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The Second Nat Turner Rebellion

Nat Turner was neither the first, or the last black man held in slavery to rebel. He was just the white slave owners worst nightmare come true. During the Revolutionary War entire counties didn’t supply troops to the American Army because of fear of local slave rebellions. Despite the Southern Myth of “happy” plantation life, slave owner knew they were on thin ice, and exercised extreme brutality as a means to keep the slaves cowed. Bacon’s Rebellion, a prelude to the Revolutionary War was fueled and fought by slaves and indentured servants. It is never listed as a slave revolt, because the leader Nathaniel Bacon was an Aristocrat.

Not sure I can see the benefit of what Kalifah, mentioned in the story below, is doing. Black History isn’t just black history…It is American History.

The Racial Politics of Nat Turner Tours

The subject of an acclaimed new movie, the 1831 slave revolt led by Turner is also the focus of two tours, one black and one white, in a region still divided over Turner’s legacy.

Nate Parker entered his film The Birth of a Nation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival with little publicity and no distribution deal. It emerged having garnered the festival’s Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award, and a deal with Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million—the largest deal in Sundance history. Parker both directed and plays the central role of Nat Turner, who planned and carried out the most violent slave insurrection in American history in Virginia in 1831 that left 55 white men, women, and children dead. …

The controversy surrounding Parker’s past has obscured a far more interesting story currently playing out in Southampton County, where for the first time efforts are underway to interpret the 1831 slave rebellion for the general public. It is a promising development that comes amidst reports of police brutality within the black community, an active Black Lives Matter campaign, and a presidential election that has bitterly divided the nation along racial lines on the eve of the conclusion of our nation’s first black presidency. It also points to an increased willingness on the part of museums, historic sites, and even Hollywood to confront the violence of America’s slave past, but it is not without controversy.

It is difficult to exaggerate the challenges involved in interpreting Nat Turner’s controversial life in the place where so much blood was shed. This history remains contested ground for the black and white residents of Jerusalem (now Courtland) and the surrounding county. Local debates about how to interpret and remember Nat Turner point to tightly embraced competing memories of the past that fall along racial lines and more specific disagreements about what kinds of historical sources ought to be given priority, and who has the right to tell these stories.

Such differences stretch all the way back to the event itself and its aftermath, which included the execution of free and enslaved blacks by a community that feared additional violence, the eventual capture of Turner, his trial, and subsequent execution.

Efforts to interpret Turner and his slave rebellion began in 2002, when the Southampton County Historical Society (SCHS) gained possession of the Vaughan House—the only extant building dating back to the 1831 insurrection. Rebecca Vaughan, along with her two sons, niece, and overseer, were killed by Turner’s followers. Once restored, the home will serve as the centerpiece of an exhibit that explores the violent deaths of its occupants as well as the story of slavery in the community and the events that led up to and followed the bloody uprising. Its centerpiece will be the sword that Turner used throughout much of the rebellion.

Much of the history will eventually be shared through roughly 40 wayside markers at 17 stops throughout the county that will be accessible by foot and by car. Early drafts of individual markers reveal a clear commitment to deal with the horrors of chattel slavery in Southampton County as well as its connection to broader events. Visitors will be able to read about obscure slave rebellions such as The Plant Cutter Revolt of 1663, George Boxley Rebellion in 1811, as well as better known moments such as Denmark Vesey’s Revolt in 1822 and Gabriel’s Rebellion of 1800.

Turner’s story is told alongside other notable local African Americans, including Dred Scott, whose unsuccessful legal plea for his freedom was decided by the Supreme Court just a few years before the start of the Civil War. John Brown—not to be confused with the famous abolitionist—escaped slavery and eventually made his way to Great Britain, where he published his autobiography with the help of The British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society. Finally, Anthony Gardiner traveled to Liberia with the help of the American Colonization Society and eventually became that nation’s ninth president. By highlighting the lives of these men, the SCHS hopes to frame the broader narrative around the quest for freedom and civil rights.

