Tag Archives: civil rights

New Police Shooting Stirs Unrest in St. Louis

Another one which we will never probably know the details of what really happened. A dark alley, 2 suspects fleeing, Police in hot pursuit – one of the suspects purportedly pulls a gun…

Seems to be a repetitive story, sometimes true…Sometimes not.

Think it is a better idea to wait and see what the story really is.

Fresh racial unrest in St. Louis after police shoot black suspect

Police shot and killed a black man in St. Louis on Wednesday in a killing that drew angry crowds 10 days after protesters marked the anniversary of the police shooting of an unarmed teen in nearby Ferguson.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the shooting took place as officers were attempting to execute a search warrant in a crime-ridden neighborhood, when two young black men ran out the back door of the targeted house.

Police officers confronted the suspects in the alley behind the house and one suspect pointed a gun at officers who then fired approximately four times, killing him, Dotson said.

Despite the police explanation of events, dozens of people gathered near the scene protesting the police use of deadly force, according to local media.

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Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Domestic terrorism


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Black Folks With Guns

My Maternal Grandfather, who lived on a Farm and raised his family in rural America bought each of his 8 son’s a Shotgun when they became of age. The reason was not only the “hunting culture” of rural life in Virginia, but that it had some very practical application in terms of black life in the South in the 20’s and 30’s. Anyone attacking a member of the Family, or the farm, was immediately facing 9 armed black men – not including cousins. This tended to alleviate the desire of the local KKK types to cause trouble.

It wasn’t uncommon that Free Blacks had to defend themselves with guns.

My Paternal side, who lived in the Hills of the Virginia-West Virginia line, who had gained their freedom by fighting in the British Army during the American Revolution, also alway went armed. The results of which are reputed to be the bodies of some incorrigible “Slave Catchers” reputedly left at the bottom of a limestone cave out back of the property, who variously attempted to re-enslave members of the family in the early 1800’s. They were subject to the “Black Codes” of the 1830’s restricting Free Blacks from carrying guns, and were successful in petitioning the court for the right to bear arms. A case now quoted by the NRA.

While none of today’s family belong to the NRA, those who are outdoorsmen, or live in rural areas where hunting is common – still carry that tradition on today.

While guns now are more likely to be viewed as the scourge of the black community today, people have largely forgotten the “Bloody Summer” of 1919. While the Tulsa “Riot” is well known, the riots in Chicago, and Washington, DC tend to be less remembered. Black Soldiers, veterans of WWI either kept their guns, or acquired guns to protect heir neighborhoods. Making attacking black communities, for the first time dangerous for the Klan. A factor leading to the cessation of major attacks against black communities by 1920.

How ‘Crazy Negroes’ With Guns Helped Kill Jim Crow

This Non-Violent Stuff Will Get You KIlled

I have a dream that one day children in seventh grade will have an American history textbook that is not like my son’s. Its heroes will not just be people from the past who upheld the middle-class values of modesty, chastity, sobriety, thrift, and industry. The rebels it celebrates will include not only abolitionists, suffragists, labor unionists, and civil rights leaders who confined their protests to peaceful and respectable writing, speaking, striking, and marching. In my dream, schoolchildren will read about people like C.O. Chinn.

Chinn was a black man in Canton, Mississippi, who in the 1960s owned a farm, a rhythm and blues nightclub, a bootlegging operation, and a large collection of pistols, rifles, and shotguns with which he threatened local Klansmen and police when they attempted to encroach on his businesses or intimidate civil rights activists working to desegregate Canton and register black residents to vote. After one confrontation, in which a pistol-packing Chinn forced the notoriously racist and brutal local sheriff to stand down inside the county courthouse during a hearing for a civil rights worker, the lawman admitted, “There are only two bad sons of bitches in this county: me and that nigger C.O. Chinn.”

