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A Bit of History – How Kenny Washington Integrated the NFL in 1946

My local NFL Team, the Washington Redskins was the last NFL Team to integrate, as as such were perennial losers. They even passed on  drafting Jim Brown, who was one of the greatest running backs in league history. As such a lot of black folks in the Washington, DC area rooted for the Baltimore Colts of Johnny Unitas and John Mackey. The Colts had integrated their team in 1953, with George Taliaferro, Claude “Buddy” Young and Mel Embree.

70% of the players in the NFL today are black. Which provides an interestin context to the Chumph’s racist attacks on the players.

When and how did the NFL integrate? Well, it started in 1946 with Kenny Washington and Woody Strode (of movie fame).

Interesting is the history of “The Forgotten Four”, who integrated the NFL before Jackie Robinson integrated MLB.

The following provides a link to the full Documentary, which is free to watch.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in Black History, Giant Negros

 

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How the Second Black Wall Street Died

Tulsa, Oklahoma was considered by many black historians to be the first black Wall Street. It had black owned banks, homes, businesses, and homes. It was destroyed in an act of white genocide when white rioters attacked and burned the town, killed hundreds of black residents, and destroyed the town beyond any hope of recovery.

The second Black Wall Street was Richmond, Virginia. Home of the first black millionaire, Maggie Walker. It met a far different fate – being a victim of the end of Segregation.

The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond was one of the first black-owned banks in the United States.

The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street

Richmond was once the epicenter of black finance. What happened there explains the decline of black-owned banks across the country.

On April, 3rd, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in Memphis. In it, he urged African Americans to put their money in black-owned banks. It wasn’t his most famous line, but the message was clear: “We’ve got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in the Tri-State Bank. We want a ‘bank-in’ movement in Memphis … We begin the process of building a greater economic base.”

The next day, King was assassinated, and his hope of harnessing black wealth remains unfulfilled. Before integration, African Americans in cities like Richmond, Chicago, and Atlanta relied on black community banks, which were largely responsible for providing loans and boosting black businesses, churches, and neighborhoods. After desegregation, black wealth started to hemorrhage from these communities: White-owned banks were forced to open their doors to African Americans and the money that once flowed into black banks and back out to black communities ended up on Wall Street and other banks farther away.

“We started to lose a lot of our businesses and support for our businesses,” says Michael Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, a trade group representing nearly 200 minority and women-owned banks across the United States. “That was the toxic side of integration.” The financial meltdown of 2007 wiped out 40 percent of African American wealth in the United States, killing off many of these already-struggling community banks (they were not part of the big Wall Street bailout). Tri-State Bank in Memphis still exists, but it’s among the few that survived. Only 25 black-owned banks remain in the United States, according to the latest data from the FDIC, compared to 45 a decade ago. At their height, there were more than 100, says Grant.

The decline raises the question of whether these niche banks still have a place in modern America. I visited the Jackson Ward neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia, once dubbed America’s “Black Wall Street” and “the birthplace of black capitalism.” At the turn of the 20th century, it was one of the most prosperous black communities in the United States, with thriving theaters, stores, and medical practices. Richmond is where the first black banks opened, including one chartered to a former schoolteacher named Maggie Walker—the daughter of a freed slave. The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank, which Walker opened in 1903, made loans to qualified borrowers who were shunned by traditional banks, such as black doctors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. St. Luke’s would eventually merge with other black banks and become Consolidated Bank and Trust. By the end of the 20th century, the bank was the last black-owned bank in Richmond and was struggling to compete with much bigger banks downtown. It had several troubled loans on its books and couldn’t raise enough capital to stay afloat. In 2005, a Washington, D.C.-based bank bought it, then a West Virginia-based bank took over in 2011 and renamed it Premier Bank. The last bank of “Black Wall Street” was gone.

Premier’s president, Darryl “Rick” Winston, says he too wonders what role black banks will play in the future. He once reviewed loans at Premier Bank when it was still the black-owned Consolidated Bank and Trust. At one point, he says, the bank had $111 million in assets and seven branches. Winston, who is African American, left for a consulting job in 2000, and returned last year to take over as regional president after the buyout. Winston drove me around Jackson Ward, pointing out the shuttered businesses that once made Richmond a bastion of black wealth and culture. “Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong stayed there,” he said, pointing to the former site of the Eggleston Hotel, one of the few upscale lodgings for blacks in the Jim Crow south. As we drove by, a construction crew was busy building a mixed-used complex that will house 31 apartments, 10 townhomes, several stores, and restaurants.

Two blocks away, Premier Bank remains in the same brick building as its predecessor. Much of the bank’s staff is the same. Winston says it’s important to make sure his employees reflect the community they serve, even if it’s no longer a black-owned institution. That’s in part because African American borrowers still face immense bias in the banking and lending industry, he says. “It’s more subtle. A black person goes into a mainstream bank and the loan officer might think of rejecting their application before it’s even complete,” he says.

Racial bias in the lending industry remains all too common, despite legislation aimed at preventing it. In 1992, a landmark study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston examined 4,500 mortgage-loan applications and discovered that black borrowers were twice as likely to get rejected for loans than white borrowers with similar credit histories. More recently, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts found that banks in Boston and across the state of Massachusetts continue to reject black and Latino borrowers for home mortgages at a much higher rate than whites….Read the Rest Here

The author is partially correct. The partial end of segregation did lead to black folks putting their money into white banks. White owned banks offered services, and capabilities the smaller black owned banks couldn’t. But the real destruction of community banking started under Raygun with “deregulation”. the destruction of “brick and mortar laws”, and the changes in the interstate banking laws which allowed the big banks to spread like wildfire across the country, buying out of shuttering small banks.

Now we have banks which are “too big to fail”, and a credit system which segregates by other means.

“deregulation” and “privatization” are nothing more than another means of domestic terrorism and financial genocide against minorities.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2016 in Black History, Domestic terrorism

 

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The Story of Longtown, Ohio – A Town Where Color Didn’t Matter

There were two sizeable Tri-Racial communities in Ohio – this is the story of one, and efforts to preserve it’s history. Longtown was “Post-racial”…Before anyone else in America came up with the idea.

 

An Ohio town where races have mixed freely for more than 200 years

Amid the corn and soybean fields of western Ohio lies a progressive crossroads where black and white isn’t black and white, where the concept of race has been turned upside down, where interracial marriages have been the norm for nearly two centuries. The heavy boots of Jim Crow have never walked here.

Founded by James Clemens, a freed slave from Virginia who became a prosperous farmer, Longtown was a community far ahead of its time, a bold experiment in integration.

Now that history is in danger of being lost. Longtime Longtown residents are dying, and whites are moving in and buying property. Many historically black-owned buildings have already been torn down or remodeled.

But Clemens’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandson is working to save his family’s heritage. Though his eyes are blue and his skin is pale, Connor Keiser, 22, said that his childhood is filled with memories of “cousins of all colors” playing in the pastures at the family farm.

“We were a typical Longtown family. We all looked different, and we were taught that color didn’t matter,” Keiser said. “As long as I have anything to do with it, Longtown won’t die.”

Largely because of Keiser’s efforts, the National Park Service, the National Register of Historic Places and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center have recognized Longtown as a place noteworthy for its early embrace of racial integration and educational opportunities for blacks. But the town’s institutions are in peril.

Longtown’s former school, the Union Literary Institute, founded in 1845, has a largely forgotten history as one of the nation’s first integrated establishments of higher education. Notable alumni include the first black man to serve in the U.S. Senate, Hiram R. Revels of Mississippi. The school, which closed in 1914, fell into disrepair and until recently was used to store farm equipment.

The original Clemens farmstead is in better shape; the two-story brick farmhouse, built around 1850, still has its original fixtures and woodwork. Although the National Park Service has dispensed $25,000 to restore the property, Keiser estimated that the project will require an additional $100,000.

