ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Civil Rights Struggle for Black Power Table
Books by Stokely Carmichael
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With this page we have tried to provide links to articles and essays we have here published, as well as photos, and links to other sites and videos as a means of representing a slice of the century long struggle or more of the efforts of the brutalized Negro who became proudly black struggling to become full citizens of America. After the Civil War and the attempt at reconstructing America as a racial inclusive society, there followed in the southern states a restoration of white supremacy with the suppression and abolition of Negro rights after massive gains with the 13th, 14th, 15th amendments (as well as civil rights bills) with the victory of the North over the South.
Of course, the information we provide by publication and links will be incomplete. We are still in the process of adding what is already available and what is in the process of rethinking. We hope nevertheless that this project will indeed educate the uninformed and inspire those in the know. There is a movement afoot funded by billionaires to turn back political, social, and moral progress.
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What has been called the Civil Rights Revolution took many forms in the twenty-two years between the end of World War II and 1967. At first a movement to obtain such reforms as desegregation of the armed forces, it quickly concentrated on school desegregation, an effort that won a legal victory with the Supreme Court decisions of 1954 and 1955. Desegregation of public accommodations, especially in the South, was the next goal. Although this too was largely achieved, the basic problem remained unsolved. During the late 1950s and early 1960s the movement was essentially nonviolent, and its leaders were often, if not always, clergymen like Martin Luther King. But, as the 1960s wore on, the slogan changed from equal civil rights to black power, which expressed African Americans’ continuing frustration with the lack of real progress toward general social and economic equality in the country.What We Want
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The GOP War on VotingIn a campaign supported by the Koch brothers, Republicans are working to prevent millions of Democrats from voting next yearBy Ari BermanAs the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, Republican officials have launched an unprecedented, centrally coordinated campaign to suppress the elements of the Democratic vote that elected Barack Obama in 2008. Just as Dixiecrats once used poll taxes and literacy tests to bar black Southerners from voting, a new crop of GOP governors and state legislators has passed a series of seemingly disconnected measures that could prevent millions of students, minorities, immigrants, ex-convicts and the elderly from casting ballots. “What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century,” says Judith Browne-Dianis, who monitors barriers to voting as co-director of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization based in Washington, D.C. Republicans have long tried to drive Democratic voters away from the polls. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” the influential conservative activist Paul Weyrich told a gathering of evangelical leaders in 1980.”RollingStone
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Racism: A History, the 2007 BBC 3-part documentary explores the impact of racism on a global scale. It was part of the season of programs on the BBC marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. It’s divided into 3 parts.
The first, The Colour of Money . . . Racism: A History 1/3
Begins the series by assessing the implications of the relationship between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 15th century. It considers how racist ideas and practices developed in key religious and secular institutions, and how they showed up in writings by European philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant.
The second, Fatal Impact . . . Racism: A History  – 2/3
Examines the idea of scientific racism, an ideology invented during the 19th century that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. The episode shows how these theories ultimately led to eugenics and Nazi racial policies of the master race.
And the 3rd, A Savage Legacy . . . Racism: A History  – 3/3
Examines the impact of racism in the 20th century. By 1900 European colonial expansion had reached deep into the heart of Africa. Under the rule of King Leopold II, the Belgian Congo was turned into a vast rubber plantation. Men, women and children who failed to gather their latex quotas would have their limbs dismembered. The country became the scene of one of the century’s greatest racial genocides, as an estimated 10 million Africans perished under colonial rule.
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Jan Brewer Bars IDs, Benefits for Undocumented Immigrants in Arizona16 August 12012Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed an executive order on Wednesday directing state agencies to deny drivers licenses and other public benefits to anyone benefiting from President Barack Obama’s ‘deferred action’ immigration policy.
In an executive order, Brewer said she was reaffirming the intent of current Arizona law denying taxpayer-funded public benefits and state identification to undocumented immigrants. “They are here illegally and unlawfully in the state of Arizona and it’s already been determined that you’re not allowed to have a driver’s license if you are here illegally,” Brewer said in a press conference. “The Obama amnesty plan doesn’t make them legally here.”foxnews
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The American Institution of Lynching (Sharif)
Amite County (Newfield)
The Anti-Lynching Bill (Walter White)
The Autobiography of Medgar Evers (book review)
Baltimore, Back-Sliding, & Budgets (Mason interview)
Black Immigrants Deported (Nopper)
Black Power (Carmichael)
Black Power A Critique (Carmichael)
Blacks and Labor in Print (Table)
Blood in Their Eyes (Stockley)
Bloody Sunday at Pettus Bridge (Sharif poem)
A Blues for the Birmingham Four (Sharif poem)
Carey on Civil Rights (Carey)
Charles Ogletree on Profiling to Beergate to the Obamas (Kam Interview)
Civil Rights Bill of 1875 (U.S. statues)
The Color Line and the War (Wilkins)
Commentary on “Color Line and War” (Sharif)
The Confessions of the Murderers (Sharif)
Court Order Can’t Make Races Mix (Hurston)
Daisy Bates How My Mother Died (Sharif)
Deacons for Defense (Sharif)
The Death of Daddy (Bates)
The Death of My Mother (Bates)
Demythologizing Huey Newton (Rogers)
Dr. King’s Legacy Lives (Stanton)
Du Bois Bio-Chronology (Lewis)
Editorials on Lynching (Interracial Review)
Emancipation Proclamation (Lincoln)
Eulogy by Five Birmingham Girls (Dr. King)
Few Blacks in Construction Unions (newspaper clipping)
Fred Shuttlesworth dies at 89 (Obituaries)
From Atlanta to East Africa (Cobb)
From Tanzania to Kansas and Back (Bgoya)
Gridlock Is a Blessing (Ford)
Henry Nicholas on Social Justice (Black Commentator)
The History of White People (Painter)
How the Riots Might have Turned Out (Rogers)
H. Rap Brown’s Die Nigger Die! (Sharif)
I Am We, Or Revolutionary Suicide (Newton)
I Have a Dream (King speech)
Indictment of Lynching (Interracial Review)
Intermarriage a No-No (Atlanta Constitution)
Jim Crow Riots (Ward)
John Lewis Protests War in Iraq (Lewis)
Juanita E. Jackson Bio (NAACP Staff)
Karenga on Malcolm (Karenga)
Kish Mir Tuchas (Newfield)
Kwanzaa & Its Founder (bio-sketch)
Labor & NAACP (news clippings)
Last Man Standing (Lewis)
Latino Immigrants, Jobs, and Civil Rights (Goodman Interview)
Leading the Negro into Modernity (Lewis)
Legacy of Robert Smalls (Lewis)
Leaving the Poor Behind Again (Quigley)
Legends and Legacies (Rogers)
Legitimacy to Lead (Walters)
Letter from Birmingham Jail (King)
Let’s Grow Up and Move On (Stanton)
The Little Rock Nine (Ford)
Love Letter to Gay and Lesbian Youth (Marvin X)
Lynching Report (Freedom’s Journal)
Lynching State By Race (charts)
Malcolm X Is Dead! (Sharif)
Manifesto: Revolutionary Suicide: The Way of Liberation
Mildred Loving v. Virginia (Faria)
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (Newfield)