Any attempt to interpret a story like this for the general public, however, raises difficult questions of interpretation. Is it possible to tell a story that transcends racial divisions? How do you interpret the killing of women and children—a subject that even Nate Parker, who characterizes Turner as a hero, chose to avoid almost entirely in his movie? Most importantly, how should we understand Turner’s actions? Was he a freedom fighter, a murderer, or something else entirely? In short, what is his legacy?

These questions matter to Rick Francis, who is the Southampton County Circuit Court Clerk and belongs to the SCHS. Francis was born and raised in Southampton County and is descended from Nat Turner’s owner. From a very early age, he absorbed and re-told stories passed down by his father and others about members of his extended family, who ended up “on the business end of his ax” as well as others who were aided by local slaves and managed to survive.

While Francis fully supports the efforts of the SCHS to interpret Nat Turner’s rebellion, including its emphasis on white supremacy and the violence of slavery, he betrays a certain uneasiness when asked to evaluate Turner himself and the legacy of his actions. In a recent interview with 60 Minutes, Francis questioned whether emancipation is what motivated Turner and said that whether or not he was a freedom fighter “is not my call to make.”

Francis believes that it is possible for the SCHS—an organization that he admits is overwhelmingly white—to tell an “objective” history of Nat Turner through electronic maps, video, a driver app, artifacts, and primary sources such as The Confessions of Nat Turner penned by white Southampton lawyer Thomas Gray. Gray’s interview with Turner while in his jail cell during his trial was published shortly after his execution. It is an indispensible source for historians, but it remains a challenge to interpret. Francis’s goal from the beginning remains for the public interpretation to stay as far away from the “saint or sinner debate” and “let people come up with their own interpretation.”

But for H. Khalif Khalifah, this is neither satisfactory nor does it allay concerns that the story of Turner itself is being told by the wrong people. Born in Gosport, Alabama, and raised in New York City, Khalifah was introduced to Turner’s history during the height of the civil rights movement through publications distributed by radical black political organizations that referenced the slave as one among many “revolutionaries and militants who had waged a physical fight to Free Black People.” Trained as a master printer, Khalifah eventually started his own company that marketed books about black history to black communities.

In the mid ’80s, Khalifah and his wife moved to Southampton County, Virginia, on 123 acres of the “birth land” of Nat Turner, where he established the Nat Turner Library and Nat Turner Trail tours. He has had very little contact with the SCHS and is not involved in the organization of the new exhibits and trail tour. This distance reflects a deep skepticism that a largely white organization can accurately engage the general public about Turner’s story and the history of slavery.

Khalifah’s tours are geared specifically to African-American tourists and he rarely allows white visitors to join. When asked why, he suggested that “the pain that was visited upon black people is so brutal that emotions may become aroused against white people on the tour.” The language used along the tour adds to his concerns about how whites might respond. Stops along the tour are referred to as “battle sites,” while Turner and his men are referred to as the “Black Liberation Army of 1831.”…The Rest Here

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2016 in Black History

 

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Who’s Afraid of Democracy Spring?

For the past week a group of demonstrators called Democracy Spring have been protesting at the Capital. So far, over 1200 of them have been arrested, including a number of famous names…

Yet – you wouldn’t know this massive demonstration is going on watching he MSM.

The paymasters of the MSM don’t want you to know that thousands are showing up to protest bought out politicians, bought out elections, and a bought out Press.

 

1,240 arrested in past week as “Democracy Spring” movement against money in politics spreads throughout U.S.

Activists carried out one of the biggest acts of civil disobedience in recent history—yet got little media coverage

It was one of the most massive acts of civil disobedience in recent U.S. history. Over the past week, well over 1,000 people were arrested in an enormous sit-in protest at the U.S. Capitol.