Although the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were formally committed to nonviolence, when their volunteers showed up in Canton they happily received protection from Chinn and the militia of armed black men he managed. “Every white man in that town knew you didn’t fuck with C.O. Chinn,” remembered a CORE activist. “He’d kick your natural ass.” Consequently, Chinn’s Club Desire offered a safe haven for black performers such as B.B. King, James Brown, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, and the Platters; illegal liquor flowed freely in the county; and, unlike their comrades in much of Mississippi, CORE and SNCC activists in Canton were able to register thousands of black voters with virtual impunity from segregationist violence.

According to Charles E. Cobb’s revelatory new history of armed self-defense and the civil rights movement, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed, Canton and the rest of the South could not have been desegregated without people like C.O. Chinn, who were willing to take the lives of white people and were thus known as “crazy Negroes” or, less delicately, “bad niggers.”

Cobb does not discount the importance of nonviolent protest, but he demonstrates with considerable evidence that desegregation and voting rights “could not have been achieved without the complementary and still underappreciated practice of armed self-defense.” Noting that textbooks like my son’s ignore the many people who physically defended the movement or themselves, Cobb shows that the “willingness to use deadly force ensured the survival not only of countless brave men and women but also of the freedom struggle itself.”

The philosophy of nonviolence as propounded by Martin Luther King Jr., and the civil rights leadership that emerged in the 1950s was a new and exotic concept to black Southerners. Since before Emancipation, when slaves mounted several organized armed rebellions and countless spontaneous and individual acts of violent resistance to overseers, masters, and patrollers, black men and women consistently demonstrated a willingness to advance their interests at the point of a gun. In the year following the Civil War, black men shot white rioters who attacked blacks in New Orleans and Memphis. Even the original civil rights leadership publicly believed that, as Frederick Douglass put it in 1867, “a man’s rights rest in three boxes: the ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box.”

During Reconstruction, all-black units of the Union Leagues organized themselves as militias and warred against such white terrorist organizations as the Men of Justice, the Knights of the White Camellia, the Knights of the Rising Sun, and the Ku Klux Klan, whose primary mission was to disarm ex-slaves and thus was one of the first gun-control organizations in the United States.

With the rise of Jim Crow segregation at the end of the 19th century, civil rights leaders continued to advocate meeting fire with fire. “A Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home,” the famed anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett wrote in 1892, when on average more than one black person was lynched every three days in the South, “and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.”

In 1899, after a black man named Henry Denegale was accused of raping a white woman in Darien, Georgia, armed black men surrounded the jail where he was held to prevent lynch mobs from taking him. Instead of being hanged from a tree or burned at the stake, Denegale was tried and acquitted. Though blacks tended to consider Georgia the most lethal of all the Southern states, the coastal area, where Darien was located, “had the fewest lynchings of any place in the state.”

One of the first victories of the modern civil rights movement came at the point of many guns. In the spring of 1947, after a black man named Bennie Montgomery in Monroe, North Carolina, was executed for murdering his white employer during a fight over wages, the local Ku Klux Klan threatened to take Montgomery’s body from the funeral parlor and drag it through the streets of the town as a message to blacks who might consider assaulting whites. But when the Klansmen arrived at the funeral parlor, three dozen rifles belonging to members of the Monroe branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) were trained on their motorcade. The Klansmen fled.

This successful showdown convinced the president of the Monroe NAACP, Robert F. Williams—who later authored a book-length argument for armed self-defense titled Negroes With Guns—that “resistance could be effective if we resisted in groups, and if we resisted with guns.” In addition to his duties with the NAACP, Williams established an all-black chapter of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and used his NRA connections to procure “better rifles” and automatic weapons for his constituents. Ten years after the funeral-parlor incident, those guns were used to repel a Klan assault against an NAACP leader’s house. Immediately following the shootout, the Monroe City Council banned Klan motorcades and, according to Williams, the KKK “stopped raiding our community.”

