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Ava Duvernay…The 13th

Director Ava DuVernay has a new documentary out called The 13th. The documentary is named after the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution, which ended slavery…

Except in one specific instance.

This interview with Ms Duvernay goes into more detail.

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Black History, BlackLivesMatter, The New Jim Crow

 

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“Walk With Me” – How Judge Damon J. Keith Reshaped America

Judge Damon J. Keith isn’t that well known, and isn’t lauded by most historians. However his impact on Civil Rights, and the Civil Rights of all Americans is incredible. Back in 1992, when the Bush Administration dragged Uncle Tommy Clarence out from under his porch such as to fill the “Black seat” on the Supreme Court left by Thurgood Marshall – Judge Keith was one a dozen or so black Jurists whose qualification far exceeded that of Uncle Tommie.

There is a lesson in courage and determination here I hope the young folks in BLM appreciate and emulate. The way things are shaping up in this country with the Chumph and his violent racist crew…We are going to need it.

 

‘I don’t scare easily’: A 94-year-old judge’s refusal to bow to racism, death threats

Long before federal judge Damon Keith became known as a “crusader for justice,” he was a new Howard University Law School graduate working as a janitor while he studied for the bar exam.

It was 1949, and Keith cleaned the bathrooms at The Detroit News, his hometown newspaper. One day, Keith recalled, he was leaning against a wall in the men’s room with a law dictionary in his hands when he was interrupted.

“What are you reading?” a white reporter asked him.

Keith, the grandson of slaves and a World War II veteran, told the reporter he was studying the law dictionary to prepare for the bar exam.

“What for?” the man asked.

“I’m going to be a lawyer,” Keith responded.

The reporter laughed.

“A black lawyer?” he asked incredulously. “You better keep on mopping.”

Keith, now 94 and still serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Detroit, recounted that story two weeks ago in a Howard University moot courtroom, where students, lawyers, his former clerks and a Supreme Court nominee gathered to watch a new documentary about his life, “Walk with Me: The Trials of Damon J. Keith.”

The following day, the legendary judge sat in the front row as President Obama and black luminaries from across the country celebrated the opening of the Smithsonian’s new African American Museum of History and Culture.

Keith, one of the oldest federal jurists in the country, has been handing down important rulings on racial discrimination, presidential power and other contentious legal issues for nearly 50 years. And he shows no signs of retiring. He’s at his chambers each day by 9 a.m., where the first thing he does is read his Bible, he said. He works until about 5:30 pm.

Last month he issued a scathing 38-page dissent in an Ohio voting rights case, accusing two colleagues on the 6th Circuit Court of turning their backs on African American voters likely to be impacted by restrictions on early and absentee voting. He included photos and biographies of 36 people who died during the long struggle for civil rights and equal protection, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Emmett Till.

“By denying the most vulnerable the right to vote,” he wrote, “the Majority shuts minorities out of our political process. Rather than honor the men and women whose murdered lives opened the doors of our democracy and secured our right to vote, the Majority has abandoned this court’s standard of review in order to conceal the votes of the most defenseless behind the dangerous veneers of factual findings lacking support and legal standards lacking precedent.”

He also warned: “The unfettered right to vote is the bedrock of a free and democratic society—without it, such a society cannot stand.”

Then he created even more of a stir by giving an interview to Slate lamenting “the racist attitude of the majority” and mentioning his two colleagues on the panel, John Rogers and Danny Boggs.

He doesn’t apologize for calling them out by name.

“I thought the panel’s decision was racist,” he told The Post. He noted that his grandparents couldn’t vote in Georgia. His fellow judges, he said, “don’t know what we’ve gone through. They don’t know what I’ve gone through.”

Keith learned the power of the law — and of dissent — when he was student at Howard, where future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was one of his professors…Read the rest Here

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Black History, BlackLivesMatter, Giant Negros

 

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The Star Spangled Banner…Made by Slave Owners

As usual, there were black hands behind the creation of the US Flag which flew over Ft  McHenry and inspired the Star Spangled Banner.

The Slave Owner Who Stitched the Original Star-Spangled Banner

Mary Young Pickersgill’s deeds made herself an American icon. The name of the slave who aided in her most famous labor has been lost to history.

