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When the past is present…

“…The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.” James Baldwin

 

When Jack Daniel’s Failed to Honor a Slave, an Author Rewrote History

By: CLAY RISEN nytimes.com

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Help Me Find the Lie: DNC Leader Keith Ellison Calls GOP ‘The Party of Racism’

Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File

In today’s water-is-wet news, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)—arguably one of the realest to ever do it—told guests gathered at Netroots Nation conference Friday that the “Republican Party today is the party of racism” and former president Abraham Lincoln wouldn’t kick it with these racists.

“You hear Republicans say, ‘We’re the party of Lincoln.’ He wouldn’t recognize these people,” the Democratic National Committee deputy chairman said, CNN reports. “The fact is that the Republican Party today is the party of racism….

Ellison’s told his truth during a panel discussion at Netroots Nation, an annual conference of Internet savvy political activists….

Ellison argued that while the Democratic Party has its faults it was still the best option for people of color who are interested in changing the nation.

Credit: 123RF.com

“I’m going be with the people who are most likely to win and have policies that are saying we do believe America is a nation of immigrants, we are against racism, we believe in civil rights and we do believe that there ought to be a right to organize and we need to address climate,” he said, adding, “You’re not going to have perfection.”

 

 

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BLM: Charlottesville Is A Confirmation Of The Violence Black People Endure

By Lilly Workneh, huffingtonpost.com

Black Lives Matter leaders are all too familiar with the racism that breeds in America, leading many within the organization to see the hate expressed by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday as no surprise.

“The white supremacist violence we are witnessing in Charlottesville is not new,” the social justice organization wrote in a statement published to its Facebook page on Saturday. “Instead it is constant, ever-evolving and a staple of American culture and society.”…

Saturday’s demonstration saw hundreds of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and KKK members marching through Charlottesville’s streets chanting out phrases in support of white power. The march was initially organized out of protest over the removal of a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert Lee. Violence quickly erupted as marchers met with counter-protesters and police in riot gear, leaving 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer dead and 19 others injured.

“In the face of hatred and vitriol from the Ku Klux Klan and white nationalists, we support the people of Charlottesville who are advocating against fascism and antiBlack racism,” BLM’s statement read….

Steve Helber/AP

“We live in a world where black people are targeted for death and destruction; and in a country where there are hundreds of statues and monuments … dedicated to the confederacy, we cannot be surprised when moments such as these happen,” the statement says. “Charlottesville is a confirmation of the violence that black people must endure from day to day.”…

“We call on everyone to pay attention to the ways white supremacy manifests in our workplaces, our schools, and our homes,” the statement read. “We stand with the people of Charlottesville who are fighting for a world in which the inherent humanity of all people is honored.”

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Black Unemployment Hits Historic Low. Should Trump Get Credit or Are We Getting Played?

By Jason Johnson, TheRoot.com

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

One thing that happens in a new relationship is that you start getting confused about who gets credit for what….

When it comes to politics, unlike relationships, cause and effect aren’t so clear. Did 9/11 happen because President George W. Bush screwed up or because President Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance? Did President Barack Obama have a weak economic recovery, or did Bush run out the back door, leaving him a dumpster fire?

Now that America is in a new relationship with a married man, President Donald Trump (it’s not his first time), we are again trying to figure out who deserves credit for what. African-American unemployment numbers are historically low in Trump’s first few months in office, but is that because Obama’s economy is still humming along, or did Trump somehow accidentally, not on purpose, manage to do something good for black America? The numbers suggest that it might be a little bit of both.

Starting this spring into the summer, African-American unemployment under Trump dropped to the lowest levels in almost 20 years. As of the end of July, the black-vs.-white employment gap is the smallest it’s been since April 2000, back when “Say My Name” was a new song, Dave Chappelle was just a skinny kid “Killing Them Softly,” and BlackPlanet.com was peak social media. Mind you, the 7.4 percent black unemployment rate is still higher than the 3.8 percent white unemployment rate, but considering how bad things were throughout most of the Great Recession, this is good news….

So does this mean that campaign-trail Trump was right all along? Black folks had nothing to lose by voting for him? That Trump, with the help of Ben Carson and Omarosa, is saving African Americans from devastation and despair? Can Donald Trump really take credit for all this magical economic change occurring around the nation for black folks?

Not really.

Trump taking credit for this economy is akin to a man bragging that his mediocre back rubs loosened up your shoulders, when your ex taught you yoga, was certified in Reiki and worked at Massage Envy. Trump isn’t necessarily screwing anything up, but this situation was already popping long before he showed up.

African-American unemployment was at 7.7 percent when Obama left office in January, a downward trend that had been moving along for the better part of 2016. Most economists would argue that no president really “owns” the economy until a good 12-18 months into his (or her) first term. Prior to that, you’re just managing what the last person left you….

The fact that Trump is attempting to take credit for an Obama economy that he trashed just a few months ago should come as no surprise to anyone who’s watched this man’s behavior over the last two years. Trump will continue to show up to black America, claiming that we’ve never had it this good, at least as long as it suits him. Eventually the Obama effect is going to wear off, and Trump will have to stand on his own economic relationship with black America. Which will make it abundantly clear, as if we didn’t already know, that Trump’s stimulus package for black America will be found lacking.

