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The Chumph Goes Full on Racist at Code Talkers Award

The Chumph had an award ceremony for the Navajo Code Talkers who contributed greatly to our WWII efforts against the Japanese. Lesser known are the Choctaw and Cherokee Native Americans who pioneered the method in WWI.

In the background of this ceremony hung a picture of Andrew Jackson. Andrew Jackson  was responsible for Native American Genocide in the South and West , and was originator of the “Trail of Tears” forced relocation/mass murder of Native Americans from the South.

Sarah Huckabee’s dance…

Don Lemon’s reaction –

 

 

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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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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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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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Black Folks Built the White House…And the Capital Too!

Michelle Obama mentioned that slaves built the White House  and the Fu News Moron crew goes crazy!

Fox host has white hot meltdown because Michelle Obama said slaves built the White House

Michelle Obama may have spoken Monday night, but Fox News Radio host John Gibson was so overwhelmed he had to unleash his rage in a blog post this afternoon.

During her speech, Obama addressed the “shame of servitude,” referencing the history of American slavery. “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves — and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters — and all our sons and daughters — now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States.”

Gibson couldn’t take it, according to Fusion. “A couple relevant facts,” he began. “It was 1792. The land for the District of Columbia was ceded to the federal government by two slave states. Slaves lived in the area and were employed in building much of the capitol. What, then, is the purpose of appropriating the construction of the White House to black slave workers, neglecting to mention other workers?”

Slaves, of course, were never “workers” in the sense that they were paid a living wage, allowed to quit whenever they want, had rights and could go home at the end of a long day. The history of America was built on the forced migration and forced labor of people of color that were enslaved by wealthy whites. To associate it with free white workers diminishes the horror they faced.

Gibson says that there were just as many white workers as slaves working on the White House when it was constructed. That’s outright false. The White House Historical Association verifies that there were indeed white workers, but the vast majority of the workers were black people, who were both slave and free. This was in large part due to problems finding enough white workers willing and able to do the work.

Bad News Fau Moron…Slaves indeed built the white House, the Capital Building, and a number of other Government buildings in Washington, DC. Most of the skilled workers at that time were slaves.

The White House Was, in Fact, Built by Slaves

Along with the Capitol and other iconic buildings in Washington, D.C.

…Up until a few decades ago, little attention was paid to looking into who actually laid the foundations and put up the walls of the White House. But what documentation exists today shows that many of Washington, D.C.’s most iconic government buildings, including the White House, were built by slaves.

In 2005, Congress put together a task force to shed light on the subject. After months of research, the commission announced that while it would never be able to tell the full story of the slaves who built these buildings, there was no doubt that they were intricately involved in the work, Alexander Lane reported for PolitiFact.

“Indifference by by earlier historians, poor record keeping, and the silence of the voiceless classes have impeded our ability in the twenty-first century to understand fully the contributions and privations of those who toiled over the seven decades from the first cornerstone laying to the day of emancipation in the District of Columbia,” Senate Historian Richard Baker and Chief of the House of Representatives Office of History and Preservation Kenneth Kato wrote in a foreword to the report.

From a geographical standpoint alone, it should come as no surprise that slave laborers were used to build the nation’s capital. Washington, D.C., was built on landed ceded to the federal government by Virginia and Maryland, and at the time the Potomac region was home to almost half of the country’s 750,000 slaves, Lane reports.

While the White House Historical Association reports that the D.C. commissioners originally tried to bring cheap workers over from Europe to build the new capital, their recruitment efforts fell short. As a result, they forced local slaves to provide the labor, often renting workers from their masters for year-long periods of time.

“Slaves were likely involved in all aspects of construction, including carpentry, masonry, carting, rafting, plastering, glazing and painting, the task force reported,” Lane writes. “And slaves appear to have shouldered alone the grueling work of sawing logs and stones.”

image: http://thumbs.media.smithsonianmag.com//filer/34/bd/34bd3b1b-c277-4f41-9a79-75e17bd66bb3/african-americans-1790s.jpg__800x450_q85_crop_upscale.jpg

The payroll to slaveowners shows that the government did not own slaves, but that it did hire them from their masters. Slave carpenters Ben, Daniel, and Peter were noted as owned by James Hoban.

The payroll to slaveowners shows that the government did not own slaves, but that it did hire them from their masters. Slave carpenters Ben, Daniel, and Peter were noted as owned by James Hoban. (National Archives and Records Administration)

In addition to constructing the buildings, slaves also worked the quarries where the stones for the government buildings came from. Ironically, the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol dome was made with the help of Philip Reid, a man enslaved by sculptor Thomas Crawford, who was commissioned to build the statue. According to the Architect of the Capitol, Reid was paid $1.25 a day by the federal government for his contributions.

“There is no telling how many stories that have been lost because, as a country, we didn’t value these stories,” historian and reporter Jesse J. Holland tells Smithsonian.com. “We’re always learning more about the presidents as we go forward and we’ll also learn more about the people who cooked their meals and dressed them.”

 

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2016 in Black History

 

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Letter From a White Guy

Amusing…Basically clarifying the situation of the “Desperation of Demographics”

A letter to my fellow white people

Chris Rock famously riffed on the proposition “I love black people, but I hate n–gas.” Chris Rock is one of the few people who can get away with saying this, since he is a.) black and b.) one of the funniest people alive. I am not 1/48th as funny as Chris Rock, but allow me to say that although I like white people, I’ve about had it with White People.

Don’t get me wrong — some of my best friends are white. In fact all of them are. I myself am a white person, and proud of my white person heritage. (Am I allowed to say that without sounding like a skinhead or klansman?) We are a vibrant people, with a rich cultural heritage in which there is much to celebrate. If you were paying attention during White History Month (March through January) you probably already know about many of our contributions — democracy, the Renaissance, the industrial revolution — and some of our people’s important heroes and role models: Socrates, Newton, Beethoven. I wear the traditional garb of my people, speak our distinctive dialect, and enjoy doing our customary dance, performed only at weddings — a flaccid, spasmodic flailing reminiscent of the inflatable tube-men erected to advertise used car lots.

But for all my pride in our many achievements, I do get sick of White People — a.k.a. Whitey.

