The Black Church Joins Occupy

No surprise here. The Civil Rights Movement was about Justice, including economic justice.

African American pastors express support for Occupy movement

As the country observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant was outside the District headquarters of the Federal Reserve, protesting.

Instead of lingering at an MLK memorial prayer breakfast with the Rev. Al Sharpton and other icons of the civil rights movement, the Rev. Delman Coates also made his way to the protest, which included churchgoers, students and people from the Occupy Wall Streetmovement.

And rather than reminiscing about old speeches and discussing King’s legacy, the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler used his airtime on WPFW, a public radio station, to note the similarities between the Occupy movement and those who camped in “Resurrection City,” in the shadows of the Washington Monument, after King was slain.

growing number of African American pastors in the Washington area are embracing the Occupy movement. In December, leaders of Occupy D.C. left their encampments at McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza to worship at Empowerment Temple, Bryant’s church in Baltimore. Hagler has held services on Freedom Plaza. Others donate food and clothing to protesters. And Bryant, who ministers to many in the Maryland suburbs, co-founded Occupy the Dream with former NAACP leader Benjamin Chavis Muhammad.

The pastors’ pleas for economic justice sound a lot like King’s.

“This is the continuation of the [civil rights] movement. It was the economic movement that King was killed for,” said Hagler, pastor of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Northeast Washington.

Coates, pastor of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, echoed Hagler’s sentiments.

“When Dr. King was killed, he was . . .fighting for the rights of sanitation workers,” he said. “It is critically important that we relate our faith to issues of economic justice and systemic inequality.”

Some critics say the focus of the Occupy movement, which by design does not have leaders, is unclear. But Bryant, who observed the movement from a distance before deciding he wanted to be part of it, was adamant that Occupy the Dream has a defined agenda.

“Number one, we are asking for more Pell grants so that our young people might be able to compete and go to colleges and universities,’’ he said. “Number two, we are asking for an immediate freezing on foreclosures.” The group is also seeking billions of dollars “from Wall Street for economic development and for job training.”

Beginning in February, Bryant plans to launch a campaign to urge people to pull their money out of their banks and to move it to a minority-owned financial institution.

Bryant, 40, a former national youth director for the NAACP, said his involvement in Occupy the Dream feels like a “coming home” to his civil rights roots.

“I think the Occupy Wall Street movement has held the legacy of Dr. King and has brought the church back into accountability,” Bryant said. “Dr. King would be here today. He wouldn’t be at a breakfast; he wouldn’t be at a mall. He would be here with us.”

But some pastors hesitate to throw their support behind Occupy.

The Rev. William Bennett, pastor of Good Success Christian Church and Ministries in Northeast and a founding member of the Washington Interfath Network, hasn’t joined. But, he said, “I understand what they are fighting for.”

“We have not had an economic time like this since the Great Depression, and it does call for some actions,” Bennett said. “But what I have observed . . . is that there are not clear goals and objectives. The Occupy movement does seem to be organized with a goal to create chaos. The civil rights movement was organized with a clear list of demands.”

The Rev. Joe Watkins, pastor of Evangelical Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, said churches should stick to their primary mission.

“The role of the church is to lead people to Christ and to tell them the good news and to live the good news,” Watkins said. “The young people part of the Occupy movement are just as precious as anybody. But the primary focus of the church is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (more)

“I Don’t Think They Know What They Dealing With!” Dick Gregory

 

Fred Shuttlesworth vs. Herman Cain

Last week, one of the bravest men in the Civil Rights Movement of the 50’s and 60’s passed away. His legacy is the world we live in today, where statutory discrimination has largely ended.

A little about Mr. Shuttlesworth -

It was during the 1950s in segregated Alabama that Rev. Shuttlesworth began his push for integration on all levels of society. Performing acts of civil disobedience wherever necessary — like purposefully sitting in all-white sections of parks, train stations and more — he faced every form of police intimidation, arrests, beatings and death threats. His home and church were bombed, he was struck with brass knuckles and he routinely faced Klansmen ready to silence him. Rev. Shuttlesworth formed the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and also established the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Herman's Spot on the Bus

“Authentic” black man, Herman Cain?

