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When the past is present…

 

Medical Apartheid

Compelling, if at times gruesome, Medical Apartheid connects past medical experiments and the woeful current state of health care for blacks.

By , Mother Jones magazine

A scientist from the Tuskeegee Experiment with an object of study.

A scientist from the Tuskeegee Experiment with an object of study.

In this provocatively titled book, Harriet Washington argues that the infamous “Tuskegee Experiment”—the 40-year study in which black men with syphilis were allowed to die untreated so that their cadavers could be used for research—was not an isolated incident, but rather one example of the medical establishment’s long history of mistreating African Americans. Compelling, if at times gruesome, Medical Apartheid draws a connection between past medical experiments and the woeful current state of health care for blacks.

Medical Apartheid is peppered with chilling anecdotes of racist exploitation, curiosity, and control. There is the story of John Brown, a slave purchased in Georgia in the 1820s, whose owner, a doctor, blistered his legs and arms on a daily basis to see how deep his black skin went. Far from merely cataloging horrors, Washington, a journalist and former fellow in ethics at Harvard Medical School, also illustrates what she calls the “dual face” of these abuses, pointing out that the exploitation of black subjects made numerous medical advances possible. Medical Apartheid book coverFor example, Dr. Marion Sims, a 19th-century gynecological pioneer, was only able to achieve his breakthroughs by performing horrific surgeries without anesthesia on his female slaves….

One of the most harmful contemporary legacies of this history of abusive medical experimentation is that many African Americans are wary of participating in potentially life saving medical studies. A recent study in the American Journal of Law and Medicineestimated that only 1 percent of the nearly 20 million Americans enrolled in biomedical studies are black. This reluctance, though justified, has meant that blacks often miss out on the latest treatments and breakthroughs.

Read the full review here.

Listen to author Harriet Washington read from the book here.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

Coming in April 2013: Jackie Robinson Biopic ’42’

By Tambey A. Obenson, Shadow and Act

WB set an official release date of April 122013 for 42,

Poster for "42," a movie about the great Jackie Robinson, who integrated baseball on April 14, 1947.

Poster for “42,” a movie about the great Jackie Robinson, who integrated baseball on April 14, 1947.

its Jackie Robinson biopic that Brian Helgeland directed for Legendary Pictures.

Relative newcomer Chadwick Boseman (who’s worked primarily in television on shows like FringeJustified and Castle) is playing Jackie Robinson in the film, with Nicole Beharie as Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, née Rachel Isum.

Also Harrison Ford co-stars as Branch Rickey – the Brooklyn Dodgers manager who made history by signing Robinson as the first black player in the history of the Major League Baseball organization.

Brian Helgeland directed from a script he also wrote, which tells Robinson’s story, as the first African-American to play in the major leagues.

The WB has released a fresh, behind-the-camera look at the film (via BET).

Watch it here.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

 

Toni Morrison Talks To Google About Creativity

By HILLEL ITALIE, Huffington Post

Morrison's newest novel "Home"

Morrison’s newest novel “Home”

Novelist Toni Morrison, speaking Wednesday to dozens of Google employees holding laptops and smartphones, shared her vision for how she would turn the search engine leader into a literary character.

“It’s like a big, metal, claw-y machine in `Transformers,'” she said, to much laughter, during a lunchtime gathering at Google’s Manhattan offices. “When they’re threatened, they turn into a little radio, they turn into a little car. And then after you pass them by they come up again.

“They can be anything and everything.”

The 82-year-old Nobel laureate was the latest, and most literary in memory, of a long line of famous guests from Stephen Colbert to Lady Gaga who since 2005 have dropped in on Google Inc. in New York and the home offices in Mountain View, Calif. After her talk, she stayed on to take questions online, part of Google’s “Hangout” series.

Morrison, battling the flu and sniffling through much of the afternoon, was promoting the paperback edition of her novel “Home,” published last year. But she also chatted about technology, teaching and creativity…

Tmorrison Google

Toni Morrison Visits Google
Courtesy of Newstimes.com

Morrison, an early endorser of Amazon.com’s Kindle reading device and the author of prize winners including “Song of Solomon,” said she’s not a Luddite and does keep up with the Internet, enough so that she much prefers the nonfiction she reads on blogs to fiction. And she credited the Internet as an information resource…

She cited an example from her most recent novel, set in the 1950s.

“I was looking for documentation for who could not rent or buy property in Seattle,” she said. “And I knew black people couldn’t, but I didn’t have any real examples. But via Google I went through stuff and found these lease arrangements.”

Read the full article here!

Read more Breaking News here!

 

 

Exactly How ‘Black’ Is Black America?

100 Amazing Facts About the Negro: Find out the percentage of African ancestry in black Americans.

By Henry Louis Gates, Jr., theRoot.com

A few years ago, it occurred to me that it might be fun to try to trace the family trees of a group of African Americans all the way back to slavery,

Seems simple enough, right? Play the game "Guess My Race" to learn about the complexities of appearance and racial identity.

Seems simple enough, right? Play the game “Guess My Race” to learn about the complexities of appearance and racial identity.

and then when the paper trail disappeared, analyze their DNA through biologist Rick Kittles’ company, AfricanAncestry.com. The payoff would be to reveal the ethnic group from which their maternal or paternal slave ancestors descended back in Africa. We would trace their family trees using the massive number of records now digitized by websites such as Ancestry.com, and supplement the paper trail using new tools of genetic science to find more distant details about each person’s ancestry. My goal was to create a contemporary version of the television series Roots — think of it as Roots in a test tube, Roots for the 21st century….