Mississippi Freedom School (Radical Teacher)
Moore v. Dempsey (Scipio Jones)
Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, O.S.P. (bio-sketch)
Much is Expected (Cummings)
New Deal / Raw Deal (Katznelson)
No Easy Victories (Damu)
Old Civil Rights Groups and Immigrants (Hutchinson)
On Daisy Bates How My Mother Died (Sharif))
On J. A. Rogers’ “Hitler and the Negro” (Sharif))
On Marriage Equality (Monroe)
Origin of Segregation (Atlanta Constitution)
Phillips County Massacre (Bennett)
A Post Industrial Blues (Sharif)
The Problem of Integration (Atlanta Constitution)
The Problem of “Settling” (Wimberly)
The Racial Problem (Atlanta Constitution)
Randolph & the Great White Father (A. Philip Randolph)
Randolph Visits Ghana (Tarry)
Resurrection in Mississippi (Sharif poem)
Retrospective on Soul on Ice (Sharif)
Reuther’s Southern Strategy (newspaper clipping)
Reverend Marion Bascom’s Civil Righting (Lambert)
Rosa Parks (Stanton)
Roy Wilkins and Spiro Agnew in Annapolis (press conference)
Scipio Africanus Jones (biosketch)
SCLC & Hospital Workers (afro)
Speech on the Founding of the OAAU (Malcolm X)
Texas & Minorities (Texas Observer)
Thomas Wyatt Turner (bio-sketch and writings)
Thurgood Marshall Speaks to AFL-CIO (speech)
To Fulfill These Rights (Johnson)
Unforgivable Blackness (Sharif)
Union Support for Integration (newspaper clipping)
The Unpredictable Negro (Lomax)
Walter White Biography (Janken)
Walter Hall Lively (Lewis)
Walter White Biography Table (Janken)
Walter White Reviews (Janken)
What It Means to Be Negro (Daisy Bates)
(Julian Bond essay)
What We Want (Carmichael)
When NOT to Vote Black (Ford)
Where will the leadership on HIV (Monroe)
Which Way Freedom (Lewis)
The White Masters of the World (Du Bois)
White Privilege (Jensen)
Who Wants Integration (Atlanta Constitution)
Women Bringing New Strength to Unions (Meister)
Youth and the Lynching Evil (Jackson)
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The Political Thought of SNCC Activists
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Banning Saggy Pants (Dixon)
Blacks and Labor in Print (Table)
Black Labor (Table)
Criminalizing a Race (Table)
A Day of Remembrance: the Orangeburg Massacre (daily kos)
Documenting the Orangeburg Massacre (Nieman)
Dominance of Johns Hopkins (Moore)
Dwight David Eisenhower (Moses)
Economist Glenn Loury (Moses)
Education & History (Table)
Glen Ford (Table)
I’m So Pissed Off (Boof)
King: Montgomery to Memphis (video)
Moyers Journal (video)
Telling the truth about Confederates (Lowen video)
(Richard J. Cox)
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NAACP Takes Voting Rights ID Issue to UN (NAACP Files)
The Rise of Baltimore Local 1199 (Moore)
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Feds: Authorities in Meridian, Miss. Violated Rights of Black Children
10 August 2012The Justice Departments Civil Rights Division has released investigative findings determining that children in predominantly black Meridian, Miss. have had their constitutional rights violated by the Lauderdale County Youth Court, the Meridian Police Department, and the Mississippi Division of Youth Services in what civil rights investigators allege is a school to prison pipeline with even dress code violations resulting in incarceration. . . . Also in the findings letter the Civil Rights Division alleges that Lauderdale County and the Youth Court Judges violate the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments by failing to provide children procedural due process in the youth court. Lauderdale County, the Youth Court judges, and the Mississippi Division of Youth Services violate the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments by failing to provide children procedural due process rights in the probationary process. . . .
The system established by the City of Meridian, Lauderdale County, and DYS to incarcerate children for school suspensions shocks the conscience, resulting in the incarceration of children for alleged offenses such as dress code violations, flatulence, profanity, and disrespect. The Justice Department findings letter noted.abcnews / photo left Mayor Cheri Barry
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Rudy, I have done little work in Meridian, Mississippi, but Derrick Johnson, Director of Mississippi NAACP has been working in Meridian for the past two years around the current issue of the pipeline created to ship students from school to jail. While Meridians population is majority black (sixty-two percent), the political leadership is still majority white. And in many small Mississippi towns the change to have the political leadership mirror the population is always slow and painful because most of the African Americans who desire to engage in political leadership also work directly for the very whites who control the government. So, the issues of intimidation and fear are very real aspects of this struggle for power. It is very easy to call someone a coward, but most of those calling someone a coward dont have to remain in the town.
This struggle with Meridians schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline has been brewing for five years with the NAACP helping parents to organize, contact the Department of Justice, and to file a lawsuit. After the filing of the lawsuit, the former mayor, John Robert Smith, due to the pressure of organized parents and the investigation of the DOJ, appointed a mostly African American school board, which, in turn, hired the first African American School Board Supervisor whose last name is Kent. Kent, by all accounts, was working with parents and the DOJ to change many o
f the policies of the past. Unfortunately, Mayor Smith retried, and the African American who ran for mayor was defeated by two hundred votes by current white female Mayor Cheri Bailey who appointed a new school board, which, in turn, fired Mr. Kent and hired Dr. Alvin Taylor, who is an African American. Dr. Taylor has not reinstituted the policies that created the schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline, but the new mayor and some of the school board members appointed by the mayor have attempted to slow the change or reinstitute the old policies, but the pressure from the DOJ, the NAACP, and the parents have held the fort, so to speak. Thats about all the information I have. For more information on this, you can contact Derrick Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take care and thank you for continuing to be an independent critical thinker, providing a venue for our people.
C. Liegh McInnis
9 September 2012
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Robert Smalls at the 1895 South Carolina Constitutional Convention
By 1895, Benjamin Tillman and the Redeeming Democrats in South Carolina had succeeded through violence, terror, and election fraud to reduce the number of African American registered to vote in the state from 81,000 in 1868 to less than 10,000 in 1894. Tillman called for a constitutional convention in 1895 to rewrite the state constitution of 1868 and to take away the right to vote of African Americans in South Carolina. In 1868, seventy-six of the 124 delegates elected to the constitutional convention were African Americans, in 1895 only six African Americans were elected to serve.
Five of the delegates were from Robert Smalls power base, Beaufort County, South Carolina. Robert Smalls was one of these five delegates, and he was the only African-American delegate who had also attended the 1868 convention. He did his best to represent his constituency and to fight against their disfranchisement. After giving one of the most important speeches of the convention on November 2, he was forced to leave the convention and return to Beaufort for several days because of the illness, and eventual death, of his second wife, Annie Wigg Smalls. On November 14, he returned to the convention and refused to sign the new constitution that changed South Carolinas suffrage requirements and essentially disfranchised African Americans.
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Worsening wealth inequality by race
White Americans have 22 times more wealth than blacksa gap that nearly doubled during the Great Recession. The median household net worth for whites was $110,729 in 2010, versus $4,995 for blacks, according to recently released Census Bureau figures.