You know the White People I’m talking about. They’re the ones who, every time an unarmed black person is gunned down by the cops, come forward to explain yet again that this regrettable incident would not have occurred if the victim had not broken the law, or if they’d simply complied with orders and been polite. These are the White People who, when they denounce “the violence in Baltimore,” are referring not to the breaking of a man’s back but the trashing of a 7-Eleven. The White People who warn that this latest wave of immigrants, is, at last, the one that will take everything from us, rape our women, kill us all, and destroy our civilization. I suspect this must be some sort of case of racial mass projection, since the only wave of immigrants in American history who have ever actually done this was the first one — the White People.

These are the White People who lack all capacity for imagination or empathy, who assume that what life is like for them is what it’s like for everyone else, or would be if they would just behave. They have a Sunday-school faith in an American Dream where everybody has an equal chance if they’re just willing to play by the rules and aren’t afraid of a little hard work. The police are there to protect them; society’s institutions exist to serve them. They see this country as a home and fortress, instead of as a prison, a place where they can only ever be on probation. They believe in law and order, in a level playing field. But “law and order” always serves the status quo, however unjust or cruel it is, and the playing field only looks level to those on the high ground.

“White privilege” is the p.c. slogan for these unacknowledged advantages and entitlement — the freedom to drive around without being pulled out of the car and beaten up, to walk to the store unmurdered, and, mostly, to never have to think about being white. It’s a little unreasonable to condemn White People for what’s basically human nature; pretty much everyone takes for granted whatever advantages they happen to have (being white, male, rich, thin, attractive, American, healthy, alive) and complains about their problems instead. It only starts to seem a little obnoxious when you point this out to White People and they get defensive and angry and adamantly deny having any such thing, insisting that they’ve got it just as hard as anyone else and some people are just whiners.

Let me be clear: I am not opposed to white privilege. In fact, I believe it should be extended to everyone, regardless of their color, ethnicity, or creed. Indeed, White People have been gradually, grudgingly expanding the definition of White People over the centuries: The Irish didn’t used to be white; neither did Italians, or Eastern Europeans, let alone the Jews. Perhaps it is time, at long last, to make everybody honorary White People. (Think how mad ISIS would be if we unilaterally declared them white.) Why shouldn’t we all be equally free to walk the streets without being harassed, beaten up, and jailed for makework offenses by the people we ostensibly pay to protect us? Everyone should experience the heady, illicit thrill of carrying small amounts of drugs around in their pockets, drinking a beer on their own front steps, and occasionally punching it up to 67 miles per hour. White privilege for all!

I try to be patient with White People. But by now, even the very slow ones have done the back-of-the-napkin calculations on the demographics, and they’ve realized that the numbers are not looking good for them. The White Man is taking this very hard. At least some of the paranoid delusions fixated on President Obama — that he is a closet Marxist, Islamic Manchurian Candidate, or late-blooming Antichrist — are symptomatic of a mass hysteria at seeing the darkening face of America embodied in our chief executive. The same syndrome is no small part of the support for would-be autocrat Donald Trump and his Speerian fantasy of a gargantuan bulwark against the invading brown horde.

This situation is, admittedly, not without its little pleasures — it is a delight to see the Republican Party, which has banked on pandering to the angry-bigoted-old-white-man vote for the last half century, now handcuffed to the dead weight of that aging, increasingly demented, and chronically apoplectic bloc. But let’s not get complacent; White People have, historically, proven dangerous, and you never know what they might do now that their numbers are dwindling and their long, cushy position on top is endangered.

White People, please: You embarrass us all. All these histrionics and tantrums, this aggrieved whining about reverse-discrimination, this shameless appropriation of the language of the oppressed — it’s undignified. It ill-becomes the people who calculated the circumference of the Earth, invented the printing press, and successfully exterminated or enslaved half the human race. Let’s let it go gracefully. We had our chance….Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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272 Slaves Were Sold To Keep Georgetown University Afloat in 1838

The Catholic Church held slaves in America (and perhaps elsewhere), and when the premiere Catholic College in the Americas got into financial trouble, the Jesuits organized the sale of 272 slaves to raise money to keep the School afloat. The Church also operated several plantations in southern Maryland to fund the School which used slave labor.

272 Slaves Were Sold to Save Georgetown. What Does It Owe Their Descendants?

The human cargo was loaded on ships at a bustling wharf in the nation’s capital, destined for the plantations of the Deep South. Some slaves pleaded for rosaries as they were rounded up, praying for deliverance.

But on this day, in the fall of 1838, no one was spared: not the 2-month-old baby and her mother, not the field hands, not the shoemaker and not Cornelius Hawkins, who was about 13 years old when he was forced onboard.

Their panic and desperation would be mostly forgotten for more than a century. But this was no ordinary slave sale. The enslaved African-Americans had belonged to the nation’s most prominent Jesuit priests. And they were sold, along with scores of others, to help secure the future of the premier Catholic institution of higher learning at the time, known today asGeorgetown University.

Now, with racial protests roiling college campuses, an unusual collection of Georgetown professors, students, alumni and genealogists is trying to find out what happened to those 272 men, women and children. And they are confronting a particularly wrenching question: What, if anything, is owed to the descendants of slaves who were sold to help ensure the college’s survival?

More than a dozen universities — including Brown, Columbia, Harvard and the University of Virginia — have publicly recognized their ties to slavery and the slave trade. But the 1838 slave sale organized by the Jesuits, who founded and ran Georgetown, stands out for its sheer size, historians say.

At Georgetown, slavery and scholarship were inextricably linked. The college relied on Jesuit plantations in Maryland to help finance its operations, university officials say. (Slaves were often donated by prosperous parishioners.) And the 1838 sale — worth about $3.3 million in today’s dollars — was organized by two of Georgetown’s early presidents, both Jesuit priests.

Some of that money helped to pay off the debts of the struggling college.

“The university itself owes its existence to this history,” said Adam Rothman, a historian at Georgetown and a member of a university working group that is studying ways for the institution to acknowledge and try to make amends for its tangled roots in slavery.

