Newspaper Interviews Reggie Jackson, ABHM President and Head Griot

The article, available in both the online and printed publications of the Shepherd Express weekly paper, was written by Willy Thorn in his regular Off The Cuff column. The column features individuals who are doing unusual things in the Greater Milwaukee community. Below are some of  the responses to the questions Willy Thorn posed to ABHM’s Reggie Jackson.

“What is the Black Holocaust?
From the 1500s through the 1880s the Transatlantic Slave Trade brought 12-15 million Africans to the Western Hemisphere. It remains the single biggest trade in human beings in history. Only 3%-5% came to the U.S. About 40% went to Brazil. Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica were big. Africans were also sold in Europe, the Middle East and India.

Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson is a Milwaukee Public School teacher, ABHM Board President, student of history, and protegé of Dr. James Cameron,  founder of ABHM.

How does Milwaukee fit?  Housing, employment and educational discrimination were widespread from the arrival of the first blacks in the 1840s. Restrictive covenants disallowed selling or renting to blacks outside designated areas. A century later, nearly every black person in the city lived between Third and 12th streets, and Juneau and Clarke. Milwaukee’s movement to end housing discrimination spurred a federal Fair Housing Act. Segregation in Milwaukee’s public schools led to a Supreme Court decision in 1976.

How does the Black Holocaust continue?
Unemployment has been at least double that of whites for as long as statistics have been tracked. Blacks are disproportionately arrested for drug crimes, even though whites have higher rates of drug use. Higher poverty, infant mortality and insufficient health care mean shorter life expectancy. Several banks were charged with discriminatory lending during the subprime crisis. And then there are prisons…

What does a virtual museum offer that a physical museum doesn’t?
A much broader audience, for one; 86 different nations have visited already. Our scholars can answer visitor questions directly, personally and extensively. We have user-generated content, too. There is a “Memorial to the Victims of Lynching,” for instance, and users contribute information about victims’ lives. You can also download videos [and] readings, and link to relevant websites.”

Texas judge warns of possible ‘civil war’ if President Obama is re-elected

By Jason Sickles, Yahoo!

As if the negative political ads aren’t enough, now a county judge in Lubbock, Texas, predicts possible “civil war” if President Obama is re-elected.

Judge Tom Head was on a local TV news show making his case for a tax increase, when he said hiring extra sheriff’s deputies would especially be needed if Obama wins in November.

From Lubbock’s Fox 34 News:

“He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens?,” Head asked.

Judge Head w:Rick Perry

County Judge Tom Head, center, with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas in Lubbock in May. Mr. Head has warned of street violence. Photo: Stephen Spillman/Lubbock Avalanche Journal, via Associated Press

“I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.

“Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ’em in Lubbock County. OK. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say ‘you’re not coming in here’.

“And the sheriff, I’ve already asked him, I said ‘you gonna back me’ he said, ‘yeah, I’ll back you’. Well, I don’t want a bunch of rookies back there. I want trained, equipped, seasoned veteran officers to back me.”

To read more and watch the video interview of Judge Head, click here.

Anick & Associates Takes ABHM Under Its Wing

When Jack Anick read in the newspaper that America’s Black Holocaust Museum needed accounting help, he immediately called the article’s author, James Causey, to offer his firm’s services.

Anick, Jack and Linda

Linda and Jack Anick. Linda was quoted in the Business Journal in October 2010 as saying, “I would never go back to the corporate world after working with nonprofits.”Photo: The Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee.

Mr. Anick had been a frequent visitor to ABHM and was dismayed when the museum closed in 2008. He decided to provide his company’s array of services pro bono to support ABHM’s rebirth.

Anick & Associates is an internationally known financial and management service exclusively for non-profit agencies. Located in Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Anick has been serving clients around the USA and in several foreign countries for over thirty years.

ABHM’s Board of Directors is very grateful to Jack Anick and his associates for volunteering the important services they have already begun to provide to the museum.

Read more about Anick & Associates in this Business Journal article.

George Zimmerman Asks For and Gets Third New Judge

By Rene Stutzman and Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel

Second-degree murder suspect George Zimmerman gets a new judge. [Zimmerman is the self-appointed neighborhood watchman accused of killing an unarmed 17 year old black youth, Trayvon Martin, in Sanford, Florida.]

The Fifth District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach on Wednesday ruled that Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. in Sanford went too far when, among other things, he described Zimmerman as a manipulator. It was “admittedly a close call,” wrote Judge C. Alan Lawson, but Lester’s actions, taken in total, would cause a reasonable person to fear that he is biased.


George Zimmerman smiling in court.

The next step is for Circuit Judge Alan Dickey in Sanford to pick a new judge. It’s expected to be Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson, 58, another felony trial judge in Sanford who has a reputation for handing down tough sentences. She’s been a judge for 13 years, much of it on the criminal bench, although she was a civil litigation specialist in private practice.