The difference is similarly notable when it comes to Hispanics, who had a median household net worth of $7,424. The ratio between white and Hispanic wealth expanded to 15 to 1.
The gap between the races widened considerably during the recent economic downturn, which whites weathered better than blacks, Hispanics and Asians.
The latter three groups saw their median household net worth fall by roughly 60% between 2005 and 2010, while the median net worth for white households slipped only 23%.
This allowed whites to leap ahead of Asians as the race with the highest median household net worth.
money.cnn, Tami Luhby 21 June 2012
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How William Faulkner Tackled Raceand Freed the South from ItselfJohn Jeremiah Sullivan on Absalom, Absalom!You are my brother. No Im not. Im the nigger thats going to sleep with your sister. Unless you stop me, Henry.
This is a novel [
that uses the word nigger many times. An unfortunate subject, but to talk about it in 2012 and not mention the fact hints at some kind of repression. Especially when you consider that the particular example Ive quoted is atypically soft: Bon, the person saying it, is part black, and being mordantly ironic. Most of the time, its a white character using the wordor, most conspicuously, the novel itself, in its voicewith an uglier edge. The third page features the phrase wild niggers; elsewhere its monkey nigger.
Faulkner wasnt unique or even uncommon in using the word this way. Hemingway, Dos Passos, Gertrude Steinall did so unapologetically. They were reflecting their countrys speech. They were also, if we are being frank, exploiting the words particular taboo charge, one only intensified when the writer is a white Southerner. Faulkner says Negroes in plenty of places here, also blacks, but when he wants a stronger effect, he says niggers. It isnt a case, in short, of Thats just how they talked back then. The term was understood by the mid-30s (well before, in fact) to be nasty. A white person wouldnt use it around a black person unless meaning to offend or assert superiorityexcept perhaps now and then in the context of an especially close humor.
Even if we were to justify Faulkners overindulgence of the word on the grounds of historical context, I would find it unfortunate purely as a matter of style. It may be crass for a white reader to claim that as significant, but a writer with Faulkners sensitivity to verbal shading might have been better tuned to the ugliness of the word, and not a truth-revealing ugliness, but something more like gratuitousness, with an attending queasy sense of rhetorical power misused. I count it a weakness, to be placed alongside Faulkners occasional showiness and his incessant not constructions, which come often several to a page: and not this, nor that, nor even the other thing, but a fourth thing adjective adjective adjective made him lift the hoe (where half the time those things would not have occurred to you in your natural life, but old Pappy takes his time chopping them down anyway).
The defense to be mounted is not of Faulkners use of the word but of the novel in spite of it, or rather, in the face of it.
has been well described as the most serious attempt by any white writer to confront the problem of race in America. There is bravery in Faulkners decision to dig into this wound. He knew that the effort would involve the exposure of his own mind, dark as it often was. You could make a case that to have written this book and left out that most awful of Southernisms would have constituted an act of falsity.
Certainly we would not want to take the word away from Bon, in that scene in the woods, one of the most extraordinary moments in Southern literature. A white man and a black man look at each other and call each other brother. One does, anyway. Suddenly, thrillingly, the whole social edifice on which the novel is erected starts to teeter. All Henry has to do is repeat himself. Say it again, the reader thinks. Say, No, you are my brother. And all would be well, or could be well, the gothic farce of Sutpens dream redeemed with those words, remade into a hopeful or at least not-hope-denying human story. Charles Bon would live, and Judith would be his wife, and Sutpen would have descendants, and together they might begin rebuilding the South along new lines.nytimes
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On June 12, 1963, just two and a half month before the March on Washington and three months before Four Little Girls were bombed to death at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, In the driveway outside his home in Jackson, Mississippi, African American civil rights leader Medgar Evers was shot to death by white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith. During World War II, Evers volunteered for the U.S. Army and participated in the Normandy invasion. In 1952, he joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As a field worker for the NAACP, Evers traveled through his home state encouraging poor African Americans to register to vote and recruiting them into the civil rights movement.
He was instrumental in getting witnesses and evidence for the Emmitt Till murder case, which brought national attention to the plight of African Americans in the South. On June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers was killed.Ray Winbush
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By Adam Fairclough
Better Day Coming is intended, in author Adam Fairclough’s words, as “neither a textbook nor a survey, but an interpretation” (p. xiv) of the circuitous struggle for racial equality pursued by African Americans and their occasional allies between 1890 and 2000. Chronologically organized, the narrative moves from an evaluation of the hard-pressed, contending forces vying for ascendancy in the black South at the nadir to the interwar period and well beyond, into the urban cauldron of the northern ghettoes at the high point of the Black Power movement. Fairclough brings to his project a fluent understanding of the shifting institutional configurations of opposition to Jim Crow and a keen sensitivity to the ways in which the efforts of those who fought it were hampered, circumscribed, and occasionally crushed by the pressures of operating in a society formally committedfor most of the period under discussionto aggressive defense of the racial status quo.
Fairclough’s “basic argument” seems at first glance uncontroversial: that “although blacks differed . . . about the most appropriate tactics in the struggle for equality, they were united in rejecting allegations of racial inferiority and in aspiring to a society where men and women would be judged on merit rather than by race or color” (p. xii).
But his ultimate aim is more ambitious: he sets out to rehabilitate the accommodationist tradition represented by Booker T. Washington which, though “apparently unheroic,” in the author’s view “laid the groundwork for the militant confrontation of the Civil Rights Movement” (p. xiii).h-net
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Edited by Michael G. Long
Bayard Rustin has been called the lost prophet of the Civil Rights Movement, a master strategist and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington and a deeply influential figure in the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Despite these achievements, Rustin often remained in the background, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. Published on the centennial of his birth, and in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, I Must Resist: Bayard Rustins Life in Letters are his words shining through a collection of more than 150 of Rustins letters. His correspondents include major figures of his day for example, Eleanor Holmes Norton, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Ella Baker and of course, Martin Luther King Jr. I have file boxes full of Rustins letters that I tracked down in archives across the country, said book editor Michael G. Long.
The time it took to complete the research was much longer than I had predicted, not just because of the number of letters I had in hand, but also especially because for their high quality. It was incredibly difficult to weed out those letters I really liked but that did not serve the purpose of putting together a publishable narrative of letters. And there are quite a few of those that are topically fascinating but not easily fitting for a narrative.phillytrib
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By Murali Balaji
Though honored as two of the most influential African-American leaders of the past century, journalist and novelist Balaji (House of Tinder) compensates in this political biography for “revisionist” historians who regularly omit Du Bois and Robeson’s long-standing involvement with the Communist Party, distorting their impact on anti-colonial and radical political thought, eroding their legacies and diminishing their courage in the face of McCarthyism. Du Bois (1868-1963) began his career as an academic and authored 34 books, most notably The Souls of Black Folk, co-founded the NAACP and was an early advocate of Pan-Africanism.