Image result for Ft MchenryThe 30-foot by 42-foot star spangled banner that inspired the national anthem was made in the summer of 1812 by a 37-year-old Baltimore widow named Mary Young Pickersgill.

She completed the task in six weeks, working late into the night with the assistance of her 13-year-old daughter Caroline Pickersgill, 13-year-old niece Eliza Young, and 15-year-old niece Margaret Young. They were joined by a 13-year-old indentured servant, Grace Wisher, who was African-American, but not a slave and likely working under the same arrangement as she would have been had she been white. 

By some accounts, they were also aided by an African-American who was a slave and who is listed by the census as living in the rented premises that served as Pickersgill’s residence as well as place of business.  The slave’s name is lost to history.

The flag was commissioned at the start of the War of 1812 by U.S. Army Major General George Armistead, the commander at Fort McHenry at the entrance to Baltimore Harbor. Armistead wrote in his instructions: “It is my desire to have a flag so large that the British will have no difficulty seeing it from a distance.”

That meant Pickersgill needed a bigger space than the flag-making shop she had opened after the death of her husband to support herself and the only one of her four children to survive past infancy. Her daughter would write in a letter to Armistead’s daughter:

The flag being so very large, mother was obliged to obtain permission from the proprietors of Claggetts brewery which was in our neighborhood, to spread it out in their malt house; and I remember seeing my mother down on the floor, placing the stars.”

The task would later be termed Herculean, but Hercules was a guy and therefore not likely to have been able to demonstrate such precision along with considerable endurance. Call it Pickersgill-ean. She added a final touch, without which Francis Scott Key might never had been inspired to write the poem that became the lyrics for “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“After the completion of the flag, she superintended the topping of it, having it fastened in the most secure manner to prevent its being torn away by (cannon) balls,” the daughter reported in the letter. “The wisdom of her precaution was shown during the engagement: many shots piercing it, but it still remained firm to the staff.”

Following the battle, Armistead must have understood that this was not just any flag and that Pickersgill was not just any flag maker. Pickersgill’s daughter would write to Armistead’s daughter:

“Your father (Armistead) declared that no one but the maker of the flag should mend it, and requested that the rents should merely be bound around.”

With her renown as the maker of the original star spangled banner, Pickersgill prospered enough to purchase the building where she lived and worked. She was also able to found America’s first organization dedicated to assisting women who had fallen on hard times. Her Impartial Female Humane Society arranged for employment and housing for its beneficiaries, as well as school vouchers for their children. She subsequently established a home for aged women and then one for men.

Pickersgill was a pioneering feminist ideal of all-American entrepreneurship and civic responsibility and she would have seemed the perfect person to have made the Star Spangled Banner were it not for a document dated April 14, 1857. 

As cited in the book Mary Young Pickersgill Flag Maker of the Star-Spangled Banner,” the document passed title of Pickersgill’s building to her daughter at the time of her death six months later. It added:

“Also the following described or mentioned Negro slaves for life to wit: Emily aged thirty years, Jane aged twenty four, and Julia aged twenty four years and Maurice boy three years and also all the furniture goods and chattels and effects belonging to me and now in the dwelling house.”

Pickersgill apparently no longer had the unnamed female slave, who would have been older than those who are listed. The new slaves – for whom no last names are listed — were all born subsequent to the making of the Star Spangled Banner. …More Here

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2016 in American Greed, Black History, Women

 

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Roland Martin Takes Bill O’Reilly to School on Black Patriotism

This is fun!

 

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2016 in Black History, Faux News, The Definition of Racism

 

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How the Second Black Wall Street Died

Tulsa, Oklahoma was considered by many black historians to be the first black Wall Street. It had black owned banks, homes, businesses, and homes. It was destroyed in an act of white genocide when white rioters attacked and burned the town, killed hundreds of black residents, and destroyed the town beyond any hope of recovery.

The second Black Wall Street was Richmond, Virginia. Home of the first black millionaire, Maggie Walker. It met a far different fate – being a victim of the end of Segregation.

The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond was one of the first black-owned banks in the United States.

The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street

Richmond was once the epicenter of black finance. What happened there explains the decline of black-owned banks across the country.