So, for The Root, I asked five DNA companies who analyze our guests’ ancestry if we could publish for the first time their findings about the ancestral origins of the African-American community. (By “African American,” I mean descendants of African slaves brought to this country before the Civil War, not recent African immigrants.) How African — how “black” — is the average African American? The results astonished me, just as they have surprised the guests on our TV show, and I think they’ll surprise you as well. But before revealing those results, I want to provide a short introduction to the secrets that DNA holds about a person’s ancestry.

Read more to discover what Professor Gates learned about the African roots of African Americans, here.

Play the game Guess My Race here.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

More Black Men in Jail Than in College? Wrong

Show Me the Numbers: A 13-year-old report using questionable data gave rise to an enduring myth.

By Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., theRoot.com

It's time to end the myth that more black men end up graduating from prison than college.

It’s time to end the myth that more black men end up in prison than in college.

What does the line “There are more black men in jail than in college” have in common with the Jheri curl? Answer: They were invented by white men (Jheri Redding and Vincent Schiraldi, respectively) and adopted enthusiastically by black people, and they left a nasty stain on the shoulders of millions of black men.

It’s been more than 20 years since the Jheri curl faded away into infamy, and I’m proud to say that even in the 1980s, I never sported a curl. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the line “There are more black men in jail than in college.”

About six years ago I wrote, “In 2000, the Justice Policy Institute (JPI) found evidence that more black men are in prison than in college,” in my first “Breaking Barriers” report. At the time, I did not question the veracity of this statement. The statement fit well among other stats that I used to establish the need for more solution-focused research on black male achievement.

I was in good company. The same year, at a 2007 NAACP forum, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama said, “We have more work to do when more young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America.”

The increase in black male college enrollment over the past 10 years is due to three primary factors: 1) More precisely tracking of enrollment, 2) social advancements and 3) the rise of community and for-profit colleges.

The increase in black male college enrollment over the past 10 years is due to three primary factors: 1) More precisely tracking of enrollment, 2) social advancements and 3) the rise of community and for-profit colleges.

Both President Obama and I brought our own unique style to the line. I was deferential and academic, while President Obama was passionate and eloquent. In contrast, many people, like Charles Barkley, are reckless and aloof when they use the line. Recently he told Bob Costas, “You know, we as black people always, we don’t have respect for one another. You know, we’ve got more black men in prison than we do in college, and crime in our neighborhoods is running rampant.” In full context, Barkley was using the line to justify the need for armed defense against black men.

However, just as a Jheri curl would be wrong no matter how you dressed it up today, the line “There are more black men in jail than in college” is wrong no matter how you contextualize, qualify or articulate it….

[In this article, Professor Toldson] examines the dubious origins, widespread use and harmful effects of what is arguably the most frequently quoted statistic about black men in the United States.

Read the full article here.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

Why the Onion’s Crappy Apology Is Worthless

By Madison Gray, from theRoot.com

Quvenzhané Wallis at the 2013 Academy Awards. Photo: Getty Images

Quvenzhané Wallis at the 2013 Academy Awards.
Photo: Getty Images

When I watched Quvenzhané Wallis telling the story of a little girl called Hushpuppy and her adventures living in a poor Bayou area in Beasts of the Southern Wild, I was enchanted by how well she articulated her life and the world around her. I had so much hope that she might be the youngest person ever to take home a golden statuette and wanted to believe that everyone else on the planet shared my sentiment.

The best actress trophy went to Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, and the pervasive thinking for Quvenzhané was probably something like, “It’s OK, Princess, you were still wonderful.” But that wasn’t the case in the offices of the Onion, the Chicago-based satirical news website. Someone, possibly a social media editor, as yet unnamed, decided to place this on Twitter:

“Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c–t, right?”

The tweet was reportedly taken down an hour after it was posted, but not really. Anyone who follows the Onion on Twitter and everyone who doesn’t got wind of this tweet, and it spread across the Web like, well, the smell of bad onions!

When you put something out there in the media, good or bad, it’s out there and can’t be taken back, no matter how sorry you are…. It’s just that sexist and racist, and I’m not sparing the feelings of anyone at the Onion, since they didn’t spare Quvenzhané’s.Onion

Don’t get me wrong — edgy comedy is funny. Hell, Richard Pryor did it for years, and I’ll argue that he’s the funniest man of all time. But as raunchy as his language was, he never directly aimed it at anyone’s child….

So perhaps that’s the takeaway from all this: When you try to be funny, be adhesive. What came out of the Onion was the opposite. In fact it was like dress socks on a bamboo floor: It caused the people at the Onion to slip and fall on their unfunny asses.

This is why, as many n-words and M-Fs as Pryor spewed, he never once had to apologize for them, because there was nothing to apologize for. It was just hot, sticky truth.

Read the full article here.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

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)

  • Unique (First Time) Visitors = 38,082
  • Returning Visitors = 5143
  • US Visitors = 34,316
  • Wisconsin Visitors = 4935
  • Total Pageviews = 112,170
  • Views of Videos Produced for ABHM = 6295
  • Total Number of Exhibits (including gallery pages and special exhibits) = 2458
  • Countries Reached = 168

Some of the comments about ABHM left on the website:

  • I love this museum, it’s very informative and has very artistic exhibits. I will never forget!!! Thank you
  • Working on project for African American History for 5-year old grandson.
  • The information provided is definitely a window to the happenings of the turbulent past.  I am hopeful that this will be a tool used by school aged  children to become aware of history so as to understand it and learn how to develop healthy both mentally and emotionally in the midst of change. I am looking forward to the upcoming additions.
  • Thank you for this informative website. Can you give me any information on the origin of the poster above (The Two Platforms)? I’ve seen a variation of it for a PA governor race, but have also seen it traced to the presidential election of 1856.
  • James is an inspiration for all man kind. It would have been great if Dr. Cameron could have lived long enough to witness President Obama’s election in 2008.
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!