George Zimmerman Cites Massive Weight Gain in Reason to Postpone Trial

By Jamilah King, Colorlines.com

George Zimmerman has gained 105 pounds in the year since he shot Trayvon Martin.

George Zimmerman (R) arrives with his lead counsel, Mark O’Mara for a hearing in Seminole circuit court February 5, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. (Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)

George Zimmerman (R) arrives with his lead counsel, Mark O’Mara for a hearing in Seminole circuit court February 5, 2013 in Sanford, Florida. (Photo by Joe Burbank-Pool/Getty Images)

His lawyers are citing his weight gain as a sign of his emotional distress and mental state in their effort to postpone his criminal trial, which is set to start in June.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Zimmerman is currently free on $1 million bail, awaiting trial on a charge of second-degree murder. He has said he killed the teenager in self-defense after Trayvon knocked him to the ground with a punch that broke his nose then began pounding his head on the sidewalk.

Before his arrest, according to the website, Zimmerman lived out of state in a mobile home, but a judge ordered his return to Seminole County, and that has been more expensive. For a time, Zimmerman and his wife lived in series of hotels. In September, they found a home with more reasonable rent, the website said.

Neither Zimmerman nor his wife has jobs, O’Mara said. George Zimmerman spends all day thinking about the second-degree murder case against him and has gained 105 pounds, the attorney said.

Zimmerman has raised more than $300,000 in private donations in the year since Trayvon Martin’s death, but he apparently only has $5,000 left. He and his wife have had to move frequently and pay for a private security detail.

Read the full article here.

Read more Breaking News here.

A baby, the N word and a slap for Jonah Bennett

By Leonard Pitts, Miami Herald

So now, Jonah has received a lesson in How Things Are. He is 19 months old.

Sitting on his mother’s lap on a recent Delta Airlines flight on approach to Atlanta, he was doing what babies tend to do on airplanes, particularly airplanes that are changing altitude. He was crying his little head off.

Shut that “nigger baby” up.

“The first kick I took was when I hit the ground.” Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.” (Photo by Purestock)

“The first kick I took was when I hit the ground.” Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.” (Photo by Purestock)

Those were the alleged words of the alleged man in the next seat just before he allegedly slapped the baby with an open palm, leaving a scratch below his right eye. The alleged man, 60-year-old Joe Rickey Hundley of Hayden, Idaho, denies this sequence of events and pleaded not guilty last week to a charge of simple assault. But at least one witness corroborates the story, as told by Jonah’s mother, 33-year-old Jessica Bennett. She and her husband are white. Their adopted son is African American.

Hundley’s attorney, Marcia Shein, promises her client is no racist. In so doing, she embraces the cognitive dissonance which so often afflicts Americans when they are confronted with the ponderous idiocy of tribal hatred….

We are rightfully outraged that someone would call a baby by a racial slur and then strike him.

"We tend to forget that not every slap is physical — nor is every injury they inflict. There is violence and there is violence — emotional, verbal, intellectual, monetary...," writes Leonard Pitts

“We tend to forget that not every slap is physical — nor is every injury they inflict. There is violence and there is violence — emotional, verbal, intellectual, monetary…,” writes Leonard Pitts

But it is a matter of statistical fact that Jonah, from the moment he was born, stood an excellent chance of being struck in other ways. Of being failed by his school. Of being steered into the criminal injustice system as if prison was his natural habitat. Of being denied housing. Of being denied healthcare. Of being denied loans. Of being denied work. Of being denied his very individuality. There is also an excellent chance — indeed, a virtual certainty — most of us will respond to this with a collective shrug, assuming we see it at all; such things tend to become socio-cultural wallpaper when they are not happening to you.

Read the full article here.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

 

Remembering Trayvon Martin on the First Anniversary of His Death

In a culture that inundates us with images of Black men as criminal, we are continually reminded that something as simple as walking home from the corner store can draw unwanted attention that puts our very lives in danger. Black Americans face racial animosity every day, and far too often that animosity turns violent.

As we mourn the loss of Trayvon Martin one year after his tragic, avoidable death, we must also acknowledge that if it weren’t for the hundreds of thousands of you who spoke up to demand basic dignity and justice, Trayvon’s case would have been ignored — and his killer George Zimmerman would have gone free. Please watch this powerful video about the campaign to demand justice for Trayvon, and inspire others to join the fight for racial justice by sharing with friends and family.

TAKE ACTION!

Happy Birthday, ABHM!

Today America’s Black Holocaust Museum celebrates its first year as a successful virtual museum!

Here are some vital annual statistics:

Sometimes you just have to go out on a limb and try something!

Sometimes you just have to go out on a limb and try something! (Boys on a Tree, courtesy of artist Jennifer Scott)

Some of the comments about ABHM left on the website:

CB_The_Gift-349x350

The Gift, by Charles Bibbs.

In the upcoming year, look for:

  • A museum store
  • Curriculum resources for teachers
  • Student-curated exhibits (vetted by our Editorial Board, of course)
  • More exhibits in each gallery
  • A new gallery: Reconstruction
  • More work by fine artists
  • and just maybe…depending on funding…a computer game!