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The Life of Harry Haywood
Edited by Gwendolyn Midlo Hall
Mustering out of the U.S. army in 1919, Harry Haywood stepped into a battle that was to last the rest of his life. Within months, he found himself in the middle of one of the bloodiest race riots in U.S. history and realized that hed been fighting the wrong warthe real enemy was right here at home. This book is Haywoods eloquent account of coming of age as a black man in twentieth-century America and of his political awakening in the Communist Party. For all its cultural and historical interest, Harry Haywoods story is also noteworthy for its considerable narrative drama. The son of parents born into slavery, Haywood tells how he grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, found his first job as a shoeshine boy in Minneapolis, then went on to work as a waiter on trains and in restaurants in Chicago.
After fighting in France during the war, he studied how to make revolutions in Moscow during the 1920s, led the Communist Partys move into the Deep South in 1931, helped to organize the campaign to free the Scottsboro Boys, worked with the Sharecroppers Union, supported protests in Chicago against Mussolinis invasion of Ethiopia, fought with the International Brigades in Spain, served in the Merchant Marines during World War II, and continued to fight for the right of self-determination for the Afro-American nation in the United States until his death in 1985.
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and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation
By Rosa Parks
Parks, one of the U.S.’ authentic living legends, is the black lady who on December 1, 1955, refused to surrender her bus seat to a white man, was arrested under the Jim Crow law that required blacks to make way for whites, and thereby launched the yearlong bus boycott by blacks in Birmingham, Alabama, which led to the national overturning of that city’s and similar segregation laws across the nation. In this tiny collection of what seem like outtakes from oral-history tapes, she rehearses her great day (as it seems from the perspective of history; Parks remembers it as “not a happy experience. . . . I had not planned to be arrested”), stressing that it wasn’t, as many have romanticized, because her feet were tired that she didn’t move, but because she was “tired of being oppressed . . . just plain tired.” Her remarks, disposed somewhat arbitrarily into sections topically named “Fear,” “Pain,” “Character,” “Faith,” “Values,” reflect her lifelong commitment to justice for black Americans and to peace and equal opportunity for all.
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Otis G. Clark survivor of 1921 Tulsa race riot dies at 109Matt Schudel26 May 2012For years, few people dared to speak about what happened on the night of May 31, 1921, during one of the most deadly and devastating race riots in the nations history. Otis G. Clark, who was 18 at the time, had grown up in Greenwood, a thriving African American section of Tulsa. During a night that history almost forgot, Mr. Clark dodged bullets, raced through alleys to escape armed mobs and saw his familys home burned to the ground. He fled Tulsa on a freight train headed north. He would eventually move to Los Angeles, where he was the butler in the home of movie star Joan Crawford. He later turned to preaching and was known as the worlds oldest evangelist. But for nine decades, he remained a living witness to a night of horror, when Greenwood died. Mr. Clark died May 21 in Seattle at age 109, family members told the Tulsa World newspaper. The cause of death was not disclosed. . . . A state commission finally issued a report on the riot in 2001.
Otis Granville Clark was born Feb. 13, 1903, in Meridian, Okla., four years before Oklahoma became a state. His father worked for the railroad. In a 2009 interview for a Tulsa oral history project, Mr. Clark said one of his jobs as a boy was selling vegetables and groceries to a house occupied by what he called sportin women.WashingtonPost / Tulsaworld / adlercent
Otis G. Clark was born on February 13, 1903, in Oklahoma. At the time, Oklahoma was still Indian Territory and it did not become a state until 1907. At the age of 18, Otis was caught in the “1921 Tulsa Race Riot” in the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Greenwood, at the time, was a mecca for African-Americans who, due to the oil boom, owned their own successful businesses. Otis fled Tulsa, riding the rails to California, seeking his biological father.adlercentenarians
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By Tim Madigan
Journalist Madigan (See No Evil: Blind Devotion and Bloodshed in David Koresh’s Holy War) here tackles one of America’s worst race riots, chronicling the shocking events of May 31 and June 1, 1921 when a white mob numbering in the thousands obliterated the African American community of Greenwood, OK, near Tulsa. Race riots and tensions were very common after World War I, but what makes the Greenwood incident unique was the unheard-of organization of the mob and the completeness of the destruction (35 city blocks systematically burned and destroyed along with hundreds of casualties). Though it is arguably America’s worst race riot, surprisingly little has been written about it in the mainstream press. For this work, Madigan relied on taped interviews of survivors and witnesses, newspaper accounts, scholarly papers and theses, and interviews with the descendants of survivors. What results is a highly readable account of the circumstances and history surrounding the event and its aftermath. Truly an eye-opening book, this is essential reading for anyone struggling to understand race relations in America. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.Library Journal
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The most shocking thing to me about the Tulsa riot and others around that period is that the economic motive was not based on the depression which materialized after 1930, but by the need of white Southern commercial farmers–from 1900 -1930to prevent the mass migration of black farm laborers from the South to the North during a period of economic boom. There were several riots in that period: a) Atlanta Riots (1906), White-on-Black race riots, b) Race/Labor conflicts, the East St. Louis Riot of 1917. White rioters killed 100 blacksmen, women children. c) Omaha and Chicago Riots, Red Summer (1919), and d) Tulsa Riots (1921), blacks opposition to lynching. The US government had changed its immigration laws which had the effect of reducing the number of European workers coming to the country. Later there was WWI, having the same effect of reducing European workers as well. American industries were booming during the said period supplying Europe and other places across the world with products demanded at the time, due to the war, and the decline in European production and control of major markets. BB&T in a book published about their bank’s history explained that the economy was growing rapidly at the time and their bank was encouraging farmers to put all available farm land into production. The point is, the riots did not occur in a period of bust but in time of economic boom. The riots were instigated by local politicians who created fear among white workers that black workers moving to the North would take their jobs. There were no job shortage however because labor was becoming scarce for the North as well as the South.Yao Lloyd D. McCarthy
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By Alfred Brophy
The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot was the country’s bloodiest civil disturbance of the century. Thirty city blocks were burned to the ground, perhaps 150 died, and the prosperous black community of Greenwood, Oklahoma, was turned to rubble. Brophy draws on his own extensive research into contemporary accounts and court documents to chronicle this devastating riot, showing how and why the rule of law quickly eroded. Brophy shines his lights on mob violence and racism run amok, both on the night of the riot and the following morning. Equally important, he shows how the city government and police not only permitted looting, shootings, and the burning of Greenwood, but actively participated in it by deputizing white citizens haphazardly, giving out guns and badges, or sending men to arm themselves. Likewise, the National Guard acted unconstitutionally, arresting every black resident they found, leaving property vulnerable to the white mob. Brophy’s stark narrative concludes with a discussion of reparations for victims of the riot through lawsuits and legislative action. That case has implications for other reparations movements, including reparations for slavery.
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Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor (July 11, 1897 March 10, 1973) was the Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama, during the American Civil Rights Movement. His office gave him responsibility for administrative oversight of the Birmingham Fire Department and the Birmingham Police Department, which had their own chiefs.Through his covert actions to enforce racial segregation and deny civil rights to African American citizens, especially during the Southern Christian Leadership Conference‘s Birmingham Campaign of 1963,
Connor became an international symbol of bigotry.