The demonstration is part of a new movement that calls itself “Democracy Spring.” Activists are calling for ending the chokehold money has on U.S. politics, overturning Citizens United and restoring voting rights.

On April 2, activists launched a colossal 10-day, 140-mile march from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. This was the preface to the mass arrests.

At least 1,240 protesters were arrested in the week from Monday, April 11 to Monday, April 18, according to police, on charges of crowding, obstructing or incommoding. Some activists even tied themselves to scaffolding in the Capitol rotunda.

Activists say even more people were arrested. The Nation put the figure at 1,400. The left-wing magazine refers to Democracy Spring and the allied Democracy Awakening protests from April 16 to 18 as “the most important protest of the 2016 election.”

A host of celebrities and prominent figures joined the protesters. Actress Rosario Dawson — who has become an outspoken Bernie Sanders supporter — was arrested, as was Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, along with leaders from the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the AFL-CIO and the NAACP.

And although the Washington, D.C. demonstration officially ended Monday, Democracy Spring is only just beginning.

Leaders in the movement say they plan on expanding it throughout the country.

“Despite this unprecedented call to action, the congressional leadership did nothing,” Kai Newkirk, the campaign director of Democracy Spring, explained.

“Now we will take the battle into their offices in D.C., their home districts and to their fundraisers, to the party conventions and beyond.”

 Democracy Spring activists are asking that all U.S. political candidates sign the Equal Voice for All Declaration, which maintains that the “government should be free from the corrupting influence of big money in politics and solely dependent upon the People” and calls “for pro-democracy, anti-corruption reforms, including voting rights protections, citizen-funded elections, and a constitutional amendment to overturn
Citizens United.”

The movement is non-partisan and is not affiliated with any political candidates or parties. It has been organized by a coalition of more than 120 organizations, activist groups and unions, which share principles of unity.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has expressed support for the new movement.

“We must overturn Citizens United if we are serious about maintaining the foundations of American democracy,” his campaign tweeted.

“Americans understand that our gov’t is dominated by big money. Glad to see people taking action to restore democracy.”

 

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13 Syrians Killed Rescuing British Journalist

This sounds like something out of an Action and Adventure movie – but it is real life. In an effort to save foreign journalists targeted by government forces, the Syrian rebels lost 13 of their own. The Revolution will not be televised…

Wounded British journalist smuggled safely out of besieged Syrian city of Homs

A wounded British photographer who had been trapped in the besieged Syrian city of Homs has been spirited safely into Lebanon in a risky journey that killed 13 rebels who helped him escape the relentless shelling and gunfire.

Also Tuesday, a Syrian diplomat stormed out of an emergency U.N. meeting amid renewed calls for a cease-fire to deliver humanitarian aid. A top human rights official said a U.N. panel’s report concluded that members of the Damascus regime were responsible for “crimes against humanity.”

The United Nations said the death toll in the 11-month uprising against authoritarian President Bashar Assad was well over 7,500, and activists reported more than 250 dead in the past two days alone _ mostly from government shelling in Homs and Hama province.

Tunisia’s president _ the first since the country’s own Arab Spring uprising toppled his predecessor _ offered the Syrian leader asylum as part of a negotiated peace, an offer Assad will almost surely refuse.

The harrowing ordeal of British photographer Paul Conroy, who was wounded with a French colleague last week by government rockets that killed two others, has drawn focus to the siege of Homs, which has emerged as the center of the anti-Assad uprising.

Hundreds have been killed in the city, parts of which the army has surrounded and shelled daily for more than three weeks. Many have died while venturing outside to forage for food, and activists have posted videos online of homes reduced to rubble and alleyways rendered no-go zones by snipers.

Conroy’s escape was the first sign of relief for a group of Western journalists who sneaked into Syria illegally and reached the embattled Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr only to find themselves trapped. Government rockets bombarded the makeshift media center they shared with activists last week, killing two of them and injuring Conroy and French reporter Edith Bouvier. Conroy and Bouvier later appeared in activist videos lying on makeshift hospital beds, pleading for help.