Sat in the back of the bus, and did not participate in any Civil Rights Marches, despite attending college at the epicenter of resistance to segregation laws in the southeastern US – Morehouse College.

“Where do you think black people would be sitting on the bus today if Rosa Parks had followed your father’s advice?” O’Donnell asked. It was an audacious question, and Cain took the bait, reacting forcefully.

“You are distorting the intent of what I said,” Cain said. “…If I had been a college student I probably would have been participating.” He said that, as a high school student, “it was not prudent” for him to be involved. O’Donnell didn’t buy this. He noted that Cain had been a college student “at the height” of the movement, from 1963-67, when other black people were “murdered” fighting for their rights. He asked Cain if he regretted “sitting on those sidelines.”

Cain called this an “Irrelevant comparison.” O’Donnell said he was just reading from Cain’s book. “Did you expect every black student and every black college in America to be out there?” Cain said. “…You didn’t know, Lawrence, what I was doing…maybe, just maybe, I had a sick relative!”

“I gave your book a fair reading, and I didn’t read anything about a sick friend,” O’Donnell said. “What I did read was a deliberate decision to not participate in the Civil Rights movement.”

Cain’s newest line is that racism no longer exists in America

“I don’t believe racism in this country today holds anybody back in a big way.”

Interesting to see what some of his fellow Tea Bagger “supporters” think about that -

  • “I don’t want to see another black president either, but we can use Herman Cain. It’s been pointed out that he is a big Uncle Tom. Quite literally ‘Uncle Ruckus’ from the racially motivated cartoon ‘Boondocks’. If he is a canidate (sic) that White America can get behind, then the race card will be null and void.”
  • ” I think that focus group was staged. I don’t believe those people were representative of Americans. Herman Cain has no experience with handling people in the government. Also, he is black, and this isn’t a black country. He talks slow because he thinks slow. We need a good, white president. Pick someone who we know has correct positions like Ron Paul.”
  • “I know I might get yelled at for this, but he’s a conservative white man in a black mans skin. Even if he isn’t as true to the cause as Ron Paul, who I fully support. But before you cast judgement please watch this clip on YouTube of Cain acting pro-white. It’ll have you laughing.”

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

 MLK – “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

Lawrence O’Donnell Shreds Cain!

This was an ass kicking! O’Donnell takes Cain to task on his “brainwash” statements…

Herman is a Lawn Jockey. This poster is younger than Cain – and I marched in 1963 at 11 years old at the March on Washington. I participated in other Marches, including several far South of my native Virginia before I went to College.

Indeed – Cain’s dodge about being a “High School Student” is bullshit buckdancing. Herman entered college in 1963…

April 2, 1960 – Following the February sit-ins at Woolworth’s in Greensboro, North Carolina, sixteen high school students try to use the all-white Danville Memorial Library, only to have the city close the facility.

This image from Life Magazine in the 1963 Birmingham Demonstrations shows 4 High School Students being hit by a high pressure water hose –

File:Birmingham campaign water hoses.jpg Now perhaps while Cain was running to the back of that bus, he missed the “Childrens Crusade” in Birmingham Alabama in 1963 –  On May 2, more than a thousand students skipped school and gathered at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. The principal of Parker High School attempted to lock the gates to keep students in, but they scrambled over the walls to get to the church.[58] Demonstrators were given instructions to march to the downtown area, to meet with the Mayor, and integrate the chosen buildings. They were to leave in smaller groups and continue on their courses until arrested. Marching in disciplined ranks, some of them using walkie-talkies, they were sent at timed intervals from various churches to the downtown business area.[59] More than 600 students were arrested; the youngest of these was reported to be eight years old. Children left the churches while singing hymns and “freedom songs” such as “We Shall Overcome“. They clapped and laughed while being arrested and awaiting transport to jail. The mood was compared to that of a school picnic.[60] Although Bevel informed Connor that the march was to take place, Connor and the police were dumbfounded by the numbers and behavior of the children.[61][62] They assembled paddy wagons and school buses to take the children to jail. When no squad cars were left to block the city streets, Connor, whose authority extended to the fire department, used fire trucks. The day’s arrests brought the total number of jailed protesters to 1,200 in the 900-capacity Birmingham jail.

