RSS

Tag Archives: Racism

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

 

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Supreme Court Reverses Racially Chosen Georgia Jury In Death Penalty Case

Local and State Courts aren’t supposed to allow the striking of black juries to achieve an all white jury, which when the defendant is black, mean almost certainly a conviction – regardless of the evidence pointing otherwise. Some courts around the country still believe the can get away with this.

Uncle Tommie Clarence, seeing the possibility of a black man receiving justice …Was the Court’s lone dissent.

Supreme Court gives black death-row inmate new life

AP SUPREME COURT ALL WHITE JURY A USA GAThe Supreme Court gave a black death-row prisoner new life Monday by ruling that prosecutors unconstitutionally barred all potential black jurors from his trial nearly 30 years ago.

The 7-1 verdict, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, reversed Georgia courts that had refused to consider claims of racial discrimination against Timothy Foster for the murder of an elderly white woman. The ruling is likely to fuel contentions from death penalty opponents that capital punishment is racially discriminatory.

What brought Foster’s case back to court after three decades was a series of prosecution notes obtained by defense lawyers through an open-records request. While jurors were being picked, prosecutors had highlighted the names of African Americans, circled the word “black” on questionnaires, and added notations such as “B#1” and “B#2.” On a sheet labeled “definite NO’s,” they put the last five blacks in the jury pool on top and ranked them in case “it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors.”

This happened just a year after the Supreme Court had declared such actions unconstitutional. Civil rights groups say discriminatory practices in jury selection have survived for 30 years despite the Supreme Court’s 1986 ruling in Batson v. Kentucky.

“The focus on race in the prosecution’s file plainly demonstrates a concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury,” Roberts wrote. He said prosecutors’ other purported reasons for striking two of the blacks from the jury pool were belied by their acceptance of white jurors with the same characteristics.

“Such evidence is compelling,” Roberts wrote. “But that is not all. There are also the shifting explanations, the misrepresentations of the record, and the persistent focus on race in the prosecution’s file.”

Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s lone African American member, cast the lone dissent. “Foster’s new evidence does not justify this court’s reassessment of who was telling the truth nearly three decades removed from voir dire,” he said.

The controversial case took the court nearly seven months to decide after oral argument in November. Roberts’ opinion for himself and Justices Anthony Kennedy,Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan ran 25 pages. Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito, who concurred in the ruling, wrote another 25 pages each to express their views.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Travelling While Black

Had a funny situation happen some years ago on a flight from LAX to DC.  Used a few miles to upgrade into First, as I was a bit wiped out from a fast turnaround and long set of meetings as I had flown in on the late flight the previous night. Got stuck in the Window seat, which is rarely my preference. An attractive white, apparently housewife age woman who also looked a bit tired sat next to me in the aisle seat. Said hello, and laid back to read my book. Wound up snoozing off about an hour into the flight. I was awakened by the feeling of weight upon my shoulder and arm. She had fallen asleep, and not only had her head on my shoulder, but arms wrapped around my left arm on the seat rest. Couldn’t see waking her up to tell her to move, so I laid my head back and continued to read. Just before landing she woke up to find herself in that position, at which point she apologized. Told her, it was OK, and not to worry about it. A couple of tired business travelers.

To be honest, I have never really experienced the following. Or, more likely if I did, I just ignored it. I have frequently swapped seats on a crowded flight so that families could sit together. I have run into people who wanted to have a conversation, and those who prefer their solitude. Respect both types.

Photos via Etan Thomas Facebook

Ex-NBA star Etan Thomas busts racist woman for only letting whites sit next to her on train

A popular ex-NBA player and celebrated poet/activist took to Facebook to describe one of the indignities that black men face everyday, as a white woman refused to let him sit next to her on a crowded train — only to give the seat to a white man moments later.

According to Etan Thomas — who played most of his 9-year career with the Washington Wizards before going on to become an accomplished poet and speaker on the responsibilities of fatherhood  — got on a local train recently.  Seeing few seats available, he asked a young white woman if he could take the empty seat next to her.

“I ask this lady if I could sit next to her (very politely and I soften my voice as to not frighten her) and she says someone is sitting here,” he wrote. “So I go to the next seat. Now, less than 2 mins later a man (who happens to be white) asks if he can sit there and she says why sure let me move my stuff.”

That was when he confronted her.

“I ask ummmmm did you just not want ME to sit next to you ? Were you scared ? Not comfortable with a Black Man sitting next to you?” he explained. “And she says lol smh don’t pull the race card stuff with me I dated a Black guy in college.”

The man who had taken the seat grew uncomfortable listening to conversation and offered to move, leading Thomas to say it was okay, but then Thomas told the woman that he was going to take a picture to share with the world — and things took a turn, but in an unexpected way.

