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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

 

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.

Read the full article here.

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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.

Read the full story here.

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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.

Read full article here.

Read more Breaking News here.

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.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

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.”

Read the full article here.

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Inside the New Partnership Between Airbnb and the NAACP

By: Brentin Mock city lab.com

The NAACP would like to see more African Americans participating in the Airbnb rental market—is that a good thing?

In 2012, the NAACP lamented in its Opportunity and Diversity Report Card on the hotel industry that “African Americans are … less likely to own, run, or provide goods and services to a lodging property, or be represented on the governing bodies of these corporations.”

Today, a partnership inked between Airbnb and the NAACP seems like a chance to reverse those racial misfortunes. While Airbnb doesn’t turn people into traditional hoteliers, it allows homeowners to run their homes like hotels….

Under the new joint venture, local NAACP chapters will launch grassroots outreach campaigns to educate African-Americans about how to become Airbnb hosts. For every new host that the NAACP brings in, Airbnb will share 20 percent of its revenue from those newcomers with the civil rights organization. The NAACP will also help diversify Airbnb’s company staff and contract supplier base….

The announcement and its rationale raise some questions and concerns. For one, the fact that Airbnb is growing fastest in black communities is not universally seen as a good thing. It’s definitely not viewed that way by many fair housing activists who have been criticizing Airbnb for years, accusing the company of helping reduce potential affordable housing supply. Other activists have accused Airbnb of accelerating gentrification.

But according to NAACP interim president Derrick Johnson, Airbnb actually shields black communities from gentrification….

This is true if you are a homeowner. The most seductive part of Airbnb is the fact that you can turn your home not just into a side-hustle, but a genuine wealth generator. Renting your home through Airbnb for just a few days could be enough to cover one’s mortgage and then some, freeing up day-job income for other investments and luxuries….

“Even if some African-American homeowners and property owners are able to increase their income through Airbnb, it’s not clear that increased access to home sharing through online platforms will counteract the negative effects of inflated home prices.”says Cashauna Hill, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center….

“In New Orleans, the neighborhoods most likely to attract new hosts are the neighborhoods on the edge of gentrification.”

In Johnson’s view, “There are pros and cons to the question of housing development, and always will be. For us, the reason why we see the value of this partnership is because it allows more African-Americans to participate and not lose their homes….

Then there’s a separate concern: Reports of Airbnb hosts discriminating against people of color by refusing to rent to them….

Johnson said this is also what brought Airbnb to NAACP’s table. He explains that one of the top drivers of the racial wealth gap is African-Americans losing their homes and properties, and that alone justifies the Airbnb partnership.

Says Johnson, “What we’ve seen over time are economic gaps increasing between the richest 1 percent and the 99 percent, but for African-Americans it’s even more accelerated. The number one cause for that acceleration is the loss of value in [African-American] homes. We see this as a way to stop that trend and allow individuals to appreciate a growth market around the asset that they currently have. We’re trying to stop the bleeding and that massive loss of wealth in the black community.”

 

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Read more about NAACP here.

 

 

NAACP -On The Road To Change Part 1 – Civil Rights Organization Evolving To Tackle Modern Challenges

By: HOUSTON aframnews.com

HOUSTON- As African-Americans face evolving issues that are reshaping our community and futures, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) contends it is still relevant, evolving and up to the task to take on the modern struggles.

But in an era when activists quickly organize and mobilize mass demonstrations using social media, the NAACP finds itself struggling to remain on the cutting edge of the social justice movement….

NAACP Interim President & CEO

The NAACP,, named vice chairman of the board of directors Derrick Johnson as interim president and CEO.

Johnson, new interim president and CEO of the NAACP, wasted no time stating his plans and desires for the organization.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and we won’t waste any time getting to it,” he said. “We are facing unprecedented threats to our democracy and we will not be sidelined while our rights are being eroded every day. We remain steadfast and immovable, and stand ready on the front lines of the fight for justice….”

