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The Waco Horror, and Its Aftermath

Lynching in the South was a method not only t maintain white supremacy, but to intimidate and blackmail the local minority populations into staying in line. The result of lynchings in the early 1900’s for a lot of the South was the Great Black Migration, and the loss of a large part of their workforce. One of the most violent lynchings was that of Jesse Washington in Waco Texas.

Around sundown of May 8, 1916, Lucy Fryer, the wife of a well regarded cotton farmer, was found bludgeoned to death in the doorway of her seed house. Jesse Washington, who was illiterate and branded “feeble-minded”, confessed to the murder.

Soon after a jury found him guilty, a crowd of 2,000 men seized Washington, chained him, beat him and dragged him to the town square, where he was burned.

His fingers were amputated for souvenirs and his fingernails taken for keepsakes. Finally all that was left was a charred torso, but Washington’s body parts were put in a bag so they could be dragged through downtown.

About 15,000 people, half of Waco’s population, had gathered to watch the lynching.

 

A mob gathers around to watch the lynching of Jesse Washington.

The “Waco Horror” still reverberates, 100 years later

Mary Pearson doesn’t need to be reminded of Jesse Washington’s lynching.

The Robinson resident grew up hearing the stories from her grandmother, a relative of the 17-year-old farmhand who was tortured to death on Waco’s town square a century ago last Sunday. The moral was never precisely stated, but the horror has stuck with Pearson all her 67 years.

Just after the boy received a death sentence for murdering his white employer, a mob seized him and dragged him to City Hall, where they doused him with coal oil and hanged him over a pile of burning wooden crates. They carved his charred body into souvenirs and dragged it around town.

But even more troubling for Pearson was what didn’t happen: Law enforcement didn’t intervene in the lynching, nor did anyone in a crowd of 15,000 spectators.

“All the folks were standing around, most of them were white, and nobody said anything, nobody stood up to try to do anything,” Pearson said in an interview with the Waco Tribune-Herald after a recent proclamation by Waco’s mayor condemning the lynching. “It’s a hurt and frustration even to think about it. … It can cause me a heavy depression.

“Every time I think about it, I get really angry and I have to ask the Lord to help me.”

White Waco spent most of the 20th century trying to forget the atrocity, dubbed the “Waco Horror” by the national press. The incident stood as a turning point in national anti-lynching efforts and helped bring to prominence the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. But the atrocity received no mention in local history books until the late 1960s and was largely ignored or downplayed locally until 1998, when Councilman Lawrence Johnson publicly called for a memorial to “atone” for the lynching.

Meanwhile, the story survived on the frequency of a whisper in corners of the black community, in the form of legends and admonitions to sons and daughters.

Forgetting became impossible in the mid-2000s, when a series of books, exhibits and news articles brought the incident again to national attention. In 2006, the Waco City Council and McLennan County commissioners passed a general condemnation of the area’s lynching past.

The Community Race Relations Coalition and the NAACP have headed an effort to commemorate the centennial this spring with a lecture series, a march and a push to get a state historical marker for the lynching. The observances culminated with a “town hall” meeting at the Bledsoe-Miller Community Center.

The centennial is not meant to reopen old racial wounds or cast blame on anyone now living, said Peaches Henry, a McLennan Community College assistant English professor and president of the Waco NAACP. Rather, it’s an opportunity to bring whites and blacks together to reflect on a difficult shared history.

“Here’s the importance of history: It allows us to remind ourselves of both the good and the bad, and then to correct our course,” she said.

Henry said the city and county resolution against lynching a decade ago was a good start. The question of Washington’s innocence or guilt aside, Henry said city and county leaders failed to uphold the rule of law and were complicit in a heinous crime of torture.

The recent proclamation by Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr. went further and specifically referred to the “heinous lynching of Jesse Washington.”

“It’s important to call the names of those who were wronged,” Henry said. “The same was true of the woman (Lucy Fryer) who was murdered. She was someone’s mother, sister and cousin. She was also important. For the council to offer a proclamation naming Jesse Washington is very significant. It means that in the public record he is no longer invisible.”

Those involved in the commemorations say burying the past doesn’t keep it from haunting the present.

Scheherazade Perkins, 64, a member of the race relations board, grew up in Waco and graduated from the black A.J. Moore High School in 1969. She never heard of the lynching until she was an adult, but it helped explain anxieties she heard when she was growing up.