T.R.M. Howard

Theodore Roosevelt Mason “T.R.M.” Howard was another black Southerner who found guns a highly effective means to gain rights. Cobb uses Howard’s story in 1950s Mississippi to illustrate “the practical use of armed self-defense” for an oppressed minority. Howard, who was the chief surgeon at a hospital for blacks in the Mississippi Delta, founded the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL), an umbrella organization of civil rights groups in the state. The RCNL led a campaign against segregated gas stations, organized rallies featuring national civil rights leaders, and encouraged black businesses, churches, and voluntary associations to move their bank accounts to the black-owned Tri-State Bank, which loaned money to civil rights activists denied credit by white banks.

Knowing that he was always at risk of being attacked by white supremacists, Howard took full advantage of Mississippi’s loose gun laws. He wore a pistol on his hip, displayed a rifle in the back window of his Cadillac, and lived in a compound secured by round-the-clock armed guards. Black reporters covering the civil rights movement in Mississippi often stayed in Howard’s home, which contained stacks of weapons, at least one submachine gun, and, according to one visiting journalist, “a long gun, a shotgun or a rifle in every corner of every room.”

1963, Mississippi Voter Registration Activists (l-r) Bob Moses, Julian Bond, Curtis Hays, unknown activist, Hollis Watkins, Amzie Moore, and E.W. Steptoe.

According to many accounts, southwest Mississippi was the most dangerous and Klan-ridden region of the South—”the stuff of black nightmares,” according to Cobb—but it was also home to several of the strongest branches of the NAACP. Activists from the area were the first in Mississippi to file a school desegregation suit, a youth chapter campaigned against police brutality, and local NAACP members traveled to D.C. to testify for the 1957 Civil Rights Act. The presidents of two NAACP branches-C.C. Bryant of Pike County and E.W. Steptoe of Amite County-offered their fortified houses as resting stops for SNCC and CORE organizers. One SNCC volunteer recalled that if you stayed with Steptoe, “as you went to bed he would open up the night table and there would be a large .45 automatic sitting next to you….[There were] guns all over the house, under pillows, under chairs.” It was for that reason that SNCC operated one of its “Freedom Schools” on Steptoe’s farm.

Anti-racist proponents of gun control should note an irony in this story: One aspect of Southern culture allowed for the dismantling of another. “Although many whites were uncomfortable with the idea of blacks owning guns-especially in the 1960s,” Cobb writes, “the South’s powerful gun culture and weak gun control laws enabled black people to acquire and keep weapons and ammunition with relative ease.” One example of this came in 1954, when the Mississippi state legislator Edwin White responded to an increase in black gun ownership with a bill requiring gun registration as protection “from those likely to cause us trouble,” but the bill died in committee.

Guns weren’t the only physical weapons used to advance civil rights. Five days after the famous 1960 sit-in at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, another sit-in was attempted but the protesters were blocked from entering the store by crowds of young whites carrying Confederate flags and threatening violence. So football players from the historically black North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College formed a flying wedge and rammed through the mob. In Jacksonville, Florida, a gang of black youth known as the Boomerangs used their fists to beat back a group of whites who were attacking sit-in protestors with ax handles.

Two of the best-known civil rights organizations practicing armed self-defense were the Deacons for Defense and Justice, which was formally incorporated in Louisiana in 1965 with the explicit purpose of providing armed protection for civil rights activists, and the Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) of Alabama, a SNCC affiliate that renounced the national organization’s nonviolent philosophy and helped inspire the formation of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in northern cities.

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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Black History


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Julian Bond 1940-2015

Another of the giants of the Civil Rights Movement has died…

Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75

JUlian Bond in his SNCC Days

Julian Bond, a former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a charismatic figure of the 1960s civil rights movement, a lightning rod of the anti-Vietnam War campaign and a lifelong champion of equal rights for minorities, died on Saturday night, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was 75.

Mr. Bond died in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., after a brief illness, the center said in a statementSunday morning.

He was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, while he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

He moved from the militancy of the student group to the top leadership of the establishmentarian N.A.A.C.P. Along the way, he was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer, college teacher, and persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy.