Connor infamously directed the use of fire hoses, and police attack dogs against peaceful demonstrators, including children.
His aggressive tactics backfired when the spectacle of the brutality being broadcast on national television served as one of the catalysts for major social and legal change in the southern United States and helped in large measure to assure the passage by the United States Congress of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. . . . civil rights leaders, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began “Project ‘C’” (for “confrontation”) in Birmingham against the police tactics used by Connor and his subordinates (and, by extension, other Southern police officials).
King’s arrest during this period would provide him the opportunity to write his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail. The goal of this movement was to cause mass arrests and subsequent inability of the judicial and penal systems to deal with this volume of activity. One key strategy was the use of children to further the cause, a tactic that was criticized on both sides of the issue. The short-term effect only increased the level of violence used by Connor’s officers, but in the long term the project proved largely successful, as noted above.Wikipedia
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Nicholas deBelleville Katzenbach (January 17, 1922 May 8, 2012) was an American lawyer who served as United States Attorney General during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. . . . On June 11, 1963, Katzenbach (arms folded in photo above) was a primary participant in one of the most famous incidents of the Civil Rights struggle. Alabama Governor George Wallace (left between two officers in photo above) stood in front of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in an attempt to stop desegregation of that institution by the enrollment of two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood. This became known as the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.” Wallace stood aside only after being confronted by Katzenbach, accompanied by federal marshals and the Alabama National Guard. . . . Nicholas Katzenbach, 90 . . . helped draft the Voting Rights Act of 1965.Wikipedia
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By Katherine Mellen Charron
Freedom’s Teacher traces Clark’s life from her earliest years as a student, teacher, and community member in rural and urban South Carolina to her increasing radicalization as an activist following World War II, highlighting how Clark brought her life’s work to bear on the civil rights movement. Katherine Mellen Charron’s engaging portrait demonstrates Clark’s crucial roleand the role of many black women teachersin making education a cornerstone of the twentieth-century freedom struggle. Drawing on autobiographies and memoirs by fellow black educators, state educational records, papers from civil rights organizations, and oral histories, Charron argues that the schoolhouse served as an important institutional base for the movement. Clark’s program also fostered participation from grassroots southern black women, affording them the opportunity to link their personal concerns to their political involvement on the community’s behalf.
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Black Power, to us, means that black people see themselves as a part of the new force, sometimes called the Third World; that we see our struggle as closely related to liberation struggles around the world. We must hook up with these struggles. We must, for example, ask ourselves: when black people in Africa begin to storm Johnnesburg, what will be the reaction of the US?
What will be the role of the West, and what will be the role of black people living inside the US? It seems inevitable that the US will move to protect its financial interests in South Africa, which means protecting the white rule in South Africa, as England has already done.Carmichael, Black Power
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Stokely Carmichael, “Black Power”Kalen M. A. ChurcherSpeaking at Morgan State College in Baltimore on January 28, 1967, Carmichael displayed the very different style he used when addressing a predominantly black audience. Joking about how he partied at the school and participated in a sit-in near campus when he was younger, he also gave his audience at Morgan State a serious charge: overcoming the negative connotations of “black” that he had talked about in Berkeley. “If you want to stop rebellion,” he said, “then eradicate the cause.”
Carmichael then spoke of their responsibilities as leaders and intellectuals within the black community: “It is time for you to stop running away from being black. You are college students, you should think.
“It is time for you to begin to understand that you, as the growing intellectuals, the black intellectuals of the country, must begin to define beauty for black people.” Stokely Carmichael, “At Morgan State,” in Stokely Speaks; Black Power Back to Pan-Africanism, ed. E.N. Minor (New York: Random House, 1966), 61-76.Archive
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March 1969, Bob Moore began work with 1199, the National Organizing Committee of Hospital and Health Care Workers. Fred Punch was the lead organizer, sent down from Brooklyn, New York.
I saw 1199 as extremely progressive. Unlike many labor unions, 1199 made an alliance with King before he was killed and with SCLC. I was familiar with the concerted efforts of 1199 and SCLC in Charleston, South Carolina in the 1968 strike of 100 days. SCLC also decided to assist in the Baltimore campaign. The hospital and nursing homes then were not covered by NLRB rules. So community support was necessary to galvanize the workers and force the city and state to recognize the right of health care workers to organize in their own interest.
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By Howard Ball
Thurgood Marshall’s extraordinary contribution to civil rights and overcoming racism is more topical than ever, as the national debate on race and the overturning of affirmative action policies make headlines nationwide. Howard Ball, author of eighteen books on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, has done copious research for this incisive biography to present an authoritative portrait of Marshall the jurist. Born to a middle-class black family in “Jim Crow” Baltimore at the turn of the century, Marshall’s race informed his worldview from an early age. He was rejected by the University of Maryland Law School because of the color of his skin. He then attended Howard University’s Law School, where his racial consciousness was awakened by the brilliant lawyer and activist Charlie Houston. Marshall suddenly knew what he wanted to be: a civil rights lawyer, one of Houston’s “social engineers.” As the chief attorney for the NAACP, he developed the strategy for the legal challenge to racial discrimination.
His soaring achievements and his lasting impact on the nation’s legal system–as the NAACP’s advocate, as a federal appeals court judge, as President Lyndon Johnson’s solicitor general, and finally as the first African American Supreme Court Justice
are symbolized by Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that ended legal segregation in public schools. Using race as the defining theme, Ball spotlights Marshall’s genius in working within the legal system to further his lifelong commitment to racial equality. With the help of numerous, previously unpublished sources, Ball presents a lucid account of Marshall’s illustrious career and his historic impact on American civil rights.
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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
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California Newsreel that, in recognition of the death of Martin Luther King Jr, which happened on this day in 1968, the Award-winning film, At the River I Stand, which chronicles the 1968 AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) sanitation workers strike in Memphis, leading up to eventual assassination of MLK, will be available to watch for free, online for just this week. The film, produced by David Appleby, Allison Graham and Steven Ross, was awarded the 1994 Erik Barnouw Award for Best Documentary, by the Organization of American Historians.The struggle and triumph of dignity over injustice is the luminous tapestry of all great social movements. . . . At the River I Stand is an inspiring visual testament and a call to witness to every viewer, said AFSCME president Gerald W. McEntee. The 58-minute documentary can be viewed in full from today, through the 11th, next week Monday. At the River I Stand – Preview
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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
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By Mukoma wa Ngugi
Her womb pressed against the desert to bear the parasite
that eats her insides like termites drill into dry wood.
He is born into an empty bowl, fist choking umbilical cord.
She dies sighing, child son at last. He couldn’t have known,
instinct told him – always raise your arm in defense of your
own -Strike! Strike until they are all dead! Egg shells
in your hands milk bottle held between your toes,
you have been anointed twice, you strong enough to kill
at birth and survive. You will want to name the world
after yourself but you will have no name- a collage of dead
roots, tongues and other things. You will point your sword
to the center of the earth, duel the world to split into perfect
mirrors after your imperfect mutations but you will be
too weak having latched your self onto too many streams
straddling too many continents, pulling patches of a self
as one does fruits from an from an orchard, building a home
of planks with many faces. How does one look into a mirror
with a face that washes clean every rainy season?