“Obviously there is much that has been done, much progress that has been made,” Perkins said. “But there are processes that still go on, an unspoken terror that still exists, that makes people want to stay under the radar. It makes them hesitant to come forward with concerns for fear that they will be not only labeled but mistreated.

“Some of that lingers, not only with the older people who were right on the fringes of the atrocity, but with those who pass the same sentiment down: ‘Boy, you need to watch your mouth, because you never know.’ ”

The centennial comes at a time of national debate and unrest over police killings of unarmed black males, such as Freddie Gray in Baltimore; Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland. A Washington Post investigation found that 40 percent of unarmed men shot and killed by police in 2015 were black, even though black men make up only 6 percent of the population.

Henry, the local NAACP president, said she has high regard for Waco police leadership, but she still has anxieties for her own son, an Eagle Scout and college junior, wherever he goes.

“There’s the talk that every young African-American man receives: When you get pulled over, keep your hands on the steering wheel,” she said. “You never make a move without letting the officer know.

“There’s nothing about my son when he is walking or driving down the street that can protect him.”

It’s a more subtle version of the same fear that African-Americans had a century ago, Henry said…Read the Rest Here

 

 
 

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Democrat Senator Lays Out Republican Racism

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia too to the floor of the Senate a few days ago and exposed the reason Republicans are holding up the appointment of Merrick Garland by President Obama to the Supreme Court.

Kaine: Race an Issue in Opposition to Obama Supreme Court Nominee

Senator Tim Kaine (D., Va.) said Wednesday that race may be a factor as to why President Obama is facing opposition in the Senate regarding his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow asked Kaine, a potential running mate for Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, if the Senate is delaying the nomination process due to a fundamental disrespect for Obama.

“I think that’s a very serious concern. The rationale that the Republicans use, ‘We want to wait until the next president and let the people decide,’ is what we call in civil rights, and I used to try civil rights cases, a complete pretext. That’s not the way it’s been done in the past,” Kaine said.

“There’s a lot of concern that this president’s nominee has been given second-class treatment, not because of the nominee but because of the character of the president himself and that is very painful for people to contemplate about the nation’s first African-American president, that they wouldn’t pay him the respect of having a hearing and having a vote on a nominee in the way they’ve done with other presidents.”

Maddow re-raised the issue of race, asking whether or not it is linked to the resistance Obama is facing from Republicans and the conservative movement over picking Garland.

“Raising the issue of this being the first African-American president, that issue of legitimacy, do you think that is the through line that explains the way Republicans and the conservative movement have treated President Obama? Do you think fundamentally it is about race, that there’s a racial element to the resistance to him that people should be more explicit in discussing?” Maddow asked.

“There is an attack on his legitimacy that I think is just fundamentally different than what’s come before,” Kaine said.

 

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Reparations for “War on Drugs”?

The so called “War on Drugs” has devastated certain black communities i America. It has resulted in the highest incarceration rate in the world, and ruined the lives of millions of young people. When every statistical analysis in the last 30 years has shown that whites are 6 times more likely to use, carry, and smuggle drugs – the only way where you can get to a situation here black kids are 6-8 times more likely to be arrested and charged is intentional. And that isn’t even getting into the issue of different sentences for chemically identical “crack” cocaine and powder cocaine leading to significantly longer prison terms for crack, which happens to be predominately the form of cocaine used by the poor and black folks.

Reparations for the Drug War. Seriously.

While the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana are big steps in ending a serious racial injustice, what about those already punished by the inequitable system?

As marijuana legalization expands across the U.S., the war on drugs inches closer to its long-awaited end. Hanging in the balance: those arrested or incarcerated for the drug, casualties of a war that’s been overwhelmingly waged in communities of color.

It’s one that, despite marijuana being legal in more than half the nation, is far from over. According to a report from the Colorado Department of Public Safety and Health, there was a 58 percent increase in marijuana arrests among black adolescents from 2012-2014. Among white adolescents, during the same time frame, arrests dropped eight percent.

While the federal government works to stop lawmakers from impeding on the freedoms of citizens in states where pot is legal, Oakland, California is looking to fix the damage that’s already done.

This week the city—known for uprooting the status quo—introduced a groundbreaking measure that’s been deemed “drug war reparations.”

Known officially as the “Equity Permit Program” it’s an ordinance that allocates half of its dispensary permits to people who’ve served time for marijuana violations in the last ten years, or lived in one of several zones with the highest number of arrests for the drug.

