Civil Rights Era

My Christmas Gift from Michelle Smith – my New Soul Sister. 

Just before the holidays, most teaching professionals gripe about grading papers on social media. Professor Smith’s experience is going viral and garnered at least two articles by online publications, besides the entry in her own blog entitled, “Maybe We Do Need White History Month or Millennials Don’t Know Shit About Slavery or Picking Appropriate Essay Topics or Being a Black English Adjunct Sucks Sometimes–Merry Christmas”.

Smith reviews an essay on the benefits of slavery turned in by one of her students with a thought provoking essay of her own. For a young adult to determine any social or political benefit from slavery to African Americans is disturbing. We have not done our jobs. Do we seem too complacent in our damage and recovery? Smith’s essay lays groundwork for new national conversations, if we would only listen.

This is definitely going to be a Merry, Merry Christmas.

Source: Maybe We Do Need White History Month or Millennials Don’t Know Shit About Slavery or Picking Appropriate Essay Topics or Being a Black English Adjunct Sucks Sometimes–Merry Christmas

Were Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Victims of Domestic Violence Syndrome? | Habari Gani, America!

One writer, Miriam Axel-Lute, clearly gets what even some in the African American community do not. Domestic Violence perpetrators always – always give you parameters that will prevent them from abusing you, which change over time and situation.

Axel-Lute and the Albany, New York community are stunned by the latest Albany Police Department and area attorney’s presentation given before teenagers this week. I could only imagine how some concerned parents accepted the frank admittance by both entities that we are going to run your life into the ground, given the opportunity.

Lute’s article,Albany Cops Sound Like Abusive Spouses in Teen Workshop states: 

“There’s this pattern that happens with abusive spouses. They often explain to their victims how to behave so they won’t get beaten up again. All the victim needs to do is give them proper respect, not burn their dinner, remember to leave out their slippers at the right place, never buy the wrong brand of toothpaste, never make them feel like they are being laughed at, never give them attitude or make them mad. And then, supposedly, they’ll be safe.”

One female teenager, quoted in the Time Union journalist Paul Grondahl‘s article, “Albany teens hear raw talk about police stops” asks, “Are all cops hot heads? … They all seem so aggressive in the videos.”

According to Grondahl’s article (complete with video segments), the aggression and confusing commentary championed by attorneys and law enforcement, one of which was whether to comply or ask for an attorney, only frustrated the young audience further. We must understand that confusion is how the domestic abuser wins every time — until he kills you.  Axel-Lute may have hit on something politicians, pundits, and communities side step in their attempts to stop our national “domestic violence.”

Read both articles by Axel-Lute and Grondahl following the links below:

Source: Albany Cops Sound Like Abusive Spouses in Teen WorkshopAlbany teens hear raw talk about police stops

How Jesse Williams Stole BET Awards With Speech on Racism | The New York Times

The most talked about experience Post-BET Awards 2016 is Jesse Williams acceptance speech for the Humanitarian Award. Black America will never forget this one.

The BET Awards Sunday featured tributes to Prince and Muhammad Ali, and a performance by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. But this year, the actor Jesse Williams commanded the spotlight with an impassioned speech calling for an end to police killings, racial inequality and cultural appropriation.

Please click here to view Jesse Williams’s speech in its entirety: JW BET Awards 2016

Source: How Jesse Williams Stole BET Awards With Speech on Racism – The New York Times

Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end | DeRay McKesson | Comment is free | The Guardian

DeRay McKesson, like most of our young protesters, has had to have a thick skin during the past year. He has been the subject of many attacks surely aimed at the #BlackLivesMatter movement and is now referred to by some journalist and agencies as a “professional protester.” Now, Yale University is giving this new civil rights activist and chronicler a platform to show that he is more than any of the disparaging symbols forced on our conscience.

Those that have not supported McKesson, nor championed his energy during the many protests against Black genocide held around the country, may have to rethink all of what they have heard and seen. What lies behind the mask?  
If not for Twitter and Instagram, Missouri officials would have convinced you, one year ago, that we simply did not exist. Or that we were the aggressors, rather than the victims. That we, and not they, were the violent ones.

But social media was our weapon against erasure. It is how many of us first became aware of the protests and how we learned where to go, or what to do when teargassed, or who to trust. We were able to both counter the narrative being spun by officials while connecting with each other in unprecedented ways. Many of us became friends digitally, first. And then we, the protestors, met in person.

Social media allowed us to become our own storytellers. With it, we seized the power of our truth.

Source: Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end | DeRay McKesson | Comment is free | The Guardian

Why Marcus Garvey’s Teachings Are as Important Today as They Were in His Time – Atlanta Blackstar

Marcus Garvey

Despite the legislation which emanated from the Civil Rights Movement, Black people are not free and they have no power, including power over their own communities.  The larger society will not employ us, but they will imprison us, as they have by the multitudes, separating our families and destroying our communities, as we are used as raw materials for the prison factories.

And whether by the police, the courts, or vigilantes, this society continues to kill Black women, children and men—in the streets, in the police car, in the jail house and elsewhere, all because we have no power, and they know it.

via Why Marcus Garvey’s Teachings Are as Important Today as They Were in His Time – Atlanta Blackstar.

