FEMA Evicting 50000 Families

FEMA Evicting 50000 Families


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



FEMA plans to cut off financing for more than 50,000 families in government

paid hotel and motel rooms by the end of the month. These families

 represent a total of approximately 150,000 people



FEMA Evicting 50,000 Families

from Temporary Housing

Marc Morial Urges Chertoff to Rescind Order


New York, N.Y. – In a letter sent today, Marc H. Morial, President and CEO National Urban League, has urged U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to immediately rescind the order to forcibly evict 50,000 families displaced by Hurricane Katrina who are currently housed in hotels throughout the country.

“Forcing 50,000 families into the streets, in the dead of winter, as the holiday season approaches not only lacks compassion, it reflects an abject disregard for the significant hardship borne by these families. Many of these families cannot return to the Gulf Coast due to the devastation, lack of coordination and slow pace of recovery. Yet they are also unable to transition to other housing because social services are stretched and housing markets are tight,” wrote Morial. “In light of these circumstances, the United States government must proceed in a manner that is compassionate and understanding of the super catastrophic nature of Katrina and its impact on these Americans.”

According to numerous press accounts, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will stop paying hotel bills for these families as early as December 1, thereby leaving 150,000 people with no place to go. FEMA plans to cut off financing for more than 50,000 families in government paid hotel and motel rooms by the end of the month. These families represent a total of approximately 150,000 people.

“As the President and CEO of the National Urban League and the former Mayor of the city of New Orleans, I believe that the order to evict will further erode the already diminished public confidence in our government and its ability to protect its citizens. Please do not allow the Katrina victims to be left behind once again,” Morial continued.

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No Home for the Holidays:  Stop Evictions of Katrina Evacuees

By Bill Quigley

Sabrina Robinson lived her whole life in New Orleans. When Katrina and the floodwaters hit her house, she and her three children swam to a dry bridge where they lived for 2 days.  “We watched people die,” said Ms. Robinson.  Now her family and 52 other families from New Orleans face eviction from the Houston apartment complex where they lived for the last month. Tens of thousands of other Katrina evacuees also face holiday evictions.After a bus took the Robinson family to Houston, they slept on the floor for a month.   On October 2, the family received federal housing vouchers from the Disaster Relief Center in Houston.  Quail Chase apartments in Houston agreed to accept the vouchers. Ms. Robinson and 52 other families from New Orleans moved in to Quail Chase.   After the families lived there for several weeks, Quail Chase changed their mind and refused to accept vouchers.  Quail Chase has now given eviction notices to all 53 families.  Now they face the streets again.  “There is nothing else available,” Ms. Robinson said.  “All the decent housing is taken.”In the same spirit, FEMA announced  November 15 it would quit paying for housing for  most of the nearly 60,000 homeless Katrina families who are residing in government paid hotel and motel rooms.In Texas, where 54,000 people are living in 18,000 rooms, Republican Governor Rick Perry said these evictions will “fuel the cycle of evacuees moving from one temporary housing situation to another ” if they can secure housing at all.”The story is being repeated across the nation.  In New York, 487 Katrina victims, including 115 kids, have been told their hotel rooms will no longer be paid. In the Carolinas, between 400 and 600 Katrina families in hotels face eviction even as local homeless shelters are already full.Back home in New Orleans, legal aid lawyers estimate there will be 10,000 evictions filed in November against Katrina evacuees  ” more in one month than are usually filed in an entire year.At this holiday time, resolve to stand in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of people victimized by Katrina and the floods that followed.  Katrina evacuees in your community need your support.  Stop the evictions in your community.Nationally, 54 members of Congress, including all the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, have co-sponsored HR 4197, the Hurricane Katrina Recovery Act. Ask your representative to co-sponsor this bill and to take action to force FEMA to assist those still leftbehind.There are also many other great grassroots, regional and national efforts underway to provide solidarity with Katrina evacuees.  Many are listed at www.justiceforneworleans.orgPeople displaced by Katrina do not want charity. What is needed at this holiday time is solidarity.  Resolve to stand with the victims of Katrina as they search for justice.

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Bill is a professor at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law He can be reached at

posted 18 November 2005

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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A Wreath for Emmett Till

By Marilyn Nelson; Illustrated by Philippe Lardy

This memorial to the lynched teen is in the Homeric tradition of poet-as-historian. It is a heroic crown of sonnets in Petrarchan rhyme scheme and, as such, is quite formal not only in form but in language. There are 15 poems in the cycle, the last line of one being the first line of the next, and each of the first lines makes up the entirety of the 15th. This chosen formality brings distance and reflection to readers, but also calls attention to the horrifically ugly events. The language is highly figurative in one sonnet, cruelly graphic in the next. The illustrations echo the representative nature of the poetry, using images from nature and taking advantage of the emotional quality of color. There is an introduction by the author, a page about Emmett Till, and literary and poetical footnotes to the sonnets. The artist also gives detailed reasoning behind his choices. This underpinning information makes this a full experience, eminently teachable from several aspects, including historical and literary—School Library Journal

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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