Although the working group was established in August, it was student demonstrations at Georgetown in the fall that helped to galvanize alumni and gave new urgency to the administration’s efforts.

The students organized a protest and a sit-in, using the hashtag #GU272 for the slaves who were sold. In November, the university agreed to remove the names of the Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy and the Rev. William McSherry, the college presidents involved in the sale, from two campus buildings.

An alumnus, following the protest from afar, wondered if more needed to be done.

That alumnus, Richard J. Cellini, the chief executive of a technology company and a practicing Catholic, was troubled that neither the Jesuits nor university officials had tried to trace the lives of the enslaved African-Americans or compensate their progeny.

Mr. Cellini is an unlikely racial crusader. A white man, he admitted that he had never spent much time thinking about slavery or African-American history.

But he said he could not stop thinking about the slaves, whose names had been in Georgetown’s archives for decades…

Broken Promises

There are no surviving images of Cornelius, no letters or journals that offer a look into his last hours on a Jesuit plantation in Maryland.

He was not yet five feet tall when he sailed onboard the Katharine Jackson, one of several vessels that carried the slaves to the port of New Orleans.

Photo

The ship manifest of the Katharine Jackson, available in full at the Georgetown Slavery archive, listed the name, sex, age and height of each slave transported to New Orleans in the fall of 1838. It showed that the cargo included dozens of children, among them infants as young as 2 months old…

.Read The Rest Here

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2016 in American Genocide, Black History

 

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Black History Month

 

Racist conservatives and their Lawn Ornaments have a new argument – that Black History Month is no longer relevant because it has been absorbed into mainstream American History. That is yet another racist myth.

Proof?

The Texas School Board which is run by right wing racists…

Texas Makes Changes to History Textbooks: No Mention of KKK or Jim Crow, and the Civil War Was Fought Over States’ Rights, Not Slavery

A change is coming to public school education in Texas, a change that was voted for in 2010 and will take effect when students go back to school come fall.

It’s happening in history class—in the new social studies textbooks that students will be using to learn U.S. history. New state academic guidelines changed some of the black American history content that students typically learn. For instance, the new textbooks will “barely address racial segregation,” the Washington Post explains; nor will they make mention of the Ku Klux Klan or the Jim Crow laws put in place to continue what began with slavery.

Oh, and with regard to what got the Civil War going: Texas’ new academic standards mandate that students learn that the war was about a debate regarding states’ rights. Slavery will reportedly play second fiddle on the list of explanations used to teach why some states seceded from the Union. …

 Texas officials: Schools should teach that slavery was ‘side issue’ to Civil War

Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation. The state’s guidelines for teaching American history also do not mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws.

And when it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by “sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery” — written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery’s secondary role in driving the conflict, according to some members of the state board of education.

Slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War,” said Pat Hardy, a Republican board member, when the board adopted the standards in 2010. “There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states’ rights.”

Why does it matter what some right wing racist redneck types do to their schools in Texas? Texas buys 48 million textbooks every year. No other state, except California, wields that sort of market clout. As such, the Texas KKK version of American History gets printed, and distributed to other states. Meaning, the Texas board gets to erase people like Caesar Chavez, and the existence of Jim Crow from not only their textbooks – but those bought by other states.

So…There is an active movement in America…Still…To erase Black History. The argument against Black History Month is based on CHarles Woodson – who believed black history would be absorbed into the context  of Amrican History – ergo American Historians, textbook publishers, and Schools –  “would willingly recognize the contributions of black Americans as a legitimate and integral part of the history of this country.”

Obviously…That isn’t happening.

Black History Month in Schools—Retire or Reboot?

Now in its 40th year, questions remain about the value of commemorating it in classrooms.

The seed of what is now known as Black History Month was planted in the doctoral thesis of Carter G. Woodson, a noted scholar, author, and co-founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The son of former slaves, Woodson received a Ph.D. in 1912 from Harvard University, where he studied under renowned historians who minimized the importance and vitality of black history. But Woodson would not be deterred. He believed the heritage and contributions of black Americans was excluded from history, and he saw this knowledge as essential to social change.

Woodson’s dedication to the research and promotion of black history has been memorialized by his actions—in 1926 he declared the second week of February Negro History Week—and his words:

If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.

Today Woodson’s brainchild is the entire month of February. First celebrated in 1976, Black History Month was the result of a growing racial pride and consciousness of black Americans and Woodson’s association pushing to expand the weekly celebration. Now a well-entrenched, nationally recognized observance, Black History Month is a commemoration that might be short in days but is increasingly long on controversy. In the last month—in examples that cross racial boundaries—the black actress and conservative commentator Stacey Dashcalled to eliminate Black History Month, labeling it a vestige of segregation, while Republicans in the Kansas legislature questioned if an entire month dedicated to honoring black history was “too long.”

In one corner, advocates of Black History Month argue that a special month is needed to celebrate and recognize the achievements of black Americans in a country where European history dominates historical discourse. In the other corner, critics cast doubt that Black History Month is still relevant with the gains made in race relations—a black U.S. president the most visible sign—anddetractors charge it is detrimental in the long term to pigeonhole black history into a month-long observance. Somewhere caught in the middle are educators and schools.

A driving force behind Woodson setting aside time to study and reflect on black culture was his frustration that children—black and nonblack students—were deprived of learning in America’s schools about black achievements. Yetaccording to the NAACP, even the creator hoped the time would come when a black history week was unnecessary. Woodson was optimistic that America “would willingly recognize the contributions of black Americans as a legitimate and integral part of the history of this country.” But research shows this goal is far from complete.

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2014 graded all 50 states and the District of Columbia on how well their public schools taught the civil-rights era to students. Twenty states received a failing grade, and in five states—Alaska, Iowa, Maine, Oregon, and Wyoming—civil-rights education was totally absent from state standards. Overall, the study found less teaching of the civil-rights movement in states outside the South and those with fewer black residents. The report paints an unfavorable picture of schools where a crucial event in black history is largely ignored…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Native American Enslavement – “2-4 million” Shipped to the West Indes

One of the ways that the English Colonists enforced slavery was to ship the slaves to a different country or island where there was no possibility of escape. The Southern Myth that Native Americans were not enslaved because it was too easy for them to escape…Turns out not to be true. The Genocide of Native American has an even uglier turn, as Historians find evidence that millions were shipped overseas in bondage.