He also served for 20 years in the Georgia Legislature, mostly in conspicuous isolation from white colleagues who saw him as an interloper and a rabble-rouser.

Mr. Bond’s wit, cool personality and youthful face became familiar to millions of television viewers during the 1960s and 1970s. He attracted adjectives — dashing, handsome, urbane — the way some people attract money.

On the strength of his personality and quick intellect, he moved to the center of the civil rights action in Atlanta, the unofficial capital of the movement, at the height of the struggle for racial equality in the early 1960s.

Moving beyond demonstrations, he became a founder, with Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization in Montgomery, Ala. Mr. Bond was its president from 1971 to 1979 and remained on its board for the rest of his life.

When he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965 — along with seven other black members — furious white members of the House refused to let him take his seat, accusing him of disloyalty. He was already well known because of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s stand against the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War.

That touched off a national drama that ended in 1966, when the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision ordered the legislature to seat him, saying it had denied him freedom of speech.

He went on to serve 20 years in the two houses of the legislature. As a lawmaker, he sponsored bills to establish a sickle cell anemia testing program and to provide low-interest home loans to low-income Georgians. He also helped create a majority-black congressional district in Atlanta.

He left the State Senate in 1986 after six terms to run for that seat in the United States House. He lost a bitter contest to his old friend John Lewis, a fellow founder of S.N.C.C. and its longtime chairman. The two men, for all their earlier closeness in the rights movement, represented opposite poles of African-American life in the South: Mr. Lewis was the son of an sharecropper; Mr. Bond was the son of a college president.

Horace Julian Bond was born Jan. 14, 1940, in Nashville, Tenn. His father, Horace Mann Bond, moved the family to Pennsylvania five years later, when he became the first African-American president of his alma mater, Lincoln University.

Julian Bond’s great-grandmother Jane Bond was the slave mistress of a Kentucky farmer. Julian’s grandfather James Bond, one of Jane Bond’s sons, was educated at Berea and Oberlin Colleges and became a clergyman. His son Horace Mann Bond expected his own son Julian to follow in his footsteps as an educator, but the young man was attracted instead to journalism and political activism.

At Morehouse College, he plunged into extracurricular activities, but paid less attention to his studies. The civil rights movement provided a good excuse to drop out of college in 1961. He returned in the early 1970s to complete his English degree.

Dozens of his friends went to jail during his time with S.N.C.C. But he was arrested only once. In 1960, after word of student sit-ins at lunch counters in Greensboro, N.C., spread across the South, Mr. Bond and a few of his friends at Morehouse organized protests against segregated public facilities in Atlanta. He was arrested when he led a sit-in at the City Hall cafeteria.

Mr. Bond devoted most of the 1960s to the protest movement and activist politics, including campaigns to register black voters.

He prospered on the lecture circuit the rest of his life. He became a regular commentator in print and on television, including as host of “America’s Black Forum,” then the oldest black-owned show in television syndication.

In later years, he taught at Harvard, Williams, Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania.

He is survived by his second wife, Pamela Sue Horowitz, a retired lawyer, and five children, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Giant Negros


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Tales of The End of Segregation – Prince Edward County, Va. Schools

This may seem like ancient history to some folks, but I lived through some of this in an adjoining county – and I’m not retirement age yet.

Desegregation in Virginia, as I as it was in other southern states was a battle. In Prince Edwards County, only about 25 miles from Washington, DC. it extended into the longest battle in the country.

My Mom actually taught at the sister school to this one. It was a one room school, without electricity. She later taught at the Cub Run School, another one room school located on the grounds of what is now the Udvar-Hazy Air Museum adjacent to Dulles Airport from 1949 to 1952.

Desegregation of schools didn’t happen overnight, and some counties actively resisted until the bitter end. There was the requisite violence by the usual suspects, as well as threats and intimidation. One of my cousins lost 4 years of High School because the county just shut all the schools down, instead of desegregating. He would get a GED through a program sponsored by the local churches for black kids caught up in this, because why go back to high school at the age of 18, to graduate at 22? The white folks didn’t suffer, they opened segregated Charter Schools.

