Dead Confederates and Street Names

In the city of Richmond, Va is a street named Monument Avenue. On it, every few blocks are statues of the various personages of the Confederacy from Virginia who participated in the Civil War. The street was later modified to contain statues of famous people from Richmond, Va to include tennis great Arthur Ashe and famous oceanographer Matthew Fontaine Maury.  8 US Presidents hailed from Virginia, yet in our State capital there is a major street dedicated to dead confederate generals. Welcome to the South.

Now to say that Civil Rights upset some folks in Virginia is an understatement. One County, Prince Edward, shut their entire Public School System down for 5 years to prevent desegregation. So racism is no stranger to the state.

The City of Alexandria, Virginia was also the home and residence of confederate General Robert E. Lee. The Lee-Custis Plantation sat on the very grounds of what became the Arlington Cemetery. Several of Lee’s descendants still live in the City. The reason Arlington Cemetery sits where it is is that through the front door of his mansion, Arlington House,  Lee would have to confront some of the hundreds of thousands of those he was responsible for killing as part of the war…Each and every day. In case you are wondering where the Custis name came from, Lee’s wife, Mary Anna Custis Lee, was indeed the great granddaughter of Martha Custis, George Washington’s wife.

Arlington House, Formerly confederate General robert E. Lee’s home

Law requiring Confederate street names questioned

Alexandria, a Northern Virginia city steeped in Civil War history, is considering repeal of an old law requiring certain new streets to be named for Confederate generals.

City Councilman Justin Wilson introduced legislation for Tuesday night’s council meeting to do away with a 1963 law requiring that any new “streets running in a generally north-south direction shall, insofar as possible, bear the names of confederate military leaders.”

Wilson’s bill also would eliminate a requirement that new east-west streets be named for persons or places prominent in American history.

Wilson said he wants to remove a series of anachronistic laws, and his proposal also would repeal a ban on “lewd cohabitation” and laws regulating a bygone fad of “rebound tumbling,” a form of trampolining.

As a practical matter, there is little likelihood that the city will be naming new streets any time soon. The city, inside Washington’s Capital Beltway and separated from the nation’s capital by the Potomac River, is essentially built out. In fact, the street grid of the city’s Old Town section dates to Colonial times.

Wilson said that symbolically, he believes it’s a good thing to strip from the code a provision that in some ways glorifies the Confederacy. But he made clear he is not proposing that the city change existing street names, some of which honor Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, whose Dred Scott decision denied citizenship and constitutional protections to blacks before the Civil War.

“I think we struggle in the city with our history,” Wilson said.

Alexandria was occupied by Union troops for most of the Civil War and, like the rest of Virginia, has a history of slavery and segregation. It is now a liberal bastion in Virginia – Barack Obama won 71 percent of the vote in 2012.

On historic Duke Street in Old Town, the building that was once home to the nation’s largest domestic slave trading company is now home to the Northern Virginia Urban League, which operates the Freedom House Museum there to tell the story of the slave trade.

Cynthia Dinkins, president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Urban League, said she personally supports any legislation that keeps the city from unduly honoring the Confederacy. Still, while she is wary of glorifying the Confederacy, she said care must be taken remember unpleasant parts of American history.

“Some of my challenge in dealing with Freedom House is that people don’t want to remember” that part of our history, she said.

Wilson said he has not heard of any opposition to his bill so far.

Officers with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which has occasionally protested when it sees efforts to scrub recognition of Confederate leaders from the public square, did not return emails and phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

A public hearing on Wilson’s legislation is scheduled for Jan. 25.

The Redskins, Leroy Jackson…And Jack Johnson

For those unfamiliar with sports history, Jack Johnson was the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion around the turn of the last century. His life and experiences were chronicled in a movie – “The Great White Hope”.

Unable to find anyone who could defeat Johnson, he was jailed for his relationship with a white woman.

Now, allegations have surfaced that the Washington Redskins, an NFL Football team which was the last in the NFL to bring on black players, because of then owner George Preston Marshall’s racism – fired one of their first black payers for the same “crime”.

