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Black American History – The Green Book

For those too young, or have forgotten what segregation was like in this county… A look back at the future under the Chumph

HOW THE ‘GREEN BOOK’ SAVED BLACK LIVES ON THE ROAD

The year is 1940. You are in a ’37 Buick, driving west on the Dixie Overland Highway. You plan to take it all the way to California, but as things stand, you might not even make it to the Texas border. For you are black, and you are deep in Alabama, and night is coming.

This is the land of strange fruit: Elizabeth Lawrence, an elderly black woman who’d chastised white children for throwing rocks at her, lynched in 1933; Otis Parham, 16, set upon by a mob that couldn’t find the perpetrator of an alleged attack on a white man in 1934. They killed Parham instead and threw his body into a ditch. You don’t have to know the names of Alabama’s recently murdered to feel the presence of their ghosts in the roadside thickets of longleaf pine.

With the day’s light faltering, you pull over and retrieve The Negro Motorist Green Book from your Roadmaster’s glove box. It is 48 pages of practical scripture, offering safe passage through the United States—where you can sleep, eat and fill your gas tank. The 1940 edition of the Green Book offered several options for safe harbor in central Alabama from the Ku Klux Klan, not to mention less deadly manifestations of hatred. Some of these are hotels that will allow black guests, like the Fraternal in Birmingham. Others are private homes, such as that of Mrs. G.W. Baugh, at 2526 12th Street in Tuscaloosa (private homes are almost always listed under the name of a female host). The Green Book also lists a few restaurants, clubs, garages and beauty salons. In Augusta, Georgia, you are welcome at Bollinger’s liquor store—but nowhere else.

The number of listings will grow, especially after a brief hiatus in publication during World War II, as more and more people write in with suggestions, crowdsourcing a compendium of black-friendly sites across the nation. In 1957, North Dakota would be the last state in the continental United States covered by the Green Book. In 1964, Hawaii became the 50th state in the guide, which that year also featured entries for Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Thus what began in 1936 as a barebones aggregation of New York–area advertisements would eventually create what the historian Jennifer Reut calls an “invisible map” of America. The guide’s creator, Victor Hugo Green, had recognized that such a map was necessary. But he also hoped that his work would eventually be obviated by social progress. Later editions of the Green Book contained an introduction with this optimistic passage:

There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States. It will be a great day for us to suspend this publication for then we can go wherever we please, and without embarrassment…

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The Green Book created what Taylor calls an “overground railroad,” used by the progeny of those who may have relied on that other, more famous railroad offering passage out of slavery. The Underground Railroad promised freedom; the Green Book promised something just as fundamentally American: leisure.

Taylor has spent the last several years photographing Green Book locations for her website while planning a much larger project she hopes will grant the Green Book the cultural prominence it deserves. Her task is made difficult by the fact that each edition of the Green Book was often significantly different from those before and after, depending on the shifting landscape of prejudice in each state. An out-of-date listing—a motel that welcomed blacks suddenly shuttering—could spell doom for a traveler stranded in the thick of Mississippi.

Taylor went through all 22 editions of the guide to create a list of 4,964 sites—and she’s gone through only about half of the nation. She believes that perhaps 25 percent remain standing in some form, like the IHOP in Harlem, while only about 5 percent operate as they did in Victor Green’s time. A few are obvious and easy to find, like Clifton’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles, which recently reopened after a $10 million renovation, once more serving all those who reach the western terminus of Route 66, though it’s pay-as-you-wish policy hasn’t survived into the 21st century. But some are even more invisible than they were on Green’s “invisible map,” retreating into historical obscurity. There is Murray’s Dude Ranch, in the high desert of Southern California, notable for catering to an African-American clientele. Black cowboy films like Harlem on the Prairie were filmed there . Today, it is just an expanse of sagebrush.

Other Green Book stops live on in shabby anonymity. The Hayes Motel, in the historically African-American section of South Central Los Angeles, opened in 1947, 18 years before an incident of police brutality led nearby Watts to erupt in fiery frustration against the city’s reactionary leaders. The 1992 riots, in response to the acquittal of the four police officers who’d beaten motorist Rodney King, began a few blocks away. Somehow, the Hayes Motel remained in operation, but the turbulent times took their toll. When Taylor visited with a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, a telling sign greeted potential guests: “No drugs. No Prostitution. No Loitering. No Trespassing.”

