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Leaving Jim Crow – The Great Migration and The Chicago Defender

Great article! It talks about the role of the black press in initiating and sustaining the black migration from the south between 1915 and 1930 – and how the South’s Jim Crow Laws and Lynching fueled that migration.

‘Bound for the Promised Land’

African Americans devised a mass exodus from the Jim Crow South,largely at the urging of The Chicago Defender

In the spring of 1916, incumbent President Woodrow Wilson began a difficult presidential campaign. Wilson was facing a reunified Republican Party and an electorate skeptical of his pledge to keep the United States out of World War I—he was also facing obstacles from the African American electorate, which though small could be decisive in several key states. During his first run for office in 1912, leaders from the African American community had supported Wilson even though he was the son of a Confederate chaplain who, as a historian, had helped manufacture revisionist histories of the post–Civil War years. But black voters now felt betrayed by Wilson’s conduct as president: He segregated the federal government for the first time ever, and he screened the racist film Birth of a Nation in the White House.

Jacob Lawrence

The Chicago Defender, the nation’s leading African American newspaper at the time, was all too happy to heap on the criticism, declaring Wilson a “colossal failure” and challenging his foreign policy—both over the invasion of Haiti the previous year and for sending troops into Mexico to pursue revolutionary leader Pancho Villa. “If President Woodrow Wilson is so anxious to teach the world good morals,” read one editorial on the subject, “let him begin by placing the U.S. Army in the South; institute a chase of the lynchers as earnestly as the one he is now carrying on in Mexico.”

By most measures, the total number of lynchings was, in fact, down from prior years; it was the severity of the incidents that had increased. In May, The Defender printed a letter from a white resident of Waco, Texas, a witness to the horrific murder of a 17-year-old named Jesse Washington. The letter writer was outraged by what he had seen: A mob of “fifteen to twenty-thousand men and women intermingled with children and babies in their arms” gathered to torture Washington and then burn him at the stake. Accused of the murder of a white woman several miles from his home, Washington was convicted by a jury despite scant evidence. Then, as happened all too often, Washington was dragged from the courtroom, hung from a tree, and burned on a funeral pyre. “The crowd was made up of some of the supposed best citizens of the South,” the letter writer noted. “Doctors, lawyers, business men and Christians (posing as such, however). After the fire subsided, the mob was not satisfied: They hacked with pen knives the fingers, the toes, and pieces of flesh from the body, carrying them as souvenirs to their automobiles.” The correspondent went on to conclude that it was absurd to send soldiers to Mexico “when the troops are needed right here in the South.”

This from a collection of letters from the University of Chicago about the Great Migration

See the UC Collection Here

For several years, The Defender had demanded federal intervention as the only meaningful solution to the brutality of Southern whites. But that summer, as hundreds of African Americans arrived at Chicago’s train stations every week,The Defender’s position on the migration northward evolved. In August, under the headline “Southerners Plan to Stop Exodus,” the newspaper reported that recruiters for one of the Pennsylvania-based railroad lines had convinced all of the workers on one steamship line in Jacksonville, Florida, to quit and move to the North en masse, leaving the steamship owners suddenly without a crew. The Jacksonville City Council responded by passing a law requiring labor agents from Northern companies to pay $1,000 for a license.

Incidents like this convinced The Defender’s publisher, Robert Abbott, that migration was at once an effective tactic for hurting the white South and a real opportunity for African Americans to live in freedom. Abbott had experienced discrimination from labor unions himself when he first arrived in Chicago from Georgia less than 20 years earlier, and he had been reluctant to invite his fellows to the city if there were no real job opportunities.  He became positively enthusiastic about migration, however, when he saw the mounting evidence that the departure of African Americans was negatively affecting the Southern economy.

In November, as Woodrow Wilson won a narrow reelection victory, The Defender’s editorial page published “Bound for the Promised Land,” by M. Ward, a then-unknown poet whose portrait photo shows a nattily dressed young man with a satin bow tie. The poem reflects the experiences of those who had already migrated north, found jobs, and sent for their wives, as well as of the Southerners’ efforts to ban the work of Northern labor agents:

From Florida’s stormy banks I’ll go, I’ll bid the South goodbye; No longer will they treat me so, And knock me in the eye,

Hasten on my dark brother, Duck the Jim Crow law.

No Crackers North to slap your mother, or knock you on the jaw.

No Cracker there to seduce your sister, nor to hang you to a limb.

And you’re not obliged to call ’em “Mister,” nor skin ’em back at him.