Now, to be honest – growing up in the Washington area, during the time before the Redskins recruited Bobby Mitchell – most black folks rooted for and followed the Baltimore Colts with Johnny Unitas, and running back Lenny Moore. while the team had several black players before Bobby Mitchell, it was the thrilling combination of Sonny Jurgensen’s long “bombs” to Mitchell which turned things around.

Leroy Jackson, Former NFL Player, Cut For Getting Caught With White Woman: Nephew

A relative of a former NFL player who was a pioneer for civil rights in sports made a bombshell allegation.

David Irons, the nephew of former Redskins running back Leroy Jackson told Yahoo Sports that his uncle was cut from the team “because they caught him in a hotel room with a white woman.”

“Can you believe that?” Irons said, “They cut him for something that’s so common today. It’s unreal.”

In the Yahoo Sports interview, Jackson seemed to confirm Irons’ claim.

When asked why he was cut, Jackson said, “I think it probably was about a woman… interracial things and not being able to hold onto the ball.”

Jackson made history for being one of the first black players to be drafted for the Washington Redskins. While other teams in the NFL integrated much earlier, the Redskins held out until 1962. Yahoo Sports points out that owner George Preston Marshall was dead-set against hiring any black players until the Kennedy’s administration pressured them to do so.

Jackson wasn’t the first black player drafted, but he was the first to actually play a game.

The NFL has a long history of racism that extends far beyond the Redskins. James Harris, the first black quarterback in the NFL, described the alienation and humiliation he suffered. In once instance, he told 60 Minutes, all of his fellow teammates were put up in a hotel– except for him. He stayed at a YMCA and was asked to clean the equipment.

Today, out of 32 teams, only nine havestarting quarterbacks who are black.

Former Redskins Running Back, Leroy Jackson

A Long Overdue Change At U of Alabama

When Libertarians say they support private organizations making their own choices of whom to associate with…

This is what they really mean.

I really don’t see where the black women in this instance needed any validation whatsoever from a white Sorority…And my departed mother who was a lifetime AKA would be truly upset at losing these women to another Sorority (there was a major family “crisis” when one of her grand-nieces pledged Delta!)…

But, overall – in the long term…This is a good thing.

One would have hoped, however – that sans the social pressure from fellow students…The Sorors had the intelligence and morality to have figured this out on their own.

A Turnabout at Traditionally White Sororities, in Nine Days at Alabama

Nine days after the University of Alabama’s campus newspaper detailed chronic racial discrimination within the campus’s Greek system, the university’s president said on Friday that six minority students had accepted offers of admission to traditionally white sororities.

The announcement marked the first time since 2003 that those organizations said they had added minority students to their memberships. Other new minority members could follow, said the president, Judy L. Bonner.

“I am confident that we will achieve our objective of a Greek system that is inclusive, accessible and welcoming to students of all races and ethnicities,” Dr. Bonner said in a videotaped statement. “We will not tolerate anything less.”

Dr. Bonner said the sororities had extended 72 bids this week to students, including 11 black women.

By Friday afternoon, six women who are minorities had agreed to join the sororities, including Halle Lindsay, who accepted an offer of admission from the Alpha Gamma Delta chapter in Tuscaloosa.

“This is all so surreal and exciting,” Ms. Lindsay wrote on her Twitter account. “I love my sisters already and happy to be an Alpha Gam!”

The national headquarters of Alpha Gamma Delta did not respond to a request for comment.

News of the admissions capped a tumultuous week for the university, the site of a Wednesday demonstration by hundreds of students and faculty members who demanded an end to long-running racial biases on the campus.

In marching to the Rose Administration Building, the protesters recalled the actions of Gov. George Wallace, who 50 years ago tried to bar African-American students from enrolling at the university, where blacks now make up more than 12 percent of the student body.

Although segregation in Alabama’s Greek system had been the subject of periodic anger and conversations through the years, the issue resurfaced last week when The Crimson White published an interview with a woman who described the conduct inside the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority house during August’s recruitment process.