America’s Other Original Sin

Europeans didn’t just displace Native Americans—they enslaved them, and encouraged tribes to participate in the slave trade, on a scale historians are only beginning to fathom.

Here are three scenes from the history of slavery in North America. In 1637, a group of Pequot Indians, men and boys, having risen up against English colonists in Connecticut and been defeated, were sold to plantations in the West Indies in exchange for African slaves, allowing the colonists to remove a resistant element from their midst. (The tribe’s women were pressed into service in white homes in New England, where domestic workers were sorely lacking.) In 1741, an 800-foot-long coffle of recently enslaved Sioux Indians, procured by a group of Cree, Assiniboine, and Monsoni warriors, arrived in Montreal, ready for sale to French colonists hungry for domestic and agricultural labor. And in 1837, Cherokee Joseph Vann, expelled from his land in Georgia during the era of Indian removal, took at least 48 enslaved black people along with him to Indian Territory. By the 1840s, Vann was said to have owned hundreds of enslaved black laborers, as well as racehorses and a side-wheeler steamboat.

A reductive view of the American past might note two major, centuries-long historical sins: the enslavement of stolen Africans and the displacement of Native Americans. In recent years, a new wave of historians of American slavery has been directing attention to the ways these sins overlapped. The stories they have uncovered throw African slavery—still the narrative that dominates our national memory—into a different light, revealing that the seeds of that system were sown in earlier attempts to exploit Native labor. The record of Native enslavement also shows how the white desire to put workers in bondage intensified the chaos of contact, disrupting intertribal politics and creating uncertainty and instability among people already struggling to adapt to a radically new balance of power.

Before looking at the way Native enslavement happened on the local level (really the only way to approach a history this fragmented and various), it helps to appreciate the sweep of the phenomenon. How common was it for Indians to be enslaved by Euro-Americans? Counting can be difficult, because many instances of Native enslavement in the Colonial period were illegal or ad hoc and left no paper trail. But historians have tried. A few of their estimates: Thousands of Indians were enslaved in Colonial New England, according to Margaret Ellen Newell. Alan Gallay writes that between 1670 and 1715, more Indians were exported into slavery through Charles Town (now Charleston, South Carolina) than Africans were imported. Brett Rushforth recently attempted a tally of the total numbers of enslaved, and he told me that he thinks 2 million to 4 million indigenous people in the Americas, North and South, may have been enslaved over the centuries that the practice prevailed—a much larger number than had previously been thought. “It’s not on the level of the African slave trade,” which brought 10 million people to the Americas, but the earliest history of the European colonies in the Americas is marked by Native bondage. “If you go up to about 1680 or 1690 there still, by that period, had been more enslaved Indians than enslaved Africans in the Americas.”

The practice dates back to the earliest history of the European colonies in the future United States. Take the example of the Pequot who were enslaved in 1637 after clashing with the English. As Newell writes in a new book, Brethren by Nature: New England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery, by the time the ship Desiretransported the defeated Pequot men and boys to the Caribbean, colonists in New England, desperate for bodies and hands to supplement their own meager workforce, had spent years trying out various strategies of binding Native labor.

During the Pequot War, which was initially instigated by struggles over trade and land among the Europeans, the Pequot, and rival tribes, colonists explicitly named the procurement of captives as one of their goals. Soldiers sent groups of captured Pequot to Boston and other cities for distribution, while claiming particular captured people as their own. Soldier Israel Stoughton wrote to John Winthrop, having sent “48 or 50 women and Children” to the governor to distribute as he pleased:

Ther is one … that is the fairest and largest that I saw amongst them to whome I have given a coate to cloath her: It is my desire to have her for a servant … There is a little Squa that Stewart Calaot desireth … Lifetennant Davenport allso desireth one, to witt a tall one that hath 3 stroakes upon her stummach …

A few years after the conclusion of the war, in 1641, the colonists of Massachusetts Bay passed the first formal law regulating slavery in English America, in a section of the longer document known as the Body of Liberties. The section’s language allowed enslavement of “those lawfull Captives taken in just warres, and such strangers as willingly selle themselves or are sold to us,” and left room for legal bondage of others the authorities might deem enslaved in the future. The Body of Liberties codified the colonists’ possession of Native workers and opened the door for the expansion of African enslavement. …Read The Rest Here

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2016 in American Genocide

 

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Dick Gregory Returns – “White American racists were more vicious than Hitler!”

Been gone a long time…Now he’s back. Dick Gregory, the comedian turned Civil Rights icon has always had a viewpoint…

“You think the f*cking Tea Party determines public policy?”: Dick Gregory on racism, the 1 percent and why black Americans are angry at the wrong people

…Well, first of all I have to ask–as someone who was born in the Jim Crow era and who marched in the civil rights movement, what do you think of the progress we’ve made since then?

Well, we’ve come a long ways but the important thing we haven’t even started changing is the mental thing. See, going from slavery to the early ’60s we had to worry about being physically beat up, physically lynched. I mean, if someone got lynched tonight we’d be shocked, whereas up until the ’60s, we wouldn’t have been. But now it’s a mental thing. Until you solve the mental thing… that’s the interesting thing about the history of black people in America, we’re the only people on this planet who went through what we went through and opted for education instead of liberation.

We’ve never been liberated. I mean, George Washington wasn’t beating up the British so he could open up another college. The sign don’t say, “Give me education or give me death,” it says, “Give me liberty or give me death.” And so to have a bunch of people that are educated not liberated, man… of course, they don’t know it.

When a black person teaches their child: “Be careful if this white racist cop pulls you over, don’t talk too fast, don’t move too fast, cause he might kill you.” Any time you tell a child to respect and fear, to behave, for a murderer — children don’t hear what you mean, they hear what you say. So they think there’s something wrong with them. Why else would my mother and father tell me to be afraid of a cop, unless I’m doing something wrong?

So… you’d say the fear of violence does more harm to black Americans than violence itself? Would you agree with people who say the solution needs to come from within the black community rather than outside, then?

