Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson?
- According to the police of Fergusson, Missouri it was because he reached for an officer's weapon, necessitating that he be shot multiple times as he ran away empty handed. Eyewitness tell a different story
. Whatever happened the killing has prompted demonstrations and looting. Ferguson police responded in full force, firing teargas
and wooden rounds
into crowds of protestors and sealing the area off from the media
. In the wake of the tragedy questions of racial profiling
, the paramilitarization of police
and media depictions of black shooting victims
have been raised. Meanwhile the shooter has not been named to preserve his safety
Tomorrow, is the 60th Anniversary
of the Supreme Court's decision
(pdf) in Brown v. Board of Education [more inside]
Franklin McCain, one of the Greensboro Four, has died
. McCain was a freshman at North Carolina A&T College when he, along with fellow students Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr. (later Jibreel Khazan), and David Richmond (who died in 1990), walked into their local Woolworth's on February 1, 1960, and sat down at a whites-only lunch counter
. This spontaneous act of civil disobedience (previously)
sparked what would come to be known as the sit-in movement to dismantle Jim Crow.
The civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery,
as described in the New Yorker by Renata Adler in 1965. [more inside]
Fifty years ago, another bus-centric race dispute took place
. Despite "Just 12 miles away in Bath, black crews were working on buses. London Transport recruitment officers had travelled to Barbados specifically to invite workers to come to the capital" ...non-whites found it impossible to obtain employment working on buses in Bristol, England. [more inside]
Images of a People's Movement
- more than 18 pages of photos and dozens of first-hand narratives, interviews & recollections
of the 1951-1968 Southern Freedom Movement by the Civil Rights Movement Veterans
. (These are just samplings - it's a deep and rich site.) [more inside]
In December 1964, Frank Morris' shoe shop was set ablaze in the middle of the night. Still inside at the time, Morris was severely injured; he died four days later at a nearby hospital in Ferriday, La. Like many Southern crimes against blacks in the 1960s — an era of racial strife dominated by criminal activities by the Ku Klux Klan — the incident went unsolved, despite an FBI investigation at the time.
A vast amount of research and investigation by the Civil Rights Cold Case Project (especially Stanley Nelson on this case) is described in gripping detail in the documentary David Ridgen brings us here called Murder at The Shoe Shop
(MP3 download link). [more inside]
NOW WE CAN TRAVEL WITHOUT EMBARRASSMENT
was the advertising slogan used by the publisher of
The Negro Motorist Green Book
, a vital resource
for African-American travelers in a period when sundown towns (previously
) were still common. This slim volume
was published annually until 1964
for the benefit of black motorists
where they could sleep, eat, or purchase fuel.
Cairo, Illinois is mostly abandoned.
It was once a thriving city of 15,000, but the Mississippi barges don't stop there anymore, and racial turmoil,
including a three-year boycott of white-owned businesses
that refused to hire black workers, killed the town's economy. The Cairo Project
, from Southern Illinois University, is a good overview of Cairo's history and its current situation.
Can punk label Plan-it-X
start a rebirth by moving to Cairo
and opening a coffeeshop
? If it helps, there's still good barbecue
"I couldn't let these Klansmen get away with murder..." Investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell has started a blog
focusing on cold case murders
of civil rights workers. In this Moth Podcast
, Mitchell discusses some of his investigations, the death threats he received, and the stunning redemption and forgiveness he witnessed. For his work Mitchell
was recently awarded
a MacArthur "Genius
" grant. [more inside]
Many of us have seen or read The Wave
, but how many of us have seen A Class Divided?
It depicts one third-grade teacher's
attempts to teach Midwestern children about the civil rights movement, many of whom had never met a black person before. As part of a daring experiment, she split the class between brown-eyed children and blue-eyed children, and gave the "browneyes" special privileges. The children were told, in no uncertain terms, that the "blueyes" were inferior. What followed was a lesson in discrimination that the kids would remember for the rest of their lives.
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]
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...
Claiborne Paul Ellis, union organiser, born January 8 1927; died November 3 2005.
He was Studs Terkel's favorite interviewee
, and a former Exalted Grand Cyclops of the KKK
. In 1971, he co-chaired a 10-day discussion group on school desegregation
with Ann Atwater, a local civil rights activist who had once tried to stab him with a pocket knife
during a city council meeting. Over the course of those ten days, the two former antagonists formed an unlikely bond
. Their friendship became the subject of a prize-winning book
, and a subsequent documentary film
. (The "Curriculum and Video Guide" .pdf on the film web site is also interesting. Direct link to .pdf
Only in 1967 did Loving v. Virginia
overturn vigorously-enforced laws against interracial marriage in these 15 states--Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Only in 1964 did the Civil Rights Act
overturn laws against equal access to voting, public accommodation, and public education. Only in 1963 did the Equal Pay Act
mandate that men and women be paid the same wage for the same work at the same job.
isn't a superhighway, leading us in straight lines toward utopia. We fall back
and we move forward
, but over the past fifty years, the United States has become considerably more inclusive and equality of access to opportunity has widened. Take a look at this article
from the Atlantic Monthly
in 1956--1956!--if you don't believe me.
The May 1970 Tragedy at Jackson State University: "Lest We Forget..."
'In the Spring of 1970, campus communities across this country were characterized by a chorus of protests and demonstrations. The issues were the escalation of the war in Vietnam and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia; the ecology; racism and repression; and the inclusion of the experiences of women and minorities in the educational system. No institution of higher education was left untouched by confrontations and continuous calls for change. '
'At Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi, there was the added issue of historical racial intimidation and harassment by white motorists traveling Lynch Street, a major thoroughfare that divided the campus and linked west Jackson to downtown ... '
I See the Promised Land
"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord"---MLKing Jr.