ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
President Truman initiated some civil rights legislation, including
in 1948 a comprehensive program of federal civil rights legislation
which failed to pass the Senate. Under Executive Orders,
he desegregated the Armed Forces and federal agencies.
Compiled By Rudolph Lewis
* * * * *
A Century of Civil Rights Acts
The Civil Rights Act of April 9, 1866
was passed over President Andrew Johnson’s veto and was fashioned to prevent him and southern conservatives from continuing black servitude with the sanction of the Black Codes (more commonly known as “Jim Crow” laws). The most important provisions were that blacks were declared citizens and granted equal rights to contracts, suits, access to trials, purchases and properties, with penalties for violations of these rights.
The Civil Rights Act of 1875
guaranteed to all persons, regardless of race or color, the “full and equal enjoyment” of inns, public conveyances and public places of amusement. It also gave the right to sue for personal damages; gave federal courts exclusive jurisdiction over all cases arising under the act and made it a misdemeanor to bar any qualified person from serving as a grand or petit juror. This was last piece of civil rights legislation passed until 1957.
President Truman initiated some civil rights legislation, including in 1948 a comprehensive program of federal civil rights legislation which failed to pass the Senate. Under Executive Orders, he desegregated the Armed Forces and federal agencies.
The Civil Rights Act of 1957
was a weak compromise, but created the Commission on Civil Rights with the purpose of making a broad study of racial conditions in the US. It gave additional aid to the civil rights division in the US Dept. of Justice and empowered the Attorney General to institute suits on behalf of blacks who were denied the vote in federal elections.
The Civil Rights Act of 1960
was passed to combat continued interference with the right to vote and terrorist activity against African-Americans. It was designed to end discriminatory registration practices in south and interference with federal suits and investigations. It was largely ineffective because of weak enforcement mechanisms.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed after increasing political pressure and violence against African-Americans. The drive for its passage was boosted by the assassination of JFK. This was the most far-reaching legislation of its kind since Reconstruction. It included 11 titles which dealt with voting practices, segregation, provided financial aid to desegregating schools, extended the life of the Civil Rights Commission for four more years, outlawed federal funds for educations institutions or programs practicing discrimination, outlawed employment and union discrimination, required gathering census data by race in some areas, prevented federal courts from sending a civil rights case back to state or local courts, established the Community Relations Service (CRS) to arbitrate local race problems and provided right of jury trial in any case that arose from any section of the act.
* * * * *
Lyndon Baines Johnson Signs 1964 Civil Rights Act
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (“public accommodations”).
Powers given to enforce the act were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment. The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who would later sign the landmark Voting Rights Act into law.Wikipedia
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
allowed federal registrars to replace state officials in areas in which less than 50% of the adult population had voted in the previous general election. It gave them the power to suspend all literacy and similar discriminatory tests, and register to vote those citizens who were otherwise qualified to vote.
* * * * *
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. §§ 19731973aa-6) is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S. Echoing the language of the 15th Amendment, the Act prohibits states from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Specifically, Congress intended the Act to outlaw the practice of requiring otherwise qualified voters to pass literacy tests in order to register to vote, a principal means by which Southern states had prevented African-Americans from exercising the franchise. The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, who had earlier signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. . . .
The Act has been renewed and amended by Congress four times, the most recent being a 25-year extension signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006. . . . During the debate over the 2006 extension, some Republican members of Congress objected to renewing the preclearance requirement (the Act’s primary enforcement provision), arguing that it represents an overreach of federal power and places unwarranted bureaucratic demands on Southern states that have long since abandoned the discriminatory practices the Act was meant to eradicate. Conservative legislators also opposed requiring states with large Spanish-speaking populations to provide bilingual ballots. Congress nonetheless voted to extend the Act for twenty-five years with its original enforcement provisions left intact.Wikipedia
* * * * *
Voting and Racial History26 January 2012Instead of ensuring that voting rights are extended to all Americans, many state legislatures are engaged in efforts to shut out voters in this election year, taking aim at young people, immigrants and minorities.
Last week, a panel of judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia heard a case that could eviscerate the ability of the federal government to prevent racial discrimination in voting. The issue in Shelby County v. Holder involves Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which requires that jurisdictions with flagrant histories of racial discrimination in voting must get permission from the Justice Department or a federal court before making any changes in their voting rules or laws.
Shelby County, Ala., one of those jurisdictions, contends that Section 5 intrudes unconstitutionally on the sovereign authority of states. It argues that while the preclearance rule was justified when the country, especially the South, was ending legal segregation, it is no longer needed. That argument was properly dismissed in a 151-page opinion by Judge John Bates of Federal District Court, who ruled that the discrimination that led to passage and extensions of the Voting Rights Act endures. The appeals court should uphold his decision.
The case is important because in 2009, by a 8-to-1 vote, the Supreme Court said there are serious constitutional questions about whether Section 5 meets a current need, although the justices did not answer those questions at that time. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, left some legal experts with the impression that the court had come close to striking down Section 5. Fortunately, it did not do so.