According to the woman, Melanie Gotz, the sorority’s alumnae forbade current students from offering bids to two black women, one of them the stepgranddaughter of a member of Alabama’s board of trustees.

After days of escalating pressure, Dr. Bonner, in an abrupt reversal of the university’s longstanding contention that the privately run Greek organizations should fashion their own membership standards, ordered the sororities to engage in a protracted recruitment process.

On Friday, she said that step was “already yielding positive results,” and she expected the sororities to continue to broaden their membership throughout the academic year.

Why You Here if You Didn’t Come to Buckdance?

Conservatives, CPAC, and that racism thing again…

Interesting the mind convolutions where people will go to to deny the truth, and make the opposite fit their racist views. Frederick Douglass as a “conservative”?

These people are a joke. An evil joke – and typical of this segment of conservatism.

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

Martin Luther King Jr.
US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 – 1968)

The New Jim Crow – The Voter Fraud Fraud

This is he result of searching high and low for the last 10 years for incidences of Voter Fraud…

And finding nothing but Republican racism.

New database of US voter fraud finds no evidence that photo ID laws are needed

A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.

In an exhaustive public records search, reporters from the investigative reporting projecdt News21 sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of fraudulent activity including registration fraud, absentee ballot fraud, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, casting an ineligible vote, voting twice, voter impersonation fraud and intimidation.

Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.

“Voter fraud at the polls is an insignificant aspect of American elections,” said elections expert David Schultz, professor of public policy at Hamline University School of Business in St. Paul, Minn.

“There is absolutely no evidence,” Schultz said, that voter impersonation fraud “has affected the outcome of any election in the United States, at least any recent election in the United States.”

The News21 analysis of its election fraud database shows:

  • In-person voter-impersonation fraud is rare. The database shows 207 cases of other types of fraud for every case of voter impersonation. “The fraud that matters is the fraud that is organized. That’s why voter impersonation is practically non-existent because it is difficult to do and it is difficult to pull people into conspiracies to do it,” said Lorraine Minnite, professor of public policy and administration at Rutgers University.
  • There is more fraud in absentee ballots and voter registration than any other categories. The analysis shows 491 cases of absentee ballot fraud and 400 cases of registration fraud. A required photo ID at the polls would not have prevented these cases. “The one issue I think is potentially important, though more or less ignored, is the overuse of absentee balloting, which provides far more opportunity for fraud and intimidation than on-site voter fraud,” said Daniel Lowenstein, a UCLA School of Law professor.
  • Of reported election-fraud allegations in the database whose resolution could be determined, 46 percent resulted in acquittals, dropped charges or decisions not to bring charges. Minnite says prosecutions are rare. “You have to be able to show that people knew what they were doing and they knew it was wrong and they did it anyway,” she said. “It may be in the end” that prosecutors “can’t really show that the people who have cast technically illegal ballots did it on purpose.”
  • Felons or noncitizens sometimes register to vote or cast votes because they are confused about their eligibility. The database shows 74 cases of felons voting and 56 cases of noncitizens voting.
  • Voters make a lot of mistakes, from accidentally voting twice to voting in the wrong precinct.
  • Election officials make a lot mistakes, from clerical errors — giving voters ballots when they’ve already voted — to election workers confused about voters’ eligibility requirements.

For a look at that database – go here

The New Jim Crow – Charter Schools

One of the problems with Charter Schools such as those recently implemented in Louisiana – is that they short circuit all of the existing Civil Rights laws.  Particularly in Lousisana the changeover to supposedly “private” schools enables religious discrimination.

The Old Jim Crow – Just Like the New Jim Crow – Now Dressed Up as Charter Schools

Segregation Fear Sinks Charter School

Nashville school officials have rejected a proposal to open a charter school in a middle-class part of the city, highlighting a broader national battle over efforts by operators of such publicly financed, privately run schools to expand into more affluent areas.

The Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools board voted 7-2 Tuesday night to reject an application by Great Hearts Academies, a nonprofit that operates prep-school-like charter schools, for five new establishments.

The Arizona-based group planned to open its first Tennessee school in a middle- to upper-middle class area in west Nashville, after being invited by parents who either were unhappy with local public schools or said they favored choice in education.

The board denied the application because members worried that low-income parents wouldn’t be able to easily transport their children across town to a school on the west side, meaning the plan could effectively cause “segregated schools,” said Olivia Brown, spokeswoman for the district.

“Rather than enhance diversity in the district, this would send us in the opposite direction,” said Edward Kindall, one of the board members who voted against the plan. “I went to segregated schools and this gets us dangerously close to separate but unequal.”

The school board also approved, by votes of 9-0 and 8-1, two other charter schools Tuesday, both of which will cater mainly to low-income students. Mr. Kindall backed both schools.

Dan Scoggin, chief executive of Great Hearts Academies, said the school would have been open to all students, and that his organization planned to build other schools elsewhere in the city. Continue reading

Before the Apollo – There Was the Howard Theater

Saw a number of acts here as a kid – From Duke Ellington to Moms Mabley to Nancy Wilson and Pigmeat Markum… Even saw Tina Turner shake a shapely leg there…

During the 60′s this was one of two venues which had black musicians on stage in DC. The other being the Carter Baron Ampithater, and outdoor venue only open during the summer…

Jackie Wilson, Temptations, Booker T and the MGs – every major black act in America played here from the 20′s to the 60′s.

New Howard Theater

The Original Theater Built in 1910

D.C.’s Howard Theatre: What made it an essential sanctuary of black Washington?

Marvin Gaye sang his debut hit “Stubborn Kind of Fellow” when he returned to the Howard Theatre in October 1962 with the first Motown tour. The audience went wild over its hometown son. His mother, who was in the audience, poked everyone around her and told them, “That’s my boy!” The lineup included Marv Johnson, Mary Wells, the Miracles, the Marvelettes and the Vandellas. The Supremes, making their stage debut, were the opening act. Miles Davis had been a headliner the previous week.

Before New York’s Apollo Theater, there was the Howard. Built in 1910, it was the first legitimate theater in the country open to African Americans. The Howard Theatre helped make Washington the early cultural capital of black America. Over 60 years, virtually every top African American entertainer performed on its stage, including Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, the Drifters, Ruth Brown, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Ike & Tina Turner.

Going to the Howard at Seventh & T in the District’s Shaw neighborhood was a part of growing up for generations of Washingtonians, some of whom went on to achieve fame of their own. Atlantic Recordsfounder Ahmet Ertegun said he got his doctorate in black music there. One of its ragtime musicians taught Billy Taylor to play piano. After Billy Eckstine won several amateur night contests at the Howard, theater manager Shep Allen told the teenager he was a professional, lent him a tuxedo and booked him to do a show. Shirley Horn said a show she saw there made her switch from classical piano to jazz. Pearl Bailey danced in the chorus line while taking voice lessons. And Duke Ellington often won the theater’s band contests with his first quintet, the Duke’s Serenaders.

The Howard closed in 1970, a victim of desegregation, competition from larger venues and the 1968 riots. A 1975 reopening lasted only two weeks. Occasional shows followed, but it wasn’t the same. The theater was a go-go palace when it finally closed in the early ’80s.

With the Howard Theatre set to reopen this week, here’s a look at its legendary past through the eyes of people who were touched by it.

***

Gloria Thomas Gantt, 85, was a cashier at the Howard from 1959 to 1970. She became a manager for shows in the late ’70s.

I worked with Tina Turner, James Brown, B.B. King, Gladys Knight & the Pips. All of the big stars, I got a chance to work with them.

The Temptations had people all up and down the aisle. At that time, they were Number One. They were the star of the show. The women used to go crazy. Throw up their bras and underwear and everything onstage. Then they would write down their phone numbers. The star of the show, David Ruffin, would come down into the audience [when he sang] “My Girl.” If you were sitting there, he would sing to you. He would take the numbers and put them in his pocket and just keep right on singing. He never missed a beat.