Johnson, Russell and other leaders are going on the road nationwide on a listening tour that will allow opportunities to talk to its local members and figure out what the future of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization should be, he said….

Leon Russell, NAACP National Board Chairman

The group is struggling to figure our how to better respond to the new realities confronting African-Americans without abandoning the principles that made it one of the nation’s leading forces for social change….

The base mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination….

“The modern challenge and question is how do we achieve our goals and objectives and get there collectively,” said Dr. James M. Douglas, president of NAACP Houston Branch. “With many of us spread out and living in many places, there is little cohesion or common ground among us – that is one of the main things we will have to address….”

Douglas said the residential spread has created a whole new set of issues on top of what already exists on the table….

Credit: NAACP.org

The NAACP was formed partly in response to the continuing horrific practice of lynching and the 1908 race riot in Springfield, the capital of Illinois and resting place of President Abraham Lincoln.

Appalled at the violence that was committed against blacks, a group of white liberals that included Mary White Ovington and Oswald Garrison Villard, both the descendants of abolitionists, William English Walling and Dr. Henry Moscowitz issued a call for a meeting to discuss racial justice….

The NAACP’s principal objective is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority group citizens of United States and eliminate race prejudice. The NAACP seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination through the democratic processes.

The NAACP established its national office in New York City in 1910 and named a board of directors as well as a president, Moorfield Storey, a white constitutional lawyer and former president of the American Bar Association. The only African American among the organization’s executives, Du Bois was made director of publications and research and in 1910 established the official journal of the NAACP, The Crisis….

Although it was criticized for working exclusively within the system by pursuing legislative and judicial solutions, the NAACP did provide legal representation and aid to members of other protest groups over a sustained period of time. The NAACP even posted bail for hundreds of Freedom Riders in the ‘60s who had traveled to Mississippi to register black voters and challenge Jim Crow policies….

Credit: Library of Congress- Jim Crow Laws

In 2011, the NAACP launched a process to develop its strategic direction and plan, creating a powerful vision for the future, and setting organizational goals that would focus its work for the 21st Century.

It appears to work to rejuventate the base around key focus issues while rallying a new generation of younger members to help engage and prepare the organization to face future challenges…

The true movement lies in the faces–the diverse multiracial army of ordinary women and men from every walk of life, race and class–united to awaken the consciousness of a people and a nation. The NAACP will remain vigilant in its mission….

“These problems are not going to be solved overnight,” Douglas said. “It will be a teaching process as we evolve, but the goal is for every person old and young to understand and know the issues before them and get in the fight and stay until justice is truly secured for all.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Here’s Why You Need To Know About The 1917 Silent Parade

By Taryn Finley, huffingtonpost.com

Via Google

The anti-lynching protest became known as the first mass demonstration by African Americans….

Google commemorated the 100th anniversary of the anti-lynching Silent Parade with a doodle on its homepage Friday….

Women and children marched in the front, wearing white to represent innocence in the midst of the country’s racism, according to the Miami Herald. The men marched in the back, dressed in dark suits as a symbol of mourning and their willpower to fight for their rights.

Protesters demanded President Woodrow Wilson take action to protect the rights and livelihood of African Americans. They carried signs reading “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” “Your Hands Are Full of Blood” and “Mothers, do lynchers go to heaven?”…

Just a few weeks prior to the march, racial tensions grew thick among the black and white workers in East St. Louis, Illinois. For 24 hours, white mobs burned homes and killed any black person they could find, regardless of age, gender or ability.

The mob killed about 200 people while the remaining 6,000 black residents fled their homes to escape the violence, according to Yale’s Beinecke Library.

The Silent Parade became known as the first mass demonstration by African Americans. The New York Times described it as “one of the most quiet and orderly demonstrations ever witnessed,” per the Herald. The silence was only broken when the march ended. Even without chants or songs, the Silent Parade set the tone for how black people protest today.

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