Written by councilwoman Desley Brooks, the equity program—at its core—is shattering the notion that marijuana violators are criminals. Instead, it offers them a front row ticket to a billion dollar industry fueled by the drug that once put them behind bars.

Social justice activists, while enthused by the idea, say the ordinance has problems—some of which, like a lack of financial assistance, may hinder the applicant’s ability to succeed. But its issues aside, the ordinance is nothing short of revolutionary, a piece of legislation which suggests that those struck down by pot should be the first its legalization lifts up. Oakland’s unanimous vote of approval is, if nothing else, a sign that those who’ve suffered from prohibition may soon be getting a green payback…Read The Rest Here

 

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Conservative Clown US Senator Claims US “Under-Incarcerates”

The key to being elected as a Republican anymore is to say any stupid shit that comes out of your ass. Senator Tom Cotton being one of many prime examples in the US Senate and House.

What we need to do in this country isn’t to deport Illegal aliens…We need to deport stupid. Surely we can find an unpopulated Island in the South Pacific or Indian Ocean missing it’s fools, and in need of some jackasses for wildlife.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton couldn't be more wrong: No, the U.S. doesn't have an “under-incarceration problem"

Suck on Stupid Republican Sen. Tom Cotton

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton couldn’t be more wrong: No, the U.S. doesn’t have an “under-incarceration problem”

America holds roughly 5 percent of the world’s population and boasts 25 percent of its prison population. Something like 2.2 million people are currently imprisoned in this country. Our per capita incarceration rate is 750 per 100,000 – only Russia comes close to that at 450 per 100,000. Among African-American males, it’s nearly 4,000 per 100,000.

 This is a national disgrace.

Forty or 50 years ago, the numbers were far lower than this and comparable with much of the industrialized world. But thanks to a racist drug war and the concomitant explosion of the prison-industrial complex, America has become a star-spangled penal colony, a place where an African American male without a high school diploma is more likely to end up in jail than with a job.

Mass incarceration and criminal justice reform has emerged as one of the few fronts on which bipartisan action is possible. Nearly all Democrats are pushing for changes and, lately, prominent Republicans are increasingly open to reforming the system as well. One of the lone exceptions appears to be resident tough guy, Sen. Tom Cotton.

The junior senator from Arkansas who gained national attention last year with his inane letter to Iranian leaders has now taken a curious stand on America’s prison dilemma. Turns out, we’ve really got an “under-incarceration problem.” Despite the numbers and the trends and grotesque reality of a for-profit prison system, Cotton thinks we’ve got it all backwards.

Cotton has been critical of the efforts in Congress to reduce mandatory minimum sentences, but he doubled down in a speech on Thursday at The Hudson Institute:

“Take a look at the facts. First, the claim that too many criminals are being jailed, that there is over-incarceration, ignores an unfortunate fact: for the vast majority of crimes, a perpetrator is never identified or arrested, let alone prosecuted, convicted and jailed. Law enforcement is able to arrest or identify a likely perpetrator for only 19 percent of property crimes and 47 percent of violent crimes. If anything, we have an under-incarceration problem.”

Cotton makes an interesting point about the pathological violence pervading American society (which, naturally, has nothing to do with our mania for guns), but that’s actually a separate issue. If anything, the fact that we’re jailing a quarter of the world’s population in spite of not apprehending the majority of violent offenders is itself a reflection of our obscene sentencing guidelines. We’re incarcerating too many citizens for victimless drug offenses and various non-violent crimes.

But Cotton thinks we’re showing too much empathy for “those caught up in the criminal-justice system.” Indeed, after perfunctorily acknowledging the racist roots of America’s felon-disenfranchisement laws, he dismissed the growing concerns over police brutality: “Let me make something clear: black lives do matter. The lives being lost to violence in America’s cities are predominantly those of young black men, with devastating consequences for their families and their communities. But the police aren’t the culprits. In nearly every case, the blood is on the hands of criminals, drug dealers, and gang members.”