On April, 3rd, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in Memphis. In it, he urged African Americans to put their money in black-owned banks. It wasn’t his most famous line, but the message was clear: “We’ve got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in the Tri-State Bank. We want a ‘bank-in’ movement in Memphis … We begin the process of building a greater economic base.”

The next day, King was assassinated, and his hope of harnessing black wealth remains unfulfilled. Before integration, African Americans in cities like Richmond, Chicago, and Atlanta relied on black community banks, which were largely responsible for providing loans and boosting black businesses, churches, and neighborhoods. After desegregation, black wealth started to hemorrhage from these communities: White-owned banks were forced to open their doors to African Americans and the money that once flowed into black banks and back out to black communities ended up on Wall Street and other banks farther away.

“We started to lose a lot of our businesses and support for our businesses,” says Michael Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, a trade group representing nearly 200 minority and women-owned banks across the United States. “That was the toxic side of integration.” The financial meltdown of 2007 wiped out 40 percent of African American wealth in the United States, killing off many of these already-struggling community banks (they were not part of the big Wall Street bailout). Tri-State Bank in Memphis still exists, but it’s among the few that survived. Only 25 black-owned banks remain in the United States, according to the latest data from the FDIC, compared to 45 a decade ago. At their height, there were more than 100, says Grant.

The decline raises the question of whether these niche banks still have a place in modern America. I visited the Jackson Ward neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia, once dubbed America’s “Black Wall Street” and “the birthplace of black capitalism.” At the turn of the 20th century, it was one of the most prosperous black communities in the United States, with thriving theaters, stores, and medical practices. Richmond is where the first black banks opened, including one chartered to a former schoolteacher named Maggie Walker—the daughter of a freed slave. The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, which Walker opened in 1903, made loans to qualified borrowers who were shunned by traditional banks, such as black doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. St. Luke’s would eventually merge with other black banks and become Consolidated Bank and Trust. By the end of the 20th century, the bank was the last black-owned bank in Richmond and was struggling to compete with much bigger banks downtown. It had several troubled loans on its books and couldn’t raise enough capital to stay afloat. In 2005, a Washington, D.C.-based bank bought it, then a West Virginia-based bank took over in 2011 and renamed it Premier Bank. The last bank of “Black Wall Street” was gone.

Premier’s president, Darryl “Rick” Winston, says he too wonders what role black banks will play in the future. He once reviewed loans at Premier Bank when it was still the black-owned Consolidated Bank and Trust. At one point, he says, the bank had $111 million in assets and seven branches. Winston, who is African American, left for a consulting job in 2000, and returned last year to take over as regional president after the buyout. Winston drove me around Jackson Ward, pointing out the shuttered businesses that once made Richmond a bastion of black wealth and culture. “Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong stayed there,” he said, pointing to the former site of the Eggleston Hotel, one of the few upscale lodgings for blacks in the Jim Crow south. As we drove by, a construction crew was busy building a mixed-used complex that will house 31 apartments, 10 townhomes, several stores, and restaurants.

Two blocks away, Premier Bank remains in the same brick building as its predecessor. Much of the bank’s staff is the same. Winston says it’s important to make sure his employees reflect the community they serve, even if it’s no longer a black-owned institution. That’s in part because African American borrowers still face immense bias in the banking and lending industry, he says. “It’s more subtle. A black person goes into a mainstream bank and the loan officer might think of rejecting their application before it’s even complete,” he says.

Racial bias in the lending industry remains all too common, despite legislation aimed at preventing it. In 1992, a landmark study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston examined 4,500 mortgage-loan applications and discovered that black borrowers were twice as likely to get rejected for loans than white borrowers with similar credit histories. More recently, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts found that banks in Boston and across the state of Massachusetts continue to reject black and Latino borrowers for home mortgages at a much higher rate than whites….Read the Rest Here

The author is partially correct. The partial end of segregation did lead to black folks putting their money into white banks. White owned banks offered services, and capabilities the smaller black owned banks couldn’t. But the real destruction of community banking started under Raygun with “deregulation”. the destruction of “brick and mortar laws”, and the changes in the interstate banking laws which allowed the big banks to spread like wildfire across the country, buying out of shuttering small banks.