There will be no appeal, according to Florida’s Office of Attorney General, which had argued in court paperwork that Lester should stay. He was not biased, wrote Assistant Attorney General Pamela Koller. He had merely given Zimmerman a “well-deserved tongue lashing.”

Special Prosecutor Angela Corey’s office, the one in charge of putting Zimmerman on trial, had no comment. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara did not immediately return an email from the Orlando Sentinel. On his law firm’s webpage, he wrote that he expects a new judge to be assigned to the case soon.

Read more background about the judge’s decision here.


Vivien Thomas, the Carpenter Turned Surgical Tech Who Pioneered Modern Heart Surgery


Today is the birthday of Vivien Theodore Thomas (August 29, 1910 – November 26, 1985), the African-American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat blue baby syndrome in the 1940s. He was an assistant to surgeon Alfred Blalock in Blalock’s experimental animal laboratory at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and later at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.


Without any education past high school, Thomas rose above poverty and racism to become a cardiac surgery pioneer and a teacher of operative techniques to many of the country’s most prominent surgeons. Vivien Thomas was the first African American without a doctorate degree to perform open heart surgery on a white patient in the United States.

Vivien Thomas portrait by Bob Gee

Vivien Thomas in an oil portrait by Bob Gee.

There is an excellent television film based on his life entitled Something The Lord Made. It premiered in May 2004 on HBO. Mos Def stars as Thomas. It can be viewed free online through YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix.

Michelle Obama Slave Image: Racist Art?

By Helena Andrews for

Slavery is bad. Hadn’t you heard? The vast majority of African Americans with Southern ancestry are the descendants of slaves. Didn’t you know? And Michelle Obama, the first lady of these United States, is no exception. Were you not familiar with that narrative? If not, the Spanish publication Magazine de Fuera de Serie would like to remind you with a cover of Michelle Obama as a half-naked French slave….

michelle_obama_as French slave

Michelle Obama depicted as a semi-nude French slave on the cover of a Spanish language magazine.

I immediately emailed a friend — an art-history buff — to find out if this monstrosity had any roots in the great masters’ canon because I’m a nerd, and when my black body is being so unabashedly exploited in such a way, I’m positive there’s a white male behind it. Is that racist? Probably so….

Actually, the cover “art” is a very literal interpretation of French artist Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s Portrait d’une négresse, currently on display at the Louvre. At the time of its debut in 1800, six years after slavery was abolished in France, the painting was both revolutionary and typical. It’s often lauded as dealing directly with the intersection of taboo subjects (especially when tackled by a female painter) of race, gender and politics. It’s a radical commentary on both freedom and exploitation.

Then again, the “negress” has no name, no identity beyond her skin color.But that was more than two centuries ago. Painting the first lady as a former French slave swathed just barely in the American flag is not what’s popping in 2012. According to the New York Daily News, the artist behind the magazine cover and other “famous nudes,” Karine Percheron-Daniels, is under the impression that Mrs. Obama will appreciate the hack Photoshop job.

What do you think? Read more here.

Olympian Gabby Douglas: Teammates Called Me a Slave

By Jenée Desmond-Harris for

As if the rigors of intense gymnastics training weren’t stressful enough, Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas says she also dealt with bullying by her teammates so troubling that it almost drove her to quit the sport.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired Sunday on Oprah’s Next Chapter, Gabby told the host that, before she moved to Iowa to work with coach Liang Chow, she felt isolated at her Virginia Beach gym and was even called a “slave” by fellow gymnasts.

Read more here.

On “Women’s Equality Day”, Let’s Remember Black Women Suffragists (Fighters for Women’s Voting Rights)

This day has been designated by Congress to commemorate the ratification, in 1920, of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

African American Women and Suffrage

From the National Women’s History Museum

Many African American women were highly active in the woman suffrage movement. In the antebellum period, like Anglo women, many black women became active abolitionists and supporters of women’s rights….

In the 1880s and 1890s, black women, like their white counterparts, began to form woman’s clubs. Many of these clubs included suffrage as one plank in their broader platform….In addition, black women founded clubs that worked exclusively for woman’s suffrage, such as the Alpha Suffrage Club of Chicago, founded by Ida B. Wells in 1913….

Despite this strong support for woman’s suffrage, black women sometimes faced discrimination within the suffrage movement itself….In the suffrage parade of 1913 organized by Alice Paul’s Congressional Union, black women were asked to march in a segregated unit. Ida B. Wells refused to do so, and slipped into her state’s delegation after the start of the parade.

When the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, it legally enfranchised all women, white and black. However, within a decade, state laws and vigilante practices effectively disenfranchised most black women in the South.