He has an identity for every occasion – here he is Lenin
there Jesus and yesterday Marx – inflexible truths inherited
without roots. To be nothing to remain nothing, to kill
at birth – such love can only drink from our wrists. We
storming from our past to Jo’Burg eating wisdom of others
building homes made of our grandparent’s bones. We
gathering momentum that eats out of our earth, We standing
pens and bullets hurled at you, your enemies. Comrade, there
are many ways to die. A dog dies never having known
why it lived but a free death belongs to a life lived in roots,
roots not afraid of growing where they stand, roots tapped all over
the earth. Comrade, for a tree to grow, it must first own its earth.
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Angela Davis, Revolutionary, Speaks to PBS
To Hell with Obama and His Van Joneses
By Glen Ford
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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
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A Letter to Nephew and Friends
Negroes and the Crisis of Capitalism (Du Bois)
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#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
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By Robert P. Moses and Charlie E. Cobb
Begun in 1982, the Algebra Project is transforming math education in twenty-five cities. Founded on the belief that math-science literacy is a prerequisite for full citizenship in society, the Project works with entire communitiesparents, teachers, and especially studentsto create a culture of literacy around algebra, a crucial stepping-stone to college math and opportunity. Telling the story of this remarkable program, Robert Moses draws on lessons from the 1960s Southern voter registration he famously helped organize: “Everyone said sharecroppers didn’t want to vote. It wasn’t until we got them demanding to vote that we got attention. Today, when kids are falling wholesale through the cracks, people say they don’t want to learn. We have to get the kids themselves to demand what everyone says they don’t want.” /
Charles Cobb Jr.)
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By Irshad Manji
In Allah, Liberty and Love, Irshad Manji paves a path for Muslims and non-Muslims to transcend the fears that stop so many of us from living with honest-to-God integrity: the fear of offending others in a multicultural world as well as the fear of questioning our own communities. Since publishing her international bestseller, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji has moved from anger to aspiration. She shows how any of us can reconcile faith with freedom and thus discover the Allah of liberty and lovethe universal God that loves us enough to give us choices and the capacity to make them. Among the most visible Muslim reformers of our era, Manji draws on her experience in the trenches to share stories that are deeply poignant, frequently funny and always revealing about these morally confused times.
What prevents young Muslims, even in the West, from expressing their need for religious reinterpretation? What scares non-Muslims about openly supporting liberal voices within Islam? How did we get into the mess of tolerating intolerable customs, such as honor killings, and how do we change that noxious status quo?
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The Life of Harry Haywood
Edited by Gwendolyn Midlo Hall
Mustering out of the U.S. army in 1919, Harry Haywood stepped into a battle that was to last the rest of his life. Within months, he found himself in the middle of one of the bloodiest race riots in U.S. history and realized that hed been fighting the wrong warthe real enemy was right here at home. This book is Haywoods eloquent account of coming of age as a black man in twentieth-century America and of his political awakening in the Communist Party. For all its cultural and historical interest, Harry Haywoods story is also noteworthy for its considerable narrative drama. The son of parents born into slavery, Haywood tells how he grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, found his first job as a shoeshine boy in Minneapolis, then went on to work as a waiter on trains and in restaurants in Chicago. After fighting in France during the war, he studied how to make revolutions in Moscow during the 1920s, led the Communist Partys move into the Deep South in 1931, helped to organize the campaign to free the Scottsboro Boys.
He also worked with the Sharecroppers Union, supported protests in Chicago against Mussolinis invasion of Ethiopia, fought with the International Brigades in Spain, served in the Merchant Marines during World War II, and continued to fight for the right of self-determination for the Afro-American nation in the United States until his death in 1985.
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By Randall Kennedy
Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama . . .
The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism. Recalling some of the criticisms of Americas past made by Mr. Obamas former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.
His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him boy, and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedys father relished Muhammad Alis quip that the Vietcong had never called him nigger. The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.
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By Derrick Bell
In nine grim metaphorical sketches, Bell, the black former Harvard law professor who made headlines recently for his one-man protest against the school’s hiring policies, hammers home his controversial theme that white racism is a permanent, indestructible component of our society. Bell’s fantasies are often dire and apocalyptic: a new Atlantis rises from the ocean depths, sparking a mass emigration of blacks; white resistance to affirmative action softens following an explosion that kills Harvard’s president and all of the school’s black professors; intergalactic space invaders promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the environment and deliver tons of gold, but in exchange, the bartering aliens take all African Americans back to their planet. Other pieces deal with black-white romance, a taxi ride through Harlem and job discrimination.
Civil rights lawyer Geneva Crenshaw, the heroine of Bell’s And We Are Not Saved (1987), is back in some of these ominous allegories, which speak from the depths of anger and despair. Bell now teaches at New York University Law School.Publishers Weekly
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Edited by Jonathan Birnbaum and Clarence Taylor
Contrary to simple textbook tales, the civil rights movement did not arise spontaneously in 1954 with the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. The black struggle for civil rights can be traced back to the arrival of the first Africans, and to their work in the plantations, manufacturies, and homes of the Americas. Civil rights was thus born as labor history.
Civil Rights Since 1787 tells the story of that struggle in its full context, dividing the struggle into six major periods, from slavery to Reconstruction, from segregation to the Second Reconstruction, and from the current backlash to the future prospects for a Third Reconstruction. The “prize” that the movement has sought has often been reduced to a quest for the vote in the South. But all involved in the struggle have always known that the prize is much more than the vote, that the goal is economic as well as political. Further, in distinction from other work, Civil Rights Since 1787 establishes the links between racial repression and the repression of labor and the left, and emphasizes the North as a region of civil rights struggle.
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By Peter Edelman
If the nations gross national incomeover $14 trillionwere divided evenly across the entire U.S. population, every household could call itself middle class. Yet the income-level disparity in this country is now wider than at any point since the Great Depression. In 2010 the average salary for CEOs on the S&P 500 was over $1 millionclimbing to over $11 million when all forms of compensation are accounted forwhile the current median household income for African Americans is just over $32,000. How can some be so rich, while others are so poor? In this provocative book, Peter Edelman, a former top aide to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a lifelong antipoverty advocate, offers an informed analysis of how this country can be so wealthy yet have a steadily growing number of unemployed and working poor. According to Edelman, we have taken important positive steps without which 25 to 30 million more people would be poor, but poverty fluctuates with the business cycle.
The structure of todays economy has stultified wage growth for half of Americas workerswith even worse results at the bottom and for people of colorwhile bestowing billions on those at the top. So Rich, So Poor delves into what is happening to the people behind the statistics and takes a particular look at the continuing crisis of young people of color, whose possibility of a productive life too often is lost on their way to adulthood.
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By John D’Emilio
Bayard Rustin is one of the most important figures in the history of the American civil rights movement. Before Martin Luther King, before Malcolm X, Bayard Rustin was working to bring the cause to the forefront of America’s consciousness. A teacher to King, an international apostle of peace, and the organizer of the famous 1963 March on Washington, he brought Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence to America and helped launch the civil rights movement. Nonetheless, Rustin has been largely erased by history, in part because he was an African American homosexual. Acclaimed historian John D’Emilio tells the full and remarkable story of Rustin’s intertwined lives: his pioneering and public person and his oblique and stigmatized private self.