Now we have banks which are “too big to fail”, and a credit system which segregates by other means.

“deregulation” and “privatization” are nothing more than another means of domestic terrorism and financial genocide against minorities.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2016 in Black History, Domestic terrorism

 

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Georgetown University Atones for Slave Sale

In the early 1800’s Georgetown College which is a Jesuit School ran into financial difficulties. To make up for the financial shortfall, the College sold off all their slaves, who had built the college.

Some of the descendants of those slaves who were sold off by the church, have tracked their ancestry back to that sale.

Image result for Georgetown University slaves

James Henry Hicks’ family, Rachael Hicks and her two sons Beverly Hicks (l) and Nance Hicks. Descendants of slaves sold by the University to slaveholders in Louisiana.

Georgetown University to give slave descendants priority in admission

Georgetown University will give preference in admissions to the descendants of slaves owned by the Maryland Jesuits as part of its effort to atone for profiting from the sale of enslaved people.

Georgetown president John DeGioia told news outlets that the university in Washington, D.C., will implement the admissions preferences.

He says Georgetown will need to identify and reach out to descendants of slaves and recruit them to the university.

On Thursday morning, a university committee released a report that also called on its leaders to offer a formal apology for the university’s participation in the slave trade.

The chair of the Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, David Collins, S.J., says he hopes the university can take full responsibility for its slave benefactors. “As we join the Georgetown community we must understand that part of our history is this history of slaveholding and the slave trade,” he said. “And that opens our eyes to broader social issues that are still unhealed in our nation.

“History matters up to the present and into the future.”

Image result for Georgetown University slaves

In 1789, when the original Georgetown College was founded, Jesuit-owned and -operated plantations in Maryland (which helped fund the new institution) were worked with slave labor. Profits from the plantations were foreseen as a means to fund the new school.

In 1838, two priests who served as president of the university orchestrated the sale of 272 people to pay off the school’s debts. The slaves were sent from Maryland to plantations in Louisiana. The school received $115,000 in the sale, the equivalent of about $3.3 million today.

In response to the committee’s recommendations, President DeGioia today announced several steps that would be taken, including:

  • Offering an apology for the university’s historical relationship with slavery;
  • Renaming university buildings in honor of Isaac (an enslaved person mentioned in the documents of the 1838 sale) and Anne Marie Becraft (a free woman of color who founded a school for black girls, and later joined the Oblate Sisters of Providence in Baltimore);
  • Establishing a public memorial to the enslaved;
  • Creating a research institute on the legacy of slavery; and
  • Engaging with descendants of enslaved people once owned by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus, and offering them the same consideration given members of the Georgetown community in the admissions process.

Richard Cellini, an alumnus of Georgetown who has researched the slave sale, told “CBS This Morning” in July he estimates there are between 10,000 and 15,000 descendants of the 272 slaves sold living today.

Image result for Georgetown University slaves

This picture from the Virginia side of the Potomac River shows Georgetown University atop the hill left-center in 1861

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2016 in Black History, BlackLivesMatter

 

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The Southern Myth – How Slavery Became Pleasant

I remember this from my segregated primary school 3rd Grade textbook, which is the one mentioned in the article below. When I first attended an integrated school in 7th Grade, the textbook in the previously all white school quoted almost verbatim the Southern Myth about slavery. My refusal to be tested and graded on anything which was gross historical lie, or to sit in class while it was being taught caused a bit of an uproar. I actually remember one white girl saying in class how well the slaves were treated, and how happy they were…That lasted up until I mentioned Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner (We didn’t know about Gabriel Prosser yet as much of what would become Black History had been erased from the textbooks and had to be rediscovered). and The teacher challenged me to provide material which contravened the information in the “official” Virginia History Book. My Dad, a historian had just completed a book on black history, replete with all the research and documentation from places like the Library of Congress…

I provided said information.

The Daughters of the Confederacy weren’t the last to attempt to rewrite History…Right wingers in Texas have even tried to erase figures like Cesar Chavez and the existence of black contributions to America. So the battle is ongoing.

Welcome to America. I now own your ass.

How Dixie’s History Got Whitewashed

The United Daughters of the Confederacy were once a powerful force in public education across the South, right down to rewriting history: slaves were happy, y’all.