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Woman Who Is Disabled Shocked To Find No Prostheses In Her Skin Tone

By Elyse Wanshel, HuffPost Black Voices

A woman in Canada who recently had her left leg amputated is having a difficult time accepting her new body.

Rahab Wanjau, 30, was born with a deformity on her left tibia (or shinbone). She told HuffPost that after five painful surgeries, which left her relying on crutches most of her life, doctors recommended she have her leg amputated.

Rahab Wanjau

In June, she had it removed at Regina General Hospital in Regina, Saskatchewan. After her surgery, Wanjau went to Regina’s Wascana Rehabilitation Center to pick up a prosthetic leg and foot shell, or a cosmetic covering for a prosthetic foot.

She was shocked and disheartened to discover she only had two color options for a foot shell: one shade was way too light and another was too dark.

Wanjau said when she asked her prosthetist if she could customize the color, she was told she would have to pay out of pocket for it.

“We have lots of color options when buying house paints, models of cars and makeup foundations,” Wanjau told HuffPost. “It would be great if I can pick a foot shell in my skin tone.”

Out of frustration, Wanjau contacted Ottobock, the company that manufactures the foot, and learned that because of the prosthesis’s material, only the company or an outside professional could permanently change the color. This too would have to be paid for out of pocket.

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‘Little Miss Flint’ Helps 1,000 Local Students Get New School Supplies

By Philip Lewis, huffingtonpost.com

LOUI LULU BREZZELL

“I’m a Flint kid that wants to help all the other Flint kids.”…

Amariyanna “Mari” Copeny is probably the busiest 10-year-old we know.

Mari, also known as Little Miss Flint, partnered with the nonprofit organization Pack Your Back on Sunday for a school supply distribution in her hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Students within the city of Flint, which still faces long-term public health issues due to its ongoing water crisis, have a serious need for school supplies. So Mari stepped up to the plate.

“I wanted to make sure kids got the best start possible to the school year and for their parents to not have to worry about having to buy supplies,” Mari told HuffPost….

This is the second major school supply distribution for Pack Your Back, the nonprofit founded by Galen Miller and several other students at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. They visited Flint during the water crisis and decided to do something.

“We saw the need that was in the city at the time during the water crisis for water, but we also saw how it was having an impact on students,” Miller, who serves as the executive director of Pack Your Back, told HuffPost….

LOUI BREZZELL

Pack Your Back has started to expand to other areas of Michigan, with an upcoming school supply drive in Detroit.

And Mari, who attended the People’s Climate March back in April, is simply doing her part to make sure other kids in Flint aren’t going back to school without help.

“I’m a Flint kid that wants to help all the other Flint kids,” she said.

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Hey, Jeff Sessions: Remember When 6,000 White Americans Went on Strike to Keep 8 Black People From Getting Promoted?

By: Jason Johnson theroot.com

A soldier stands guard with an automatic rifle at the carbarn at 49th Street and Woodland Avenue in Philadelphia on Aug. 6, 1944. Troops were stationed on all transit lines today as service was resumed on many lines. (AP Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past month, the Trump administration has been rolling out “theme weeks” as if America were one big dysfunctional high school and the homecoming game will fix everything.

In July there was Made in America Week to highlight business; American Heroes Week highlighted the military; and to kick off August, the administration launched “White Pride” Week to highlight the plight of the oppressed white American male….

This overtly hostile aggression from the federal government against black education, employment and lives is the perfect run-up to today’s critical racial anniversary.

On Monday, Aug. 7, 1944, the Philadelphia transit strike—one of the most costly, violent and important battles for African-American rights in the last century—ended. The story of black struggle against brutal, self-destructive white hatred is a perfect reminder of just how far back in history the Trump administration wants to take us.

During World War II, Philadelphia was one of the most important supply cities for the Allied efforts….

All of this was made possible by the Philadelphia Transit Co.’s 11,000 employees, who managed trains, trollies and buses for almost 600,000 commuters in the City of Brotherly Love everyday….

In May 1943, however, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order No. 9346, which empowered the Fair Employment and Practices Commission to force companies with federal contracts to train, hire and promote African-Americans equally.

As the law began to trickle down to various cities across the country, the PTC was told by the federal government that it would have to start hiring and promoting black workers…

The company’s solution was to promote eight black men to bus and trolley drivers….

In January 1944, over 1,700 white employees signed a petition stating, “We, the white employees of the Philadelphia Transit Corporation, refuse to work with Negroes as motormen, operators, and station trainmen.”

Pup tents house troops in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park after their arrival Aug. 5, 1944, to act in the city’s critical transportation strike. Later in the day, the strike leaders requested that all strikers return to their jobs in compliance with an Army ultimatum. (AP Images)

When, after months of negotiations and insistence by the NAACP, the black workers were slated to begin training as drivers that August, white workers went on strike Tuesday, Aug. 1, 1944.

Despite being in violation of their union contract, as well as of federal law, the four white ringleaders of the strike said that nobody was getting back to work until the eight black rail workers were demoted.

