Archive for the Civil Rights Category

Black Superwoman Mentioned in Obama’s Acceptance Speech

Posted in Civil Rights, Community, Politics, Race and Culture with tags , , , , , , on November 7, 2008 by Noli

annnixoncooper

During President Elect Obama’s acceptance speech, he mentioned a 106 year old Black Superwoman named Ann Nixon Cooper of Atlanta:

“This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations, but one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing…Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.  She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons…because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.  And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America…the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.”

In the interview on CNN about Ms. Cooper voting early in Atlanta, she said that she didn’t have time to die because she needed to see a Black President.  This victory is for Ms. Cooper and for everyone else that struggled and sacrificed so that Black people and Women could vote and have a voice. [CNN]

Slavery By Another Name

Posted in Civil Rights, Politics, Race and Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2008 by Noli
Punishment in a Forced Labor Camp, 1930's, Georgia

Punishment in a Forced Labor Camp, 1930's, Georgia

Definitely check out the new book entitled, “Slavery by Another Name – The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II” by Douglas A. Blackmon.  After the end of slavery, old massah didn’t take it too well, and Black Americans were falsely arrested and then forced to work to pay off fines and to pay for their own arrests.  The US government then leased these people to various companies and plantations, putting money in the government’s pocket made off the backs of innocent Black Americans.  It has been said that the torture in labor camps was far worse than what was regularly experienced during slavery.  In addition to jail slavery, other Black Americans were just kidnapped and enslaved, never to be seen again by their families.   [Slavery By Another Name]

My Dad went to an HBCU in the 60’s, and he said that most of his friends from Alabama, Mississippi and other southern states said that slavery was still alive and well there.  They didn’t mean share cropping either.  I read this article entitled “The Damned” that was in the Washington Post years ago that really breaks down what was happening then.  If you weren’t aware, one of the last prosecutions for holding slaves was in 1954 when the Dial brothers in Birmingham, Alabama were convicted of holding 2 Black men by threat of violence.  They were only prosecuted because someone from their plantation took one slave’s body to the morgue and he was bound and had been whipped to death…and they called the police.  The Dial family had one of the largest plantations in the Delta and had been kidnapping Black Americans and holding them as slaves for years.  They were only sentenced to 18 months in jail.  [Washington Post]

CNN is Tripping – Spike Lee is the TRUTH

Posted in Civil Rights, Community, Entertainment, Politics, Race and Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2008 by Noli

After seeing the second installment of “Black in America” which dealt specifically with “The Black Man,” I realized what the real problem is with this documentary.  THE UNDERLYING ASSUMPTION IS THAT ALL BLACK PEOPLE ARE POOR AND ARE CRIMINALS.  So, in addition to the producers not giving “context” for why some Black Americans are in the situations that they are in, they also chose to present our community as though the GHETTO is our only experience…as though we are a one dimensional community. They profiled only a slice of Black life.

In “The Black Man,” there were an exhorbitant number of orange jumpsuits and men in handcuffs, talk of drug abuse and absent fathers throughout.  All of this and no mention of racism or stereotypes…until Spike Lee gets on the mike.  How in the world could CNN portray Black men this way and not mention neither racism nor stereotypes?  I’m shocked that Spike’s calm rant even made it into the documentary, but I’m glad it did.  Unfortunately, that short rant didn’t erase the further damage to America’s image of the Black man that was done throughout…it was worse than the evening news.

I really didn’t like that the Black men that were doing well (the children of the Little Rock 9 man and the guy in corporate America) all said that they didn’t fit in with Black people and that they were ostracized by Black people because they were “smart.”  Not saying this has never happened…but trust me, there are Black men that are educated and successful with Black wives and Black friends.  There are Black people that are successful that socialize with Black people and are comfortable with being Black.  There are Black people who’s great grandparents went to college in the early 1900’s, grew up privileged, and didn’t have to escape the ghetto.  We didn’t see them tonight though.

I accept the Black experience fully, the success and the struggles…primarily because I am proud of my heritage and aware of what my people have been put through in this country.  I do, however, also acknowledge that most Black folks don’t live in the ghetto.  Most Black folks aren’t in jail.  Most successful Black folks are not sell outs.  CNN, next time you do a documentary on a minority group, give us a full spectrum of the experience from an unbiased angle, and give us context for why they are experiencing struggle.  You can’t wholly increase awareness without that.

Barbie Bandits Prompt NAACP to Challenge Racial Disparity in Sentencing

Posted in Civil Rights, Community, Race and Culture with tags , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2008 by Noli

Courtesy of Cobb County

In February of 2007, these two young White women that have come to be known as the “Barbie Bandits” committed a bank robbery in Cobb County, Georgia.  Heather Johston, 19, and Ashley Miller, 20, were convicted of the bank robbery along with Benny Allen, a Black man that was the teller in the bank, and Michael Chastang, who was not present but supposedly helped plan the robbery.  Based on the disparity in the sentences, the NAACP believes that it’s time to address the lighter sentences that are afforded White people in comparison to African Americans that commit the same crime in Cobb County.

At sentencing, Johnston received 10 years probation and Miller received 2 years in jail and 8 years probation.  Allen received 5 years in prison, and Chastang received 10 years in prison.   Clearly there is a disparity…so I’m guessing that being young, White, and smiling and giggling when you rob a bank may cop you a break! [Atlanta Journal Constitution]

Smithsonian’s “Freedom’s Sisters” Honors Black Superwomen!

Posted in Arts, Civil Rights, Community, Race and Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2008 by Noli

Coretta Scott King, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Constance Baker Motley

The Smithsonian Institute has just started a traveling exhibit entitled “Freedom’s Sisters,” which honors 20 African American women that fought for civil rights.  It’s currently in Cincinnatti, but will go to 8 other cities.  The honorees are:  Ella Jo Baker, Mary McLeod Bethune, Shirley Chisholm, Septima Poinsette Clark, Kathleen Cleaver, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Fannie Lou Hamer, Frances Watkins Harper, Dorothy Height, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Barbar Jordan, Coretta Scott King, Constance Baker Motley, Rosa Parks, Sonia Sanchez, Betty Shabazz, Mary Church Terrell, Harriet Tubman, C. Delores Tucker, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett.  Check here for exhibit info…and make sure that you don’t miss it!