United States

‘Free State of Jones’ | Review | Habari Gani, America!

Free State of Jones is one of the most overlooked films featured this summer. Matthew McConaughey as Newton Knight, an AWOL Confederate soldier and Mahershala Ali as Moses, an escaped enslaved African lead the tensions in this Civil War period piece. I viewed this film once for the overall story line and a second time for the details. Sorry, no spoilers here.

Historians and film producers often lean towards either the burdens of old slave narratives or the glorious Civil Rights Era when depicting the African quest for true freedom in America. Besides John Singleton and Gregory Poirier‘s Rosewoodfew mainstream films have touched in detail on the post-Civil War/Reconstruction Black Lives timeline as Director/Writer Gary Ross and Writer Leonard Hartman in the Free State of Jones.

The film juxtapositions the strong presence of self-determined ‘free’ Black lives amidst slavery and segregation against the sub-civil war between wealthy Confederates and poor families, black and white.

The films weakest transitions are forward flashes to a future trial determining the racial identity of Davis Knight, Newton Knight’s second son. The outcome would determine the legality of Davis’s marriage to a White woman according to post-war segregation laws.

Other considerations are the relationship shifts as Blacks are legally free in 1865. Jones County, Mississippi grapples with Military Reconstruction in response to the South’s attempt to re-enslave Blacks through indentured servitude, Blacks gaining voting rights through the 15th Amendment and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Free State of Jones is a worthy film for any historian or film buff to have in their quiver. Below is an excerpt from author Richard Grant’s Smithsonian Institute article regarding the film’s historical value and present day Jones County’s varying sentiments toward Newton Knight and the film.

“ [Professor Wyatt Moulds] described Jones County as the most conservative place in Mississippi, but he noted that race relations were improving and that you could see it clearly in the changing attitudes toward Newt Knight. ‘It’s generational,’ he said. ‘A lot of older people see Newt as a traitor and a reprobate, and they don’t understand why anyone would want to make a movie about him. If you point out that Newt distributed food to starving people, and was known as the Robin Hood of the Piney Woods, they’ll tell you he married a black, like that trumps everything. And they won’t use the word ‘black.’”
[Moulds’s] current crop of students, on the other hand, are “fired up” about Newt and the movie. ‘Blacks and whites date each other in high school now, and they don’t think it’s a big deal,’ said Moulds. ‘That’s a huge change. Some of the young guys are really identifying with Newt now, as a symbol of Jones County pride. It doesn’t hurt that he was such a badass.’ “

“In the Lost Cause mythology, the South was united, and secession had nothing to do with slavery,” said Moulds. “What happened in Jones County puts the lie to that, so the Lost Causers have to paint Newt as a common outlaw, and above all else, deny all traces of Unionism. With the movie coming out, they’re at it harder than ever.”

Source: The True Story of the ‘Free State of Jones’ | History | Smithsonian

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Wendell Pierce on white violence, entitlement and racial messaging – Real Time with Bill Maher – YouTube | #OYRchallenge

Wendell Pierce addresses white violence, entitlement and racial messaging in the middle of one Bill Maher‘s race discussions. Pierce is an actor and activist in New Orleans. His discussion cut across liberal and conservative perspectives. What was most notable is that Bill Maher, who promotes himself as an educated liberal resorted to the same lip talking points of most media anti-racist. Why do Black people beat their kids? It is a southern thing. Pierce redirects the conversation back to violence and its originating with white’s first introduction on American soil, slavery, and the modern day sanctioned murder of Black men. Good job, Wendell! Feed it to them until they understand or shut up. #OYRchallenge

Wendell Pierce on white violence, entitlement and racial messaging – Real Time with Bill Maher – YouTube.

15 Black Uprisings Against European and Arab Oppression They Won’t Teach in Schools – Atlanta Blackstar | #OYRchallenge

The 15 least taught Uprisings of African enslaved peoples are  presented in the  article. The First Maroon War was my favorite pick but I am sure you will find other goodies of your own.