Women would call me at the box office. “Could you tell me where so and so in James Brown’s band, where they are stayin’?” I’d say, “Honey, that’s a good question, ’cause I don’t know.” But somehow they would come in and go backstage, and they would find ’em… (More)

SCUMUS 5 to Re-segregate Schools

Looks like a setup to take down that level playing field…

Where is the Black Community?

I grew up in an all-black suburban community defined by segregation. Our community was essentially an Island in an otherwise all white sea defined by housing restrictions and covenants.

Living in the suburbs in those days meant having ties to other black communities which existed in sometimes disparate areas defined by post Civil War realities. Your barber or hairdresser might be in another community. The segregated black schools drew from communities which could be 20 or 30 miles from each other leading to long bus rides, and by High School – the students coming from a geographic region, instead of a “community”. Social activities such as house parties could be 30 or more miles away.

Tying this together were the remnants of the 40′s era segregation. Many of the communities, if large enough – had a baseball team. Sunday evenings were filled with crack of a bat as communities met on local fields to root for their respective local teams.

So the “black community”, at least in the suburban sense that I grew up with was always a “virtual” entity.

The stock in trade of black conservatives is to discuss shortcomings of the “black community”. The problem with that line of “thinking” is that the black community in the pre-60′s sense – has ceased to exist. The remnants of those communities, where they exist at all -  largely exist today as urban pockets. The black diaspora has not only changed the nature and makeup of the pre-desegregation black community – it has changed the racial dynamic of previously white communities. The urban pocket community is no more a representation of the black community than $5 million houses in an upscale Jersey community are representative of the “white community” as a whole in the US. Quite simply America has changed – and like any major social change the impact is complex.

John McWhorter discusses the impact of desegregation in this article. I find it amusing when people who never experienced segregation talk about how wonderful it was…Segregation Is Down. Great News, Right?

Segregation Is Down. Great News, Right?

When Newt Gingrich says that housing project people don’t work, our job is to show that they do. When he says that Obama is the “food stamp” president, our job is to show that most food stamp recipients are white. When Ron Paul writes that we’re about to start rioting again, we are to make sure that everybody knows we’re not.

In other words, although this isn’t the lesson usually taken from these recent episodes, it would appear that we are getting more comfortable admitting that progress happens for us. Real progress, even if racism still exists, as it always will. And not just symbolic progress, such as having a black president. When we get angry at whites depicting us as poster children, we are saying that being black is less of a problem in 2012, even if it occasionally still is one.

Well, now there’s more good news. We need to trumpet it to the skies as eagerly as we do the news that not so many of us use food stamps. It’s about segregation: This new report by Edward Glaeser and Jacob Vigdor shows that black Americans are living under less of it than at any time since William Howard Taft was president.

As Glaeser and Vigdor, writing for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, show, “As of 2010, the separation of African-Americans from individuals of other races has stood at its lowest level in nearly a century. Fifty years ago, nearly half the black population lived in what might be termed a ‘ghetto’ neighborhood, with an African-American share above 80 percent. Today, that proportion has fallen to 20 percent.”

Indeed, I used to work for the Manhattan Institute and am proud of it. But I am hardly the only one who will be writing about this report this week, and I would be shouting it to the heavens even if I used to work for Burger King. This is important news.

So often we are told that despite the civil rights revolution, black America’s big problem is segregation. Black people live together too much, we are told. And when everybody is black and poor, then we have to understand that the neighborhood must fall to pieces. Not enough middle-class role models, we are told. About twice a year the New York Times runs a story on segregation that pings around the country madly for weeks, in which assorted people are quoted spinning variations on “We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.”