We’re like people who’ve been taking aspirin for 20 years because they thought they had a migraine but then one day they found out they had a brain tumor. I can’t bring you aspirin no more, but I don’t know how to get it out.

Just cause I’m black, I don’t know how to get it out. You want somebody doing heart surgery, then you’re going to get a heart surgeon to write it up. Not just somebody who had a heart attack. What do they know about it?

What happens with fear? When you go into fight or flight? What kind of poison and chemicals go into your body? How do you deal with it? How much sex and drinking and drugs do you do?

A lot of black folks dealt with it by looking to God. God and fear can’t occupy the same spot, you see. We saw them, back in the day — black women, little children, black men. King and them. It worked for a time.

But then they came out with the guns.

A lot of those cops were Klansmen. When King gets the call, “N***er, we’re gonna blow up your house at 2:00 in the morning,” he can’t call the police. They’re probably the ones that made the call. So he’s gotta grab two children, and Coretta grabs two, and on their faces the children see something they’ve never seen before. Fear.

Fear works different on different people. You see a mother go down to the garage, jack up the car to change the tire, then the phone rings, then she comes back and the baby pushed the jack under the car and fell under it–and she lifts up the car! Soldiers on the front lines, taking that hill. That’s fear, that’s fear that comes and goes, it does its job and disappears.

But when you study what fear does to people who’ve been in it so long… You can go down the South, to Mississippi, to see black folks who’ve got three PhDs who still look like sharecroppers. The jaw fell, the eyes sunk…

Someday we’ll find out how all this works, all the chemicals, what makes us die so much younger, but it comes down to fear, fear, fear, fear. You see a cat that sees a dog, how its body changes, its hair swells up, its muscles clench. That’s how we live every day. We got used to it, we live with it, but that’s what’s happening.

Most white folks don’t know it but you can smell racism. You can smell fear and you can smell hate, just like I can smell whether my mom’s cooking barbecue or baking a cake. Black folks know it when they’re around it, it’s animal, it’s chemical.

Wow. So, you’d say that the power of the civil rights movement was faith staving off fear? And the end of the civil rights movement was a case of fear ultimately overpowering faith?

Look at the Haitians. Napoleon had the greatest army in the history of the planet at that time and they went over there and the black folk whooped their ass. Napoleon came in and they said no, you get back. And what did they blame it on? Voodoo. Now they teach everyone that voodoo is something mysterious and something negative. But “voudou” was just a word meaning spirit. It was spirituality.

We had something with King, with the movement around him. He had no guns, man. They had no evilness. They didn’t say nothing on those cameras or when then the cameras left. “Those no-good honkies, man” — there was none of that. It was a different thing.

And I learned so much from that. I never thought I’d see the day I’d sit here and tell you I’d rather be killed by somebody than kill somebody. That’s what I got out of that movement. We took on the greatest nation in the history of the world and brought them to their knees. With no meanness, no bitterness.

And everybody’s talking about where it went wrong, the thing they miss — When they killed Jesus, they didn’t get none of his disciples. When they killed Caesar, they didn’t mess with his friends in the Senate. When they came after us, they wiped everyone who had the power to change things. Malcolm. Martin. Medgar Evers. You go down the row, the list of names, and see what happened.

And you think that after those leaders were killed, the community gave in to fear?

When you stop and think… It’s like, what do you say when white folks bring up the Confederate flag? We think Hitler was one of the most powerful tyrants — them Nazis one of the most powerful governments that ever existed — but you can’t go to Germany and see a swastika. Not in public. So what does that say about us here?

We’re more vicious. These white American racists were more vicious than Hitler and them Nazis they hung on years after the war was over. You know how long World War II’s been over? And yet to this day they’ve got Nazi sympathizers but it’s not permitted in public. But we Americans don’t demand that of our racists. Black Americans don’t demand it.

You know we have thousands of black cops in America. And you never turn on the TV or hear the radio or pick up the paper where a white family is crying because these black cops shot their loved one in the back of the head 40 times. You think black folks don’t do that because they’re more spiritual? You think they don’t do that because they’re better? No! They know white folks won’t tolerate it! And as long as we do tolerate it it’s gonna happen.

By don’t tolerate it, I don’t mean get no gun. I mean organization, boycotts. When white folks say they’re gonna boycott Christmas shopping until they get this change–they get it.

The gays proved that. In March, when the governor of Indiana who was gonna sign a law saying businesses did not have to serve same-sex couples? And then the gays, and the people who were friends to the gays, rose up so bad, and then all at once people started canceling out conventions–and he changed that so fast like he always meant to do it.

And so let me give you an example. There’s still five states that display the Confederate flag in their state flag in some fashion. (Ed note: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas. Nine states, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, continue to display the Confederate flag on license plates.)

Now you saw what happened in Charleston, right? Now let me tell you how this white racist system feels about us. After 50 years, after nine people were massacred, they finally took that flag down in South Carolina. Let me tell you something. If black folks were to come together and said we’re holding a press conference today, and said to this state here or that state there, if that Confederate flag is not gone from official display, all the Negro athletes in your state are gonna start a boycott — no more black men coming to play sports in your state?

It’d be gone that night. That’s what they value–black athletes, compared to human beings.

It sounds like you’d clearly disagree with people who think America has somehow entered a “post-racial” era. Do you think America is still, fundamentally, a racist country?

See, a black person cannot be racist. Even some black people don’t know that. I can dislike a white person because they’re Jewish, I can dislike them because they’re Italian, or if they’re Russian. That’s prejudice.

But racism is the ability to control somebody else’s fate and destiny. And I can hate white folks all I want. I won’t have the power to take their job or see to it their kids go to a bad school.

The problem is really white supremacy. Most white folks don’t know what that means. They believe it means prejudice based on race. No, no, no. That’s the excuse. It’s supremacy. Who is supreme? Compared to you?

When Hitler decided he was trying to create a perfect race he wasn’t talking about black folks versus white folks. He was talking about Germans versus everyone else. Anyone who was a misfit got killed, white-looking or not. Consequently ‘whiteness’ is not a skin color, it’s an attitude.

There’s people in this world making millions of dollars every year just as interest on their money. That’s what I mean by “white folks.” I perform 200 days out of the year, and every time I say if I took over America, the first thing I’d make the black folks do is apologize to the white folks–because you’re mad at the wrong white folks! The white folks you’re mad at couldn’t hit at you if they’d like to. You guys get mad at the white folks at the Sears & Roebucks, the Walgreens, but I want you to be mad at the Saks Fifth Avenue ones. But they’ve got power, and you’re scared of that.

Who are you mad at? The Ku Klux Klan? Lynch mobs? How many black folks died from lynching as opposed to the effects of public policy? You think Negro-hating rednecks who can’t read or write, you think they determine public policy? You think the fucking Tea Party determines public policy? Let me tell you, if they do shut down the government that’s because the damn Rockefellers in power want it to be shut down. If that one percent didn’t want you to do something they could have tanks in your neighborhood and wipe you out before they’d let you get away with it, you understand?

The people who run this country, who run the world–I’m an old Negro. Coming up I wanted to be white because I thought white folks knew what was going on. Now I find out you white folks are as dumb as we are. Schools only a little bit better than ours. The same game they run on us they run on you.…More…

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2015 in Giant Negros

 

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New Documentary on Rosenwald Schools

The history of black education in America is difficult to separate from the legacy of the Rosenwald Schools. Julius Rosenwald, who rose to be President of Sears and Roebucks, charity built nearly 5,000 schools in the segregated South for black children. Black parents paid a “double tax” to get the schools built and operated in the 14 states of the South, as on top of their normal state and local taxes, they had to raise and donate about 14% of the cost of the school – which I will detail in the second article below.

Julius Rosenwald, center, started the Rosenwald Fund to help build schools in the segregated South. “Rosenwald” is a new documentary by filmmaker Aviva Kempner.

Rosenwald’s generosity captured in new film

In age that exalts politicians and entertainers who can’t stop telling us how wonderful they are, it is refreshing to honor a man who accomplished a lot without wanting his name on all of it.

Julius Rosenwald, who never finished high school but rose to become president and co-owner of Sears, Roebuck and Co., didn’t want his name on the store that he led to worldwide success.

Rosenwald, who died in 1932, didn’t want his name on Chicago’s magnificent Museum of Science and Industry, although he funded and promoted it so much that many Chicagoans called it “the Rosenwald museum” anyway.

He didn’t want his name on his other edifices, including more than 5,000 schools that he helped fund for black schoolchildren across the segregated South.

Yet, alumni of those schools still call them “the Rosenwald schools.” I know. Some of those alumni are in my family.

I discovered that tidbit of family information in the way journalists often stumble across information about themselves while pursuing stories about somebody else.

I was being interviewed by Washington, D.C., filmmaker Aviva Kempner for her new documentary, “Rosenwald,” when she asked if any of my southern relatives, most of them in Alabama, attended Rosenwald schools. I didn’t know, I said, but it was possible. I have a lot of cousins.

I later asked my cousin Willie Howard, a whiz in the telecommunications industries, and he broke out in a big grin. “We all did,” he said.

Alumni more famous than my cousins include poet-author Maya Angelou, director George C. Wolfe, U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia and Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, all of whom are interviewed in the film.

Indeed, Kempner’s “Rosenwald,” now in select theaters, may well leave you convinced that former United States poet laureate Rita Dove, another Rosenwald school alum, was right when she called the Rosenwald Fund “the single most important funding agency for African-American culture in the 20th century.”

Besides underwriting the mostly rural grade schools, the Rosenwald Fund awarded fellowships to such rising stars as classical vocalist Marian Anderson, poet Langston Hughes, painter Jacob Lawrence, photographer Gordon Parks and writers James Baldwin, Arna Bontemps, Zora Neale Hurston and Ralph Ellison.

The most intriguing question, among the many that the film explores, is why Rosenwald, whose father immigrated from Germany in 1851 with $20 in his pocket, was so modest yet so generous.

As the late civil rights leader Julian Bond, whose father and uncle were Rosenwald fellows, puts it in the film, “He did not have to care about black people, but he did.”

The answer, Rosenwald’s biographers say, can be found in his faithfulness to the Jewish ideals of “tzedakah” (charity) and “tikkun olam” (repairing the world).

According to Stephanie Deutsch, author of the 2011 book “You Need a Schoolhouse: Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South,” Rosenwald said in one of his speeches that “We like to look down on the Russians because of the way they treat the Jews, and yet we turn around, and the way we treat our African-Americans is not much better.”

Rosenwald was also influenced by Booker T. Washington, conservative founder of the Tuskegee Institute, who suggested the funding of schools as the best investment for the future of black America.…More…

 

Rosenwald Schools

By: Dr. Alyce Miller, associate professor of history at John Tyler Community College and Dr. Brian J. Daugherity, assistant professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University

The Rosenwald school building program, in many ways the brainchild of Virginia-born and Hampton-educated Booker T. Washington, occurred during the period of segregation and Jim Crow across the American South. Segregated school systems were supposed to be, according to the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), “separate and equal,” but in reality educational systems for African Americans in Virginia and the South were anything but. This made the funds provided by educational grant programs such as the Rosenwald Fund so significant.

Rosenwald schools were public schools that were built using matching grant funds. The Rosenwald Fund required matching funds from any combination of public and private sources. According to Julius Rosenwald Fund records (JRF), the JRF helped construct 367 schools, three teacher’s homes, and eleven school (industrial) shops in Virginia. Of the total cost of Rosenwald-associated buildings, grounds, and equipment in Virginia from 1917 through 1932, African Americans contributed 22%, white contributions totaled 1%, the Rosenwald Fund contributed 15%, and state and local government contributions equaled 62%. In the fifteen states in the South where the school building program operated, African Americans collectively contributed 17% of the funds, the Rosenwald Fund contributed 15% of the funds, private white contributions totaled 4% of the funds, and public funds made up the remaining 64% of the funds. Without the organization of local African American communities willing to pay what historian James D. Anderson referred to as the “double tax,” these schools would not have been built.