The Prince Edward Foundation created a series of private schools to educate the county’s white children in 1959 after shutting down the Public School System in the County. These schools were supported by tuition grants from the state and tax credits from the county. Prince Edward Academy became the prototype for all-white private schools formed to protest school integration.No provision was made for educating the county’s black children. Some got schooling with relatives in nearby communities or at makeshift schools in church basements. Others were educated out of state by groups such as the Society of Friends. In 1963–64, the Prince Edward Free School picked up some of the slack. But some pupils missed part or all of their education for five years.

Not until 1964, when the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed Virginia’s tuition grants to private education, did Prince Edward County reopen its schools, on an integrated basis. This event marked the real end of Massive Resistance.

And you have to wonder why folks my age despise Charter Schools

Prince Edward County’s Long Shadow of Segregation

Among the segregated schools that Ed Peeples photographed in Prince Edward County were the all-black Mission Elementary School (above) and the all-white Green Bay Elementary School (below).

I was sitting in the dark den of the last living founder of the white private school I had attended, an academy established after public schools in my Virginia hometown were closed in 1959 to avoid desegregation.  Having worked as a reporter for years, I was used to uncomfortable conversations. But this one felt different. This conversation was personal.

I wanted to interview Robert E. Taylor about desegregation in Prince Edward County and to find out how he felt about it in 2006, decades later. Weeks before his death, he told me he was still a “segregationist” and expressed no remorse for the school closings. Breathing with the help of an oxygen machine, he used tired stereotypes to describe black teenagers in my hometown as dating white teens, impregnating them, and leaving the teenage girls’ families with “pinto” babies that nobody would want.

Taylor was talking about me. I grew up in this damaged town, but left for the West Coast and married a multiracial man of American-Indian descent. We were thinking about having kids—mixed-race children that Taylor pitied and reviled. I had, on some level, defied him and other white county leaders including my own grandfather by embracing what they most feared. White leaders wanted to protect the integrity of the white race and they had believed that integrating the schools would lead to blacks and whites dating, marrying, and having mixed-race children.

White county leaders in Prince Edward took one of the most dramatic steps in the country to prevent that from happening. Facing a court order to desegregate the public schools, white officials instead voted not to fund them—an option Prince Edward officials had considered for years. A 1951 walkout by black students to protest the conditions at the county’s black high school had resulted in a lawsuit that was later folded into the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education.White leaders worried that their little community, in the heart of Virginia, would be held up as an example to the rest of the nation and required to integrate its schools early. Bolstered by Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr., the powerful Virginia politician who suggested rejecting Brown and the town newspaper, The Farmville Herald, Prince Edward altered the way it funded its schools. By switching to a month-by-month budgeting process, county leaders would be able to cut off funding and shut down the schools quickly if required by the courts to desegregate. Meanwhile, white businessmen made quiet plans to establish a private school for their children.

When the public schools were locked and chained in the summer of 1959, white leaders sprang into action. By the time Labor Day rolled around, the county’s church basements and social clubs had been outfitted with desks that white volunteers made from scrap materials. These schools, funded with a combination of donations and public monies, were far from perfect—tiny classrooms were scattered around the region without cafeterias or playgrounds.  Yet these schools showed the lengths white families were willing to go to avoid having their children attend classes with black students.Black families, meanwhile, debated what to do with their children. No one knew how long the schools would be closed; black leaders didn’t think it would be more than a year or two. Opening another private school would have contradicted what they were trying to accomplish. Some parents who had resources sent their older kids across the state line to a North Carolina college that had agreed to educate some of Prince Edward County’s high-school students. Others asked relatives to take in their children; some even allowed their kids to live with strangers so they could attend school. Some snuck their children over county lines to be educated in adjacent communities. But the vast majority of children stayed home and their only formal education would come in the form of church training centers. There, for a few hours a day, volunteers taught the kids basic skills. Many children simply played or, if they were old enough, went to work in the fields with their parents and pick tobacco. Some would never return to school.

State leaders did not come to the defense of the black children and their families. The Farmville Herald and other newspapers across the state supported the county’s decision. A lawsuit to reopen the schools slowly made its way through the courts, as black children—and some whites—went year after year without educations. It would take another Supreme Court decision to force county leaders to reopen the schools in 1964.

When I was growing up, I knew this story in only the most general of ways. I didn’t have black neighbors, black friends, or black teachers. I hadn’t a clue how the closures had affected the only black person I knew as a child—my family’s housekeeper, Elsie Lancaster. Elsie worked for my grandparents when my mother was a child then worked for my parents for decades, too. She had sent her own daughter Gwen to live with an aunt in Massachusetts when the schools closed. My grandparents never even asked about Gwen after Elsie had accompanied her to Cambridge.

I attended the white academy my grandparents had helped found. I was entering eighth grade when Prince Edward Academy first admitted black students in 1986 in order to have its nonprofit status restored by the federal government. After college, I worked as a journalist, moving to Oregon, California, and Massachusetts. I began to recognize the privileged circumstances in which I had been raised and took an interest in writing about marginalized communities—people of color, immigrants, and those living in poverty. After I met my husband, Jason, and we thought about having children, the story of my hometown took on more meaning. I knew that the history of my hometown would be our kids’ history, too.

A classroom, heated by wood stove in one of the segregated schools for black kids in Prince Edward County

When I delved into Farmville’s past, it became clear that I couldn’t just blame my hometown for the shameful school closures. My family was also at fault. During the course of my research, I discovered that my late grandfather, S.C. Patteson, had been a founding member of the Farmville chapter of the Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberties, which sought to prevent desegregation.

As I worked to describe what had happened in my hometown before I was born, affected students opened up and shared the stories of their childhoods, their wounds still raw. White members of the community—many of whom knew my grandfather—were more reticent to speak with me. By telling the story of my hometown, I was picking at a scab that was never allowed to heal. Even my high school history teacher shut down the conversation, suggesting the story had already been told.

And yet the history of the county is still relevant. Decades later, the impact of those years of missed education can still be felt through the county’s 16-percent illiteracy rate, four points higher than the state average, and 20 percent of the population lives below the poverty level. And the once-closed school district is now a failing system. Declining school enrollment has left it with a steadily falling budget and supervisors have declined to raise taxes to fix the problem. The private school—now renamed and open to students of all races—is still a symbol of segregation to some of those denied an education…(More)…

Pro-Segregation Rally. The Confederate Flag Was Used as Symbol of “Massive Resistance” against Integration of Public Schools During Civil Rights Movement

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Posted by on August 4, 2015 in Black History, Domestic terrorism


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Domestic Terrorism By the “Protectors”…

“We aim to kill segregation or be killed by it.”

Fred Shuttlesworth

The KKK and Jim Crow survived for over 100 years on intimidation. Most people were afraid to speak faring the violent consequences.

It seems that threat hasn’t left this part of Texas in 2015…

After the death of Sandra Bland, a mysterious protest appears

PRARIE VIEW, Texas — The sign was homemade, all but two words written in black on white strips of paper attached to a wrought iron fence facing University Drive, the gateway to Prairie View A&M University.

“Signal lane change or sheriff may kill you,” it said. “Kill you” was written in red.

Sandra Bland had come to the area from Chicago for a job interview on July 9 at Prairie View, a historically black school that was her alma mater. She was stopped the next day by a state trooper for failing to signal near the entrance on University Drive, and then arrested on suspicion of assaulting the officer.

For some, the sign struck a chord.

“It was a comment about what happened,” said Mike James, 54, the former video coordinator for the Prairie View football team.

James said Bland’s traffic stop “made no sense to me. The only reason she changed lanes was to get out of the way” of the trooper. James walked to campus Friday on University Drive so he would pass a memorial erected at the site where she was stopped.

Bland, 28, was found dead in her cell July 13 at the jail run by the Waller County sheriff’s office about 60 miles northwest of Houston, hanging from a partition by a plastic bag. Her death was ruled a suicide in an autopsy released Friday.

A photograph of the sign went viral after it was posted online Tuesday, retweeted thousands of times.

But later Tuesday, the sign had disappeared.

“I don’t know why they took it down,” James said. But then he added, “This is a Democratic, black area surrounded by white Republican people. They’re afraid of the political repercussions.”

The home behind the fence where the sign was posted is like many in the surrounding Alta Vista subdivision: a battered single-story brick ranch house.

The young African American mother who answered the door Friday had red eyes and said she had grown tired of dealing with the sign. She did not want to give her name, worried about retaliation.

When the sign first appeared a week after Bland’s death, she feared for her family’s safety. She was upset at whoever put it there, saying she thought: “You just put a target on our backs.”

She pulled it down. By Tuesday, someone had posted the sign again.

“So I cut it down,” she said.

No one at neighboring businesses seemed to know whose idea the sign was.

“Whoever did it, they’re crying out,” said Audrey Saul, who was cleaning out her Saul’s Wheel’m & Deal antique shop down the street.

Saul, 50, admired the sign-maker’s bravery. But she also understood the fear of the young mother who took it down. “Until people get the fear out of them …,” Saul said as she stood outside her shop in the afternoon heat, shaking her head.

“Let’s move forward and rise up. Exposure is the only thing that’s going to help now,” she said, setting off to ask neighboring businesses and bystanders about the sign.

She tried a barbershop. But the owner had not seen the sign, nor had he ventured out when Bland was stopped across the street, where her memorial now stands at the foot of an oak tree.

“They are so afraid in this town. They don’t want any retaliation. Like the barber said: He didn’t go out,” Saul said as she left.

She tried nearby PV Grocery. The owner had not seen the sign. In the parking lot, she spotted her former brother-in-law, who made some calls to friends around town, but got nowhere.

She called the Rev. Walter Pendleton of Pendleton Chapel Baptist Church in nearby Hempstead, and then walked to the memorial to wait for him, saying, “He probably knows. I bet he did some investigating.”

She passed a small white wood frame church, Hope AME. After the pastor, the Rev. Lenora Dabney, spoke at Bland’s memorial on campus Tuesday, she said, she received threats.

By the time Saul reached the memorial, an older African American man from Georgia was snapping photos with his phone. Bland’s photograph was affixed to the tree trunk, surrounded by fabric roses, many yellow, and a heart-shaped barrier of white stones.

David Levell, 62, of Atlanta had come to visit his grandson at the university, and brought him to see the memorial.

“They talk about it all over Georgia,” the postal worker said of the case, adding that it resonates with him.

“I’ve been pulled over myself, stopped unnecessarily. I’ve had them stop me and ask where I’m going” — even in his postal uniform, he said.

“I think he abused his authority,” Saul said of the trooper.

“I do too,” Levell said. But, he added, “nothing will come of it.”

Just then, Pendleton and his wife arrived in matching red shorts and white T-shirts. No word on the sign-maker, he said: Residents are concerned about speaking up, even leaders.

“We couldn’t get these local pastors here,” Pendleton said.

“People are so afraid,” Saul said.

“They can’t shut me up!” Pendleton said, adding that he wants the district attorney removed, accusing him of selective prosecution.

Saul crossed the street to question a man in a Chicago Bulls jersey smoking in front of Amistad Bookplace. Chris Benard, 34, never saw the sign, but he agreed with its message.

“People got to realize we are all targets,” said Benard, who grew up in South Los Angeles and now works as a cook at the university.

Like others here, he doesn’t trust local and state investigators who, he said, “are going to protect their own.” Saul told him she’s waiting for the results of an independent autopsy the family’s lawyer has said they will pursue.

But even with an independent autopsy, Benard said, Bland still “can’t speak for herself.”

