We're all anticipating the future right now, but don't forget to remember the past
, as well. [more inside]
Explorations in Black Leadership
is a collection of video interviews with prominent African-Americans, focusing on activists of one sort or another. 34 people are interviewed, including Nikki Giovanni
, John Lewis
, Barbara Lee
, Bobby Rush
, Dorothy Height
and Amiri Baraka
. There are full transcripts of every interview. Here's an excerpt from the Nikki Giovanni interview: "The kids today have to have a voice. I'm amazed that they found it. I remember Sugarhill Gang with Sylvia, you know: "Uptown, Downtown, the Holiday Inn." You know, things like that. Then, of course, I remember the explosion of Tupac Shakur. Losing Tupac was a great loss for this generation. I have a tattoo--it says "Thug Life" --because I wanted to mourn with this generation. I don't see how people can knock the kids…paying so little attention. I had deep regrets--and I know Rosa Parks, you know, we don't hang out but I know her--I so regretted that she lent her name to be used against Outkast, because Rosa Parks is a wonderful--is a wonderful tune. And they were giving her problems. If people don't--if the younger generation doesn't sing the praises of the older generation they get forgotten."
'We done heard your voice, we saw your marches, we don't want to hear that
any more.' Music artist Nas directs pointed criticism
toward civil rights stalwart Jesse Jackson
and his generation. But he's not alone. Kevin Powell is running for congress
and shares the sentiment
. [more inside]
China's secret plot to tame Tibet.
"Internal Communist party documents have revealed that China is planning a programme of harsh political repression in Tibet despite a public show of moderation to win over world opinion before the Olympic Games next month." Meanwhile, the military has sealed off
several monasteries in Lhasa
, keeping over 1,000 monks locked up. Another 1,000 monks have mysteriously disappeared
, and may have been sent to prisons in a neighbouring province
to keep them silent through the Olympics.
"He grew up in a ruthlessly discriminatory world -- a world in which segregation of the races was pervasive and taken for granted, where lynching was common, where the black man's inherent inferiority was proclaimed widely and wantonly. Thurgood Marshall
had the capacity to imagine a radically different world, the imaginative capacity to believe that such a world was possible, the strength to sustain that image in the mind's eye and the heart's longing, and the courage and ability to make that imagined world real." Born July 2, 1908
, died January 25, 1993
. Had he lived, he would have been 100 years old today
The Meaning of Box 722
. Letters to Senator Paul Douglas
of Illinois in reaction to the 1966 civil rights bill, particularly the federal ban on racial discrimination in the sale and rental of housing. At the time, Chicago was the most segregated city in the north, with boundaries enforced by mob violence. By Rick Perlstein
, author of Nixonland
. When I started researching NIXONLAND I knew the congressional elections of 1966 would form a crucial part of the narrative. They'd never really been examined in-depth before, but by my reckoning they were the crucial hinge that formed the ideological alignment we live in now. Via Brad DeLong
The Last Roundup.
"Is the government compiling a secret list of citizens to detain under martial law?" [Via]
Sounds of America
is a new monthly streaming audio program, a collaboration between the National Museum of American History
and Smithsonian Global Sound
. Up now are 3 episodes: African-American music in New Orleans, Women in American Music, and Freedom Songs of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
Arthur Ashe's words and legacy. Arthur Ashe
(1943-1993) was the first (and only) black man to win Wimbledon
, the Australian Open
and the US Open
tennis tournaments and a very vocal civil rights activist and leader
. Last week on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show
, Brian had on Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe[embedded audio player]
and they were remembering a moment on Martin Luther King Day 1993, when Arthur called into the show from his hospital room (he died three weeks later). His views from Martin Luther King
, Malcom X
, Muhammad Ali
and the 1966
Los Angeles riots are at once eloquent and riveting.
Several prisoners held at Guantanamo are charged,
including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
. According to this soundbite
, after their time in military court, they'll be able to appeal the decision in civilian court.
by two years and 364 days, Sam Cooke
was shot and killed on this day in 1964. Much controversy
still surrounds his death
, but his legacy is untouchable and influence sweeping
. From gospel
, he did it all. You Send Me
, Ain't That Good News
, Chain Gang
, and Bring it on Home to Me
were some of his biggest hits and (along with Ray's work) the early foundations of soul; but it was one song
, inspired by a white boy's passion
, that gave a posthumous voice to a broken nation. Today and forever, Sam Cooke is yours, he'll never grow old.
Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush go before SCOTUS Streaming on C-Span today.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (great podcast
) will argue before the Supreme Court today:
Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, The Center for Constitutional Rights and cooperating counsel filed 11 new habeas petitions in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of over 70 detainees. These cases eventually became the consolidated cases of Al Odah v. United Statesand Boumediene v. Bush, the leading cases determining the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, the rights of non-citizens to challenge the legality of their detention in an offshore U.S. military base, and the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
Reagan at Neshoba.