Here, then, is a story about the way we’ve come. From 1970 to 2010, segregation declined for black people in all 85 of the nation’s largest metro areas. From just 2000 to 2010, segregation declined in 522 out of 658 housing markets. By 2010, out of 72,531 census tracts, only 424 had no black people in them. And as recently as 2000, that number had been 902. In 1960, there were 4,700 all-white neighborhoods in America. Today there are 170. We’re everywhere! (More)

Luke Weathers, Jr… Tuskegee Airman

A sad note on the very week a long awaited movie about the exploits of th Tuskegee Airmen is released – Ace Pilot Luke Weathers was interned at Arlington Cemetery. During the War, at least 47 Pilots were awarded Purple Hearts for injuries received on combat missions. While most folks equate he Red Tails with the P-51 Mustang Aircraft, the Tuskegee Airmen also flew the Curtis P-40 in North Africa, the Bell P-39 Air Cobra, and the deadly P-47 Thunderbolt – which actually sank a German Destroyer, and was the first plane to get the distinctive “Red Tail” livery.

Luke Weathers Jr., Tuskegee airman, buried at Arlington as ‘Red Tails’ movie released

On the same day that retired Air Force Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. took his resting place among other war and military heroes, his real-life story as a World War II aviator played out on movie screens across the country.

Weathers was buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery in a service that began with a flyover of four F-16 jets in the Missing Man formation, a special honor reserved for pilots, by the 113th Wing of the D.C. Capital Guardians, the same unit that guards the airspace over the nation’s capital.

Weathers died Oct. 15 in Tucson, Ariz., of pneumonia at age 90. His burial coincided with the official opening in theaters of “Red Tails,” a George Lucas-produced movie retelling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen who debunked widely held beliefs that black pilots were incapable of fighting in combat.

Shortly after the flyover, in which one of the three jets departed from formation, a caisson pulled by six horses carried Weathers’ body to his burial spot amid hundreds of the stark marble tombstones that cover the grounds of the national cemetery. An Air Force band accompanied the wagon, its drummer thumping a solemn beat as family followed on the chilly, overcast Friday morning. Family members wore red ties and scarves, as they had at Weathers’ Memphis funeral, as a nod to the aviators who painted their aircrafts’ tails red to set themselves apart.

Luke Weathers III, 61, said his father and other black Americans who fought in World War II did so to prove they were men, “and then they wanted their country to love them, but that didn’t happen, either.” Friday’s ceremony, however, finally delivered recognition of his father as a national hero, Weathers said.

This kind of attention to the Tuskegee Airmen is what the elder Weathers wanted throughout his life, said his daughter, Trina Weathers Boyce. Weathers was not vain, but he wanted to share the lessons of the airmen’s courage in war, their struggles for equality and their victory over a wartime enemy and over racism, she said.

“He would talk about his hard trials and tribulations to others, to children, because he never wanted us to feel like this (racism) is a reason we couldn’t make it,” Weathers Boyce said in a telephone interview Thursday. “He would tell us nothing good comes easy. He’d say there are going to be barriers … and you can overcome them.”

Before the Tuskegee Airmen were formed in 1941, black men were forbidden to fly for the U.S. military, even though they could be drafted. After years of struggle, the Army Air Corps began to allow African Americans to train for flight, albeit in still-segregated units.

Many of the Tuskegee airmen, which included navigators, mechanics, medical personnel and others in support roles, trained from 1941 to 1949 at the Tuskegee Institute, which was founded by Booker T. Washington and was already home to an aeronautical engineering program.

More than 900 Tuskegee Airmen were U.S. pilots, said Trent Dudley, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who is president of the East Coast Tuskegee Airmen Inc. chapter. An estimated 250 to 300 Tuskegee airmen are still alive. The exact number is not known because some have not registered with chapters.

NC Voters Evict Tea Party Bigot School Board

Another district who has found out that Tea Bagger elected officials are toxic, and that the “throw the bums out” elections in 2009 and 2010 resulted all to often in letting the scumbags in.

This could be a bell weather of the 2012 elections, with voters expressing severe “buyers regret” over Tea Party candidates  whose often radical hidden agendas weren’t exposed until after their election.