“A lot of the truth we won’t ever know,” he said.

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Posted by on July 25, 2015 in Domestic terrorism


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Ida B. Wells

Google’s search art was in tribute to Ida B. Wells. If you had gone to the search page, you will see this image –

Fearless Journalist And All-Round Badass Ida B. Wells Honored With Google Doodle

Doodle celebrates the civil rights activist’s 153rd birthday.

When Ida B. Wells was 22, she was asked by a conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat on the train to a white man. She refused, and the conductor attempted to forcibly drag her out of her seat.

Wells wouldn’t budge.

“The moment he caught hold of my arm I fastened my teeth in the back of his hand,” shewrote in her autobiography. “I had braced my feet against the seat in front and was holding to the back, and as he had already been badly bitten he didn’t try it again by himself. He went forward and got the baggageman and another man to help him and of course they succeeded in dragging me out.”

The year was 1884 — about 70 years before Rosa Parks would refuse to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.

Ida B. Wells from the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery

Wells’ life was full of such moments of courage and principle. Born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862, Wells was a vocal civil rights activist, suffragist and journalist who dedicated her life to fighting inequality.

On July 16, Wells’ 153rd birthday, Google honored the “fearless and uncompromising” woman with a Doodle of her typing away on typewriter, a piece of luggage by her side.

“She was a fierce opponent of segregation and wrote prolifically on the civil injustices that beleaguered her world. By twenty-five she was editor of the Memphis-based Free Speech and Headlight, and continued to publicly decry inequality even after her printing press was destroyed by a mob of locals who opposed her message,” Google wrote in tribute of Wells.

The journalist would go on to work for Chicago’s Daily Inter Ocean and the Chicago Conservator, one of the oldest African-American newspapers in the country. As Google notes, she “also travelled and lectured widely, bringing her fiery and impassioned rhetoric all over the world.”

Wells married Chicago attorney Ferdinand Barrett in 1895. She insisted on keeping her own name, becoming Ida Wells-Barnett — a radical move for the time. The couple had four children.

Wells died in Chicago of kidney failure in 1931. She was 68.

Every year around her birthday, Holly Springs celebrates Wells’ life with a weekend festival. Mayor Kelvin Buck said at this year’s event that people often overlook “the historic significance of Ida B. Wells in the history of the civil rights struggle in the United States,” per the South Reporter.

The South is brutalized to a degree not realized by its own inhabitants, and the very foundation of government, law and order, are imperilled.

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
Ida B. Wells-Barnett




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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Black History, Giant Negros


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The New Southern Myth

The new version of the Southern Myth goes something like this –

Whitewashing the Democratic Party’s History

The Democrats have been sedulously rewriting history for decades. Their preferred version pretends that all of the Democratic racists and segregationists left their party and became Republicans starting in the 1960s. How convenient. If it were true that the South began to turn Republican due to Lyndon Johnson’s passage of the Civil Rights Act, you would expect that the Deep South, the states most associated with racism, would have been the first to move. That’s not what happened. The first southern states to trend Republican were on the periphery: North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee and Florida. (George Wallace lost these voters in his 1968 bid.) The voters who first migrated to the Republican Party were suburban, prosperous “New South” types. The more Republican the South has become the less racist…

Speaking of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, let’s review (since they don’t teach this in schools): The percentage of House Democrats who supported the legislation? 61 percent. House Republicans? 80 percent. In the Senate, 69 percent of Democrats voted yes, compared with 82 percent of Republicans. (Barry Goldwater, a supporter of the NAACP, voted no because he thought it was unconstitutional.)…

Amusing. But, if you control for region on voting for the Civil Rights Act, you get

281 out of 313 Representatives from Union States voted yes (90%)

8 of 102 from former confederate states voted yes (8%)

72 of 78 Senators from Union States voted yes (92%)

1 of 22 Senators from former confederate states voted yea (5%)…

Which is the Party of the South now?

Here is a hint…

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Posted by on June 27, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life


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