No one denies that drug dealers and gangs are real problems, but that in no way diminishes the reality of a racialized incarceration system or an unjust drug war aimed at black Americans. While Cotton chooses his words carefully, his analysis is devoid of context. Yes, there are high levels of crime in urban areas, but that itself is a product of the drug war and the systematic destruction of these communities. Crime will always be higher in areas in which opportunities are scarce and the only thriving economy is a shadow economy. The focus ought to be the criminal justice system that props up these underground economies and lays waste to the surrounding communities. Much of our violent crime problem has been socially engineered; it’s about policy. Sen. Cotton shows no interest in this history…Read the Rest Here

 

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US House Passes Anti-confederate Flag Bill

In a fine bit of election year electioneering, the US House has passed a bill limiting confederate flag displays…

The march against the Confederate flag continued Thursday — this time in Congress

A year after America suddenly and overwhelmingly began unraveling itself from the Confederate flag, here’s more evidence our relationship with it is ending.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives — including 84 Republicans — voted to make it illegal to drape or hoist the flag prominently in national veterans’ cemeteries, including over mass graves. Those who want to mark their ancestors’ spot with a Confederate flag could do so with a small one, but only on two days a year: Memorial Day and Confederates Memorial Day.

It’s unclear whether this new limitation on the Confederate flag is actually going to become law, since it hasn’t yet passed the Senate. But the House tends to be the more populist chamber of the two, and as such, a reflection of what the rest of America is thinking.

“Over 150 years ago, slavery was abolished,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) who proposed the amendment. “Why in the year 2016 are we still condoning displays of this hateful symbol on our sacred national cemeteries?” The Hill’s Christina Marcos reports that no one spoke in opposition to it.

But many Republicans voted against it — 159, in fact — while about half as many (84) voted for it. And if Democrats have their way, the Confederate flag will be a campaign issue in the fall.

It’s no coincidence this comes after a racially motivated shooting in Charleston, S.C., nearly a year ago that killed nine black church members and spurred a shift in how Americans — and especially Southern Republican politicians — view the flag’s meaning. While acknowledging its symbolism of the South’s heritage, for the first time many prominent Republicans also acknowledged its ties to racism.

“That flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who led the charge.

 
 

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Discrimination Lawsuit Against Airbnb

Not sure how this suit ties to Airbnb corporation, at least the way this article explains it, as the provider of rental space is the decision maker. The transaction is between the property owner and the prospective tenant.

Airbnb slapped with suit for alleged discrimination against black guests

An African-American man who claims he was subjected to race-based discrimination while using Airbnb slapped the company with a proposed class action in a Washington D.C. federal court Tuesday, alleging that the company has routinely violated the Fair Housing Act and the civil rights of people of color.

The complaint alleges that 25-year-old Gregory Seldon was denied accommodation in Philadelphia in March 2015 due to his race.

Court documents state that he was looking for housing while planning a weekend getaway with friends, and turned to Airbnb as a cost-friendly option. At the time, his Airbnb profile was linked to his Facebook, so it displayed his profile picture, race, education and age when he requested housing.

He claims an Airbnb host rejected his initial application but subsequently accepted the same application when Seldon re-applied using profiles imitating white men, one under the name “Jessie” and another under the name “Todd.”

The complaint also claims that the company “shamed Selden for speaking out” when he complained about the discriminatory practices.

The host agent balked at his claims and instead told Seldon that “people like [him] were simply victimizing [himself],” according to court documents.

Seldon is seeking injunctive relief and unspecified damages as part of the class action.

This is not the first time Airbnb has been accused of not doing enough on discrimination.

Seldon’s story gained attention earlier this year when it helped inspire the viral hashtag #AirbnbWhileBlack, in which a flood of Twitter users shared stories about negative experiences using the house-sharing app and website.

That conversation also builds on a  2014 Harvard study that found “requests from guests with distinctively African-American names are roughly 16% less likely to be accepted than identical guests with distinctively white names.”

For its part, Airbnb has emphatically denied that it condones racism or discriminatory practices. The company’s anti-discrimination policy states that it prohibits “content that promotes discrimination, bigotry, racism, hatred, harassment or harm against any individual or group, and we require all users to comply with local laws and regulations.”

Airbnb’s director of public affairs reiterated the company’s anti-discrimination policy in an email toMashable. 

 

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Racism At Public Elite High Schools

Conservatives set up the racist testing system to eliminate black and Hispanic Students. What Uncle Toms like Ward Connolly either didn’t realize, or didn’t tell white parents was that eliminating black and Hispanic students via high stakes testing wouldn’t mean their white kids would get in. Many if not most of these schools are now massively overbalanced with Asian students, whose special test prep classes have rendered the testing bankrupt.