Click on the RSS button below to receive notifications on new exhibits and Breaking News as they are mounted.

We hope you’ll come back often – and bring your children and your friends.

Thanks for visiting and making our first year a success!

What Is The Black Holocaust?

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Definitions

The word “holocaust” is defined as “destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, especially that caused by fire.”1 A holocaust is usually a series of atrocities organized by one social group against another.

In the last hundred years, the world has witnessed many such atrocities: for example,  the Armenian Holocaust, the Cambodian Killing Fields, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Genocide in Darfur.

Usually, in America, when we sayThe Holocaust,” we mean the systematic mass murder of European Jews by the Nazis from 1941 to 1945.

Similarities Between the Jewish and the Black Holocausts

The four hundred-year history of captured Africans and their descendants has many similarities with the Holocaust experiences of European Jews – and other victims of mass atrocities.

These include:

Dr. James Cameron founded this museum after he visited Yad VaShem, the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, Israel. He saw the many similarities between the experiences of the Jewish people and African Americans.

When he named this museum, it was because of those similarities. He also admired how Jewish people value their history and educate themselves and others about it. Dr. Cameron saw how this gave the Jewish people strength and wanted the same for his people.

Cameron wanted visitors to understand this: The Black Holocaust began hundreds of years ago, but its effects – and even some of its practices – continue today.2

There at the Start

The Black Holocaust in America began in the 1600s in the first settlements in Virginia. That colony passed laws making black people – and only black people – slaves for life.

Slavery and segregation have since become illegal, but the Black Holocaust has had far-reaching effects on our entire society and on generations of our citizens – black and nonblack.

Some Facts about the Black Holocaust:

Holocaust Memorials and Museums

Today there are many museums that help people understand and cope with various holocausts around the world. America’s Black Holocaust Museum is one of these.

 

Endnotes:

1http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/holocaust

2See Breaking News

3See Estimates from Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

4Africans in America, Part I. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1narr4.html

5American Abolitionist, Indiana University

6American History

7Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

8Slavery By Another Name: The Film

9What Was Jim Crow?

10White Flight

11WealthGaps Rise to Record Highs

Lil Wayne, Emmett Till Backlash: Rapper Faces Scrutiny Over Rap Lyric

From the Huffington Post, Black Voices

[T]he Grammy Award-winner is making headlines once again for his cameo on Future’s recently leaked track titled, “Karate Chop.”

Recording artist Lil Wayne (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Recording artist Lil Wayne (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The song which is set to appear this weekend on DJ Smallz’s upcoming mixtape “This Is That Southern Smoke Vol. 4,” finds the New Orleans native making an explicit reference to “beating” a woman’s genitals in a manner similar to the beating Emmett Till took at the hands of Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam.

On August 28, 1955 Till was kidnapped from his great-uncle’s home and taken to a barn. Bryant and Milam beat, tortured and killed Till, throwing his body, attached by barbed wire at the neck to the fan of a cotton gin, into the Tallahatchie River.

Till’s killing, and the subsequent acquittal of Bryant and Milam sparked outrage across the country and is widely viewed as a tipping for the civil rights movement.

Emmett Till & his mother

Emmett Till & his mother Mamie Till Bradley in Chicago about eight months before he was murdered.

Considering this history, the controversial lyric has since received a tremendous amount of backlash from many including Till’s family….

“I just couldn’t understand how you could compare the gateway of life to brutality and punishment of death,” she continued. And I feel that they don’t have no pride and no dignity as black men. Our family was very, very offended. Very hurt, disturbed by it.“

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Future’s label, Epic Records, confirmed that the current version of “Karate Chop” circulating online leaked without the company’s authorization and added that the official version “has removed those lyrics from that song.”

To listen to a Till relative’s conversation with Dr. Boyce Watkins about the family’s objections, click here.

To read more Breaking News, click here.

Film ‘Lincoln’ inspires Mississippi to officially ban slavery

By Sarah Muller, The Last Word with

Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC.com

The Oscar-nominated film Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field

A scene from Steven Spielberg's film, "Lincoln" (2012)

A scene from Steven Spielberg’s film, “Lincoln” (2012)

details the political maneuvering behind the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery. But a century and a half after President Abraham Lincoln’s death, Lincoln is still fighting to end slavery.

In 1865, the 13th Amendment was ratified, but not all states made it official; Mississippi got around to ratifying it on Feb. 7th of this year–148 years later–thanks to the help of two concerned men who saw the Steven Spielberg movie.

After watching the film, Dr. Ranjan Batra of the University of Mississippi became inspired to do some research and discovered online that after the Civil War, four states rejected the 13th Amendment, including his home state. Dr. Batra teamed up with his colleague, Ken Sullivan, and the team both helped the state correct this chapter in history.

Dr. Batra explained on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell that his role was to find the right person to do the work. “[Ken] had the connections and his father knew someone who had actually written the bill for ratification in Mississippi and he knew exactly where to find it. All ken had to do was pick up the copy of the bill.”