The poem was so popular that the issue sold out, prompting The Defender to reprint it a few months later. “This poem caused more men to leave the Southland than any other effort,” the newspaper proudly noted….Read the Rest Here

Albert A. Smith “The Reason” Featured in The CRISIS in March 1920

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2016 in Black History

 

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Police Shooting in Georgia – Half of Victims Unarmed or Shot in the Back

Incredible statistic. Basically Ga cops are shooting people regardless of the situation, and the state is doing nothing…As usual.

The New Jim Crow – Lynching by Cop.

The Old Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow

Over half of blacks in Georgia who are shot by police are unarmed or shot in the back: report

An analysis of records in Georgia found that over half of blacks shot by police were either unarmed or were shot in the back.

According to a report compiled by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Channel 2 Action News, two out of five whites shot by police in Georgia since 2010 were shot in the back or were unarmed. For black Georgians, that number rises to three in five.

The investigation found that police shot blacks at twice the rate of whites when the percentage of the population was taken into account. At the same time, 78 percent of the officers who pulled their triggers were white.

The analysis found that in 19 percent of all black shootings and 16 percent of all white shootings, the suspect was unarmed. Reporters found at least 70 cases since 2010 where suspects suffered bullet wounds to their backside. In 11 cases, the suspect was both unarmed and shot in the back.

“So many of these cases involve somebody being shot in the back. It’s very, very troubling,” police shootings expert Philip Stinson of Bowling Green State University told the AJC. “I can think of some very, very limited circumstances where it would be legally appropriate, but it’s rare circumstances … You can’t just shoot somebody that’s running away from you.”

According to the report, 20 of the officers involved in fatal sootings had been previously disciplined. The state reportedly has no system in place to track police shootings statewide.

Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Frank Rotondo insisted that law enforcement officials knew that the situation had to change.

“We already recognize there is a problem,” Rotondo explained. “We are not blind to the idea that there is a problem in our country. And we are not blind to the idea that we have a lot of shootings that occur in Georgia.”

Lawmakers are expected to debate changes to a law next year that currently gives police officers involved in shootings the right to sit in on the entire grand jury and to provide a statement at the end that cannot be questioned by prosecutors.

 

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter, The New Jim Crow

 

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SCUMUS 5 Support New Jim Crow Voting Law in Texas

No surprise here. The most political court in US history has come up with the usual vote to support Jim Crow Voter ID in Texas to assure a Republican victory by disenfranchising more than 600,000 minority voters.

The Supreme Court’s Kleagle – The 5 Thugs in Robes Again interfering in elections just as they did in 2000

 

Supreme Court allows Texas voter ID law for now

Texas election officials can go ahead and enforce a controversial voter identification law opposed by the Obama administration and civil rights groups, the U.S. Supreme Court said early Saturday.

The decision comes just two days before early voting begins in the state.

A civil rights leader reacted harshly to the ruling, calling it an “affront to our democracy.”

“Today’s decision means hundreds of thousands of eligible voters in Texas will be unable to participate in November’s election because Texas has erected an obstacle course designed to discourage voting,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

While the court offered no reasoning for its decision, it backs up a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday saying that voting procedures shouldn’t be upended so close to the election.

That decision came in response to a federal judge’s ruling after a nine-day trial that a Texas law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls is unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly instructed courts to consider the importance of preserving the status quo on the eve of an election,” the 5th Circuit court said.

Proponents say the law will help prevent voter fraud. Critics say such practices make it harder for poor, minority and disabled people to vote.

Minority and civil rights groups who banded together to oppose the law said it was among the most restrictive in the nation.

Some 600,000 people in Texas lack state-issued IDs, according to the U.S. Justice Department — which rejected Texas’ law as a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

Nationwide, the NAACP says 25% of African-Americans and 16% of Latinos of voting age lack a current government-issued photo ID.

Saturday’s decision doesn’t speak to the constitutionality of the law — only whether it can be enforced in this fall’s election. Continued legal challenges are a certainty, Ifill said.

While the court’s majority didn’t offer any explanation for the ruling, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a nearly seven-page dissent, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Ginsburg said the costs associated with the law — obtaining identity cards and the documents needed to get them — aren’t as insignificant as backers claim, and argued they harken back to the use of the poll tax in the late 1800s and early 1900s as a method of preventing blacks from voting.

“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” Ginsburg wrote.

The first day of early voting in Texas is Monday. Voters will choose a new governor to replace outgoing Gov. Rick Perry, new lieutenant governor, and new attorney general in addition to voting on one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats and several House districts.