James McMenamin, the leader of the strike,…was fired and charged with violating federal labor laws but got off a year later when a jury found the evidence against him “inconclusive.”

There is a context to the pettiness of this strike that can’t be overlooked in our current political environment. The United States was in the midst of a war against Nazis, and transit employees were crucial to keeping troops equipped for that war, but keeping black men from getting promoted was more important than fighting the Nazi threat.

Millions of pounds of munitions were lost that week, and the man hours lost amounted to the loss of five naval destroyers….

It is also estimated that thousands of American lives may have been lost in the European theater of World War II because of the strike. But that didn’t matter, because stopping a few black guys was more important to a large swath of working-class white America.

It’s important to remember that while all of this occurred 73 years ago, with a stroke of a pen, a tweet and a few white nationalists at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the Trump administration wants to return America to those days of white grievance, violence and discrimination, no matter what legitimate challenges our nation faces.

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Find out more here about this 100-year period of discrimination, segregation, and anti-black violence (known as the “Jim Crow Era” and “The Nadir of Race Relations”).

 

Don’t Go to Mo.,… NAACP Issues Travel Advisory

By: Monique Judge theroot.com

Credit:seeklogo.com

The state of Missouri has earned the dubious distinction of being the first-ever state to have a travel advisory issued against it by the NAACP, the warning issued because of a recent string of both directly and indirectly state-sanctioned racist and discriminatory incidents….

State NAACP leaders told the Star that the decision to issue the advisory was made after recent legislation passed in the state that makes it harder to win discrimination suits; the longtime and continued racial disparities in traffic enforcement; and a number of incidents that exemplify harm coming to both minority residents and minority visitors to the state….

 

“You have violations of civil rights that are happening to people. They’re being pulled over because of their skin color, they’re being beaten up or killed,” Chapel added. “We are hearing complaints at a rate we haven’t heard before.”

According to the Star, national delegates from the NAACP voted to adopt the advisory, and the national board will ratify it in October.

“The advisory is for people to be aware, and warn their families and friends and co-workers of what could happen in Missouri,” Chapel said. “People need to be ready, whether it’s bringing bail money with them or letting relatives know they are traveling through the state.”

 

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Amazon Is Developing An Alt-History Show Called ‘Black America’

By Zeba Blay, HuffPost Black Voices

Paras Griffin via Getty Images

Will Packer, the man behind the hit comedy “Girls Trip,” is bringing a new show to Amazon that might give HBO a run for its money.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Packer is teaming up “Boondocks” creator Aaron McGruder on “Black America,” a drama set in an alternate history in which freed African American slaves have been given control of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as reparations following the Civil War.

Set in the present-day, the show will imagine a sovereign African-American nation called “New Colonia,” rapidly emerging as one of the leading industrialized nations in the world.

The announcement of “Black America” comes just days after HBO sparked controversy with the announcement of its own alternate history drama, “Confederate,” from the creators of “Game of Thrones,” which is set in an alternate reality in which the South had won the Civil War and slavery remains in present day.

Read the full article and reactions to the show’s announcement here.

Read about the importance of Black-owned, Black-run media here.

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These Profound Photos Masterfully Turn Racial Stereotypes On Their Head

By Lilly Workneh, huffingtonpost.com

CHRIS BUCK/O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE

A powerful new photo essay reexamines our relationship with race….

“Let’s Talk About Race” is a powerful photo essay published in the latest issue of O, The Oprah Magazine that challenges the ways we view race in a masterful way.

The magazine’s editor-in-chief Lucy Kaylin, who oversaw all production of the publication’s “Race Issue,” commissioned photographer Chris Buck to help bring Oprah’s vision for the feature to life. Each of the three photos in the essay shows women or girls of color in a role reversal from the ways in which they are stereotypically seen ― or not seen ― compared to white women or girls.

One image shows several East Asian women at a nail salon being pampered by white female beauticians. Another shows a young white girl at a toy store standing before a row of shelves stocked only with black dolls, and the last image shows a posh Hispanic woman on the phone as her white maid tends to her….

The pictures are indeed eye-opening, and force us to reexamine damaging stereotypes and explore how race, class and power can intersect. (The terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” refer to ethnicity, and those of Latin American heritage can belong to any race.) The opposing realities captured in the images also call into question the ways in which women of color are often portrayed….

“I knew that there was a vision to raise questions [about race] without being heavy-handed or mean-spirited,” he added. “That’s the way in which I approached the execution and helped them to create the images.”

CHRIS BUCK/O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE

However, Buck, who is a white man, acknowledged that producing the photos led him to interrogate his own relationship with race, and that the images can mean many things to many people. But he says the photos, at their core, serve as means to help spark a healthy discussion around race and the ways we perceive it.

“For white people like me, we need to understand just because we’re talking about race doesn’t mean fingers are being pointed at us,” he said. “To me what’s great is that it’s made conversation. I want people of color and white people to be able to have a dialogue. I don’t want white people to feel like they’re being talked at or black people to feel like they’re being shut down either.”

“All parties need to feel welcome at the table in this discussion,” he added, “that’s how we move forward and to me, at their best, that’s what these pictures can do.”

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