NC voters reject Pope-backed candidates in local school board battle over resegregation

Voters in Wake County, N.C. headed to the polls yesterday in high numbers to reject a slate of conservative Republican Board of Education candidates who opposed a longstanding diversity policy aimed at avoiding high-poverty and racially-isolated schools.

The big win for Democrats and desegregation represents a big loss for conservative benefactor Art Pope, who served as the architect of the 2009 school board election that saw an anti-diversity Republican majority win control of the officially nonpartisan body, and who along with his political network backed yesterday’s losing candidates. Pope is one of the most influential money men in North Carolina politics and is a close national ally of the billionaire Koch brothers through his role as a national director of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which backs school privatization and whose North Carolina chapter helped Republicans in the 2009 school board race.

With five of the board’s nine seats up for grabs yesterday, Democrats won four races outright and ousted board chair Ron Margiotta, a particularly divisive figure who also serves as a trustee for a private school run by Bob Luddy, a close associate of Pope and the Koch brothers and another major funder of this year’s anti-diversity-policy candidates. Margiotta lost to political newcomer Susan Evans by 52% to 48% in Southwest Wake’s District 8, considered the most strongly Republican of the board’s nine districts. Continue reading

US Dept. of Education Looking At Education Re-segregation Impact

At least DOE is doing something… No wonder the Tea Bagger set wants to get rid of the Department.

Troops Escort Students to Central High
The New Jim Crow…Just Like the Old Jim Crow, Just 

Camouflaged

U.S. Department of Education Investigating Record Number of Civil Rights Complaints

Department of Education is seeking to improve the quality of education for minority and poor public school students by aggressively launching civil rights investigations aimed at preventing district administrators from providing more services and resources to predominantly white schools.

Faced with public schools more segregated today than in the 1970s, the department is using the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to improve the quality of education for students from minority and low-income backgrounds. The department has outpaced the Bush administration in initiating civil rights probes.

During 33 months under the Obama administration, the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has launched 30 compliance reviews compared with the 22 begun during the eight-year Bush administration. Investigators determine whether school districts have violated Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

“The civil rights laws are the most sorely underutilized tool in education reform and closing the achievement gap,” says Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, who has run the department’s OCR since May 2009. She said President Barack Obama has emphasized that he wants the department investigating education-related civil rights violations. “This is the most important civil rights issue of our time,” she says.

Last year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced on the 45th anniversary of Bloody Sunday—the day that Alabama state troopers brutalized civil rights activists marching on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma—that the department’s OCR would significantly increase enforcement actions. Duncan acknowledged that over the last 10 years, the office had not aggressively pursued Title 6 investigations to improve the quality of education for minority and poor students.

The OCR received about 7,000 complaints last year, a record for the department. School districts are being investigated for a range of possible violations, including failure to provide minority students with access to college- and career-track courses, not assigning highly qualified teachers to schools with predominantly minority students and disproportionately placing such students in special education courses and suspending minority students.

The OCR has also investigated schools for failing to protect female students of color from sexual violence and not offering access to higher-level math and science courses.

Judith A. Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project in Washington, D.C., which advocates for quality education, acknowledges a significant change in direction for the department’s OCR. Ali served as deputy co-director of the organization from 1999 to 2000.

“For years, we couldn’t rely on the federal government to enforce civil rights law, so now we have an Office for Civil Rights that is finally taking up the torch,” Browne Dianis says. “During the Bush administration, we wouldn’t encourage anyone to file a complaint. The feeling was that even if you filed a complaint, they probably wouldn’t investigate or would say there was no racial discrimination.”… (more)

Yeah…

That New Jim Crow.

Beatles Refused To Play at Segregated Venues

You would never have known it from American TV – but the Beatles refused to play at segregated concert venues when they came to America…

That just leaves that “White Album” thing! :)

With the state of Music and broadcast radio in the early 60′s, which was intensely segregated radio almost coat-to-coast – I’m not sure how many black folks actually “got” the Beatles before, or even when they first came to our shores, because many never had the opportunity to hear them. Their breakthrough was the Ed Sullivan show. Lot of younger black folks had a Beatles album or two tucked away in the collection behind the Motown and Atlantic albums in the mid 60′s…

The Beatles banned segregated audiences, contract shows

The Beatles showed their support for the US civil rights movement by refusing to play in front of segregated audiences, a contract shows.

