In 2007, the Pinellas County, Florida School Board abandoned integration, joining hundreds of US school districts in former Confederacy states that have resegregated since 2000. The Board justified the vote with bold promises: Schools in poor, black neighborhoods would get more money, more staff, more resources -- none of which happened. This past August, the Tampa Bay Times published an exposé, revealing how district leaders turned five once-average schools into Failure Factories. [more inside]
Black Deaths Matter: A Generation of African Americans Are Buried in Racism
In Richmond, Virginia, two nearby African-American cemeteries, East End and Evergreen, are obscured by creeping kudzu. The cemeteries are within view of Richmond’s city-owned Oakwood Cemetery, which holds the remains of an estimated 17,000 Confederate soldiers. Brian Palmer, a journalist, is working on a film that follows a group of local volunteers who hope to reclaim East End. He learned that the gulf between the neglect in East End and the meticulous perpetual care in Oakwood is supported by contemporary public policy: The state government allocates funds to the Daughters of the Confederacy, a private group, to provide for the maintenance of Confederate soldiers’ graves in Oakwood and dozens of other state cemeteries.
You might think the word bulldozer came from a brand, like Biro and Hoover. Perhaps it refers to some agricultural practice using bulls to move stuff around? The reality is far more chilling - and to find it, you have to look back to the US in 1876 and what "historians suggest may have been the most hard-fought, corrupt and rigged election in the history of the Union".
Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic:The Effects of Housing Segregation on Black Wealth. As the wealth gap widens between whites and blacks in America, and after reading this list and this list, he concludes The Ghetto Is Public Policy. [more inside]
James Chaney. Andrew Goodman. Michael Schwerner. Murdered by the KKK 50 years ago today, in one of the galvanizing events of the struggle for civil rights in the South. (previously 1, 2, 3) [more inside]
Tomorrow, is the 60th Anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision (pdf) in Brown v. Board of Education [more inside]
The most recent story in ProPublica's Living Apart: Examining America's Racial Divide series is "Segregation Now," which focuses on the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, city school district "and its fleeting experience with the challenges and virtues of integration." But beyond Tuscaloosa, "almost everywhere in the United States, the gains of integration have been eroded. And nowhere has that been more powerfully and disturbingly true than in the South – once home to both the worst of segregation and the greatest triumphs of integration. Freed from the federal oversight that produced integration, schools districts across the 11 former states of the Confederacy have effectively re-instituted segregation for large numbers of black students, in practical terms if not in law." [more inside]
This film produced by the United States Federal Government in 1957 explores South Africa's apartheid policy, focusing on issues such as race relations, political practices, and segregated dwellings. The footage very radically contrasts the bleakness of black life with the privileges enjoyed by most whites as well as including several interviews with black leaders, while also giving the architects of Apartheid a platform to defend themselves and their policies. (34:11)
A fascinating snapshot of the time.[more inside]
The civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, as described in the New Yorker by Renata Adler in 1965. [more inside]
Touted as the cure for what ails public education, charter schools have historical roots that are rarely discussed. [more inside]
"In Chicago, we think such racial segregation is normal, but it's not." Why segregation isn't an issue in the mayoral contest in one of the most segregated cities in the US. [more inside]
The Pentagon is currently surveying the troops to gauge their opinion towards gays and the repeal of Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell. It has recently come to light that previous surveys were done about the fighting man's opinion of 'blacks' and 'jews'. [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. Photos. Dramatic news footage. Ernest Green, another of the Little Rock 9 recalls the first day of school. [more inside]
...students arrived at the local high school to find three hangman's nooses dangling from a tree in the courtyard. ...
Under the ole shade tree... Welcome to Jena, LA -- mix high school segregation, racism, nooses, fights, ineffective school administration, attempted-murder charges, shotguns, and a town in upheaval--a "racial powder keg". Much more here, including links to help.
Secret information concerning the Black American Troops. We must prevent the rise of any pronounced degree of intimacy between French officers and black officers. We may be courteous and amiable with these last, but we cannot deal with them on the same plane as with the white American officers without deeply wounding the latter. In August 1918, the French liaison officer at the American Expeditionary Force Headquarters gave his fellow officers a primer in US-style racial segregation, urging the military and civil authorities to implement similar procedures on French soil, as the local populations were felt by US authorities to be much too friendly towards American Black troops (PDF, page 13) (see also the first chapter of Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light). This memorandum, however, was never distributed and other similar leaflets were eventually destroyed by the French government. One soldier of the 93rd Division wrote his mother: These French people don't bother with no color line business. They treat us so good that the only time I ever know I'm colored is when I look in the glass.
"Approximately 250,000 persons viewed and passed by the bier of little Emmett Till. All were shocked, some horrified and appalled. Many prayed, scores fainted and practically all, men, women and children wept". Chicago Defender, September 1, 1955. Federal officials this morning erected a white tent over the grave of Emmett Till in Alsip, Ill., in preparation to exhume the body to shed light on the Chicago teenager's death 50 years ago. Till, 14 years old at the time, was killed in a hate crime in Money, Miss., that sparked the Civil Rights movement. (previous Emmett Till MeFi threads here and here)
"Black Like me" : the notion of "Race" is know known to be scientifically meaningless, but now roll back the clock to 1959 : "...John Howard Griffin (1920-1980) was a true Renaissance man. Having fought in the French Resistance and been a solo observer on an island in the South Pacific during World War II, he became a critically-acclaimed novelist and essayist, a remarkable photographer and musicologist, and a dynamic lecturer and teacher. On October 28, 1959, after a decade of blindness and a remarkable and inexplicable recovery, John Howard Griffin dyed himself black and began an odyssey of discovery through the segregated American South. The result was Black Like Me, arguably the single most important documentation of 20th century American racism ever written....Because of Black Like Me, Griffin was personally vilified, hanged in effigy in his hometown, and threatened with death for the rest of his life."
Brown v Board of Education 50 years after a "landmark" decision not a lot seems to have changed in old Milwaukee.Via The Guardian
Third World Transition Program. It's not a relief effort for resettled refugees - it's Brown University's pre-orientation forum "primarily for students of color." Brown President Ruth Simmons will apparently order TWTP to desegregate, but the organization will continue to invite only "students of color" - apparently self-identified from application forms - to participate. According to one student, the admittance of whites to TWTP "would change the level of comfort that's established." Another argued that whites would "compromise the program's integrity and mission." "I can't help laughing when a white person tells me that they understand and experience racism," adds a Brown Daily Herald columnist. But many TWTP alumni are also its harshest critics. "We were given advice on how to 'deal' with a white roommate," writes one student. "It fostered an 'us vs. them' mentality with white students on campus and directly and indirectly encouraged minority students to seek out friendships with students of color before white students arrived on campus." Another reports that him TWTP peers shunned him when he began reaching out to other campus groups because he "found people who I had more in common with than an ethnic background." When TWTP was founded 30 years ago, it certainly served a valuable purpose in a tumultuous and changing social environment. But how do mainstream folks wrest the debate from both the far left and far right, convince the organization that its harm outweighs its good, and urge it to reform itself from within and help unify rather than segregate the student body?