It was in the tumultuous 1930s that Bayard Rustin came of age, getting his first lessons in politics through the Communist Party and the unrest of the Great Depression.
A Quaker and a radical pacifist, he went to prison for refusing to serve in World War II, only to suffer a sexual scandal. His mentor, the great pacifist A. J. Muste, wrote to him, “You were capable of making the ‘mistake’ of thinking that you could be the leader in a revolution…at the same time that you were a weakling in an extreme degree and engaged in practices for which there was no justification.”
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By David. A. Nichols
David A. Nichols takes us inside the Oval Office to look over Ike’s shoulder as he worked behind the scenes, prior to Brown, to desegregate the District of Columbia and complete the desegregation of the armed forces. We watch as Eisenhower, assisted by his close collaborator, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr., sifted through candidates for federal judgeships and appointed five pro-civil rights justices to the Supreme Court and progressive judges to lower courts. We witness Eisenhower crafting civil rights legislation, deftly building a congressional coalition that passed the first civil rights act in eighty-two years, and maneuvering to avoid a showdown with Orval Faubus, the governor of Arkansas, over desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High. Nichols demonstrates that Eisenhower, though he was a product of his time and its backward racial attitudes, was actually more progressive on civil rights in the 1950s than his predecessor, Harry Truman, and his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. . . .
In fact, Eisenhower’s actions laid the legal and political groundwork for the more familiar breakthroughs in civil rights achieved in the 1960s.
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By Mary L. Dudziak
Thurgood Marshall became a living icon of civil rights when he argued Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1954. Six years later, he was at a crossroads. A rising generation of activists were making sit-ins and demonstrations rather than lawsuits the hallmark of the civil rights movement. What role, he wondered, could he now play? When in 1960 Kenyan independence leaders asked him to help write their constitution, Marshall threw himself into their cause. Here was a new arena in which law might serve as the tool with which to forge a just society. In Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey (2008) Mary Dudziak recounts with poignancy and power the untold story of Marshall’s journey to Africa
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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.
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By Kenneth W. Mack
Representing the Race tells the story of an enduring paradox of American race relations, through the prism of a collective biography of African American lawyers who worked in the era of segregation. . . . Mack reorients what we thought we knew about famous figures such as Thurgood Marshall, who rose to prominence by convincing local blacks and prominent whites that he wasas nearly as possibleone of them. But he also introduces a little-known cast of characters to the American racial narrative. These include Loren Miller, the biracial Los Angeles lawyer who, after learning in college that he was black, became a Marxist critic of his fellow black attorneys and ultimately a leading civil rights advocate; and Pauli Murray, a black woman who seemed neither black nor white, neither man nor woman, who helped invent sex discrimination as a category of law. The stories of these lawyers pose the unsettling question: what, ultimately, does it mean to represent a minority group in the give-and-take of American law and politics? /
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By Andrew B. Lewis
With deep admiration and rigorous scholarship, historian Lewis (Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table) revisits the ragtag band of young men and women who formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Impatient with what they considered the overly cautious and accommodating pace of the NAACP and Martin Luther King Jr., the black college students and their white allies, inspired by Gandhi’s principles of nonviolence and moral integrity, risked their lives to challenge a deeply entrenched system. Fanning out over the Jim Crow South, SNCC organized sit-ins, voter registration drives, Freedom Schools and protest marches. Despite early successes, the movement disintegrated in the late 1960s, succeeded by the militant Black Power movement.
The highly readable history follows the later careers of the principal leaders. Some, like Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown, became bitter and disillusioned. Others, including Marion Barry, Julian Bond and John Lewis, tempered their idealism and moved from protest to politics, assuming positions of leadership within the very institutions they had challenged. According to the author, No organization contributed more to the civil rights movement than SNCC, and with his eloquent book, he offers a deserved tribute.Publishers Weekly
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By Komozi Woodard
Woodard examines the role of poet Amiri Baraka’s “cultural politics” on Black Power and black nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s. After a brief overview of the evolution of black nationalism since slavery, he focuses on activities in Northeastern urban centers (Baraka’s milieus were Newark, N.J., and, to a lesser extent, New York City). Taking issue with scholars who see cultural nationalism as self-destructive, Woodard finds it “fundamental to the endurance of the Black Revolt from the 1960s into the 1970s.” The 1965 assassination of Malcolm X catalyzed LeRoi Jones’s metamorphosis into Amiri Baraka and his later “ideological enchantment” with Castro’s revolution. After attracting national attention following the 1966 Detroit Black Arts Convention, Baraka shifted his emphasis to electoral politics. He galvanized black support for Kenneth Gibson, who was elected mayor of Newark in 1970. Woodard pays scant attention, however, to the fact that “Baraka’s models for political organization had nothing revolutionary to contribute in terms of women’s leadership” or the roots of “Baraka’s insistence on psychological separation” from whites.
Woodard’s conclusion descends into rhetoric as he urges support for a school system to “develop oppressed groups into self-conscious agents of their own liberation,” while offering no specific, practical suggestions. Woodard’s need to be both scholar and prophet are in conflict, and the prophet’s voice undermines the scholar’s.Publishers Weekly
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By Roy Wilkins and Tom Mathews
History will remember Roy Wilkins (19011981) as one of the great leaders of the twentieth century for his contributions to the advancement of civil rights in America. For nearly half a centuryfirst as assistant secretary, also succeeding W. E. B. Dubois as editor of The Crisis, and finally succeeding Walter White as executive directorRoy Wilkins served and led the NAACP in their fight for justice for African Americans. Wilkins was a relentless pragmatist who advocated progressive change through legal action.
He participated or led in the achievement of every major civil rights advance, working for the integration of the army, helping to plan and organize the historic march on Washington, and pushing every president from Franklin Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter to implement civil rights legislation. This is a dramatic story of one man’s struggle for his people’s rights, as well as a vivid recollection of the events and the people that have shaped modern black history.Da Capo Press
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By John Lewis
The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis have never been more relevant. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a strong and moral voice to guide an engaged population through visionary change. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is the author of his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement, and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions, including the Lincoln Medal; the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Lifetime Achievement Award (the only one of its kind ever awarded); the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, among many others.
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By C. Fraser Smith
Though he lived throughout much of the Southand even worked his way into parts of the North for a timeJim Crow was conceived and buried in Maryland. From Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney’s infamous decision in the Dred Scott case to Thurgood Marshall’s eloquent and effective work on Brown v. Board of Education, the battle for black equality is very much the story of Free State women and men. Here, Baltimore Sun columnist C. Fraser Smith recounts that tale through the stories, words, and deeds of famous, infamous, and little-known Marylanders. He traces the roots of Jim Crow laws from Dred Scott to Plessy v. Ferguson and describes the parallel and opposite early efforts of those who struggled to establish freedom and basic rights for African Americans.