It would take another major movement for voting rights – the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s – before black women in the South would be effectively enfranchised.

Sources of Photo Captions: Wikipedia

Further reading:

President Obama’s proclamation on this day celebrating the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and outlining both our country’s achievements with regards to women’s equality and the gaps still needing to be filled.


Incendiary Anti-Obama Doc ‘2016: Obama’s America’ Shocks Box Office Newbies

By Courtney of Shadow and Act

The box office news that will likely be on everyone’s lips once the weekend is over, is the strength of the performance of incendiary anti-Obama documentary, 2016: Obama’s America, compared to this weekend’s opening titles.


Officially opening this weekend in theaters around the country, this documentary by conservative Dinesh D’Souza, based on his book, has already had box office success.

2016: Obama’s America, which was actually released on July 23rd, but in just 1 theater, expanded this weekend to 1091 theaters, and shocked the industry with an impressive $2.2 million Friday take, which currently places it at the number 3 slot on this weekend’s box office tally thus far, behind The Expendables 2 and The Bourne Legacy, and on about the same pace as ParaNorman.

What’s even more impressive is that it’s beating out 3 new studio films that opened yesterday – Premium RushHit And Run and The Apparition – each lead by *name* talent, but performing weakly, especially Premium Rush, an action-thriller which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a New York City bike courier.

2016: Obama’s America also makes the film this year’s highest grossing documentary, according to THR (excluding nature docs). So if these figures hold through Sunday, 2016: Obama’s America could be in the 3 or 4 slot of top-grossing movies for the weekend, with a cume [cumulative] gross since its opening of close to $9 million.

A description of the film from its website:

George Obama in D'Souza film

In the film clip, D’Souza interviews Barack’s youngest half-brother George Obama.

“2016 Obama’s America takes audiences on a gripping visual journey into the heart of the world’s most powerful office to reveal the struggle of whether one man’s past will redefine America over the next four years. The film examines the question, “If Obama wins a second term, where will we be in 2016?” Across the globe and in America, people in 2008 hungered for a leader who would unite and lift us from economic turmoil and war. True to America’s ideals, they invested their hope in a new kind of president, Barack Obama. What they didn’t know is that Obama is a man with a past, and in powerful ways that past defines him–who he is, how he thinks, and where he intends to take America and the world. Love him or hate him, you don’t know him.”

The film is directed by Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative political commentator, public intellectual and author. He’s been affiliated with a number of top conservative organizations and publications, and served as a policy advisor to President Ronald Reagan. The film is based on his own book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage.

Read more here. Watch a clip from the film in which D’Souza tries to steer Obama’s Kenyan half-brother, George Obama, into criticizing the president here.

Fear of a Black President

By Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic Magazine

As a candidate, Barack Obama said we needed to reckon with race and with America’s original sin, slavery. But as our first black president, he has avoided mention of race almost entirely. In having to be “twice as good” and “half as black,” Obama reveals the false promise and double standard of integration.


The irony of President Barack Obama is best captured in his comments on the death of Trayvon Martin, and the ensuing fray. Obama has pitched his presidency as a monument to moderation.Fear of Black President He peppers his speeches with nods to ideas originally held by conservatives. He routinely cites Ronald Reagan. He effusively praises the enduring wisdom of the American people, and believes that the height of insight lies in the town square. Despite his sloganeering for change and progress, Obama is a conservative revolutionary, and nowhere is his conservative character revealed more than in the very sphere where he holds singular gravity—race.

The irony of Barack Obama is this: he has become the most successful black politician in American history by avoiding the radioactive racial issues of yesteryear, by being “clean” (as Joe Biden once labeled him)—and yet his indelible blackness irradiates everything he touches. This irony is rooted in the greater ironies of the country he leads. For most of American history, our political system was premised on two conflicting facts—one, an oft-stated love of democracy; the other, an undemocratic white supremacy inscribed at every level of government. In warring against that paradox, African Americans have historically been restricted to the realm of protest and agitation. But when President Barack Obama pledged to “get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” he was not protesting or agitating. He was not appealing to federal power—he was employing it. The power was black—and, in certain quarters, was received as such.

No amount of rhetorical moderation could change this. It did not matter that the president addressed himself to “every parent in America.” His insistence that “everybody [pull] together” was irrelevant. It meant nothing that he declined to cast aspersions on the investigating authorities, or to speculate on events. Even the fact that Obama expressed his own connection to Martin in the quietest way imaginable—“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”—would not mollify his opposition. It is, after all, one thing to hear “I am Trayvon Martin” from the usual placard-waving rabble-rousers. Hearing it from the commander of the greatest military machine in human history is another.

Read the rest of this powerful and thoughtful analysis here.