George Clemens and wife

So Keiser has hit the road to appeal for money. He’s been drawing big crowds to area libraries with his presentation about the racial harmony of Longtown and the desperate need to preserve it.

“I don’t think the public was aware this was here,” Keiser said. “Black history is not talked about a lot in general, and I think [the fact] that we have that kind of history means something to a lot of people.”

The racial harmony of Longtown is the legacy of Clemens, who found his way here in 1818 and purchased 390 acres — probably with the aid of abolitionist Quakers, sympathetic Native Americans and, by some accounts, his former owner in Rockingham County, Va.

Clemens was of a mixed-race ancestry — black,white and Native American. So was his wife, Sophia. They served as a beacon to other integrationists, as well as runaway and freed slaves looking for succor and education during and after the Civil War.

The couple became conductors for the Underground Railroad and — while the rest of the nation endured Reconstruction and Jim Crow laws — built a mixed-race town that numbered close to 1,000 people at its peak in the 1880s.

But Longtown began to falter after World War II, when residents were forced to seek help from bankers to modernize their farms.

“When we began to need machinery and bank loans to expand and grow and become competitive, that’s when there was trouble,” said Carl Westmoreland, a senior historian with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center who has visited Longtown.

“Banks would not help black farmers purchase new equipment. In Longtown, people gradually had to go to industrial centers for jobs. And if you are not part of the day-to-day energy of the community, it begins to decline.”

Today, only a handful of families remain. But Longtown lasted longer than other integrated rural villages once scattered across the Ohio plains.

Clemens Home, now Abandoned

“Because Longtown’s population was so much larger than others like it, it took longer for it to whittle down,” said Roane Smothers, a distant cousin of Keiser’s and an active Longtown preservationist.

“And because Longtown was so much larger, more structures have survived,” Smothers said. “As these other communities faded away, white folks bought the land and structures, and many times all that was left was the church.”

A junior majoring in international studies at nearby Wright State University, Keiser seems an unlikely savior for this blink of a town. Unfailingly polite, possessing a bright white smile, Keiser looks as Caucasian as the rest of Darke County, which was 97.7 percent white at the last census.

But Keiser doesn’t consider himself white. Nor does he consider himself black. Instead he calls himself by the dated and, to some, offensive term “colored.”

“I know who I am and what I am. I may look white, my appearance is white, but my insides are not. I know I am not white,” Keiser said. He makes it a point to tell anyone who will listen about his black ancestry. “I tell everyone about it, whether they want to hear it or not. I am so proud of it.”

The issue of race has long perplexed America. In the past year, the racial identities of high-profile black activists such as former Spokane NAACP chairman Rachel Dolezal and Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King have come under scrutiny. If birth certificates tell the story, both Dolezal and King are Caucasians trying to pass as black.

From the perspective of his own racial heritage, Keiser finds them “pretty cool. You don’t hear of many white people wanting to be black,” he said.

Alisann Clemens Smookler with Daughters

Not many people anywhere these days want to be called “colored.” But it’s common in Longtown.

Take Edith Perkins, 75, who also looks white. For 30 years, she worked in human resources at Alcoa in nearby Richmond, Ind., where prejudice surfaced as soon as people learned she was from Longtown.

“I was never really accepted by the whites, who viewed me as black. Nor was I really accepted by the blacks, who viewed me as white,” Perkins said. “So I ate lunch by myself for 30 years.”

Patricia Hope, 82, has snow-white hair and a fair complexion and also identifies as “colored.” She said her family has a long mixed-race lineage in Longtown.

“That’s why we worship in this church, to keep our little crossroads alive,” Hope said, referring to the Bethel Long Wesleyan Church, which still holds services every Sunday. This Sunday, the church will celebrate its 159th annual homecoming with a potluck and picnic. Every year, the event becomes larger, as former residents come back to reconnect with their heritage.

“This place is all we know,” Hope said.

Her husband, Thomas, died in 2013. One by one, the repositories of Longtown’s legacy and its stories are passing to the grave. Keiser grew up steeped in the town’s oral history, stories passed down from his great-grandfather, Maze Clemens.

“He was the keeper of Longtown’s history, and my biggest hope is to make him proud by doing the same,” Keiser said.

While Longtown itself was a haven, a refuge from prejudice, sometimes biases from the outside world would creep in. The Ku Klux Klan would visit periodically. Keiser said his great-great-great-great-grandfather was murdered by the Klan. As recently as 2003, racist notes were left on the door of the church, Keiser said. In nearby Hollansburg, Ohio, Confederate flags flutter casually from many front porches.

“If the rest of the world got along as well as we do here in Longtown, there wouldn’t be problems,” said James Jett, 90. His dark skin, smooth despite his age, contrasts with his wife Brenda’s much lighter complexion.

Jett grew wistful remembering Longtown’s heyday, pointing to cornfields that were once filled with houses. And he remembers the Tigers, the town’s semi-professional baseball team, which sent many players to the Negro leagues. The Tigers’ appearance often confounded opponents.

“The Tigers showed up to play a team in Indiana, and they said, ‘Where’s the black team?’ And they responded, ‘We are the black team,’ ” laughed Brenda Jett, who declined to give her age.

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

 

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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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That Post-Racial America

The demographics of the United States are changing rapidly, making a number of assumptions and stereotypes utterly wrong.  Among them –

You will never see this on Faux news but – More poor now live in the suburbs than in urban environments.

Low-density suburbs

 

The United States is no longer the “Land of Opportunity” – economic upward mobility between generations is lower in the United States than in Canada, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Norway, Finland, and France. British kids born to fathers in the bottom fifth of U.K. national earnings have less than a 30 percent chance of ending up in that earning group themselves, while U.S. kids have more than a 40 percent likelihood of remaining stuck at the bottom.

Worse – By international standards, the United States has an unusually low level of intergenerational mobility: our parents’ income is highly predictive of our incomes as adults. Intergenerational mobility in the United States is lower than in France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Among high-income countries for which comparable estimates are available, only the United Kingdom had a lower rate of mobility than the United States.

However – in this here “post racial” America, where we are in vast majority doing worse than our parents…

Segregation Drops to Lowest Level in a Century

America’s neighborhoods became more integrated last year than during any time in at least a century as a rising black middle class moved into fast-growing white areas in the South and West.

Still, ethnic segregation in many parts of the U.S. persisted, particularly for Hispanics.

Segregation among blacks and whites fell in roughly three-quarters of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas as the two racial groups spread more evenly between inner cities and suburbs, according to recent census data.

The findings are expected to be reinforced with fresh census data being released Tuesday on race, migration and economics. The new information is among the Census Bureau’s most detailed releases yet for neighborhoods.

“It’s taken a Civil Rights movement and several generations to yield noticeable segregation declines for blacks,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who reviewed the census data. “But the still-high levels of black segregation in some areas, coupled with uneven clustering patterns for Hispanics, suggest that the idea of a post-racial America has a way to go.”

The race trends also hint at the upcoming political and legal wrangling over the 2010 census figures, to be published in the spring. The data will be used to reallocate congressional districts, drawing new political boundaries. New Hispanic-dominated districts could emerge, particularly for elected positions at the state and local level. States are required under the Voting Rights Act to respect the interests of minority voting blocs, which tend to support Democratic candidates.

Milwaukee, Detroit and Syracuse, N.Y., were among the most segregated, all part of areas in the Northeast and Midwest known by some demographers as the “ghetto belt.” On the other end of the scale, cities that were least likely to be segregated included Fort Myers, Fla., Honolulu, Atlanta and Miami…

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2010 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Shame (1962) / William Shatner / Historical Film on Racism In The South

A 1962 Movie about the South, also labeled in another release as “The Intruder” is an examination of the integration period and people’s attitudes. With William Shatner, who plays a character sent to a Southern Town to stir up the passions of whites against integration.

The similarity between the people’s attitudes, how they deal with the world around them, and their belief set really hasn’t changed for some folks – most notably the farright radical Republican Tea Party groups, and some of those most vocal in opposing President Obama.

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