Following the historical trail of evidence, Smith relates latter-day examples of Maryland residents who trod those same steps, from the thrice-failed attempt to deny black people the vote in the early twentieth century to nascent demonstrations for open access to lunch counters, movie theaters, stores, golf courses, and other public and private institutionsstruggles that occurred decades before the now-celebrated historical figures strode onto the national civil rights scene.
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By Roger W. Wilkins
In Jefferson’s Pillow, Wilkins returns to America’s beginnings and the founding fathers who preached and fought for freedom, even though they owned other human beings and legally denied them their humanity. He asserts that the mythic accounts of the American Revolution have ignored slavery and oversimplified history until the heroes, be they the founders or the slaves in their service, are denied any human complexity. Wilkins offers a thoughtful analysis of this fundamental paradox through his exploration of the lives of George Washington, George Mason, James Madison, and of course Thomas Jefferson. He discusses how class, education, and personality allowed for the institution of slavery, unravels how we as Americans tell different sides of that story, and explores the confounding ability of that narrative to limit who we are and who we can become. An important intellectual history of America’s founding, Jefferson’s Pillow will change the way we view our nation and ourselves.
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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.
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By Glenn C. Loury
In this pithy discussion, renowned scholars debate the American penal system through the lensand as a legacyof an ugly and violent racial past. Economist Loury argues that incarceration rises even as crime rates fall because we have become increasingly punitive. According to Loury, the disproportionately black and brown prison populations are the victims of civil rights opponents who successfully moved the country’s race dialogue to a seemingly race-neutral concern over crime. Loury’s claims are well-supported with genuinely shocking statistics, and his argument is compelling that even if the racial argument about causes is inconclusive, the racial consequences are clear.
Three shorter essays respond: Stanford law professor Karlan examines prisoners as an inert ballast in redistricting and voting practices; French sociologist Wacquant argues that the focus on race has ignored the fact that inmates are first and foremost poor people; and Harvard philosophy professor
Shelby urges citizens to break with Washington’s political outlook on race. The group’s respectful sparring results in an insightful look at the conflicting theories of race and incarceration, and the slim volume keeps up the pace of the argument without being overwhelming.Publishers Weekly
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By Elaine Brown
Brown here relates the dramatic story of her youth, her political awakening and her role in the Black Panther Party when she succeeded her lover Huey Newton to become the group’s first female leader. Though smoothly written, the book contains much reconstructed dialogue that may daunt readers. Brown’s memoir takes her from a Philadelphia ghetto to California, from college to cocktail waitressing, from wanting to be white to joining the black power movement. She meets Eldridge Cleaver, George Jackson and Bobby Seale, goes to jail, visits North Korea and North Vietnam, debates Marxism and gets involved in Oakland, Calif., politics. When other Black Panthers seemed to lose sight of the revolution and seek power for its own sake, Brown, with a growing feminist consciousness, left the group.
She now lives in France and expresses ambivalent feelings about the party she once loved. Having made her acquaintance, the reader wonders about her present life.Publishers Weekly
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By Randall Kennedy
The word is paradigmatically ugly, racist and inflammatory. But is it different when Ice Cube uses it in a song than when, during the O.J. Simpson trial, Mark Fuhrman was accused of saying it? What about when Lenny Bruce uses it to “defang” it by sheer repetition? Or when Mark Twain uses it in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to make an antiracist statement? Kennedy, a professor at Harvard Law School and noted legal scholar, has produced an insightful and highly provocative book that raises vital questions about the relationship between language, politics, social norms and how society and culture confront racism. Drawing on a wide range of historical, legal and cultural instances Harry S. Truman calling Adam Clayton Powell “that damned nigger preacher”; Title VII court cases in which the use of the word was proof of condoning a “racially hostile work environment”; Quentin Tarantino’s liberal use of the word in his films Kennedy repeatedly shows not only the complicated cultural history of the word, but how its meaning, intent and even substance change in context.
Smart, well argued and never afraid of facing serious, difficult and painful questions in an unflinching and unsentimental manner, this is an important work of cultural and political criticism. As Kennedy notes in closing: “For bad or for good, nigger is… destined to remain with us for the foreseeable future a reminder of the ironies and dilemmas, the tragedies and glories, of the American experience.” (Jan. 22)Forecast: This may be the book that reignites larger debates over race eclipsed by September 11. Look for a bestselling run and huge talk show and magazine coverage as the Afghanistan news cycle continues to slow; the book had already been the subject of two New York Times stories by early January.Publishers Weekly
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By Gabriel Thompson
Thompson spent a year working alongside Latino immigrants, who initially thought he was either crazy or an undercover immigration agent. He stooped over lettuce fields in Arizona, and worked the graveyard shift at a chicken slaughterhouse in rural Alabama. . . . Thompson shines a bright light on the underside of the American economy, exposing harsh working conditions, union busting, and lax government enforcementwhile telling the stories of workers, undocumented immigrants, and desperate US citizens alike, forced to live with chronic pain in the pursuit of $8 an hour. Gabriel Thompson has contributed to New York, The Nation, New York Times, Brooklyn Rail, In These Times and others. He is the recipient of the Richard J. Margolis Award, the Studs Terkel Media Award, and a collective Sidney Hillman Award. His writings are collected at
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By Cleveland Sellers with Robert Terrell
Among histories of the civil rights movement of the 1960s there are few personal narratives better than this one. Besides being an insider’s account of the rise and fall of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, it is an eyewitness report of the strategies and the conflicts in the crucial battle zones as the fight for racial justice raged across the South. This memoir by Cleveland Sellers, a SNCC volunteer, traces his zealous commitment to activism from the time of the sit-ins, demonstrations, and freedom rides in the early ’60s. In a narrative encompassing the Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964), the historic march in Selma, the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, and the murders of civil rights activists in Mississippi, he recounts the turbulent history of SNCC and tells the powerful story of his own no-return dedication to the cause of civil rights and social change.
The River of No Return is acclaimed as a book that is destined to become a standard text for those wishing to perceive the civil rights struggle from within the ranks of one of its key organizations and to note the divisive history of the movement as groups striving for common goals were embroiled in conflict and controversy.
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By Robert L. Carter and Foreword by John Hope Franklin
Robert Lee Carter (March 11, 1917 January 3, 2012) insisted on using the research of the psychologist Kenneth B. Clark to attack segregated schools, a daring courtroom tactic in the eyes of some civil rights lawyers. Experiments by Mr. Clark and his wife, Mamie, showed that black children suffered in their learning and development by being segregated. Mr. Clarks testimony proved crucial in persuading the court to act, Mr. Carter wrote in a 2004 book, A Matter of Law: A Memoir of Struggle in the Cause of Equal Rights. As chief deputy to the imposing Mr. Marshall, who was to become the first black Supreme Court justice, Mr. Carter labored for years in his shadow.
In the privacy of legal conferences, Mr. Carter was seen as the house radical, always urging his colleagues to push legal and constitutional positions to the limits.
He recalled that Mr. Marshall had encouraged him to play the gadfly:
I was younger and more radical than many of the people Thurgood would have in, I guess. But hed never let them shut me up. Robert Lee Carter was born in Caryville, in the Florida Panhandle . . . .
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 26 May 2012