The First Maroon War

The First Maroon War

In 1739, the Jamaican Maroons were the first enslaved Africans to win their freedom from European slave masters. During the First Maroon War, they fought and escaped slavery and established free communities in the mountainous interior of the island. For 76 years, there were periodic skirmishes between the British and the Maroons, alongside occasional slave revolts.Eventually, the British government and slave holders realized they couldn’t defeat the Maroons, so they came up with a peace treaty that allowed them to live in their own free states in Jamaica. As a result, the Maroons established their five main towns: Accompong, Trelawny Town, Moore Town, Scots Hall, and Nanny Town.

Source: wikipedia.org

via 15 Black Uprisings Against European and Arab Oppression They Won’t Teach in Schools – Page 3 of 8 – Atlanta Blackstar.

– These Kids Are About To Charge The Chicago Police Dept. With Genocide At The United Nations VIDEO | #OYRchallenge

The charge of Genocide has been levied upon various countries across the globe. We watch the horrors broadcast on American television, and we return to our lives without recognizing the historical genocide attempted against African Americans in the US. The United States refused to sign the UN Convention on Social and Economic Equality. Mike Brown was sacrificed, but his life will now have meaning as the question of national genocide by authorities is no longer a question. The children are fighting for their lives. The UN is their only hope. Support them in their efforts. The ultimate #OYRchallenge
via – These Kids Are About To Charge The Chicago Police Dept. With Genocide At The United Nations VIDEO.

A group of youth social justice leaders plan to go to Geneva, Switzerland this November to deliver testimony about the experiences of young people, people of color and other marginalized communities who face targeted violence by police in the Chicago area.The grass-roots group who call themselves, We Charge Genocide, will speak before the United Nations Against Torture. Their name comes from a petition that was delivered to the United Nations in 1951. Using stories and data from their Youth Hearing On Police Violence the delegates where they will speak out against the crimes against humanity that  are the norm for minority groups in Chicago and across the nation.

“Saints” Teach Gun ownership in Detroit | #OYRchallenge

America, the land of the free and home of the brave, is embroiled in a battle with on-going violent episodes in schools, city streets, homes, and other public venues. Do we re-think our politics, leadership choices, and daily behaviors leading up to these altercations? Why? We are in another era of highly politically charged rhetoric, party grievances, marginalization, quick fixes, and fast facts. We pick an object or race as the culprit. Race discrimination has garnered too much intellectual theory for a quick trip to the pulpit, so we look for something that won’t talk back. The buzz word for garnering votes is now, “Gun.”

Mixed-Race Open Carry Group Strolls Through Detroit. Guess Who Gets Arrested? | Crooks and Liars.

Gun ownership is one prominent battle of the day among communities across the US. The battle, mostly between urban crime-ridden communities suffering through gang violence, robberies, murders, and other poverty-related maladies; and suburban and rural gun-owning communities serves as fodder suppressing the voices of population marginalization, poverty, and a tanked economy.  Local and national politicians and pundits utilize this battle to garner votes, divert residents away from social corruption, and create discourse manageable by the poor and ignorant. The urbanites and insane claim guns kill people. They check social media posts and newspapers for daily reports of school shootings (infrequent, but occur), gun accidents, gun rallies, and any gun-related horror to support their problem. Most suburbanites and rural residents know that people kill people, since many have owned guns all of their lives without incident. No gun ever walked out of their closet and went on a rampage. Their doors are unlocked. Their children, at 12-year-old, attend small weapons training at the local fish and game clubs. The guns normally come out for sporting events or hunting and fishing trips. This is the heartland prospective. They are free; therefore any impingement on that freedom, as in the oppressed urban areas, must be halted immediately. And their politicians don’t want their guns tampered with either.