Taylor—who is writing a book on the Green Book, is in talks with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and is creating an interactive map with partners that may include Harvard, the New York Public Library and Google—isn’t waiting for someone to invest $10 million in the Hayes Motel. But she believes it has a story worth commemorating, as do all its fellow Green Book survivors. She hopes to reclaim a forgotten chapter of African-American history, partly because it is our history and does not deserve oblivion any more than Millard Fillmore’s log cabin, but also because there were things we should have learned then but did not.

“This is a cautionary tale,” she says. “This is still with us.”…Read The Rest of this Article Here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V0Wxr37N70

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2017 in Black History

 

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Maryland Opens Historical Center About Harriet Tubman

A portion of Harriet Tubman’s life is set to be dramatized on the Television Series “Underground” on WGN America. Watch it, it is really good!

I currently live on the Eastern Shore, about an hour and a half South of the places Harriet Tubman rescued slaves. I am familiar with the landscape and the swamps (The Great Cypress Swamp) and thickets can be near if not completely impassable and are similar to something you would think of in Florida or Louisiana. There is a great kayak trip though the swamp area, as well as the Blackwater (the water is stained black by the cypress trees) area off the Choptank where Tubman operated.

Harriet Tubman fled a life of slavery in Maryland. Now a new visitor center opens on the land she escaped.

She preferred moving in the darkness of long winter nights. She didn’t wait for late passengers: The “train” for Zion always left on time. And she carried a pistol, in case of trouble or flagging hearts.

Her branch of the line began here, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, near places like Tobacco Stick, Kentuck Swamp, and Skeleton Creek, off the Choptank River, to the north.

She was small and the color of a chestnut, as her owner described her when she first ran away. But she was hardened by whippings and work on the timber gangs, and she knew the wilderness as well as a hunter.

On March 11, the National Park Service and the Maryland State Park Service plan to unveil a new visitor center here dedicated to the life and mission of abolitionist and legendary Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.

The $22 million center, in the works since 2008, is adjacent to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, in the hallowed area where Tubman was born, enslaved and from which she escaped.

The opening festivities next weekend will feature reenactors, lectures and writing workshops. The center has exhibits, a museum store, a research library, and an outdoor walking path and pavilion.

It’s the same area where Tubman repeatedly returned at great risk to help relatives and friends out of bondage along the secret anti-slavery network to freedom that was the Underground Railroad.

Between about 1850 and 1860, using stealth and disguise, she made 13 trips, spiriting 70 people out of slavery, historians believe.

Tubman’s life spanned most of the 19th and part of the 20th century, took her across the Eastern United State and Canada, and saw her fight for civil rights, women’s rights and the cause of the Union in the Civil War.

But it was here in the mosquito-infested swamps and woods, and the local plantations and river ports, that the slave girl “Minty” Ross became the liberator, Harriet Tubman.

Here, Tubman was beaten as a child by a mistress who slept with a whip under her pillow. Here, she checked muskrat traps, broke flax and hauled logs with a team of oxen she was permitted to purchase.

nd here, scholars say, amid a fracas one night, she was struck on the head with an iron weight and suffered a debilitating brain injury that would alter her life.

Tubman understood the haunting landscape where she lived and was said to possess a mystical “charm” that protected her, according to biographer Kate Clifford Larson.

“She was a genius,” Larson said in a recent telephone interview. “Even though she couldn’t read or write, she was born with a gift.”

“When she worked in the woods with her father, he taught her how to survive,” Larson said. “How to feed herself, how to protect herself, how to navigate through those woods that are really dark at night.”

And she dare not carry a lantern.

“This is the area that shaped Harriet Tubman’s ideals,” National Park Service historian Beth Parnicza said. “It’s where she and her family grew up, where she lived for 27 years of her life.”

“This landscape is critical to her story,” she said…. Read the Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2017 in Black History, Giant Negros

 

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Black Inventors and the Jim Crow Patent System

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

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

Thomas L Jennings the first black Patent Holder in 1821

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

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

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

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

Why patents matter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slaves’ inventions exploited by owners

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

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

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

Reaping benefits of own inventions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A legacy of black innovators

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

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2017 in Black History

 

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Roland Martin Interviews One of the “Little Rock Nine”

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

 

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2017 in Black History

 

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Donald Trump on Frederick Douglass…

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

Image result for Frederick Douglas

Trump’s statement on Black History Month –

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

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2017 in Black History

 

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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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A Pardon for Marcus Garvey?

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

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

Julius Garvey

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

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

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

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

Marcus Garvey, 1924

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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