Conroy crossed the border into neighboring Lebanon after leaving Homs on Sunday evening, according to the global activist group Avaaz, which said it organized the evacuation with local activists.

The group said 35 Syrians volunteered to help get the journalists out and 13 were killed in the operation.

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in General, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Karl Rove on Egyptians Are White Folks!

That racial identity thing rears it’s ugly head again… They pass the paper bag test, huh, Karl?

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Stupid Republican Tricks

 

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Courage…

This took a bucketfull of courage. This is Asmaa Mahfouz, one of the many Egyptian folks who took a stand in Egypt on her vlog back on January 18th…

From Tracy Chapman –

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2011 in News

 

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The Comic Book Which Rocked the World

Apparently the hottest reading in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East right now is a comic book

Only instead of phantasmal “super-heroes” with otherworldly super-powers, this book is about normal folks, a real “super-hero” who inspired with words and faith, and a key event in American Civil Rights – The Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story (Visit this site to read the books in English, Arabic, or Farsi)

HAMSA, in conjunction with our parent organization AIC, is proud to announce the release of a groundbreaking Arabic edition of a 50-year-old comic book on Martin Luther King and the power of nonviolence. Several thousand copies were printed in Cairo, as part of an effort spearheaded by AIC-Egypt Director Dalia Ziada (right). They are being distributed across the Middle East.

Called “The Montgomery Story,” the comic book was published in 1958 and helped inspire the American civil-rights movement in the 1960s. In 2008, it was translated and designed by young reformers in the Mideast. It features full-color panels depicting the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a campaign to end segregation on buses in the capitol of Alabama. The comic book ends with a section on “how the Montgomery Method works,” outlining essential techniques of nonviolence.

After an initial run of just 2,500 books – the Montgomery Story and King’s message has caught on like wildfire throughout the Middle East. Copies are available online, and are being actively distributed electronically by bloggers across the Internet.

The Arabic comic book has now been distributed in print and on-line to a network of young activists and bloggers throughout the Middle East, including Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen. Feedback has been enthusiastic. At a book fair in the Egyptian industrial city of Mahalla, one woman grabbed the comic book with passion and scanned the cover, asking, “Is this Gamal Abdel Nasser?”

Farsi version of the comic was rushed into production in June of 2009 as post-election protests were erupting. Translators in Iran helped put it together in a week, and the comic was soon being distributed digitally. The Montgomery Bus Boycott had resonance in Iran with the 2005 Tehran bus protests, which made headlines when one trade unionist, Mansour Osanloo, had his tongue cut by members of the Islamic Republic for seeking improved working conditions for his fellow bus drivers.

As with the violence in Iran, “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story” cautioned that brutality often accompanies steps towards peace. Scenes of a Ku Klux Klan parade, a cross burning, and the bombings of Negro churches and homes were vividly depicted within its pages. An impassioned King is seen imploring an angry crowd:

“Please be peaceful. We believe in law and order. We are not advocating violence. I want you to love our enemies, for what we are doing is right, what we are doing is just – and God is with us.”

The Revolution may not be televised… But it will cover the world.

BTW kiddies, this has also been translated into Vietnamese and Spanish…

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2011 in Black History, News, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Street Battles Between Pro and Anti Mubarek Supporters. Anderson Cooper News Crew Attacked

Egypt appears to be descending into Civil War. Pro and anti Government groups have been battling in the streets, with reports of over 400 injured in Cairo and 1 dead in the violence. This report from Anderson Cooper whose News Crew was caught and attacked by pro-Mubarek forces…

So far, the Army does not appear to be taking sides.

At one point riders on horeseback and camel charged the crowd swinging whips –

This situation is increasingly touch and go.

President Obama apparently has directly told President Mubarek that he needs to leave now.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2011 in News

 

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