Hostility towards the few black and Hispanic students who do make it through the tests is fairly endemic at many of worst balanced schools. My own daughter refused to go to our Elite school, which is consistently ranked as one of the 3 best in the nation – because it was an uncomfortable place for black students. The school is 70% Asian in a country which only has 12% Asian population. Less than 3% of the students are black or Hispanic.

Prior to the conservative racist organizations, AKA the Federalist Society and the misnomered “Center for Equal Opportunity” fighting and suing to have only high stakes testing as the key determinant of acceptance for the school, the population generally represented the population at large. The minority population was small, but the county had attempted a solution much like “One Texas”, where the top students from all of the schools were eligible for admission. The idea that this would raise the number of black and Hispanic students to anything approaching the general population sent racist conservatives into apoplexy.

Another failed system brought to America by racist conservatives.

Being Black at America’s Elite Public High Schools

The complacency and inaction of school administrators following incidents of racism isn’t confined to colleges campuses.

On Martin Luther King Day in January—a day set aside to honor a man who fought against racial injustice—two black students at Boston Latin School (BLS) launched a social-media campaign to expose the racially hostile school climate they say exists at America’s first and oldest existing public school. #BlackatBLS soon cast a spotlight on a string of shocking alleged incidents: from verbal slights that disparaged black students’ intelligence and identity, to classmates posting racial slurs on Twitter and Facebook and “saying nigger without fear of being reprimanded,” according to a YouTube video posted by two members of Boston Latin School’s Black Leaders Aspiring for Change and Knowledge.

The resulting social-media storm touched off a range of responses. Mayor Marty Walsh promised to investigate the allegations. Boston schools superintendent Tommy Chang called for systemwide professional development to train school officials to respond to and handle complaints of racism. “In recent months, BLS has taken steps to improve cultural proficiency at the school,” said a spokesperson for Boston Public Schools in an email. “This has included providing educational opportunities for students, faculty, and families to engage in dialogues around issues of race, diversity, and social justice in safe spaces; improving procedures to report bias-based incidents; and mandatory professional development on cultural proficiency among other efforts.” And the U.S. attorney’s office in Bostonannounced an independent probe into possible civil-rights violations at Boston Latin School. Meanwhile as the events in Boston unleashed a series of difficult conversations on racism and campus climate, the national dialogue on black and Latino students in highly selective high schools remains centered on access and admissions.

In March, New York City’s Department of Education released the demographic breakdown for next year’s freshman class at its eight “elite” public high schools, where admission is based exclusively on test scores, and the numbers continued adismal trend. Black and Latino students comprised a tiny fraction—according toPolitico New York, just over 3 and 5 percent respectively—of the students admitted, in a school system where black and Latino children are 70 percent of all enrolled students. An unscientific analysis by Slate found similar patterns in other districts, such as New Orleans and Fairfax County, Virginia. Black and Latino youngsters were vastly underrepresented in selective high schools as compared to their numbers districtwide, and Asian students were significantly overrepresented—underscoring the complexities among student-of-color groups. Yet as educational-rights activists and elected leaders focus on diversifying enrollment in highly competitive schools, scant attention is being paid to the racial and cultural atmosphere in these institutions, and how welcome black and Latino students are made to feel once admitted to some of the country’s most elite public schools.

Omekongo Dibinga graduated from Boston Latin in 1995, and said up until the 10th grade he felt invisible. “I barely had any black teachers. The only time I seemed to get attention was if I was getting in trouble.” He moved from year to year “unnoticed and unacknowledged” until his sophomore year when he got more involved in student leadership. By senior year, Dibinga was the president of the student council and recounts his last few years at BLS as “unapologetically black.”

However, when he ran for senior class president, things took an alarming turn. As he wrote in a January blog post, on election day some of his white classmates allegedly put white sheets on their heads—distinctive attire worn by the white-supremacist Ku Klux Klan—to protest his candidacy. “A typical day at Boston Latin for me does indeed dovetail with what I read from current students,” he said, including the complacency and inaction of school administrators following incidents of racism like he experienced.

Earlier this year, similar accusations were leveled by black students at New York’s Brooklyn Technical High School—a highly ranked selective public high school—who charged the principal and faculty with minimizing acts of racism at their school. In the aftermath of #BlackatBLS, headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta apologized for her “lack of urgency in addressing racial tensions” and reaffirmed her commitment to providing a safe and discrimination-free school environment…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The New Jim Crow

 

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