Earlier this week Vanderbilt University announced that it would remove the word “Confederate” from the stone pediment at the entrance to a campus dormitory known as Memorial Hall. The decision brings to a close a long-standing dispute between the university and the Tennessee division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which provided the funds for the construction of the building and claimed naming rights in 1933. As part of the agreement, the school will pay the UDC $1.2 million or the present value of their initial $50,000 donation. This decision is the latest in a string of high-profile moves to remove Confederate iconography from public and private places as well as a reflection of the UDC’s long decline.

The women who founded the UDC in 1894 were committed to preserving and defending the memory of  Confederate soldiers and their cause. By World War I, membership in the UDC had reached roughly 100,000. While chapters were eventually established throughout the country, they remained most influential in the South, where they organized Decoration Day ceremonies, monument dedications, and raised money to support veterans in their old age. Their most important function, however, was the overseeing of how history was taught to the next generation on the high school and college levels. Students were expected to assume the responsibility of defending their ancestors once the generation that lived through the war had died. They did this primarily by authorizing textbooks for classroom use and rejecting those they deemed to be a threat to the memory of the Confederate soldier.

The UDC promoted histories that celebrated the Confederate cause by praising leaders like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and ignoring or re-interpreting the central cause of the war, namely slavery. Consider Susan Pendleton Lee’s 1895 textbook, A School History of the United States, in which she declared that although abolitionists had declared slavery to be a “moral wrong,” most Southerners believed that “the evils connected with it were less than those of any other system of labor.” “Hundreds of thousands of African savages,” according to the author, “had been Christianized under its influence—the kindest relations existed between the slaves and their owners.” It should come as no surprise that in her account of Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan was necessary “for protection against . . . outrages committed by misguided negroes.”

By the first decade of the 20th century and with the encouragement of the UDC, most Southern states established textbook commissions to oversee and recommend books for all public schools that provided a “fair and impartial” interpretation. These committees worked diligently to challenge publishers who stood to threaten the South’s preferred story of the war: “Southern schools and Southern teachers have prepared books which Southern children may read without insult or traduction of their fathers. Printing presses all over the Southland—and all over the Northland—are sending forth by thousands ones which tell the true character of the heroic struggle. The influence . . . of the South forbid[s] longer the perversion of truth and falsification of history.”…

…The effort made by the UDC to control history textbooks paid off immeasurably and continued to shape how Americans remembered the Civil War well into the 20th century. As late as the ’70s, the state of Virginia still used the popular textbook Virginia: History, Government, Geography by Francis B. Simkins, Spotswood H. Jones, and Sidman P. Poole, first published in 1957. Its chapter on slavery—“How the Negroes Lived under Slavery”—featured a well-dressed African-American family on board a ship shaking hands with a white man, who is presumed to be the family’s new owner. Here is how it describes slavery:

A feeling of strong affection existed between masters and slaves in a majority of Virginia homes . . . The house servants became almost as much a part of the planter’s family circle as its white members . . . The Negroes were always present at family weddings. They were allowed to look on at dances and other entertainments . . . A strong tie existed between slave and master because each was dependent on the other …  The slave system demanded that the master care for the slave in childhood, in sickness, and in old age. The regard that master and slaves had for each other made plantation life happy and prosperous.  Life among the Negroes of Virginia in slavery times was generally happy. The Negroes went about in a cheerful manner making a living for themselves and for those for whom they worked . . . But they were not worried by the furious arguments going on between Northerners and Southerners over what should be done with them. In fact, they paid little attention to these arguments.

My Dad always argued that black folks were the first non-Asian people to reach the Americas from Africa. He had visited Mexico and seen the statues of the Olmecs who ruled parts of what is now Mexico and Central America in 1700 BC. It is only about 1,000 miles by sea at the closest point between Africa and South America aided by the “Westerlies”. He believed that the great trading period starting about 7th Century was actually the second or third rise of trade and exploration in West Africa. Indeed it is now known as a result of that second/third trade period that the first known African migrated to live in England in the 13th Century, and there may have been trade between North Africa and Europe as early as the Vikings.

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2016 in Black History, The New Jim Crow

 

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