasons to “deport him as an undesirable alien.”…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2016 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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The Second Nat Turner Rebellion

Nat Turner was neither the first, or the last black man held in slavery to rebel. He was just the white slave owners worst nightmare come true. During the Revolutionary War entire counties didn’t supply troops to the American Army because of fear of local slave rebellions. Despite the Southern Myth of “happy” plantation life, slave owner knew they were on thin ice, and exercised extreme brutality as a means to keep the slaves cowed. Bacon’s Rebellion, a prelude to the Revolutionary War was fueled and fought by slaves and indentured servants. It is never listed as a slave revolt, because the leader Nathaniel Bacon was an Aristocrat.

Not sure I can see the benefit of what Kalifah, mentioned in the story below, is doing. Black History isn’t just black history…It is American History.

The Racial Politics of Nat Turner Tours

The subject of an acclaimed new movie, the 1831 slave revolt led by Turner is also the focus of two tours, one black and one white, in a region still divided over Turner’s legacy.

Nate Parker entered his film The Birth of a Nation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival with little publicity and no distribution deal. It emerged having garnered the festival’s Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award, and a deal with Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million—the largest deal in Sundance history. Parker both directed and plays the central role of Nat Turner, who planned and carried out the most violent slave insurrection in American history in Virginia in 1831 that left 55 white men, women, and children dead. …

The controversy surrounding Parker’s past has obscured a far more interesting story currently playing out in Southampton County, where for the first time efforts are underway to interpret the 1831 slave rebellion for the general public. It is a promising development that comes amidst reports of police brutality within the black community, an active Black Lives Matter campaign, and a presidential election that has bitterly divided the nation along racial lines on the eve of the conclusion of our nation’s first black presidency. It also points to an increased willingness on the part of museums, historic sites, and even Hollywood to confront the violence of America’s slave past, but it is not without controversy.

It is difficult to exaggerate the challenges involved in interpreting Nat Turner’s controversial life in the place where so much blood was shed. This history remains contested ground for the black and white residents of Jerusalem (now Courtland) and the surrounding county. Local debates about how to interpret and remember Nat Turner point to tightly embraced competing memories of the past that fall along racial lines and more specific disagreements about what kinds of historical sources ought to be given priority, and who has the right to tell these stories.

Such differences stretch all the way back to the event itself and its aftermath, which included the execution of free and enslaved blacks by a community that feared additional violence, the eventual capture of Turner, his trial, and subsequent execution.

Efforts to interpret Turner and his slave rebellion began in 2002, when the Southampton County Historical Society (SCHS) gained possession of the Vaughan House—the only extant building dating back to the 1831 insurrection. Rebecca Vaughan, along with her two sons, niece, and overseer, were killed by Turner’s followers. Once restored, the home will serve as the centerpiece of an exhibit that explores the violent deaths of its occupants as well as the story of slavery in the community and the events that led up to and followed the bloody uprising. Its centerpiece will be the sword that Turner used throughout much of the rebellion.

Much of the history will eventually be shared through roughly 40 wayside markers at 17 stops throughout the county that will be accessible by foot and by car. Early drafts of individual markers reveal a clear commitment to deal with the horrors of chattel slavery in Southampton County as well as its connection to broader events. Visitors will be able to read about obscure slave rebellions such as The Plant Cutter Revolt of 1663, George Boxley Rebellion in 1811, as well as better known moments such as Denmark Vesey’s Revolt in 1822 and Gabriel’s Rebellion of 1800.

Turner’s story is told alongside other notable local African Americans, including Dred Scott, whose unsuccessful legal plea for his freedom was decided by the Supreme Court just a few years before the start of the Civil War. John Brown—not to be confused with the famous abolitionist—escaped slavery and eventually made his way to Great Britain, where he published his autobiography with the help of The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. Finally, Anthony Gardiner traveled to Liberia with the help of the American Colonization Society and eventually became that nation’s ninth president. By highlighting the lives of these men, the SCHS hopes to frame the broader narrative around the quest for freedom and civil rights.

Any attempt to interpret a story like this for the general public, however, raises difficult questions of interpretation. Is it possible to tell a story that transcends racial divisions? How do you interpret the killing of women and children—a subject that even Nate Parker, who characterizes Turner as a hero, chose to avoid almost entirely in his movie? Most importantly, how should we understand Turner’s actions? Was he a freedom fighter, a murderer, or something else entirely? In short, what is his legacy?

These questions matter to Rick Francis, who is the Southampton County Circuit Court Clerk and belongs to the SCHS. Francis was born and raised in Southampton County and is descended from Nat Turner’s owner. From a very early age, he absorbed and re-told stories passed down by his father and others about members of his extended family, who ended up “on the business end of his ax” as well as others who were aided by local slaves and managed to survive.

While Francis fully supports the efforts of the SCHS to interpret Nat Turner’s rebellion, including its emphasis on white supremacy and the violence of slavery, he betrays a certain uneasiness when asked to evaluate Turner himself and the legacy of his actions. In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, Francis questioned whether emancipation is what motivated Turner and said that whether or not he was a freedom fighter “is not my call to make.”

Francis believes that it is possible for the SCHS—an organization that he admits is overwhelmingly white—to tell an “objective” history of Nat Turner through electronic maps, video, a driver app, artifacts, and primary sources such as The Confessions of Nat Turner penned by white Southampton lawyer Thomas Gray. Gray’s interview with Turner while in his jail cell during his trial was published shortly after his execution. It is an indispensible source for historians, but it remains a challenge to interpret. Francis’s goal from the beginning remains for the public interpretation to stay as far away from the “saint or sinner debate” and “let people come up with their own interpretation.”

But for H. Khalif Khalifah, this is neither satisfactory nor does it allay concerns that the story of Turner itself is being told by the wrong people. Born in Gosport, Alabama, and raised in New York City, Khalifah was introduced to Turner’s history during the height of the civil rights movement through publications distributed by radical black political organizations that referenced the slave as one among many “revolutionaries and militants who had waged a physical fight to Free Black People.” Trained as a master printer, Khalifah eventually started his own company that marketed books about black history to black communities.

In the mid ’80s, Khalifah and his wife moved to Southampton County, Virginia, on 123 acres of the “birth land” of Nat Turner, where he established the Nat Turner Library and Nat Turner Trail tours. He has had very little contact with the SCHS and is not involved in the organization of the new exhibits and trail tour. This distance reflects a deep skepticism that a largely white organization can accurately engage the general public about Turner’s story and the history of slavery.

Khalifah’s tours are geared specifically to African-American tourists and he rarely allows white visitors to join. When asked why, he suggested that “the pain that was visited upon black people is so brutal that emotions may become aroused against white people on the tour.” The language used along the tour adds to his concerns about how whites might respond. Stops along the tour are referred to as “battle sites,” while Turner and his men are referred to as the “Black Liberation Army of 1831.”…The Rest Here

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2016 in Black History

 

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