Some time ago, a blog post was authored at Mahablog
which suggested that movement politics can best be understood when their rhetoric is viewed as a series of metaphors, with an allegory made to a spectacular episode of Stark Trek: The Next Generation featuring Paul Winfield titled "Darmok"
Picard and crew stumble across an alien race that speaks only in metaphor. The alien captain, frustrated by the failure to communicate, transports Picard to the surface of a planet, where they must learn to communicate or die. The alien captain does finally reach Picard, but dies as a result of his injuries battling an invisible predator.
By way of comparison, examine Candidate Ronald Reagan's speech at Neshoba [audio, 57MB
, additional context here
]. Some pundits are claiming that it is an example of the Southern Strategy
codified as dog-whistle politics, whilst others view it as an honest mistake
, and others still find an inconvenient long sequence of other "honest mistakes"
. [more inside]
The Man Who Didn’t Shoot Malcolm X.
Khalil Islam, formerly known as Thomas 15X Johnson, was convicted of assassinating Malcolm X
and served 22 years in prison. One of the co-defendants later swore
Khalil Islam was innocent. "The fact was, I was just the patsy. The perfect patsy." [more inside]
Through a Lens Darkly
- on September 4, 1957, when 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford tried to enter Little Rock Central High, she was blocked by the National Guard and surrounded by a screaming mob of 250: "Lynch her! Lynch her!" "No nigger bitch is going to get in our school! Get out of here!" "Go back to where you came from!" Looking for a friendly face, she turned to an old woman, who spat on her
. Dramatic news footage
. Ernest Green, another of the Little Rock 9 recalls
the first day of school. [more inside]
: New YouTube Page for Monitoring Oppression & Brutality
Somewhere along your musical journeys you might've heard something by Mr. Josh White
(1914-1969). He was a bluesman
, but one with the kind of smooth
and polished delivery
(and some charming novelty tunes
) that made him a favorite
on the wider, national pop/folk scene. He was pretty sexy
, too. He didn't shy away from political/racial themes
, either. Unsurprisingly, he ran afoul of the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare years, and his name was placed on their Commie blacklist
. Some few decades later his image graced a US postage stamp
. Thanks for the music
, Josh White
As complete a history of comedian, civil rights activist, and cross-over superstar Moms Mabley
as you're likely to find anywhere , including audio, from Beware of Blog.
New Hampshire approves same-sex unions
with bipartisan, if contentious support
, recognizing both in- and out-of-state unions and marriages. While New York's Eliot Spitzer follows up on a campaign promise
, higher courts in California
may make decisions on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage later this year, deciding if a civil union is an adequate legal substitution for marriage.
NYPD Intelligence Op Targets Dot-Matrix Graffiti Bike.
More details on the premeditated arrest of Joshua Kinberg
by the NYPD just before the 2004 Republican National Convention. Kinberg, now the CEO of FireAnt
, was targeted by the "R.N.C. Intelligence Squad"
for his Bikes Against Bush
project. The police lost his Xtracycle
. [Via BB.]
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives."
- Jackie Robinson
This Sunday April 15, 2007, Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the breaking of baseball's color barrier
. For one
and managers throughout
as well as entire teams
will be saluting his memory
Robinson's retired number 42
for his tremendous leadership
and off the field (previously),
he is remembered
for his determination
, and for his post-career activities as a civil rights advocate
. Perhaps the highest compliment is to say simply that Jackie Robinson
of the greatest players
to ever grace
a baseball diamond
, but his contribution to baseball, and to equality in America
was far greater than statistics and pennants.
, do you want a ballplayer who is afraid to fight back?" "I want a ballplayer with guts enough not to fight back!" See The Jackie Robinson Story
, starring the man himself. (1:16:29, Google video)
Martin Luther King's private secretary from 1960 until his death, has died
at age 81. While few have heard of Ms. McDonald, she was a very important figure in King's work, and was the one who had to tell Coretta Scott King
that her husband had been murdered.
The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission
was created in 1956 by the Mississippi Legislature in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education
decision. The Commission's express purpose was to "do and perform any and all acts and things deemed necessary and proper to protect the sovereignty of the state of Mississippi, and her sister states." In other words, it was an official tax-funded agency to combat the activities of the Civil Rights Movement. Their records are now online
It will always be known as the "date which will live in infamy
," but this year - the 65th Anniversary - may mark the last time survivors can/will come together at the site
to pay their respects to the fallen and to shake hands with their former adversaries. Hawaii affiliate KHNL News 8 has already started
its 5-day long coverage
of the ceremonies, which culminate on the morning of the 7th and will feature a live web feed and a keynote adress given by Tom Brokaw
(@ 7:30am HST).
Some consequences of the attack inside...
NJ says yes to same-sex marriage!
(altho it might not be called that in the end) -- link to pdf of ruling here
Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears.