The document, which is to be auctioned next week, relates a 1965 concert at the Cow Palace in California.

Signed by manager Brian Epstein, it specifies that The Beatles “not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience”.

The agreement also guarantees the band payment of $40,000 (£25,338).

Other requirements include a special drumming platform for Ringo Starr and the provision of 150 uniformed police officers for protection.

But the security arrangements were not perfect.

The band played two sets, a matinee and an evening performance, at the venue on 31 August, 1965. At the latter, some of the 17,000-strong crowd broke through security barriers and rushed the stage.

The show was halted, and The Beatles were forced to wait backstage while order was restored.

They eventually finished their 12-song set with Help! followed by its B-side, I’m Down.

The Beatles had previously taken a public stand on civil rights in 1964, when they refused to perform at a segregated concert at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.

City officials relented, allowing the stadium to be integrated, and the band took to the stage.

“We never play to segregated audiences and we aren’t going to start now,” said John Lennon. “I’d sooner lose our appearance money.”

The struggle for racial equality in America later inspired Paul McCartney to write Blackbird.

The contract for The Beatles’ 1965 show is expected to raise up to $5,000 (£3,167) when it goes up for sale by a specialist memorabilia auctioneer in Los Angeles on 20 September.

That Ed Sullivan performance -

American Hyper-Segregation… Not Just in Black, Brown, and White

I don’t think it is any surprise to most folks that America remains largely segregated along racial lines  nearly 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1965.  While race and racism play a part in this, by far the majority of self-segregation falls within the sphere of tribalism. Well to do black folks self-segregate in communities in the Washington DC area and Atlanta, and white segregate themselves in the suburbs. That tribalism has a lot more to do with the culture you grew up with in most cases than any dislike of other folks. In all but exceedingly rare case, nobody is going to stop a black family with the means from living in the ‘burbs, nor are black folks going to stop whites or anyone else from moving into any of the new black enclaves.

Whites in this country have developed an entire political movement, which at it’s core is a belief in a return to the “golden age” of the 50′s.  Black folks don’t have many fond memories of pre-segregation America – and while the cars, music, and some of the entertainers of the period may foster fond memories, there is no desire whatsoever to return to the societal context or economic realities. That is, and fundamentally always will be a schism between the right in American politics and black folks.

Developing more recently is an even more dangerous hyper-segregation – that between folks on the left and folks on the right. The article below characterizes it as urbanized versus suburban - but I don’t think that is entirely accurate because there are suburban communities which reliably vote left. While there aren’t any major urban areas which vote right – that probably is more a result of the impact of minority voters.

Political and marketing analysts figured out some years ago that they could predict your political alignment by whether you shopped or ate at Walmart of Cracker Barrel – or sipped lattes at Starbucks, and provisioned at Whole Foods.

That political schism, now seems also to define where people want to live.

The Cook Report: Whole Foods versus Cracker Barrel: How Americans Are Self-Sorting

When weary voters saw the news that Washington had struck a bipartisan deal on the debt ceiling, it’s doubtful that many of them took out stationery to write Congress a thank-you note; it’s not clear how many of us even believed it had happened. Last week, according to a Pew Research Center survey, a whopping 72 percent described the recent negotiations in disparaging terms such as ridiculous,disgustingstupid, and frustrating. Long before the last-minute, $2.1 trillion deal, voters had thrown their hands up in despair at the extremely polarized state of our politics. Continue reading

Covenants and Blockbusting – How Developers Leveraged Racism to Change Cities and Make Millions

This is a good historical background on Baltimore, and how first restrictive Jim Crow era covenants, and later – racial blockbusting was used by developers not only to make millions – but to manipulate homeowners. This is how American cities developed segregated neighborhoods.

Part II of the series -

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