 

America’s disgrace

 

Stand Your Ground to Vote

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2014 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Rand Paul …Again

One of the things that should be required in this country as a condition to hold office is to pass you basic High School Government and Civics exam. I mean, if they can test poor people for drug use as a basis of receiving aid, then we ought to test all elected officials for intelligence, and a comprehensive understanding of how our systm of government works…
I mean, if you are too stupid to understand it, then by no means should you be allowed to serve.
That would eliminate a lot of problems in America.

Rand Paul: Majority Rule Gave Us Jim Crow, Japanese Internment

Senator Rand Paul, exercising his minority rights by conducting a filibuster on the US Senate floor…

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) compared President Barack Obama winning elections to Jim Crow laws and Japanese internment on Thursday, arguing that they all grew out of “majority rule” thinking.

On the Fox News show “On The Record”, host Greta Van Susteren asked him about Obama. “He is quoted back in January 23rd, 2009, right when he became president first term. He said, ‘I won, so I think on that one I trump you.’ I mean, this is sort of — this has always been the viewpoint he has communicated to Republicans on the Hill,” she said.

Paul responded, “Well, you know, the danger to majority rule, to him sort of thinking, the majority voted for me now I’m the majority, I can do whatever I want and that there are no rules that restrain me — that’s what gave us Jim Crow. That’s what gave us the internment of the Japanese — that the majority said, ‘you don’t have individual rights and individual rights don’t come from your creator and they are not guaranteed by the constitution.’ Just whatever the majority wants.”

He went on, “There is a real danger to that viewpoint. It’s consistent with the progressive viewpoint. It’s been going on for 100 years. Progressives believe in majority rule, not constitutional rule. They don’t believe that rights are inherent to the individual. They think your rights are whatever the government says they are, whatever the majority says.”

But Paul’s comment that Jim Crow grew out of majority rule does not jibe with history. Blacks were absolute majorities in Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina — and made up more than 40 percent of the population in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Virginia — during the 1880s, just after Jim Crow laws began. Presumably, if there was majority rule, then Jim Crow would not have been enacted.

Japanese internment began after then- President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order that the Supreme Court upheld in Korematsu v. United States.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in Stupid Tea Bagger Tricks

 

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75 Years Late…Scottsboro Boys Pardoned

This was one of the major (Mis)Trials of the last century. 9 black Boys accused of raping two white women in the segregated, Jim Crow, Alabama of 1931.Amazingly enough, despite high tensions – they didn’t get lynched. All but one of the boys was convicted and given the death penalty. None of the Boys was executed, but spent long terms in jail.

The Scottsboro Boys, with attorney Samuel Leibowitz, under guard by the state militia, 1932

   Alabama grants posthumous pardons to Scottsboro Boys

Alabama’s parole board voted Thursday to grant posthumous pardons to men known as the Scottsboro Boys from a 1931 rape case.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles granted full and unconditional pardons to three of the nine black boys who were falsely accused of raping two white women on a train in northeast Alabama in 1931.

The board unanimously approved the pardons for Haywood Patterson, Charlie Weems and Andy Wright after a short hearing in Montgomery. The three men were the last of the accused to have convictions from the case on their records.

“This decision will give them a final peace in their graves, wherever they are,” said Sheila Washington, director of the Scottsboro Museum and Cultural Center in Scottsboro, who helped initiate the petition.

Patterson, Weems and Wright, along with defendant Clarence Norris, were convicted on rape charges in 1937, after a six-year ordeal that included three trials, the recantation of one of the accusers and two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions on legal representation and the racial make-up of jury pools.

The men were all convicted by all-white juries, and all but the youngest defendant was sentenced to death.

Alabama ultimately dropped rape charges against five of the accused. Norris received a pardon before his death from Alabama Gov. George Wallace in 1976.

Last spring, the Alabama Legislature unanimously passed a law to allow the parole board to issue posthumous pardons for convictions at least 75 years old. The law was specifically designed to allow the pardon of the Scottsboro Boys to go forward.

In October, a group of scholars petitioned the Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant pardons to the men. The petition was endorsed by the judges and district attorneys of the counties where the initial trials took place.

“This is a different state than it was 80 years ago, and thank God for that,” said state Sen. Arthur Orr, a Republican from Decatur where the second and third round of trials took place. “It’s an important step for our state to take.”

Under Alabama law, pardons can only be granted to those who have felony convictions on their record. The petitioners had initially hoped the board would review the status of each of the defendants.

The Board’s decision led to a round of applause Thursday morning, but many of those who worked on the pardon called the news bittersweet. Patterson died of cancer in 1952, and many of the other defendants, including Weems and Wright, felt compelled to move out of Alabama and keep a low profile after their release from prison.

University of Alabama professor John Miller, who helped prepare the petition, said at the time of his pardon, Norris was living in New York under his brother’s name.

“With some of them, we really don’t know if they died with their right name, or a different name,” Washington said. “They no longer wanted to be known.”

Weems is known to have moved to the Atlanta area after his release, but his date of death is unknown. Washington said Wright, along with his brother Roy, another one of the Scottsboro Boys, is buried in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“It’s tragic in that those young men’s live were destroyed, all by a very biased and unfair judicial process,” Orr said. “The place where you seek justice did not dispense justice for these young men. It ruined their lives, some more than others, and it affected them to their graves.”

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2013 in Black History

 

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Tea Party Southern Myth vs 12 Years a Slave

Like the Holocaust Deniers scattered around the world in anti-Semitic clusters, America has its own peculiar breed of Denier of the unconscionable – The advocates of the Southern Myth.

Recognizing what they were doing as slavers was morally unconscionable from a Judeo Christian basis, the slavers sought absolution through first, perverting their religion to justify slavery, and second by attaching themselves to Chivalrous traditions creating a “Genteel” societal veneer. Indeed, in my State of Virginia Thomas Jefferson’s University, UVa – adopted the Cavalier as the school symbol. That wasn’t just because most slaveholders were Crown Loyalists during the Revolutionary War. Attaching themselves to the English Cavaliers was an attempt to gloss over, and add class to an evil society. No different than the Drug Lords of recent vintage using their ill gotten gains to project an image of respectability.

Post Civil War, this shifted into manufacturing a society’s existence under slavery which never existed. The brutality visited upon the slaves to force them to obey, which included torture, systematic rape of women and children, and murder became the “Good Old Days” of a slightly decadent but otherwise genteel society. The Civil War became the “War of the States” supporting the fiction that each and every Southern State’s Secession Articles didn’t list slavery as the “States Right” they were fighting for. These same stawarts brought America Segregation and Jim Crow.

The modern incarnation of this “Southern psychosis” is the Tea Party, the grandchild of the Second Klan of the 20’s, American Nazi Party of the 40’s, and Dixiecrats  of the 50’s and 60’s. Absorbing the Republican matra of blaming the victim. Like their poor, landless ancestors who marched off to be maimed and killed to [protect the rights of wealthy slave owners, today’s conservative confederate malcontents support the rights of the elite right who have eviscerated the American Dream, sold their jobs overseas,  and near destroyed the American Middle Class since Raygun. All under the banner of maintaining their fictitious racial superiority. It is OK with the modern Tea Bagger to take Food Stamps away from the poor, using much the same justification of the rapist that the “bitch deserved it”. It is OK to harass the poor, even though the economic condition of many Tea Parties would place them among the “white trash” – because in a country which has legislatively discriminated, at the Tea Bagger’s ancestors demand,  against minorities for generation – a higher percentage of minorities are poor. Despite class mythology, the only reason many of these white Tea Baggers aren’t scions of society has nothing to do with discrimination – and everything to do with their own personal, generational failures. no one has held them back, except their own ignorance and racism.

In front of the White House after disgracing th WII Memorial

Tea Party and ’12 Years a Slave’

“Twelve Years a Slave,” a movie based on the 1853 autobiography of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped into slavery in 1841, is a powerful antidote to the Tea Party’s poisonous nostalgia for the era of “states’ rights” and “nullificationism,” which became code words for protecting the “liberty” of Southern whites to own African-Americans.

The movie, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup, reveals how lofty phrases about “freedom” often meant their opposite as Southern politicians developed an Orwellian skill for weaving noble-sounding “principles” into a cloak for covering up the unjustifiable.

And, for too many generations, it worked. Americans have romanticized the antebellum South, seeing it through the rosy haze of “Gone with the Wind” or learning from school history books that most slave-owners were kindly and paternalistic masters. Even today many Americans tell themselves that slavery wasn’t all that bad. To burnish their pride in the never-to-be-criticized USA, they whitewash one of the nation’s greatest crimes, the enslavement of millions of people based on the color of their skin. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Notorious Florida “Reform” School, Jim Crow… and Dead Boys

 

 

Many of the boys sent to the Dozier School for Boys were black. Caught up in Florida’s Jim Crow justice system of the time.

Florida to exhume remains found at notorious Dozier School for Boys

Investigators have been given permission to exhume remains found at the notorious Arthur G Dozier School for Boys in Florida, which closed in 2011 following pupils’ revelations of widespread physical and sexual abuse.

Governor Rick Scott and the rest of Florida’s cabinet voted unanimously on Tuesday to allow dozens of unmarked graves found in woods near the school to be opened up. The decision comes after a team of researchers found evidence of almost 100 deaths at the institution.

“We are not exactly sure what happened there, but we know it was not good,” Florida attorney general Pam Bondi said during Tuesday’s meeting. “It’s something we as Floridians can’t ignore.”

The University of South Florida was commissioned to look into deaths at the Dozier School, in the panhandle city of Marianna after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced the presence of 31 grave sites in 2010.

A “funeral” for one of the black inmates

A team of anthropologists and archaeologists found that 45 people had been buried on school grounds between 1914 and 1952, with 31 bodies sent elsewhere for burial. There were 22 more cases in which no burial site was listed.

Of the 98 deaths they confirmed, two were adult staff members and the rest children aged from six to 18.

Many of the graves were unmarked and had been lost in the woods under brush and trees.

Human bones found in dig at notorious Dozier reform school in Florida

Teams of searchers recovered human bones from the sands of Florida Panhandle woodlands on Saturday in a “boot hill” graveyard where juveniles who disappeared from a notorious reform school more than a half-century ago are believed to have been secretly buried.

“We have found evidence of burial hardware – hinges on coffins,” said Dr. Christian Wells, an anthropologist from the University of South Florida, in a briefing about a mile from the closed excavation site near the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys.

“There appear to be a few pieces associated with burial shrouds, and there are pins consistent with the 1920s and 1930s, – based on the style of the pins – and they appear to be brass,” he said.

Some “large-bone fragments” were found on the first day of digging, Wells said. They were human bones, he added, but it was impossible to know if they came from any of the teenaged boys who were housed at Dozier during its infamous 111-year existence. The school was closed in mid-2011.

The notorious Whitehouse where boys were taken to be systematically beaten and sexually abused by school staff.

The bones will be examined in laboratories at the University of South Florida and the University of North Texas, as part of a program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and state of Florida.

After forensic investigators, using ground-piercing radar and old public records, detected 31 spots showing possible human remains, researchers planted crude white crosses on a nearby hillside to commemorate the unaccounted-for boys.

Some former residents of Dozier, now in their 60s and 70s, have told of brutal beatings and boys – mostly black juveniles – disappearing without explanation more than 50 years ago. Blood relatives of some of the boys have given DNA samples, to be matched against evidence taken from the skeletal remains.

Earlier on Saturday, Dr. Erin Kimmerle, a forensic anthropologist from USF, met with some family members and survivors.

“We’re approaching it much like you would an archeological excavation,” Kimmerle said. “It’s all done carefully and by hand.”

‘Never had a chance’
Tananarive Due, who came to the dig with some family members, said her great-uncle, Robert Stephens, died at the school in 1937.

“The story was … he tried to run away at one point,” she said. “The official cause of death was a stabbing by another inmate, that’s what it was listed as. But with so many of these boys, who knows how they died? Their families never had a chance to say ‘good-bye’ to their loved ones.”

Johnny Lee Gaddy, 67, said he was locked up from 1957 to 1961 for truancy. He said he was severely beaten, but in his teens became a good farm worker, hoping to get released.

Gaddy said he had heard of teens disappearing without explanation.

“I know some they said went home, but they hadn’t been here long enough to go home,” Gaddy said. “They said some others ran away or were transferred to other places. We never saw any bodies or funerals.”

According to Florida State records, all boys which died at the Dozier School were buried in the same Cemetery. In reality, black children who were killed by the guards or died by accident were buried in unmarked graves on other parts of the property.

John Due, father of Tananarive, said descendants and civil-rights activists who pressed the state for disclosure of what happened to the young men ran into rigid resistance from authorities for decades.

“People didn’t want to talk about it, and we found that particularly among black families,” he said. “That’s what racism does. It beats you down and you think you don’t matter, so you won’t speak up.”

The forensic teams will work through Tuesday. Remains that can be identified will be re-interred at family plots and any unidentified remains will be numbered and buried – with records kept for later return to families, if any come forward.

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2013 in Black History, Domestic terrorism

 

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