In late Fall 2015, VCU Special Collections will launch an online exhibit, Black Education in Goochland County: From Rosenwald Schools through Brown v. Board of Education, comprised of research and oral history interviews related to African American educational activism in Virginia and, specifically, Goochland County. The interviews and research were conducted by Dr. Alyce Miller, Dr. Brian Daugherity, and Cris Silvent, associate professor of art at John Tyler Community College.

The local activism surrounding Rosenwald schools continues today in movements throughout the Commonwealth to preserve the histories, and structures, of these schools. John Tyler Community College (and the Virginia Community College system) has been working on an initiative to increase student engagement and success using student and faculty involvement in Rosenwald school activities. The excitement and commitment surrounding this activism provides us with an opportunity to engage the younger generation in this history and in education in general. We have also partnered with Preservation Virginia (among others) to create a larger network of Rosenwald school information across the Commonwealth.

In today’s featured image, you can see the number of Rosenwald schools built in counties throughout Virginia. You can find more information on the number of schools built in each county in Virginia (and throughout the South) by accessing the Rosenwald Schools Database at Fisk University. This is available online here. Schools were not often named after Julius Rosenwald, at his own request.

This short documentary (not the one Paige discusses above) is about the restoration of the Russell School in North Carolina

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2015 in Black History

 

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Oscar Alert! – 12 Years a Slave

This one has the Film Critics atwitter after the Toronto Film Festival. It is a film depiction of the true story of Solomon Northup, born a free man, who was abducted and enslaved in the pre-Civil War US.  Unlike the fictitious Django – the film is based on a book on the real-life experiences of the author, Solomon Northup, by the same name. The book is the 1853 autobiography of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped in Washington D.C in 1841 and sold into slavery. He worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before his release.

The other big plus to this one, is that it sticks to historical truth – unlike The Butler, where the Director chose to “spice up” the story, having the central character born in Georgia – instead of Virginia. Met Mr Allen at a Christmas Party at the White House in 1976. I remember him distinctly because of being introduced by a family friend ho was a chef there – and a conversation about the “honesty” and racial feelings of the various Presidents he had served under to that time with the Master chef. Now – gay people may have “gaydar” – but black folks have “racedar” – that is reading the body language and reactions of a white person they interact with. One of the things Allen said was to keep an eye on whether when then new President Carter came downstairs to greet the staff, whether he looked them in the eye while shaking hands (or even shook their hands, which Nixon would not do). He then went on to say that despite the common belief that Eisenhower hated black folks – when he shook your hand he looked you straight in the eye regardless of race. which said a lot more about the man than any Monday morning quarterbacks in the press. I broke into the conversation and asked him which did… And which didn’t. He told me a story totally confounding my then 70’s belief set.

I think back on that brief conversation and recall a quote from Martin Luther King…

Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.

I wish the movie was about that.

And unlike the movie – NO –  Ronald Reagan was no racist. Although unfortunately several of his senior staff, like Ed Meese, were sheet wearers.

TIFF 13: Did Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years a Slave’ just change the game?

TORONTO — Brad Pitt didn’t say much during the question-and-answer session that followed the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of “12 Years a Slave” on Friday night, just a short comment on why he produced and co-starred in the Steve McQueen period drama.

But, like his turn as an abolitionist-minded maverick amid a group of brutal slaveowners, Pitt spoke volumes as he stood on the stage with cast and filmmakers. “If I never get to participate in a film again,” he said, his voice trailing off as if to imply this would be enough, “this is it for me,” he finally finished.

It’s a sentiment you could imagine the lead cast members —Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and of course Chiwetel Eijiofor, standing out amid the standouts — sharing with Pitt. And it’s a sentiment you could imagine the audience feeling. Festivals come and go; movies rise and fade. But once in a great while there’s a film that feels almost instantly, in the room, like it’s going to endure, and change plenty of things along the way. And “12 Years” offers that feeling.

Director Steve McQueen (r) and co-Lead Actor Michael Fassbender (l).

Most narrowly, that’s true on Oscar level. By 9 p.m. Friday night, just six days into September, the film had already become a top contender for various acting, writing and directing prizes, as well as the big prize. You could say that’s premature. But you probably wouldn’t if you sat in the room. (Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan certainly didn’t hold back.)

It’s equally true on a social level. “12 Years” tells the fact-based story of Solomon Northup (Eijiofor), a free man who in 1841 was kidnapped and sold into slavery, and his travails — at once horrifying and surprising, no matter how much you think you’re ready for them — when he is trafficked to a series of Southern plantations for more than a decade.

The movie has many of the hallmarks McQueen has become known for — the meticulous composition, the bold and haunting sequences — but, far more than previous films “Hunger” and“Shame,” it has a galvanizing topicality. (For more on “12 Years” and how it was made see my colleague John Horn’s excellent piece in the Sunday Times.)

It also has the kind of bracing honesty that has always been rare in Hollywood and is even rarer these days, a Hollywood where, if tough issues are taken on at all, it’s under the garb of respectful period drama or easy sentiment.

Slavery is pretty much at the top of that list of tough issues. With films like “Django Unchained” and “Lincoln,“ the subject has have become slightly less taboo in the past few years — but only slightly.“Roots” broke new ground on TV more than three decades ago, yet few have followed in its path. McQueen is finally willing to pick up the trail.

But maybe that feeling of change was most apparent because the movie went beyond its ostensible subject of race and the fight for emancipation. After the screening, several people I was sitting near began comparing the movie, favorably, to other films about race. A worthwhile comparison. But the film also evoked parallels to a more unexpected movie, “Schindler’s List.” Exactly 20 years ago that film paired impressive filmmaking with a wrenching subject, and in so doing achieved something remarkable — used cinema to change the way we view a cataclysmic period we thought we knew. “12 Years” has the  power to do the same thing.

As this movie rolls out this fall, people will talk about the questions it raises, about the evolution of race relations, about what it’s saying on the matter of slavery, whether nearly 150 years after the end of the Civil War there is resolution or closure, whether there can ever be resolution or closure.

And there will be, inevitably, a backlash, people who will question the choices McQueen made, will scrutinize whether this detail softpedals the history or that detail overplays it, whether he went too far or not far enough, whether he fetishizes too much or too little.