When Congress nearly unanimously reauthorized the Voting Rights Act in 2006, it relied on abundant evidence that there is still pervasive, persistent, even Jim Crow-style voting discrimination in the South and elsewhere including in Shelby County and other parts of Alabama. Without Section 5s preclearance requirement, Congress found, racial and language minority citizens will be deprived of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, or will have their votes diluted, undermining the significant gains made by minorities in the last 40 years. The provision remains an effective and essential check against widespread voting violations. Many jurisdictions still actively sabotage the interests of minority voters, as shown in new efforts to keep these voters from the polls. Discrimination would be even more widespread without the continuing and critical deterrence of the preclearance requirement.NYTimes
* * * * *
The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed in wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil Rights Act of 1968On April 11, 1968 U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 is commonly known as the Fair Housing Act, or as CRA ’68, and was meant as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibited discrimination in housing, there were no federal enforcement provisions. The 1968 act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, and since 1974, gender; since 1988, the act protects people with disabilities and families with children. It also provided protection for civil rights workers.
Victims of discrimination may use both the 1968 act and the 1866 act (via section 1983) to seek redress. The 1968 act provides for federal solutions while the 1866 act provides for private solutions (i.e., civil suits). A rider attached to the bill makes it a felony to “travel in interstate commerce… with the intent to incite, promote, encourage, participate in and carry on a riot. . . .” This provision has been criticized for “equating organized political protest with organized violence.”Wikipedia
Chapter VI. “The Instruction of Negroes.” In Edgar W. Knight.. A Documentary History of Education in the South before 1860. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, 1953
Chapter 10 “Up From Slavery: Educational and other Rights of Negroes.” In Edgar W. Knight and Clifton L. Hall. Readings in American Educational History. New York Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1951. Many states had laws prohibiting the education of blacks; here black youngsters are turned away at the school door
* * * * *
Go to Hell
Lyrics by Nina Simone
If your mind lies in the Devil’s workshop Evil-doin’s your thrill And trouble and mischief is all you live for You know damn well That you’ll go to hell (yeah) You’ll go to hell Now you’re living high and mighty Rich off the fat of the land Just don’t dispose of your natural soul ‘cos if you do you know damn well That you’ll go to hell (yes, you will) You’ll go to hell Hell Where your natural soul burns Hell Where you pay for your sins Hell Keep your children from doing wrong (if you can) ‘cos you know damn well That they’ll go to hell They’ll go to hell Hell Man, woman were created Hell To live for eternity Hell With an apple they ate from the tree of hate So you know damn well Oh… they went to hell (yes, they did) They went to hell Some say that hell is below us But I say it’s right by my side ‘cos you see evil in the morning Evil in the evening, all the time You know damn well That we all must be in hell We got to be in hell We all must be in hell We must be in hell.
* * * * *
#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
* * * * *
By Charlayne Hunter-Gault
A personal history of the civil rights movement from activist and acclaimed journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. On January 20, 2009, 1.8 million people crowded the grounds of the Capitol to witness the inauguration of Barack Obama. Among the masses was Charlayne Hunter-Gault. She had flown from South Africa for the occasion, to witness what was for many the culmination of the long struggle for civil rights in the United States. In this compelling personal history, she uses the event to look back on her own involvement in the civil rights movement, as one of two black students who forced the University of Georgia to integrate, and to relate the pivotal events that swept the South as the movement gathered momentum through the early 1960s. With poignant black-and-white photos, original articles from the New York Times, and a unique personal viewpoint, this is a moving tribute to the men and women on whose shoulders Obama stood.
* * * * *
Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson’s stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who’ve accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela’s rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela’s regime deems Wilderson’s public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America.
Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson’s observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid’s last days.Publishers Weekly
* * * * *
A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family thats about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrinas inexorable winds is the voice of Wards narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her familys raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brothers blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . .
His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt. Her fathers hands are like gravel, while her own hand slides through his grip like a wet fish, and a handsome boys muscles jabbered like chickens. Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isnt usually just metaphor for metaphors sake.
* * * * *
By Annette Gordon-Reed
Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth man to ascend to the highest office in the land, is generally regarded by historians as among the weakest presidents. Gordon-Reed has no intention of moving Johnson up in rank (America went from the best to the worst in one presidential term, she corroborates). So this is no reputation rescue. Gordon-Reed, author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (2008), which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, takes as her task explaining why we should look anew at such a disastrous chief executive. She reasons he is worth looking at, though her reasoning yields a far from sympathetic look. In a short biography, all bases can be covered, but the author is still left to exercise the tone of a personal essay, which this author accomplishes brilliantly. Her personal take on Johnson is that his inability to remake the country after it was torn apart rested on his deplorable view of black Americans.
In practical terms, his failure derived from his stubborn refusal to compromise with Congress in the abiding post-Lincoln controversy over who was to supervise the Reconstruction, the executive or the legislative branch. A failure, yes, but more than that, a failure at an extremely critical time in American history.
* * * * *
By Matthew Wasniewski
Black Americans in Congress, 18702007 beautifully prepared volumeis a comprehensive history of the more than 120 African Americans who have served in the United States Congress. Written for a general audience, this book contains a profile of each African-American Member, including notables such as Hiram Revels, Joseph Rainey, Oscar De Priest, Adam Clayton Powell, Shirley Chisholm, Gus Hawkins, and Barbara Jordan. Individual profiles are introduced by contextual essays that explain major events in congressional and U.S. history. Part I provides four chronologically organized chapters under the heading “Former Black Members of Congress.” Each chapter provides a lengthy biographical sketch of the members who served during the period addressed, along with a narrative historical account of the era and tables of information about the Congress during that time. Part II provides similar information about current African-American members. There are 10 appendixes providing tabular information of a variety of sorts about the service of Black members, including such things as a summary list, service on committees and in party leadership posts, familial connections, and so forth.
* * * * *
From The World and Africa, 1965
* * * * *
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
online through PayPal
* * * * *
Browse all issues
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
update 14 May 2012