"Federal appeals court judges nominated by President Bush are threatening and undermining Americans’ rights and liberties, and working to reduce congressional authority to protect those rights and liberties, according to a legal analysis
(PDF) published today by People For the American Way Foundation
." [Via Talkleft.]
portrays two conflicting trends in the United States and other countries of the so-called "free world." The first is a slow and powerful drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth
in a repressive Big Business-Big Government partnership... The other is a slower and less powerful tendency for individuals and groups
to seek greater participation in decisions affecting themselves and others... These contradictory trends are woven fine into the fabric of highly industrialized capitalism.
"If anything, a civil rights background is considered a liability."
Meet the politically-appointed career staffers of the Justice Dept.'s Civil Rights Division: ... the kinds of cases the Civil Rights Division is bringing have undergone a shift. The division is bringing fewer voting rights and employment cases involving systematic discrimination against African-Americans, and more alleging reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination against Christians. ...
Thorough Boston Globe article on how the administration disbanded the hiring committee in 2002 to appoint lawyers with a very different vision of what civil rights are, and the ensuring and ongoing results.
Portraits of the Freedom Riders
Eric Etheridge has been taking pictures
of people who participated in the Freedom Rides
) to accompany the people's 1961 mug shots. Some of the photos
were in the July 2 issue of the New York Times Magazine
there are more photos
at his web site. Also, an excerpt
from a recent book
about the rides. [via]
"And yet the people who invented this country saw an aggressive, independent press as a protective measure against the abuse of power in a democracy, and an essential ingredient for self-government."
Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, publicly responds to criticisms
on the publication of information about clandestine surveillance of private bank records of Americans
, offering a rare glimpse into the Fourth Estate's complicated negotiations with the government over issues of public interest.
On June 21st, 1964 civil rights workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner
disappeared in Mississippi. Here is a strange story
about how their bodies were found.
Made most popular to many Americans as the closing song for the Grand Ole Opry programs, Will The Circle Be Unbroken was written in 1907 by Ada Habershon, an intensely religious young woman and acquaintance of Dwight Moody
and Ira David Sankey
. The music was "composed" by Charles Gabriel
, a popular songwriter and composer of the era who is often solely credited with the song, but while he may have put the notes down on paper, the tune itself already existed as the African-American spiritual Glory Glory / Since I Laid My Burden Down. [lots more inside]
Inadequately scrawled, with his young, old heart,
And his drawl, and his infinite paradox
And his sadness, and kindness,
And his artist sense
that drives him to shape his life
To something harmonious,
even against the schemes of God. [MI]
That big .45 jumped in Big Milam's hand. The youth turned to catch that big, expanding bullet at his right ear. He dropped.
In Money, Mississippi
on August 24, 1955, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant abducted 14-year-old Emmet "Bobo" Till
, tortured him, shot him in the head, and dumped his body in the river for whistling at a white woman
. Emmett's mother insisted on an open-casket funeral so people could see what had happened to her son. On September 15, 1955, Jet
magazine published photos
[NSFW] of Emmett's corpse, which brought the case national attention and helped ignite
the civil rights movement
. On September 23, 1955, an all-white jury acquitted
Bryant and Milam after deliberating for about an hour. Milam and Bryant confessed in a January 24 , 1966, Look magazine article
. Milam died in 1980 and Bryant died in 1990. After reopening the case
in 2004 based on new evidence
that more people may have been involved, the Justice Department closed the case today
without filing any new charges. [more inside]
A true pioneer has left us. Gordon Parks
dead at 93. His ground-breaking work
as a still photographer
of color during the civil rights movement
was enough to garner him a place in history
but he strove for excellence throughout his life. His first movie, the Learning Tree
is a classic and of course he also gave us Shaft
. He was a bonafide renaissance man
excelling in music and painting and even wrote a ballet based on Martin Luther King. He was truly one-of-a-kind.
The Birmingham News recently discovered
previously-unpublished photos of the civil rights movement
in Birmingham, Alabama, during the late 1950s and early 1960s. The site includes audio interviews with some of the photographers and a PDF
of how the photos appeared in the newspaper.
“Wouldn’t you know, the kid they pick to play tramps is the only good girl in Hollywood.”
Before Myrna Loy
rose to stardom with Manhattan Melodrama
and The Thin Man (both 1934)
, she was often relegated to playing vamps, mistresses, and other assorted flavors of wicked women
. Then, after 80 movies playing mostly bad girls, Montana native Loy
became “the perfect wife.” “Men Must Marry Myrna Loy
” clubs were formed around the country. She and Clark Gable, in a poll conducted by Ed Sullivan, were voted by 20 million of the nation’s moviegoers as The King and Queen of Hollywood. She was FDR's favorite actress, and John Dillinger died just to see her new movie
. A staunch anti-Nazi since the mid-Thirties
(to MGM's dismay, Hitler promptly banned her films from the lucrative German market
), wondered aloud in the press why blacks were always given servants' roles, and was the first major star to buck the studios in a contract dispute (the issue: equal pay for equal work. She was making half what William Powell was, didn't like it and quit work for nearly a year until MGM capitulated
). When WWII broke out she quit Hollywood and worked full time for the Red Cross
, and helped run a Naval Auxilary Canteen. More inside.