In 1957, 9 High School Kids braved desegregating Little Rock High School

Fact is, and always was – Cain is a Uncle Tom punk.

Part II of the interview…

In this one Herman lies about his draft status. The Draft “lottery” started in 1969, in which all men born between 1944 and 1950 were eligible. It was the best year to enter the Draft, as the pool of men was larger, covering 6 years instead of one – as did all the subsequent lottery drafts. Cain’s Birthday, December 13th put him at 163. The highest number drafted that year was 195. Meaning Cain got a deferment. There is nothing wrong with that part, although I know several folks who were enlisted in the Military who did exactly what Cain claims to have been working on.  He says he graduated in 1967, which means he would have been eligible in 1967 and 1968. I am not sure how he earned a deferment in a job he would have been working on, less than 4 months, armed with nothing but a Bachelor’s degree – nor how in 4 months he became “critical to the war effort” doing some very basic math in what essentially would have been an entry level position.

He mentions the fact he got a deferment earlier in the conversation, but then claims he put his name in for the 1969 lottery…

At 163…  He would have been on a fast freight with a rifle to Vietnam. Which means, more than likely – he got a second deferment because of his job. His “put my name in” comment infers he would have gone if drafted – that’s a lie.

Fred Shuttlesworth – Civil Rights Pioneer

A brave sould has passed. Fred Shuttlesworth was one of the early leaders in Birmingham, Alabama who spoke out from the pulpit – and survived beating beaten and bombed as a result.

Wish we still had some leaders around with his sort of courage.

“I went to jail 30 or 40 times, not for fighting or stealing or drugs.  I went to jail for a good thing, trying to make a difference.” –  Fred Shuttlesworth to a group of schoolchildren in 1997

Birmingham civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth dies

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who was once described by Martin Luther King Jr. as “the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South,” died in Birmingham, Alabama, on Wednesday at age 89.

Shuttlesworth, who had been in declining health, passed away at the Princeton Baptist Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Dodd told Reuters.

A major leader in the civil rights movement, Shuttlesworth was beaten, bombed and injured by fire hoses for his public stances against segregation in Birmingham in the 1950s and 1960s.

Though he and King worked closely together and both helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Shuttlesworth often bristled against his more contemplative counterpart.

“He was sometimes slow in doing things. Too slow for me,” Shuttlesworth said in an interview at age 85. “He’d meditate on things a lot and agonize over them. I think if things need doing, be about them.”

Shuttlesworth, who served as pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church and several other churches in Birmingham, began hammering away at that city’s hard shell of segregation in the early 1950s.

He formed the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights in May 1956 and urged its members to take a stand against segregated buses. He refused to relent even after his home was bombed on Christmas Day in 1956. He and his family escaped unharmed.

“When he came out covered in rubble, we knew he was anointed to lead the movement,” the late Rev. Abraham Woods, a fellow activist, said in a 2007 interview.

Warned by a Klansman police officer to vacate the city, Shuttlesworth said he shot back: “I wasn’t saved to run.”

The minister later was beaten by a mob with baseball bats, chains and brass knuckles as he tried to enroll his children in an all-white school and hospitalized after being sprayed by fire hoses during a demonstration against segregation.

Shuttlesworth once told Reuters he had expected to die by age 40 for his civil rights efforts. He had vowed “to kill segregation or be killed by it.”

For his own safety, he left Alabama in 1961 to lead a church in Cincinnati, Ohio. But he still marshaled forces for change in the South, including helping organize the historic march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

The march ended in a bloody police attack, sparking civil rights protests.

During a commemoration of “Bloody Sunday” in March 2007, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama pushed Shuttlesworth in his wheelchair across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where the attack occurred.

“We have truly lost a great soldier, a warrior for civil rights,” Jefferson County Commission President Pro tem Sandra Little Brown said. “I am serving on the back of the changes that he was a part of for people of color.”

US Dept. of Education Looking At Education Re-segregation Impact

At least DOE is doing something… No wonder the Tea Bagger set wants to get rid of the Department.