They brought the error to the attention of Mississippi’s current secretary of state, Delbert Hoseman, who agreed to send the resolution to the federal government.

Read more and see video of the two doctors explaining the actions they took, here.

Read more Breaking News here.

Exonerating the Scottsboro Nine

From the New York Times

International Labor Defense leaflet announcing demonstration, parade, and rally in  Chicago for the Scottsboro Boys.

International Labor Defense leaflet announcing demonstration, parade, and rally in
Chicago for the Scottsboro Boys.

Decades too late, the Alabama Legislature is moving to grant posthumous pardons to the Scottsboro Boys — the nine black teenagers arrested as freight train hoboes in 1931 and convicted by all-white juries of raping two white women.

The trials were feverish displays of American racism and injustice that stirred a lynch mob outside the Scottsboro jail. The travesty drew worldwide attention and eventually resulted in landmark Supreme Court rulings on the right to adequate counsel and prohibiting the exclusion of black people from juries. The case consumed the lives of the nine men, even after the rape accusation was recanted by one of the women and the testimony of other witnesses fell apart in a series of retrials and appeals. All but one defendant were sentenced to death, and though none was executed, all served time.

"The Scottsboro Boys" meet with their attorney Samuel Leibowitz.

“The Scottsboro Boys” meet with their attorney Samuel Leibowitz.

The trials epitomized the South’s Jim Crow culture and are viewed by historians as a major spark for the modern civil rights era. Gov. George Wallace of Alabama, in a populist gambit for national attention, made a show of pardoning one of the Scottsboro nine in 1976. But the fate of the others was left to drift from sight across the years, with the last of the group dying in 1989.

This week, the State Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bipartisan bill that would change state law to allow the posthumous pardons. A second measure exonerates the nine as “victims of a series of gross injustice.” Final enactment is expected. This will not in any way deliver full justice to those men and their families. But it will confirm what happened in Scottsboro eight decades ago, when street mobs cheered the rapid-fire guilty verdicts.

And the pardons will put a spotlight on the town’s newest tourist attraction, the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center.

Read more about this famous case here.

Read more Breaking News here.

Abolitionists Rescue Fugitive Slave from Boston Courtroom

From the African American Registry

On this date 1851, Black [and white] abolitionists broke into a Boston courthouse and rescued Shadrach Minkins, a fugitive slave.

Advertisement of sheriff’s sale of Shadrach Minkins, 1849 Courtesy Gary Collison

Advertisement of sheriff’s sale of Shadrach Minkins, 1849
Courtesy Gary Collison

Born in Norfolk in 1800, Minkins was affected by the Nat Turner rebellion and the death of his owners Thomas and Ann Glenn.

Minkins escaped north to Boston Massachusetts in 1850. A year later working as a waiter serving breakfast at a coffeehouse in Boston history caught up with him. Arrested, he was the first runaway to be detained in New England under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. Minkins became a catalyst of one of the most dramatic episodes of rebellion and legal wrangling before the Civil War.

Attorney Robert Morris (1823–1882)  Recently admitted to the practice of law, Robert Morris served as one of the attorneys representing Shadrach Minkins. Morris was accused of opening the courtroom door to admit Shadrach’s rescuers and charged with treason for his action. After a jury trial, he was acquitted. Courtesy of the Social Law Library, Boston

Attorney Robert Morris
(1823–1882)
Recently admitted to the practice of law, Robert Morris served as one of the attorneys representing Shadrach Minkins. Morris was accused of opening the courtroom door to admit Shadrach’s rescuers and charged with treason for his action. After a jury trial, he was acquitted.
Courtesy of the Social Law Library, Boston

After his daring courthouse rescue he escaped to Canada and with other African American expatriates in Montreal created the city’s first Black community. Minkins died in 1875, without a country but a free man.

Read more about this incident and what happened to the abolitionist rescuers, here.

Read more Breaking News here.

Descendants of Lynching Victim and Lynching Perpetrator to Meet in Public Dialog

On Friday evening, February 15, ABHM Scholar-Griot Stephanie Harp, great-granddaughter of a deputy sheriff involved in the lynching of John Carter, will present a public program about the lynching with George Fulton, John Carter’s great-grandson.

John Carter lynched w:policeman

The body of John Carter, hanging from a telephone pole, with a peace officer in the foreground.

The program will take place at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, 9th and Broadway, Little Rock, Arkansas, at 5:30pm.

The public will learn about the history of lynching and the many different ways this particular event was reported in the news and remembered in the community. They will see clips from Fulton’s documentary film in progress and hear personal stories from relatives of John Carter, Lonnie Dixon, Floella McDonald, and a deputy sheriff who was present that day.

After the presentation, there will be a community conversation, led by Dr. John Kirk, Chair of the History Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, Associate Professor of History at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Stephanie Harp and George Fulton are working together in joint pursuit of racial healing and truth telling. They have begun an occasional newsletter about his film making and her writing. You may subscribe by signing up here. You also may wish to Like or Follow Inheritance on Facebook and Twitter, where Stephanie will be adding updates about this project and related topics.

Read more Breaking News here.