A group of multi-racial, – the article stressed “multi-racial,” gun owners took to the urban streets of Detroit to educate citizens on their right to carry guns and solicit questions on the particulars of national and local legislation guarding that right. The September 17, 2014 “Crooks and Liars” article goes more into the details of their interactions with law enforcement, mostly peaceful, and responses from residents, who spontaneously associated (as explained by one Black and female police officer) guns with trouble, until this group meekly explains their purpose. The group’s videos served to examine relevant points in the discourse of who are recognized as legitimate communities and those depicted as, and therefore adopt the persona of,  savage charges in need of protection and limitation; whether they personally embody these characteristics or not. Similarly, as with the word “Gun,” the groups chosen label may automatically bring the savage mind to recoil, – “Hell’s Saints.” But considering Detroit’s economic and social deprivation, reaching the bottom of most US urban areas, the moniker is definitely on point. Watch the videos.

#OYRchallenge

Outrage and Calls for Change Follow Ferguson Officials Into Council Meeting – NYTimes.com | #OYRchallenge

Ferguson holds its first city council meeting since the murder of an 18-year-old African American youth, Mike Brown. The Ferguson murder is one of many attacks on African American men across the United States. Is this the tipping point for African American families? In the context of media, political, social, and judicial scrambles to maintain anti-African American rhetoric and stereotypes, there is the most salient issue. How will African Americans redress the age old virus spread across America?  After all of the protests, will African American leadership sink back into the muddy American political pool, as they did after the Civil Rights Era? Or, will our young develop new substantive strategies, educators, and alliances out of this new surge of African American awakening? #OYRchallenge

Ferguson, MO first city council meeting after Mike Brown murder

New York Times: Residents pelted the stone-faced officials with angry questions: Why had Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson officer who shot the unarmed black teenager on Aug. 9, not been arrested? Why were young African-American men so frequently arrested by the police? And why were so few black residents elected to city government?

“The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us: That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation…shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”  Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address

via Outrage and Calls for Change Follow Ferguson Officials Into Council Meeting – NYTimes.com. #OYR challenge

Take the OYR Challenge #OYRchallenge

Ferguson’s Angry Young Men #OYRchallenge

Article by Joel Anderson

This scene of Bledsoe throwing back a tear-gas canister during an attack on Ferguson, MO protesters has been seen worldwide. Not even the Palestinians, who according to social media posts, advised protesters in Ferguson, MO on dealing with tear gas attacks, witnessed such a scene in their country. These men are not angry, they are ready.

Bledsoe returning tear gas canister during police attack on Ferguson, MO protesters

Bledsoe bent down and picked the canister up, ignoring the searing heat in his right hand.“I felt like, ‘Y’all shooting at me? I’m just trying to get home,’” Bledsoe said. “I picked it up and threw it back. I never, ever, ever pictured myself throwing something at the police.”

via Ferguson’s Angry Young Men.

If Trayvon Martin had been a woman … | Jamila Aisha Brown | Comment is free | theguardian.com

via If Trayvon Martin had been a woman … | Jamila Aisha Brown | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

 

In 2 min, Maya Wiley explains why the law fails to deliver justice for Trayvon Martin

Maya Wiley, Founder and President of the Center for Social Inclusion, introduces implicit racial bias to explain why the law is not equipped to deliver justice in the case involving George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. And she points the way forward so that all of us, esp. our young men of color, can walk the streets feeling safe.

 

Crowd Funding Tips For African American Artists | Shadow and Act

Back in the day when the rent needed to be paid, people used to hold rent parties.  At these parties, the tenant would charge a nominal fee in order to raise enough funds to ensure they kept a roof over their heads.  Today, that would be called crowd funding.  This is where a group of people put their money together to support a cause or fund a project on the Internet.

Kickstarter.com and Indiegogo.com are two of the main crowd funding sites on the Internet today.  Others crowd funding sites bursting on the scene are Rockethub.com, Newjelly.com, and Quirky.com, and Cofolio.com, which target specialty projects.

via Crowd Funding Tips For African American Artists | Shadow and Act.