Mostly, people will talk about slavery in a way they haven’t before because by seeing the film they’ll experience it in a way they never have before. McQueen on Friday summed up his reason for making a movie about slavery thusly: “For me it was a no-brainer. I just wanted to see it on film. I wanted to see that history on film. It was important. It was that obvious. And that’s it,” he said, putting a period on the sentence. But the conversation is only just beginning.

BTx3 is going to see this one. This one strikes a personal chord as part of my own family fought re-enslavement after the Revolutionary War for near 50 years. While no letters or material from those family members still exist (although there are a few pictures), there is ample evidence in court documents from 1790 through 1840 which document the trail… Including 4 court cases where slavers tried to claim various members of he family were escaped slaves. A decades long struggle which by a bit more than just local legend included several killings.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2013 in Black History

 

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George Washington’s 100 Proof Votes…

One of the things they conveniently forget on the tour of Mount Vernon, the home of our First President George Washington, is that after serving as President he started one of the most successful distillery businesses in the new nation. Up until Prohibition, Rye Whiskey outsold all other formulations, and was the most popular strong alcoholic drink in the country.

When you needed to get out the votes in those days… Well “Brother” Rye was a reliable vote getter!

Seems to me to be a lot better excuse if a candidate didn’t work out than today – “I was drunk stupid when I voted for that Republican…

Instead of today – being  stupid enough to vote for him sober!”

George Washington Plied Voters with Booze

At $185 a Bottle, a Rare Whiskey Indeed...

It’s Election Day in Virginia, an event that back in George Washington’s day would have had the ex-president and his supporters seeing double. The reason: Voting day was a reason to binge in Colonial times, and the candidate who served up the most hooch often won.

Washington biographer Dennis Pogue, vice president of preservation at Washington’s home of Mount Vernon, reveals that the father of the nation lost his first campaign in 1755 to the House of Burgesses largely because he didn’t put on an alcohol-laden circus at the polls. That year, Washington got 40 votes. The winner, who plied voters with beer, whiskey, rum punch, and wine, got 271 votes.

A quick learner, Washington won three years later with the help of alcohol. “What do you know, he was successful and got 331 votes,” says Pogue, author of the new book Founding Spirits: George Washington and the Beginnings of the American Whiskey Industry. He spoke about his research Monday night at an event sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and the National Press Club.

Drinking around voting polls has long since been banned in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in General

 

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About Those “Founding Fathers”… And Slavery

A lot of historical reinvention here going on in conservative circles. About a month ago we had Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour waxing ridiculously about the “positive” role of the White Citizen’s Councils during the Civil Rights Era…

Then there is one of the Energizer Idiots of the right, Michelle Bachman’s historically ridiculous claim that the “Founding Fathers” were opponents of slavery.

Chris Matthews sets the record straight, here…

Anderson Cooper rips Bachmann with a bit more truth here…

So…Why do so many on the right need to support their cause with the “Southern Myth” on LSD?

 

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White Privilege Boot Camp – Patriotism

Questioning patriotism has become a right wing game in America, claiming somehow – sans any empirical evidence – simply being on the right grants them a lofty position from which to judge and parse the patriotism of others.

Plastic patriotism is also a white privilege. When white conservative opine about “this country”, it is a country and perception curiously devoid of people of color. White privilege expressed in terms of conservatives is the capability to oppose Health Care Reform on the basis of “socialism” and abortion is wrong, even though the current system results in the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Minority babies, children, and adults each year…

Hat Tip to NewsOne for this one as well as BlackVoices.

White Privilege is not understanding the visceral reaction from black folks when Faux News and the right wing attacked Michelle Obama’s patriotism. This young lady gets unloaded on by the guy with the microphone – which I agree is over the top …

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Dr. Boyce Watkins view:

VIDEO: Woman Cries In White Privilege Boot Camp

I am not sure if the “White Privilege Boot Camp” is real or not, but I am also not sure if I mind the idea. This is not to say that it should be as harsh as the boot camp the brother puts the white woman through in the below video, but the truth is that many of us in America are ignorant about racial history, primarily because our country wants to forget it. We don’t mention many of the horrors and evils of slavery, because we would rather presume that a holocaust can only occur in another country.I watched the video below with as much shock as the woman who was being lectured by the brother with the microphone. The brother is loud, and he dominates the woman, leading most of us to feel some degree of empathy toward her. She even cries toward the end, so the tendency is to argue that perhaps he was too harsh. Yes, he was too harsh, and I would not have approached the issue in the same way. But……..

When it comes to how we process our racial history in America, there is the question of truth vs. lies. Was the woman crying because she was confronted with the truth about white privilege? Are most white Americans even aware of the benefits of being white? If that is or is not the case, then who should be held accountable for the clear and lasting damage of slavery? While some expect us to presume that history remains disconnected from the present, the truth is that they are inextricably linked. You can’t have the present without the past, since actions of the past create the world that lies all around us. Here are some quick examples:

Elena Kagan, the most recent Supreme Court nominee, can hire 29 people, with none of them being black, and no one blinks an eye. Why? Because there is a privilege to whiteness, which implies that black people should be happy with whatever we can get. She’d never consider allowing white men or women to be excluded in an equally egregious way.

The Supreme Court has had over 111 justices, and not a single black woman has had a chance to serve on the court. That’s not the result of black women being inferior to anyone else. It’s the result of white privilege, sexism and the racially divisive constructs on which our nation has been built.

The average black family wealth level is roughly 1/10 that of white Americans. That didn’t happen because black people decided that we don’t like money. It happened because for hundreds of years, slavery and Jim Crow eliminated our ability to pass wealth on to our children. This wealth imbalance wasn’t created overnight.

Those are the facts, folks, whether we like them or not. Some respond to these realities with anger. Some people forgive and forget. Some people live in denial. My personal opinion, though, is that we are going to have to deal with white privilege and the impact of slavery if our country is going to ever move forward. At the very least, we should honestly educate one another on the past… Again, I can’t condone the aggressive approach, but it is certainly thought-provoking.

more about “Woman Cries In White Pivilege Boot Ca…“, posted with vodpod

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2010 in American Genocide

 

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