Troops Escort Students to Central High
The New Jim Crow…Just Like the Old Jim Crow, Just 

Camouflaged

U.S. Department of Education Investigating Record Number of Civil Rights Complaints

Department of Education is seeking to improve the quality of education for minority and poor public school students by aggressively launching civil rights investigations aimed at preventing district administrators from providing more services and resources to predominantly white schools.

Faced with public schools more segregated today than in the 1970s, the department is using the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to improve the quality of education for students from minority and low-income backgrounds. The department has outpaced the Bush administration in initiating civil rights probes.

During 33 months under the Obama administration, the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has launched 30 compliance reviews compared with the 22 begun during the eight-year Bush administration. Investigators determine whether school districts have violated Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

“The civil rights laws are the most sorely underutilized tool in education reform and closing the achievement gap,” says Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, who has run the department’s OCR since May 2009. She said President Barack Obama has emphasized that he wants the department investigating education-related civil rights violations. “This is the most important civil rights issue of our time,” she says.

Last year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced on the 45th anniversary of Bloody Sunday—the day that Alabama state troopers brutalized civil rights activists marching on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma—that the department’s OCR would significantly increase enforcement actions. Duncan acknowledged that over the last 10 years, the office had not aggressively pursued Title 6 investigations to improve the quality of education for minority and poor students.

The OCR received about 7,000 complaints last year, a record for the department. School districts are being investigated for a range of possible violations, including failure to provide minority students with access to college- and career-track courses, not assigning highly qualified teachers to schools with predominantly minority students and disproportionately placing such students in special education courses and suspending minority students.

The OCR has also investigated schools for failing to protect female students of color from sexual violence and not offering access to higher-level math and science courses.

Judith A. Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project in Washington, D.C., which advocates for quality education, acknowledges a significant change in direction for the department’s OCR. Ali served as deputy co-director of the organization from 1999 to 2000.

“For years, we couldn’t rely on the federal government to enforce civil rights law, so now we have an Office for Civil Rights that is finally taking up the torch,” Browne Dianis says. “During the Bush administration, we wouldn’t encourage anyone to file a complaint. The feeling was that even if you filed a complaint, they probably wouldn’t investigate or would say there was no racial discrimination.”… (more)

Yeah…

That New Jim Crow.

Beatles Refused To Play at Segregated Venues

You would never have known it from American TV – but the Beatles refused to play at segregated concert venues when they came to America…

That just leaves that “White Album” thing! :)

With the state of Music and broadcast radio in the early 60’s, which was intensely segregated radio almost coat-to-coast – I’m not sure how many black folks actually “got” the Beatles before, or even when they first came to our shores, because many never had the opportunity to hear them. Their breakthrough was the Ed Sullivan show. Lot of younger black folks had a Beatles album or two tucked away in the collection behind the Motown and Atlantic albums in the mid 60’s…

The Beatles banned segregated audiences, contract shows

The Beatles showed their support for the US civil rights movement by refusing to play in front of segregated audiences, a contract shows.

The document, which is to be auctioned next week, relates a 1965 concert at the Cow Palace in California.

Signed by manager Brian Epstein, it specifies that The Beatles “not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience”.

The agreement also guarantees the band payment of $40,000 (£25,338).

Other requirements include a special drumming platform for Ringo Starr and the provision of 150 uniformed police officers for protection.

But the security arrangements were not perfect.

The band played two sets, a matinee and an evening performance, at the venue on 31 August, 1965. At the latter, some of the 17,000-strong crowd broke through security barriers and rushed the stage.

The show was halted, and The Beatles were forced to wait backstage while order was restored.

They eventually finished their 12-song set with Help! followed by its B-side, I’m Down.

The Beatles had previously taken a public stand on civil rights in 1964, when they refused to perform at a segregated concert at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.

City officials relented, allowing the stadium to be integrated, and the band took to the stage.

“We never play to segregated audiences and we aren’t going to start now,” said John Lennon. “I’d sooner lose our appearance money.”

The struggle for racial equality in America later inspired Paul McCartney to write Blackbird.

The contract for The Beatles’ 1965 show is expected to raise up to $5,000 (£3,167) when it goes up for sale by a specialist memorabilia auctioneer in Los Angeles on 20 September.

That Ed Sullivan performance –

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