National Review’s Racism Denial, Then and Now | The New Republic

New Republic|Politics

Courtesy of Media Matters for America, this article by New Republic compares and contrasts the media coverage of two explosive racially-motivated events, 52 years apart, by the National Review; the bombing of Birmingham, Alabama’s 16th St. Baptist Church in 1963 and the murder of 9 people at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charlotte, South Carolina this 2015 by Dylann Storm Roof. It begs to remember that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” 

Both National Review’s 1963 theory that about a “crazed Negro” and Delgado’s notion that Roof doesn’t “look white” spring from a profound commitment to the myth of white innocence. The underlying idea is that white people have only good intentions, so horrific crimes like Birmingham in 1963 or Charleston in 2015 must somehow spring from another source, most likely a dark-skinned person.

Roof

Parallel to the idea that Roof is not white is the desire to deflect attention from Roof’s racist motivation in the church killing, the evidence for which has been steadily accumulating. “He was big into segregation and other stuff,” Roof’s roommate told ABC News. “He said he wanted to start a civil war. He said he was going to do something like that and then kill himself.”

via National Review’s Racism Denial, Then and Now | The New Republic.

Noam Chomsky: White America’s Cruelty to Black People Far Worse Than South Africa | Alternet

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If you listen to the rhetoric on Martin Luther King Day, it’s instructive. It typically ends with the “I Have a Dream” speech and the voting rights. And Martin Luther King didn’t stop there. He went on to condemning the war in Vietnam and to raising class issues. He began to raise class issues and turn to the North. At that point, he fell out of favor and disappeared. He was trying to—he was assassinated when he was trying to organize a poor people’s movement, and he was supporting a sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis. There was supposed to be a march to Washington to establish a poor people’s movement, appeal to Congress to do something about class issues.

via Noam Chomsky: White America’s Cruelty to Black People Far Worse Than South Africa | Alternet.

February Is Historical Accuracy Month | Robert Raben

Selma

As “Selma” proves, we are reaching an age when more and more minorities will be able to tell the facts of our history with less and less filter. Rather than continue to reinforce our own flawed conceptions of history, we should be having a more inclusive debate so that this great melting pot of America can reach an accurate understanding of our past. If we cannot handle the truth about our history in February, or any month for that matter, then we have no hope of agreement about our present.

via February Is Historical Accuracy Month | Robert Raben.

Beyoncé Explains the Inspiration for Her ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ Performance

A tribute to Selma.


In a new short video, Beyoncé explained the song’s significance in her life as well as the motivation behind the powerful performance.  Beyoncé, like many of us, grew up listening to it. “I felt like this was an opportunity to show the vulnerability and the strength of Black men,” she said.

via Beyoncé Explains the Inspiration for Her ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ Performance.

History Book Icon

How Much Will Black Lives Matter 50 Years from Now | Habari Gani, America!

The Black Lives Matter reading list: Books to change the world | Minnesota Public Radio News

Sitting here reading David Autin’s, ‘All Roads Led To Montreal: Black Power, The Caribbean, and The Black Radical Tradition in Canada,’ with one eye on the news articles scrolling my Facebook page. Austin writes, in 2007, of major Caribbean-Canadian players forming committees and conventions to let Montreal and surrounding areas know that Black lives matter in 1967. Austin connects no death with the  1960’s Black Canadian politicians’ spark to Black cultural and political revolution, save for the absence of African recognition within the context of European-Canadian communities. They sniffed the air of Black revolutionaries across the border in the United States and West Indian independence to the southeast of Florida. And began to crawl out of the corners for a better view.

The Caribbean Conference Committee and later the Montreal New World Group served as the first anchors for collaborations and information-sharing. Still, these were peaceful inroads – a tight, hygienic revolution, as Austin portrays it. The current, Black Lives Matter movement did not have these comforting underpinnings. Michael Brown and many other Black youths in America opened the flood gates of protests that all started out mournful and mostly peaceful; although some ended in arrests, injuries, mayhem, and most important disfiguring headlines aimed to mute the cries and wipe away blood on the streets of Missouri, New York, Illinois, California, and most other states.

I turn back to Facebook. MPRNews.org’s Digital Books Producer, Tracy Mumford, writes ‘The Black Lives Matter reading list: Books to change the world.’  The time is too short and the wounds still too wet for any great author to complete a manuscript framing the Black Lives Matter debate. The article, however, advertises for bookstores who can now clear their inventory of African and African American scholarship in one swoop. We get to argue policy and problematic verses loose in social media. We have begun to package our newest creation – bloodless and blameless.

How will historians frame the current Black Lives Movement 50 years from now? After all, Austin’s near pristine 2007 account of the 1960’s African emergence from the Canadian shadows offers nothing more than well-groomed men sitting at a chess board. The only ruffles are the snickers and snaps as each berate the other’s well-calculated move into a semblance of the Black Power and Civil Rights movements of the United States.  Will Mike Brown’s death become clothed in the rhetoric of Martin Luther King, Jr, long dead by the time Brown was born? Will anyone dig up the video account of Eric Gardner being choked to death on a Staten Island sidewalk? How will Tamir Rice’s family remember that his bones helped fuel the fire already enlightening African American children that Black lives do matter in America, —  if only to them?  And most of all, with our advanced communications, social media, and electronic publications how many years is it going to take to manage these historical events — just right?

 

Excerpt:

For Wintaye Gebru, the store’s general manager, the list hit very close to home. When the protests began, she was living in Ferguson.

“As a young, African-American woman and a Ferguson resident, I often feel that our story and the story of so many others who have lived similar lives have been hijacked or distorted by a narrative we didn’t create,” said Gebru.

“The reading list is our attempt at redirecting and widening that narrative so that it actually includes the observations and experiences of blacks in America.”

via The Black Lives Matter reading list: Books to change the world | Minnesota Public Radio News.