“So then she says did you just take a pic of me? Well I’m going to tell the conductor that you’re over here illegally taking pics of ppl without their consent,” he recounted. “So the conductor came up and said hey Etan Thomas love what you’re doing in the community loved you with the Wizards big Cuse fan man the Knicks sure could use you …. And I said was there something you wanted to tell my man?”

According to Thomas, “And she rolled her eyes smh some ppl I tell ya.”

Below is the picture Thomas took of the woman –and the man who took the seat, but obviously wanted no part in what happened afterward.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 22, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

Tags: , , , , ,

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

America Was Never Great Hat

A young black woman decided to make a political point about the Drumph’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. If you are black, or a minority in this country – things have never been “Great” in America. I mean – how exactly was slavery “great”? Jim Crow? Young black people murdered on the streets by out-of-control police…The misnomer “War on Drugs” which in reality is a “War on Minorities”. The highest level of incarceration in the world, with more people incarcerated than communist China or the Russian Dictatorship combined! And the majority of people incarcerated are minorities.

I men – European countries are kicking our ass almost across the board. They have better schools, better child care, better elderly care, better health care, and their is a higher likelihood of economic upward mobility for their poor and middle class. Their transportation systems kick our behind.

Conservatism since Raygun has destroyed the American Dream, and conservative racism prevents out country from reaching full economic potential. Conservatism, since Raygun has not made this country 2nd best…

It has firmly planted the country in 17th or 18th place in the world, down in the middle of the pack. A Communist country, Cuba – despite poverty wrought by economic sanctions, has a better health care system than we do.

Anyway, check out our brave girl…If she keeps her job at Home Depot, I will be pleasantly surprised.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Republicans Pass Bill Legalize Discrimination By Federal Contractors Against LGBT

One of the things Obama failed to do on taking office is to recognize the insidious nature of George W Bush’s bullshit.

The Federal Government is in the business of serving every single citizen in the United States. And that means, gay, straight, transgender, white, black, or grey. You don’t want to do that as a Government contractor – then you need to find another business…Period.

The Federal Government has no business in Religion.

The First thing that happened after the Bushit announced his “Faith Based Initiative” is that the so called “faithful” asked for permission to ignore the Constitution and Federal Laws and discriminate based on whatever religious delusion they were under.

Obama should have shut this crap down, the day he assumed office.

House Passes Bill That Lets Government Contractors Fire People For Being LGBT

Why do people keep claiming “religious freedom” as a reason to discriminate?

The House passed a massive National Defense Authorization Act late Wednesday, and tucked inside of it, a provision that would allow federal contractors to fire employees for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

The language, slipped into the bill by Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.), would dismantle President Barack Obama’s 2014 executive action that makes it illegal for government contractors to fire or harass employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. In its place, Russell’s provision applies a broad exemption that would open the door to contractors discriminating against LGBT people based on that contractor’s religious beliefs.

The government awards more than 2,000 contracts to religious organizations every year. Russell’s measure would affect every grant, contract and purchase order made by every federal agency, including contracts with hospitals, homeless shelters, colleges, schools, domestic violence shelters, and adoption agencies.

The House passed the 1,299-page bill, 277 to 147, with 142 Democrats and five Republicans opposed. At least one congressman, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), opposed it purely because of the anti-LGBT provision. He went on a bit of a Twitter rant ahead of the vote.

Russell attached the language to the bill a few weeks ago, during a late-night House Armed Services Committee hearing. He argued that it’s needed to clarify what he said was confusion in Obama’s executive order over what kinds of legal protections are afforded to religious contractors. He also said Obama’s order violates the First Amendment because it “unduly burdens the practice of religion.” A copy of his amendment is here.

But Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking Democrat on that committee, said that’s not what Obama’s executive order does at all.

“The way this amendment is written, it doesn’t matter if you’re a religious organization,” Smith responded. “Basically, you can be a private contractor, and this basically gives you the right to discriminate if you just decide that you don’t want to do business with gay people.”

Democratic leaders denounced the provision in the hours leading up to the vote. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) said he was “outraged,” and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) called it “stunning” that Republicans would use a defense bill to “codify hatred and intolerance against Americans based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Some Republicans weren’t happy about it, either. Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) tried to strip it from the bill during a Rules Committee hearing earlier this week. But the committee chairman, Pete Sessions (R-Texas), denied his request.

The bill now heads to the Senate, which has its own ideas about what belongs — and what doesn’t — in an annual defense bill. Senators will hash out differences with the House later in a conference committee.

Obama has already threatened to veto the House bill and gave a long list of reasons why, including problems ranging from misuse of funds and operating the prison at Guantanamo Bay, to military pay raises and base closures. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday that he couldn’t single out any one item, such as the anti-LGBT provision, as grounds for a veto.

“There are a whole lot of reasons why the bill is bad,” Earnest said in his daily briefing. “It’s unfortunate that it is being larded up with a bunch of proposals … that aren’t related to our national security but are intended to be divisive.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 19, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 226 other followers

%d bloggers like this: