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Tag Archives: civil rights

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.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in Domestic terrorism, The New Jim Crow

 

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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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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Black History, Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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Some Issues With Martin Luther King Memorial Surface

Taking a few words at their meaning, out of context with the events, or in some cases hundreds of words surrounding them is a recipe for disaster. In particular, the Rev. Martin Luther King, whose speeches and collective will driven by the righteousness of our cause shook our national psyche to it’s very foundations, left us with a number or speeches and written words left us with a number of “quotable moments” which cannot be distilled without context.

My parents, being educators collected a number of King’s Speeches and much of his oratory on old 33 1/3 RPM records allowing us to go back and review and rehear his speeches, discussions, and debates again and again. I would guess that well North of several thousand published works document the Civil Rights period, making it, WWII, and the Great Depression the most documented and detailed events of the past century.

So it is a little distressing when they get it wrong on the Memorial…

At King ceremony, a chance to bend toward justice

 

The arc of a mistake is long, and it now stretches from the Oval Office over to the Mall.

An error has been etched in marble on the grand Martin Luther King Jr. memorial that was to be dedicated Sunday, on the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Some of King’s speeches and writings have been inscribed in the memorial. But one of the sayings on the wall by the Tidal Basin is incorrect — or incomplete — in its attribution.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

According to David Remnick’s biography of Obama, that is the president’s “favorite quotation.” Obama brought the idea back into present-day parlance and even had it sewn into the rug in the Oval Office when he redecorated last year. But as I wrote on this page last September, King is not the source of that quote. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Black History, News, The Post-Racial Life

 

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“The Problem” Rockwell Painting Now Hangs in White House

This image, done by famous American Painter, Norman Rockwell remains as one of the most poignant and powerful pieces done about the Civil Rights struggle in America.

Not sure why so many are trying to make a big deal out of this, other than the fact it demonstrates how far backward we, as a country, have slid since Raygun.

Norman Rockwell?s "The Problem We All Live With" / AL

Rockwell painting hangs in White House

Famous Rockwell painting in White House

All this - so one little girl could go to school...

Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting “The Problem We All Live With” is hanging temporarily in the White House at the request of President Barack Obama. Executives from the Norman Rockwell Museum, where the painting is usually displayed, visited the White House and Obama last week to view the painting in a West Wing hallway near the Oval Office.

Obama requested the painting, which depicts a black child being escorted to school by U.S. marshals, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ruby Bridges’ historic walk Nov. 14, 1960, integrating the William Frantz public school in New Orleans. It inspired Rockwell’s bold illustration for the Jan. 14, 1964, issue of “Look” magazine.

Rudy Bridges Hall, who serves on the board of the Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, Mass., also visited the White House, met Obama and stood before the painting.

“I was about 18 or 19 years old the first time that I actually saw it,” she said. “It confirmed what I had been thinking all along — that this was very important, and you did this, and it should be talked about.

“At that point in time that’s what the country was going through, and here was a man who had been doing lots of work — painting family images — and all of the sudden decided, ‘This is what I am going to do. It’s wrong, and I’m going to say that it’s wrong.'”

“The Problem We All Live With” was the first painting purchased by the Rockwell museum in 1975. Support by the Henry Luce Foundation made the White House loan possible.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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5 NOPD Officers Guilty in Katrina Murders

danziger-defendants.jpg

Five current or former New Orleans police officers were convicted in the Danziger Bridge murder case, and subsequent cover up. They are, from top left: Kenneth Bowen, Robert Faulcon, Robert Gisevius, Arthur Kaufman and Anthony Villavaso.

The wheels of Justice turn slow, and they are often out of alignment, and way too often can be bought –

But every once in a while they actually produce justice…

5 NOPD officers guilty in post-Katrina Danziger Bridge shootings, cover-up

A jury this morning convicted all five New Orleans police officers accused in the Danziger Bridgeshootings, which took place amid the chaos after Hurricane Katrina and claimed the lives of two civilians, and a cover-up of startling scope that lasted almost five years.

The verdicts were a huge victory for federal prosecutors, who won on virtually every point, save for their contention that the shootings amounted to murder. The jury rejected that notion, finding that the officers violated the victims’ civil rights, but that their actions did not constitute murder.

Sentencing for the five officers, all of them likely facing lengthy prison terms, has been set for Dec. 14 before U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt.

Four of the five officers — Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso — have been in custody since their arraignment.

The fifth, retired Sgt. Arthur “Archie” Kaufman, who was not involved in the shootings but headed the police investigation into them, remains free on bail.

In remarks on the courthouse steps shortly after the verdicts were rendered, lead prosecutor Barbara “Bobbi” Bernstein said she was “in awe” of the relatives of the bridge shooting victims. Without their persistence, she said, the truth about the incident would never come to light.

Lance Madison, whose brother, Ronald, was shot and killed on the bridge, and who was jailed for allegedly shooting at police, thanked the jury and the federal authorities who brought the case, while noting he will never get his brother back.

“We’re thankful for closure after six long years of waiting for justice,” Madison said.

The landmark civil-rights case — one of four major federal cases involving use of force by New Orleans police to result in indictments so far — has been closely watched around the nation.

Because of its sheer magnitude, the Danziger case was the most high-stakes of the nine civil-rights probes into the NOPD the Justice Department has confirmed. Before today’s verdicts, five other former officers, all of whom testified during the six-week trial, had already pleaded guilty to various roles in the shootings and the subsequent cover-up.

The two other cases to go to trial so far — involving the deaths of Henry Glover and Raymond Robair at the hands of police — both resulted in convictions, although two officers accused of different roles in the Glover case were acquitted, and a third officer who was convicted recently had that verdict vacated.

While today’s verdicts close the book on most aspects of the Danziger case, one officer charged in the cover-up still faces charges: retired Sgt. Gerard Dugue, who is set to be tried Sept. 26…

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Domestic terrorism, News, The New Jim Crow

 

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Rosa Parks Papers Reveal Rape Attempt

Rosa Parks was a prolific writer,  keeping copious notes on the events of the day, as well as her experiences. Historians reviewing her papers have come up with a few surprises…

Rosa Parks Auction

Rosa Parks essay reveals rape attempt

Long before Rosa Parks was hailed as the “mother of the civil rights movement,” she wrote a detailed and harrowing account of nearly being raped by a white neighbor who employed her as a housekeeper in 1931.

The six-page essay, written in her own hand many years after the incident, is among thousands of her personal items currently residing in the Manhattan warehouse and cramped offices of Guernsey’s Auctioneers, which has been selected by a Michigan court to find an institution to buy and preserve the complete archive.

The Associated Press was provided with some samples of the documents in the archive, including portions of the essay. Archivists had reviewed the documents for Guernsey’s and provided descriptions of their contents.

Civil rights historian Danielle McGuire said she had never before heard of the attempted rape of Parks and called the find among Parks’ papers astounding.

It helps explain what triggered Parks’ lifelong campaign against the ritualistic rape of black women by white men, said McGuire, whose recent book “At the Dark End of the Street” examines how economic intimidation and sexual violence were used to derail the freedom movement and how it went unpunished during the Jim Crow era.

“I thought it was because of the stories that she had heard. But this gives a much more personal context to that,” said McGuire, an assistant professor of history at Wayne State University in Detroit. Her book recounts Parks’ role in investigating for the NAACP the case of Recy Taylor, a young sharecropper raped by a group of white men in 1944.

Of her own experience, Parks wrote, “He offered me a drink of whiskey, which I promptly and vehemently refused. . He moved nearer to me and put his hand on my waist. I was very frightened by now.”

“He liked me. .. he didn’t want me to be lonely and would I be sweet to him. He had money to give me for accepting his attentions,” she wrote.

“I was ready to die but give my consent never. Never, never.”

Most people know the story of Parks, a black, middle-aged seamstress who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955. Guernsey’s President Arlan Ettinger said her personal papers reveal a much more complex individual, one who spent a lifetime fighting for racial equality and against the sexual violence of black women.

Parks is credited with inspiring the civil rights movement with her solitary act of defiance on Dec. 1, 1955, that led to the Supreme Court outlawing segregation on buses. She received the nation’s two highest honors in her lifetime, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.

She died in 2005 at age 92, leaving the trove of personal correspondence, papers relating to her work for the Montgomery branch of the NAACP, tributes from presidents and world leaders, school books, family bibles, clothing, furniture and more – about 8,000 items in all.

“It is wonderful and breathtaking,” Ettinger said. “It will be up to the institution that ends up with it to make this material known to the world.” …

 

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Black History

 

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Another Civil Rights Era Murder Solved?

This one apparently solved by the work of a local newspaper. Morris may have been murdered by the KKK for nothing other than the perspicacity of being a black man operating a successful business with both black and white customers.

Frank Morris (in the apron and visor) is seen standing in front of his shoe shop in the 1950s. He was killed when his shoe shop burned down in Ferriday, La., in 1964.

Frank Morris was in the Apron and visor in the middle of the group standing in front of his store

 

Paper names ex-Klansman in civil rights murder

Early on the morning of December 10, 1964, Frank Morris ran out of his shoe store, his clothes and skin on fire.

People who saw him in the hospital afterward said the African-American businessman was so badly burned they didn’t recognize him.

“Only the bottom of his feet weren’t burned. He was horrible to look at,” said the Rev. Robert Lee Jr., now 96.

Morris survived for four days before dying — long enough to tell the FBI that two men had broken into his store while he slept, smashed windows, doused the place in gasoline and told him: “Get back in there, nigger.”

Locals in Ferriday, the small Louisiana town where Morris lived and died, remember him as having both white and black customers, which was rare for black businesses in the segregated South in the days before civil rights. He would come out of his store onto the sidewalk so white female customers wouldn’t have to go inside alone.

No one has ever been charged with killing him. But Wednesday, more than 46 years after his death at age 51, a local newspaper has named two men it believes were part of a Ku Klux Klan “wrecking crew” that torched his store and murdered him.

One, Arthur Spencer, is still alive. The second, O.C. “Coonie” Poissot, died in 1992.

The Concordia Sentinel, based in Ferriday, reports Spencer’s son and the brother of his ex-wife both say Spencer told them he was involved in the killing.

Spencer’s ex-wife, Brenda Rhodes, says Poissot told her that he and Spencer were on the wrecking crew that burned Morris’s store.

“It came at a time of great lawlessness in this parish, when the Klan was in control of this parish — or if not in control, a great influence,” said Sentinel editor Stanley Nelson, using the Louisiana term for county.

The newspaper’s sources all indicated that the Klan wrecking crew didn’t necessarily expect Morris to be in the store when they burned it.

Spencer’s former brother-in-law, Bill Frasier, said he’d once asked Spencer if he ever killed anyone.

“We did accidentally one time,” Spencer said, according to Frasier.

Sentinel editor Nelson said many racially motivated killings in that era were done by people who might not have planned to commit murder — but should have known what they were doing.

“Almost all of the people that were killed in those days, no one set out to kill,” he said. Some beatings got too violent, for example, he said.

But, he added, “When you go to burn a building, you run the risk that a person is going to be there.” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Black History

 

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